Jesus in Josephus

Flavius Josephus was a Jerusalemite priest who lived in the last half of the first century. He also was the commander of the Jewish forces in Galilee during the war with Rome from AD 66–70. His fame is due to his authorship of books tracing Israel’s history from the earliest days to the fall of Masada in AD 73. The following passage about Jesus appears in his work Antiquities of the Jews, XVIII, 63:

About this time lived Jesus, a wise man, if indeed one ought to call him a man. For he was the achiever of extraordinary deeds and was a teacher of those who accept the truth gladly. He won over many Jews and many of the Greeks. He was the Messiah. When he was indicted by the principal men among us and Pilate condemned him to be crucified, those who had come to love him originally did not cease to do so; for he appeared to them on the third day restored to life, as the prophets of the Deity had foretold these and countless other marvelous things about him. And the tribe of Christians, so named after him has not disappeared to this day.

Some scholars have questioned how Josephus, who gives no evidence elsewhere of being a believer, could have written that Jesus “was the Messiah.” Most have concluded, however, that this passage is an authentic witness to Jesus’ life and ministry by a Jewish source. Among other things, it acknowledges Jesus’ miraculous deeds as well as the events of His death and resurrection, as recorded in the New Testament.

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