A chronological summary of its Censure
Web Publication by Mountain Man Graphics, Australia
Chronological Summary of the "Testimonium Flavianum" (TF) and its Censure.
The following article attempts to summarise in point form the opinion concerning the authenticity of the primary Jesus reference in Josephus, at Antiquities 18.3.3. Section 1 deals with introductions to the subject available online which appear to have apologetic bias to the study of sampling of opinion on this question of authenticity. Section 2 deals with a summary point chronological timeline for mention of the TF (or lack of mention) until Photius. Section 3 deals with a summary point chronological timeline for censure of the TF (as a forgery) from the late 18th century until 1937, the commencement of Feldman's 1980 survey. Section 4 deals with a summary point chronological timeline for censure of the TF (as a forgery) of "Modern Authors" from 1980 to the present. Section 5 reiterates the plain and simple message that the TF is just another plain and simple Eusebian forgery. Finally section 6 briefly summarises the nature of modern Apologetic "academic and scholarly" reaction to the censure of the TF forgery, and cites Gordon Stein, at the opening of this "modern epoch" from 1980 until 2009. The lists presented below aim to be both complete and accurate, but there will perhaps be many changes to the list of citations. Additional citations are welcome and will be added. Objections to citations are also welcome, and if sound, the citation will be remobed. I have presented this in the spirit of research. As an addendum I have presented the arguments of Lardner which have formed the core of the censure. Best wishes to those who see themselves as the students of life and of our common ancient historical heritage, and its research ... Pete Brown www.mountainman.com.au/essenes DRAFT FORMAT: FEBRUARY 2009
An excellent introductory starting point in the various issues surrounding the centuries long censure of the TF by scholars and respected christian academics alike is at Early Christian Writings. The section on the "The Testimonium Question" immediately cites a survey conducted by Louis H. Feldman on the relevant literature from 1937 to 1980 in his book "Josephus and Modern Scholarship." Feldman noted that 4 scholars regarded the Testimonium Flavianum as entirely genuine, 6 as mostly genuine, 20 accept it with some interpolations, 9 with several interpolations, and 13 regard it as being totally an interpolation. A further two sections are then elaborated outlining the cases: Arguments that the Testimonium is Spurious, and Arguments that the Testimonium is Authentic. These two sections deal primarily with modern scholarship, after 1980, and the compiler of the article (Peter Kirby) admits: In my own reading of thirteen books since 1980 that touch upon the passage, ten out of thirteen argue the Testimonium to be partly genuine, while the other three maintain it to be entirely spurious. We are not given the names of these books or their method of selection. There is one serious negative issue with this review, and one partially positive issue. The partially positive issue is that the review does on the surface make the attempt at being an objective study of the balance sheet of opinion. The serious negative issue with this review is that, for some strange reason, it does not look backwards at scholarship before 1980, and thus strangely dismisses it. The basis for dismissal is given by the citation of modern authors; however the censure of the old brigade is omitted from these reviews. In contrast, other presentations such as that of Christopher Price which is located here might justifiably be entitled "A Thoroughly Biased Review of the Testimonium Flavianum". Not only does this author fail to mention the earlier history of scholarship which has censured the TF as a gross forgery, it fails to present a balance sheet of opinion by being entirely dismissive of the entire sector of scholarly consensus which disagrees with its nominated scholarly authority. Contemporary apologetics.
0093: Eusebius cites Josephus Flavius - 20 book "Antiquity of the Jews"; Major ref to Jesus in Antiquities 18.3.3; with 20.9.1 (Minor Ref)) 0160: Eusebius cites Justin Martyr who obviously pored over Josephus's works, makes no mention of the TF. 0160: Eusebius cites Pseudo-Justin who obviously pored over Josephus's works, makes no mention of the TF. (are these two authors distinct?) 0179: Eusebius cites Melito of Sardis - no mention of the TF 0180: Eusebius cites Theophilus Bishop of Antioch - no mention of the TF. 0190: Eusebius cites Irenaeus, saint and compiler of the New Testament, has not a word about the TF. 0200: Eusebius cites Clement of Alexandria, influential Greek theologian, prolific writer, head of the Alexandrian school - nothing about the TF. 0220: Eusebius cites Julius Africanus, a prominent chronographer from Emmaus - is silent about the TF. 0220: Eusebius cites Tertullian, early literary apologist/polemicist against unorthodox heresy - is silent about the TF. 0220: Eusebius cites Hippolytus (170-235), saint and martyr, nothing about the TF. 0230: Eusebius cites Origen (185-254), no mention of the TF and specifically states that Josephus did not believe Jesus was "the Christ." 0250: Eusebius cites Minucius Felix, lawyer and Christian convert - no mention of the TF. 0270: Eusebius cites Anatolius (230-c. 270/280) - no mention of TF. 0290: Jerome cites Methodius of Olympus - comprehensive philosophical education, important theologian; prolific author - no Ref. 0320: Lactantius, previously an official professor of rhetoric in Nicomedia; Constantine sponsored "tutor" - no mention. 0324: *** Eusebius: cites the TF thrice *** P.E. 3.5, *** HE. 1.11, *** Theophany. 0324: Constantine cites the testimony of Virgil and Cicero as "prophets", but fails to mention Josephus' testimony - REF 0362: Julian states "the wretched Eusebius claims that the study of logic exists among the Hebrews, since he has heard among the Hellenes the word they use for logic." 0407: Chrysostom (347-407), saint and Syrian prelate, not a word about the TF. 05??: The author of the ancient Syriac text, "History of Armenia," refers to Josephus but not the TF. - REF 08??: Methodius, saint of the 9th century - makes no mention of it. 0814: Photius of Constantinople - admits that Josephus has made no mention of Christ.
NOTE: In preparing this work I wish to acknowledge the prior research of others too numerous to name, from Gibbon to Kerry Shirts. My only claim to novelty with this presentation is the indexation by approximate dates, so that it might be considered a time-line for the TF and its commentary. 1762: Bishop Warburton of Gloucester -""a rank forgery, and a very stupid one, too", 1767: Dr. Nathaniel Lardner quotes Bishop Warburtonof Gloucester. 1788: Edward Gibbon - "may furnish an example of no vulgar forgery". D&F V2,Ch16,Pt2,FN  18??: Ittigius (CMU, 47), 18??: Blondel (CMU, 47) 18??: Le Clerc (CMU, 47) 18??: Vandale (CMU, 47) 18??: Tanaquil Faber.'" (CMU, 47) 1830: Dr. Alexander Campbell 1833: Dr. Thomas Chalmers 1842: Mitchell Logan, Christian Mythology Unveiled (CMU) 1873: Theodor Keim - cited by Acharya S 1874: Cannon Farrar - 'The single passage in which he [Josephus] alludes to him is interpolated, if not wholly spurious' 1877: The Rev. Dr. Giles (Church of England) - "Hebrew and Christian records; an historical enquiry" - p. 30 1888: Rev. S. Baring-Gould - "Lost and Hostile Gospels," says: "first quoted by Eusebius - Hist. Eccl., lib. i, c. xi ; Demonst. Evang., lib. iii); 1889: Rev. Dr. Hooykaas - "certainly spurious, inserted by a later Christian hand." (Bible for Learners, Vol. III, p. 27) 1890: Emil Schürer - A History of the Jewish People in the Time of Jesus Christ - REF 1894: Edwin Johnson, "Antiqua Mater: A Study of Christian Origins" - REF 1897: Jakob Burckhardt "Eusebius was the first thoroughly dishonest historian of antiquity" 1900: Harnack - www.ccel.org/h/harnack 1909: John Remsburg; "The Christ" ("We must get rid of that Christ" - Emerson) - REF 1910: NY Times Article on Arthur Drews: "Jesus never lived" - REF 1912: Arthur Drews - The Witnesses to the Historicity of Jesus - REF 1922: Marshall J. Gauvin - "Everything demonstrates the spurious character of the passage." - REF 1928: Solomn Zeitlin,  1939: Charles Guignebert "Jesus" -- "a pure Christian forgery" 19??: Joseph McCabe - translator of Arthur Drews - REF
1937: Feldman survey start 1980: Feldman survey end - 13 more authors say "total interpolation" ====================================================== 1982: Gordon Stein "anyone who relies on Josephus' Testimonium is "dishonest," "fooled," and "ignorant." - REF 1979: Charles Templeton - "Not so much as a reference by Josephus." - cited by Lee Strobel "The Case for Christ" 1998: George Albert Wells - "The Jesus Myth" - "Eusebius suddenly "found" it " 1999: Freke and Gandy - "Unable to provide any historical evidence for Jesus, later Christians forged the proof that they so badly needed " - "The Jesus Mysteries" 1999: Earl Doherty - "Josephus becomes the slender thread by which such an assumption hangs - REF 2002: Acharya S - "Josephus Untangled" plus other works 2002: Kenneth Harding - REF 2005: Jay Raskin - "Eusebius the Master Forger" - "Evolution of Christs and Christianities" - REF 200?: Kerry Shirts - "Did Josephus Mention Jesus?" - REF 200?: Ken Olsen: "Eusebius fabricated the TF". ????: David Taylor - "Who on Earth was Jesus Christ"? - "The TF in toto is a forgery" (cited by Acharya S) To conclude, Louis H. Feldman, who conducted the 1980 survey states that the context of where the TF fits into the text of Josephus concerns a series or riots, and asks the obvious question ....
Gordon Stein adequately summarises centuries of scholarship with the very blunt, but very appropriate advice: [quote]"anyone who relies on Josephus' Testimonium is "dishonest," "fooled," and "ignorant."[/quote] Other moden authors are therefore quite entitled to cite Eusebius as the shameful author of this fraudulent act, on the basis of all the above scholarship of yesteryear, and in addition, on the overall assessment of the integrity of Eusebius as an "honest historian"
The standard reaction to the censure ranges between an outright omission of its existence and discussion, with the excuse that these opinions are the opinions of heretical mythicists, and New Testament scholarship has assured itself of the historical existence of Jesus. Thus are the issues of the belief in the authenticity or forgery of the TF conflated with the issues of the belief in the authenticity (or otherwise) of the existence of the historical jesus. The WIKI page on the TF and its corresponding "Discussion page" provide oustanding evidence of the insistence of apologetically driven dismissal of the scholarship of yesteryear which I have outlined in point form above. A refusal to acknowledge a history of opinion is a serious failure in objective and skeptical enquiry. Nothing has really changed about the TF since Gibbon declared, that it "may furnish an example of no vulgar forgery".
"It was not quoted or referred to by any Christian apologists prior to Eusebius, c. 316 ad. "Nowhere else in his voluminous works does Josephus use the word 'Christ,' except in the passage which refers to James 'the brother of Jesus who was called Christ' (Antiquities of the Jews, Book 20, Chapter 9, Paragraph 1), which is also considered to be a forgery. "Since Josephus was not a Christian but an orthodox Jew, it is impossible that he should have believed or written that Jesus was the Christ or used the words 'if it be lawful to call him a man,' which imply the Christian belief in Jesus' divinity. "The extraordinary character of the things related in the passage -- of a man who is apparently more than a man, and who rose from the grave after being dead for three days--demanded a more extensive treatment by Josephus, which would undoubtedly have been forthcoming if he had been its author. "The passage interrupts the narrative, which would flow more naturally if the passage were left out entirely. "It is not quoted by Chrysostom (c. 354-407 ad) even though he often refers to Josephus in his voluminous writings. "It is not quoted by Photius, Patriarch of Constantinople (c. 858-886 ad) even though he wrote three articles concerning Josephus, which strongly implies that his copy of Josephus' Antiquities did not contain the passage. "Neither Justin Martyr (110-165 AD), nor Clement of Alexandria (153-217 ad), nor Origen (c.185-254 AD), who all made extensive reference to ancient authors in their defence of Christianity, has mentioned this supposed testimony of Josephus. "Origen, in his treatise Against Celsus, Book 1, Chapter 47, states categorically that Josephus did NOT believe that Jesus was the Christ. "This is the only reference to the Christians in the works of Josephus. If it were genuine, we would have expected him to have given us a fuller account of them somewhere."