Page 4, 13th July 1984

13th July 1984
Page 4
Page 4, 13th July 1984 — 'This was the Christ'

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Locations: Jerusalem, Bury


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'This was the Christ'

THERE is no physical description of Christ in the writings of the Jewish historian Flavius Josephus (born AD 37, therefore roughly contemporary with the Apostles).

However, there is a curious passage in his Antiquities of the Jews which reads as follows (Book XVIII, iii, 3):

"About this time appeared Jesus, a wise man, if indeed it is right to call him man; for he was a worker of astonishing deeds, a teacher of such men as receive the truth with joy, and he drew to himself many Jews and many also of the Greeks. This was the Christ. And when Pilate, at the denunciation of those who are foremost among us, had condemned him to the cross, those who had first loved him did not abandon him. For he appeared to them alive on the third day, the holy prophets having foretold this and countless other marvels about him. The tribe of Christians named after him did not cease to this day."

Modern scholars are of the opinion that this passage must be a later insertion by an unknown hand, on the grounds that a Jew would not have written such a complimentary account of Jesus.

But Josephus was no ordinary Jew — he changed sides in the war with the Roman armies which resulted in the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70. And all the manuscripts we have contain the passage, in the same words.

Could it possibly be that, in the matter of religion also, he believed in having a foot in both camps?

P Robinson West Bury, Avon

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