Just Arrived

The other day, I received a package from Zondervan containing Church History, Volume Two: From Pre-Reformation to the Present Day: The Rise and Growth of the Church in Its Cultural, Intellectual, and Political Context by John Woodbridge and Frank A. James III. I will be taking a look at this over the next few weeks and Amber Jewelry Tea Set.

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3 Replies to “Just Arrived”

  1. Joel,

    Please forgive me for recycling this comment I made on the same topic on James McGrath’s blog a couple of weeks ago: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/2013/08/josephus-jesus-and-john.html

    I’ve always found the idea that Origen’s statement that Josephus was unbelieving in Jesus as Christ (or did not receive Jesus as Christ) would require that he knew of some kind of assertion to that effect from Josephus a curious one. Modern scholars have just about unanimously concluded that Josephus was a non-Christian Jew despite the presence of the Testimonium in his text. Josephus discusses Moses and the Law extensively and gives no hint (outside the Testimonium, of course) of being a Christian. Most readers would take him to be a Jew, not a Christian, in the same way they would take the authors of other Jewish documents, like the Mishnah, to be Jewish, not Christian. Origen probably never gave serious consideration to the logical possibility that Josephus was a Christian Jew who had simply never mentioned the fact in his works. When he’s citing him, he wants to make it clear that he is citing a non-Christian (“unbelieving” in patristic terminology) Jew as an outside witness whose testimony cannot be impeached on the grounds of some sort of Christian sympathies. This is typical of Origen. For instance, when he introduces Moiragenes as an author “who is not a Christian but a philosopher” in Contra Celsum 6.41, this probably does not mean we should expect to find a specific statement in Moiragenes’ work in which he denies being a Christian, but rather that Origen is producing him as an outside witness who can’t be accused of having Christian prejudices. We should probably also not take it to
    imply that a person can’t be both a Christian and a philosopher. In the case of Josephus, Origen was aware that there were Jews who received Jesus as Christ (Contra Celsum 2.1), but he’s making it clear that the particular Jew whose testimony he was producing was not one of them. Origen took Josephus to be a Jew and attributed to him the same beliefs he attributed to other Jews, as when he says: “We bring this charge against the Jews, that they have not believed in
    Jesus as God ” (Contra Celsum 2.9).

    Best,

    Ken

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