Link to Part 2.
Link to Part 3.
Link to Part 4.
Antiquities 18.3.3 or “Testimonium Flavianum:” a Gospel Commercial!
Note: meanings of all Greek words can be looked up at the Tufts Perseus Greek Word Study Tool.
As it turns out, a computer comparison check was made against Josephus’ Antiquities 18.3.3 against all the ancient Greek writings, and the closest match to it was found in the Canonical Gospel of Luke!
So let’s see how the two compare, shall we?
So the major reliance of this Part 5 will be on the article “The Josephus-Luke Connection” by G.J. Goldberg, Ph. D. 1
First Josephus’ Antiquities 18.3.3 (Whiston’s translation)2:
 Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man; for he was a doer of wonderful works, a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many of the Jews and many of the Gentiles. He was [the] Christ.  And when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men amongst us, had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him; for he appeared to them alive again the third day; as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him. And the tribe of Christians, so named from him, are not extinct at this day.Then Luke 24:13-27 (Young’s Literal Translation) 3:
13 And, lo, two of them were going on during that day to a village, distant sixty furlongs from Jerusalem, the name of which [is] Emmaus, 14 and they were conversing with one another about all these things that have happened. 15 And it came to pass in their conversing and reasoning together, that Jesus himself, having come nigh, was going on with them, 16 and their eyes were holden so as not to know him, 17 and he said unto them, ‘What [are] these words that ye exchange with one another, walking, and ye are sad?’Now if we boil the above passage from Luke down to the essentials about Jesus, we have this:
18 And the one, whose name was Cleopas, answering, said unto him, ‘Art thou alone such a stranger in Jerusalem, that thou hast not known the things that came to pass in it in these days?’
19 And he said to them, ‘What things?’
And they said to him, ‘The things about Jesus of Nazareth, who became a man — a prophet — powerful in deed and word, before God and all the people, 20 how also the chief priests and our rulers did deliver him up to a judgment of death, and crucified him; 21 and we were hoping that he it is who is about to redeem Israel, and also with all these things, this third day is passing to-day, since these things happened. 22 And certain women of ours also astonished us, coming early to the tomb, 23 and not having found his body, they came, saying also to have seen an apparition of messengers, who say he is alive, 24 and certain of those with us went away unto the tomb, and found as even the women said, and him they saw not.’
25 And he said unto them, ‘O inconsiderate and slow in heart, to believe on all that the prophets spake! 26 Was it not behoving the Christ these things to suffer, and to enter into his glory?’ 27 and having begun from Moses, and from all the prophets, he was expounding to them in all the Writings the things about himself.
‘The things about Jesus of Nazareth, who became a man — a prophet — powerful in deed and word, before God and all the people, how also the chief priests and our rulers did deliver him up to a judgment of death, and crucified him; and we were hoping that he it is who is about to redeem Israel, and also with all these things, this third day is passing to-day, since these things happened…. And he said unto them, ‘O inconsiderate and slow in heart, to believe on all that the prophets spake! Was it not behoving the Christ these things to suffer, and to enter into his glory?’ 27 and having begun from Moses, and from all the prophets, he was expounding to them in all the Writings the things about himself.As Dr. Goodman demonstrates, there are several parallels between Antiquities 18.3.3 and Luke 24:19b-27 with verses 22-24 skipped over. And almost all of them are in the exact same order.
The first one:
Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man / The things concerning Jesus of Nazareth, who became a man — a prophet.In the Greek we have from Antiquities, Γίνεται δὲ κατὰ τοῦτον τὸν χρόνον Ἰησοῦς σοφὸς ἀνήρ (Ginetai de kata touton ton chronon Iêsous sophos anêr = “There came of age about this time Jesus, a wise man), and from Luke, τα περι ιησου του ναζωραιου ος εγενετο ανηρ προφητης (ta peri iêsou tou nazôraiou os egeneto anêr prophêtês = “Those about Jesus the Nazorean who was [or became] a man prophet”). For “came of age” and “was [or became]” we have the same root Greek verb, γίγνομαι (gignomai), “come into being, come into a new state of being, to be born”. Then what Josephus has for “a wise man” σοφὸς ἀνήρ (sophos anêr), Luke has the similar “man prophet” 4 ανηρ προφητης (anêr prophêtês). Josephus doesn’t admit to Jesus being a prophet here, but admits to the person being a wise man: what follows is Josephus stating that Jesus did what prophets did do!
The second statement:
If it be lawful to call him a manThis passage in Antiquities 18.3.3, in Greek, εἴγε ἄνδρα αὐτὸν λέγειν χρή (eige andra auton legein chrê = if one has to call him a man) has no parallel in Luke 24, unless one wants to interpret Luke’s use of the conjugate of γίγνομαι (gignomai) therein as “became” as in becoming a human from a prior state of being of being as a god or in the more ordinary sense of becoming a man by reaching maturity, which, according to Goldberg, is inconsistent with Luke’s use of the verb elsewhere to mean “was.” 5
Third, we have:
for he was a doer of wonderful works / powerful in deedIn Antiquities for “for he was a doer of wonderful works” the Greek phrase ἦν γὰρ παραδόξων ἔργων ποιητής (ên gar paradoksôn ergôn poiêtês = literally, “for he was a composer of amazing deeds”) has its parallel in Luke’s δυνατὸς ἐν ἔργῳ (dunatos en ergô = “powerful in deed”). Both use ἔργον (ergon) “work, deed, action,” and δυνατὸς (dunatos) “strong, mighty, powerful, dynamic” has its parallel in παραδόξων (paradoksôn), “contrary to expectation, incredible, paradoxical, admirable, wonderful”.
Then fifth we have:
a teacher of such men / and wordFor Josephus’ “a teacher of such men” (διδάσκαλος ἀνθρώπων (didaskalos anthrôpôn)) and for Luke we have καὶ [δυνατὸς ἐν] λόγῳ (dunatos en ergô kai logô = “and [powerful in] word.”). It doesn’t look parallel at first glance abut a look into λόγῳ (logô) would show that the noun also includes “saying, statement, maxim, proverb, speech, discourse, reasoning, account, rule, principle, law, etc.,” which means that being a teacher is not ruled out in this passage.
And sixth we have:
as receive the truth with pleasure / before GodThe extant Greek in the Testimonium reads: τῶν ἡδονῇ τἀληθῆ δεχομένων (tôn êdonê talêthê dechomenôn = “those receiving the unconcealed [truth] with pleasure”); in Luke it reads: ἐναντίον τοῦ θεοῦ (enantion tou theou = “before God”). The two are not exactly the same, but in each of Jewish and Christian concepts God is supposed to be a God of Truth, with a capital T. So if Jesus was powerful in Word before God and taught men who gladly accepted that which was concealed but was unconcealed by Jesus, he wouldn’t exactly be teaching lies, now would he? ;^)
The seventh is:
He drew over to him both many of the Jews and many of the Gentiles / and all the peopleIn the Greek we have for Josephus’ “He drew over to him both many of the Jews and many of the Gentiles,” καὶ πολλοὺς μὲν Ἰουδαίους, πολλοὺς δὲ καὶ τοῦ Ἑλληνικοῦ ἐπηγάγετο (kai pollous men Ioudaious, pollous de kai tou Ellênikou epêgageto); and for Luke’s “and [before] all the people,” καὶ [ἐναντίον] παντὸς τοῦ λαοῦ (kai [enantion] pantos tou laou). These two are very well matched, even if the former seems more expansive than the latter.
Then we have in eighth place:
He was [the] Christ. /The Greek in Antiquities for this is: ὁ χριστὸς οὗτος ἦν (o Christos outos ên). There is NO parallel in Luke at this point, which dovetails nicely with the majority of scholars who’ve studied this, that this passage was a Christian interpolation. I will come back to this later, however.
Now we come in the ninth to the part about the Passion:
at the suggestion of the principal men amongst us, / how also the chief priests and our rulersIn the Greek, Antiquities 18.3.3 has: ἐνδείξει τῶν πρώτων ἀνδρῶν παρ᾽ ἡμῖν (endeiksi tôn prôtôn andrôn par' êmin = at the passing of information against [him] of [= by] the most superior men among us”); and Luke 24 has: ὅπως τε παρέδωκαν αὐτὸν οἱ ἀρχιερεῖς καὶ οἱ ἄρχοντες ἡμῶν (opôs te paredôkan auton oi archiereis kai archontes êmôn = “that moreover the chief priests, and the rulers of us, delivered him up”). Another hit! Although the language is not exact, the meaning is about the same: “chief priests and rulers of us” (οἱ ἀρχιερεῖς καὶ οἱ ἄρχοντες ἡμῶν (oi archiereis kai archontes êmôn)) are one in the same with “most superior men among us” (τῶν πρώτων ἀνδρῶν παρ᾽ ἡμῖν (tôn prôtôn andrôn par' êmin); and, although “delivered him up” (παρέδωκαν αὐτὸν (paredôkan auton) is certainly not identical with “with a passing of information against [him]” (ἐνδείξει (endeiksi)), the effect, as we shall see, is the same: a passing of the death penalty.
And so we have the death sentencing in tenth place:
And when Pilate… had condemned him to the cross / to a judgment of death, and crucified himNow here we actually have an actual crucifixion occurring in Luke, but *not* necessarily in Josephus! For Josephus reads: καὶ αὐτὸν… σταυρῷ ἐπιτετιμηκότος Πιλάτου (kai auton… staurô epitetimêkotos Pilatou = “and of Pilate having sentenced him to a cross [or pole or an upright pale or a staurôs-punishment]”); whereas, Luke reads: εἰς κρίμα θανάτου καὶ ἐσταύρωσαν αὐτόν. (eis krima thanatou kai estaurôsan auton = “unto a judgement of death and they crucified him”). The only differences between Luke and Josephus is (1) Josephus only has Jesus condemned by Pilate, while in Luke he is actually (allegedly) crucified; and (2) Pilate is the one who does the condemning in Josephus, whereas in Luke, the chief priests and rulers of the Jewish people in Jerusalem are the ones indicated who do the condemning and the crucifying (although Pilate is recorded in Luke 23:25 as handing over Jesus to their will). 6 And if you read on from there, of course, in Luke’s account the Jewish leaders do the dirty work of crucifying him. I know that’s not how Christianity interprets it, at least these days, but that is how the text reads!
After this in the eleventh place, we have:
those that loved him at the first did not forsake him / and we were hopingIn the Greek, for Josephus we have: οὐκ ἐπαύσαντο οἱ τὸ πρῶτον ἀγαπήσαντες (ouk epausanto oi to prôton agapêsantes = “they did not leave off doing so, [those] who loved [or adhered to 7 or had an affection for] at the first”), indicating the followers of Jesus kept their love for and their allegiance to him; and for Luke we have: ἡμεῖς δὲ ἠλπίζομεν (êmeis de êlpizomen = “we moreover were hoping”), indicating the disciples were presently losing or have recently lost their faith in the man. Clearly each indicates an opposite direction from the other, like the parallel roadways on an expressway or a divided highway where the two lines of traffic go in perfectly opposite directions. So we have a parallel here, too.
After this, there is in the twelfth place:
/ that he it is who is about to redeem IsraelThe extant Greek for Luke has it as: ὅτι αὐτός ἐστιν ὁ μέλλων λυτροῦσθαι τὸν Ἰσραήλ (oti autos estin o mellôn lutrousthai ton Israêl = “that he is the one being destined to redeem [or release by paying a ransom for, liberate by paying a ransom] the [nation of] Israel”), which excludes any idea of liberation by warfare or by warmongering, but by payment of ransom only. This sort of “liberation” is not in line with the sort of Messianic beliefs that caused the Jews to rebel against Rome in 66 CE, but is certainly in conformance with the Christian belief system that Jesus Christ died as a ransom for many. Josephus has nothing at this point, but earlier at the end of section , his extant Greek reads, ὁ χριστὸς οὗτος ἦν (o Christos outos ên = “the Christ he was.”) The existence of a parallel here is possible and probably, even though the placement of the order of the phrase in Luke does not match that in Josephus. Note also, a little later on in Agapius’ 10th Century Arabic work, 8 there is the phrase: “he was perhaps the Messiah” and we will discuss this when get to that point.
Then for the thirteenth, skipping over Luke 24:22-24, but directly to the next phrase in Josephus’ Antiquities 18.3.3 , we proceed to the reason why, in Josephus, those who “loved him at the first did not cease to do so:”
for he appeared to them alive again the third day / “and also with all these things, this third day is passing to-day, since these things happened….” And he said unto themFor the Greek in Antiquities we have: ἐφάνη γὰρ αὐτοῖς τρίτην ἔχων ἡμέραν πάλιν ζῶν (epsanê gar autois tritên echôn êmeran palin zôn = “for he appeared to them having a third day9 being alive [and in full strength(?)]10 again”)and Luke has: • ἀλλά γε καὶ σὺν πᾶσιν τούτοις τρίτην ταύτην ἡμέραν ἄγει ἀφ’ οὗ ταῦτα ἐγένετο.… • καὶ αὐτὸς εἶπεν πρὸς αὐτούς (alla ge kai sun pasin toutois tritên tautên êmeran agei aph’ ou tauta egeneto… kai autos eipen pros autous = “but really also with all these things, this third day it passes, after which all these things happened…. And he said unto them) Here, the parallel is almost exact and completely congruent, except for the length of time he was allegedly alive again; Josephus’s passage states he was alive and in full strength again for three days when he appears to his followers. Whereas in Luke, he shows up three days after he was nailed up.
Now at this point we would encounter in Agapius’ Arabic-language World Chronicle, a phrase tacked on the end of Antiquities’ depiction of Jesus appearing to the disciples having a third day alive [and in full strength(?)] again. Shlomo Pines translated the added phrase, which introduced the next point below, as: “They reported that he had appeared to them three days after his crucifixion and that he was alive; accordingly, he was perhaps the Messiah….”11 Although whether Agapius obtained his source from perhaps an authentic Josephan source rather than a paraphrase of the textus receptus quoted almost verbatim in Eusebuis’ Ecclesiastical History, it does show that when this was written, in the Tenth Century CE, the mention that Jesus was the Christ was not dropped, merely modified and relocated.
And this is the fourteenth instance: what Jesus says to the two disciples outside Emmaus is right similar to what Josephus allegedly wrote in Antiquities 18.3.3:
as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him / ‘O inconsiderate and slow in heart, to believe on all that the prophets spake! Was it not behoving the Christ these things to suffer, and to enter into his glory?’Again, we have another parallel. Josephus’ extant Greek states: τῶν θείων προφητῶν ταῦτά τε καὶ ἄλλα μυρία περὶ αὐτοῦ θαυμάσια εἰρηκότων (tôn theiôn prophêtôn tauta te kai alla muria peri autou thaumasia eirêkotôn = “as the prophets of God having proclaimed these and also countless other marvellous [things] about him”). Luke adds Jesus’ excoriation of the two to reprove them for their loss of faith – basically blaming them for not expecting that the Messiah was to suffer and die and so forth; this is what Jesus says, in the Greek text of Luke: Ὦ ἀνόητοι καὶ βραδεῖς τῇ καρδίᾳ τοῦ πιστεύειν ἐπὶ πᾶσιν οἷς ἐλάλησαν οἱ προφῆται• οὐχὶ ταῦτα ἔδει παθεῖν τὸν Χριστὸν καὶ εἰσελθεῖν εἰς τὴν δόξαν αὐτοῦ; (O anoêtoi kai bradeis tê kardia tou pisteuein epi pasin ois elalêsan oi prophêtai, ouxi tauta edei pathein ton Christon kai eiselthein eis tên doksan autou; = “’O unthinking and slow to comprehend in the heart to believe on all the things that the prophets spoke!’ Was it not needful [for] the Christ to have suffered these things and enter into his ?‘”) Note both Josephus and Luke has the same Greek word (different declensions) for prophets (προφητῶν, προφῆται) and similar words denoting inspiring of awe: θαυμάσια (wonderful, marvellous) in Josephus and δόξαν (glory) in Luke.
/ and having begun from Moses, and from all the prophets, he was expounding to them in all the Writings the things about himself.This is but a continuation in Luke of the same Josephan – Lukan parallel in the paragraph above, it’s really a repeat of Josephus’ “as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him. (τῶν θείων προφητῶν ταῦτά τε καὶ ἄλλα μυρία περὶ αὐτοῦ θαυμάσια εἰρηκότων (tôn theiôn prophêtôn tauta te kai alla muria peri autou thaumasia eirêkotôn)” In Greek, Luke wrote: καὶ ἀρξάμενος ἀπὸ Μωυσέως καὶ ἀπὸ πάντων τῶν προφητῶν διερμήνευσεν αὐτοῖς ἐν πάσαις ταῖς γραφαῖς τὰ περὶ ἑαυτοῦ. (kai arksamenos apo Môuseôs kai apo pantôn tôn prophêtôn diermhneusen autois en pasais tais graphais ta peri eautou = “and having begun from Moses and from all of the prophets he was expounding to them in all the writings as to those [things] about himself.”) Here we have Josephus’ “the divine prophets” mentioned in Luke as “Moses, and… all the prophets;” in Josephus “foretold” as “in all the writings;” and “these and ten thousand other things concerning him“ as “those [things] about himself.”
And in the fifteenth and last, we have:
And the tribe of Christians, so named from him, are not extinct at this day. /Josephus is said to have written in the Greek, εἰς ἔτι τε νῦν τῶν Χριστιανῶν ἀπὸ τοῦδε ὠνομασμένον οὐκ ἐπέλιπε τὸ φῦλον. (eis eti en te nun tôn Christianôn apo toude ônomasmenon ouk epelipe to phulon.) Although there is no parallel to this sentence in the compact section in Luke, the continuance of the story past verse 27 through the end of Acts completes the parallel. Nota bene that according to Acts 11:26, the “disciples were called Christians first at Antioch.”12 Acts finishes up with Paul arriving in Rome and meeting brethren there (Acts ch. 28), showing that Christians were everywhere!
And so we have fifteen instances, twelve of which are found parallels between Josephus’ Antiquities 18.3.3 and his counterpart Luke’s Gospel 24:13-27 each opposite the other in order in their respective places, save the eigth, the twelfth and the fifteenth. Yet, the eighth point in the extant Greek Antiquities (the end of the thirteenth point within Agapius’ quote thereof) finds its parallel in the twelfth point found in Luke; the fifteenth point for Antiquities finds its parallel in what transpired after Luke 24:27, clear through to the end of Acts. Clearly, the passage widely assumed to be written by Josephus is none other than a Gospel Commercial and the obvious parallels between the two could not have occurred at ramdom. Either Luke copied Josephus; or Josephus copied Luke; or both copied the same source; or Eusebius, Pamphilus of Caesarea, or some other early (3rd or 4th Century CE) Christian clergyman forged the whole thing in toto.
I will now hand the blogspace over to Dr. Goldberg:13
There are several alternatives. I shall demonstrate the following:Well, well, well. So so it appears that Josephus could very well have written this piece, copying off of a Jewish Christian “bible tract.” Yet he hardly could have written this without including a rather strident disclaimer. After all, the consensus of scholars who have studied the TF is that the passage has been tampered with by Christians. If he only actually wrote this verbatim, or only what the majority of scholars agree he wrote, then what we have here is that by the time of Domitian Caesar, at least one branch of Christianity had become politically correct. And Suetonius tells us what happened to historians who wrote things that the Roman Emperor found to be politically incorrect, and what happened to their scribes as well. 14 And if there was even one branch of Christianity that was politically correct back then, then we are certainly looking into the abyss.
1. The similarities are too numerous and unusual to be the result of accident. This will be demonstrated on another page by a statistical comparison of all other known descriptions of Jesus of similar length.
2. The similarities are not what would be written by a 2nd or 3rd century Christian deliberately mimicking Josephus' style. This is a consequence of the study on the statistics page.
3. The similarities are what would be expected if Josephus had employed a document very similar to Luke's Emmaus narrative as his source for information on Jesus, which he then moderately rewrote. This will be demonstrated on the style page by studying how other passages in his works were rewritten by Josephus from sources known to us.
The conclusion that can therefore be drawn is that Josephus and Luke derived their passages from a common Christian (or Jewish-Christian) source.
The analysis allows us to identify what is authentic in the Testimonium. It also allows is to plausibly uncover the document used by both Josephus and Luke. I will argue elsewhere that this document is a copy of a speech used by early Jesus proselytes of Jerusalem.
For the first time, we will have independent, Jewish documentation of the speech that is called, many times in Luke/Acts, "the word" and "the gospel."
1 G. J. Goldberg, Ph. D., “The Josephus-Luke Connection,” The Journal for the Study of the Pseuepigrapha, 13 (1995), pp. 59-77. Also found at this Link: http://www.josephus.org/LUKECH.html
2 Flavius Josephus. The Works of Flavius Josephus. Translated by. William Whiston, A.M. Auburn and Buffalo. John E. Beardsley. 1895. Tufts Perseus Digital Library.
3 Luke 24, Young’s Literal Translation, http://biblehub.com/ylt/luke/24.htm.
4 Goldberg is correct concerning the English meaning here: that Jesus didn’t necessarily become a man, that is, was a divine spirit prior to becoming a man, but in the neighborhood of the time of Cleopas relating these things, Jesus was a man – and came of age of maturity to become a man, i.e., 30 (Luke 3:23). Goodman is also correct about Jesus being a man-prophet, which all the English translators stumble over, often omitting “man” or changing it to “male” or hyphenating the term as “man-prophet.”
5 Goldberg, “The Jesus-Luke Connection.” Cf. with Strong's Lexicon's meaning (http://biblesuite.com/greek/strongs_1096.htm) and the concordance at Biblesuite.com (http://biblehub.com/greek/egeneto_1096.htm). The listing the verb’s occurrences in Luke shows all manner of valid English meanings for the Greek verb.
6 Greek: τὸν δὲ Ἰησοῦν παρέδωκεν τῷ θελήματι αὐτῶν (ton de Iêsoun paredôken tô thelêmati autôn). Latin: Iesum vero tradidit voluntati eorum. Link: http://biblehub.com/text/luke/23-25.htm
9 Goldberg. I am not the only one to figure that this is how the extant Greek reads! If the writer of this passage meant “on the third day” as all translations assume, even Jerome’s Latin, then he left out the preposition ἔν (en), variant of εἰς (eis).
10 For ζῶν (zôn), variant of ζάω (zaô) The Middle Liddell Greek-English Lexicon includes “being alive and in full strength,” although metaphorically. Josephus might have meant this literally, rather than simply “being alive,” but as far as I know, no known scholar reads it this way. 11 Alice Whealey, “The Testimonium Flavianum in Syriac and Arabic,” New Testament Studies, Cambridge, England, UK, Cambridge University Press, Vol. 54 (2008), pp. 573–590, p. 574.
12 Greek text: χρηματίσαι τε πρώτως ἐν Ἀντιοχείᾳ τοὺς μαθητὰς Χριστιανούς. (chrêmatisai te prôtôs en Antiocheia tous mathêtas Christianous) Literally, “Were called, moreover, first in Antioch the disciples, Christians.” Nota bene, the Codex Sinaiticus had originally instead of Χριστιανούς (Christianous), Χρηστιανούς (Chrêstianous).
The “correction” was rather poor in the Sinaiticus. The Vaticanus on the other hand, has Χρεἰστιανούς (Chreistianos), a "Latinist" substitution of an epsilon and an iota for the Greek êta.
13 Goldberg (conclusion).
14 Suetonius, Life of Domitian 10: “Then Hermogenes of Tarsus died because of some allusions that he had introduced into a historical work; and the slaves who acted as his copyists were crucified.” Link: https://facultystaff.richmond.edu/~wstevens/history331texts/dom.html; Domitianus 10: item Hermogenem Tarsensem propter quasdam in historia figuras, librariis etiam, qui eam descripserat, cruci fixis. Link: http://www.thelatinlibrary.com/suetonius/suet.dom.html#10.
Coming soon: Part 6 - When was Jesus Allegedly Crucified?