Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Josephus on the Resurrection and the Challenge of Apologetics.

I have been in Atlanta at SBL the last few days and have not had a chance to blog as much. But I ran across an interesting post by Jonathan Robinson. He provides some good commentary about Jewish historian Josephus's statements about Jesus and the resurrection. This piece has been used quite a bit as an apologetic for the resurrection. Josephus says:

Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man; for he was a doer of wonderful works, a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many of the Jews and many of the Gentiles. He was [the] Christ. And when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men among us, had condemned him to the cross , those that loved him at the first did not forsake him; for he appeared to them alive again the third day, as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him. And the tribe of Christians, so named for him, are not extinct at this day

But Jonathon correctly notes that this is not always an easy task. There are questions as to whether this statement is original to Josephus or if it was added later by the Christians who preserved his writings. If you have used this quote from Josephus in your teaching or preaching you should read what Jonathon has to say.


  1. Some of the most careful and comprehensive treatments of this passage that I've seen have come from lay apologists, such as this one by Chris Price:


    IMO, the average Christian apologist online is alot more in tune with Biblical scholarship and a higher quality of apologetics than the average pastor, by virtue of being steeped in the detail of these never-ending debates.

    My own pastor is still using Josh McDowell-style arguments for the resurrection, from the pulpitt, and even though he has a Masters of Divinity, I often notice him misinterpreting scripture.

  2. Thanks for the link John! Although one day I'll have to teach you how to spell my name correctly. ;-)