KEN OLSON has done a thesis showing the Testamonian Flavian (TF) being more Eusebian than Josephean,  Eusebius was the first church father to introduce it and therefore has come under suspicion of being the interpolater.
Yet it is unlikely that Eusebius created the entire text ex nihilo. It is too short to read like a Christian apocrypha. It is more likely that Eusebius simply “improved” the wording of the available manuscripts. In fact we can track the evolution of this passage!
A significant advance in understanding the evolutionary history of the Testimonium came in 1971 when the Jewish scholar Shlomo Pines published “An Arabic Version of the Testimonium Flavianum and its lmplications”.  In a linguistic tour de force, Pines traced the translation and citation history of the Testimonium and demonstrated beyond reasonable doubt that an earlier form of the piece was not as outrageously Christian as the received text.
In Arabic version it does not blame the Jews for the death of Jesus. The key phrase “at the suggestion of the principal men among us” reads instead “Pilate condemned him to be crucified”.
Pines’ monograph drew attention to a long-known tenth century Arabic historical work, the “Kitāb al-Únwān” a chronicle of the history of the world up to the 10th century, by Agapius, who was the Melkite bishop of Manbij (Hierapolis). In his (apparently indirect) quotation from Josephus, Agapius supplies what would appear to be the earliest form of the Testimonian.
>>>Similarly Josephus the Hebrew. For he says in the treatises that he has written on the governance of the Jews: “At this time there was a wise man who was called Jesus. His conduct was good, and [he] was known to be virtuous. And many people from among the Jews and the other nations became his disciples. Pilate condemned him to be crucified and to die. But those who had become his disciples did not abandon his discipleship. They reported that he had appeared to them three days after his crucifixion, and that he was alive; accordingly, he was perhaps the Messiah, concerning whom the prophets have recounted wonders.” This is what is said by Josephus and his companions of our Lord the Messiah, may he be glorified<<<
Shlomo Pines also discovered a 12th-century Syriac version of the Testimonium in the chronicle of Michael the Syrian.
Although the Chronicle of Michael the Syrian dates to nearly three centuries later than Agapius, he too reports a version of the Testimonian that is more primitive than the received text of Eusebius, but more “evolved” than that preserved by Agapius. Michael was born in 1126 and was Patriarch of Antioch from 1166 to 1199; he thus lived more than three centuries after Agapius.
Shlomo Pines renders his version as follows:
>>>>The writer Josephus also says in his work on the institutions of the Jews: In these times there was a wise man named Jesus, if it is fitting for us to call him a man. For he was a worker of glorious deeds and a teacher of truth. Many from among the Jews and the nations became his disciples. He was thought to be the Messiah [or Perhaps he was the Messiah] . But not according to the testimony of the principal [men] of [our] nation. Because of this, Pilate condemned him to the cross, and he died. For those who had loved him did not cease to love him. He appeared to them alive after three days. For the prophets of God had spoken with regard to him of such marvelous things [as these]. And the people of the Christians, named after him, has not disappeared till [this] day.<<<<
Instead of “he was Christ”, the Syriac version has the phrase “he was believed to be Christ”. Drawing on these textual variations, scholars have suggested that these versions of the Testimonium more closely reflect an earlier form of the Testamonian. (This is close to Jeromes Latin attestation).
St. Jerome [c340-420] freak Latin recension of the Testimonium De Viris Illustrius [On Illustrious Men] ch13, is less developed than the received text with respect to the Messianic identity of Jesus.
>>>He [Josephus] wrote about the Lord in this way: “At about this time there was a wise man, Jesus, if it is proper to call him a man. He was the doer of marvelous deeds and teacher of those who receive truth willingly. He had many followers both among the Jews and the Gentiles, and he was believed to be the Christ [Messiah] . When, because of the envy of our principal men, Pilate had condemned him to the cross, those who at the first had come to love him persevered in faith. Living, he appeared to them on the third day. These and countless other marvels about him the prophecies of the prophets had foretold. And up until today the tribe of Christians, named after him, has not disappeared <<<
Although Jerome lived a generation later than Eusebius, his Latin version of the Testamonian is more primitive than the received Greek text preserved in the latter’s Historia Ecclesiastica [Eusebius] and in most manuscripts of Josephus. It will be noted that Jerome retains the dubitative “he was believed to be the Christ,” making it clear that the Greek text Jerome owned did not ascribe the belief in Jesus’ messiahship to Josephus himself.
[As a matter of interest the Greek translation of De Viris Illustrious has eliminated all differences and reads exactly the same as the received text of Eusebius!]
The recensions of St. Jerome Latin translation and Michael version contained the sentence He was believed to be the Messiah. This sentence strikes a mildly dubitative note. It can be argued that it may have been the phrase to which Origen alluded.
It is admittedly difficult to accept the idea that a tenth-century Arabic chronicle has preserved a version of the Testimonium that comes closer to Josephus’ original text than the vulgate recension attested in the fourth century. There appears to be no valid reason why a version of the Testimonium preserved in Arabic should not have escaped Christian censorship to a greater extent than the vulgate version, or even altogether.
Agapius’ version does not stem from the vulgate recension. No Christian would have tampered with the text with a view to eliminating all the phrases that are concerned with Jesus’ superhuman nature and actions and to replacing the author’s affirmation of Jesus’ Messiahship and his appearance after death by non-committal statements that merely mention that such claims were made on behalf of Jesus.
In the recension of the twelfth-century Syriac Chronicle of Michael the Syrian we also encounter the formulation that Jesus was thought to be the Messiah. Michael’s recension is close to the vulgate recension of the Testimonium found in the Syriac translation of Eusebius’ Historia Ecclesiastica. St. Jerome’s recension is also reminiscent of the Oriental recensions (Syriac).
Before the thirteenth century, in Constantinople or its environs, a mutant form of the Testimonium found its way into the Greek text of the Wars.
Translated into Old Russian, producing the so-called ‘Slavonic Josephus.’ The material corresponding to the beginning of the Testimonium was inserted between the third and fourth paragraphs of the ninth chapter of Book 2 of the Wars.
>>> At that time there appeared a certain man, if it is meet to call him a man. His nature and form was human, but the appear ance of him more than (that) of a human (being): yet his works (were) divine. He wrought miracles wonderful and strong. Wherefore it is impossible for me to call him a human (being, simply). But on the other hand, if I look at (his) characteristic (human) nature, I will not call him an angel.
And all, whatsoever he wrought through an invisible power, he wrought by a word and command. Some said of him, “our first lawgiver is risen from the dead, and hath evidenced this by many cures and prodigies.” But the others thought he was (a man) sent from God. Now in many things he opposed the Law and kept not the Sabbath according to the custom of (our) forefathers. Yet again, he did nothing shameful nor underhand.
And many of the multitude followed after him and hear kened to his teaching. And many souls were roused, thinking that thereby the Jewish tribes could free themselves from Roman hands. But it was his custom rather to abide without the city on the Mount of Olives. There also he granted cures to the people. And there gathered to him of helpers 150, but of the crowd a multitude.
But when they saw his power, that he accomplished by a word whatsoever he would, and when they had made known to him their will, that he should enter the city and cut down the Roman tropo s and Pilate, and rule over them, he heeded it not. And when thereafter news of it was brought to the Jewish leaders, they assembled together with the high priest and said, “We are powerless and (too) weak to resist the Romans. Since howev er the bow is bent, we will go and communicate to .Pilate what we have heard, and we shall be free from trouble, in order that he may not hear (it) from others and we be robbed of(our) goods and ourselves slaughtered and (our) children dispersed.”
And they went and reported (it) to Pilate. And he sent and had many ofthe multitude slain. And he had that wonder-worker brought up, and after he had held an inquiry concerning him, he pronounced (this) judgment: “He is (a benefactor, but not) a male factor (nor) a rebel (nor) covetous of king(ship).” And he let him go, for he had healed his dying wife. And after he had gone to his wonted place, he did his wonted works. And when more people again gathered round him, he glorified himself by his action(s) more than all.
The scribes (therefore) being stung with envy gave Pilate thirty talents to kill him. And he took (it) and gave them liberty to car out their will (themselves). And they took him and crucified him contrary to the law of (their) fathers.<<<<
This account of Jesus found in the old Russian translation of Bellum Judaicum (Wars), is an extraordinary bloated piece.
Hugh J. Schonfield, an expert on the ancient “Jewish Christians,” has shown quite convincingly that Jewish Christian writings underlie the expansion of the text of Slavonic Josephus. The most telling part of Slavonic is the fact that it says so much about Jesus except his name. This suggests that this particular line of transmission has preserved the notion that Jesus was not named in the original TF.
ATTEMPT TO RECONSTRUCT THE ORIGINAL
Stephen C. Carlson ( see link at end of post)  has followed up a curious footnote in Meiers book “A Marginal Jew” Vol 1 page 101, footnote 12, where it has been studied ( by Franz Dornsieff, “Lukas der Schriftsteller. Mit einem Anhang: Josephus und Tacitus,” ZNW 35 (1936): 148-55.), that Tacitus has used Josephus as one of his sources. Because of this he may have preserved the original TF, ( before Eusibius got his dirty hands on it)!
Here is what the reconstruction may have looked like:
TESTIMONIAN FLAVIAN RECONSTRUCTION FROM TACITUS
>>>Now there was about this time a man, an innovator and deceiver of the people. Through his sorcery and innovations he drew over to him many Galileans and by them he was seen to be a King: For fear of the influence of a great many people, he suffered the extreme penalty at the hands of Pilate who condemned him to be crucified. Many of his followers, the Galileans were slain and thus checked for the moment. The movement again broke out with wild fury and mischievous superstition not only in Judæa, the first source of the evil, but even in Rome, where all things hideous and shameful from every part of the world find their centre and become popular.<<<
As can be seen from Annals15:44, the entirety of Tacitus’s information about Jesus is paralleled in Josephus, AJ 18, if not in the Testimonium, then nearby in the book. Tacitus’ use the erroneous title for Pontius Pilate as procurator would be in line with Josephus use a governor (ήγεμών) for Pilate in Ant18.3.1. This was non-specific title may be a reason why Tacitus used the wrong title. In fact both Josephus Wars and Philo’s Embassy to Giaus applied the term procurator for Pilate. ( Wars2.117,169; Legatio ad Gaius299).
[As a side note:
His title is given as procurator in Tacitus. Pontius Pilate’s title was traditionally thought to have been “procurator of Judea” since the Roman historian Tacitus (writing in the second century AD) refers to him as such. However, the Pilate stone (a fragmentary Latin inscription that records the name of ‘Pontius Pilate comes from the Tiberium’) refers to him as “prefect of Judea”. Pilate would have been a prefect at the time of Jesus. “Prefects” were governors in charge of parts of larger provinces. Pilate was removed from office because of his treatment of the Samaritan ( Ant 18.4.1) After this, as it turns out, it was not until the rule of the emperor Claudius (who governed from 41 to 54 AD) that the title of the Roman governors changed from “prefect” (ἔπαρχος) to “procurator”.(επίτροπος)]
On p.15 of Whealey’s dissertation  she indicates when Origen not believing Jesus as the Christ (Cel I.47) that he must have seen some version of the Testamonian. [How else would he have known that Josephus did not like to call Jesus the Christ?]. Also on p66 of Pines book  he says “If we admit that Origen was acquainted with a recension of the Testimonium, it follows from his remarks, as has been partly indicated, that this recension must have differed from that of the vulgate in at least two interconnected particulars:
1. It did not contain the sentence He was the Messiah.
2. It contained either a sceptical or a negative reference to the claim to Messiahship made on Jesus’ behalf.”
I’ve built on top of Carlson’s reconstruction with the following reasons:
• On one of the four points where the TF meets the Annals, it uses the phrase “mischievous superstition”. I thought that was rather Tacitean and replaced it with ‘innovator’ and ‘deceiver’ which is more Josephean.
• I replaced the line, “He drew over to him both many of the Jews and many of the Gentiles.” With “ He drew over to him many Galileans” as the original line sounds Paulinist. Also the early followers of Jesus were known as Galileans, as attested by Epitetus, Diss.4.7.6. Circa110-115AD (Cf Luke13.1-2; Mark14:70).
Diss. 4.7.6: “Well then, if madness can cause people to adopt such as attitude towards these things [not being scared at the swords of tyrants] and habit too, as in the case of the Galileans, can’t reason and demonstration teach people that God has made all that is in the universe, and the universe itself as a whole, to be free…”
This passage shows that Christians were known to be persecuted by the Emperor Nero, and Epictetus had been within close proximity to the Emperor’s household.
Also Epictetus opprobrious mention of the Galileans means they could just as easily been Zealots.
• As with many messianic figure followers reported in Josephus works, they usually declared the would be leader a King, this is reflected in the reconstruction.
•Agapius Arabic version does not blame the Jews for the death of Jesus. The key phrase “at the suggestion of the principal men among us” reads instead “Pilate condemned him to be crucified”. This is reflected in the reconstruction.
• The Syriac version has the phrase “he was believed to be Christ” instead of “he was the Christ”
Origen attested that Josephus did not like the term “Christ” so I left that out (Contra Celsus I.47).
• The TF could not have been neutral because of what was written before and after it. I stated the Galileans were slain because of the opening line of this Ant 18.3.4
“About the same time also another sad calamity put the Jews into disorder: ~Ant18.3.4 and also see what was written before it:- “Who laid upon them much greater blows than Pilate had commanded them; and equally punished those that were tumultuous, and those that were not. Nor did they spare them in the least.“~ Ant18.3.2
• The interpolation of the TF into Slavonic Josephus Wars also does not name Jesus in the passage but refers to him as “there appeared a certain man”~Slavonic Wars2.9.3/4. This could have been a more primitive interpolation than Eusibius’ interpolation. The most telling part about the Slavonic version is that it said everything about Jesus but his name, that very fact could have been preserved along a separate transmission line that Jesus was not named in the original. I have gone for this in the reconstruction above. This and the fact of the TF being a negative original could explain why Origen never cited this passage in all his works.
Whealey  (in page13 of link) makes a very astute observation that “Yet before Origen no Christian writer apparently found it worthwhile to cite Josephus as a relevant authority on anything in the New Testament; not only did they not cite Josephus on Jesus, they did not cite Josephus on James the brother of Jesus, John the Baptist, the several parallels shared by Luke-Acts and Josephus works, and perhaps most surprisingly, they did not name Josephus an authority on King Herod, a figure that dominates three and a half books of Antiquities”.
Here is the original TF:
Ant18.64-65 ( Ant18.3.3 AKA TF)
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.
A DIFFERENT JAMES PASSAGE
Our reconstruction does not bode well for the current James passage, Ant 20.200, as there is no mention of Jesus or an abhorant word to the Jew Josephus – the word ‘Christ’. But this is not a problem as Origen in his attestation of the James passage was on about a different James.
Was James the brother of Jesus originally in Josephus?
We all suspect interpolations, what is more interesting is what was cut out from Josephus. All James references (opposition to Paul gentile movement), derogatory Jesus references etc.
Lets examine this Christian tradition blaming the fall of Jerusalem to the death of James.
[TRACKING THE SOURCES].
Although nowhere to be found in the extant Josephus, it is quoted by Eusebius – who implies it is from Wars – in the following manner:
“And these things happened to the Jews to avenge James the Just, who was the brother of Jesus, the so-called Christ, for the Jews put him to death, notwithstanding his preeminent Righteousness.”(EH2.23.20)
On close analysis, it is clear Eusebius or the Josephus he saw means James.
Origen reproduces something of the same idea, though he claims Josephus referred to it in the Antiquities. Since Josephus’ Antiquities does not encompass a discussion of the fall of the Temple per se as Wars does, it is more likely that Eusebius is more correct in this matter. Origen gives the tradition as follows:
“So great a reputation among the people for Righteousness did this James enjoy, that Flavius Josephus, who wrote the Antiquities of the Jews in Twenty Books, when wishing to show the cause what the people suffered so great misfortunes that even the Temple was razed to the ground, said that these things happened to them in accordance with the Wrath of God in consequence of the things which they had dared to do against James the brother of Jesus who is called the Christ.”
(Contra Cel 1.47)
Then he adds:
“The wonderful thing is, that though he did not accept Jesus as Christ, he yet gave testimony that the Righteousness of James was so great; and he says that the people thought that they had suffered these things because of [what had been done to] James.” ( Commentary on Matthew 10.17)
This is extremely interesting testimony and hardly something either Origen or Eusebius would or could have dreamed up entirely by themselves, because it contradicts authoritative Church doctrine, which rather ascribed the fall of Jerusalem, as Origen “himself contends, to Jesus’ death, not James’. (Contra Cel 2.13)
Jerome too gives us a version of this tradition about James:
“This same Josephus records the tradition that this James was of such great Holiness and repute among the people that the downfall of Jerusalem was believed to be on account of his death.”
(Vir ill 2)[Lives of illustrious men].
Jerome is a careful scholar; one must assume that he saw something of what he says. Perhaps the nonsense Paulina and Fulvia episodes that follow the suspicious-sounding account of the crucifixion of Christ in Book Eighteen replaced some more extensive commentary of the kind Jerome says he saw in Book Eighteen, which included the material about Jerusalem falling ‘because of the death of James the Apostle’, not Jesus.
Epiphanius too calls James a nazorite (Panarian 29.5.7). From other sources like the Pseudoclementine Homilies and Recognitions, we shall be able to show how James is leader of the Jerusalem Church does send out Apostles and others on overseas missions. Paul confirms this when he discusses the ‘some from James’ that are sent down to check into affairs in Antioch in Galatians 2:12.
The only other early author (apart from the disputed Josephus) to mention James before the close of the second century C.E. is Hegesippus (cf. Fragments from the Acts of the Church; Concerning the Martyrdom of James, the Brother of the Lord, from Book 5), who as early as c. 165 – 175AD tells his reader in great detail that James (as brother of the Lord) was hurled from the top of the Temple and then because he survived this attempt on his life he was then summarily stoned to death. Hegesippus also tells us that this happened immediately before the destruction of the Temple by Vespasian and as such it would point to a date of c. 68 – 70AD
These argue strongly for the authenticity of Hegesippus’ detailed description of James and the existence of a much longer exegetical work on the death of James in the manner of the pesharim at Qumran, upon which this was based.
The first is the allusion to a key scriptural passage, Isaiah 3:10–11. Not only is this Zaddik passage exactly parallel to ones like those in the Habakkuk and Psalm 37 Peshers applied to the death of the Righteous Teacher at Qumran, but its vocabulary was actually absorbed into the former of these. The second feature is the application to James of this important conceptuality of the ‘Zaddik’ or ‘Righteous One’.
[As an interesting side note St. John Chrysostom [c347-407 CE], when composing his Homilies on St. John, appears to have had a manuscript of Josephus that attributed the fall of Jerusalem and destruction of the temple to the death of John the Baptist].
So to sum up Origen in two works, Contra Celsus and his Commentary on Matthew, claims to have found in his copy of the Antiquities by Josephus a passage attributing the fall of Jerusalem to the death of James, not Jesus. Eusebius claims something similar but he claims to have seen it in WARS.
In normative Christian usage, Jesus is considered to have predicted both the downfall of Jerusalem and the destruction of the Temple, and Origens outrage at having come upon these passages in the copy of Josephus available to him – presumably in the library at Caesarea on the Palestine coast, where Eusebius too had later been Bishop – and Eusebius’ own concern over this discrepancy, might be not a little connected to its disappearance in all extant copies about James in Josephus’ works.
It is more than likely that Origen mixed up Hegessipus and Josephus when referencing the fall of Jerusalem to James. I cannot see Josephus making a Christian assertion that Jerusalem fell due to the killing of James the Just. Later on I show what may have been originally written was “James son of Joseph”. This would certainly make Christians think that that James was their James. Origen may have interpreted Ananus’ attack on James (a rival high priest) may have worsened relations between priestly classes ( you have high priest and lower clergy grips) would have contributed to the eventual fall of Jerusalem. What we have here is high priest rivalry exacerbated by interregnum procuratorship in 62CE. All this does indicate one thing, that the James passage Origen attests to is not the current James passage that we have today.
SO HOW DID IT HAPPEN WE HAVE THE CURRENT JAMES PASSAGE?
Allen  in the paper linked below (chapter 4 , p 291-328) goes one step further than Carrier in claiming that the James passage in “Antiquities of the Jews” (AJ) was not an inter linear scribal error but an actual Christian interpolation.
ORIGEN AND THE ”JAMES THE JUSTICE” PASSAGE IN Antiquities by Josephus (Ant20.9.1)
You can see from the following two quotes by Origen that Josephus never liked to use the term ‘Christ’.
CONTRA CELSIUM Book1 ch. 47 ( Origen)
“Now this writer [i.e. Josephus], although not believing in Jesus as the Christ….”
COMMENTARY ON MATTHEW X 17 (Origen)
“And the wonderful thing is, that, though he did not accept Jesus as Christ, he yet gave testimony that the righteousness of James was so great; and he says that the people thought that they had suffered these things because of James.”
JOSEPHUS DID NOT LIKE THE TERM ‘CHRIST’.
According to Origen (cf. COM, X.17 / 5268 – 5269; Cels, I, 47),we are able to confirm that Josephus did not accept Jesus as the “Christ”.
You can clearly see Josephus did not like to use the term ‘Christ’ in relation to Jesus.
It is interesting that Josephus would have mentioned the word “Christ” considering how quickly he denigrates any other supposed messianic upstarts in all of his other writings.
Why Josephus says “James the brother of Jesus who is called Christ” and not say “James the son of Joseph” which is the proper Jewish form of address. Origen quotes the James Passage practically verbatim – even inappropriately referring to a Jewish male as “the brother” of another individual;
I would like people to note what Allen missed->
[At the start of 20.9.1 there is a high priest Joseph mentioned who was deprived of his position by Agrippa, perhaps James is the son of Joseph.]
“brother of Jesus, who was called Christ, whose name was James”
It originally should have read
“James son of Joseph”.
This makes much more sense that Carriers explanation and it fits as there is a high priest named Joseph deposed at the start of the passage.
The assurances of many Christian scholars, it is difficult to see how the James Passage (JP) [A]* can in any way appear as an innocent text. (See relevant passages below in footnotes.)
If one simply reviews the actual statements made by Origen, it should be regarded as pertinent that he uses almost exactly the same wording as is contained in the current form of the JP (i.e. “the brother of Jesus, who was called Christ, whose name was James”) to describe James, viz.:
1. COM, X, 17 / 5268: “James the brother of Jesus who is called Christ”;
2. Cels, I, 47: “James the Just, who was a brother of Jesus called Christ”; and
3. Cels, II, 13: “James the Just, the brother of Jesus who was called Christ”.
Origen mentions Josephus’ reference to James on four occasions: twice in his COM, X, 17 / 5268 – 5269, once in Cels. I, 47 and again in his Cels. II, 13
Suspected interpolation (i.e. “the brother of Jesus, who was called Christ”), if foul play is speculated it is almost certain that Origen (rightly or wrongly), will be amongst the more likely suspects.
The interpolator merely used this convenient point in line 200 of Josephus’ account of Ananus’ atrocities to ensure the inclusion of the following few mission-critical words: “Jesus who was called Christ”.
The suspected Christian interpolator merely used the cursory reference to the stoned man and some compatriots as a useful device.
CALLED CHRIST HAS GOSPEL TRADITION:
The participial phrase “(who is/who was) called Christ” (c.f. Antiquities, 188.8.131.52) does not actually include the verb “to be”. This is simply added into the English translation.
This is literally what it says in Greek:
“…and *having brought* before them (the council) the brother of Jesus, who *being called Christ*, *James – his name*…”
The participial phrase indeed matches the gospels. There is NO implication of PAST TENSE in «Ἰησοῦ τοῦ λεγομένου Χριστοῦ». And there’s no way to rephrase it to imply a present tense more explicitly.
Since, in the context of the current form of the text, Jesus is assumed to have died previously, it is totally appropriate to translate it in English as “…was called…”. The Greek phrasing should be totally non-controversial.
The same expression “called Christ” is both John 4:25 and Matthew 1:16: “of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ.” The phrase is found in a similar form in Matthew two more times, then in 27:17 and 27:22; and the author of the Gospel of Matthew has Pilate both times designating Jesus as that “Jesus who is called Christ”. The manner of letting a non-Christian witness identify Jesus as the one who was “called Christ” can accordingly be traced back to the Gospels. This would reasonably imply that it would not have felt unnatural for a Christian person with knowledge of the Gospel accounts to designate Jesus as the one called Christ, if he later found that Josephus ought to have mentioned Jesus.
“Called Christ” are the EXACT SAME phrase in different grammatical cases (nominative for ‘subject’, accusative for ‘direct object’ and genitive for ‘possessive’).
So what we observe in the English translations is a juxtaposition of the tense forms of “to be”, where past tense (“was”) is appropriate for Josephus and Origen (narrating events after Jesus’ death); while present tense (“is”) is appropriate for the Gospels (narrating events during Jesus’ life). English translators are forced to make a choice, while the Greek authors were not bound by such rules.
Ἰησοῦ τοῦ λεγομένου Χριστοῦ (genitive).
(Iêsou tou legomenou Christou)
Jesus who (was) called Christ
(Antiquities of the Jews 20:200).
Ἰησοῦς ὁ λεγόμενος Χριστός (nominative)
(Iêsous ho legomenos Christos)
Jesus, who (is) called Christ (Matt 1:16).
ὁ λεγόμενος Χριστός (nominative)
(ho legomenos Christos)
he] who ( is)called Christ (John 4:25).
Ἰησοῦν τὸν λεγόμενον Χριστόν (accusative)
(Iêsoun ton legomenon Christon)
Jesus who (is) called Christ (Matt 27:17).
Ἰησοῦν τὸν λεγόμενον Χριστόν (accusative)
(Iêsoun ton legomenon Christon)
with Jesus who (is) called Christ (Matt 27:22).
WHAT’S MISSING/ WHAT’S ADDED??
As stated in line 199 this makes little sense. For example, was Josephus telling us that Ananus simply liked to have individuals executed without justifiable cause, and was merely waiting for the opportune moment when he was not under Roman authority to give vent to his sadistic temperament?
Or, is something now missing from the original text, immediately before line 200, which formerly gave the correct account of why Ananus needed to get rid of the unknown man or men in question?
However, in the current version, the reader is none the wiser. This is in fact quite noticeable if one has the eyes to see, because after supposedly giving his reader no clear motive for the arrests, Josephus then goes to great lengths (lines 201 – 203) to explain that the charges against the men were not justified. These three lines would only make sense if, before line 200, the reader had been told the nature of the charges and the context behind them being levelled at the men in question.
It might also be consider that originally the JP (or preceding text), was somewhat longer than it now appears, and once included the genuine reasons behind Ananus’ urgent need to make use of the opportune death of Festus to dispatch his enemies. Here, the unknown Christian interpolator may well have removed one (or possibly two), sentences that originally gave the reader the correct names of the offenders (as well as the true nature of their crime). He then inserted this most convenient of phrases: “the brother of Jesus, who was called Christ, whose name was James”.
After supposedly giving his reader no clear motive for the arrests, Josephus then goes to great lengths (lines 201 – 203) to explain that the charges against the men were not justified. These three lines would only make sense if, before line 200, the reader had been told the nature of the charges and the context behind them being levelled at the men in question.
The only other early author (apart from the disputed Josephus) to mention James before the close of the second century C.E. is Hegesippus (cf. Fragments from the Acts of the Church; Concerning the Martyrdom of James, the Brother of the Lord, from Book 5), who as early as c. 165 – 175 C.E. tells his reader in great detail that James (as brother of the Lord) was hurled from the top of the Temple and then because he survived this attempt on his life he was then summarily stoned to death. Hegesippus also tells us that this happened immediately before the destruction of the Temple by Vespasian and as such it would point to a date of c. 68 – 70 C.E.
If this account is in any way accurate it means that the JP is in direct contradiction to both the date as well as the manner and circumstances of James’ death (The JP states that James was stoned along with “others” after due trial and sentencing by a high priest).
The issue is further compounded by the fact that, by the fourth and fifth centuries it was more normal for the mainstream church to defer from referring to Jesus as having flesh and blood brothers. In this regard, it will be recalled that in his DVI, 2 Jerome (c. 347 – 420 C.E.) maintains that James was Jesus’ cousin and the biological son of Mary of Cleophas. Jerome stresses that James was not the son of Joseph by another wife.
Although, in his Cels. II, 22, Origen makes it clear that he thinks that the death of Jesus was the ultimate cause for the destruction of the Temple, he repeatedly makes mention of Josephus’ reference to James in his many writings. In these contexts, he falsely records Josephus as blaming the death of James for the destruction of Jerusalem and as has been clearly shown, Origen recurrently employs the almost identical phraseology as found in the JP today.
MY OWN CONCLUSION:
Origen said himself that Josephus hated the term ‘Christ’ in relation to Jesus. I don’t believe the term existed in his copy. I believe the interpolater was of Origen school and simply lifted the phrase, “the brother of Jesus, who was called Christ” from Origen’s writings.
[A] Passage from Antiquitates Judaicae20.9.1/ 197 – 203 (James Passage)
“And now Caesar, upon hearing the death of Festus, sent Albinus into Judea, as procurator. But the king deprived Joseph of the high priesthood, and bestowed the succession to that dignity on the son of Ananus, who was also himself called Ananus. Now the report goes that this eldest Ananus proved a most fortunate man; for he had five sons who had all performed the office of a high priest to God, and who had himself enjoyed that dignity a long time formerly, which had never happened to any other of our high priests. But this younger Ananus, who, as we have told you already, took the high priesthood, was a bold man in his temper, and very insolent; he was also of the sect of the Sadducees, who are very rigid in judging offenders, above all the rest of the Jews, as we have already observed; when, therefore, Ananus was of this disposition, he thought he had now a proper opportunity. Festus was now dead, and Albinus was but upon the road; so he assembled the sanhedrin of judges, and brought before them the brother of Jesus, who was called Christ, whose name was James, and some others; and when he had formed an accusation against them as breakers of the law, he delivered them to be stoned: but as for those who seemed the most equitable of the citizens, and such as were the most uneasy at the breach of the laws, they disliked what was done; they also sent to the king, desiring him to send to Ananus that he should act so no more, for that what he had already done was not to be justified; nay, some of them went also to meet Albinus, as he was upon his journey from Alexandria, and informed him that it was not lawful for Ananus to assemble a sanhedrin without his consent. Whereupon Albinus complied with what they said, and wrote in anger to Ananus, and threatened that he would bring him to punishment for what he had done; on which king Agrippa took the high priesthood from him, when he had ruled but three months, and made Jesus, the son of Damneus, high priest.”
[B] Passage from the Antiquitates Judaicae18.3.3/ 63 – 64.( better known as the Testimonium Flavian or TF).
“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.”
P.14 from Shlomo Pines book “An Arabic Version of the Testimonium Flavianum and its lmplications”.