Reading several articles, I have the impression that many people don’t trust Josephus’ writings because of the additions by the Christian scribe[editor’s note: He is talking about the “Testimonium Flavium” which mentions Jesus]. It seems that if one passage was tampered with then we don’t know what to trust.  Also, concerning the passage in the Talmud that you quote in the same chapter. I read that the Yeshu was a common name in those times, he was killed on the eve of passover where as Jesus was killed ON the passover and this Yeshu was killed a century before the time of Herod. Have you heard about that or is this nonsense?


The critics of Josephus are guilty of wishful thinking, in my opinion. What they wish is that Josephus was not reliable. But the example you give is NOT of an unreliability of Josephus, but a single example of interpolation which, as far as I know is the only important interpolation of Josephus, which common sense tells us was an interpolation to a passage about Jesus. What are these other supposed interpolations? What would be the motivation for other interpolations? Do they have a single example? Of course they do not. Bottom line, like I said, Josephus is considered reliable by scholars, other than some exaggerations of numbers for real events. The supposed “unreliability” of Josephus is an invented thing, created as cover for those who know that if we check Josephus carefully, he is reliable and he talked about Jesus.

As for the Talmud quote, again, the critics of Christianity are suffering from wishful thinking–in this case, they wish that The Talmud is not talking about Jesus. The fact is that anyone familiar with important events in Judea in the first century know that, by far, almost without a doubt, that this passage is talking about Jesus. Proved? Maybe not, and I certainly do not claim it is proved. Was the name Jesus common in Judea in the first century? Yes, it was actually very common. Is it likely that the one in question is the famous one? I believe that common sense says that it is way beyond 90% probably that it is the one who the Jews hated and who started a religion that they did not particularly like. Extremely likely that it is about Jesus of Nazareth? absolutely. And he WAS killed on the eve of the Passover, that is why they had the legs of the two thieves broken, so that they would not be on the cross at the Passover. In my opinion, you give the critics of Jesus a bit too much credit for being honest about the data.

John Oakes

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