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From: (Jared Linn Olar)
Subject: Re: Jesus
Date: 15 Jul 2004 09:04:02 -0700
References: <5d20e7f.0407142117.1d9c5e83@posting.google.com> <20040715101224.2459.qmail@web41701.mail.yahoo.com>


(Francisco Antonio Doria) wrote in message
> the Josephus interpolation. I went there and looked
> for myself - it's an obvious interpolation, the whole
> reference.

Actually the controversy over the so-called Testimonium Flavianum
still rages. Some few still argue that it is completely legitimate,
while others argue as you do, that the entire passage was a later
interpolation. Another camp argues that Josephus did indeed mention
Jesus and His death under Pontius Pilate, but that later Christians
added certain passages that Josephus obviously would never have
written. I fall into this latter camp.

As I recall, a medieval Melkite Christian named Agapius of Hierapolis
wrote a world chronicle in Arabic in which he quoted this passage from
Josephus -- but it is most interesting that Agapius' quote doesn't
have any of the obviously Christian phrases. It reads like something
a non-Christian Jew of the late first century could have written.
Agapius was a Christian, so he had no reason to delete those passages
if they existed in the copy (or quote) of Josephus to which he had
access -- indeed, he surely would have included the entire traditional
Testimonium Flavianum. So it seems that Agapius preserved the
original, authentic reading of the Testimonium.

Josephus also related the account of the death of James "the Lord's
Brother," calling him, "the brother of Jesus the so-called Christ," as
well as the death of John the Baptist. Those passages betray not the
slightest trace of interpolation.

> I'm not saying that Jesus never existed; on the
> contrary, what I'm saying is that the historical Jesus
> was an amalgam of several historical individuals.
>
> fa

There is very little grounds for such a hypothesis. The Gospels and
New Testament epistles are all first century primary sources, not to
mention extrabiblical Christian writings of the first century. So are
Tacitus and Suetonius (and Josephus). In what other historical case
would one advance such a hypothesis that an amply documented and
attested person was actually an amalgam of several historical
individuals? Well, there is the Zuckerman thesis about
Theuderic/Makhir and William of Gellone, but our own Nat Taylor
handily dispatched that one a few years ago. ;-)

Jared Linn Olar


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