Testimonium Flavianum, eh? Is that where Flavor Flav gives his Jesus-y testimony, therefore God exists?
Oh… “Jesus is mentioned in two passages of the work The Antiquities of the Jews by the Jewish historian Josephus, written in the late first century AD. One passage, known as the Testimonium Flavianum, discusses the career of Jesus.” – Wikipedia… Not nearly as cool.
I automatically dismiss any argument that mentions Josephus. If the Christians hadn’t, throughout history, screwed with the writings of Josephus, adding and subtracting bits to make it conform to their ideas, I would be more inclined to see them as valid. However, because the Christians screwed with it, it’s tainted evidence and should be dismissed wholesale as such. I would love the irony that Christians rendered the evidence invalid by trying to make it more valid, if not for the fact that people have said just that since the 1500’s and they still quote the goddamn writings!
In fact, it’s the Testimonium Flavianum itself that was quite obviously inserted afterword, quite ham-handedly. The passage is stuck between two paragraphs that obviously go together but not to the Testimonium itself. It’s as if it said this:
Clifford the Big Red Dog went to school one day but couldn’t fit through the door. The kids laughed at him and mocked him. Some of the kids threw sticks and rocks at him.
Summer sausage should be cooked to an internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit. Undercooking sausage will give you Swine Flu.
Clifford the Big Red Dog was very sad. His heart shattered into a billion pieces and he died. The doctors later said that the stress of rejection caused his heart to explode, having been rendered frail by his unfortunate pituitary gigantism (resulting in his unnatural size) and his high iron count and blood pressure (resulting in his unnatural colour). All of the children felt very bad and had to speak to a comfort counselor.
Just like that, really.
Next time someone brings it up, ask them to read the passage in context, with at least two paragraphs before and after the Testimonium, and do a grammatical analysis of the paragraphs surrounding the Testimonium compared to the Testimonium itself in its original Greek.
That should shut them up.
More of my thoughts on the Testimonium Flavianum here.
Posted: May 12th 2009
See all questions answered by Reed Braden