CADRE Comments

A Rational Look at Christianity; Basing Reason in Truth


In this debate you will see my opponent has some good arguments but they are of a speculative nature. He has no textual evidence in his favor. My side is backed by some textual evidence. My textual evidence:

* There no copies of texts of Josephus not containing the TF. 

*The brother passage (BP) uses a Greek phrase that means "so-called" or "alleged" in connection with Jesus as messiah: it refers to him as "the so-called messiah."

*No one would go to the trouble to fabricate a passage or to alter or doctor it and then fail to make it strong enough to suit his purpose. No Christian would call Jesus the "so called" messiah.

*Bowen will argue that the TF does not say "so called" and the same person tweaking the TF would surely Tweak the BP.  But they do actually agree. There are two other versions, Jerome's and Syriac, where the TF says "so called Christ." (Alice Wealey)

*The best solution is that the original version said "so called" because Josephus was skeptical of Jesus' claim. No Christian would say that, so a Christian scribe tweaked the TF by taking that word out and adding some other things. He did not do the BP because it was obscure and he did not have a reference book. 

The BP mementos Jesus as messiah (although sarcastically) in passing, indicating the reader is already familiar with him; that's because Josephus had already mentioned him in the TF.

The only thing Bradly has for evidence is the facts of dating, allowing the possibility of his speculations.

Bowen
Perhaps Hinman believes that (JW) is obviously true and thus it is not in need of  supporting evidence or reasoning. Since (JW) is not obviously false and not obviously problematic,  I’m comfortable with attributing this argument to Hinman even though he did not clearly and explicitly state this argument in his post on Josephus.  I believe that this is a reasonable “educated guess” at the argument Hinman had in mind concerning the external evidence of Josephus.


Hinman: I think I was pretty clear that my argument is that there is a historical core passage in the TF and that the BP is un tweaked. Jo spoke of Jesus as a man in history because he knew him to be such. He learned that from common knowledge including NT, Christian witness of other kinds, early Gnostic and Jewish polemics.



Bowen:
It is also the case that Hinman provides very little evidence in support of his primary factual premise (1).  The link to more in-depth discussion of the Josephus evidence points to an article that makes no attempt to support premise (1):
Hinman: Doesn't take much. The passage proves he existed if it's authentic but most historians think it is: there's no evidence against it.

* Now at this point he's going to make an argument based upon the fallacy  of guilt by association. 

Bowen:
QUESTION 3:  Is the “brother passage” in Antiquities Authentic?A. Christian Copyists Altered their Own Sacred Scriptures. We know that Christian copyists made many alterations to the Greek text of the New Testament documents, both intentionally and unintentionally, even though those documents were considered to be sacred scripture by many Christians.  Bart Ehrman provides several examples of alterations by Christian copyists to NT texts in his book Misquoting Jesus, and he makes the following relevant comment in the concluding chapter:…whatever else we may say about the Christian scribes–whether of the early centuries or of the Middle Ages–we have to admit that in addition to copying scripture, they were changing scripture.  Sometimes they didn’t mean to–they were simply tired, or inatentive, or, on occasion, inept. At other times, though, they did mean to make changes, as when they wanted the text to emphasize precisely what they themselves believed, for example about the nature of Christ, or about the role of women in the church, or about the wicked character of their Jewish opponents. This conviction that scribes had changed scripture became an increasing certitude for me as I studied the text more and more. (Misquoting Jesus, p.210) For examples supporting this view, see Chapter 2 (“The Copyists of Early Christian Writings”) and Chapter 6 (“Theologically Motivated Alterations of the Text”) of Misquoting Jesus by Bart Ehrman.

Hinman: 
There is a great deal wrong here. First, though I do respect Ehrman he is not without biases. Using the term "scribe" is misleading. They did not have Christian scribes in the sense of temple scribes in Judaism. Their redaction of NT material was not carried out in a time when the material was considered scared. They had no idea they were editing sacred text. That came later with the canonization process. Redaction came in the formation process when the stuff was being written.

Secondly, Ehrman never argues this is a reason to assume that the brother passage is redacted. To make that assumption just imposes an assumption not in evidence.

Bowen: Surely, if Christian editors and copyists altered the texts of their own sacred scriptures, they would be likely to alter the texts of a Jewish historian as well.

Hinman: (1) they weren't sacred scripture at the time they altered it.
(2) they didn't "alter" it. They redacted it., huge difference. Redaction is editing. Altering is seeing a finished product and fabricating it by change. They weren't doing that, they were editing. They didn't say "let's change this to prove lies." They were re-organizing and incorporating new materiel. That's not the same as saying I'll just slip this in here that James was the brother of Jesus.


Bowen:
B. Christians Clearly Altered (or Created) the Only Other Passage about Jesus in Antiquities 

Hinman: the TF is not our only statement about Jesus in antiquity,

Bowen:
Robert Van Voorst describes the views of modern scholars about the TF passage: While a few scholars still reject it fully and even fewer accept it fully, most now prefer two middle positions.  The first middle position reconstructs an authentic Josephan passage neutral towards Jesus, and the second reconstructs an authentic passage negative toward Jesus.  (JONT, p.93) The viewpoints in order of descending acceptance by modern scholars:
  1. Middle Positions (most scholars believe that Christians made a few alterations to the TF passage).
  1. Full Rejection (a few scholars believe that Christians created the whole passage, or that it is simply not possible to determine what parts of the passage were originally written by Josephus).
  1. Full Acceptance (a very few scholars believe the entire passage is authentic, that all of the passage was written by Josephus).
All but a very few scholars have concluded that the TF passage was either partially or completely the creation of Christians.  There are only two passages that refer to Jesus in Antiquities, the other passage being the “brother passage”.  So, it is reasonable to conclude that Christians altered (or created) the TF passage, the only other passage about Jesus besides the “brother passage”.  This background information suggests that it is likely that Christian copyists also altered the “brother passage”.
Hinman: That is a totally screwed way to look at it. It's glass half empty but it's also very misleading. He emphasizes that two of three groups support that the text was altered to make it sound like the majority opposes historicity of Jesus. Actually it's the opposite. We can divide scholars into three groups, two of the three think Jesus existed as a man in history and Joe wrote about him. Most of those who think the TF is totally fabricated might think Jesus existed. The majority think Jo wrote about him. 

*Before going down this road let's observe that it has no bearing on the brother passage: no matter how much tweaking was put on the TF that does not prove the brother passage was tweaked.


The statement that there's two mentions of Jesus in antiquity, that is utter tripe and we all know it. Celsus refers to Jesus and argues from him being flesh and blood; but by default, I agreed not to discuss the Roman passages they are not strong but to say they don't exist is a lie. Not saying they are good evidence but they exist and they do refer to Jesus:

* Thallus (c. 50-75AD)

*Phlegon (First century)

* Josephus (Antiquities of the Jews, c.93)

* Tacitus (Annals, c.115-120)

* Suetonius (Lives of the Caesars, c. 125)

* Galen (various writings, c.150)

* Celsus (True Discourse, c.170).

* Mara Bar Serapion (pre-200?)

* Talmudic References( written after 300 CE, but some refs probably go back to eyewitnesses)

*Lucian (Second century)

*Numenius (Second cent.)

*Galerius (Second Cent.)

(2) The vast majority of scholars still believe in the historicity of Jesus, they accept a core passage of TF that does include Jesus' existence.

(3)
here is Tabor's core passage with emendations in capital highlights



There are two passage in which first century Jewish historian Jospehus speaks of Jesus of Nazerath. The first passage is known as the Testimonium Flavianum (hense forth "TF").The second passage gives Jesus just a passing mention and it really about the high presit Annas, and his stoning of Jesus' brother James ('I'll call it the "James passage").

(for my take on "James" passage go here

The TF:
Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man IF IT BE LAWFUL TO CALL HIM A MAN, for he was a doer of wonders, A TEACHER OF SUCH MEN AS RECEIVE THE TRUTH WITH PLEASURE. He drew many after him BOTH OF THE JEWS AND THE GENTILES. HE WAS THE CHRIST. When Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men among us, had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him, FOR HE APPEARED TO THEM ALIVE AGAIN THE THIRD DAY, AS THE DIVINE PROPHETS HAD FORETOLD THESE AND THEN THOUSAND OTHER WONDERFUL THINGS ABOUT HIM, and the tribe of Christians, so named from him, are not extinct at this day" (Antiquities 18:63-64).
A List of Scholar who accept at least some core passage.
John P. Meier
Raymond Brown
Graham Stanton
N.T. Wright
Paula Fredrickson
John D. Crossan
E.P. Sanders
Geza Vermes
Louis Feldman
John Thackeray
Andre Pelletier
Paul Winter
A. Dubarle
Ernst Bammel
Otto Betz
Paul Mier
Ben Witherington
F.F. Bruce
Luke T. Johnson
Craig Blomberg
J. Carleton Paget
Alice Whealey
J. Spencer Kennard
R. Eisler
R.T. France
Gary Habermas
Robert Van Voorst
Shlomo Pines
Edwin M. Yamuchi
James Tabor
John O'Connor-Murphy
Mark Goodacre
Paula Frederiksen
David Flusser
Steve Mason
Twentieth century controversy over the Testimonium Flavianum can be distinguished from controversy over the text in the early modern period insofar as it seems generally more academic and less sectarian. While the challenge to the authenticity of the Testimonium in the early modern period was orchestrated almost entirely by Protestant scholars and while in the same period Jews outside the church uniformly denounced the text's authenticity, the twentieth century controversies over the text have been marked by the presence of Jewish scholars for the first time as prominent participants on both sides of the question. In general, the attitudes of Protestant, Roman Catholic, Jewish and secular scholars towards the text have drawn closer together, with a greater tendency among scholars of all religious backgrounds to see the text as largely authentic. On the one hand this can be interpreted as the result of an increasing trend towards secularism, which is usually seen as product of modernity. On the other hand it can be interpreted as a sort of post-modern disillusionment with the verities of modern skepticism, and an attempt to recapture the sensibility of the ancient world, when it apparently was still possible for a first-century Jew to have written a text as favorable towards Jesus of Nazareth as the Testimonium Flavianum.
Now he's going wild on the TF even I said that would not be any focus, That's because he has nothing on the brother passage, it's point blank proof Jesus existed and NO serious scholar thinks otherwise,

Bowen:

C.  The Oldest Greek Manuscripts of Antiquities are from Long After Christians Altered the Text

According to John Meier, “we have only three Greek manuscripts of Book 18 [which contains the Testimonium Flavianum passage] of The Antiquities, the earliest of which dates from the 11th century.”  (A Marginal Jew, Vol. 1, p.62).  But Eusebius quoted from the altered version of the TF early in the fourth century, so the Christian alterations were made in the second or third centuries:
Hinman: Meier agrees with a core historical passage proving Jesus' historoicioty

Bowen:
The first witness to this passage as it stands now is from Eusebius in about 323 (Ecclesiastical History 1.11). (JONT, p.92)
This means that textual criticism is of no help in determining the authenticity of the TF:Because the few manuscipts of Josephus come from the eleventh century,  long after Christian interpolations  would have been made, textual criticism cannot help to solve this issue. ..We are left to examine the context, style, and content of this passage to judge its authenticity. (JONT, p.88-89).
Hinman: 
It's quoted in other places that are not a MS of Josephus such as Jerome's quotation and other early church luminaries. Jerome's quote takes it back to  400's.As I pointed out it's a mistake to think latter texts don't have earlier readings. Jerome's version is probably the original version because it says "so called Christ" in both TF and BP. It is also corroborated by the Syriac version. (Alice Wealy quoted in Roger Pearce PDF: 
http://www.roger-pearse.com/weblog/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/whealey2000.pdf)








a) Jerome's Reading.
St. Jerome quoted from the TF as saying "he was believed to bethe Messiah," rather than "he was the Messiah." This has led many scholars to believe that Jerome knew of another, perhaps older version of the TF that read differently and lacked the "tweeked" parts of the passage.

b)The Arabic Text.

A Jewish scholar named Sholmo Poines foudn an Arabic Text that reads differently then does the recieved version of the TF.
Josephus'Testimony to Jesus
James D. Tabor
(Testimonium Flavianum) Josephus, Antiquities 18. 63-64
Tabor: "Professor Shlomo Pines found a different version of Josephus testimony in an Arabic version of the tenth century. It has obviously not been interpolated in the same way as the Christian version circulating in the West:"
"At this time there was a wise man who was called Jesus, and his conduct was good, and he was known to be virtuous. And many people from among the Jews and the other nations became his disciples. Pilate condemned him to be crucified and to die. And those who had become his disciples did not abandon their loyalty to him. They reported that he had appeared to them three days after his crucifixion, and that he was alive. Accordingly they believed that he was the Messiah, concerning whom the Prophets have recounted wonders."

c) Syriac text.


http://www.roger-pearse.com/weblog/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/whealey2000.pdf
In the second major twentieth century controversy over the authenticity of the Testimonium Flavianum, the erudite Near Eastern studies scholar, Shlomo Pines, tried to argue that the paraphrase of the Testimonium that appears in a Christian Arabic chronicle dating from the tenth century might be more authentic than the textus receptus Testimonium. 21 Reaction to Pines' thesis was mixed, but the most important piece of evidence that Pines' scholarship on Christian Semitic sources brought to light was not the Arabic paraphrase of the Testimonium that he proposed was more authentic than the textus receptus, but the literal Syriac translation of the Testimonium that is quoted in a twelfth century chronicle compiled by the Syrian Patriarch of Antioch (1166-1199). 22 It is this version of the Testimonium, not the Arabic paraphrase of it, that has the greatest likelihood of being, at least in some ways, more authentic than the textus receptus Testimonium because, as noted earlier, this version of the text agrees with Jerome's Latin version of the text in the same crucial regard. The medieval Syriac Testimonium that Pines uncovered is very strong evidence for what many scholars had argued since birth of the controversy over the text in the Renaissance, namely that Jerome did not alter the Testimonium Flavianum to read "he was believed to be the Christ" but rather that he in fact knew the original version of the Testimonium, which he probably found in Eusebius' Historia Ecclesiastica , which read "he was believed to be the Christ" rather than "he was the Christ."

(2) No Textaul evidence

No textual evidence supports the charge that Origin or Eusbius made up the passage.
a) All copies we have contain the quote.

If it had been forged we should have some copies that don't contian it.

New Advent Encyplopidia:
"all codices or manuscripts of Josephus's work contain the text in question; to maintain the spuriousness of the text, we must suppose that all the copies of Josephus were in the hands of Christians, and were changed in the same way."

b) Passage known prior to Eusebius

Nor is it ture that our first indication of the existence of the Passage begins with Eusebuis:

Again, the same conclusion follows from the fact that Origen knew a Josephan text about Jesus, but was not acquainted with our present reading; for, according to the great Alexandrian doctor, Josephus did not believe that Jesus was the Messias ("In Matth.", xiii, 55; "Contra Cels.", I, 47).


Back to Brother
Bowen:
Examiniation of context, style, and content of the “brother passage”, however, cannot provide sufficient reason to be fully confident that no alterations were made to this passage by Christian copyists.  So, if small changes by copyists could make a big difference to the significance of this passage as evidence for the existence of Jesus of Nazareth, then premise (1) of Hinman’s argument would be cast into serious doubt.

Hinman: That is nonsense. No major scholar agrees with that, wrong on call counts:

Context
Style
Content

The passage reads like it's referring to a passage already made which could be the historical core passage. He talks like he's already mentioned Jesus before.

Bowen:

D.  Small Changes to the “brother passage” by Christian Copyists Would Make a Big Difference
If the entire “brother passage” was invented by a Christian copyist, then obviously the passage would be a complete fake and provide no evidence for the existence of Jesus of Nazareth whatsoever.However, if the passage was NOT completely fake, but has been modified slightly by the addition of a phrase or two, then the evidence provided by the passage could be seriously diminished or even eliminated.
Hinman: (1) Obviously it depends upon what is being Tweaked. He has no proof that anythying is, it's total speculation. His only criteria is wouldn't this be damaging ot the Jesus myth cause so it must be made up"?

(2) No major scholar credits this view with any seriousness because there is no evidence, the reason he phrases it as conditional is because he has no evidence,


Bowen:
  • If the phrase “the brother of Jesus, the so-called Christ” was added by a Christian copyist, then the passage provides no significant evidence for the existence of Jesus of Nazareth, even if the rest of the passage was authentic.
Hinman: Not likely that a Christian had this great sounding stuff lauding Jesus in the TF then turn around and sasy "the so called. Christ." No one would change it to support their guy then degrade him in that way,"


 Bowen:
  • If the original passage mentioned “the brother of the so-called Christ” and a Christian copyist added the name “Jesus” to that phrase, then the passage would provide only weak evidence for the existence of Jesus of Nazareth, because “James” was a very common Jewish name, and because there have been many Jews who claimed to be the Messiah or who were believed by others to be the Messiah.
Hinman: You would have to produce another candidate in that era to be messiah, brother of what messiah?

Bowen:
  • If the original passage included the phrase “the brother of Jesus” but said nothing about Jesus being “the so-called Christ”,  then this passage would provide only weak evidence for the existence of Jesus of Nazareth, because “James” and “Jesus” were both common Jewish names at that time.
Hinman: which is total speculation Even if this were true it woudl not be too weak because there would be no other Jesus for it to be. He would have to be famous opr not worth pointing it out. Jesus who? He mentions brother  because the brother is known and thus noteworthy.


Bowen:
  • If the original passage included the phrase “the brother of Jesus, the so-called Christ” but a Christian copyist added the phrase “whose name was James” to this passage, then the passage would provide only weak evidence for the existence of Jesus of Nazareth, because “Jesus” was a common Jewish name, and because there have been many Jews who claimed to be the Messiah or who were believed by others to be the Messiah.
Hinman: there would be no point in adding it at this point unless they had a connection between this James and Jesus. Why pick this guy out to connect? Jesus was a common name but it would b e pointless to mention a common guy at this point, The only reason to bring his brother into it is if he would be known to the reader.

Bowen:
The “brother passage” provides significant evidence for the existence of Jesus of Nazareth only if the phrase “the brother of Jesus” AND the phrase  “the so-called Christ” AND the phrase “whose name was James” are all authentic, only if ALL THREE of these phrases were in the original text of Antiquities written by Josephus.


Hinman: as long as it says Jesus in the original it's evidence, UNLESS you show an alternative Jesus but he had to be famous.

Bowen:
E. The Difficulty of Determining the Authenticity & Significance of the “brother passage” given the Above Facts

Hinman:  you have no facts, it's sheer speculation motivated by ideology


Bowen:
Given that Christian copyists altered the texts of their own sacred scriptures, and given that Christian copyists have clearly altered (or possibly created) the TF passage in Antiquities, it is probable that Christian copyists also altered (or possibly created) the only other passage in Antiquities that refers to Jesus: the “brother passage”.


Hinman: He continues with that  implication they so dishonest they would even change their sacred writings, Therefore they just running around changing everything, that is so ridiculously unfair and dishonest (1) not changing it they are editing (2) they weren't sacred when they did it, they were just accounts, they didn't change the content, (3) that still doesn't prove they got hold of the brother passage. if they did they would not say ":so called Messiah,"

Bowen:

Furthermore, the most crucial evidence for determining whether any alterations were made to the “brother passage” is unavailable: the only Greek manuscript copies that we have were made many centuries after the TF passage was altered by Christian copyists (and presumably many centuries after the “brother passage” was altered, if it had been altered).  Finally, since the evidence provided by the “brother passage” would be seriously diminished if just one of the three key phrases had been added by a Christian copyist, this passage can be viewed as providing significant evidence of the existence of Jesus of Nazareth ONLY IF we can be very confident that NONE of the three key phrases was added by a Christian coyist.

Hinman: Does this guy sell aluminum siding? This is the kind of tactic in college debate we would've  called "greasy." He asserts the Christian copyists changed as though it's an established fact but he knows damn well it isn't, He acknowledged it above he has no evidence at all. He's merely asserting it and the incidence is against it because if they did changed it they would have done a better job.

Bowen:
Given that the general background evidence indicates that it is probable that a Christian copyist altered the “brother passage”, 

Hinman: what? I can't believe I'm reading this. This guy has presented no evidence of any now he baldfaced refer to evidence! does he mean his fallacious assertion of guilt by association: Some Christian fabbed the TF therefore they must have Fabbed the BP too, is that what he;s calling "evidence?" That's nothing more than fallacy and don't forget my counter assertion that the reading doesn't warrant the assumption because had they tweaked it they would have made it more favorable to Jesus. Ah yes speaks of probable. but the probability is against for the reason I just said.


Bowen:


and given that the crucially important evidence needed to determine whether this passage is completely authentic is unavailable (no early Greek manuscript copies of The Antiquities are available), 

Hinman: what's he talking about? making more fictional evidence? He has presented no evidences  of any kind that woudl prove this, He speculated about it, That's not proof.

Bowen:
and given that the addition of a single word (“Jesus”) or one phrase (“the brother of Jesus” or “the so-called Christ” or “whose name is James”) by a Christian copyist would seriously diminish the strength of the evidence that this passage provides for the existence of Jesus of Nazareth,  I see no rational way to be very confident that the “brother passage” provides significant evidence for the existence of Jesus of Nazareth.  Considerations about context, style, and content of the “brother passage” will simply not be able to provide a rational basis for being very confident that NONE of the three key phrases was added by a Christian copyist.
Hinman: I'm sorry my friend that is one of the least rational arguments I've ever heard. He is saying that because one word would change it seriously then that increasing the probability that it was changed, that is not rational. It could also be said of any quotation. Add not or take it away  from anything would damage the meaning,m therefore, everything is fabricated. One word is not so much easier to add than 10.


Bowen:
F. IF the TF Passage Is Completely Inauthentic, THEN the “brother passage” is Probably NOT Completely Authentic
The majority view among modern scholars who study Josephus is that the TF passage is partially authentic, but not completely authentic.  The majority view is that Christian copyists made a few significant additions or changes to that passage.  Given this view, I have argued that it is probable that the “brother passage” was also altered by Christian copyists.  So, that is one way in which a judgment about the authenticity of the TF passage impacts our judgement about the authenticity of the “brother passage”.
Hinman: that argument depends entirely upon the TF being entirely fabricated. The odds of that are extremely low. As the Wealy quote told us the 19th century scholarship saw it as such out of an ideological party line but modern scholarship is vastly against it The majority  accept the historical core then a small contingent think there's no fabrication so the group that accepts it as entirely fabricated is extremely small.

Bowen:
But there are other possibilities concerning the TF passage.  Some scholars argue that the TF passage is completely inauthentic, that all or nearly all of the passage was created by Christian editors or copyists.  If these scholars are correct, then that would make it very probable that the “brother passage” was not completely authentic. 
Hinman: That can be eliminated because it's an extreme minority view flies in the face of the evidence. There are pre Eusbian versions and no MS exist without the TF.


Bowen:
 As Hinman points out,  the authenticity of the “brother passage” is evidence for the authenticity of the TF passage:
Josephus refers to James by referencing Jesus as though he’s mentioned Jesus or the reader should know who he is.  Jewish scholar Paul Winters states: “if…Josephus referred to James as being ‘the brother of Jesus who is called Christ,’ without much ado, we have to assume that in an earlier passage he had already told his readers about Jesus himself.”
In other words, if Josephus refers to “Jesus” in the “brother passage” without providing an explanation of who this “Jesus” person was, then this implies (or makes it very probable) that Josephus had referred to “Jesus” in the earlier TF passage.  But in that case, if the TF passage was completely inauthentic, as some scholar argue, then this would be significant evidence that the “brother passage” was NOT completely authentic. 
Hinman: Good God one of the most convoluted pieces of reasoning I've ever seen. he is saying BP indicates by the way it reads that Jo refereed to Jesus before.From that he concludes that if the TF is inauthentic the BP is also, but we've already ruled that out as extremely unlikely.Since the historical core is much more likely it makes since to say that is the mention of Jesus so it's authentic

[cut repetition of the same idea] 



Bowen:
A similar issue arises even if we assume that the TF passage was partially authentic.  One of the two “Middle Positions” taken by modern scholars who study Josephus is that the original TF passage was neutral and Christian copyists simply inserted a few phrases.
Hinman:  He's talking about the historical core passage


Bowen:
 The leading Jesus scholar John Meier argues for a neutral re-construction of the TF passage, in which the sentence “He was the Christ.” is removed (along with some other phrases and sentences) on the assumption that this sentence was added by a Christian copyist.
Hinman: No big deal the Tabor versiomn took it out too but still includes reference to Jesus.



Bowen:
But if this neutral reconstruction of the TF passage is correct, then the part of the “brother passage” that refers to Jesus as “the so-called Christ” is suspect, because the previous mention of Jesus in the TF did not use the term “Christ” to describe or identify the “Jesus” in that passage.  Since “Jesus” was a common Jewish name in that time, the absence of the term “Christ” in the TF passage would make it unclear that the “Jesus” in the “brother passage” was the same person as the “Jesus” in the TF passage.  Thus, it seems unlikely that Josephus would write about “Jesus the so-called Christ” and expect his non-Christian Gentile readers to know that he was referring back to the same “Jesus” that he had mentioned in the TF passage.

Hinman: That is answered by the second Whealy quote already given above

Alice Whealy, Berkely Cal.

In the second major twentieth century controversy over the authenticity of the Testimonium Flavianum, the erudite Near Eastern studies scholar, Shlomo Pines, tried to argue that the paraphrase of the Testimonium that appears in a Christian Arabic chronicle dating from the tenth century might be more authentic than the textus receptus Testimonium. 21 Reaction to Pines' thesis was mixed, but the most important piece of evidence that Pines' scholarship on Christian Semitic sources brought to light was not the Arabic paraphrase of the Testimonium that he proposed was more authentic than the textus receptus, but the literal Syriac translation of the Testimonium that is quoted in a twelfth century chronicle compiled by the Syrian Patriarch of Antioch (1166-1199). 22 It is this version of the Testimonium, not the Arabic paraphrase of it, that has the greatest likelihood of being, at least in some ways, more authentic than the textus receptus Testimonium because, as noted earlier, this version of the text agrees with Jerome's Latin version of the text in the same crucial regard. The medieval Syriac Testimonium that Pines uncovered is very strong evidence for what many scholars had argued since birth of the controversy over the text in the Renaissance, namely that Jerome did not alter the Testimonium Flavianum to read "he was believed to be the Christ" but rather that he in fact knew the original version of the Testimonium, which he probably found in Eusebius' Historia Ecclesiastica , which read "he was believed to be the Christ" rather than "he was the Christ."

Bowen:
There is a good chance that the neutral view of the TF passage is correct.  But if that view is correct, then the TF passage did not refer to Jesus as “the Christ” nor as “the so-called Christ”.   But in that case, it seems likely that the phrase “Jesus the so-called Christ” in the “brother passage” was not written by Josephus, but was added later by a Christian copyist AFTER the TF passage was altered to refer to Jesus as “the Christ” (or after it was altered to refer to Jesus as “the so-called Christ”).
Hinman: He has not evidence to establish that he is asserting it, but what I just quoted disproves it.


Bowen:
Given that the vast majority of modern scholars who study Josephus have concluded either that the TF passage is partially inauthentic or that it is completely inauthentic,  that  either some parts of the TF passage were created by a Christian copyist or that the entire  passage was created by a Christian copyist, there is a good chance that the name “Jesus” was inserted into the TF passage by a Christian copyist.  
Hinman He's fudeging the data, they have really concluded that the Jerome passage is the original and it says "so called." Look at it logically why would anyone  insert commendations
into a text to gain support for their candidates for Messiah and the say "so called." Accept Jesus as your co called savior. no one says that. 

[delete more useless repetition]

Bowen:
QUESTION 4:  Is the Information in the “brother passage” INDEPENDENT of the NT writings?
A.  Authenticity is NOT Enough

One important question is about the source of the information that Jospehus presents in the “brother passage”.  If this information came either directly or indirectly from the Gospels or from other New Testament writings (e.g. the letters of Paul), then the “brother passage” does not provide evidence for the existence of Jesus that is INDEPENDENT from the New Testament.  If the “brother passage” does not provide evidence that is independent from the NT, then it does not count as external evidence for the existence of Jesus, but is merely an echo of the evidence from the NT.
Hinman: First of all the old atheists that the Bible is just av pile of crap and can't be accepted as evidence on any level is just as washrooms Trump supporters. It's an artifact it tells us what they believed, Since there is no other candidate for famous Jesus (they had to mention him for a reason--common name but we know of no other Jesus who did anything note worthy) that info being supplied by Christians makes very little difference.


He has no basis for establishing thiat he's only basing it upon the date of composition.


Bowen:
B. Antiquities was Written AFTER the Gospels and the Letter of Paul to the Galatians
Josephus wrote The Antiquities in either 93 or 94 CE.  Paul wrote his letter to the Galatians about  50 to 55 CE.  The gospel of Mark was probably written about 70 CE, and the gospel of Matthew was probably written about 85 CE.  Thus Josephus wrote the “brother passage” about 40 years after Paul wrote to the Galations, about 25 years after the gospel of Mark was written, and about a decade after the gospel of Matthew was written.  Each of these NT documents states or implies that Jesus of Nazareth had a brother named James, and that some Jews believed that Jesus was the Messiah or “the Christ”:
55 CE:but I did not see any other apostle except James the Lord’s brother. (Galatians 1:19, New Revised Standard Version)

70 CE:Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon, and are not his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him.  (Mark 6:3, New Revised Standard Version)85 CE:Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not his mother called Mary? And are not his brothers James and Joseph and Simon and Judas?  (Matthew 13:55, New Revised Standard Version)Josephus could have learned the idea that there was a man named Jesus who was the brother of a man named James, and who was believed by some Jews to be the Messiah or “the Christ” from reading the letter of Paul to the Galatians, or the gospel of Mark, or the gospel of Matthew. 
Hinman: Date of comp is the only thing he has  that passes for evidence, that proves nothing it only makes it possible not likely.


[delete useless repetition] He lists a bunch of different ways that Jo could have learned it from Christian but that;s just more of the same non proof.

Bowen:
C.  The Information in the “brother passage” could have Come from More than One Source
Just as it is important to recognize that the TF passage could be partially authentic and partially inauthentic, so it is also important to recognize that the “brother passage” could be partially independent of the NT and partially dependent on the NT.  The death of James the brother of Jesus is not described in the NT, so clearly the basic story in the “brother passage” did not come from the NT.  However, it is possible that the idea that James was “the brother of Jesus” and that Jesus was “called the Christ” could have come from the NT, could be dependent on someone having read one or more writings from the NT.
Hinman: He's just trying to evoke the "Bible is garbage and cam't be evidence 'prejudice of atheist circles. Let's say it's true where else is he going to hear about it? Apart from circles related to Christianity?: Who else would talk about it? There might be a mention in the Talmud.Why wouldn't he turn to Christian circles to learn about Jesus? Why would that then make it become untrue? 

There is a apocryphal James literature such as the Apocrypha of James. Paul's mention of James establishes him as a famous person  on the embryonic church scene, of course if he wasv head of Jerusalem. This text secret book of James [apocryphon] is established by Ron Cameron [Sayings Traditions in the Apocryphon of James(HTS 34; Philadelphia, PA: Fortress Press 1984] as independent of the New
testament. It's saying gospel so maybe very early,.[Peter Kirby Early Christian Writings URL: http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/secretjames.html ] [see aslko Helmutt Koester Ancient Christian Gospels 1992,  187-200]

That establishes an independent tradition about ajames as leader and fist witness to resurrection that could be source Jo used.

Bowen:
Josephus could have had a story about a man “whose name was James” from a non-Christian source who obtained this information independent of the NT.  But if Josephus wanted more information about this person named “James”, he could have obtained this additional information from a Christian source (who had read or heard Mark, Matthew, or Galatians), or from a non-Christian acquaintance who obtained information from reading Mark, Matthew, or Galatians or from conversations with a Christian (who had read or heard Mark, Matthew, or Galatians).  In this case, even if the entire phrase “the brother of Jesus the so-called Christ” was written by Josephus, this part of the “brother passage” would NOT provide independent evidence of the existence of Jesus, even though the passage as a whole does provide some historical information that is independent of the NT.

Hinman: he is just writing fiction again. He has not one shred of evidence all he has is a mere possibility and even if it were true it wound still not mean it;s bad evidence, Crosson accepts the historicity of Jesus based upon the NT.

Bowen:
D.  There is a Significant Chance that the “brother passage” is Partially DEPENDENT on the New Testament 
Because there is a significant chance that both references to “Jesus” in Antiquities are either directly or indirectly dependent on the writings of the NT, the NT scholar Bart Ehrman concludes that these references to Jesus fail to provide significant evidence for the existence of Jesus:

Hinman: There is no evidence. The only thing like evidence he has is that the dates of composition make it possible. They don't make it likely,

 Bowen:
My main point is that whether the Testimonium is authentically from Josephus (in its pared-down form) or not probably does not ultimately matter  for the question I am pursuing here.  Whether or not Jesus lived has to be decided on other kinds of evidence from this.  And here is why.  Suppose Josephus really did write the Testimonium.  That would show that by 93 CE–some sixty or more years after the traditional date of Jesus’s death–a Jewish historian of Palestine had some information about him.  And where would Josephus have derived this information?  He would have heard stories about Jesus that were in circulation.  There is nothing to suggest that Josephus had actually read the Gospels (he almost certainly had not) or that he did any kind of primary research into the life of Jesus by examining Roman records of some kind (there weren’t any).  But as we will see later, we already know for lots of other reasons and on lots of other grounds that there were stories about Jesus floating around in Palestine by the end of the first century and much earlier.  So even if the Testimonium, in the pared-down form, was written by Josephus, it does not give us much more evidence than we already have on the question of whether there really was a man Jesus.  (Did Jesus Exist, p.65)


Hinman: Now he is just gainsaying the evidence, That could be true anytime for any historical writing. If we are going to strut Jo as a historian then we have to trust him on this tool Historians do trust him, he is known as the primary source for first cincture history, that is especially true for matters  involving Palestine,

Bowen:
Ehrman believes that the references to “Jesus” by Josephus fail to provide significant evidence for the existence of Jesus even though it is Ehrman’s purpose in the book quoted above to refute Jesus Mythicists and to prove that Jesus of Nazareth was a real, flesh-and-blood historical person.  Ehrman does not reject these passages from Josephus in order to support the belief that Jesus is a myth; he rejects them because there is a good chance that the information about Jesus in those passages is DEPENDENT on one or more of the writings of the NT.
Hinman: Bradley needs to quote that quote. I doubt that he has that right because Jo is one of the Major reasons that historians overwhelming accept the historicity of Jesus,

Bowen:
Robert Van Voorst is an NT scholar who has also carefully studied the external evidence for Jesus, including the two passages by Josephus that refer to Jesus.  Van Voorst is much more positive about this evidence that Ehrman is,

Hinman: see, historians love this guy

 Bowen:
 but Van Voorst is honest enough to admit that his positive evaluation of the external evidence from Josephus rests on a somewhat shaky assumption, the assumption that the information Josephus had about Jesus was obtained INDEPENDENTLY of the writings of the NT:
These items rule out Josephus’s obtaining this wording [in the TF passage], and probably the information behind it, from the New Testament or other early Christian writings known to us.  (JONT, p.102-103, emphasis added)The evidence only “probably” rules out the hypothesis that Josephus obtained the information about Jesus in these passages from the New Testament or other early Christian writings.  Van Voorst does not assert that the evidence “certainly” rules this out, nor that it “almost certainly” rules this out, nor that it “very probably” rules this out.   Thus, Van Voorst tacitly admits that there is a significant chancethat Josephus obtained his information about Jesus from the New Testament.
Hinman: Most of Bradley's arguments have been based entirely upon not just probability but pure speculation


Bowen:
Further comments by Van Voorst reinforce his admission of the shakiness of the assumption that the TF passage and the “brother passage” contain independent historical information about Jesus:Did this information [about Jesus] come indirectly from Christians or others to Josephus? We can be less sure about this [i.e. we can be less sure about ruling this out than ruling out that Josephus obtained the information about Jesus by reading some of the NT writings himself]althought the totality of the evidence points away from it.  (JONT, p.103, emphasis added)
Hinman: Reading NT does not make it bad eviodence but it is by no means the case that he had to do this. 

Bowen:
A more plausible hypothesis is that Josephus gained his knowledge of Christianity when he lived in Palestine.  He supplemented it in Rome, as the words “to this day” may imply, where there was a significant Christian presence.  Whether Josephus aquired his data by direct encounter with Christians, indirect information from others about their movement, or some combination of both, we cannot tell.  John Meier is correct to conclude that none of these potential sources is verifiable, yet the evidence points to the last option as the more commendable.  (JONT, p.102, emphasis added).
Hinman: It is just as plausible that he had evidence, maybe supplementary from Rabbinical sources. The odds are he would have concluded them, there is also the Gnostic source already mentioned which is interdependent of NT.



Bowen:
QUESTION 5:  Is the Information in the “brother passage” probably true?If I understand Hinman’s argument correctly, he is trying to provide evidence for an intermediate conclusion about a man named “James”:(2A) It is probable that there existed a man named “James” who was in fact the brother of Jesus of Nazareth.The fact that Josephus asserted that there was such a man, does not prove that there was such a man.  One can also challenge the assumption that the fact that Josephus asserted that there was such a man is sufficient evidence to show that it is PROBABLE that such a man exists.  Thus, the considerations of authenticity and independence are not sufficient by themselves to show that the “brother passage” provides significant evidence for the existence of Jesus.

Hinman:He has no evidence to establish even the possibility of a myth, there is no reason whatsoever to assure this. Jesus myther argument from silence not withstanding,

This really just amounts to gainsaying the evidence, (refusing to accept it).

then he has one of his famous diagrams, here's the thing with the diagrams they look cool, I appreciate the attempt to clarify through cool looking diagrams I can never read them. when I blow it up they too blurry if I don't the writing is too small. This one is no acceptation.

As to the finalpoint he makes om probability, the strength of the passage on Jess is as good as any passage by Jo.We have to accept the same truest level to that that would not anythings writings otherwise you are just biased.dogmatically rejecting the evidence because you don't like the conclusions.

There is no counter evidence all  he has in they way of evidence is purely speculative.Since most historians accept the historical core passage with Jesus and base historicity on that we conclude that it backs it. Let's say there is a core passage about Jesus in the BP that is Tweaked to say "so called Christ" why else would they name a guy called Jesus brother of James? Only if Jesus was known for something but there is no other Jesus who is known for that era, lots of guys named Jesus but no one else known for anything,

We don't have to take this passage by itself. Together with the Talmud and the two Apostolic fathers, it's good evidence.


My position is the only one backed by actual textual evidence, The agreement between TF and BP in Jerome;s versiomn and it's Syriac agreement indicates that's the original passage Josephus wrote.Bradley has no such evidence.

14 comments:

come on guys let's have commemts

I was working on type-editing your text, when I ran across a persistent mistake you need to correct, Joe: Bradley is talking about Josephus' book (or set of books) known as the Antiquities (and more specifically one book of it, if I recall correctly), and several times you mistake him for talking about all works in antiquity. When Bradley says there are only two references to Jesus in Josephus' Antiquities, he is not saying there are only two references in all texts of antiquity.

I'll get back to type-editing it eventually, but you should fix those parts of your reply first.

JRP

well I considered him meaning but the context didn't seem t support that meaning, or maybe it seemed so obvious it though he could;t mean that,

Not likely that a Christian had this great sounding stuff lauding Jesus in the TF then turn around and sasy "the so called. Christ." No one would change it to support their guy then degrade him in that way

That's a good point, and calls attention to a depiction of early Christians often suggested by atheists: On one hand the early believers were a bunch of superstitious dolts who blindly believed in miracles. On the other they were crafty enough to create narratives describing themselves as "slow of heart to believe" and "of little faith," in order to deceive their readers into thinking the miracles may have actually happened, i.e., independently of their own initial skepticism, when in fact they did not. Naïve and brilliant.

Reminds me of some of the truthers who maintain that George W. is and always has been a complete idiot, but is also capable of successfully masterminding the 9-11 attacks while scapegoating a bunch of innocent "so-called" terrorists. LOL.

Snicker, Don, that is too insightful. Please be careful. We want atheists to comment on the blog, and if you keep showing insight like this you will lose them.

For that matter, some of the "great stuff" lauding Christ in the TF itself isn't so great! -- "those who accept truth like hedonists", would have sounded just as squiffy back then as it does now. ("Like crazy people at an orgy? What?!?") The non-interpolated theoretical remainder of the TF is pretty cautiously ambivalent, or even a touch disdainful, while still painting a recognizable portrait.

JRP

"We want atheists to comment on the blog, and if you keep showing insight like this you will lose them. "


counter snicker we want them to commemt so we caan say insightful things to them. I just stay off line a d talk to the wall if I dom't wantanyone to know what i think.

On the issue of the Jerome reading"so called Christ" they assume he stuck it in after Euseius change the passage and that Jerome read the Eusebius counterfeiter,but one of them pointed out that Origin said Jo did not believe Jesus was messiah, if Origion is talking about Jo's view on Jesus he had to know Jo talked about Jesus


Even thou h he does't quiote the TF full on he obviouslky testifies to a pre Euseibian version.

/2016 12:08:00 PM Delete
Blogger Jason Pratt said...
For that matter, some of the "great stuff" lauding Christ in the TF itself isn't so great! -- "those who accept truth like hedonists", would have sounded just as squiffy back then as it does now. ("Like crazy people at an orgy? What?!?") The non-interpolated theoretical remainder of the TF is pretty cautiously ambivalent, or even a touch disdainful, while still painting a recognizable portrait.


yes I am one of the people who thinks that the passage is not tweaked but is just being sarcastoic. that would back my reading.

edhatGizmo Joe Hinman • 3 days ago
You Liar! Louis Feldman doesn't support the so called 'partial authenticity' of TF now, update your research he already declared that he too thinks that TF is a blatant Christian forgery.

And by mentioning Thallus and Phlegon you just utterly lost the debate.
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Joe Hinman redhatGizmo • an hour ago
In his 1963 translation and commentary of the Antiquities, after summarizing arguments pro and con about the TF, he writes "The most probable view seems to be that our text represents substantially what Josephus wrote, but that some alterations have been made by a Christian interpolator." The 1999 encyclopedia entry still dovetails with that just fine.

as late as 1999 He was saying what we havev is basoiclly what Jo wrote.

I am quoting this om CADRE comments

https://www.blogger.com/commen...
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Joe Hinman redhatGizmo • 3 hours ago
that is silly. First of all I said it's not good evidence, they do mention him, Einstein, secondly, quote to me a passage from Feldman saying that he doesn't buy a historical core?
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Andrew G. Joe Hinman • an hour ago
I think you're missing the point here (and Whealey certainly is too). As long as Jerome, Michael the Syrian and Agapius are quoting from Historia Ecclesiastica and not from Antiquities, then their versions can only be "more authentic" than whatever text Eusebius had if they also had access to independent copies of Antiquities and checked the legitimacy and wording of Eusebius' quotation (which we have strong reason to believe they did not do).

Imagine a chain of transmission A→B→C→D where each writer makes changes to A's original text. It's obviously possible for D's version to be coincidentally closer to A's than B's is to A's, if C's and D's changes happen to undo B's, but unless C or D have independent evidence about A's text or about B's possible changes, it is impossible for D's version to be more authentic than B's, in the sense of "is a better predictor of what A would say if we discovered a copy", without violating laws of probability. And more importantly, as long as C and D have no independent source for A, it is completely impossible for anything in C or D's texts to refute the hypothesis that B falsely attributed the text to A; the only kind of evidence that can do that would be evidence that does not include B in its chain of transmission.
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Joe Hinman Andrew G. • an hour ago
there is no evidence Jerome is not quoting from antiquities just because the other agrees with that phrase,

Origen speaks of Jo not believing Jesus was messiah to say that he has to know Jo talked abouit jesus. that pre dates Eusebius.

there is a Syriac does not quote Eusebius,

Alice Whealy

"...but the literal Syriac translation of the Testimonium that is quoted in a twelfth century chronicle compiled by the Syrian Patriarch of Antioch (1166-1199)." That suggests it's a direct translation. Hey if Eusebius doesn't say "so called" why would Jerome stick it in? Why would both Jerome and about 400 years latter the Syriac guy stick it in?
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Andrew G. Joe Hinman • 41 minutes ago
Whealey calls it "highly likely" (as quoted above) that Jerome is quoting from Eusebius. You need to show evidence to the contrary.
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Joe Hinman Andrew G. • 4 minutes ago
history is about likelihood


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there is a Syriac does not quote Eusebius,

There is not.

You're misreading Whealey. When she refers to "the Testimonium", she is not distinguishing between the (supposed) passage from Antiquities and the quotation of that passage in Eusebius' works. The "Syrian Patriarch of Antioch (1166-1199)" is Michael the Syrian, and I already quoted you the part where Whealey states that Michael's text comes ultimately from Eusebius (via intermediate Syriac sources) and not directly from Josephus. I'll quote it again here:

It has already been shown that Michael’s Testimonium was clearly based on a version of the text taken from the Syriac translation of Historia Ecclesiastica. It is highly likely, although less certain, that Jerome’s translation of the Testimonium was taken from the Greek Historia Ecclesiastica, rather than directly from a copy of Josephus’ Antiquities. For Jerome’s De viris illustribus is elsewhere highly dependent on Eusebius’ Historia Ecclesiastica.

(from Whealey, "The Testimonium Flavianum in Syriac and Arabic")

Oh, and this:

Origen speaks of Jo not believing Jesus was messiah to say that he has to know Jo talked abouit jesus. that pre dates Eusebius.

We know that Origen mis-attributes statements to Josephus: for example, that the fall of Jerusalem was punishment for the death of James. That makes it problematic to read too much into Origen's words here.

since it agrees with the jerome reading ot indicates it's probably original why would even connected Jo to Jesus if Jo didn't mention him? that would be daft.reaching.

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