I was just wondering if Josephus ever mentioned the Apostle Paul in any of his writings? Thanks!


Josephus does not mention Paul in any of the writings we have from him.  Some have tried to use the lack if his mention of Paul to create doubt about the reliability of the New Testament–even going so far as to question that Paul was a real person.  This is an extremely weak argument.  As far as I know, I have never mentioned President Putin in any of my thousands of pages I have published at this web site.  Is that evidence that he does not exist or that he is not a famous peron?  No.  I have not mentioned him in any of my writings because, as important as he is, nothing he has said or done is particularly important to what I write about.

Josephus does not mention Paul (at least as far as we know), probably because Paul did not live in Palestine. HIs ministry was to the Greek-speaking, Gentile world and Josephus did not write about those people.  All of his writings are about the Jews and those who interacted with the Jews.  Why would Josephus, writing about the history of the Jews in Palestine, mention Paul who was from Tarsus which is in Southeastern Turkey today? What would have been surprising is if Josephus had mentioned Paul, as he spent rather little time in Palestine.

About Paul, as far as I know, not a single reputable historian who is acquainted with the evidence doubt that Paul was a real person.  Even such hardened sketics as Robert Price, who questions most of what we know of Jesus, agrees that Paul was a real person who was influential in establishing Christianity.   A couple of years ago I listened to a podcast by Bart Ehrman, who is one of the most well-know scholars who opposes Christianity and the inspiration of the Bible.  An atheist called in to Ehrman claiming that Paul did not exist, using the fact that Josephus does not mention Paul.  Ehrman chided the atheist guy, telling him that making such foolish claims make atheism look bad.  He told him that doubting the reality of Paul as a person would amount to denying virtually everything we think we know about the Romans world.

There are a lot of things not mentioned by Josephus.  The fact that he did not mention Paul is really not evidence of anything except that he was not relevant to the topics Josephus wrote about.

John Oakes

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