A Late Interpolation Referring to Jesus

Sidebar to: The Testimonium

In extant manuscripts of the first-century Jewish historian Flavius Josephus, three passages contain references to Jesus. Two are in his history entitled Jewish Antiquities. One is a passing reference to Jesus that almost all scholars regard as authentic. The second, a longer passage known as the Testimonium Flavianum, is the focus of the accompanying article.

The third passage appears in The Jewish War, an account of the Jewish revolt against Rome that culminated in the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. The passage referring to Jesus does not appear in the early Greek manuscripts of this work, but only in translations of part of it into Slavonic that date to about the 10th or 11th century. Almost all scholars regard the passage as a late Christian interpolation, not only because of its absence in the Greek manuscripts, but for several other reasons including its content. The passage is nevertheless interesting if only because it helps us understand how scholars conclude that a passage is an inauthentic interpolation and it serves as an illustration of how ancient texts were altered.

The following translation is from the Loeb Classical Library edition, translated by H. St. John Thackeray.—H.S.

Join the BAS Library!

Already a library member? Log in here.

Institution user? Log in with your IP address.