Historian Josephus

So does that mean Herods son whose name is Also Herod died after Jesus was born

I think @TMC means Herod Antipas, who features prominently in the three Synoptic Gospels. Another son of Herod the Great, by a different mother, is Herodias’ first husband, named as Philip in Mark 6:17.

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Yes, if you are willing to concede that Luke was written in the 90’s. This is why many Christians resist the suggestion that Luke used Josephus because it disagrees with the early date they want to give Luke.

I don’t have a strong opinion on the date of Luke. After Mark, probably before John. Late first century. Exact date is not that important to me.

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According to himself, Josephus was intimately involved in the events that led to the destruction of the Temple in the year 70. He was sent to shore up the defenses of Tiberias and Taricheae on the Sea of Galilee, hough he failed to complete the latter before the people were massacred.

The invasion of Israel was led by Vespasianus Falvianus and his son Titus, who became the next two emperors of Rome on the basis of their exploits in Palestine. Vespasian captured Josephus, who either talked his way out of being killed or otherwise got himself adopted into the family, hence he is called Josephus Flavianus.

Many of the questions about Josephus revolve around the accuracy of his descriptions of the Jewish Wars, since he was once a partisan fighting against Rome and then adopted into the family of the victor. Those do not matter much to the meager material about Jesus in his works.

My own guess is that a forger likely wouldn’t fabricate a whole theme, or that whole paragraph, out of thin air.

If Josephus was kinda familiar to ancient scholars, they would know he had written some things about Jesus, but be unsure exactly what. The forger wants to be credible, so he expands on what was already known, or suspected to be there.

Thus a few words like “if he was a man” , and others , are added.

And about himself! Josephus was nothing if not a legend in his own mind. There is little doubt among historians that he greatly inflates his own role in pivotal events.

Not at all. Jesus was a very small footnote in the bigger story Josephus was telling. In fact, he writes more about John the Baptist and James “the Brother of Jesus” than he writes about Jesus.


The problem with Luke having used Josephus is that Josephus was very likely the best source for the Jewish Wars and the destruction of Jerusalem. So if Luke used Josephus and Josephus was in Rome fresh off his tenure as a Jewish general who witnessed the horror of Jerusalem being decimated, why would that not have entered into Luke’s writing, either in the Gospel or Acts? Instead, he is absolutely silent in both and, in fact, ends Acts before both Peter and Paul are martyred in 64 AD.

Why is Luke silent on both? Perhaps because he wrote both BEFORE their martyrdom and BEFORE Jerusalem was destroyed. Therefore, he wrote both before Josephus was even in Rome.

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Josephus’ first book, The Jewish War, is said to have been written in the mid-seventies, only a few years after the war ended. However, his other three books, including the Antiquities, are usually dated to a period twenty years later, in the mid-nineties. From what I have read, it seems Luke wrote his Gospel much earlier than that, didn’t he?

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That’s part of the dilemma. Most Christian scholars do not want Luke to have been written so late while several…but certainly not all…secular scholars think certain passages in Luke suggest taking from Josephus which shows it was written later as they also think for Acts. Leaving off Paul’s martyrdom is also due to Luke not knowing the fate of Paul. It’s only later that stories of Paul’s martyrdom appear, thus they are assumed to be legendary. I leave it all to them to work it out! :joy:

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There is no reason to think Luke was not in Rome when Peter and Paul were martyred. So there is no reason to think Luke didn’t have first hand knowledge of their martyrdom or that he found out about that through some legendary account much later. He was a first hand witness to much of what he reports in Acts. Paul in his second letter to Timothy witnessed to Luke being with him in his final days before his martyrdom.

“Only Luke is with me” (2 Timothy 4:11).


There is a good case to be made for Luke having written Acts in the early to mid 60s (i.e., before 64 AD) and the Gospel before that.

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The consensus among secular scholars is the Luke from the gospel is not who wrote Luke. The names of the gospels were attached later and originally the gospels circulated as “Memoirs of the Apostles”.

I realize most Christians do not accept this but it’s standard knowledge in secular scholarship. It’s later on that a need to distinguish each gospel gave reasons to attach names to them. There isn’t any evidence of the names until quite a bit after the deaths of all the apostles.

Secular scholars aren’t any less biased in their opinions than Christian scholars. Consensus isn’t a particularly persuasive argument. What are the reasons a scholar thinks what they do and are the reasons persuasive, is the important thing.

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