Authenticity Of Josephus

A number of recent liberal scholars have stated that Josephus’ reference to Christ is a forgery. This is a significant but unproven statement since no one can produce a single ancient copy of Josephus’ Antiquities of the Jews that does not refer to Christ in positive terms. The notable exception is one Syrian document which was produced by the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. This has raised the debate over the Testimonium Flavianum

The following list demonstrates a portion of the ancient documents which cite the passage about Jesus from Josephus:

DateAuthorTitle of Document
AD 250Celsus EusebiusId. Contr.
AD 324AmbroseDemonstr Evan
AD 360HieronymExcid. Urb. Hierosolyn
AD 400IsidorusDe Vir. Illustr. In
AD 410PelusiotaJosepho
AD 440SozomenThe Scholar of
AD 510CassiodorusChrysostom
AD 640UnknownHistory Ecceles.
AD 740AnastasiusTripartit e Sozomeno
AD 860PhotiusChron. Alex.
AD 1060CedrenusAbbas Contr. Jud.
AD 1120ZonarasCod.
AD 1170Gotfridus PlatinaCompend. History
AD 1480de VitisAnnal. Viterbiensis Chron. Pontificum in Christo


This is a partial list of documents which date from AD 250 to 1480. They are written in different languages and come from various countries, including Russia and Arabic countries. Josephus’ history was an official Roman document. Altering an official Roman document would have been very difficult as long as Rome was in power. The archives could have been easily checked at any time. Then to have altered multiple copies that were in distribution in other countries and different languages to read the same would have been even more problematic. What is interesting is that the wording is identical from document to document. The rest of Josephus’ statements, even about John the Baptist, are accepted by the liberals as historically accurate. So why are Josephus’ statements about Jesus the only exception? Why is the only copy that does not have Josephus’ positive statement in the hands of those who rejected Jesus?