Bi-Weekly Apologetics Report: Josephus

A few days ago on You Tube, I found an interesting comment in Brain Outy’s discussion page (here is a link to her main page):

Brain Outy's You Tube Page

This lady also has a website:

Brainout's Lord Pages

First, I will start with some background about her: She goes (or used to go) to the Berachah Church in Houston. R.B. Thieme II used to be the pastor there until he passed away several years ago. According to some things I have heard and read about this guy and this church, I am glad I never went there:

Internet Monk: Whatever Happened to R.B. Thieme II

Thiemite Blog

This pastor believed in some un-biblical things, like Super Grace, Ultra Super Grace, and the Privacy of the Priesthood to name a few.

As for this Brain Outy lady, I have read through her site, and I think that she said something about how the Devil can eventually beat God (or something). If she believes that, then she is a little messed-up.

Now, on to the comment. It had to do with a video that she did about a You Tuber named Zoroaster and his video:

Zoroaster's Fake Scholarship

She refutes a claim by this guy that the Bible is based on Josephus’ account.

In Brain Outy’s discussion section, someone named danieljliversLXXXIX had this to say at the end of a rant against her (based on her critique of Zoroaster's video):

Of course, we can simply write this off, along with the TF, and just say that Josephus never heard of Christ or Christians and call it a day. Either way is fine by me.
Did I read this right? Is he totally writing off the Testimonium Flavium as an extra-biblical source that talks about Jesus?

If that’s his intent, then his thinking doesn’t jive with many scholars. According to this entry on DOXA, there is a list of over 30 scholars that accept at least a core passage:

DOXA: Josephus

Also, on top of that, this link confirms the authenticity of the James-Jesus passage:

The leading Josephus scholars, Prof. Louis Feldman (Yeshiva University) and Steve Mason (York University) state:

“That indeed, Josephus did say something about Jesus is indicated, above all, by the passage - the authenticity of which has been almost universally acknowledge - about James, who is termed (A, XX, 200) the brother of “the aforementioned Christ” (Feldman, Louis H, Introduction in Feldman, Louis H. and Hata, Gohey “Josephus, Judaism, and Christianity”, Page 56)

“Nevertheless, since most of those who know the evidence that he said something about Jesus, one is probably entitled to cite him as independent evidence that Jesus actually lived, if such evidence were needed. But that much is already given in Josephus’ reference to James (Ant. 20.200), and most historians agree that Jesus’ existence is the only adequate explanation of the many traditions among the NT writings (Steve Mason, Josephus and the New Testament, page 174ff)”

“The authenticity of the James passage “has been almost universally acknowledged” by Josephan scholars. So, J.L. Hinman is right to appeal to Ant. 200 as independent confirmation of the historicity of Jesus.
 I also went to Tektonics to find more info on the TF, and I found this link:

Tektonics: Josephus

Here are a few quotes from this link:

The early church, Schreckenburg writes, saw Josephus as kind of a “fifth gospel” and a “little Bible” [Feld. JosJes, 317] because his works “appeared to Christian theologians to be a commentary or a historic appendix to the New Testament (ibid., 319).”Quote

“Quote Elsewhere, Meier [Meie.MarJ2, 59] notes that the “total interpolation” position has it’s respectable defenders, but it’s not a majority view. Among those he cites are Conzelmann, who sees the passage as totally an expression of Christian kerygma (though without substantiation), and Hermann, who regards the Testimonium, the short passage, AND the passage in Josephus about John the Baptist as Christian interpolations.
Holding goes on to answer various objections as to why the passage wouldn’t be at least partially authentic, and he ends this writing with a discussion on what we have learned about Christianity and/or Jesus from this writer.

Those two links give sufficient info to show that the TF and the James passage are sufficient sources of extra-biblical info about Jesus Christ. 


Joe Hinman said…
very interesting JB. keep the reports coming.
Don McIntosh said…
I love it. The process gets to be downright predictable: First some skeptic asks for extrabiblical evidence for Jesus (because the various Gospels and epistles in the New Testament are just one source, "the Bible"). When said evidence is provided, the skeptic then proceeds to hold it to a standard no historical-documentary evidence could possibly meet in principle (that it be demonstrably free of any possible corruption).
JBsptfn said…
Don, I think that You Tube is a haven for this type of skepticism and ignorance. I watched a video on extra-biblical sources five years ago, and there were people who claimed that they were all forgeries without any facts to back that assertion up.
Don McIntosh said…
You're right, JB. As much as I appreciate (and take advantage of) the vast opportunities for communication provided by the Internet, the downside is that anyone can say anything, claim to know anything, and claim to be anyone. The claims you mentioned are right in there with the rhetorically powerful but demonstrably false assertion, "There isn't a shred of evidence for the existence of a God."
You know where I'm from it's considered bad form to talk about someone behind their backs.

Okay, first thing's first: Xoroaster's video did not in any way infer that Christians were relying on Josephus's account. While people like Richard Pervo, Bob Price, and Richard Carrier do think that, X., as far as I am aware, does not. Secondly, the passage in question (regarding Jesus ben Ananus), to Xoroaster, was Josephus's interpretation of Christianity. Basically Josephus didn't know what Christians were on about with this Jesus schmuck, and likened him to ben Ananus, because he had no record of Jesus Christ.

Yet her video "exposing" X. completely missed that point and instead trailed off about him calling Jesus by his Greek name, which is absolutely irrelevant to X.'s point and just proves that she was pulling stuff out of her hat. What's more, when confronted on this, she had no ideal who Xoroarster was, even though she has made several videos on him. That's not too bright.

Now, in regards to the Testimonium Flavionum: really? This is still a thing? To argue for partial authenticity is only denying the obvious reality that lies before us. Had Josephus knew of Christ he would have gone into much further detail about him than he does, and would have lambasted him and his followers for being deceivers as he does with other wannabe messiahs. Never mind the fact that even if it is authentic, it's still only hearsay; and Jews who were actually alive to write about this wonder worker and the true Son of God, completely miss him or disregarded him. It doesn't look good for you either way.

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