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Dec 21 2012

Jesus in Josephus

Now that the world has ended, my peer reviewed article on Josephus just came out: “Origen, Eusebius, and the Accidental Interpolation in Josephus, Jewish Antiquities 20.200” in the Journal of Early Christian Studies 
(vol. 20, no. 4, Winter 2012), 
pp. 489-514.

The official description is:

Analysis of the evidence from the works of Origen, Eusebius, and Hegesippus concludes that the reference to “Christ” in Josephus, Jewish Antiquities 20.200 is probably an accidental interpolation or scribal emendation and that the passage was never originally about Christ or Christians. It referred not to James the brother of Jesus Christ, but probably to James the brother of the Jewish high priest Jesus ben Damneus.

My proof of that is pretty conclusive. But this article also summarizes a sufficient case to reject the Testimonium Flavianum as well (the other, longer reference to Jesus in Josephus), in that case as a deliberate fabrication (see note 1, pp. 489-90, and discussion of the Arabic quotation on pp. 493-94). And I cite the leading scholarship on both. So it’s really a complete article on both references to Jesus in Josephus.

Further evidence that the longer reference is a Christian fabrication lies in an article I didn’t cite, however, but that is nevertheless required reading on the matter: G.J. Goldberg, “The Coincidences of the Testimonium of Josephus and the Emmaus Narrative of Luke,” in the Journal for the Study of the Pseudepigrapha (vol. 13, 1995), pp. 59-77. Goldberg demonstrates nineteen unique correspondences between Luke’s Emmaus account and the Testimonium Flavianum, all nineteen in exactly the same order (with some order and word variations only within each item). There are some narrative differences (which are expected due to the contexts being different and as a result of common kinds of authorial embellishment), and there is a twentieth correspondence out of order (identifying Jesus as “the Christ”). But otherwise, the coincidences here are very improbable on any other hypothesis than dependence.

Goldberg also shows that the Testimonium contains vocabulary and phrasing that is particularly Christian (indeed, Lukan) and un-Josephan. He concludes that this means either a Christian wrote it or Josephus slavishly copied a Christian source, and contrary to what Goldberg concludes, the latter is wholly implausible (Josephus would treat such a source more critically, creatively, and informedly).

That, combined with the arguments I assemble in my article for JECS, spells the final death knell for any hope of restoring any part of the Testimonium Flavianum. It is 100% Christian fabrication.

140 comments

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  1. 1
    Ben Schuldt

    Why do you have to take even more of the shitty evidence away from those poor Christians?

  2. 2
    Argle Bargle

    It is 100% Christian fabrication.

    I’m not surprised. This shows that Liars for Jesus have been around for a long time.

  3. 3
    Chuck

    Both references in Josephus always seemed suspicious to me, so I got an online subscription specifically to download this article. Can’t wait to sit down to it.

    1. 3.1
      cscott765

      Where do you go to get a subscription? I looked but couldn’t find it.

    2. 3.2
      Chuck

      I think I ordered a year of electronic access here:

      https://www.press.jhu.edu/cgi-bin/order.cgi?oc_id=52

  4. 4
    muller403

    A)
    a) If it was “son of Damneus” instead of “who was called Christ”, why would Josephus not write “James, the son of Damneus”? Why bother to identify someone with two identifiers (‘brother of Jesus’ and ‘son of Damneus’), when one (‘son of Damneus’) is sufficient? More so when this Jesus (son of Damneus) does not need to be introduced yet, and Josephus normally preferred identification through the father (when known, as it is the case here) rather than through a brother. And some ninety words later, the new high priest would have been introduced such as “Jesus, another son of Damneus” or “Jesus, the brother of James”.

    b) If “younger Ananus” illegally arranged for the execution of someone from a prominent family, he would have been more severely punished than just removed from office!

    B)
    If “the brother of Jesus, whose name was James” were the initial Josephus’ words, before “him called Christ” was added by a Christian, it has been argued the ‘Jesus’ in question was meant to be “Jesus, the son of Damneus”, written about ninety words later.
    One counter-argument:
    That goes against good syntax and common sense. It is the reverse of the normal practice of first clearly identifying a new character (such as “J. son of D.”), then, later in the text, referring to the same person as just “J.”. When the reader sees “J.”, he/she would understand that “J.” is the son of “D.”, as read earlier. But the opposite is absurd, with the reader left wondering if the earlier unidentified “Jesus” could be “Jesus, the son of Damneus” written later.
    An excellent example: Let’s see how Josephus dealt with “younger Ananus” in Ant., XX, IX, 1:
    First “the son of Ananus, who was also himself called Ananus”, then “younger Ananus” (“younger” because Josephus had digressed on the older Ananus a few words earlier), then “Ananus” (four times).

    Cordially, Bernard

    1. 4.1
      Richard Carrier

      If it was “son of Damneus” instead of “who was called Christ”, why would Josephus not write “James, the son of Damneus”?

      He may have. Read the article.

      Why bother to identify someone with two identifiers (‘brother of Jesus’ and ‘son of Damneus’)

      Because the man killed being his brother is Josephus’ point. Read the article.

      If “younger Ananus” illegally arranged for the execution of someone from a prominent family, he would have been more severely punished than just removed from office!

      Nice armchair assumption. No evidence to back it up. The story as Josephus tells it only involves a procedural violation. Otherwise James was duly tried and executed under the law. We’re not given enough information to know more (such as why the elite was offended by what Ananus did or whether it was only a faction, the rest backing Ananus, and so on). Josephus’ only point is to explain why Ananus was replaced with Jesus, and after only a few months in office.

      with the reader left wondering if the earlier unidentified “Jesus” could be “Jesus, the son of Damneus” written later.

      They would not be left wondering. It’s the only Jesus present in the story, and the only Jesus that makes sense of the story.

      What would be weird is for Josephus not to explain why Jesus Christ is relevant to this story of why Ananus was replaced with Jesus ben Damneus. As I explain in the article, with examples, Josephus usually gives us back references and explanations of things like that. Since there are none here, there is only one Jesus he can mean: ben Damneus. Read the article for details.

    2. 4.2
      Geoff

      Bernard, the whole context of the passage precludes this being about a Christian leader, who was brother of a crucified would-be messiah. Nothing outside of the insertion related to Jesus can be said to link this to a Christian, rather than a Jewish, high priest. Add to that Occam’s Razor: Your theory requires us to have two Jesuses in a very short passage, Richard’s only 1: Jesus ben Damneus. It makes the most sense. The context of the passage supports the idea that the James killed was the brother of the eventual high priest, Jesus ben Damneus. Richard presents a plausible scenario as to how the insertion could have occurred in error. Put a fork in AJ 20.200 as an authentic Josephan reference to Jesus Christ. It is not, it’s never been a plausible argument, just a thread by which apologists/historicists have attempted to hang their pet theories.

    3. 4.3
      muller403

      to Geoff:
      “Christian leader”: According to my analysis, James never became a Christian. Even if he did, as a Jewish Christian (still observing the whole torah), I do not see a problem.
      “two Jesuses in a short passage”: But Josephus has two “Ananus” in even a shorter passage (obviously he did not know about Occam’s razor!), and both of them are identified in such a way there is no confusion. The same things between the two Jesuses: identification for both.
      I do not know why it would make most sense with only one Jesus ben Damneus, more so because, if it was the case, the presentation of that Jesus as the new high priest would have required some modification of wording, to take in account that Jesus was already introduced earlier.
      And having James as the brother of Jesus only, then some 90 words later, saying (same or another?) Jesus is son of Damneus is not good syntax or grammar and makes no sense. Do you have examples Josephus was doing that in his writings?
      I do not see any support to the idea that the James killed was the brother of the eventual high priest. Do you have evidence other than your hypothesis (which would be a circular argument)? Do you know about precedent?
      Cordially, Bernard

    4. Richard Carrier

      Bernard, read my article.

    5. 4.4
      Johan Rönnblom

      Bernard, just based on my uninformed plain reading of the text, my independent conclusion seems to be similar to Richard’s. If we are to believe the text is untampered, it basically reads like this: “The insolent high priest Ananus had the brother of Jürgen, who was called James, killed over a minor issue. The people complained with the king, who demoted Ananus and instead appointed Jesus.” This leaves two questions in my view: first, why is this James person presented as this otherwise unknown person (whom I here call Jürgen)? Second, why did the king appoint Jesus? If we change it, the text simply makes much more sense: “The insolent high priest Ananus had the brother of Jesus D, who was called James, killed over a minor issue. The people complained with the king, who demoted Ananus and instead appointed Jesus D”. In this version, it makes a lot of sense to mention Jesus D first, since he was a high priest and therefore an important figure and probably known to many intended readers. It makes sense not to introduce the soon-to-be high priest with his future title at this point since that would ruin the story. And the story now makes sense: the king made justice for James’ unjust death by making his brother high priest. I think this reasoning by itself is very plausible. But because we know that there is a near-consensus that Josephus’ text has been forged/embellished/interpolated in order to give more prominence to mr Jesus ‘Christ’ ben Joseph, this possibility becomes in my opinion quite probable. We know that someone had the opportunity, motive and inclination to change the text, and the text such as it is suggests that something has been changed.

    6. 4.5
      Johan Rönnblom

      Bernard, regarding the order of presentations, I’m sure a study of the most original texts is very valuable. However, just consider these possibilities: First, if someone changed the text to add mr ‘Christ’, it is very possible that the original designation was instead removed (eg ben Damneus). Then, during a later copy, someone may have noticed that it now looks like Jesus ‘Christ’ was made high priest, which is of course ridiculous. So this later scribe may then have figured out that this ‘second’ Jesus was in fact Jesus ben Damneus, and so added this to his presentation. Another possibility is that since there were, if my sources are correct, no less than four high priests called Jesus during this time, Josephus might have been careful to keep them separate. It is after all quite clear which Ananus in this text is the insolent schemer and which is the fortunate father, but it does not really tell us much about mr Jesus.

    7. Richard Carrier

      Indeed, in my article I even explain the removal of the first Damneus as a result of a common textual transmission error (a scribe thinking he is correcting a dittographic error by replacing it with a marginal note that he mistook as the omitted text).

      Bernard just isn’t reading the article.

    8. 4.6
      J. J. Ramsey

      Geoff:

      Add to that Occam’s Razor: Your theory requires us to have two Jesuses in a very short passage

      In a passage a few paragraphs or so after the passage whose extant text contains “brother of Jesus, who was called Christ, whose name was James,” Josephus writes, “And now Jesus, the son of Gamaliel, became the successor of Jesus, the son of Damneus, in the high priesthood.” The name “Jesus” is common enough that having two Jesuses in a short passage isn’t that odd at all.

      Richard Carrier:

      Indeed, in my article I even explain the removal of the first Damneus as a result of a common textual transmission error (a scribe thinking he is correcting a dittographic error by replacing it with a marginal note that he mistook as the omitted text).

      The catch is that you explain this removal for the situation where “who was called Christ” was already written above “ben Damneus”. From the article:

      In fact, the text may have originally said, “the brother of Jesus ben Damneus, the name for whom was James, and some others.” Since “Jesus ben Damneus” appears again a few lines later (and as I have argued, it is more likely that Josephus actually meant this Jesus), a scribe who saw a marginal note “who was called Christ” (τοῦ λεγομένου Χριστοῦ) scribbled above “ben Damneus” (τὸν τοῦ Δαμναίου), regardless of how or why it came to be written there, may have inferred a dittography. This is a common scribal error where a copyist’s eye slips to a similar line a few lines down (by mistaking which “Jesus” he had left off at), then realizes he had picked up at the wrong place, but corrected himself and then wrote a superlinear phrase intended to replace the erroneous material. A later copyist would then interpret the earlier copyist’s correction as calling for the erasure of “ben Damneus” as a dittograph, omit the words, and replace it with the gloss, “who was called Christ.”

      You never explain why someone would have written “who was called Christ” above “ben Damneus” in the first place. In the paragraphs before the one I quoted, you speculate that “who was called Christ” may have been written as some kind of marginal note, but those speculations make more sense if the text had read “the brother of Jesus, the name for whom was James, and some others,” since it would be ambiguous at that point in the text who this Jesus was, and a marginal note could address the ambiguity. (There’s the not so small matter of why the text would have such an ambiguity in the first place, but I’ve discussed that elsewhere.) Once you assume the passage originally read “Jesus ben Damneus, whose name was James,” then it’s unclear why a reader would think the passage needed amending with a marginal note at all.

    9. Richard Carrier

      “You never explain why someone would have written “who was called Christ” above “ben Damneus” in the first place. “

      Yes I do. It’s in the article itself. I say quite a lot about that in fact. I even list Origen as a possible culprit, and discuss other possibilities and their motives.

      Evidently, you haven’t really read the article.

    10. 4.7
      J. J. Ramsey

      Richard Carrier:

      Evidently, you haven’t really read the article.

      Evidently, you haven’t really read my comment. You neglected the part where I wrote, “In the paragraphs before the one I quoted, you speculate that ‘who was called Christ’ may have been written as some kind of marginal note, but those speculations make more sense if the text had read ‘the brother of Jesus, the name for whom was James, and some others….’ It’s in those speculations where you entertain the possibility of Origen as the, um, origin of the supposed marginal note. (Buh-dum-tish.)

      The problem is that you never address why anyone — Origen or otherwise — would add “who was called Christ” above an already existing “ben Damneus.” Again, a marginal note might make sense in the scenario when the text reads “the brother of Jesus, the name for whom was James, and some others,” because of the ambiguity that I mentioned before. Without that ambiguity, though, it is unclear what the motivation would be for adding the note in the first place.

    11. Richard Carrier

      It certainly does not seem like you are aware of what the article actually argues. For example, you only acknowledged that I hypothesized Origen as its origin after I mentioned it. Now you don’t seem to be aware of other possible culprits I identified. You are acting as if I simply assumed Origen did it. You also don’t seem to be aware of the fact that I offered more than one scenario by which Origen could be responsible, and more than one scenario by which someone else may have been.

      I can only assume you are arguing that someone would not write “who was called Christ” above an “already existing” ben Damneus because they could not (?) assume a dittograph had occurred. I don’t follow your reasoning. That’s precisely one way such a marginal note would occur, among the several I adduce.

    12. 4.8
      J. J. Ramsey

      Me: “The problem is that you never address why anyone — Origen or otherwise — would …”
      Carrier: “You are acting as if I simply assumed Origen did it …”

      I wonder what Thom Stark would say about those contrasting quotes.

      I can only assume you are arguing that someone would not write “who was called Christ” above an “already existing” ben Damneus because they could not (?) assume a dittograph had occurred.

      No, I’m pointing out that you never argued in the article why a scribe would have written “who was called Christ” above an already existing “ben Damneus,” period. As the quote from your article clearly shows, your speculation from the article was that “a scribe who saw a marginal note “who was called Christ” (…) scribbled above ‘ben Damneus’ [emphasis added]” inferred a dittograph, not that a scribe who allegedly wrote the first instance of a marginal/superlinear note reading “who was called Christ” had thought that the presence of two mentions of “Jesus ben Damneus” had inferred a dittography. That’s perfectly clear from the paragraph that I quoted from your article. Indeed, that paragraph is the only place where you even mention dittography. You were vague on the motivations for writing such a note, even saying about it, “regardless of how or why it came to be written there ….”

      That said, if a scribe had inferred a dittograph just from a double appearance of “ben Damneus,” the simplest thing to do would be to just not write the second instance of “ben Damneus.” There’s no great reason that a scribe would have thought that one of those “Jesus ben Damneus” instances was really meant to be a “Jesus called Christ” instance, especially since such an inference would contradict Christian lore about how this James, brother of Jesus called Christ had died.

    13. Richard Carrier

      “It is even possible, though not necessary to presume, that Origen himself believed this dittograph to have occurred (convinced by his faulty memory that Josephus mentioned James the brother of Jesus, and this being the only passage he could find), and that, when he annotated the AJ passage, he intended for (and may even have directed) a copyist to correct the text accordingly” (pp. 512-113)

      How you missed that sentence, I cannot explain.

    14. 4.9
      J. J. Ramsey

      You’re right. I did miss that bit of speculation. That said, I still find your scenario to be a stretch. In both your scenario and the consensus one, Origen’s memory is faulty. In the scenario from the consensus of scholars, Origen mixes up Hegesippus’ story about a James who is a brother of Christ getting stoned with Josephus’s story about a James who is a brother of Christ getting stoned, and that’s pretty much the end of it.

      In your scenario, if the scribe is Origen, then he has credited Josephus with Hegesippus’ story about a James who is a brother of Christ getting stoned for … well some reason. He then tries to track down this story in Josephus, and — just his luck — finds a story that kinda sorta resembles the story he’s looking for, except that this James is a brother of a different Jesus and he also isn’t tossed off a temple. However, luckily for him, the passage is written so that looks like it might have a dittograph as well, leading him to make a change that just so happens to have become part of our extant text. Yet the former scenario is the one you think is “too complicated.”

      (Of course, it doesn’t help that I find your reasons [pp. 495-496 in your article] for finding the “Jesus called Christ” passage to be suspicious to be rubbish. You seem to think that the phrase “Jesus called Christ” is Christian rather neutral even though it is rare in the New Testament and that of the three instances of it in the NT, two of them are put in the mouth of an adversary of Jesus. You think if Josephus had used the term “Christ,” he would have bothered explaining its meaning in the passage, even though that would have been an unnecessary digression in this context. You seem to ignore the obvious reason why Jewish aristocrats would object to the execution of an undesirable such as James the Just — namely that Josephus had stated outright that it was in “breach of the laws.” But I digress.)

    15. Richard Carrier

      You seem to be confusing a speculation with a hypothesis. The only issue is what makes the evidence as a whole more probable. My article shows that the hypothesis “Josephus wrote what we have” makes all the evidence very improbable; the hypothesis “Origen made a mistake of memory that led him to think this was a dittographic error and marked up his manuscript accordingly” on the other hand makes all the evidence 100% expected. And that isn’t the only hypothesis that does: many others which likewise entail Josephus did not write what we have also make the evidence 100% expected. The probability that one of those many hypotheses is true is therefore very high (even if we cannot know which one). As I explain on page 513.

      Nothing in my scenario is even complicated at all, but in fact involves typical occurrences (as I document both for such accidental interpolations and for Origen being prone to mistakes of memory exactly like this). All your other objections are similarly already refuted in the article. Perhaps you fail to understand how the logic of probability works, I don’t know. But your objections are unbelievable.

      A phrase used often by Christians, and very often by Origen (as I document), but never used by Josephus, is by definition more likely to be used by a Christian (and indeed, Origen) than by Josephus. This is a basic principle of probability from prior frequency. Hence I state the argument in the article in precisely those terms.

      Your claim that explaining what the word “Christ” means would be an “unnecessary digression” is simply absurd. It is very certainly a necessary digression here; I even show Josephus digressing on far less obscure names and terms to prove the point (even in this very passage). The question again is what is more probable. Probability strongly favors an explanation of what on earth a “Christ” is and why there being one even matters to the story he is telling.

      And finally, to claim that the elite supported James and punished his killer because his killer violated trial protocol is precisely what I explain makes absolutely no sense on the theory that James was a Christian. So either, again, you aren’t reading my article, or you are failing to grasp its logic.

    16. 4.10
      J. J. Ramsey

      How you missed that sentence, I cannot explain.

      After some musing on the matter, I think I can.

      In the bulk of the paragraph about the dittograph, you explicitly discuss a scenario where a scribe has inferred a dittograph from the presence not only of two “ben Damneuses” but also a superlinear note above one of them apparently indicating that one of the “ben Damneuses” is supposed to be replaced with the text in the note. Up until the last sentence of that paragraph, you are noncommittal as to why that note is there in the first place. It’s only in the last line of the paragraph where you suddenly imply a rather substantial change of subject from a scenario I described before to one where someone has inferred a dittograph in the absence of that superlinear note, and you do this with no transition that flags the change in subject. You don’t even say outright that Origin is inferring a dittography from the presence of the two instances “ben Damneus” alone.

      In a sense, what I said before is still mostly true: “You never explain why someone would have written “who was called Christ” above ‘ben Damneus’ in the first place.” For Origen, the explanation is half-baked; he amends the text to say what his memory told him it should have said, but you are hazy as to why his memory would have been that way. (Again, such memory confusion is trivial to explan if both authors had mentioned a James, brother of Jesus Christ who was stoned.) For anyone other than Origen, you don’t provide an explanation at all.

      (It’s also curious that you are jamming a whole bunch of speculation about the process of interpolation in the conclusion of the text, when it more naturally fit into the section of the paper entitled “WHAT JOSEPHUS ORIGINALLY SAID.”)

    17. Richard Carrier

      A boringly long paragraph explaining why you missed what the article said is not making you look good here. You claimed the article lacked a point. I proved it did. You lost that argument. That’s the way of it. Your continued sniping at trivial matters is not productive. You know what the article says now, and you know what the logic of the argument is now, and you have no valid rebuttal to it, just indefensible gainsaying. I’ll leave it to more rational, less biased readers to judge the matter. You are unreachable.

  5. 5
    F [i'm not here, i'm gone]

    That is something which looks like an interesting read.

    But of course, I have to be silly and say that in English, Jesus ben Damneus makes for an hilarious joke name.

    1. 5.1
      Kwame Ajamu

      Was there any mention of this Jesus Damneus or his bother James(if you cant see this is a joke name)
      before they are mentioned I Josephus?

    2. Richard Carrier

      Possibly. See discussion above.

  6. 6
    pjmontana

    How do I access these two articles. It seems you have to log-in with an Athens, Shibboleth or Project MUSE account to retrieve Mr. Carrier’s article from the JOECS or you have to pay $25 to SAGE journals for the Goldberg article. Any help in this matter would be appreciated. Thanks.

    1. 6.1
      Richard Carrier

      You will have to do it the old fashioned way: go to a public library and ask the librarian to arrange an interlibrary loan of a xerox (or PDF in some cases) from the printed issue (which might not have mailed yet). Some libraries allow you to do this online (but you have to already have a library card).

      If you are lucky, your library will have MUSE access and you can actually download the PDF to a flash drive yourself (for example, the San Francisco Public Library has limited JSTOR access, and a card holder can access it from anywhere in the world; alas, they do not have MUSE). That tends to more likely be the case with university or seminary libraries. But you can’t do ILL that way, as MUSE has contracts with libraries forcing at least a one-year moratorium on that kind of thing (they can’t stop them from xeroxing a print copy, but the fancy trick is, MUSE is so expensive that libraries tend to drop the print subscriptions; fortunately, ILL is global, so some library in WCAT will have the print copy).

      [You can also try Googling the article titles, in general or in Google Scholar, and see if anyone has posted them online--usually, that's illegal and the journals do police it, so those links don't stay up long; only sometimes do they allow scholars to legally make articles public on their own websites, but I have yet to see a contract that actually allows that--mine specify internal networks only.]

      I am not at all happy with the way academic journals do business. Some have the right idea, and act like charitable organizations and make their articles available for free (my article on Thallus for example). Those that feel the need to cover expenses should charge a great deal less. I do not believe it should ever cost more than five dollars to get a PDF of a single article, for example. I won’t go into why they don’t (it has to do with their business model which is based on reaming universities with outrageous annual subscription fees, which forces them to parcel individual articles at proportionally outrageous prices), but suffice it to say, they are placing money before scholarship.

      We as scholars can’t do much about that (all lofty idealism aside). If we publish in the same journal all the time, we are taken less seriously, likewise if we only publish in less prestigious journals; and then there is the problem that journals are inconsistent about what articles they accept, forcing us to try multiple venues to get published. So we’re stuck with bullshit like MUSE, which disregards the public as of little interest, and focuses entirely on university students and faculty–and on making money.

      The only saving grace is that my contracts all allow me to republish one time in an anthology. Once I accumulate enough articles to fill a book, I will do that. But that won’t likely be for years.

      In the meantime, support your local library.

    2. 6.2
      Johan Rönnblom

      I’ve only ever had one article published, in a completely different field, but in that case they allowed me to publish a ‘pre-print’ (which is basically the same thing except for some grammar correction) on my own webpage. I assume you’ve checked if this is the case, because it is fairly common practice. Your conclusion seems to be identical to what my very cursory reading of this passage indicated, indeed in my view I think basic reading comprehension skills should be sufficient to realize that the first Jesus in the passage makes no sense unless it’s a mistake and it’s actually referring to the same Jesus that has a role in the story.

    3. Richard Carrier

      Yes, some journals allow dissemination, others do not. The most prestigious humanities journals do not. Generally small maverick journals are the ones to buck the trend. I see more openness in the sciences lately, too, but even there a divide remains between those that make material available for free and those that don’t (physics, for example, appears more open than psychology).

      In the case of this article, my contract carefully prohibits general dissemination; it only allows limited “in-house” dissemination and the right to publish in an anthology once. They are therefore protecting their bottom line. As I noted, I think that would be fine if they’d make the prices more reasonable. But then I’m not the one paying the journal’s overhead.

    4. 6.3
      José Costa Pinto

      Well, I do support my local library. Unfortunately I live in Portugal and neither my local library nor my university have online access to this paper. It seems I’m stuck with some charitable soul able to provide me with a pirated pdf copy :-) Because there’s no way I’m going to spend 55 bucks or so to read a fifteen page article, no matter how anxious I may be to read it. And you bet I am anxious to read it.

    5. Richard Carrier

      Thank you for reminding me that not all my readers are in the U.S.!

      Yes, you absolutely should not have to pay that. But your university can probably get an ILL copy for free (or at most a nominal fee). It would be strange for a university to not be a member of WCAT, and all members of WCAT have sharing agreements that extend to article reproduction. Some libraries will charge $5 US, but usually a university will do it for free (if you are a student or faculty; alumni and independents might be out of luck). Possibly your uni even subscribes to the print edition of JECS and you can just xerox it yourself once they get their copy of the Winter 2012 issue.

      So hopefully this will be more of a waiting problem for you than an access one.

    6. 6.4
      José Costa Pinto

      Thanks, Richard, for your reply. Just talked to my uni librarian and, alas, no WCAT (btw, what is that? are you sure that it exists outside USA? I googled the term and no reference found…) or any other possibility of access from here. In Portugal, higher education institutions use a service called b-on (www.b-on.pt) that grants access to a limited number of publications (currently about 16,750 scientific international publications only) and the Journal of Early Christian Studies is not one of them. So, no chance for us here. I’ll have to wait.

      On a more positive note, please accept my vows of a happy 2013 and keep up the good work…

    7. Richard Carrier

      Ah, I see. Google failed you because it’s called WorldCat now. It’s a consortium of libraries worldwide (mainly US and Europe). You can search its database for free and look up which libraries have what here. Indeed, that’s a very useful db for all kinds of things (like checking publication or edition info on an obscure book, since so many libraries are in it, almost everything in print is in it; exceptions are self-published books that never find their way into any major library anywhere, which is why authors should always donate a copy of anything they publish to their own country’s national library, like in the US that would be the LOC).

      What you could do is find where there is a print copy in any library with reciprocal agreements with yours and get a xerox made and mailed to you. Perhaps there is no system in the EU for doing that. But, for example, I can get a xerox of an article in a print issue of a journal from a university library in Germany at no cost through my local city library (not even my university library, but even just the public library open to all US citizens). In fact, they prefer not to mail a xerox but to scan a PDF and send it electronically, if the lending library has that capability. I’ve done this often. I’ve even borrowed whole books from overseas that way. I haven’t happened to make any orders from any libraries in Portugal, though. Not that I’d have occasion to. But they might not be in the WCAT network.

      The next option would be to find a friend or friendly-enough acquaintance at a uni who has access to Muse and have them get it and email it to you. Indeed, you could create a whole underground network to share the file far and wide once anyone has acquired it. I have few moral qualms against pirating products from companies that price gouge. But I don’t want to be an accomplice to it, since it is borderline illegal. :-)

    8. 6.5
      José Costa Pinto

      Thanks again. I’ll give it a try.

    9. 6.6
      José Costa Pinto

      No chance going through WorldCat. Maybe we will need some extra suicides to bring academic publishers back to earth? Huller called Aaron Swartz a modern gnostic martyr and he may be right. Sight…

    10. Richard Carrier

      For those not aware, Aaron Swartz is a hacker who carried out a very proactive response against the JSTOR business model, was arrested for it, and committed suicide (just this year).

  7. 7
    Paul Doland

    Richard,

    Do those of us who received draft copies, can we get the final, or do we need to purchase? On that site, it was hard to even find the price list. Though I did find an annual price of $170 for the Journal. Now, I don’t generally read academic journals, so, can you tell us a bit about that journal? What audience would be willing to pay the $170 for a subscription? I mean, who reads it, in general? And, since your article is published there, where most people don’t have access to it, it isn’t easily sourced, referenced, will that detract from its ability to change minds on the subject? For example, I regularly run into Christians who will give me the Josephus reference, and my ability to use your article as a response is limited, given that they won’t have access to it, and I can’t expect them to pay $170.

    1. 7.1
      Richard Carrier

      The journal has yet to send me one. So I have none to give.

      I recommend using your local library (it will cost nothing or only a couple of bucks, depending on if your library charges for ILL’s articles). See my previous comment.

      If donors to my project send me a request for a PDF, or university faculty or working scholars do, I will send a copy to them once I get one (no idea when that will be), since I believe I can skirt the letter of my contract in doing that (it should count as internal scholarly communications).

      As to their outrageous price, I agree. It’s absurd. No, don’t pay that. Use a library.

      Academic journals are generally disinterested in the public. They only care about students and faculty, who all have free and easy access to their content and thus never think to ask a question like yours (or even think to ask what the university is paying for them; they would choke if they did).

      I find that to be despicably elitist. But I’m not running the journals; and I’m a maverick on things like that. You can only thumb your nose at their disdain for you by using your tax-funded public library (which is poetic, IMO, because this is just when we were starting to forget we had those–indeed we used to recognize how important public libraries were, and I think this kind of thing can regenerate that awareness).

      None of this solves the problem of arguing with Christians, though. Most journal articles are inaccessible for that purpose. Your opponents simply have to do the work themselves of getting an article anyone cites or quotes at them. Until journals stop being greedy and elitist and start developing a business model more suitable for the general public.

  8. 8
    Reginald Selkirk

    Off-topic: Why does the word “corn” appear so much in the (King James) Bible, when modern corn (maize) is a New World food crop? Did the word mean something else in King James time? “Grain,” perhaps?

    1. 8.1
      Richard Carrier

      Yes. Wikipedia does a good job explaining (see “Maize“).

      Basically, the word “corn” means any grain, typically one’s national grain. The distinct national grain in America was for a long time maize–what we now mean by “corn,” “we” meaning Americans; outside the U.S. and Canada you can cause confusion if you assume people understand “corn” to mean maize (they typically do not).

  9. 9
    Dragan Glas

    Greetings,

    Dr. Carrier, when is your new book on the historicity of Jesus due to be published?

    Kindest regards,

    James

    1. 9.1
      Richard Carrier

      Next year. I’m aiming at second quarter.

  10. 10
    Andy

    Don’t forget the story of Paulina after Testimonium
    http://pl.scribd.com/doc/118004185/Josephus-the-Satirist-A-Clue-to-the-Original-Form-of-the-Testimonium-Flavianum
    Hegesippus can’t be ignored :)

    1. 10.1
      Richard Carrier

      My article refutes all theses of that form as well.

  11. 11
    Landon

    I’ll be checking to see if my university has the appropriate journal access shortly, but in the meantime, I have to read Proving History, which my mother-in-law kindly got me for Christmas. I guess she wanted to get a seasonal gift for me…

  12. 12
    Martin Hagstrøm

    I have never really understood what the Historicists wanted the James-reference for.

    As I understand it, they posit a historical Jesus, who was a random uneducated schmuck living in a totally unknown two horse town (Nazareth), who never said or did anything noteworthy, and who was squashed like a bug by the authorities the moment he set his sandaled feet in the big city.

    If that is so, then what is his brother — equally uneducated, unnoteworthy and hailing from the same unknown two horse town — doing in a power struggle between members of the Sanhedrin in Jerusalem 30 years later?

    Question: What is your position on Photius? According to the epitome he gives in Bibliotheca his copy of Antiquities read “James, the brother of the Lord”.

    1. 12.1
      Richard Carrier

      There are other errors in the Photius quote. So it looks like just a late Christianity-corrupted transmission of a quotation. It’s therefore of no use in reconstructing what Josephus wrote.

  13. 13
    Peggy Clancy

    When I first heard the Testimonium of Josephus in a Skepticon presentation a couple of years ago I wondered why it sounded so familiar. Yes, it does closely resemble the road to Emmaus story on the gospel of Luke! That’s what I heard and couldn’t quite place it at the time.

  14. 14
    Matthew S. North

    All religions are guilty of lying for the faith but, Christianity has a two thousand year history of it that’s going strong on to this day. Witness William Lane Craig, Lee Strobel, Duane Gish and countless others. To a skeptic’s eye it’s shameless intellectual dishonesty. To devout Christians it’s an act of duty. Just by the fact that Christians have desperately held up The Testimonium Flavianum for centuries betrays a lack of confidence in the historicity of Christ. Even a mildly skeptical person, knowing the biases of humans, especially when religion is concerned, will read The Testimonium as highly suspect “proof” of a historical Jesus. Filially, a scholar like Richard C. is standing up and saying The Testimonium is Christian bullshit and giving a detailed, researched, scholarly, and honestly reasoned demonstration that it’s bullshit. Bravo Richard!

  15. 15
    Our Daily Train blog (@ourdailytrain)

    How is this new information? I didn’t know there was still any debate. I know apologists are in denial about the Jesus references in Josuphus’ writing, but they have long been debunked in the atheist community.

    1. 15.1
      Richard Carrier

      Well, there is a difference between “the atheist community” and the community of professional biblical experts. It’s the opinion of the latter that really matters. And that community still contains a lot of holdouts for some authenticity to these passages (especially for the briefer one about James, where I’d guess there is near unanimity in favor of authenticity).

      Thus, my article takes on (and takes down) all remaining arguments in defense of the authenticity of both passages among professional scholars (I don’t care about hack Christian apologists). That makes it new, especially the case I make for interpolation in the James passage, which is largely novel, yet also builds on past work by selecting the best of it, assembling it all in one place for the first time, and summarizing it.

  16. 16
    pjmontana

    Thank you Dr. Carrier for your detailed response to my posted comments of 22 December especially considering your busy schedule. I easily found a PDF of the Goldberg article with a quick Google search at http://www.josephus.org. I had a little more trouble gaining access to your article in the JOECS. I have a friend who is a graduate student at our local University, which fortunately for me is a subscriber to MUSE, and I ran into him at our local Public Library and in a matter of minutes he logged into the University website and connected to MUSE and downloaded a PDF of your article to a flash drive for me. Also, I do support my local Public Library and the University Library partly because my Mother was a Librarian for 13 years. Thanks again for your comments.

    1. 16.1
      Richard Carrier

      Thanks for that link. But beware, it might not last. (So anyone interested should download it now, before it gets pulled.)

  17. 17
    gshelley

    Are there other examples of Josephus just uncritically copying a text? Goldberg seems to accept this, primarily because he dismisses the alternative, that a forger could manage Josephus’ general style but would include so many non Josephan elements. He doesn’t seem to compare the two possibilities though, i.e he thinks that as forger=unlikely, Josephus=probable, without considering if Josephus also =unlikely

  18. 18
    Jackson

    Humm, I’m reminded of this blog from way back in April by Acharya S saying basically the same thing. Is that where you got the idea? Did you cite her?

    Does Josephus prove a historical Jesus?
    http://www.freethoughtnation.com/contributing-writers/63-acharya-s/672-does-josephus-prove-a-historical-jesus.html

    1. 18.1
      Richard Carrier

      As journal standards require, I only cite peer reviewed scholarship in peer reviewed articles (unless the material I must cite is available nowhere else but otherwise). And only what the reader needs.

      On this subject, there has been a lot of that material, by scholars who thought of all these points long before she did. One could write a whole dissertation on them, there are so many. Indeed finding who thought of any of it first is probably impossible. There is over a hundred and fifty years of literature on it, in multiple languages.

      For example, the ben Damneus argument has been online since at least 2008 (Rook Hawkins is Thomas Verenna, co-editor of Is This Not the Carpenter?). To which she does not give credit either; nor would I expect her to; nor should you.

      In fact, as I was discussing this subject with Verenna on podcasts during 2006, he might even have gotten that idea from me (unless he suggested it to me; we each may have found it in previous scholarship; I can’t recall–I didn’t write an article on the historiography of the notion, but on why it’s probably correct).

      David Fitzgerald likewise published an argument to the same end in 2009, which I know he got from me (because I gave him the idea, and I think he even credits me, though I wouldn’t expect him to).

      And so on.

    2. 18.2
      Geoff

      Also, I think Jay Raskin treats this idea in his book, The Evolution of Christianity (2006). I think that is where I first read the Hegesippus-Josephus confusion hypothesis. In your paper, Richard, you say that he might have consulted the wrong scroll, but it seems to me that Origen often worked from memory, so it is more probable, I think, that he confused the two authors in his mind…he remembered the passage as being from Josephus when it was actually from Hegesippus, the names being very similar. This paper, by the way, does pull that last leg out from under those who call the AJ 20.200 “undisputed.” Since my first interest in the writings of Josephus, the notion that we must just accept 20.200 was curious. It is clearly out of context and “James the Just, brother of Jesus, pillar of Jerusalem” is clumsily wedged into a passage having nothing to do with this particular character. Thank you for doing this necessary work, Richard.

    3. Richard Carrier

      Your mention of Raskin is a good illustration of my point. I had never even heard of Raskin or his book (the actual title is The Evolution of Christs and Christianities) until you just mentioned it. If he doesn’t cite a source, it’s entirely possible he came up with that thesis independently. As I’m sure I did, and no doubt many others have done throughout history (as I found when researching it for my paper). Sometimes something is so obvious, many people discover it on their own.

      (Although, that one issue aside, from reading the reviews, as a whole I think Raskin goes way beyond what the evidence can prove. A common folly among mythicists. Some of his theses are possible, but not thereby probable, or provable.)

    4. 18.3
      Grog

      As far as Raskin’s overall thesis, yes, it is highly speculative. Some of his observations though, like the one I mentioned above, are very insightful.

    5. 18.4
      Roger Viklund

      Already in 2005, I made the same argument about Jesus ben Damneus as you make Richard in your Dec 2012 article. I did this in my Swedish book “Den Jesus som aldrig funnits” (The Jesus Who Never Was). I did not at all elaborate this thesis as much as you do in the article, of course, but simply used a little less than a page to put this forward as one possible scenario. Still all major elements were there, such as the possibility that ben Damneus could have been replaced by “the one called Christ”, that Josephus would have explained who he was in the later identification, that this explains why Josephus did not identify him, why Jesus was appointed new High Priest, the battle between rivaling factions, and so on. Now, I was not the first to suggest this and my source for this was the on-going discussion on the Jesus Mysteries Board. In my book I give specifically credit to Peter Kirby, Ken Olson and Jay Raskin for their discussion on this subject on the JM-board, being a participant myself, although not that active in this discussion (if I remember correctly).

    6. Richard Carrier

      Good to know. I was unaware of any of that. I also think I saw it suggested in even earlier literature, but I can’t now trace where it may have first been suggested. Goes to show how obvious it is, given how many people independently thought of it.

  19. 19
    Dave Bruemmer

    This is good timing for me as I just listened to an interview with Bart Ehrman on Unbelievable Radio where he said that there was little question that these references in Josephus were authentic, except for the cooked up bits praising Jesus and calling him the Messiah. In short he was saying these references were “in passing” and did not look like what we would expect if a Christian was fabricating them, the writing style flowed with the previous and following paragraphs and matched Josephus’ style, and if a Christian was actually doctoring the text it would have contained much more than what we have. I’m sure you’re aware of this position.

    But I’m wondering, Richard, if you think someone like Ehrman (who’s an honest guy) could be convinced by your article, or do you suspect he would be too pre-inclined to reject it based on either his presuppositions or the recent history the two of you have had? I know he’s been pretty butt-hurt about you saying his book was crap, and had railed about that a lot and how it’s not typically the wording you would see in an academic book review.

    That’s one of the things I love about you the most. The first impression is that you’re kind of a nerdy bookworm type who would have a very dry and esoteric delivery. But the reality is that you’re not afraid to talk shit and lay the wood to people whenever necessary. It’s very refreshing and entertaining, and yet we’re still getting the “meat” we’re looking for. I took my family to see you give a talk in Riverside Ca and we got there a little late. After a time my wife turned to me incredulously after she realized, “THIS is the guy we came to see???” She thought you were a kid (I had to tell her you were actually 40), and possibly the warm up comedian the way you were running smack, when she was expecting someone looking more like Bob Price.

    Keep fighting the good fight.

    1. 19.1
      Richard Carrier

      I’m sure you’re aware of this position.

      Yeah. It’s fantastically uninformed. Which is strange. Because he had advanced drafts of my article even before he published his book (I sent it to him mid-2011). And my article not only explains why those assumptions are false, but contains refs. to the scholarship by other prominent peer reviewed experts that challenges nearly every one them. So what gives? I don’t know.

  20. 20
    jimmo

    Dr. Carrier,

    what I see here, in your talk at Skepticon 5, as well as in “Proving History” is a judgement of the evidence as opposed to a judgement of the source. I recently had a discussion with someone who claims that the reliability of a source becomes “compromised” when it has (as he calls it) a high “weird shit ratio”. For example, things like the bible have a lot of “weird shit” and thus their reliability is “compromised”.

    I’ve read a number of books on historiography (specifically for this context Grant’s “Greek and Roman Historians” and Marincola’s “Companion to Greek and Roman Historiography”) and it seems that a lot of the ancient histories have a high “weird shit ratio”. Aviezer Tucker once told me in a private email that historians don’t spend their time trying to evaluate the reliabilty of individual sources, but rather looking for other sources that corroborate each other. It would seem to me that declaring a source as “compromised” because of an arbitrary term like “weird shit” is thus historiographically unsound.

    I am curious as to what you think about terms like “weird shit ratio” or branding as source as generally unreliable because of that.

    Also, I just started Tucker’s “Our Knowledge of the Past”. You mentioned in another post that you were reading it. I assume by now you have finished. I am curious as to your take of it, especially his treatment of Bayesian probability in chapter 3.

    “hack Christian apologists”? Hmmmm. I can think of one you even debated. ;-)

    1. 20.1
      Richard Carrier

      The point your conversation partner was making has been formally made by Stephen Law (as I’ve mention on my blog before). It has merit as long as it is not posed as a false dichotomy (all true or all false). When you retool it as a probability, it becomes properly Bayesian: the frequency with which we can ascertain an author gullibly or maliciously makes false claims (of whatever kind, weird or not–weirdness is just one marker by which to identify false claims: see Proving History, pp. 114-17) is the prior probability with which any other claim that author makes is false. The result can be something like 10% (let’s say), which would mean a lot of weird shit, yet still not enough to rule out the rest (but enough to avoid certainty–after all, you wouldn’t get into a car that has a 10% chance of exploding; but neither would you fold on a poker hand that had only a 10% chance of losing).

      But there are other considerations (the nature of the claim and what sort of sources we know he would have used for it and how likely it is those sources would generate a false claim), and the outcome is that we tend to trust (but not trust our lives on) mundane political claims like who was emperor when or when a famine occurred, since they would be reliably attested in readily available sources of the very sort historians would be using. But the more anecdotal and bizarre, the more frequently those things will be in error.

      Thus “author as a whole” is the wrong reference class. The right reference class must combine author and type of claim. So “author x on claims of type y” may have a high reliability (e.g. Arrian on the basic outline of the campaigns of Alexander the Great) while “the same author x on claims of type z” might have a very low reliability (e.g. Arrian claiming Alexander was led across the desert by a magical snake). Thus “weird shit” does not in and of itself undermine the rest of what an author claims.

      Law’s argument is that when the “weird shit” quotient gets really out of hand, and is integral to the story (and not incidental digressions or things like that), and you can’t independently corroborate the non-weird parts, you have sufficient reason not to trust them (which is not the same as saying they are false; we might simply not know). The Gospels definitely qualify: we can prove they lie so frequently that even though there may be true things in them, without independent corroboration, we have no way to know. They are therefore disqualified as evidence. That’s not the same as saying everything they say is false; rather, it’s saying we can’t prove anything they say.

      Tucker’s statement, if it’s about ancient methods, is sort of correct but over-simplified. Arrian’s method (which he explicitly states) is a bit more sophisticated, for example. Moreover, not all sources are equal. Senate memoranda are more reliable on the actual occurrence of public and political events than paradoxographies are on the actual occurrence of signs and wonders. And historians made different uses of such sources. So there is no simple rule.

      If his statement was about modern historians, however, then it’s flat out false. That is not how we operate at all. The very best survey of how we actually do things is Tachtenberg’s Craft of International History; one can extrapolate how historians of antiquity do the same on much less (and less reliable) evidence, but for the best is Carol & Wick’s Decoding Ancient History.

      No, I haven’t had time to finish Tucker’s book. It had to get backshelved in favor of other projects for a while. But my initial selective read suggests he and I have no obvious disagreements.

  21. 21
    Dan Froese

    Our group, The Saskatoon Freethinkers, sponsored a public viewing at a local public library entitled The God who was wasn’t there. It basically calls into question the notion of a historical character Jesus by making reference to the missing time frame of Jesus. The story of him as a boy making clay pigeons fly is referenced. But then there is nothing more till he is nearing 30. The suggestion is then made that the whole thing is a concoction by the overzealous evangelists who we now know as the gospel writers.This sits very well with atheists

    My criticism of the film was that there was very little historical evidence presented to make the case for a mythical (non-existant) Jesus. . It seems to me that the atheist community starts with the contention that God does not exist, therefore there was no Jesus. End of discussion.

    Another interesting observation is that although we advertised it publically and came prepared for a backlash nobody from the hundred or so churches in Saskatoon bothered to show up.

    i have a background in historical christian studies so I realise the emensity and importance of the historical Jesus for christianity. This is true not only for the theology of christians, but also finaces within the acedemic world of church history and Classical studies etc. Invariable a need arises to come to a conclusion that either he did exist or at least that there is inconclusive evidence, so that the studdies can go on.(I realise there is much more to it than that), but my point is that if christians decide to take this seriously there will me lots of disagreement.

    Do you (Richard or someone else) have a comment on the film The God who wasn’t there? Could there perhaps have been a discussion on the reliability of the one single most often used, non biblical source, Josephus?

    1. 21.1
      Richard Carrier

      Greetings to all in Saskatoon! I hung out with some of y’all in LA some years ago. Good times.

      The story of him as a boy making clay pigeons fly is referenced. But then there is nothing more till he is nearing 30.

      I think there is a confusion here. The clay pigeons story is part of the second century Infancy Gospels, which relate an entire childhood, but are obviously bogus. There are no childhood stories in the canonical Gospels (except, at best, the Lukan boy-in-temple scene corresponds to a Bar Mitzvah, age 12-13, then nothing until he is “about” thirty).

      My criticism of the film was that there was very little historical evidence presented to make the case for a mythical (non-existant) Jesus.

      Actually the film presents quite a lot of historical evidence to that conclusion and does not operate on the argument “no God = no Jesus” at all. That doesn’t make the film entirely accurate or convincing (see my review); but it can’t be convicted of what you are saying.

      But as to your point about academic institutional inertia, that’s the very point argued (and pretty much extensively proved) in Hector Avalos’ excellent book The End of Biblical Studies.

      On Josephus, my article (announced above) is my complete answer.

  22. 22
    Paul D.

    “There are no childhood stories in the canonical Gospels…”

    That reminds me, I’ve recently been reading Tertullian’s “Against Marcion”. It seems that Marcion and his followers believed that Christ descended directly to earth, from Heaven, to begin his ministry in Galilee. Tertullian doesn’t even take issue with this; he merely points out that Jesus going straight from Heaven to a synagogue must be indicate approval of the Jewish religion.

    I guess there were second-century Christians who didn’t think Christ was “born of a woman” or had any childhood at all.

    1. 22.1
      Richard Carrier

      Irenaeus also documents Christians who believed Jesus was “born of a woman” in outer space.

      There were many more shades of Christianity than the NT lets on. The problem is we have next to no documentation for the first century churches so we can’t know what goes back to when. Thus it’s all detective work and probabilities, rather than details and certainty.

      Not an insurmountable problem, but it prevents “slam dunk” arguments (from both sides, incidentally).

  23. 23
    J. J. Ramsey

    A phrase used often by Christians, and very often by Origen (as I document)

    Actually, you end up documenting the relative pausity of the use of “Jesus called Christ” by Christians. The reverent phrasing “Jesus Christ” (or “Christ Jesus”) is routinely used throughout the New Testament, but the more neutral phrase “Jesus called Christ” only occurs thrice there, and two of those times are put in the mouth of Pilate. You yourself show this in your article. Also, all your quotes of Origen uses the phrasing “Jesus called Christ” occur within vicinity of him mentioning Josephus and James (which is why the phrasing looks to be an indirect quote on its face).

    Your claim that explaining what the word “Christ” means would be an “unnecessary digression” is simply absurd.

    If a digression about “Christ” were present in the extant text, it would look suspiciously like an interpolation. Furthermore, such a digression would distract from the overall thrust, which is that Ananus was flouting Roman authority via illegal executions.

    And finally, to claim that the elite supported James and punished his killer because his killer violated trial protocol

    Who says the elite supported James? There’s no reason to presume that the extant text implies that the “most equitable of the [Jewish] citizens” cared about his personal welfare. It is clear, however, that they were concerned that Ananus assembled a sanhedrin without the consent of the procurator. You try to minimize this by speaking of “trial protocol,” but that breach of “protocol” meant pissing off the Romans, which is something that the elite would be concerned about.

    1. 23.1
      Richard Carrier

      Actually, you end up documenting the relative pausity of the use of “Jesus called Christ” by Christians.

      This is a fallacy called a red herring. You are ignoring the actual way my article uses this evidence and how I actually explain its relevance. You are thus not actually engaging with my argument but finding irrelevant excuses to ignore it. I can see nothing productive in that.

      The rest of your points are just getting more unbelievable or continuing to ignore my article’s actual arguments. You are wasting everyone’s time with this. It’s obvious you don’t like the conclusion and aren’t taking any of my arguments for it seriously. That leaves me little reason to take you seriously.

    2. 23.2
      J. J. Ramsey

      You are ignoring the actual way my article uses this evidence

      I’m not ignoring it. I’m saying that the evidence you provided doesn’t support your claim very well.

      The rest of your points are just getting more unbelievable …

      It’s unbelievable that those who Josephus called the “the most equitable of the citizens” were protesting an execution that illegally flouted Roman authority? Here’s the text of the passage, with only a minor edit and some emphasis added:

      AND now Caesar, upon hearing the death of Festus, sent Albinus into Judea, as procurator. But the king deprived Joseph of the high priesthood, and bestowed the succession to that dignity on the son of Ananus, who was also himself called Ananus. Now the report goes that this eldest Ananus proved a most fortunate man; for he had five sons who had all performed the office of a high priest to God, and who had himself enjoyed that dignity a long time formerly, which had never happened to any other of our high priests. But this younger Ananus, who, as we have told you already, took the high priesthood, was a bold man in his temper, and very insolent; he was also of the sect of the Sadducees, who are very rigid in judging offenders, above all the rest of the Jews, as we have already observed; when, therefore, Ananus was of this disposition, he thought he had now a proper opportunity [to exercise his authority]. Festus was now dead, and Albinus was but upon the road; so he assembled the sanhedrim of judges, and brought before them [John Doe] and some others, [or, some of his companions]; and when he had formed an accusation against them as breakers of the law, he delivered them to be stoned: but as for those who seemed the most equitable of the citizens, and such as were the most uneasy at the breach of the laws, they disliked what was done; they also sent to the king [Agrippa], desiring him to send to Ananus that he should act so no more, for that what he had already done was not to be justified; nay, some of them went also to meet Albinus, as he was upon his journey from Alexandria, and informed him that it was not lawful for Ananus to assemble a sanhedrim without his consent. Whereupon Albinus complied with what they said, and wrote in anger to Ananus, and threatened that he would bring him to punishment for what he had done; on which king Agrippa took the high priesthood from him, when he had ruled but three months, and made Jesus, the son of Damneus, high priest.

      What’s happening is pretty clear. While there was a brief interlude between the death of the last procurator and the installation of the next, Ananus took it upon himself to assemble a sanhedrin so that he could execute some people. However, he’s not supposed to assemble a Sanhedrin without the procurator Albinus’ consent. Some of the Jewish elite complained about this, both to King Agrippa and Albinus, and as a result, Ananus got the boot. This is what the text actually says. It’s quite straightforward.

      Note that nothing in that situation requires the identities of those executed to be of any importance in and of themselves, or for the Jewish elite to even like those being executed. What’s central here is that Ananus was acting against the will of the Romans, and it’s hardly unbelievable that Jewish aristocrats who wanted to keep their heads attached to their shoulders would have a problem with that.

      It’s obvious you don’t like the conclusion and aren’t taking any of my arguments for it seriously.

      I take your arguments here about as seriously as I took your arguments for a tradition of a dying messiah in the first century. :)

    3. Richard Carrier

      Now you’re just ignoring what I say and claiming I said things I didn’t. This conversation is over.

    4. 23.3
      kwame Ajamu

      There is no evidence for ist century Christian churches, because there were none, all the so-called churches(the seven churches in revelations) were centers of emperor worship. But the Emperial worship assembelies did not necessarily state sponsored or officially recognized, and some were localy organized by a private family or patron, the latter would explain the few so-called house churches found where Christ was worshiped as a god, it was Titus disguishing himself as Jesus, the symbol that Titus had minted on the back of his image coin.
      Which was the dolphin wrapped around an anchor, which is the earliest symbol of Christ, and then Tituses grandfather was named peter, the first of the Flavian bloodline to launch them into prominence, the foundation of the Flavian Imperial rise, and Jesus names renames simeon, Peter, which is the name of Tituses grandfather, Jesus calls him the rock or foundation of the New cgristian faith why would Jesus give simeon a latin name.
      It is just too much evidence that Jesus was made up by the Flavian court and I don’t know why just because thee may be holes in Atwill theory, that you don’t respect those parts of his theory are valid, and there are many.

  24. 24
    Grog

    JJ. I find it discordant that Josephus would treat this upstart Jesus cult as just ordinary Jews. That doesn’t dovetail with his treatment of other Jewish movements. Here, in this passage with the disputed reference to Jesus, Josephus says, “He [Ananus] was also of the sect of the Sadducees, who are very rigid in the judging of offenders, above all the rest of the Jews…”. In this passage, then, Josephus would be equating James with “the rest of the Jews,” yet in Book 18, it is clear that he does not view Christians as one with “the rest of the jews,” but as a tribe apart bearing the name of their founder. It doesn’t quite fit here, does it? Richard’s solution resolves this strange discordance.

    1. 24.1
      muller403

      That tells me James was a Jew.
      Cordially, Bernard

  25. 25
    Richard Carrier

    [Note: WordPress provides no way of relocating comments posted in the wrong threads to the correct thread, so this is a workaround. The following exchange occurred in an unrelated thread.]

    Kwame Ajamu wrote:

    Dear professor Carrier, in lieu of the rules for your blog, I humbly ask, may I start a conversation here on your blog, to address some of the profs, that I a humble lay person on the Jesus question, think that Joe Atwill brings to bear on the Flavian origin of the Jesus myth? Or is there a public forum that we can exchange these ideas?

    I replied:

    I cannot justify the waste of time to do that. You are welcome to find someone else who wants to discuss it. But for every Atwill there are a dozen other “conspiracy theory” style Jesus mythicists with their own equally elaborate theories, and I simply cannot have conversations about them all. It would leave me no time to do what really matters: articulating and defending what is actually most likely. By the same token, I do not waste time discussing the various theories of historicity, either. I am only concerned with the one that’s most defensible, to test it against the most defensible Jesus myth theory. Everything else is needless digression.

    1. 25.1
      Kwame Ajamu

      Okay, I give up on badgering you about Atwills theory, But I would like to know yours, what is the most likely Jesus theory. I am a respecter of your work, that is what I have seen of it. I still cant find in your book Not The Impossible Faith, where Philo uses the term,”Celestial Yoshua,” or “Celestial Jesus”. But I did see where it is used in a Greek version of Philo. Were there any other groups out there not of the four mentioned by Josephus.

    2. Richard Carrier

      NIF, pp. 250-51, sources in the endnotes 7-9 (p. 257). For summary of what I think the most defensible theory is, see my Madison talk.

  26. 26
    Martin Hagstrøm

    Sorry for the late entry, but I just thought of a thing: You say that Origen misremembered where is was he had read about the killing of James being the reason for the fall of Jerusalem. Origen also berates Josephus for writing James instead of Jesus, “but in reality, as the truth makes dear, on account of Jesus Christ the Son of God” (Against Celsus 2,13).

    Actually Josephus does attribute the fall of Jerusalem to the killing of Jesus – i.e. Jesus the son of Gamalas.

    War 4,160: The best esteemed of the high priests, Jesus the son of Gamalas and Ananus the son of Ananus, also bitterly reprimanded the people at their assemblies, for their sloth, and roused them against the Zealots.

    Incidentally, Ananus was the guy who killed James in Antiquities 20, but here in War, Josephus assures us, “He was a great lover of liberty and an admirer of a democracy“.

    To make a long story shorter, Jesus and Ananus are killed together:

    War 4, 316-318 As soon as they caught them they killed them, and as they stood upon their corpses jokingly rebuked Ananus for his kindness to the people and Jesus for the speech he had made to them from the wall. They were so impious as to leave their corpses without burial, though the Jews took such care of burials that they even took down those who were condemned and crucified and buried them before sundown. I would not be wrong in saying that the death of Ananus was the beginning of the destruction of the city and in dating the destruction of her wall and her total ruin from the day which saw their high priest, the guarantor of their safety, killed in the heart of the city.

    True, only Ananus is mentioned in the last sentence, but Jesus and Ananus have worked together for several chapters, before they were killed together and their corpses mocked together, and Josephus calls this killing “the beginning of the destruction of the city“.

    Maybe this was the story Origen was trying to recall?

    1. 26.1
      Richard Carrier

      That’s a speculation as to how his confusion arose which may or may not be correct. We have no way to know. But since Origen does not think Josephus blamed the fall of Jerusalem on any Jesus, I am skeptical. All we can confirm is that he somehow became confused.

  27. 27
    Kwame

    the testamonium flavium was deliberately put there so that Joshephus(whoever he was) and the Flavin imperial crew could then wdd in the next lines stories of Decius mundi(world sacrifice) to show that the Jesus Myth was created by the Flavian court!! Please do not delete this, it is not off topic, but I want you to answer it, with a debate with Joe Atwill, and lets get down to the nitty gritty, and stop these non-event debates, where you and some preacher talk about nothing for an hour or two. Debate the real issues about Christianity, you know that the Flavians created the thing, that’s why Constantine took the Flavian name when he made Christianity a legal religion in Rome, that’s why the first historically documented Christians, where members of the Flavian court, So-called Pope Clement Flavius supposedly took over right from simeon peter, Peter was the name of Tituses Grandfather the rock of the Flavian family who had thrusted the Flavius line into the patricia and military elite to be able to contend to be emperor, Costantine, tried to assume the mantle of Christ and be Christ as titus did before there is just an abundance of evidence please address this and stop having these non debates that just give us the same ole Jesus talk dribble that solves nothing, please do not delete this and claim that Joe Atwill and hi work is soso beneath you.

    1. 27.1
      Richard Carrier

      That’s all simply implausible. It’s a dead end that can only consume someone’s valuable time, time better spent on more plausible and defensible theories, with more humility about how much we can actually know.

    2. kwame ajamu

      Why is that implausible it is right there along with cannibal mary, and all the collusions with the gospels writers and Josephus, if the Flavian s executed everyone that wrote any Jewish documents about the 70 war or any history of that time save Joshephus a s the war of the Jews State, and it is In agreement that many of the gospels date from the time that war of the Jews And atiguitys was being written, then that means that the Flavian court would have have to have given their approval, and thence the gospels are susupect as being a Flavian creation just from that point. And again why are the first archeologically and first written about Christians that is known to have existed of the Flavian court, Domitilla flavius Nereus and achilleus, Christian scholars.

      Why are you guys still grouping in darkness about this stuff when it is so much lucrative evidence.
      Decius muss was known as the devotion, three roma generals sacrifice themselves and their sos I do beliee, may be wrong on that last one, anyway three generals/procounsels, sacrifice themselves to Romes enemy gods so that the enemys gods will help the Romans win against the enemy in war, it is known as the devotion, now all of a sudden Joshephus out the clear blue writes of this jesus, so strange is this out of the blue tetamonium flavium, that scholars today still debate if was meant or an interpolation.

      Then he (jossephus then goes off on another tangent way off point about a man named of all things Decius, but not Decius mus who commits the little sacrifice, but now his name is suddenly Decius mundi which is (world sacrifice) not what do want do you want them to just come out and say, Ok we made this S@#$, up, do you really need that!, now this Decius mundi, wants to be with this woman, that is a worshipper, of the god thoth, the Djihuty of the Egyptians, hermes trismegistus of the greeks, the ibis headed egyptian god known as the word, hint hint.

      This man Decius mundi, the world sacrifice, offers this woman who is married, ad wont betray her husband and who worships the being that is the word of the gods, money but she refuses, then he threatens to kill himself,
      and he disappears. meanwhile, an ex-slave of his, comes up with a plan, she knows this girlis very religious, so she pays of the priest of this thoth religion, to say that the god thoth came to them ina dream or diviation,” I don’t recall right now” and says that he the god thoth…the word, wants to sleep with the woman.

      So old Decius Mundi =world sacrifice, dresses up like the word, and sleeps with this woman.

      Now Joshephus makes sure he reminds us that all this just happens to take place three days after decius mundi, is thought dead, and the reason we know he was thought dead is because first off, he promises to kill himself if the woman doesn’t sleep with him, then the passage says, that after three days the Decius mundi guy reveals himself to the woman that he is not dead and not a god(jesus after three days comes back from the dead and reveals himself a god) this stuff is not associative, but conceptual, jeus I a god after three days, Decius mundi is not, but indeed has pretended to be.

      Now directly in the next passage is a story about another guy named Decius mundi, who tricks a very devout Jewish woman, into thinking that they have met the king(messiah and she promptly sends purple and gold to the temple where the charloteans are waitig to take the gold and the purple(royal colors in ancient rome).

      Why the two passages about men named world sacrifice, right after the testamonium flavium, and why each about conning religious peole, religious women which Israel, one woman a thoth(word of the gods as jesus was called the word ) and one about a jewish woman who was fooled like the flavians were trying to fool some jews as to the effect that the messiah had already come=jesus, look at it from that angle and see don’t it make more sense, there much much much more evidence, for instance if Titus was destroying all of the Jewish litreture at that time, why was the gospels allowed to be, and why did the” fourth column” essences have to hide the dead sea scrolls to finally be unearthed a two thousand years later, to reveal the true face of the ist century jewish messianic movement, you guys just make statements about work you don’t agree with or contradict your pet theorys, I am asking you if Joe Atwills theorys are so sloppy, and so untidy, the why not debate him, you being a scientist and all, concerned with deposing all emposters not worthy to carry your ink well, if you just to go head up with me…Ill be your huckleberry.

    3. Richard Carrier

      You can rant all you like, I’m still not wasting my own time with this. So, you’re pretty much wasting yours.

    4. kwmae Ajamu

      well for anyone that’s wants the truth to the testamonium flavium, that the good dr, wont even comment on the incredible evidence, look up the Book Caesers Messiah by Joe Atwil, all the book you might not believe, but only one or two points have to be right to prove his and many other accredited Biblical historians right. Like Joseph bar matthiayu being Joseph of Arimathia, matthiyu is Arimathia in Greek and drop the b from rar and you get arimathia, and in Josephus war of the Jews it talks of joshephus seeing three of his friends being crucified and him(Joshephus asking Titus or Vespasian to tack them down, one lived and two died, like Jesus being on the cross, between two other victims, and them dyeing and him (jesus supposedly being resurrected, two dieing one surviving. And Jesus telling simeon Peter that he would be taken where he did not want to go and be matyerd for Jesus sake, and that apostle John would be saved, simeon the rebel leader of 70 ad was put in prison for life, but simeon the rebel leader of 70 ad was led into an arena and put to death after mocked in the flavian victory parade of the conqoured enemies of Rome.

      Just like Jesus says in the bible that apostle John would be spared, but Simeon would not.

      You see, Jesus was pre dated by the Flavians to supposedly predict the destruction of Jeusalem in 70 ad.

      for all of Jesus’ perdictions for Jerusalem came true with Titus destroying Jerusalem encircling it with a wall, people being famished and eating the dead Jesus predicted all of this that Titus Flavius actualy did, look at the arch of titus and you will see the trinity, Vespasian, Titus, Domitian, check out Joe Atwills book, no more guessing about Christianity. I see you wont explain Mr. Carrier, about why you don’t agree with Atwills book, looks ike you wont even give it a maybe no matter the evidence neither will you give us any counters to it, and I saw you as one of the greats in this field, still do, I learned alot from reading your work. Always wondered why you didn’t just bring it in your debates, these silly preachers just set themselves up for destruction but you never really pulled the trigger. Forget letting them down easy, tear them up. But Joe Atwills book to me answers all the holes that all you guys have left open, and I see the facts to back a lot of what he says, and I am sad that you are only interested in the orthodox position and I feel that you are not interested in the truth, for you are not going to answer the big questions asked in biblical scholarship with just picks and shovels, its going to take literary analyses as well, that is where the crux of info on the big questions will come from.

      If you were sincere you would have showed me the error of my ways in seeing Atwills work as the answer but instead you hid behind the alphabet, and didn’t even try to back up your conclusions, man never would have found out the most basic, known fact of science and our world today if that would have been the attitude of Newton, Columbus, Galileo, Davinci, Michelangelo. http://www.caesesmessiah.com/blog

    5. Dave B

      Hey Richard. My atheist group was talking about this Atwill business too, incidentally. I personally think that Atwill calling you out for a debate is like Right Said Fred calling out the Stones, so I can understand why you consider this discussion to be low hanging fruit. And I don’t know how you put up with threads like this. But if you wouldn’t mind, could you tell me what you think of his proposition on a 1-10 scale of the various mythicist theories out there. I’m assuming it’s in the low rent district as far as they go, but is it pretty much the bottom of the barrel in terms of quality and plausibility or does it get worse than Caesar’s Messiah?

      I see problems in it myself, and I’m sure that you see 1000 problems for every one I can spot. So I’m wanting to know if there is some merit to the his thesis but he just doesn’t have nearly the evidence to make the case, or is this just bollocks on the level of New World Order nonsense that only exists in his mind. I’m just looking for a brief and general answer.

    6. Richard Carrier

      It might get worse than Caesar’s Messiah. I haven’t comprehensively surveyed the theories out there, or even individual ones. For example, I am unconcerned with Murdock/Acharya’s theories because she does not employ a reliable method of research, argument, and citation and makes enough mistakes (and refuses to admit them) that I know she’s not worth my time. Yet for that reason I didn’t waste time analyzing every aspect of her theory of Christian origins, so it could be much worse than Atwill’s for all I know. I don’t actually care. Bad is bad. Trying to work up relative scales is time I don’t have. (Although I have said before and will say again, I would love it if someone competent enough did this, and if they did it well, I’d blog about it, if I was made aware of it.)

      But in response to your last framing of the question, no I don’t think there is any merit to his core thesis that the New Testament is a conspiracy of the Roman elite in cahoots with Josephus. Mormons have more plausible accounts of history than that. (And that’s saying something.)

      Moreover, his methods are bonkers (he doesn’t know how probability theory works, and succumbs to many common fallacies in probabilistic reasoning, such as the multiple comparisons fallacy, conjunction fallacy, and so on) and he is not qualified to discuss ancient texts in the ways his theory requires (he does not appear to understand Greek well or have any command of paleographic textual criticism). And he completely ignores the actual literary analysis of the NT by the entire field of qualified scholars (much of which I’ll illustrate in my next book).

      For example, I told him (ages ago):

      We now can determine ourselves from extant mss. that Gadara is [a] corruption (check any textual apparatus for the NT to see why). Origen was aware of there being a corruption, but lacked the data we now have, so he resolved it by appeal to his personal knowledge of geography (and the symbolic employment of the location by the gospel author)–and his reasoning is entirely correct: Gadara is geographically impossible, whereas Gergesa is clearly the intended location (Origen also discusses a very different city called Gerasa, but we now know that Gerasa is a possible translitteration of Gergesa from local dialects into Greek, and so the original text could have had either, referring to what Origen identifies as Gergesa). That all the earliest mss. that survive of Mark, Matthew, and Luke have Gerasa or Gergesa [or variants thereof] confirms this (including an actual papyrus from Luke dated to the very time of Origen), as does the fact that the textual analysis of the manuscript tradition that we can reconstruct from texts all across the Mediterranean and across all linguistic traditions confirms that the Gadara reading must have arisen later in the tradition than either Gerasa or Gergesa.

      If you know Atwill’s work, you’ll know how crucial it is to his theory that the scene of the “Gadarene Swine” actually take place at Gadara. In fact, Gadara is a textual corruption. The authors originally wrote Gergesa/Gerasa. So much for Atwill’s thesis.

      His response to me was to special plead against the findings of textual criticism (which findings he knew nothing about; I don’t think he can read Greek or knows how to read a textual apparatus) and then to argue that:

      ‘Gadara’ is defined by Josephus as possessing territory “which lay on the frontiers of the Sea of Galilee” (Life ix, 42).

      To which I replied:

      Pardon me, but he says no such thing there. The text says:

      “Then Justus through persuasion convinced the citizens [of Tiberias: Life 31] to take up arms, though forcing many against their will, and he went out with all of them and burned the villages of both the Gadarenes and the Hipposians, villages which happened to be lying on the border between the land of Tiberias and that of Scythopolis.”

      Hippos and Gadara had towns “on the border between” the cities of Tiberias and Scythopolis (which Josephus can only mean in rough terms, since neither could have had towns directly between those two cities, but could have held towns within five or ten miles of a point between Tiberias and Scythopolis, which could have sat on the border of lands held by Tiberias and Scythopolis). Nowhere is there any mention of the “Sea of Galilee” here, nor geographically would that be possible. Hippos would certainly have had villages near the sea, but they would be between the sea and any villages held by Gadara. So there is no way to read Josephus as here saying there were villages of Gadara near the Sea of Galilee, much less on it.

      Indeed, elsewhere Josephus says Gadara is twice as far from Tiberias as Hippos (Life 336): Hippos, he says, is roughly 4 miles from Tiberias, Gadara roughly 8 miles, and Scythopolis roughly 15 miles (all his numbers are short of the actual distance by about 25% but are correct in proportion). Here again he places the sequence in geographic order as: Tiberias, Hippos, Gadara, and Scythopolis. Though these do not sit on a straight line, their relative position north to south is correct. It is roughly four miles from Tiberias to the end of the Sea, where the border of Hippos could have been (if Josephus is measuring to nearest border and not across the water to the actual city), and about six actual miles beyond that in a continuous line (as the coastline points) is Gadara. So Josephus was short by only a couple of miles, yet even his own short estimate places Gadara several hours away from the sea. Josephus likewise says (in Life 44) “some nearby peoples, Gadarenes and Gabarenes and Tyrians” joined an attack on Gischala–these tribes are all over Galilee, and none near the Sea of Galilee. Thus again “nearby” is clearly a relative term–certainly for any sentence that says *both* the Gadarenes and the Tyrians were “nearby” Gischala!

      He also argued:

      [My] understanding [that Gadara or its villages were on the sea] is supported by a number of coins bearing the name Gadara that portray a ship.

      To which I replied:

      Did you actually bother to check the meaning of this? The coins in question were issued only once under Pompey and depict a war galley with the inscription “NAUMA[CHIA].” No Gadarene coins from any other era depict any ships of any kind. A “naumachia” was usually a mock naval battle held in an amphitheater, and may have been in this case, although the Sea of Galilee could have been the most convenient venue at the time. But all the cities of the Decapolis would have been invited to send teams to the competition, not just those on the coast. The Gadarene team probably won, and Pompey honored their victory by issuing a coin celebrating it. This in no way conveys the notion that Gadara was a naval town, much less a military base!

      None of which he acknowledged. He just acted like a Christian apologist and started inventing even more harebrained attempts to restore “Gadara” as the original reading or as a sea town. He even tried arguing that Mark really did mean the pigs ran six miles to the sea, and even started making outright false claims about what Origen said, and so on. He would simply not see reason, or correct himself, or admit he was out of his depth and didn’t understand Greek, textual criticism, numismatics, or the relevant historical facts.

      Just to give you an idea of how tedious arguing with him is. I gave up.

      We had similar exchanges on other claims in his book. For instance, I asked him for his best example of an improbable textual coincidence between the Gospels and Josephus, he proposed cannibal Mary (a story in Josephus), I proved that that was a haggadic midrash on an OT story of Mary the sister of Moses (and thus had no connection with the NT), and he just blanked. I actually found the cannibal Mary myth’s play on the Exodus myth of Miriam fascinating and may publish an article on it some day. But it in no way supports his actual core thesis.

    7. kwame ajamu

      As I said before, Atwills theory doesn’t have to be 100 percent right to have the basic theory right, 95 percent can be wrong and just 5 % of this theory would prove what it says. There is a biblical historian and lectuer from Australia, or at least hes In Australia now I believe, phd Rod Blackhurst, who has came to the same conclusion using the as you call it proper methodology, that Jesus was a fabrication of the Flavian Dynasty, The P hilo that I have heard you reference was the uncle of Tituses adjunct or one of his head generals Alexander Lysimarchus, and he praised Vespasian as the Christ that the Jewish scripture was really referring to, Suetonius or Tacitus, historians of the Flavian court, says that ah oracle on mount Carmel named Vespasian and Titus as the Christs, who leave out of Jerusalem as the rulers of the world, and not ay of the Jewish leadership, it is no coincidence that every prophecy that Jesus had, happened exactly as recounted by Josephus in war of the Jews, I have read your commentary on hw Joshepus and Mark used the exact and unique tem to describe Christianity like some Greek philosophic school, Things are just too close between the NT and Josephus too many coincidental, for me and the Josephus Joseph of Arimathea anagram has been acknowledged by scholar and ancient Greek speaking top analytical people as a nod to Joshephus in the NT.
      So there is Some Scholarly reckognition for some of the points in Caesers Messiah, like I said just One or two points made by Joe Atwill has to be right for it to be right, the basics that Jesus was created by the Flavian court to
      distract from the radical messianic movement that had been at war with rome in some fashion or another, since Pompei, some of the lovers of smooth things, and Herod Antipater(I think) conspired to wrest Israel away from the Maccabean family.

      Remember that Jesus predicts this 40 years before it actually happens and to the Jews of that day 40 years was a generation, and Jesus says that some there would not fall asleep (or die off) until they saw the son of man coming in his glory. If one goes 40 years exactly in the future from Jesuses time, and whos work is used to date the time of Jesuses activitys, you guessed it, Josephus Flavius. Jesus was pre dated in existence to supposedly predict Titus and Vespasian and Domitian,the true Holy trinity, although there were many Trinitarian gods in ancient Rome, it was a double entandre.

      And Scholars real Scholars not just guys writing books have, have checked off on the Three men on the cross in Josephus’ war of the Jews, was most probably used in the Jesus being crucified between two other men story in the bible.

      Yes Dr. Carrier, there is a q, but q was intelligence data gathered on the variety of radical, messianic Jewish groups at war with Rome, and the story that they, the gospel writers educated Greco-Roman writers and Greco-hebrewic scholars employed by the Flavian court were going to use in collusion as they constructed truly the greatest story ever told, that’s why you scholars can detect that all of them(gospel writers) drew from one, and the same list of words and sentences, because they did, concocted for them to write by the Flavian court, which consisted of the highest ranking descendants of the Maccabean Priesthood, and the Herods, and the nephew of old Philo himself, who tried(did) concoct the Jehua in the sky( DR. Richard Carrier Not the impossible faith) I read Caesers messiah, and right off that where theres smoke, there is fire, and then I found out about this book, Not the Impossible faith, and then everywhere I turned to read joshephus’ work I saw commentary by Dr. Carrier, and then I put your stuff togather and It dawned on me that that was the reason that so many of the gospel writers were seen to have supposedly copied Josephus word for word, because Joe Atwill was right, instead of them copying Joshephus, they were all in cohots, I know some of you will say conspiracy theory, but look isn’t most things that become official policy conspiracy theorys on some level.

      I have much more, but again, go to amazon and buy Caesers Messiah the Flavian signature. You may not agree with all Atwill says, but the basic, is true as rain and ore and more phd guys are coming to that conclusion, maybe not through the very same mechanism that Atwill does, but damn close, If anyone wants more reply and I will give it, for I have done a tremendous amount of study o this subject myself, and all my research concurs with a lot of what Atwill says, Read also any work by Dr. Robert Eisenman, especially his work on the dead sea scrolls, if there was any messianic movements in and around galilale then it certainly wasn’t the gentile Jesus movement in scripture. It was more akin to the Al-Queda movement of today, and their expected messiahs was more like Ben-Laden was today, yeah when backed into a corner radical Jews can be just as Radical and even more so than ay Arab group ever was. As a matter of fact mostof Islam is believed by many to come from radical Jewish elements escaping from Jerusalem and so,rrounding areas into Arabia, so our Idea of any messianic movements comes from the Roman creation of Christianity which is what it was designed to do, to water down and make user friendly a radical non-compromising, warrior based tradition that had both Roman monocrats, and the Jewish higherarchy more worried than the Romans did. Just look at how most wealthy arabs assist America today in its fight against the radical Islamic movements, and indeed even assist America in trying to properghandize and sway the minds of a lot of radical Islamic elements.
      Thisis the milieu that Christianity came out of, and why it was created, the starter of rabbinic Jewdaism was lowered down the wall of soruoding Jerusalem and exclaimed that Vespasian was the Christ predicted I the scriptures, the Pharisees were against the radical Jews In most events, so he would gladly helped rewrite the radical Jewish literature in trying to coopt the Zealot and Sacarii religions, for the sacari sought to kill(pharises) every chance they got as collaberaters, just like Aloueda, killed as many Northern alliance members in Afghanistan before America came in. Josephus says in WOTJ it says that the children of the radicals refused to call Titus or Vespasian god even after severe torture, and Nero originally sent Then general Vespasian in because many Jews had had it with Nero putting a satue of himself in the Jewish temple, many of the high ranking herod picked high priest did secretly worship the Roman emperors but many did not, so that was just one layer of typology that was heaped onto the made up Jesus, to paralylel with him Titus Flavius, as many Jews did come over and began to worship the fake Jesus, not knowing that it was Titus Flavius, and this was not the radical jews but those that were orthodox, and once Jerusalem was destroyed and the temple in oth jeruselem and Samaria was destroyed and all the Jewish law(Torah) was taken by Titus Flavius and he wouldn’t let anyone see it, but probably his chosen to try and overwrite Torah and make the Jews believe that the Messiah had already come and that the scriptre had been fulfilled and the the Roman Government was chosen to rule the world by providence of the God of the Universe, now that all I will say, on this subject, Joe CAtwill and the continuing bevy of scholars that are at least siding with him on certain points definatly don’t need me to argue their points,and remember why after Constantine made Christianity a legal religion did he try to e Christ, even having twelve empty coffins buried with him in his tomb like they were the twelve apostles, and he the Christ, why did he replace the head of Jesus statue with his own, and after all that why did he take the name Flavius, what link to Jesus did the Flavians have, why were the Flavian family the first people known to have lived be the oldest links in accordance with the then cult. All of this looks highky suspicious, not including Joshephuses strang usage of a story of a guy named world sacrifice, right after he out of the blue mentions Jesus Christ, by the way the Christians supposedly burned by nero, was probably Jewish rebels, and the Roman fire was blamed on Jewish rebels, as the word Christian was used by greek speakers to describe the messianic Jewish movement and they called him Christos, or I believe Chrestus, as there were many Jews running around thinking themselves the Christ or anointed which is what that ame meant so Christians being stirred up by one Chrestus was really not uncommon, and they or at least radical Jews did think their righteous teacher could be or would be raised from the dead as recent finds of descriptions found at least 5 years before the Christ myth, of a jesus, who was brought back to life by the angel Gabriel, and this Jesus had already rotted to dung.

      So most of the story behind the Christ myth was already there and the Romans just tweaked it ever so subtly in creating the gretest story, or more aptly called, the greatest subterfuge ever told.

    8. kwame ajamu

      Isn’t jesus a typology of moses, and wasn’t Mariam mosses wet nurse, also if that is a play on that myth why not use it to describe the sacrifice of the Jews in 70 ad, and that sound like where thr Flavian Greco-Jews might have cooked up the Christ myth in the first place, and a perfect play on the Jews eating the flesh of their own dead, and Moses himself can be looked on as a messiah. Like I said these people were good on the double entandre I know I misspelled that, you have not dissuaded me but I can be dissuaded as I am not like a dogmatic fundamentalist, but still see a Flavian hand the evidence is just umerous the bulk of the evidence that is.

    9. Richard Carrier

      Mariam was Moses’s sister. And Jesus was typed as several people (Moses, David, Joshua, Melchizedek, Elisha, and Elijah). Josephus’ story of cannibal Mary riffs on an OT story about Mariam, to make a point about the siege of Jerusalem; it does not riff on any NT story, nor make any point relevant to or connected with Christianity.

  28. 28
    kwame ajamu

    There is a Jewish scholar named levenson that says that the whole nt is a midrash and that all the suffering mary sons are a midrash, and like I said in, Vespasian, Titus, and Domitian being the pun on father, son, holy ghost
    and also that there were may Trinitarian gods in rome being a double entandre, would you speak to the other points of Caeser’s messiah like the fishing for men, and in luke it actually says catch en, I forgot the verse, but will find it and posts it, I will also find that link to Levensons work. Look at Tituses symbol on his minted coins on the font his picture, on the back, the dolphin wrapped around the anchor, this is also the ealiest Christian symbol I kow juius Caeser used it too, but the Flavian emperors were seeking legitamitcy, and would have tried to link themselves to Jlius Caesr, In Lieu of the bulk of evidence in my mind, and in many others, you cant debunk all this evidence, in lieu of the fact of the Decius mundus and others, I still have to count cannibal mary, because the same methodology of midash making is in play in the Jesus myth in the firt place.

  29. 29
    kwame ajamu

    Jon D. Levenson

    Jon D. Levenson wrote The Death and Resurrection of the Beloved Son : The Transformation of Child Sacrifice in Judaism and Christianity to argue essentially that the “Christ of faith” figure in the Gospels and Pauline epistles was a distinctively Christian-Jewish midrashic creation:

    Jesus’ identity as sacrificial victim, the son handed over to death by his loving father or the lamb who takes away the sins of the world . . . ostensibly so alien to Judaism, was itself constructed from Jewish reflection on the beloved sons of the Hebrew Bible. . . . (p. x)
    this an example of christiaity , being midrash that I noted in above, and the whole Christian movement takes on the whole midrash type stories as does cannibal mary.

  30. 30
    kwame ajamu

    Don’t you think that the names James the brother of Jesus ben Damneus, is provocative, and that whoever wrote Josephus is playing games, who has a name like Jesus son of the Demon, and then a brother named James to boot, there is some funny business going on, some camel dung afloat, and will you tell me, why all the earliest Christians were from the Flavius family, even the so-called fist pope Clemens Flavius, when there were no Popes at that time, these things just don’t add up, and then why did Constantine after claiming to see a cross in the sky changed his name to Flavius, and tried to associate himself with the Flavius family,, please respond, I want to know what you think. And the Titus Jesus analogy with Titus campaign and Jesus ministry Also isn’t the Jesus ministry a watered down version of the radical messianic Jewish movement?

  31. 31
    ROO BOOKAROO

    A good analysis of Richard Carrier’s article on “Jesus in Josephus” has appeared on the Swedish site “JESUS GRANSKAD” on April 2, 2013. With abundant quotes from the article.
    It is posted at
    http://rogerviklund.wordpress.com/2013/04/02/richard-carriers-article-origen-eusebius-and-the-accidental-interpolation-in-josephus-jewish-antiquities-20-200/
    and below is the download of the full text, for easy reference.

    Richard Carrier’s article: Origen, Eusebius, and the Accidental Interpolation in Josephus, Jewish Antiquities 20.200

    2 april, 2013 den 19:32 (ENGLISH POSTS, Josefus, Richard Carrier, utomkristna vittesbörd)
    Tags: antiquities of the jews, eusebius, josephus antiquities, richard carrier, testimonium flavianum

    In December last year Richard Carrier had his article Origen, Eusebius, and the Accidental Interpolation in Josephus, Jewish Antiquities 20.200 published in the Journal of Early Christian Studies 
(vol. 20, no. 4, Winter 2012,
pp. 489–-514). I should have commented upon it long ago.

    Anyway, in that article Carrier strongly arguments for the probability that the brief mention of Jesus in connection with James in Josephus’ Antiquities of the Jews (AJ) 20.200 is an accidental interpolation.

    Carrier begins by referring to the Testimonium Flavianum and says that he sides “with those scholars who conclude that the entire passage is an interpolation and that there was no mention of Jesus in the original text of AJ 18” (489). He gives two major arguments for reaching that position.

    One is that the text of the Testimonium is so relatively short compared to what could be expected if Josephus really would have written about Jesus. A forger on the other hand would only have had “the remaining space available on a standard scroll” to add the additional text and would therefore “have been limited” to write only a short text. I have seen Carrier suggest this previously, but have never been convinced by it due to one specific circumstance. I have counted the words (or I guess the letters) of all the twenty books of the Antiquities of the Jews, and found that they deviated rather much in length. Book 18 is surpassed in length by very much more than the length of the Testimonium in quite number of books. So, unless I have misunderstood Carrier’s argument, there would have been plenty of room for a very much longer Testimonium if the scroll with book 18 were of the same length as some of the scrolls containing the longer books.

    The other argument on the other hand, is much stronger. Carrier correctly, in my opinion, argues the following: “the paragraph that follows the TF begins with, ‘About the same time also another sad calamity put the Jews into disorder . . .’ (AJ 18.65), thereby indicating that Josephus had just ended with the sedition resulting in a public massacre described in AJ 18.60–62, and leaving no logical place for the unrelated digression on Jesus and the Christians (AJ 18.63–64).” I have made the same argument myself:

    “The truly precarious in the situation is thus the first sentence of paragraph 4, which follows directly on the Testimonium. It says: “At about the same time, another [emphasis added] sad calamity put the Jews into disorder [ἐθορύβει, ethorubei]”. This means that if the Testimonium is genuine, if so only to a portion, Josephus must allude to the Testimonium when he directly after the Testimonium writes that another sad calamity put the Jews into disorder. He then had to be of the opinion that Jesus’ death was a sad calamity for the Jews – something almost unthinkable unless Josephus was a Christian, which he most likely was not.” (Part 2e of my article “The Jesus Passages in Josephus – a Case Study”, an article I intend to publish as a 200 pages pdf-file once I have updated the language and made some amendments).

    But Carrier’s article is primarily not about the Testimonium, but the James passage. This he argues is an interpolation which came to be included accidentally. He further argues that “the passage was never originally about Christ or Christians. It referred not to James the brother of Jesus Christ, but probably to James the brother of the Jewish high priest Jesus ben Damneus.” (489) His way of reasoning is simplified this:

    1) Accidental interpolations happened frequently. When text by mistake was left out in the copying process, later proofreader would add the missing text either between the lines or in the margin. This text would then be inserted in the next copy of that copy. But scribes also included other text in the margins and between lines – sort of footnotes and the like. And “there was no standard notation for distinguishing marginal notes from accidentally omitted text” (490), and so marginal notes could easily be taken for being part of the original, and once it was included in the next copy the mistake would continue to be copied. Carrier writes: “A later scribe simply mistook the marginal note as accidentally omitted text and, upon creating a copy, ‘rectified’ the error by ‘reinserting’ it, thus creating an altered sentence that appears to be what its author originally wrote, but is not.” (491)

    2) Origen and Eusebius used the same manuscript or manuscript line of Josephus: “Around 231 C.E, Origen established a Christian library in Caesarea, which was passed to Pamphilus and then to Eusebius. Eusebius was thus in all likelihood using the very same manuscripts of Josephus that Origen had been using, or else copies thereof.” (492)

    3) Origen did not know the Testimonium: “In fact, the TF in that precise form was almost certainly not known to Origen, as there are several passages where it is almost certain he would have remarked upon it, even quoted it, had he known of it.” (492) Carrier, again correctly in my opinion, rejects all subjective reconstructions of alternative versions of the Testimonium, and also cautions us to trust the accuracy of so-called quotations. Like me, he thinks Alice Whealey is wrong when she claims that Eusebius originally wrote “He was thought to be the Messiah” in his quotation of the Testimonium. I am pleased to see that Carrier argues in the same way as I do regarding the small deviations of the Testimonium, especially in the translations: “More likely some early copy of Eusebius’s History alone was ‘improved’ by a scribe intending to restore a more plausible quotation from a Jew … and it is this that we see in Whealey’s cited examples. It is inherently less likely that all manuscript traditions of all the texts of Eusebius and all manuscript traditions of Josephus were conspiratorially emended in the same way, than only one manuscript tradition of a single text of Eusebius being emended the other way” (494).

    4) Since the Testimonium was not in Origen’s copy of AJ, but in Eusebius’, the latter must have used a copy of Origen’s copy from the same library and into which the Testimonium had been added. Carrier does accordingly not think that Eusebius invented the Testimonium himself. Although I would not bet on it, someone must have written the Testimonium if it was inserted into AJ, and Eusebius is then an obvious candidate. At least we can agree on that it was probably not yet invented by the time of Origen in the 240’s.

    5) The manuscript used by Eusebius would then have included marginal notes made into Origen’s manuscript (from which it would have been copied) and in all likelihood it also included Origen’s own notes.

    6) Carrier assumes that Josephus wrote “the brother of Jesus, the name for whom was James, and some others . . . ,” and that “the one called Christ” was added while perhaps at the same time “ben Damneus” was removed. He gives five reasons for assuming this (by me enumerated as a–e). a) If someone would make a note to remind himself of the place where he thought Josephus mentioned Jesus, “the one called Christ” is just what one could expect to be written. b) A participial clause such as this one is typical for interlinear notes. c) The phrase is practically identical to Matt 1.16 and something Josephus hardly would have written. d) In context, it seems odd to imagine that the executions would be executions of Christians, not least because many influential Jews are said to be very upset. e) The way in which this James is said to be killed diverges considerable from how it is described in Christian sources. I agree on all five issues, although point b seems a bit weaker than the rest.

    7) Carrier assumes that the wording ὃς … ἀδελφὸς Ἰησοῦ τοῦ λεγομένου Χριστοῦ, “the brother of Jesus who was called Christ”, stems from Origen expression (but not from empty nothingness) and not from Josephus. If “who was called Christ,” is removed, all that Josephus in AJ 20.200 and Origen share in common is the name James and the expression “brother of Jesus”. But they primarily differ in Origen linking James to the fall of Jerusalem, calling him Just and having the Jews wishing to have him killed (500).

    8) When Eusebius quotes the same passage in Josephus as Origen refers to, he is obviously not quoting Josephus but Origen. This can be seen from the fact that the quotation is basically identical to Origen’s wordings, that nor Eusebius knows where Josephus should have written it (Origen never said this) and that Eusebius is quoting the passage whereas Origen most certainly is not. Still the wording is identical. After this Eusebius also quotes the James passage which Origen never referred to and which obviously has entered into Josephus’ AJ after the time of Origen.

    9) If Josephus would have written about Jesus Christ of the Bible and he also had written the Testimonium, he would have provided a cross-reference and also explained what the name meant. Instead it is more likely that Josefus was referring to another Jesus, the one who became high priest after Ananus in 62 C.E. and whom Josefus mentions directly afterwards (503). According to Carrier (and I agree once more) the only intelligible reading of the story is that Ananus had James the brother of Jesus falsely accused and executed, and was punished for this by being disposed as High Priest and that James’ brother Jesus, son of Damneus, was appointed new High Priest: “In effect, Josephus was saying, ‘Ananus illegally executed the brother of Jesus, which got a reaction; for his crime, he was deposed and replaced by Jesus.’” (504) This Carrier, once again correctly, says is supported by the fact that the execution of Josephus’ James in no way, except for the stoning, corresponds to the Christian accounts of James’ death.

    10) Carrier suggests that Origen’s source for the James story was not Josephus, but the Christian hagiographer Hegesippus. This Hegesippus calls the Christian James “the Just”, and says that the fall of Jerusalem was the result of the execution of James (508). As the names Hegesippus and Josephus often were confused and Origen obviously refers to the same things as said by Hegesippus, Christian conceptions not shared by Josephus, the obvious interpretation, according to Carrier, is that Origen mistook a work by Hegesippus for being written by Josephus. (509-10)

    To summarize, this is what Carrier suggests. In the 240’s Origen writes that “Titus destroyed Jerusalem, on account, as Josephus wrote, of James the Just, the brother of Jesus who was called Christ”. Although Origen says that Josephus wrote this, Origen nevertheless got it from Hegesippus, from whom he paraphrases it, not quotes it. He also includes a passage from Matt 1.16, and this he does in his Commentary on Matthew.

    Origen searches Josephus in order to find where Josephus had written this, but does not manage to find the passage. He only finds the story of the stoning of one James in AJ 20.200 which spoke of “the brother of Jesus, whose name was James”. Perhaps he made a note there: “the one called Christ”. If Origen did not make such a note, then someone else later on made it, adapting to the phrase Origen previously used.

    Eusebius used the same library as Origen less than a century later, and probably had a copy of AJ which was made from the very manuscript used by Origen. In the copying of that manuscript, the marginal note would have been inserted into the text so that it now read “the brother of Jesus who was called Christ, the name for whom was James …”. Eusebius, apart from this, also quoted the passage given by Origen as if it had been written by Josephus. But since he only got it from Origen, neither he could say where Josephus had written this.

    As AJ later was copied, it was the expanded version used by Eusebius that became the standard version from which all later copies were made.

    Most of this has already been dealt with at length, also by me. The “new” things are that this is published in a peer reviewed article (which seems to be so important for so many), and the idea of the manuscript line leading directly from Origen to Eusebius. Also this is known facts, but Carrier has refined and isolated the train of thought, even leaving out many alternative scenarios as being less likely. Although I share Carrier’s opinion that also the mention of Jesus Christ in AJ 20.200 is a later addition to the text, I am not as convinced as he seems to be, that this was done as described above. It is for sure a convincing line of argument that Carrier presents, still there are a number of other possibilities which – at least combined – seem to be as likely. The least likely scenario though is that Josephus would have written it.

    Roger Viklund, 2013-04-02

  32. 32
    Kwame Ajamu

    Read the very next sentence from after the testamonium flavin or whatever they call it, youll see Joshephus talking about a story, where a man named world sacrifice, is tricking a very devout woman, with religion to sleep with him, after the mans being thought to be,perhaps dead for three days(the man known as Decius Mundi=world sacrifice in our english language) for he(world sacrifice) proclaimed that he would kill himself if the woman didnt sleep with him,and she didnt, so he had dissapeared and it was wondered if he made true on his threat, and the woman was told that the god of her devotion wanted to sleep with her, and she went to that temple( I forget which egyptian god) and sleeps with the man World sacrifice, and after he takes off the masks he had on during the sexual act, to fool t he woman that he was the god, and reveals that he is decius mundi (world sacrifice) and that he is alive. Why would Joshephus add an odd story about world sacrifice tricking a woman through religion, and being thought dead for three days only to reveal that he lives and had tricked the woman through religion to have sex with him. And why this sentence is associated imediatley right after the jesus sentence.
    And why cant these seemingly brillent guys our theologians, dont try and ponder this, I personally think Dr. carrier is just too educated and over qualified to deal with this sort of thing. With his brillant mind he just over complicates it.

    You cant apply something as mechanical as Baysean therom to something like this kind of thing to explain for a planned maniacal Phy-op to make up a religion to subvert another. CHRISTIANITY is a made up phy-op to subvert Jewish messianic radical Jews of the first century at war with rome.

    Of course others added to the christian myth, read DR. Eisenmans James the brother of Jesus, especially about the intellectuals surrounding Paul, and intellectuals from Neros court like Epaphorditis. Which is also a christian saint, and he was Titus secretary after Nero.

    ALso Joe Atwills CAESERS MESSIAH, plus Dr. I believe its Dr Richard Carriers own wbsites and book Not the impossible faith, this mans work along with the rest cited,gives proof that Christianity was a collection of attempts to Play around with Judaism to assimilate it into the Roman family of religions, especially the radical Judaism that wrecking havoc throughout the Roman world.

    I have accumilated evidance not cited in any of the works cited in above. Evidance like Peter, the so-called foundation for the begining of Christianity cited in the New Testament by Jesus/Titus, flavius, peter was the Latin name of the Flavius, first ancestor to make inroads to the eguestrian rank and allow the family access to
    Emperorship of Rome, thus he was the foundation of the christ myth, for Titus, peters grandson was christianitys origin. Why would a radical jew name the foundation of a supposed radical Jewish religion as the foundation, just use common sense and stop with all the fragil reasons given for paleography that is given for the Jesus in Joshepus.

    Not to mention all the paraylels in Joshephus’ work and the gospels and even the conclusion that one copied the other, even the most important themes of the gospel stories, of which without one would have nothing, and the conclusion that they both are now believed to be written around the same time, with bespeaks of collusion, and not plagerism.

    1. 32.1
      Richard Carrier

      I don’t even understand what is being argued here.

      The Isis cult story was part of Josephus’s list of events that “set the Jews into disorder” and thus contributed to anti-Roman sentiment that caused the war. It is perfectly explicable in that context.

      As for the rest, that’s all evidence-free conspiracy theory silliness. It has no plausible basis.

      Indeed, some of what you are saying is simply bogus. Peter isn’t even a Latin name at all, much less the name of any known Flavian (and we know Titus’ grandfather, he was Titus Flavius Sabinus, not “Peter Flavius”).

      You really should take these rants elsewhere. I’m not going to let any more of them through moderation. It’s just wasting everyone’s time. Please find somewhere else to discuss them.

  33. 33
    bernardmuller

    “In effect, Josephus was saying, ‘Ananus illegally executed the brother of Jesus, which got a reaction; for his crime, he was deposed and replaced by Jesus.’””

    Comment: That requires a lot of imagination. And then, what would be the odds that James had a brother who was high priest material? And if it was so (with very little probability!), that would imply this James was from a prominent family. Then how to explain the one who had him put to death was only removed from the high priesthood? The life to that James seems to have been a cheap commodity, as it would be for a lower class Jew.

    “He only finds the story of the stoning of one James in AJ 20.200 which spoke of “the brother of Jesus, whose name was James”.”

    Comment: Josephus, with very few exceptions, when he declared someone (A) is a brother of B, almost always had already defined earlier who is B (or at least in the same sentence). The only exceptions are when B is already well known.
    Looking at the forty-seven occurrences of ‘brother’ in Josephus’ Antiquities last three books (18, 19 & 20), they are only two of these exceptions: Jupiter in 19:1 and Pallas in 20:137.
    The mention of Pallas as a brother of Felix is not necessary because Josephus rarely supplies the name of family relative for any governor and might be just a free instinctive added information.
    Pallas was well known as a freedman who became a most competent treasurer of the Empire under Claudius and the early part of Nero’s rule, and also amassed a huge fortune.
    So “Jesus”, on its own, does not make sense, but “Jesus, him called Christ” does, because Josephus knew his audience would know about the attributed title of the assumed founder of Christianity.
    Again, the odds are against this hypothesis.

    “6) Carrier assumes that Josephus wrote “the brother of Jesus, the name for whom was James, and some others . . . ,” and that “the one called Christ” was added while perhaps at the same time “ben Damneus” was removed.”

    Comment: Removing ben Damneus is more difficult to explain, isn’t it? Very low probability, more unevidence assumption.
    Anyway, if Josephus had written “Jesus ben Damneus” , how to explain that, about ninety words latter, Jesus is reintroduced as only “Jesus ben Damneus”.
    That does not suggest in any way that Jesus was selected as the new high priest because his brother was killed.
    What would be expected from Josephus is “Jesus, also a son of Damneus”, or “Jesus, another son of Damneus”, or even better, “Jesus, the brother of James”.
    And because the practice of replacing a killed high priest by his brother is rather abnormal, certainly Josephus would have said a few words about that.

    The math does not look good for these assumptions. Probabilty of any one be true is well below 1%.

    Cordially, Bernard

    1. 33.1
      Richard Carrier

      That requires a lot of imagination.

      It requires in fact almost none. That’s why half a dozen people I know came to the same conclusion independently of me.

      And then, what would be the odds that James had a brother who was high priest material?

      The odds exactly equal the frequency with which there were high priests who had brothers named James. Which approaches 100%.

      (I mean, duh.)

      And if it was so…that would imply this James was from a prominent family.

      Indeed. That’s why so many leading Jews were outraged by it.

      Then how to explain the one who had him put to death was only removed from the high priesthood?

      Because James was duly convicted by the court (not Ananus). Ananus was deposed for a procedural violation (and perhaps in vendetta). That’s how court politics works. You rarely get to actually kill the guy who pisses you off–when he’s just as high and connected as you are.

      The life to that James seems to have been a cheap commodity, as it would be for a lower class Jew.

      Like John the Baptist and oh…how many executed elite Jews do I have to draw out of the sources to expose the folly of your reasoning here?

      Comment: Josephus, with very few exceptions, when he declared someone (A) is a brother of B, almost always had already defined earlier who is B (or at least in the same sentence).

      This is fully addressed in the article. Indeed, there are more problems with your thesis here than mine, as I detail in the article.

      Removing ben Damneus is more difficult to explain, isn’t it?

      No. That sort of thing happened all the time. As I document and discuss in the article.

      Anyway, if Josephus had written “Jesus ben Damneus” , how to explain that, about ninety words latter, Jesus is reintroduced as only “Jesus ben Damneus”. That does not suggest in any way that Jesus was selected as the new high priest because his brother was killed.

      In context, it surely does.

      And because the practice of replacing a killed high priest by his brother is rather abnormal, certainly Josephus would have said a few words about that.

      I don’t see why. This story of it happened are his words about that.

      The math does not look good for these assumptions. Probabilty of any one be true is well below 1%.

      Note that even if that were true, the improbability of all the other evidence I survey in my article is far greater. The balance of consequent probabilities thus favors my theory by far even then. I would assign the sum improbability of that evidence to be at least 1 in 10,000. If, for example, the probability you are calling upon were 1 in 1000 (one tenth of 1%, which is “well below 1%”), then my theory would still be 10 times more likely than yours.

    2. bernardmuller

      Hello Dr. Carrier,

      RC wrote: “Indeed. That’s why so many leading Jews were outraged by it.”
      BM replies: The translation from Whiston indicates some of the leading Jews were less than outraged:
      “but as for those who seemed the most equitable of the citizens, and such as were the most uneasy at the breach of the laws, they disliked what was done;”
      “most uneasy” & “disliked” do not show outrage. Furthermore, their uneasiness was directed to the breaching of civil laws, because it was not lawful for the high priest to assemble a sanhedrin without the consent of the prefect/governor. They were not too concerned James and others got condemned to execution.

      RC wrote: “That’s why half a dozen people I know came to the same conclusion independently of me.”

      BM replies: Almost any mythicist, more so your fans, would come to the same conclusion as yours.

      I wrote: “And if it was so…that would imply this James was from a prominent family.”
      RC replied: “The odds exactly equal the frequency with which there were high priests who had brothers named James. Which approaches 100%.”

      BM replies: Even if that James was the son of Damneus, the odds he had a brother who was high priest material were very small. Maybe 40% of male Jews named ‘James’ had a brother called ‘Jesus’, but how many of those ‘Jesus’ were high priest material: only a few.

      RC wrote:
      “Because James was duly convicted by the court (not Ananus). Ananus was deposed for a procedural violation”

      BM replies: If you initiated an illegal procedure which resulted in Jews being executed, with one prominent one among them, you do not just loose your job. Without Ananus, there would not have been any trial, therefore any execution. Ananus is the culprit.

      I wrote: Josephus, with very few exceptions, when he declared someone (A) is a brother of B, almost always had already defined earlier who is B (or at least in the same sentence).
      RC replied: “This is fully addressed in the article. Indeed, there are more problems with your thesis here than mine, as I detail in the article.”

      BM replies: My study of the word “brother” in Antiquities last three chapters proved there is very little probability Josephus would have written “the brother of Jesus, whose name was James”. There is even less probability he wrote “the brother of Jesus son of Damneus, whose name was James”, considering how he introduced Jesus as “Jesus son of Damneus”, about 90 words later.

      Cordially, Bernard

    3. Richard Carrier

      All fallacious arguments. You’re done.

  34. 34
    Johan Rönnblom

    Bernard, I don’t undertand your reasoning here. First, when it comes to ‘unlikely things’, historians tend to write about events that are interesting, not about what somebody had for breakfast. Interesting things are per definition somewhat unlikely.

    When you say that the influential Jews were not so upset with Ananus the younger, you seem to be arguing against the part of the text that everyone else is in agreement about: namely that Ananus was deposed. Clearly – regardless of whose brother James was – they were upset enough to depose Ananus. And no one has made any argument that requires them to be more upset than that.

    When you are talking about the ‘probability’ that so-and-so had a brother who was ‘high priest material’, have you considered the ‘probability’ that Ananus the elder had a son who was ‘high priest material’? Although this of course goes to show how little that means. Ananus the younger, if we are to believe Josephus, was clearly a very unsuitable high priest. Yet he became one. How qualified do you have to be in order for people to prefer you over someone who is scheming to have people executed? And why are you assuming it would have to be James’ brother? Surely if he had no ‘high priest material’ brother they could have appointed James’ uncle, or cousin, or just someone from the same political faction. If James was not the brother of Jesus ben Damneus, then Josephus does a rather poor job of explaining why Jesus ben Damneus was chosen, don’t you think?

  35. 35
    bernardmuller

    Johan wrote: “Bernard, I don’t undertand your reasoning here. First, when it comes to ‘unlikely things’, historians tend to write about events that are interesting, not about what somebody had for breakfast. Interesting things are per definition somewhat unlikely.”

    BM: Can you be more specific? Are you suggesting that Josephus wrote about James because that caused the then high priest to be replaced by no other than James’ brother, as a compensation for the family’s loss?
    Do you think if James was not Jesus ben Damneus’ brother, that would be the equivalent to a breakfast story?
    My understanding is the story which involved James was about explaining a rapid change of high priest. Furthermore James, as the brother of Jesus called Christ, accused of breaking the Law, and put to death after due trial, might have been also something to write about if you are a non-Christian Jew. Not a breakfast story.

    Johan wrote: “When you say that the influential Jews were not so upset with Ananus the younger, you seem to be arguing against the part of the text that everyone else is in agreement about: namely that Ananus was deposed. Clearly – regardless of whose brother James was – they were upset enough to depose Ananus. And no one has made any argument that requires them to be more upset than that”

    BM: First, it is not me who said that (“influential Jews were not so upset …”), it is Josephus who said it.
    High priests were deposed all the times. Very few ended their tenure by their natural death. And according to Josephus, some of these deposed high priests enjoyed a lot of prestige, influence and respect afterwards (such as Ananus the younger & Jesus son of Damneus: see below). Replacement of a high priest by another was not bringing shame to the departing high priest and his family. That’s why I think that just removal of office of Ananus the younger was not much of a punishment, and that ultra light sentence cannot be explained if that Ananus was responsible to put to death somebody from a prominent family.

    Johan wrote: “When you are talking about the ‘probability’ that so-and-so had a brother who was ‘high priest material’, have you considered the ‘probability’ that Ananus the elder had a son who was ‘high priest material’? Although this of course goes to show how little that means.”

    BM: Ananus had many sons who became high priests. But that does not mean many families had high priest material members.

    Johan wrote: “Ananus the younger, if we are to believe Josephus, was clearly a very unsuitable high priest.”

    BM: Actually Josephus raved about that Ananus:
    Josephus’ Wars, IV, V, 2 “… they [the Idumeans] sought for the high priests [former high priests Ananus, son of Ananus and Jesus, son of Damneus], and the generality went with the greatest zeal against them; and as soon as they caught them they slew them, and then standing upon their dead bodies, in way of jest, upbraided Ananus with his kindness to the people, and Jesus with his speech made to them from the wall. Nay, they proceeded to that degree of impiety, as to cast away their dead bodies without burial, although the Jews used to take so much care of the burial of men, that they took down those that were condemned and crucified, and buried them before the going down of the sun. I should not mistake if I said that the death of Ananus was the beginning of the destruction of the city , and that from this very day may be dated the overthrow of her wall, and the ruin of her affairs, whereon they saw their high priest, and the procurer of their preservation, slain in the midst of their city. He was on other accounts also a venerable, and a very just man; and besides the grandeur of that nobility, and dignity, and honor of which he was possessed, he had been a lover of a kind of parity, even with regard to the meanest of the people; he was a prodigious lover of liberty, and an admirer of a democracy in government; and did ever prefer the public welfare before his own advantage, and preferred peace above all things; for he was thoroughly sensible that the Romans were not to be conquered. He also foresaw that of necessity a war would follow, and that unless the Jews made up matters with them very dexterously, they would be destroyed; to say all in a word, if Ananus had survived, they had certainly compounded matters; for he was a shrewd man in speaking and persuading the people, and had already gotten the mastery of those that opposed his designs, or were for the war. And the Jews had then put abundance of delays in the way of the Romans, if they had had such a general as he was. Jesus [son of Damneus] was also joined with him; and although he was inferior to him upon the comparison, he was superior to the rest; and I cannot but think that it was because God had doomed this city to destruction, as a polluted city, and was resolved to purge his sanctuary by fire, that he cut off these their great defenders and well-wishers, while those that a little before had worn the sacred garments, and had presided over the public worship; and had been esteemed venerable by those that dwelt on the whole habitable earth when they came into our city, were cast out naked, and seen to be the food of dogs and wild beasts. And I cannot but imagine that virtue itself groaned at these men’s case, and lamented that she was here so terribly conquered by wickedness. And this at last was the end of Ananus and Jesus.”

    According to Josephus, that Ananus was not “a very unsuitable high priest”, quite the opposite. But if he had been the initiator of putting to death member(s) of prominent family(ies), that would be very different. However if he was only part of getting rid of lower class pests, that would not tarnish his image. Notice that Jesus son of Damneus had joined him towards the end. Rather odd if Ananus arranged for his brother to be executed!
    Now, I can see another motive for Josephus’ earlier description of the fast removal of Ananus the younger: just to say that Ananus was not demoted because he was “a very unsuitable high priest” and a bad person.

    Johan wrote: “Josephus does a rather poor job of explaining why Jesus ben Damneus was chosen, don’t you think?”

    BM: Josephus never (or very rarely) indicated why an individual was chosen among others to be the next high priest.

    Cordially, Bernard

    1. 35.1
      Johan Rönnblom

      I’m suggesting that Josephus did indeed write about James because his execution was the pivotal event that led to a change of high priest. If James had been completely unrelated to Ananus successor, he is less newsworthy. So the fact that it is very slightly improbable that James would be related to Jesus ben Damneus is, I believe, more than enough countered by the increased probability that James’ story would be told at all if this was the case.

      As for exactly how upset the Jews were, Josephus writes: “those who seemed the most equitable of the citizens, and such as were the most uneasy at the breach of the laws, they disliked what was done; they also sent to the king [Agrippa], desiring him to send to Ananus that he should act so no more, for that what he had already done was not to be justified”. So clearly they were upset. I don’t think your speculation of how upset they should be given x or y is of any value, given how very little we know about the conflict. As for your opinion that James was ‘not prominent’, I think this is directly contradicted by the fact that Josephus mentions that several people were put to death along with James, yet only James’ name is mentioned. So clearly he was of at least some prominence.

      Again, you fail to define what it would mean for someone to be ‘high priest material’. You mention Ananus the elder had several children who were, in your view, ‘high priest material’. How so? Good genes, or what? I think what this tells us is simply that it required no extraordinary qualifications to be high priest and that this was mostly a factor of having the right connections. So indeed if some political faction wanted to depose Ananus, or even just if Agrippa independently wanted to right a wrong, they would very likely find a brother or other relative of James who was adequately qualified.

      As for my contention that Josephus considered Ananus the younger to be a bad high priest, this is simply what Josephus writes himself, contrasting him with his father: “But this younger Ananus, who, as we have told you already, took the high priesthood, was a bold man in his temper, and very insolent; he was also of the sect of the Sadducees, who are very rigid in judging offenders, above all the rest of the Jews, as we have already observed; when, therefore, Ananus was of this disposition, he thought he had now a proper opportunity [to exercise his authority].”

      So the fact that Josephus has other good things to say about Ananus, about his opposition to war with the Romans, etcetera, this does in no way contradict my conclusion that in Josephus’ view, Ananus the younger was not ‘high priest material’, at least not at the time when he actually became high priest.

    2. 35.2
      Stone

      Carrier has suggested in his new article that the only James referenced in this passage is a brother of a “Jesus son of Damneus”. The problem with that is that this “Jesus son of Damneus” ends up being perfectly friendly with Ananus — after the latter supposedly went after the life of “Jesus son of Damneus”‘s own brother! As Bernard Muller points out:

      “Notice that Jesus son of Damneus had joined him [Ananus] towards the end. Rather odd if Ananus arranged for his brother to be executed!”

      Yes, rather odd indeed. The James whom Ananus prosecuted cannot, then, have been a relative of “Jesus son of Damneus” after all. So if this persecuted James was not a brother of this “Jesus son of Damneus”, who was he really? Could Jesus son of Damneus really be so forgiving if the James whom Ananus had stoned was his own brother?

      Carrier’s article is important, because it’s the first peer-vetted article of this kind in a professional journal. But how well does this interpretation stand up of the Who and the What for this James? Once this “Jesus son of Damneus” is seen eventually joining up with Ananus(!), this James might still be construed to be lots of things, but not a brother of “Jesus son of Damneus”.

      Stone

    3. Richard Carrier

      That’s not so odd in the context of ancient politics…and in the extraordinary circumstances of civil conflict (when Jesus fought Jesus) and then a war with Rome.

      But do note that Bernard Muller is not a reliable thinker, IMO. I have had enough experience with his poor treatment of logic and the sources on my blogs in the past to roll my eyes now any time I see his name.

      This is a case in point. I think Bernard might be either confusing a different high priest named Jesus, the Jesus who succeeded ben Damneus: Jesus ben Galmaliel, not Jesus ben Damneus (AJ 20.213), or a different high priest Ananus, the father of the deposed Ananus (AJ 20.205). And though this Ananus was the bad Ananus’ father, he extensively bribed Jesus ben Damneus to gain his favor. So there is nothing hard to explain here.

      At any rate, I’d need to see exactly what he is referring to that puts the right Jesus together with the right Ananus.

    4. 35.3
      Bruce Grubb

      I know this is a late entry but Bernard Muller’s claim regarding Josephus’ Wars, IV, V, 2 came up in in a thread over at the James Randi Educational Foundation and I thought it best to correct what to my eyes is a misrepresentation

      Thankfully an unadulterated version of Josephus’ War is on line (http://www.earlyjewishwritings.com/text/josephus/war4.html) and the actual phrase “Jesus the son of Damneus” appears NOWHERE in Book 4 (in fact the only reference to him in this version is in the footnote to a sentence in Chapter 3 paragraph 6).

      “The best esteemed also of the high priests, Jesus the son of Gamalas, and Ananus the son of Ananus when they were at their assemblies, bitterly reproached the people for their sloth, and excited them against the zealots; for that was the name they went by, as if they were zealous in good undertakings, and were not rather zealous in the worst actions, and extravagant in them beyond the example of others.”

      Since Josephus introduces Jesus the son of Gamalas and Ananus the son of Ananus together as high priests in Chapter 3 paragraph 9 and make NO mention of “Jesus son of Damneus” this logically must be the Jesus and Ananus pair Josephus talks about Chapter 5 paragraph 2!

      So logically the passage is

      they [the Idumeans] sought for the high priests [former high priests Ananus, son of Ananus and Jesus, son of Gamalas]…Jesus [son of Gamalas] was also joined with him.

      Unless Bernard Muller’ can show where Josephus tells his reader that he has shifted from writing about Jesus the son of Gamalas to Jesus son of Damneus I call foul on his presentation of this passage.

    5. Richard Carrier

      Right. Before I read your comment, I already made the same point in response to someone else.

      This is SOP for Bernard Muller, BTW. Don’t ever trust he has the facts or logic right. Always double check. And if double checking is too much effort to be worth the bother, you will probably be safe just ignoring him.

    6. 35.4
      bernardmuller

      Bruce Grubb wrote:

      “Unless Bernard Muller’ can show where Josephus tells his reader that he has shifted from writing about Jesus the son of Gamalas to Jesus son of Damneus I call foul on his presentation of this passage.”

      My answer: At Wars IV, V, 2, the Jesus, said to have made a speech to the people and is a supporter of Ananus, son of Ananus, (and later both killed) was previously mentioned in Wars, IV, IV, 3, as “Jesus, the eldest of the high priests next to Ananus” (son of Ananus).

      Next, that Jesus is said to make a (big) speech in favor of Ananus’ party. So it is the same Jesus in both passages. No other Jesus is mentioned between the two aforementioned paragraphs.

      And the eldest of the high priests called Jesus next to Ananus (son of Ananus) is Jesus, son of Damneus. Jesus, son of Gamaliel (or Gamalas), came later as a high priest.

      Cordially, Bernard

    7. Richard Carrier

      …the eldest of the high priests called Jesus next to Ananus (son of Ananus) is Jesus, son of Damneus.

      Where do you find the age of Jesus ben Damneus? I don’t see Josephus ever mentioning that anywhere.

      (Perhaps you don’t know that geraitatos means older as in older by age, not older as in less recent?)

    8. 35.5
      Johan Rönnblom

      I think there is something in IV, III, 9 that suggests he may indeed be referring to Jesus (son on Gamalas):

      “The best esteemed also of the high priests, Jesus the son of Gamalas, and Ananus the son of Ananus when they were at their assemblies, bitterly reproached the people[...]”

      Not only can we see that Jesus son of Gamalas and Ananus seem to have been allies at the time. But also, and Richard might be able to correct me here, it seems plausible that ‘eldest’ may in fact also mean something very similar to ‘most esteemed’.

    9. Richard Carrier

      (Yes, “eldest” can mean “most esteemed,” although usually precisely because of the esteem of greater age.)

  36. 36
    Sili

    What about the reference to John the Baptist? Isn’t that also supposed to be more appreciative than what is characteristic of Josephus?

    I was rather shocked to learn that our only evidence for John is Josephus. I had assumed that he was a fairly well-attested figure, and that that was why Mark added him into the narrative – to lend legitimacy to Jesus.

    1. 36.1
      Richard Carrier

      There may be Christian interpolations in the Josephus passage about John the Baptist, although I’m not convinced the whole thing is. The story he tells is too characteristic of Josephus, well-suited to its context, and disagrees with Christian versions of the same events. But there are those who have made arguments.

    2. 36.2
      bernardmuller

      I do not think “eldest” here deals with the age of the high priest. However now I think “eldest” means the most venerable (next to Ananus the younger), which is very close to “best esteemed” describing earlier Jesus son of Gamalas and Ananus. In other words, I am withdrawing from my previous understanding and I admit the Jesus who was murdered with Ananus was most likely Jesus of Gamalas.
      What changed my mind is the meaning of the Greek root word for “eldest” which can mean “venerable/esteemed”. I should have checked the Greek.
      I’ll be withdrawing that auxilliary argument.
      Cordially, Bernard

  37. 37
    bernardmuller

    Johan wrote:
    “I’m suggesting that Josephus did indeed write about James because his execution was the pivotal event that led to a change of high priest.”
    My reply: I agree.

    Johan wrote:
    “If James had been completely unrelated to Ananus successor, he is less newsworthy.”
    My reply: If James, the brother of Jesus called Christ, had been executed for breaking the Law after being judged by the Sanhedrin, that would be also newsworthy, from the point of view of a non-Christian. But the main reason for Josephus to narrate James’ passage was to explain why Ananus (who was for Josephus a very great man, as hero, saint and martyr) was demoted so quickly.

    Johan wrote:
    “As for exactly how upset the Jews were, … So clearly they were upset.”
    My reply: Yes they were upset (but not outraged) but not because James & other were executed, but because Ananus breached civil laws.

    Johan wrote:
    “As for your opinion that James was ‘not prominent’”
    My reply: I meant James (brother of Jesus called Christ) was not from a prominent family.

    Johan wrote:
    “Again, you fail to define what it would mean for someone to be ‘high priest material’”
    My reply: Among other things, be literate (that eliminates 90% of the population), be male (we are down to only 5% now), knowing the Hebrews scriptures (more so the Law) and most likely: being (at least) a priest, from a family in good standing and well respected by his peers.
    Josephus told us some high priests had a father who was high priest himself: five sons of Ananus the elder and Joseph son of Simon.
    Three other high priests had the same father (Boethus): Simon, Joazar, and Eleazar.
    Joazar was Matthias’s wife’s brother.
    According to gJohn, Caiphas was the son in law of Ananus the elder.
    That’s 14 out of 28 high priests with family ties (from Herod the Great’s era to 70).
    Furthermore, Simon, son of Boethus was one father in law of Herod the Great.

    So I do not see as probable a James, executed for breaking the Law, had a brother with credentials to be high priest.

    I just found one interesting item:
    “WHEN Archelaus was entered on his ethnarchy, and was come into Judea, he accused Joazar, the son of Boethus, of assisting the seditious, and took away the high priesthood from him, and put Eleazar his brother in his place.” (AJ 17.339)
    Notice:
    a) Josephus did not write “Eleazar, son of Boethus”, but “Eleazar his brother”.
    b) Joazar was accused of helping the seditious: no need to be a martyr to have your brother being the new high priest!

    Johan wrote:
    “very insolent”
    My reply: the Greek underlying “insolent” means only ‘venturous’.

    Johan wrote:
    “So the fact that Josephus has other good things to say about Ananus, about his opposition to war with the Romans, etcetera, this does in no way contradict my conclusion that in Josephus’ view, Ananus the younger was not ‘high priest material’, at least not at the time when he actually became high priest.”
    My reply: Many good things that Josephus wrote about Ananus the younger have nothing to do with that Ananus’ relation with the Romans. Reread the passage I quoted in my earlier posting.

    Cordially, Bernard

  38. 38
    Johan Rönnblom

    In response to Bernard Muller:

    “If James, the brother of Jesus called Christ, had been executed for breaking the Law after being judged by the Sanhedrin, that would be also newsworthy, from the point of view of a non-Christian.”

    Why? Mind you, in this age the idea of personal individual responsibility was not what it was today. If you were the brother of another blasphemer who had likewise been executed, that would very much count against you. It is what everyone would expect and thus not newsworthy.

    If influential Jews were upset about Ananus’ transgressions and wanted to take action, remember again that James and ‘some others’ had been put to death. Surely among these others they would then have found a more suitable cause célèbre than a person with such baggage?

    “Among other things, be literate (that eliminates 90% of the population), be male (we are down to only 5% now), knowing the Hebrews scriptures (more so the Law) and most likely: being (at least) a priest, from a family in good standing and well respected by his peers.”

    A lot of those things are overlapping. If you are literate you are likely to be from a family in good standing and you’re almost certain to be knowledgeable about Hebrew scriptures. Again, Ananus’ put to death James and ‘some others’. We don’t know how many – it could be 20, it could be 5. If it was two or three it seems likely Josephus would have written two or three. So let’s conservatively assume there were four others. Let’s assume they each had 2 brothers on average – I hope you agree this is not a high estimate. Then we have 10 brothers and by your math it is already likely we have one who is ‘high priest material’. But we also have their fathers and uncles and cousins. It doesn’t have to be a brother. So in fact the odds are overwhelming that there will be some close family who can be instated as high priest in order to right this wrong.

    But all this assumes that those executed were random people. This requires that the influential Jews who moved to depose Ananus were some sort of ancient-day ACLU who would eagerly take on the case of any simple peasant. This seems unlikely, especially since we know how corrupt the institution was at least seen to be in these days. More likely, Ananus had managed to upset at least one well-connected family with political influence and this is why he was deposed.

  39. 39
    kwame ajamu

    Okay I wont argue my position anymore, but you made a statement that titus didnt have an ancestor named Peter, well he had a Grandfather named Titus Flavius Petro, allow me to show evidance of that here if you say okay I will just post that proof here and then no more on caeser and jesus, by the way I saw your presentations on youtube and I concure almost 100% lets say 99.9. Keeep up the good work.

    1. 39.1
      Richard Carrier

      Okay. Let’s see your evidence of that one claim.

  40. 40
    Kwame Ajamu

    Titus Flavius Petro (fl 1st century BC) was the paternal grandfather of the Roman Emperor Vespasian.
    He was allegedly the son of a contracted laborer, who each summer crossed the Po to assist the Sabines with their harvests. However, Suetonius wrote that his careful research failed to support this story. Petro was born and raised in Reate, in Sabinia, Italy. He fought for Pompey in Caesar’s Civil War and as a Centurion or a volunteer reservist. Leaving the battlefield of Pharsalus in Greece, he secured a discharge with a full pardon and became a tax collector.
    He married a woman called Tertulla (c. 40 BC – aft. 9 AD), who was the Preceptor of her grandson Vespasian, daughter of Tertullus and wife, and had a son Titus Flavius Sabinus.[1]
    [edit]See also

    Flavia (gens)
    [edit]References

    Christian Settipani. Continuité gentilice et continuité sénatoriale dans les familles sénatoriales romaines à l’époque impériale, 2000[page needed]
    ^ Suetonius, The Twelve Caesars – Vespasian[page needed]
    Categories: 1st-century BC RomansAncient Roman soldiersFlaviiPeople from Lazio
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    1. 40.1
      Richard Carrier

      That’s Vespasian’s grandfather, not Titus’s. And that’s a century before Christianity (so can’t be connected to it). And Petro is not Peter. Petro is Latin for ram. Peter (Petros/Petra) is Greek for rock. These are not even the same words. (If a Roman were to take the Greek name, he would take the actual corresponding spelling Petrus or Petra, not Petro; conversely, if the apostle were adopting the Latin name, it would be spelled in Greek Petrôn, not Petros.)

      Thus what you said before was simply incorrect (here and here). Titus had no such grandfather, and there was no Flavian with the same name as the apostle Peter, nor any Flavian with even a similar-sounding name within a century of the apostle Peter (and certainly no such Flavian living anywhere in the Middle East; Petro lived out his life in Italy and died before Christianity even existed).

  41. 41
    Kwame Ajamu

    Suetonius, The Lives of the Caesars

    p281 The Life of Vespasian

    1 1 The empire, which for a long time had been unsettled and, as it were, drifting, through the usurpation and violent death of three emperors, was at last taken in hand and given stability by the Flavian family. This house was, it is true, obscure and without family portraits, yet it was one of which our country had no reason whatever to be ashamed, even though it is the general opinion that the penalty which Domitian paid for his avarice and cruelty was fully merited.

    2 Titus Flavius Petro, a burgher of Reate and during the civil war a centurion or a volunteer veteran1 on Pompey’s side, fled from the field of Pharsalus and went home, where after at last obtaining pardon and an honourable discharge, he carried on the business of a collector of moneys. His son, surnamed Sabinus (although some say that he was an ex-centurion of the first grade; others that while still in command of a cohort he was retired because of ill-health) took no part in military life, but farmed the public tax of a fortieth2 in Asia. p283And there existed for some time statues erected in his honour by the cities of Asia, inscribed “To an honest tax-gatherer.” 3 Later he carried on a banking business in the Helvetian country and there he died, survived by his wife, Vespasia Polla, and by two of her children, of whom the elder, Sabinus, rose to the rank of prefect of Rome, and the younger, Vespasian, even to that of emperor. Polla, who was born of an honourable family at Nursia, had for father Vespasius Pollio, thrice tribune of the soldiers and prefect of the camp,3 while her brother became a senator with the rank of praetor. There is moreover on the top of a mountain, near the sixth milestone on the road from Nursia to Spoletium, a place called Vespasiae, where many monuments of the Vespasii are to be seen, affording strong proof of the renown and antiquity of the house.a 4 I ought to add that some have bandied about the report, that Petro’s father came from the region beyond the Po and was a contractor for the day-labourers who come regularly every year from Umbria to the Sabine district, to till the fields; but that he settled in the town of Reate and there married. Personally I have found no evidence whatever of this, in spite of rather careful investigation.

    2 1 Vespasian was born in the Sabine country, in a small village beyond Reate, called Falacrina,b on the evening of the fifteenth day before the Kalends of December, in the consulate of Quintus Sulpicius Camerinus and Gaius Poppaeus Sabinus, five years before the death of Augustus. He was brought up under the care of his paternal gran

    1. 41.1
      Richard Carrier

      See above.

  42. 42
    1. 42.1
      Richard Carrier

      Anyone who wants to continue conversing with you is hereby directed to email you there. No further discussion of these matters is appropriate in this comment thread.

  43. 43
    kwame ajamu

    You closed the discusion, I respect your wishes on your blog, and I appreciate your willingness to share and bring all your time and knowledge to us. But It was I who failed to articulate what I was trying to say concerning this matter, I was trying to say that petros was the little pebble that brought the flavians to be emperors and to be made in a sense messiahs, and I had more, scholarly takes on his name, but I will respect you and ask can I open a discussion, on all the paralylls, and if you all(Biblical researchers and scholars) agree that much, if not most of the NT, is based on JF works, then either they(late first century christian writers of NT), was either copying JF, or the two documents NT and JF, were written by the same folks, trying to fabricate what turned out to be the Christian religion.

    Can you at least admit that, that if one theory is not right, then the other is, cause there is a whole lot more paralylls than what we discussed here, and a lot more than Joe Atwill put in his book.

    So, can I open a discussion on this here on your blog?

    After all, we all want the truth to Christian origins to be solved. On one of your videos, you admitted to being wrong on the historicity of Christ, and that took a big man to do, so I know you are looking for the truth as well, so, instead of talking endlessly about little facts on if Joshepus wrote christ or not in his works, lets focus on the bigger truth, who created the Christian myth, and for the die-hearts, if JC was a myth or a man, although to my mind any thinking person knows he’s about as real as santa,Okay?

    1. 43.1
      Richard Carrier

      No, I’m not interested in this theory. It is one of hundreds. And I don’t have time to discuss hundreds of theories. So I can’t give any privilege to yours. I’m more interested in far more provable and far less ambitious theories of Christian origins, because the evidence is too poor to prove more.

  44. 44
    kwame ajamu

    Dr. Carrier, what do you say of the fact that the flavians are the earliest known authentic Christians? I just have a lot of unanswered questions, I will not argue the fact that you already, to your mind have debunked, but my questions concerning these facts haven’t been answered.

    This is a legitamet question, and not of, as you say silly sort!

    1. 44.1
      Richard Carrier

      I assume you are referring to the Flavian family members exiled for atheism by Domitian. There is no evidence that had anything to do with Christianity; it was vaguely connected to Judaism (Jews evangelized, seeking converts, in those days, a problem the emperors occasionally legislated against). Dio Cassius and Suetonius, our only viable sources for the event, knew what Christians were and yet made no mention of Christians in this account. Later Christian authors then fabricated a legend out of it that had no basis in historical fact. See my discussion in Not the Impossible Faith, p. 157.

  45. 45
    kwame ajamu

    I am refering to the pseudo clementines in which clement Flavian was said to be pope, the first, then later to be abridged to fourthrth, in the catholic bible, we know that was probably bishop, as I think, you in your book was refering to as well as a legend., but as all the other evidance from joshepus’ works point in the other direction, i’ll have to stick to my original theory on that, but also since I am reading voraciously the complete works of said in above oldtime author, I am finding facts of original Jesus made up by romans hypothesis that Atwill did not put in his book.

    Like Joshepus’ name being bar or ben matthyyu or matthia in greek, or “just plain ole son of matthew, so he be called matthew as that is his in a sense family name, and in the vita or life bio of Joshepus, right at the beginning, the first book could be called matthew, in his works just like the first book of the gospels, and the book starts ot with his geneology just like the gospel matthew, and then the story of his being a child protegy in learning presumably of the intrpretation of Torah as he gives the same story of jewish teachers coming from all around to hear his interpretation of Torah as they did jesus’ in the gospel.of luke.

    And in Eisenmans book James the brother of Jesus, Eisenman interprets the name theudas, a name in the gospels associated with the radical jews to mean Judas Thomas, or judas the twin, and this is supposed too, in the form of judas Thomas or as Didymose Thomas which Eisenman says means Twin Twin, and the gospel speaks of Theudas being before Judas of Galilee, yet Joshepus puts Judas the galilean, about 40 years prior , around 6 bc, approxmatly, around the same time as Jesus’ supposed birth, and Judas the Galilean was supposed to be the start of the trouble that helped start the war of 70 ad, and Joshepus describes him as a sort of essene type fourth philosophy of the Jews, much like the Sacari/Essene movement, but described by Joshepus as being almost exactly like the Christian movement, but radical like the militant Essenes, i submit that the Judas the galilean movement was the one that was used to copy and turn into christianity, with the Romans turning Judas’ movement and Judas, as one of the main models of their fake Christian movement, Joshepus has the Judas the galilean movement as starting a riot based on having to pay taxes to the Romans, and has Judas damn! near mimicking Jesus’ when he (jesus)says, Render onto caeser the things of Caeser and Render unto God the things of God, I cant remember Judas the galileans exact wording, but it was the exact opposite of Jesus’, and that where the occultaion of the names Theudas, Judas Thomas the supposed twin of jesus or James, and the Didymose Thomas comes in, in other words, Judas the Galileans movement is the model for Christianity but put in an opposite, pacificstic opposite, and I know Judaism was prosyletistic at that time, thats why they, the Romans changed it, after they wiped out Judaism, and they also stared, or gave money to rabbi Johanan i cant recall his name, the one that supposedly shot an arrow in Vespasiens camp, they gave him money and land to start what is today Rabbinical Jewdaism, they, the Romans, started two branches of Judaism, both that was friendly to Rome, one mimiking messianic juddaism, one that cared not for a temple, around where a lot of the hot bed that caused them to destroy jerusalem and the temple, one from the pharisitic branch that was composed of egg-head intellectuals, that cared little for the temple and least nationalistic, one for the hot heads as Eisenman calls them(the radicals messianist), that was cooled down by the fake, roman loving, never was messiah.

    The real Jesus will never be found looking in the direction of anything but the Romans, not to sound like a fundamentalist Christian. Ihope you can follow my stream of thought here as I am trying to be more articular.

    1. 45.1
      Richard Carrier

      That’s all late fabricated legend. There is no real evidence any such Clementine Pope was in any way involved in the Domitian affair or was even a Flavian.

  46. 46
    kwame ajamu

    I understand that you know much more on this subject, but I disagree on the paper you wrote, on the basis that I think the scribe, that put up the so-called nottatoin, (if there was any notation) put there the christ jesus) because somehow, it had been taken out from a mistake,originally, and this scribe, having seen evidance, from the earlier work from another scholar, stating that the christ part was there, then put it in the margins or notes to reinsert it, reason being, that you havent yet decoded the sorrounding sentences, and you havent told me who decius mundas is, or why an obviously pagean deception story, is included, with a calamity amongst the Jews, nor why both husbands, in the stories are named saturninus, an obvious referrence to the Jewish god yahweh.

    I cant take the conclusion of your paper as the serious end all on the matter, until I am sure, that you have analyzed the sorrounding sentences, correctly, before I am ready to accept your theory as sufficent, nor should the scholarly community.

    I am reserved about taking the scholarly community seriously as little more than translators for these ancient languages, because they seem to go on assumptions, if you can’t come up with what the sorrounding sentences are, then you cant say your methods for the paper you wrote are fullproof!.

    1. 46.1
      Richard Carrier

      This argument is not intelligible to me, and does not seem to be accurately aware of the actual content of my article on Josephus.

    2. kwame ajamu

      I am not really saying that that is what I actually believe, I’m just saying that sounds, too me!, as how incomplete your answer for Jesus in Joshepus, unless you deal with the whole paragraph on the sorrounding texts reads, in pondering that puzzle, you just cant attack one little sentence, although you are attacking it alone.
      You must see the all around message.

      I just don’t see why you scholars don’t recognize the deceit in Joshepus’ works and why it was even written, there are just obvious allusions to the Christian fake job, in gospels and JW, look at how the original Sacarii leader Judas of galilee is Judas Iscasriot turned around to be the traitor and this imaginary Jesus and his movement taken along with the Essene movement is Christianity, but obviously in reverse, don’t you guys see that!.

      As soon as I began to read JW, I could see the parallels, like mattew as the first book of the gospels and it could be said that the vita is the same name, the first book in JW as it is in Joshepus (Matthews), and the geneology in the same place, and please! don’t say that a lot of Jewish works have a geneology, and scholars even thinking that JW and the gospels having perhaps the same teacher of Greek, it is so similar, how about them(the Romans) obviously trying to say that look guys, we’re the same folks writing both, JW and gospels.

      Jw and the Gospels being appendage to gather, I just don’t understand why it’s not obvious to you and should have been right from the start. The first Christian churches being in exactly the same place as emperor worship centers, and The coinage of Domitian having his dead infant sitting over the globe with 7 stars circling him, a refferance to to the resurrected Jesus, son of a god(domition) inheiriting the rulership of the world, Titus’ symbol alone with Agustus Caesers and Christian symbology being the dolphin wraped around an anchor, and the Flavians having revived emperor worship.

      Gospel was used to announce the birth of Caeser in imperial worship, or the news of the birth of Gods chosen leader (Caeser), and the prophetic star in messianic prophecy being the same in the Emperoe of Romes fable, Jw saying that ne cause of the war of 70 being the battle of messianic claiments between Caeser and the radical Jews, the allusion to Emperor worship being part of Christian worship, the socalled witherd arm miracles of Vespasian and the spittle of V, healing blind people, COME ON! why would the Romans even let this Gospel be distributed without destroying it and have to had been hidden to survive like the Dead Sea scrolls, JW even states this that the prophecy of a world leader coming out of Jerusalem to be about the Flavian father and son rulers Vespasian and Titus, who shared pro counsel or whatever they called it, it’s just too obvious, anybody on this blog please read JW, and if you are not blind you will see it too, and then Constantine, naming himself Flavius after he made Christianity legal and even lied about the sign of the cross or chi-ro, granting him victory, that evidence supercedes any paleograohy.

      Some scholars, ken Humphries and the other scholar from Australia has seen it and even Oliver smith sees Joshsepus Matthias as the name of the anagram Joseph of Arimathia, come on the parallels of the three men on a cross in JW, of a judas trying to betray the rebel leader at the temple gate, but the romans not believing him its just too obvious, the case on Christianity should have been discovered as soon as scholarship started to critically examine the gospels.

      We shouldn’t even be having this conversation now, the truth has been out there since the 90′s ce.!

      Even Stevey Wonder would see that!.

    3. Richard Carrier

      I am not really saying that that is what I actually believe, I’m just saying that sounds, too me!, as how incomplete your answer for Jesus in Joshepus, unless you deal with the whole paragraph on the sorrounding texts reads, in pondering that puzzle, you just cant attack one little sentence, although you are attacking it alone.

      The fact that in the article I wrote in this passage I do do that is what I mean by you have not read the article or are not paying heed to what’s in it.

      And that renders moot all the rest of your rambling.

      I am not going to continue approving these long rants. You are violating my comments policy by not listening and not responding to what I have actually said or written.

  47. 47
    Bernard

    Dr Carrier,
    Did you envision Josephus might have written only “brought before them James by name and some others”?
    Why not?
    Cordially, Bernard

    1. 47.1
      Richard Carrier

      I don’t. I think that’s less likely than the thesis I lay out in my article.

  48. 48
    Eddie Ayala

    Hi Richard, thanks for responding to my comment from a different topic, and I should have done this using this article seeing that it relates what I’ve been debating for sometime now this past week and a half. I wanted to ask if you could visit the following link (http://www.debate.org/debates/Is-the-foundation-for-Morality-Natural-or-Supernatural/1/) in the comments sections, notice this user named JanetSanders who isn’t convinced that Jesus wasn’t a real historical figure and the evidence that are for him is insufficient. I’ve run out of information and I wanted an experts view of the debate that he’s been putting forth in the comments section. I’m named as SimpleObserverofThings and I’ve trying to show that Janet’s assertions are wrong thoroughly but in particular Jesus being historical person. Also, I’ve looking for copies of the transcripts that you’ve highlighted in your Skepicon lecture (i.e Peter and Paul) so I can show that these transcript help with that seeing Jesus wasn’t really resurrected or else the transcript would have had a different tone. Hope to hear from you soon!

    1. 48.1
      Richard Carrier

      You’ll just have to wait for my book and get them to read it. I don’t have time to individually tutor every skeptic on earth. That’s why I write books.

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