The “Testimonium Flavium” (Antiquities 18:3.3)
About this time there lived Jesus, a wise man, if indeed one ought to call him a man. For he was one who wrought surprising feats and was a teacher of such people as accept the truth gladly. He won over many Jews and many of the Greeks. He was the Messiah. When Pilate, upon hearing him accused by men of the highest standing amongst us, had condemned him to be crucified, those who had in the first place come to love him did not give up their affection for him. On the third day he appeared to them restored to life, for the prophets of God had prophesied these and countless other marvelous things about him. And the tribe of Christians, so called after him, has still to this day not disappeared.
Agapius, an Arab Christian in 9th century quotes the original, leaving out the parts in italics. Note the passage reads grammatically well without the parts in italics.
Mythicists say that the original of Agapius is “wholesale forgery.” This is mere rhetoric. Where is their evidence that this is a forgery? They have none. You can completely discount this unsupported claim.
About the reverence by Josephus to James, the brother of Jesus, it is interesting that the opponents make two arguments: 1. That the Jesus in this passage from Josephus is not actually the Jesus we know. and 2. That this passage was not in the original of Josephus. Well, they need to decide which is their argument!!! If it was not in the original, what is all this talk about it being someone else? If it is really someone else, then what is all this talk about it not being in Josephus in the first place? What this does is it points out that the goal of Richard Carrier and friends is not to discover the truth, but to make a seemingly desperate attempt to undermine the Josephus passages any way they can. They say “who is called Messiah” is an interpolation. What is their evidence for this? I strongly suspect that they are simple saying this as an ad hoc argument. In other words, they do not like that “who is called Messiah” is there–it goes against their desired conclusion, so they simply make up the argument that it was not in the original out of thin air. In fact, the article from historyforatheists completely discounts the claim that the mention of Jesus the brother of James is not in the original. He tells us that no scholar will agree with this. This gives you an idea of how unreliable Richard Carrier is. I believe that the article by this atheist group is actually quite balanced. They certainly have no reason to give unneeded support to the reality of Jesus, but this atheist concludes that the James the brother of Jesus who is called Messiah is in the original. This proves that these “amateur mythicists” are simply blowing smoke to distract us from what the evidence says. Here is what the evidence says: Josephus was aware of Jesus who was known of as Messiah. Josephus appears not to accept this designation, but he reports that there were people who did consider him as Messiah. He reports his death under Pilate, but he almost certainly does NOT support the resurrection or the claim that Jesus was God. This is what the evidence points to, and you would do well to ignore these uncareful mythicists such as Richard Carrier who are showing evidence of wishful thinking.