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Discussion 34 to Meditation 38
Josephus does not answer the challenge.

by: JT

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For at least the fifth time since this discussion, someone has brought up Josephus.

If we go back to the original article in which the challenge was proposed, then we see that it was in answer to someone who claimed:

"There is a written Roman record from 1996 (sic) years ago of the crucifixion of a man claiming to be "King of the Jews." And there are many other writings outside the Bible from Christ's time referring to his life and deeds."

I challenged him to produce just one item supporting Christ's existence from Christ's time - and after his lack of response, I opened it up to others - and I specified from Christ's time. Not 60 years after he was supposedly crucified.

Even if the mentions of Jesus in Josephus are genuine, they were written much later. And there is a lot of doubt among biblical scholars that the references to Jesus were actually written by Josephus, but that they were added many years afterwards to the text to create the illusion of historical evidence.

But suppose they are genuine. What do they prove? Unfortunately, we do not know where Josephus got his information. Like all ancient historians, he was not good on sources. We don't know if he relied on oral history, written history, eyewitness testimony, or gossip. We do know that for the period in which he lived, he was not perfectly reliable. I would suggest that if he actually wrote about Jesus, and that's a big if, then he wrote what he heard from a Christian.

So Josephus fails because