PART 2 of my Historical Jesus series
“How can you say, ‘We are wise, And the law of the LORD is with us’? Look, the false pen of the scribe certainly works falsehood. ~Jeremiah 8:8 (NKJV).
Here is the model textus restitutus of Ant 18.3.3:
“And there is about this time a certain man, a sophist and agitator. He was one who wrought surprising feats. A teacher of men who revered him with pleasure. Many of the Judaens, and also many of the Galilean element, he led to himself; he was believed to be a King: [For he opposed paying the tax to Caesar.] And many souls were roused, thinking that thereby the tribe of Judaens could free themselves from the Romans. [He claimed the Temple would be destroyed and that not one stone would be standing on another and that it would be restored in three days.] And, when on the accusation of the first men among us Pilate condemned him to be crucified. Many of his followers, the Galileans and Judaens were slain and thus checked for the moment. The movement again broke out with great abundance when it was believed he appeared to them alive. Those that followed him at first did not cease to revere him, their leader in sedition and this tribe/group has until now not disappeared.” ~ Proposed original of Ant18.3.3.
The portions that are in brackets [ ] are outside the evidence available but it would be unrealistic to have no reason for Jesus’s execution. Without its inclusion, the reconstruction would be vacuous . Josephus would have given a reason. He would have also given a famous prediction that these messianic types usually gave. The reason for Jesus’ execution, seems to have been an issue with the paying of Roman tax – an issue well attested in all the gospels and many of the apocryphal gospels. Also given is a crazy messianic claim typical of these messianic figure types. (Discussed in part 7)
For ease of reference I will color code the following:
The textus receptus in English.
The textus receptus in Greek.
The reconstructed TF in English.
The reconstructed TF in Greek.
Here is the first line of the TF:
And there is about this time Jesus, a wise man,
Γίνεται δὲ κατὰ τοῦτον τὸν χρόνον Ἰησοῦς σοφὸς ἀνήρ
And here is the proposed change:
And there is about this time a certain man, a sophist and agitator.
Γίνεται δὲ κατὰ τοῦτον τὸν χρόνον ἀνήρ τις ταραχτικός τε σοφιστής
Here are the reasons:
•For the first word in the passage ‘γίνεται’ (there arose) Robert Eisler has observed, “The verb Γίνεται (Ginetai) does, however, occur quite frequently in Josephus, particularly at the beginning of paragraphs; but the subject of the sentence is then almost without exception a word such as θόρυβος (tumult), or στάση (rebellion), or ταραχή (trouble), or some such term…..” .
He then goes on to give many examples in footnote 2: War 1,4,7 § 99; 1.4.2 § 85; 1.12.1 § 236; 1.33.2 § 648; 1.8.6 § 171; 1.10.10 § 216; 4.3.13 § 208; Antiquities 18.9.1 § 310; 19.9.2 § 366; 20.2.6 § 51; 20.6.1 § 118; 20.8.7 § 173. 
As the passage before and after the TF are negative describing tumults and as Eisler observed that many a time Josephus often put in a word describing a tumultuous situation, I have included the word ‘agitator’ ταραχτικός in the reconstruction.
•The interpolation of the TF into Slavonic Josephus War also does not name Jesus in the passage but refers to him as “there appeared a certain man”~Slavonic War 2.9.3/4.
It is not unusual for Josephus not to know the name of a popular messianic figure. Case in mind is the ‘Egyptian’ (War 2.13.5) who led a revolt of thousands and featured in both Antiquities and War yet he could only call him the ‘Egyptian’. Same goes for the ‘Samaritan’. (Ant 18.5.1).
•There is a variant found in one of the manuscripts (Codex A of Eusebius’ Ecclesiastical History 1.11.7 (Dem. ev. 3.5.105). This reading offers the pronoun τις after Ίησούς referring to “a certain Jesus.” I have used this word ‘certain’ in the reconstruction, but instead of a certain Jesus, I have said a ‘certain man’. This is the same reading as the Slavonic. This derogatory expression argues against the TF being made up of whole cloth. (This phrase ‘τις’ was also used for Judas the Galilean, War 2§118). No scribe would have interpolated the word τις but this phrase could have escaped a copyist attempting to interpolate the original TF. The use of ‘certain’ suggests a figure not well known. The qualification of ‘certain’ would only be omitted if the figure was well known.
All scholars recognize that the Slavonic has been destroyed with Christian gloss as explained very well by Van Voorst:
“The Slavonic Josephus reflects the growing Christian tendency to excuse Pontius Pilate for Jesus’ death and to blame the Jews, even to the point of saying that the Jews themselves crucified Jesus. To make this point, the Slavonic version has to ignore Josephus’s original statement that Pilate crucified him….The Slavonic Testimonium uses the New Testament extensively at several points to develop its story.” .
But then Van Voorst goes on to say that the Slavonic does “not provide an authentic textual alternative to the main Testimonium Flavianum in the Jewish Antiquities.” 
So after he said that Christians were trying to bolster up the TF he fails to explain why they dropped his name “Jesus” and title “Christ”. That is my point that Van Voorst does not explain (or notice) if the Slavonic came from the textus receptus found in the MSS of Antiquities. Of course it is easier to explain if the Slavonic came from a Greek exemplar that existed before Eusebius fiddled with it. It would explain it perfectly if it came from an exemplar before Eusebius added the words ‘Jesus’ and ‘Christ’.
A number of Greek words taken over literally by the Russian, (Eg: igemon, metropolja, archierei, skinopigja, katapetasma, aramatji), which just shows that the Slavonic is working off an early Greek exemplar..
I never agreed with Eisler that it came from an Aramaic original, that’s where Eisler got it wrong but it did come from a pre Eusebian Greek exemplar!
The Slavonic is so bloated, it is laughable. 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.
‘a wise man’
‘sophist and agitator’
ταραχτικός τε σοφιστής
•Josephus usually uses the expression σοφὸς ἀνήρ ‘a wise man’, as his highest praise for people. There is only two cases where he uses it: King Solomon and the prophet Daniel; it is not a phrase he uses for the messianic leaders he reports. Usually it is not σοφὸς (wise) but σοφιστής (sophist).
Example: In War 2 §118, Judas the Galilaean is described as having σοφιστὴς ἰδίας αἱρέσεως (sophisticated ideas).There is a clue this word sophist was originally written when Justin Martyr says:
“He was no sophist, but His word was the power of God.” (1Apol.14).
Justin had heard off of his interlocutor that Jesus was a sophist, information he may have got off the TF.
Cross reference this with what Lucian wrote in his satire called The Passing of Peregrinus:
“Furthermore, their first lawgiver persuaded them that they are all brothers of one another after they have transgressed once, for all by denying the Greek gods and by worshipping that crucified sophist himself and living under his laws.” (Lucian, Peregr. Proteus, ch. xiii).
It is common knowledge that Jesus was a sophist, information that was easily accessed and out in the public. Information easily got from Josephus Antiquities.
• Jesus is not named in this reconstruction as explained above. As damaged as the Slavonic is with Christian gloss, it is on a different transmission line than the Arabic and Michael the Syrian recension. Therefore it is valuable as it came from a pre Eusebian Greek exemplar.
The fact Jesus is not named and the fact of the TF being a negative original could explain why Origen never cited this passage in all his works, (but he did acknowledge it). Most church fathers would simply quote the gospels (discussed below) when it came to Jesus, as the gospels had a glorious history of Jesus as opposed to any negative history found anywhere else (such as a negative TF).
The next section:
if one may properly call him a man.
εἴγε ἄνδρα αὐτὸν λέγειν χρή
•Meier has seen this line interpolated by Eusebius along with the line he was the Messiah.  Ken Olson evaluates this phrase in the wider context of where Eusebius made use of this phrase in an argument contained in Demonstratio Evangelica, book III (Demonstration of the Gospel).  He cites the TF at Dem. Ev. 3.5.106. Here Ken shows “Eusebius is carrying on an extended defense of the incarnation and answering the charges of critics of Christianity. One of these is Porphyry’s argument against the divinity of Jesus.”  What makes us suspicious that Eusebius interpolated this phrase is that he needed to show both the human and divine nature of Jesus. Also a Jewish hand could never have written this.
Therefore we will cut this section out of our reconstruction.
The next phrase:
He was one who wrought surprising feats
ἦν γὰρ παραδόξων ἔργων ποιητής
•This could be original and not touched because Christian redactors would have seen the word παραδόξων (paradoxōn) as miraculous. Josephus could have used this particular word more negatively to describe Jesus as doing ‘strange deeds’, in the same vein of other false prophets he reported on. It can also translate as “the maker of strange works”. Josephus would not have meant miracles, except as a type of wonder worker, but later Christian scribes would have thought that was what Josephus meant, thus ensuring the survival of this particular line. . Whealey  explains that this is not a preferred description Eusebius would have for Jesus and therefore looks like he inherited this from the original TF. One passage Eusebius has in his Commentaria in Psalmos (PG23 1033d-1036a) where he comments on Psalm 85:8-10 LXX, Eusebius “characterises many of the prophets as παραδόξων ἔργων ποιητής”, ([those who] wrought surprising feats). He “thereby indicates that παραδόξων ἔργων ποιητής was not a term that adequately conveyed the full stature of Jesus, since for Eusebius Jesus was Gods pre existent logos and not just παραδόξων ἔργων ποιητής like all the prophets before him” . An original TF has influenced Eusebius to use this term of phrase. Olson’s argument that it was made up by Eusebius is refuted by Whealeys investigation on how Eusebius used this description elsewhere. (As used in Commentaria in Psalmos (PG23 1033d-1036a) discussed above).
Here is the second line of the TF:
a teacher to those who receive the truth with pleasure.
διδάσκαλος ἀνθρώπων τῶν ἡδονῇ τἀληθῆ δεχομένων
A teacher of men who revere / worship him with pleasure.
διδάσκαλος ἀνθρώπων τῶν σεβομένων αὐτὸν ἡδονῇ
•The second line is witnessed by the recension found in Eusebius Demonstratio evangelica iii 5. Whealey does say that the MSS of the Demonstratio is later than that of the Theophania MSS, but that does not follow which is the later reading.
Josephus usually uses the words διδάσκαλος , “teacher,” and σεβομένων ‘who reveres or worship’ in a sarcastic negative way. A Christian copyist who had noticed this and changed ‘who worship’ (σεβομένων) to replace it with ‘ who receive’ (δεχομένων). We saw the same thing when another Christian copyist had deleted the derogatory τις.
and many Jews, and also many of the Greek element, he led to himself;
καὶ πολλοὺς μὲν Ἰουδαίους, πολλοὺς δὲ καὶ τοῦ Ἑλληνικοῦ ἐπηγάγετο
and many of the Judaens, and also many of the Galilean element, he led to himself
καὶ πολλοὺς μὲν Ἰουδαίους, πολλοὺς δὲ καὶ τοῦ Γαλιλαίου ἐπηγάγετο
• I replaced the line, “and many Jews (a Christian translation of Judaens, same word), and also many of the Greek element, he led to himself;” With “and many of the Judaens, and also many of the Galilean element, he led to himself” as the original line sounds Paulinist. As Paula Fredriksen said, Josephus “is the only one of our early sources to name gentiles (those “of Greek origin”) as among Jesus’ original followers. No New Testament source corroborates this claim,…. the movement that formed after Jesus’ death seems to have involved gentiles only eventually and tangentially, and not from its very initial stages.”  Fredriksen thinks that this was written anachronistically by Josephus but as Rosen-Zvi and Ophir noticed about Josephus is that the syntactic construction is playing on the Jew/Gentile binary, which is not a feature of Josephus’ language anywhere else.  In fact, having Jews and Greeks join together in any sort of movement from the time of Herod the Great to the Jewish Roman War 66-70, is extremely unlikely. As Steve Mason commented, “the appearance of charismatic prophets, militants, and sicarii; and the immediate background to the war itself (e.g., events in Caesarea, deteriorating relations with Greek cities, the intervention and defeat of Cestius Gallus”  [Legate of Syria who led a legion into Judea in 66 to wipe out the revolt].
Therefore it is more likely that Eusebius swapped out Ἑλληνικοῦ (Greek) for Γαλιλαίου (Galilean). Also the Greek does suggest two groups as ἐπηγάγετο means the source of, the spring of. It is tantalizing that the Jesus movement was big enough to lead two groups of people into a revolt! One from his area of Galilee who came down for the Passover, joining with those more local from the south, the Judaens. A failed revolt consisting of two groups would see one side blaming the other. Judas Iscariot may be a literary construction in the gospels (discussed below) to represent the Judean element being at fault for the failure. The size of this messianic group would explain that the Jesus movement was big enough to make it into Josephus.  It shows Jesus leading a full-on revolt of at least two groups before he got executed. Jesus was not a nobody, a nobody would not make it into Josephus and be the cause of the rise of the NT literature. Romans crucified for sedition, they were never interested in common thieves. Crucifixion was used as a deterrent to rebellion. “Jesus was condemned to aggravated death. If we look at the ten chapters [Roman Law,] by which this type of death was inflicted on individuals of pilgrim and humble status, we will see that only two of them can be taken into consideration: popular uprising and crime of lesa-majesty.” (law of Treason, lex maiestatis)  (Cf The Digesta 48:1, 3)
There was a two-fold advantage for Eusebius to replace the word “Galileans” with the word “Greeks”. Firstly he would get rid of a negative rebellious connotation by getting rid of a ‘Galilean’ reference. Secondly having ‘Greeks’ makes this movement sound universal, Eusebius wished to confirm Jesus’ “letter” (this was made up by Eusebius) to King Agbar. (H.E. I.13.1). Also the early followers of Jesus were known as Galileans, as attested by Epictetus, Diss. 4.7.6. Circa 110-115CE (Cf Luke 13:1-2; Mark 14:70):
“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…” (Diss. 4.7.6)
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 have been messianic rebels. The gospel of Mark may also have preserved the fact that this movement was Galilean:
“Again he denied it. After a little while, those standing near said to Peter, “Surely you are one of them, for you are a Galilean.” (Mark 14:70).
Josephus views the Galileans as a separate ethnos. (E.g. War 3 § 42). He views them condescendingly; they mainly reside in the urban centres of Galilee. Thiel says that Josephus described them as “restive and emotional mob ready to ignite at the slightest indignation” 
This, together with that the textus receptus says “of the Greek (nation)” and not “Greeks” in the plural, shows that Eusebius was working with something that was already there. There is no other instance in Josephus of his referring to “Greeks” in this exact way, but there is an instance where he refers to the Galilean ethnos.
He was the Christ.
ὁ χριστὸς οὗτος ἦν.
He was believed to be a King.
ἐνομίζετο βασιλεὺς εἶναι
• As with many messianic figure followers reported in Josephus works, they usually declared the would be leader a King, (this is a messianic title). Many messianic figures in Josephus works such as Simon of Pereae, a slave of Herod the Great (Ant 17.10.6) and Athronges the shepherd (Ant 17.10.7 ) were declared King (βασιλεὺς) at a drop of a hat. This is a common theme throughout Josephus, this line is telling:
“And now Judea was full of robberies. And as the several companies of the seditious light upon any one to head them, he was created a King immediately, in order to do mischief to the publick.” (Josephus, Ant 17.10.8).
This theme of popular messianic figures expected to lead the disgruntled has gospel tradition too, example:
“Jesus, knowing that they intended to come and make him king by force, withdrew again to a mountain by himself.” (John 6:15).
Also the Titulus crux, where Jesus’ crime was stated “King of the Jews” points to sedition.
Therefore I replaced “he was the Christ ” using Jerome’s Latin recension with the more primitive phrase “he was believed to be the Christ”. For the Greek I used the verb νομίζω (consider) i.e. “ἐνομίζετο”. I also replaced Christ (χριστὸς) with King (βασιλεὺς) as Josephus did not use this term for all the other messianic figures. If you read Josephus you would be surprised with how many messianic contenders were declared to be a king. Therefore I used the term ‘King’ in this reconstruction. Origen stated that Josephus did not like to use the term “Christ” in relation to Jesus. Josephus preferred to apply that title to Vespasian in his Roman propaganda, citing the Balaam prophecy (War 6.312-313). In a lecture, Henry Abramson explains why Josephus could not have wrote ‘Christos’ in this passage, “When Josephus uses the word Mashiach, [hebrew for Christ] that’s like game over, end of time, that’s like resuscitation of the dead. The world ends as we know it. We go into a brand new period of history unlike anything we had before. For him to go on to write another few volumes with only one passage about this one event is just beyond belief… a modern analogy is to say we have found intelligent alien life but we will finish this lecture. Another impossible event.”  Of course the word ‘Christ’ does fit into Paul’s letters as Paul is describing the end game. Paul’s epistles do describe this brand new age of history already started by Jesus the messiah, Jesus being ‘first fruits’ is the first of the dead to resurrect.
[For he opposed paying the tax to Caesar.]
And many souls were roused, thinking that thereby the tribe of Judaens could free themselves from the Romans.
[ἀντεῖπε γὰρ τὸ διδόναι κῆνσον Καίσαρι.]
πολλαὶ δὲ ψυχαὶ συνεχύθησαν ὡς οὕτως τὸ τῶν Ἰουδαίων φῦλον ἐλευθερώσῃ ἑαυτό ἐκ τῶν Ῥωμαίων.
•A new line added in brackets as there was no reason given for Jesus Crucifixion rendering our current TF vacuous. There was originally a reason which I suspect was cut out. The reason I add this reason is that it is well attested in all the canonical as well as many of the apocryphal gospels. Many of the gospels have a controversy over paying tribute to Caesar (Matt 22:15-22; Mark 12:13-17; Luke 20:20-26; Papyrus Egerton 2:3). “We have found this man subverting our nation. He opposes payment of taxes to Caesar and claims to be a King Messiah.” (Luke 23:2). There could have been a mention of this in the original TF, that was cut out. If Josephus had originally described Jesus as a messianic rebel, in particular one who had advocated tax resistance, there would have been a strong motive to eliminate that from the record.
In the following sentence contained in the Slavonic TF could have come from an original TF, “And many souls were roused, thinking that thereby the Jewish tribes could free themselves from Roman hands.” The word tribe is also in the last sentence of the TF.
Next Section also in brackets:
[He claimed the Temple would be destroyed and that not one stone would be standing on another and that it would be restored in three days.]
[ὁ δ’ ἔφη ὅτι καταλυθῇ ὁ ναός τ’ οὐ μὴ ἀφεθῇ ὧδε λίθος ἐπὶ λίθον τ’ οἰκοδομήσῃ ἐν τρισὶν ἡμέραις]
• Ian Mills in an interview with Derek Lambert on his Mythvision podcast  thinks Jesus actually made this crazy claim of an miraculous event of the destruction and restoration of the Temple. (Many messianic figures made crazy claims as seen from the ‘Egyptian’ and ‘Theudas’ discussed later in this paper). Mills thinks that when the Temple really got destroyed that this was a memorable prophecy. This in turn meant the gospel of Mark included it in his gospel, with a qualifier that it was a false report. Ian Mills drawing from E P Sanders, Jesus and Judaism, says the gospels are uncomfortable with a failed prophecy of Temple destruction. (Mark 13:1-31). Mark is writing after the destruction, and therefore highlighting this prophecy of Jesus.Jesus proclaims that the Messiah, the “Son of Man” in “great power and glory” would return within the lives of some of the people listening to him. He links the blessed event of his second coming with the destruction of a Jerusalem and it’s famous Temple. It is very unusual for those trying to glorify Jesus, to put in a failed prophecy, it is not something you makeup from scratch. If you keep reading into Mark’s gospel, onto the trial of Jesus (Mark 14:57-59) you will read about people falsely accusing Jesus that he will destroy the Temple and rebuild it:
“Then some stood up and gave this false testimony against him: “We heard him say, ‘I will destroy this temple made with human hands and in three days will build another, not made with hands.’” (Mark 14:57-58).
While Jesus was on the cross people mocked him about it:
“Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads and saying, “So! You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, come down from the cross and save yourself!” In the same way the chief priests and the teachers of the law mocked him among themselves. “He saved others,” they said, “but he can’t save himself! Let this Messiah, this king of Israel, come down now from the cross, that we may see and believe.” Those crucified with him also heaped insults on him.” (Mark 15:29-32)
Mark knows his readers are well aware of the prophecy and tries to refute it. You do not try to refute a non-existent failed prophecy, that is one of the reasons for suspecting that this prophecy was circulating.
[After the ‘Egyptian”’s failed revolt, I can picture those around him, mocking him as to why the walls of Jerusalem didn’t come tumbling down. I discuss the Egyptians’ crazy messianic claim later in this paper. The belief he may have had about being a messiah would have been shattered like what happened to other messianic movements in the event of failure. Without gods intervention- they can’t be the messiah. Really Jesus was not unique and had similar problems experienced by other messianic types. The gospel of Mark tries to get around peoples opposition to Jesus being the messiah by inventing a literary construct of the messianic secret].
John 2:19 also had this prediction of destroying the Temple and rebuilding it in three days. Mark is in denial about the prediction whereas John spiritualized it.
Stephens speech also has it about the prophecy in Acts:
“They produced false witnesses, who testified, “This fellow never stops speaking against this holy place and against the law. For we have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this place and change the customs Moses handed down to us.” (Acts 6:13-14).
Even the gospel of Thomas has this prophecy, saying 71:
“I will destroy this house, and no one shall be able to build it again.”
And, when on the accusation of the first men among us Pilate had condemned him to a cross.
καὶ αὐτὸν ἐνδείξει τῶν πρώτων ἀνδρῶν παρ’ ἡμῖν σταυρῷ ἐπιτετιμηκότος Πιλάτου
•Paul Winters, an expert in Jewish and Roman Law in first century Palestine sees this line as genuine. “The balanced distinction between ἐνδείξει (verb ένδείχνυμι) writ of indictment, attributed to Jewish leaders, and the act of awarding sentence (επιτιμάν σταυρῷ) is not likely to be the work of a Christian interpolator …Such an interpolator would scarcely have been content with reproaching Jewish leaders for drawing up an indictment against Jesus whilst stating that the imposition of sentence by crucifixion was an act of Roman justice.” 
•Shlomo Pines  had thought this line was not in the original TF as the Agabius 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”. But Whealey has proved that the Agapius version is a paraphrase. She proved this as she showed Michael the Syriac recension used the same source. Therefore it is most likely that this line is original. .
John 11:47-50 reflects the collaborating High Priest’s fear of the danger posed by a messianic figure:
Then the chief priests and the Pharisees called a meeting of the Sanhedrin. “What are we accomplishing?” they asked. “Here is this man performing many signs. If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and then the Romans will come and take away both our temple and our nation.”
This is also backed up in 1 Thessalonians 2:14-15:
For you, brothers, became imitators of God’s Assemblies in Judea, which are in Christ Jesus: You suffered from your own people the same things those Assemblies suffered from the Judeans….. 
The Dead Sea Scrolls mention an earlier high priest, seen as a collaborator, whom they dubbed the “Wicked Priest,” (“cohen resha” mentioned in 1QpHab; cf 4QpPsa) which shows one need not read the Josephus business about priestly involvement in Jesus’ execution as a product of vilification by Christian interpolators.
Many of his followers, the Galileans and Judaens, were slain and thus checked for the moment.
πολλοὶ τῶν αὐτὸν ἀγαπησάντων, τῶν Γαλιλαίων τε καὶ τῶν Ἰουδαίων, ἀπώλοντο. οὕτως δ’ αὐτίκα κατέσχοντο.
•Tacitus made use of the TF, he also used other parts of Josephus works as a source.(see footnote 2). I propose that we can reconstruct part of this line .
“and thus checked for the moment” from Annuls 15.44.3 which has “repressaque in praesens exitiabilis superstitio” “and the pernicious superstition was checked for a moment”
The movement again broke out with great abundance, when it was believed he appeared to them living again
αὖθις ἐνεωτερίσθη εἰς ἀφθονίαν, πιστευσάντων ὅτι ἐφάνη αὐτοῖς πάλιν ζῶν
•Again Annuls 15.44 comes into play here with the following line- rursum erumpebat, non modo per Iudaeam, “then broke out again, not only through Judea”
“when it was believed he appeared to them living again” is close to the Textus Receptus.
those who loved him from the beginning did not forsake him
οὐκ ἐπαύσαντο οἱ τὸ πρῶτον ἀγαπήσαντες
When Celsus was quoting the TF, he did not see that line, in his copy, the following line could have been there:
those that loved him at first did not cease [worshipping],
οὐκ [ἂν] ἐπαύσαντο [σέβειν] οἱ τὸ πρῶτον ἀγαπήσαντες,
only Him, who is their leader in sedition.
εἰ μὴ καὶ τοῦτον, ὅσπερ ἐστὶν αὐτοῖ τῆς στάσεως ἀρχηγέτης
•We have seen the word for “to worship, or to revere” (σεβομένων) in line two as attested by Eusebius, Demonstratio evangelica iii. 5. This word is again seen in Contra Cels. 8.14.
We see this when Origen is quoting Celsus’ book The True Doctrine:
“If you should tell them that Jesus is not the Son of God, but that God is the Father of all, and that He alone ought to be truly worshipped, they would not consent to discontinue their worship of him who is their leader in the sedition.” (Origen quoting Celsus in Contra Celsum 8.14)
The church fathers are all denying what was common knowledge to the ancients (especially the church fathers’ interlocutors) about Jesus. As Origen answers against Celsus disagreeing with him: “Jesus is, then, not the leader of any seditious movement, but the promoter of peace.” (Contra Cels. 8.14). Origen was denying what Celsus could have picked up as common knowledge that would have been contained in an original TF, that Jesus was the leader of a seditious movement.
And even still to this day the tribe of Christians, named from this man, has not been lacking.
εἰς ἔτι τε νῦν τῶν Χριστιανῶν ἀπὸ τοῦδε ὠνομασμένον οὐκ ἐπέλιπε τὸ φῦλον.
And this tribe/group has until now not disappeared.
εἰς νῦν ἀπὸ τοῦδε οὐκ ἐπέλιπε τὸ φῦλον τοῦτον
•In a survey of Eusebius use of the term φῦλον (tribe/group) we find he usually used it for groups of people he generally disliked such as the examples Whealey  provides: Contra Hieroclem 22; praeteritio XIII 15.5; d.e. IV 9.12; Eusebius use of this term disparagingly makes it likely the term τὸ φῦλον came from the hand of Josephus.
•Eusebius used his own phrase for “still to this day” εἰς ἔτι τε νῦν when he was interpolating the word Christians. It was Louis Feldman who noticed this and saw this as evidence of Eusebius tampering.  It’s unlikely Josephus used the word ‘Christians’ which Louis Feldman also noted, “The passage refers to “the tribe of the Christians,” but it is unlikely that Josephus referred to the Christians as a new nation, distinct from Jews and gentiles. The word “Christians” is found nowhere else in the works of Josephus.  But Josephus as caught in another manuscript had used his own phrase for “still to this day” εἰς νῦν as Whealey has detected and reconstructed the original Josephean phrase for “until now” as the phrase εἰ τε νῦν was found in Oecumenius’ Commentarian in Apocalypsium that quotes the final sentence of the TF. Whealey thinks the sigma from εἰ was dropped as two of the oldest MSS have the phrase εἰς τε νῦν (W and A).  It’s a minor change but shows tampering which is what I argue for anyway. Eusebius used the phrase “still to this day” in place of Josephus using the phrase “until now”.
A few more points:
• As we can see our textus restitutus is larger than the textus receptus. Eisler noticed that there was more space left for the TF than the size of the textus receptus. “In the Codex Vossianus, now in the University Library of Leyden, …. we have the Testimonium at the end of the second book of the War…….. The whole insertion is not the work of the scribe but an addition written by a second hand, from which it follows that the original scribe had purposely left a blank for such an insertion. Of the curious fact that the space thus provided was far too large for the insertion of the usual Testimonium Flavianum I can offer no other explanation than that the scribe found a passage of just this length in his original [version]…..” 
• 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 the passage after the TF:
“About the same time also another sad calamity put the Jews into disorder..” (Ant 18.3.4)
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.“(Ant 18.3.2)
•Significantly, the TF is to be found right in the very middle of the rebel passages. This argues against an ex nihilo interpolation, since it is highly unlikely that Christian scribes would have chosen to put their testimony to Jesus right in the middle of the rebel section of Antiquities. This observation supports the rebel paradigm for Jesus. This is underappreciated.
•The incident that happened in Ant18.3.2 reminds me of unarmed protesters being shot in Northern Ireland that started a 30 years guerilla war. This gives me a suspicion that the Jesus movement was reactionary in its resistance. Luke’s gospel picks up on this:
“Now there were some present at that time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. Jesus answered, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish. Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them—do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.’” (Luke 13:1-5).
•Church fathers before Eusebius would have had both histories of Jesus, that of the gospels and that of the passage found in Antiquities. The gospels shed the best possible light on Jesus with their glorification. The original negative TF would have shed a very bad light. Put yourselves into the shoes of these church fathers and ask yourself, if you were discussing Jesus, would you use those histories that put Jesus in the best possible light or would you use that negative passage. This is what P. R. Coleman-Norton prescribed when he examined John Chrysostom’s use of Josephus. For all his reports of Jesus he went to the gospels. 
 Allen, Dave, An Original Negative Testimonian, The Journal of Higher Criticism Volume 15 Number 1, (2020), 67-90.
I released a paper on Dr R M Prices Journal of Higher Criticism of the same name as chapter 3 of my book. I have since updated on the advice of Dr Price whose main objection is that my first reconstruction was a bit vacuous. This was so because I had attempted to reconstruct what we can reasonably know, (what was originally written) using all the variants of the TF. But it still would not reflect the reality that a reason would have to be given for Jesus’ crucifixion (all the gospels reflect a taxation issue) and what kind of movement Jesus represented (which is contained in the anti-Christian polemic discussed at length in chapter 4 of my book). I am indebted to Stephen Nelson for advising on the reconstruction Greek text.
 Eisler, Robert, The Messiah Jesus and John the Baptist, ibid (English Translation), 50.
 ibid, footnote 2.
 Van Voorst, Robert E., Jesus Outside the New Testament, An Introduction to the Ancient Evidence, (Eerdmans, 2000), p.87-88.
 ibid, p.87
 Robert Eisler, The Messiah Jesus and John the Baptist, ibid, (English Translation), p.130.
 Meier, John P., A Marginal Jew ,Rethinking the Historical Jesus Volume one: The Roots of the Problem and the person, (Doubleday, 1991), p.60.
 Olson, Ken, A Eusebian Reading
of the Testimonium Flavianum, Eusebius of Caesarea Tradition and Innovations, Edited by
Aaron Johnson and Jeremy Schott. Center for Hellenic Studies (2013), 101-3.
 ibid, 101
 Twelftree, Graham H., Jesus the miracle worker, (InterVarsity press, 1999) p.254.
 Whealey, Alice, “Josephus, Eusebius of Caesarea, and the Testimonium Flavianum” in Josephus und das Neue Testament, edited by Christoph Böttrich and Jens Herzer (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2007), pp.83-4.
 ibid, 84
 Paula Fredriksen, When Christians Were Jews, The first generation, (Yale University Press, 2018), page 80.
 Rosen-Zvi, Ishay and Ophir, Adi, Paul and the Invention of the Gentiles, The Jewish Quarterly Review, Vol. 105, No. 1 (Winter 2015) pp.1-41.
 Mason, Steve, Flavius Josephus, Translation and Commentary, Volumne 1B, Judean War 2, (Brill, 2008), Preface, p.xv,
 Horsley, Richard A, What has Galilee to do with Jerusalem? Political aspects of the Jesus movement, (1996) HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies, Vol. 52, No.1, pp.88-104.
 Torrents, José Montserrat, Jesús, El Galileo Armado, [Jesus, The Armed Galilean], (Jerusalem 2011) chapter 7.
 Thiel, Nathan, The Use of the Term “Galileans” in the Writings of Flavius Josephus Revisited, Jewish Quarterly Rebiew, University of Pennsylvania Press, Volume 110, Number 2, Spring 2020, pp. 221-244. (Quote from p.221).
 Abramson, Henry, Who was Josephus, the Roman Jew? Jews of Italy pt. 3, Part of the Jews of Italy series at henryabramson.com, (2019).
 Sanders, E.P., Jesus and Judaism, (First Fortress Press, 1985) pp. 61-76.
Ian Mills in an interview with Derek Lambert on his Mythvision podcast (linked) drawing on the arguments of E P Sanders discussed in his book.
 Winter, Paul, On The Trial of Jesus (De Gruyter 1974), p.40.
 Pines, Shlomo, An Arabic Version of the Testimonium Flavianum and its Implications. (Jerusalem: Israel Academy of Science and Humanities, 1971).
 Whealey, Alice, The Testimonium Flavianum in Syriac and Arabic, New Test. Stud. 54, (Cambridge University Press, 2008), pp. 573–590.
 There are three options entertained in the scholarly community over 1 Thessalonians 2:13-16. (A) Full authenticity (even held by atheists Ehrman, Ludemann, Casey), (B) partial interpolation, and (C ) full interpolation.Reading the scholarly literature, it seems pretty evenly split between these three options.
I go for option (B) where I see a later anti-Semitic Christian inserted the following section as the interpolation: “ who killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets and also drove us out. They displease God and are hostile to everyone in their effort to keep us from speaking to the Gentiles so that they may be saved. In this way they always heap up their sins to the limit.The wrath of God has come upon them at last”
The partial interpolation also neutralizes the arguments provided by Richard Carrier for a full interpolation, in the following paper:
Carrier, Richard, ‘Pauline Interpolations’, Hitler Homer Bible Christ, The historical papers of Richard Carrier 1995-2013, (Philosopher Press 2014), pp. 203-11; Most of his analysis is only applicable to the passage when “But wrath has come upon them at last!” is included.
Also referring to all Jews as much of Carrier argument seems to, just doesn’t work in context.
Carrier should concede this passage as being positive evidence of historicity as he does the brother James passage.
 Whealey, Alice, “Josephus, Eusebius of Caesarea, and the Testimonium Flavianum” in Josephus und das Neue Testament, edited by Christoph Böttrich and Jens Herzer (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2007), pp.83-4.
 Feldman, Louis H., “On the Authenticity of the Testimonium Flavianum” , In Carlebach, Elisheva; Schacter, Jacob J. (eds.). On the Authenticity of the Testimonium Flavianum Attributed to Josephus. New Perspectives on Jewish-Christian Relations. The Brill Reference Library of Judaism. 33. (Leiden: Brill, 2012), p.26
 Feldman, Louis H., ibid, p.25
 Whealey, Alice, “Josephus, Eusebius of Caesarea, and the Testimonium Flavianum” in Josephus und das Neue Testament, edited by Christoph Böttrich and Jens Herzer (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2007), pp.100ff.
 Eisler, Robert, The Messiah Jesus and John the Baptist, ibid, (English Translation), pp.68-9.
 Coleman-Norton, P. R. “St. Chrysostom’s Use of Josephus.” Classical Philology, vol. 26, no. 1, 1931, pp. 85–89.
BACK TO HOMEPAGE