Did Alice Whealey prove conclusively that Agapius was translating the Syriac edition not of Josephus, but of Eusebius and did she refute the thesis that the Arabic fragment of the Testimonium supports its authenticity?


I have not read Alice Whealy’s discussion of the Testamonium Flavianum in its entirety.  In fact, I have only read the abstract, the introduction, and a small portion of the text.  However, I have read enough that I think I can give a reasonably useful answer to your question.  I get a sense from your question that you have not read what Whealey wrote, but what a critic of the reliability of the Bible has said about her article.  This is unfortunate, as I detect bias.
Here, in a nutshell, is what Whealy concludes.  First, she reminds readers of the work of the earlier scholar, Shlomo Pines. In 1971, Pines published a groundbreaking study of a 10th century Arab fragment of Josephus’ Antiquities and did a comparison of the Greek textus receptus of Josephus to the Arabic fragment.  Pines concluded that the Arabic fragment of Josephus was probably closer, if not identical, to the original of Josephus. In other words, he proposed that there was indeed a Christian interpolation [material unfortunately added to the original work of Josephus by a Christian believer trying to boost its “proof” of Jesus] of Josephus. Shlomo noted that the Arabic version of Josephus was missing parts of the Greek textus receptus which was “fishy,” because it seemed more like a Christian commentary than something Josephus, a non-Christian, would have written.  He proposed that the shorter Arabic version is closer to what Josephus wrote. It is fair to say that many have accepted the work of Pines as likely to be correct.  If we take Pines at his word, Josephus did indeed mention Jesus of Nazareth, including that he had many followers and that he was crucified, but part of the Greek text is an interpolation. Note: At the bottom of this article, I have the relevant section of Josephus Antiquities 18:3,3, with the proposed original of Shlomo, and with the proposed interpolated material in italics.
Whealey attempts to update and to improve on the work of Pines. She notes that we actually have two different non-Greek manuscripts of Josephus’ Jewish Wars, including the Arabic manuscript from the 10th century, which Shlomo analyzed, but also a Syriac version from the 12th century.  Whealey argues that the Syriac manuscript, which is closer to the Greek textus receptus of Josephus, is most likely also closer to the original of Josephus. She does not deny the role of Eusebius, but she does conclude that Josephus did in fact mention Jesus of Nazareth. What is new from Whealey is that she believes the Syriac is closest of the three ancient manuscripts to what Josephus originally wrote.
Like I have said, I have not read this work, so it is hard for me to decide if Whealey argues compellingly.  However, let me speculate that if I were to read this treatment, I believe that it is likely that her argument would be suggestive, if not compelling.  Here is the important thing for us to recognize about the work of Whealey.   We should note what Whealey does not do.  Her article is NOT a repudiation of the Testamonium Flavium.  In fact, Whealey argues that the current Greek text is probably closer to the original than Pines has suggested.  Whealey’s work is NOT a repudiation of the commonly accepted understanding that Josephus mentioned the ministry of Jesus or the means of death of Jesus.  If anything, it is a stronger support, both for the reliability of the Bible, and for the original textus receptus  of Josephus than the work of Pines in the 1970s implied.  She did not, as you inquire, refute the idea that the Testimonium Flavium supports the authenticity of the New Testament.  In fact, she does quite the opposite.  She makes the case for the reliability of the New Testament stronger, not weaker.
I am a busy person, so please accept my apology that I have not read the entire work of Whealey, but what I can say is that anyone who claims her work undermines the belief that Josephus mentioned the ministry and means of death of Jesus is not speaking truthfully.
John Oakes
Here is a translation of the Greek textus receptus, with the proposed interpolation, based on the Arabic text. You will see that the non-italicized text flows smoothly with the interpolation excised, and that it sounds a lot more like something that the non-believer Josephus might have said.

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.


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