I offer this as a series of posts that anyone may respond too but it is meant specifically for Jc4runner. It will be in a series of rounds as a debate forum.
Round 1: Josephus
The most commonly used references for a historical Jesus are two passages from the Antiquities of the Jews by Flavius Josephus. The first I will deal with is the passage known as the Testimonium Flavianum:
"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."
This passage is now and has been for centuries regarded as a forgery. Before moving on to this I wish to deal with the common assertion that this is NOT a forgery but an interpolation.
In*ter`po*la"tion\, n. [L. interpolation an alteration made here and there: cf. F. interpolation.]
1. The act of introducing or inserting anything, especially that which is spurious or foreign.
2. That which is introduced or inserted, especially something foreign or spurious.
From Websters Revised Unabridged Dictionary
For"ger*y\, n.; pl. Forgeries. [Cf. F. forgerie.]
1. The act of forging metal into shape. [Obs.]
Useless the forgery Of brazen shield and spear. --Milton.
2. The act of forging, fabricating, or producing falsely; esp., the crime of fraudulently making or altering a writing or signature purporting to be made by another; the false making or material alteration of or addition to a written instrument for the purpose of deceit and fraud; as, the forgery of a bond. --Bouvier.
3. That which is forged, fabricated, falsely devised, or counterfeited.
Spu"ri*ous\, a. [L. spurius.]
1. Not proceeding from the true source, or from the source pretended; not genuine; false; adulterate.
2. Not legitimate; bastard; as, spurious issue.
Again, from Websters. Obviously we are not referring to metal or bastards but rather the act of forging, fabricating or producing falsely; esp., the crime of fraudulently making or altering a writing or signature purporting to be made by another; the false making or material alteration of or addition to a written instrument for the purpose of deceit and fraud. If one was introducing something foreign or spurious into text you are making or altering a written text and purporting that it was made by another. Further, if you are introducing or inserting something that is spurious or foreign to a text without stating that it was YOU that inserted the statement into the text you are certainly altering a written instrument for the purpose of deceit...the deceit being that what you inserted was thus written by the author and not you. Thus, whether you wish to use semantics to say that it is a forgery or interpolation, the end result was to make a material alteration of a writing to purport that the alteration was produced by the original author and not you.
Moving on, this passage has also been said to be at least partly genuine. Apologists claime that passages of the TF are clearly genuine as they match the vocabulary of Josephus. Feldman, Strobel and McDowell all use this line of reasoning. The very simple refutation of this lies in two points. The first is that it DOES deviate from vocabulary used by Josephus and the second is that in NO form is it used by church fathers who would have quoted it to support arguments they were using against those who made the very same argument I make, that being there was then, as now, no historical evidence for Jesus.
Steve Mason, from Josephus and the New Testament (Peabody, Hendrickson publishers, 1992) states:
"the passage does not fit well with its context in Antiquities 18. . . Josephus is speaking of upheavals, but there is no upheaval here. He is pointing out the folly of Jewish rebels, governors, and troublemakers in general, but this passage is completely supportive of both Jesus and his followers. Logically, what should appear in this context ought to imply some criticism of the Jewish leaders and/or Pilate, but Josephus does not make any such criticism explicit. He says only that those who denounced Jesus were 'the leading men among us.' So, unlike the other episodes, this one has no moral, no lesson. Although Josephus begins the next paragraph by speaking of 'another outrage' that caused an uproar among the Jews at the same time (18.65), there is nothing in this paragraph that depicts any sort of outrage." (p. 165). Further: It uses words in ways that are not characteristic of Josephus. For example, the word translated "worker" in the phrase "worker of incredible deeds" is poietes in Greek, from which we get "poet." Etymologically, it means "one who does" and so it can refer to any sort of "doer." But in Josephus' day it had already come to have special reference to literary poets, and that is how he consistently uses it elsewhere (nine times) - to speak of Greek poets like Homer. Notice further that the phrase "they did not cease" has to be completed by the translator, for it is left incomplete in the text; the action which his followers ceased must be understood from the preceding phrase. This is as peculiar in Greek as it is in English, and such a construction is not found elsewhere in Josephus' writing. Again, the phrase "the tribe of the Christians" is peculiar. Josephus uses the word "tribe" (phyle) eleven other times. Once it denotes "gender," and once a "swarm" of locusts, but usually signfies distinct people, races, or nationalities: the Jews are a "tribe" (War 3.354; 7.327) as are the Taurians (War 2.366) and Parthians (War 2.379). It is very strange that Josephus should speak of the Christians as a distinct racial group, since he has just said that Jesus was a Jew condemned by Jewish leaders. (Notice, however, that some Christian authors of a later period came to speak of Christianity as a "third race.") (p. 169-170)
Ken Olson ("Eusebian Fabrication: The Testimonium Flavianum)
EUSEBIUS' APOLOGETIC WORKS
Eusebius quotes the _Testimonium_ in three of his works: the _Demonstratio Evangelica_, the _Historia Ecclesiastica_, and the _Theophany_. His purpose in quoting it in each case is to use Josephus as a witness to Jesus' good character in order to refute Jewish and pagan accusations against Jesus. In particular, Eusebius is concerned to refute the charge that Jesus was a GOHS, a term that can be translated as "charlatan" or "wizard" or "deceiver." Eusebius also answered this charge in his _Adversus Hieroclem_, which was written earlier than any of the three works previously mentioned. The _Demonstratio_ and the _Historia_ are difficult to date, particularly since modern scholarship holds that the latter was published in four editions. Most scholars consider the _Demonstratio_ to be the earlier work. It is likely that Eusebius worked on both texts simultaneously, but I take the reading of the _Testimonium_ in the _Demonstratio_ to be the earlier of the two. The _Theophany_ was one of Eusebius' latest works and has come down to us only in Syriac.
In the _Adversus Hieroclem_, the earliest of the works under consideration, Eusebius is concerned to refute the unfavorable comparison that Hierocles made between Jesus and Apollonius of Tyana in his _Lover of Truth_. Hierocles' work does not survive, but from what Eusebius says of it, Hierocles major source appears to have been Flavius Philostratus’ _Life of Apollonius_.
According to Mendelson’s analysis, Philostratus placed Apollonius in a category of intermediate beings between gods and men, and terms him a "sage" (SOFOS) or DAIMWN (Mendelson, 512). Eusebius rejects these categories. He tells us,
I … used to regard the man of Tyana having been, humanly speaking, a kind of sage [SOFON TINA], and I am still freely disposed to adhere to this opinion… Not so if anyone ventures… to overleap the bounds of humanity and transcend philosophy, and while repelling the charge of wizardry [GOHTEIAN] bind it in act rather than in name upon the man, using the mask of Pythagorean discipline to disguise what he really was. For in that case his reputation for us as a philosopher will be gone… and we shall detect in him a sophist in the truest sense… and a wizard [GOHS], if there ever was one, instead of a philosopher. (A.H. 5).
Mendelson observes that:
In Eusebius estimation, Apollonius was a good, but ordinary, man. Apollonius’ followers have mistakenly raised him above his true terrestrial station. As Eusebius asserts, "Apollonius was not fit to be classed, I will not say among philosophers, but even among men of integrity and good sense." (AH 4). For Eusebius the status of Apollonius amounts to a simple disjunction, "whether we ought to rank him among divine and philosophic men or among wizards." Since only one man, Jesus, can correspond to the first category, Eusebius is forced to conclude that Apollonius belongs to the class of "wizards and falsely wise men" (GOHTON KAI YEUDOSOFON, AH 38). [Mendelson, 519].
Thus we can distinguish three categories in Eusebius’ thought: the divine man, which includes Jesus alone; the wise man (SOFOS), which includes prophets and philosophers, and the wizard (GOHS) or false man. Eusebius says he would be willing to accept that Apollonius is a SOFOS, unless one insists on crediting the stories about him which claim he has a divine nature, in which case Eusebius concludes he must be a GOHS.
At the end of chapter four and the beginning of chapter five of the third book of the _Demonstratio Evangelica_, Eusebius promises to refute those who the either deny that Jesus worked any miracles at all or that, if he did, it was by wizardry (GOHTIXA) and deception (D.E. 109). Near the end of chapter five, Eusebius produces the _Testimonium_, which encapsulates the arguments he has made in the chapter, or elsewhere in the book, and attributes them to Josephus. As it appears in the _Demonstratio_, the _Testimonium_ reads:
GINETAI DE KAT’ EKEINON TON CRONON IHSOUS, SOFOS ANHR, EIGE ANDRA AUTON LEGEI XRH. HN GAR PARADOXWN ERGWN POIHTHS, DIDASKALOS ANQRWPWN TALHQH SEBOMENWN, KAI POLLOUS MEN IOUDAIKOU, POLLOUS DE KAI hHLLHNIKOU EPHGAGETO. hO CRISTOS hOUTOS HN, KAI AUTON ENDEIXEI TON PAR’ hHMIN ARCONTWN STAURWi EPITETIMHKOTOS PILATOU, OUK EPAUSANTO hOI TO PRWTON AGAPHSANTES. EFANE GAR AUTOIS TRITHN hHMERAN PALIN ZWN, TWN THEIWN PROFHTWN TAUTA TE KAI ALLA MYRIA PERI AUTOU EIRHKOTWN. hOQEN EISETI NUN APO TOUDE TWN CRISTIANWN OUK EPELIPE TO FULON.
About this time arose Jesus, a wise man, if indeed one should call him a man, for he was a maker of miraculous works, a teacher of men who revere the truth, and he won over many of the Jewish and even many of the Greek [nation]. He was the Christ; and although Pilate, upon an accusation from our rulers, condemned him to the cross, nevertheless those who had loved him earlier did not stop, for he appeared to them alive again on the third day, the divine prophets having foretold these and also myriads of other wonders about him. From that time to this the nation of Christians has not failed. (D.E. 124).
In what follows, I will examine the _Testimonium_ line by line and attempt to show how the entire passage fits Eusebius’ apologetic strategy.
"About this time arose Jesus, a wise man;" as we have seen, the "wise man" is for Eusebius the opposite of the GOHS, "wizard" or "deceiver." In _Adversus Hieroclem_ Eusebius argued that if he had to accept the supernatural feats attributed to Apollonius, he must regard him as a GOHS rather than a wise man (A.H. 5); here he has Josephus call Jesus a "wise man" and thus, implicitly, not a GOHS.
"if indeed one should call him a man, for he was a maker of miraculous works;" most modern scholars consider the first part of this quotation a Christian interpolation because it presupposes Jesus’ superhuman nature. For Eusebius, both Hebrew prophets and Greek philosophers can be wise men or sages. Even Porphyry, the critic of Christianity, is an ANHR SOFOS (D.E. 105). Jesus himself is "the prince of philosophers and the teacher of holy men" (D.E. 127). Unlike other wise men, however, Jesus alone has a divine or superhuman nature. The term PARADOXWN ERGWN POIHTHS is markedly Eusebian. POIHTHS never occurs in Josephus in the sense of "maker" rather than "poet," and the only time Josephus combines forms of PARADOXOS and POIHW it is in the sense of "acting contrary to custom" (A.J. 12.87) rather than "making miracles." Combining forms of PARADOXOS and POIHW in the sense of "miracle-making" is exceedingly common in Eusebius, but he seems to reserve the three words PARADOXOS, POIHW, and ERGON, used together, to describe Jesus (D.E. 114-115, 123, 125, H.E. 1.2.23)
"a teacher of men who revere the truth;" Eusebius wants to show that Jesus’ disciples, like their master, were not deceivers. They were men who revere the truth.
"and he won over many of the Jewish and even many of the Greek [nation]." It is sometimes argued that a Christian author would have known that Jesus did not attract many gentile followers during his ministry, but this is contradicted by Eusebius’ testimony. Elsewhere he reports of Jesus that "by teaching and miracles He revealed the powers of His Godhead to all equally whether Greeks or Jews" (D.E. 400). The paired opposition of Jews and Greeks is especially common in the first two books of the _Demonstratio_, where Eusebius claims, "Christianity is neither a form of Hellenism nor a form of Judaism" (D.E. 11). It is, in fact, the re-establishment of the religion of the patriarchs, who worshipped the one God but did not have the restrictions of the Mosaic law, and thus was "that third form of religion midway between Judaism and Hellenism" (D.E.: Ferrar 8, Migne 25a). The MEN… DE construction used in the _Testimonium_ situates the "nation" founded by Jesus nicely between the two other religions.
"He was the Christ;" few or no modern scholars accept that this is Josephan as it stands. This is almost universally admitted to be an interpolation by a Christian writer, although it is not necessarily Eusebian.
"and although Pilate, upon an accusation from our rulers, condemned him to the cross, nevertheless those who had loved him earlier did not stop;" following a suggestion in Meier, I have translated the genitive absolute as a concessive, rather than a temporal, clause (Meier, 78, n. 35). Meier does not go on to explain why the author of this passage should choose to highlight Jesus’ followers in the main clause and relegate Jesus’ crucifixion to a subordinate position. The mention of the crucifixion in this sentence establishes under what conditions Jesus’ followers did not abandon him. This is Eusebius’ central argument in D.E. 3.5. Eusebius’ opponents were not denying that Jesus was crucified by the Roman and Jewish authorities; this was probably a main part of their argument that Jesus was a GOHS. Eusebius, however, cleverly inverts this argument. If Jesus had been a deceiver, and his followers had been deceivers, would not self-interest have compelled them to abandon his teachings after they had witnessed the manner of his death at the hands of the authorities? The fact that they did not abandon Jesus after witnessing the punishments he had brought upon himself can only mean that the disciples had recognized some greater than normal virtue in their teacher. This argument is developed at great length in D.E. 3.5, but I shall quote only a part of it here, "Perhaps you will say that the rest were wizards no less than their guide. Yes – but surely they had all seen the end of their teacher, and the death to which He came. Why then after seeing his miserable end did they stand their ground?" (D.E. 111).
"for he appeared to them alive again on the third day, the divine prophets having foretold these and also myriads of other wonders about him." Nearly all modern scholars consider this a Christian interpolation. It is typical of Eusebius’ apologetic arguments, especially in the first two books of the _Demonstratio_, which are primarily directed at Jesus’ Jewish critics. As Norris observes, "[Eusebius] follows both Justin and Origen in suggesting that ancient prophecy, specifically Jewish prophecy, had indicated who Jesus would be and what he would do. His miracles are not to be set aside as based on magic but are to be accepted as predicted by the prophets" (Norris, 526).
"From that time to now the nation of Christians has not failed." In _Adversus Hieroclem_, Eusebius asks that those who consider Apollonius "a divine being and superior to a philosopher, in a word as one superhuman in his nature" to point out any of his effects that have lasted "to this day" (EISETI NUN; A.H. 7). Jesus according to Eusebius, has left such effects (EISETI KAI NUN; A.H. 4 x2). The word "Christians" is not found anywhere in Josephus, but "nation (FULON) of Christians" is found in Eusebius (H.E. 3.33.2, 3.33.3). In the first book of the _Demonstratio_, Eusebius argues that the Christians are the "nation" (EQNOS) promised to Abraham (D.E.: Ferrar 10, Migne 25c). He uses the terms FULON, EQNOS, and LAOS, pretty much interchangeably, to describe Christianity.
The _Testimonium_, then, corroborates many of the points Eusebius made in the first three books of the _Demonstratio Evangelica_. Norris observes that when Eusebius found the _Testimonium_, "it surely would have appeared too good to be true – as indeed it was" (Norris, 533). I will go farther than Norris and say that the _Testimonium_ follows Eusebius’ line of argument in the _Demonstratio_ so closely that it is not only very unlikely that it could have been written by Josephus, but it is unlikely it could have been written by any other Christian, or even by Eusebius for another work. There is nothing in the language or content of the _Testimonium_, as it appears in the _Demonstratio Evangelica_, that suggests it is anything other than a completely Eusebian composition.
Eusebius cites the _Testimonium_ again in the _Historia Ecclesiastica_, in order to refute the pagan _Acts of Pilate_ (H.E. 11.9). As it appears in the _Historia_, the _Testimonium_ reads:
GINETAI DE KATA TOUTON TON CRONON IHSOUS, SOFOS ANHR, EI GE ANDRA AUTON LEGEI XRH. HN GAR PARADOXWN ERGWN POIHTHS, DIDASKALOS ANQRWPWN TWN hHDONHi TALHQH DECOMENWN, KAI POLLOUS MEN TWN IOUDAIWN, POLLOUS DE KAI APO TOU hHLLHNIKOU EPHGAGETO. hO CRISTOS hOUTOS HN, KAI AUTON ENDEIXEI TON PRWTWN ANDRWN PAR’ hHMIN STAURWi EPITETIMHKOTOS PILATOU, OUK EPAUSANTO hOI TO PRWTON AGAPHSANTES. EFANE GAR AUTOIS TRITHN ECWN hHMERAN PALIN ZWN, TWN THEIWN PROFHTWN TAUTA TE KAI ALLA MYRIA PERI AUTOU QAUMASIA EIRHKOTWN. EIS ETI TE NUN TWN CRISTIANWN APO TOUDE WNOMASMENON OUK EPELIPE TO FULON.
I will comment on a few of the differences between the two versions of the _Testimonium_.
hHDONHi DECOMENWN, "receive with pleasure," replaces SEBOMENWN, "revere" (or "revering"), and PRWTWN ANDRWN, "first men," replaces ARCONTWN, "rulers." Both hHDONHi DECOMENWN and PRWTWN ANDRWN are phrases found in Josephus for which I have been unable to find other parallels in Eusebius' writings. Are they signs of an authentic Josephan substratum lying beneath our present _Testimonium_?
I do not think so. For the reasons given above, it would be difficult to argue that our version of the _Testimonium_ does not show Eusebian influence. Further, the Eusebian version of the passage was originally composed for the _Demonstratio_, not the _Historia_. The _Demonstratio_ is the earlier text, and the _Testimonium_ is an encapsulation of arguments found in it that receive relatively little attention in the _Historia_. In particular, the main argument of D.E. 3.5, that the disciples continued affection for Jesus after his death is proof of his and their good character, is missing from the _Historia_. This means that Eusebius added the two Josephan phrases to his own version of the _Testimonium_. But if Eusebius is capable of isolating these two phrases in Josephus and adding them to his work, there is no special reason to believe he took them from a passage about Jesus. The phrases themselves have no necessary connection with Jesus and could have been taken from elsewhere in Josephus writings ( e.g., hHDONHi DECASQAI from A.J. 18.59). These two phrases are not a sufficient basis on which to infer an authentic Josephan version of the _Testimonium_.
"Still to this time the nation of Christians, named for him, has not failed." The first phrase, EIS ETI TE NUN, occurs nowhere in Josephus, but is found elsewhere in Eusebius (H.E. 2.1.7). EIS ETI NUN is a very common phrase in the _Historia Ecclesiastica_. The observation that the Christians take their name from Christ is fairly commonplace (D.E. 80, 131, H.E. 1.3.9-10), occurring also in Tacitus (_Annals_ 44). In its present context, however, it suits Eusebius’ argument well, "Then, moreover, let him who supports the contention opposed to mine, inform me if any enchanter (TIS TWN… GOHTWN) that ever existed has ever taken into his head to institute a new nation (NEOU EQNOUS) called after his own name?" (D.E. 131).
The agreements between the version of the _Testimonium_ found in _Antiquities_ 18 and that found in the _Historia Ecclesiastica_ against the version found in the _Demonstratio Evangelica_ show that it was the _Historia's_ version that Christian scribes interpolated into our texts of Josephus. They accepted on Eusebius' authority that the _Antiquities_ ought to contain such a text and "corrected" their texts according to the reading found in the _Historia Ecclesiastica_. The version of the _Testimonium_ found in our texts of the _Antiquities_ is the Eusebian version, and, if there ever was a Josephan version, that fact remains to be demonstrated.
We know very well from Eusebius’ himself that he was very willing to lie in the name of Christianity. In his Praeparatio Evangelica 12.31, listing the ideas Plato supposedly got from Moses, he includes the idea:
That it is necessary sometimes to use falsehood as a medicine for those who need such an approach. [As said in Plato's Laws 663e by the Athenian:] 'And even the lawmaker who is of little use, if even this is not as he considered it, and as just now the application of logic held it, if he dared lie to young men for a good reason, then can't he lie? For falsehood is something even more useful than the above, and sometimes even more able to bring it about that everyone willingly keeps to all justice.' [then by Clinias:] 'Truth is beautiful, stranger, and steadfast. But to persuade people of it is not easy.' You would find many things of this sort being used even in the Hebrew scriptures, such as concerning God being jealous or falling asleep or getting angry or being subject to some other human passions, for the benefit of those who need such an approach.
Then to the idea that if the TF were at least PARTIALLY genuine, the church fathers would have used what part there was to support their arguments. Consider Origen, who quoted from the Antiquities of the Jews in order to establish the historical existence of John the Baptist even though there is no evidence that the historicity of John the Baptist was questioned. If Origen found it useful to quote Josephus in order to establish the historicity of John, how much more so would Origen be eager to quote Josephus in order to establish the historicity of Jesus? Indeed, Origen cites Josephus to establish the existence of the Baptist even though Celsus represented the Jew in his discourse as accepting the historicity of John (Contra Celsus 1.47). Celsus grants that Jesus performed "miracles" for the sake of argument but attributes them to sorcery. Interestingly, Eusebius' motive for quoting Josephus in the Evangelical Demonstration is precisely to establish that Jesus performed true miracles, not merely to establish the historicity of Jesus. Thus, there was a motive for the early Church Fathers to have quoted a reconstructed Testimonium. It is not quoted by Chrysostom (c. 354-407 ad) even though he often refers to Josephus in his voluminous writings. It is not quoted by Photius, Patriarch of Constantinople (c. 858-886 ad) even though he wrote three articles concerning Josephus, which strongly implies that his copy of Josephus' Antiquities did not contain the passage. Neither Justin Martyr (110-165 AD), nor Clement of Alexandria (153-217 ad), nor Origen (c.185-254 AD), who all made extensive reference to ancient authors in their defense of Christianity, has mentioned this supposed testimony of Josephus. Philo (20 BCE-50 CE), one of the most renowned writers the Jewish race has produced, was born before the beginning of the Christian Era, and lived for many years after the time at which Jesus is supposed to have died. His birthplace was in or near Jerusalem, where Jesus is said to have preached, to have performed miracles, to have been crucified, and to have risen from the dead. Had Jesus done these things, the writings of Philo would certainly contain some record of his life. Yet this philosopher, who must have been familiar with Herod's massacre of the innocents, and with the preaching, miracles and death of Jesus, had these things occurred; who wrote an account of the Jews, covering this period, and discussed the very questions that are said to have been near to Christ's heart, never once mentioned the name of, or any deed connected with, the reputed Savior of the world.
NONE of these and many more church fathers who made great defense of Christianity against those who were, in fact, making arguments such as mine made ANY mention, either in whole or in part, of the TF in their defense. Now, this has been called the "argument from silence" a logic fallacy. The argument from silence (also called argumentum ad silentio in Latin) is generally a conclusion based on silence or lack of contrary evidence. In the field of classical studies, it often refers to the deduction from the lack of references to a subject in the available writings of an author to the conclusion that he was ignorant of it. When used as a logical proof in pure reasoning, the argument is classed among the fallacies, but an argument from silence can be a valid and convincing form of abductive reasoning. From Wikipedia (wouldn't want to be guilty of an "interpolation").
If we examine abductive reasoning: Abduction, or inference to the best explanation, is a method of reasoning in which one chooses the hypothesis that would, if true, best explain the relevant evidence. Abductive reasoning starts from a set of accepted facts and infers their most likely, or best, explanations. The term abduction is also sometimes used to just mean the generation of hypotheses to explain observations or conclusions, but the former definition is more common both in philosophy and computing. Also from Wiki.
If one uses abductive reasoning here, the answer to the question of why did these church fathers not use the TF, either in whole or in some part, is that it was NOT THERE prior to Eusebius. This is the simplest explanation that best fits the question. Indeed Louis H. Feldman writes (Josephus, Judaism and Christianity, p. 57): "The fact that an ancient table of contents, already referred to in the Latin version of the fifth or sixth century, omits mention of the Testimionium (though, admittedly, it is selective, one must find it hard to believe that such a remarkable passage would be omitted by anyone, let alone by a Christian, summarizing the work) is further indication that there was no such notice..."
Feldman, again “a considerable number of Christian writers - Pseudo-Justin and Theophilus in the second century, Minucius Felix, Irenaeus, Clement of Alexandria, Julius Africanus, Tertullian, Hippolytus and Orgen in the third century, and Methodius and Pseudo-Eustathius in the early fourth century - who knew Jeosphus and cited from his works do not refer to this passage, though one would imagine that it would be the first passage that a Christian apologist would cite. In particular, Origen (Contra Celsum 1.47 and Commentary on Matthew 10.17), who certainly knew Book 18 of the Antiquities and cites five passages from it, explicitly states that Josephus did not believe in Jesus as Christ. The first to cite the Testimonium is Eusebius (c. 324); and even after him, we may note, there are eleven Christian writers who cite Josephus but not the Testimonium. In fact, it is not until Jerome in the early fifth century that we have another reference to it."
-Josephus (CE 37-c.100), The Cambridge History of Judaism vol. 3 (1999) pp. 911 - 912.
Dr. Louis Feldman goes on to acknowledge that almost NO scholars regard the Testimonium as entirely genuine. In a survey of scholars conducted by him he found:
4 scholars regarded the Testimonium Flavianum as entirely genuine, 6 as mostly genuine, 20 accept it with some interpolations, 9 with several interpolations, and 13 regard it as being totally an interpolation. (Dr. Louis Feldman; Josephus and Modern Scholarship, W. de Gruter press, 1984)
As said previously, trying to say that INTERPOLATION is somehow DIFFERENT from FORGERY is simply attempting to play a semantics game. Interpolation is the insertion into the text that which is spurious and foreign for the purpose of deceiving the reader into believing that the insertion was written by the author. Now, given that even a serious scholar such as Dr. Feldman cannot say the Testimonium is genuine without SOME interpolation how is it that any serious historian could then accept ANY PART of the Testimonium as historical evidence? There is simply too much evidence to show that this reference is a Christian FORGERY and given that there is no way to know what PART of it MIGHT have been written by Josephus or if ANY of it was written by Josephus it should thus should be disregarded.
Round two will continue with Josephus regarding the "Jamsian Reference"