Geza Vermes on Josephus’ history of Jesus

The Jesus notice is a veritable tour de force. Josephus plays the role of a neutral witness. We know that when he wants to disapprove of someone, he knows how to do it. In his description of two pseudo-Messiahs, Theudas and “the Egyptian”, both mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles (5:26; 21:38), Josephus calls them “imposters”.

Jesus in the Eyes of Josephus | Standpoint.


Can Josephus be taken as an accurate history? Granted, he is filled with Roman propaganda, but does that invalidate all of is work, especially in the intersection with Christianity?

Or, perhaps, the (minus the speculation on a Christian interpolation into his text) validation of Christ as Messiah, especially given the fact that Gentiles were making up a large percentage of the Church, was a method of Roman propaganda?

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3 Replies to “Geza Vermes on Josephus’ history of Jesus”

  1. I dont think hes gospel truth but perhaps that validates further his witness to Jesus. the question id ask is why the church would want to write jesus as the messiah born to israel if it was solely interested in spreading christology throughout the world.

    just read martin goodman’s Rome and Jerusalem – goodman is a lecturer at oxford in ancient history – , he deals with Josephus really well, taking him as an accurate source but critiquing some of his more unrealistic statements where need be.

  2. Mr Multi Fish,

    I dont see why he wouldnt be.
    I saw someone (might have been Glenn Peoples or Matt Flannagan) comment on it a little while ago.
    If Josephus is suspect on Jesus, then his WHOLE history is suspect. Which, as far as I know, its not. Its accepted as generally as authoritive as any work of its nature.

    We know, and accept, and can show that there was ONE redaction in his work, but it doesnt prove that Jesus didnt exist, it merely “flowers” an existing reference to make it look nicer. Other references to Jesus have proven to be “as wrote”. So, baloney to the neigh-sayers.

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