5 Astounding Facts About 1st Century Historian Who Wrote About Jesus

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Flavius Josephus: born Yosef ben Matityahu was a first-century Romano-Jewish scholar, historian and hagiographer, who was born in Jerusalem—then part of Roman Judea—to a father of priestly descent and a mother who claimed royal ancestry. He extensively wrote on Jewish historical accounts of the first century. Most notable is his work on Jesus Josephus’ Antiquities of the Jews, written around 93–94 AD, which includes two references to the biblical Jesus Christ in Books 18 and 20 and a reference to John the Baptist in Book. However, factboyz has a list of astounding facts surrounding this man.

1. Born and Bred Jewish: Josephus himself grew up in and around Jerusalem; he claims to have been a part of the Pharisaic group. But he was also obviously from a fairly prominent family. He’s very important because he lived through and was actually part of the first revolt against Rome. After the revolt, he then went on to live in a lavish retirement at Rome itself. And there wrote the history of the Jewish War, and also another work, called “The Antiquities of the Jews,” a long, extensive history of the Jewish people … from Biblical days coming down to his own time.
2. He Wrote On John the Baptist: In the Antiquities of the Jews (Book 18, Chapter 5, 2) Josephus refers to the imprisonment and death of John the Baptist by order of Herod Antipas, the ruler of Galilee and Perea. The context of this reference is the 36 AD defeat of Herod Antipas in his conflict with Aretas IV of Nabatea, which the Jews of the time attributed to misfortune brought about by Herod’s unjust execution of John.

3. He is regarded as a complex person: According to Professor of Religion and Archaeology Duke University, Eric Meyers Josephus is certainly among the most enigmatic personages in the history of the Jewish people. He wrote “The Jewish War,” he wrote a history of the Jewish people, and he was commander of the Galilean forces of the army that opposed Rome for two years. He gave up those forces in a really traitorous event…, and that makes him a very complex person. Because after 68, he becomes the major spokesperson against prosecuting the war with the Romans. And it is that change of attitude on his part, that we can find parallel in other segments of the population, that makes reading Josephus and understanding him so difficult.

4. His earliest volume has been lost: Only four of Josephus’s works are extant. His earliest volume, The Jewish Wars, probably written in his native Aramaic, was lost. It was apparently intended to discourage the Babylonian Jews and other peoples from joining in the Parthian War against Rome. Its present Greek version, consisting of seven books, fixes responsibility for the uprising against Rome solely on the Zealots.
5. His works proved the existence of Christ: According to Jonathan Morrow, Josephus removes any doubt that Jesus actually existed. In Josephus’ exact words about Jesus; he said, “At this time there was a wise man who was called Jesus. And his conduct was good, and [he] was known to be virtuous. And many people from among the Jews and the other nations became his disciples. Pilate condemned him to be crucified and to die. And those who had become his disciples did not abandon his discipleship. They reported that he had appeared to them three days after his crucifixion and that he was alive. Accordingly, he was perhaps the Messiah concerning whom the prophets have recounted wonders.” (10th Century Arabic Text)”

About Jayamma Abanobi

Jayamma Abanobi is a youth blogger passionate about writing. He can be reached via email abanobijay@gmail.com

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Ariyo Akinlosotu

I enjoyed reading about Josephus. I'm a Jehovah's Witness and he is one of the secular references we keep referring to to prove that Jesus existed

I never knew he wrote about John the Baptist


Yes, Josephus’s work is part of the proofs that there was a ‘historical Jesus’. Thanks for the other facts shared.