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187. Testimonium Flavianum
  from Greek from Arabic
63 Now about this time
there happened to be 
Jesus, a wise man,
if indeed it is right to call him a man.
For he was a doer of amazing deeds
and a teacher of men
who were pleased to receive the truth.
He attracted many Jews
and many Hellenists.
He was the Messiah [Christos].
And at this time
there was 
a wise man named Jesus.

He did good deeds

and was known to be virtuous.
And many from among the Jews
and other nations became his disciples.
64 When Pilate condemned him 
to the cross
on an accusation 
from prominent men among us,
those who were first drawn to him
did not quit.
For 
he appeared to them
on the third day
as again having life.

These wonders
and a thousand others
were told about him 
by God's prophets.
And up till now the clan of "Christians,"
so-named after him,
still did not give up.
Pilate condemned him 
to be crucified and die.


Those who became his disciples
did not abandon their discipleship.
They reported that 
he appeared to them
three days after his crucifixion
and that he was alive.
So--perhaps--he was the Messiah


about whom 
the prophets told wonders.


  --- Josephus, Antiquities 18.63-64
  [NOTE: This passage follows two Jewish protests (involving imperial images & temple funds) that Josephus reports under Pontius Pilate. It was quoted by the Christian historian Eusebius of Caesarea ca. 340 CE. But for the past 400 years its authenticity has been questioned for two reasons: (a) the wording of the Greek version, which is unabashedly Christian (proclaiming Jesus as a super-human Messiah), does not sound like Josephus, who elsewhere identified himself as a Pharisee; and (b) this pericope is not parallel to the passages to which it is linked (since there is no hint of a Jewish disturbance crushed by Pilate). On the other hand, Josephus did probably introduce Jesus here since (a) unlike Christian writers, he identifies Jesus as a sage & assigns responsibility for his crucifixion to the Roman governor and (b) he later presupposes that his non-Christian readers are already familiar with Jesus by claiming Pharisees protested the execution of James "the brother of Jesus the reputed Messiah." Since 1971 attempts to reconstruct the original wording of Josephus' text have been aided by Shlomo Pines' discovery of an Arabic version of this passage that lacks the overt Christian proclamations (italics in the Greek version). The Arabic was probably translated from a Greek ms. that lacked the Christian interpolations (italics). Whether the original text also associated Jesus' execution with some sort of Jewish disturbance (as R. Eisler proposed in 1931) is harder to prove, since any hint of social unrest would have to have been expurgated from the Greek text before the transcription of the ms. from which the Arabic translation was made.]

Other resources on line: 

Jesus' brother James stoned

188. Jews expelled from Rome
25 Since the Jews were in constant turmoil due to the influence of one "Chrestus," (the emperor) Claudius expelled them from Rome (ca. 52 CE).
  --- Suetonius, Lives of the Caesars 5.25
  [NOTE: The imperial biographer apparently had no detailed information about the cause of the Jewish community's agitation other than that it concerned the name of a person. "Chrestus" is probably a Roman misunderstanding of a debate about the Messiah [= Christos for Greek-speaking Jews], since the emperor took unprecedented action against the whole community rather than a single agitator. This incident probably preceded the founding of a distinct Christian church in Rome such as that presupposed by Paul's letter to the Romans.]

189. Nero persecutes Christians in Rome
44 Neither human effort nor princely largesse nor divine appeasement was able to dispel the scandal that the fire (which burned much of Rome in 64 CE) was believed to have been commanded (by the emperor Nero). So, to do away with the rumor, Nero substituted as culprits those who were commonly called "Christians," who were hated because of their absurdities. And he inflicted them with the most extraordinary punishments.

"Christus," the source of this name, was executed during the reign of Tiberius by the sentence of the procurator, Pontius Pilate. And the destructive superstition was suppressed, only to break out in the present, not only in Judea---the source of this evil---but also in the city (of Rome), where all hateful and shameful things flow and find a following.

Thus, first those who confessed (to being Christians) were seized; then, on their testimony a huge crowd as convicted---not so much on the charge of arson as for hatred of the human race. And while they perished there was additional ridicule. Having been covered with the skins of beasts, they were torn apart by dogs. Or they were fixed to a cross or were set aflame. And when the daylight faded they were used as lamps by night.
  --- Tacitus, Annals 15.44

190. A Rabbinic view of Jesus' Execution
  It is taught:
They hanged Jesus [Yeshu] on the eve of Passover.
Now a crier went forth for forty days before this (saying):
--"He goes forth to be stoned because he practiced magic
and stirred up Israel to apostasy.
Let anyone who knows anything in his favor come forward
and speak up for him!"
But they found nothing in his favor
and they hanged him on the eve of Passover.
Ulla said:
--"Do you suppose a revolutionary had anything in his favor!"
He was an instigator [mesith] (to apostasy)
and the Merciful has said:
--'You shall not spare or conceal him!' (Deut 13:8)"
But it was different with (Jesus), for he was near to the kingdom!
  --- Babylonian Talmud, Sanhedrin 43a
  [NOTE: this account was probably formulated to contradict Christian claims that Jews engineered Jesus' execution without giving him a fair hearing. It agrees with the Fourth Gospel in dating Jesus' death prior to the Passover meal. Otherwise its details are based on Jewish procedures for stoning rather than on information in the gospels.]

191. Jesus' Age
  A heretic [min] said to Rabbi cHanina (bar Hama):
--"Have you heard how old Balaam* was (when he died)?"
(Hanina) said to him:
--"The record does not record (it).
But (I would say) he was 33 or 34 years old from the text:
--'Men of blood and frauds shall not live out half their days' (Ps 55:23)."
(The heretic) said to him:
--"What you say is right!
I myself have examine the account of Balaam and it is written:**
--"Balaam the lame was 33 years old,
when he was killed by Phineas the Robber."***
  --- Babylonian Talmud, Sanhedrin 106b
* "Balaam" the false prophet; a frequent epithet for Jesus by later rabbis to avoid Christian censorship.
** The calculation of Jesus' age as 33 at the crucifixion is based on Luke 3:23 plus the Fourth Gospel's account of a public career spanning three Passovers.
*** "Phineas the Robber" is probably a code name for Pontius Pilate, who confiscated temple funds.

192. Eliezer's Lament
15 Rabbi Eliezer (ben Hyrcanus) the great says:
--"From the day the Temple was burned
the sages started to be like scribes,
and the scribes like superintendents
and the superintendents like peasants [am de aretz].
And the peasantry grew weak and died.
And there is none who seeks.
On whom can we rely?
On our Father in heaven!

With the footsteps of the Messiah arrogance will spread
and prices will rise;
the vine will give its fruit, but the wine will cost more.
Those who serve idols will turn to heresy [minuth]*
and there will be no reproof.
The council house will be for prostitution.
Galilee will be laid waste and Golan ruined.
The men of the frontier will wander from city to city
and there will be no favors.
The wisdom of the scribes will decay.
Those who fear sin will be loathed and truth will be rejected.
The young shall shame the elders
and the elders will stand up before inferiors:
'The sons dishonor the father,
the daughter rise against her mother
the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law;
a man's enemies (will be) men of his own house'
(Micah 7:6).
This generation's face is like a dog's face:
the son is not ashamed before his father.
And on whom can we rely?
On our Father in heaven!
  ---- Mishna, Sota 9.15
* "heresy" [minuth]: probably a reference to Jewish Christianity with its mission to Gentile pagans [cf. 1 Thess 2:14-16].
  [NOTE: This lament presents a 1st century rabbi's assessment of the social turmoil among Palestinian Jews after 70 CE, about the same time the gospels were being written. Urgent Messianic expectations are particularly evident in the gospel of Mark (8:38-9:1, 13:21-26), while scorn for scribes & disrespect for elders were prominent in Jesus sayings in the Q source (Matt 23:13-36 //Luke 11:43-54, Matt 10:34-37//Luke 12:49-53, 14:25-26)].

193. A Rabbi Arrested for Heresy
  Our rabbis taught:
When Rabbi Eliezer (ben Hyrcanus) was arrested for heresy [minuth]*
they brought him up to the platform** for judgment.
The (Roman) governor said to him:
--"Is an elder like you interested in such empty matters?"
He said to him:
--"The Judge is faithful concerning me!"
The governor thought he was referring to him,
but he was speaking of none but his Father in heaven.
(The governor ) said to him:
--"Since you trust me, so I will be to you.
Pardoned! Dismissed!"
When (Rabbi Eliezer) came to his house,
his disciples gathered round to comfort him.
But he would not take comfort.
Rabbi Aqiba said to him:
--"Rabbi, let me tell you one word of what you taught me!"
(Rabbi Eliezer) said to him:
--"Speak!"
(Aqiba) said to him:
--"Perhaps some heresy came to you and pleased you;
and you were arrested for that."
(Rabbi Eliezer) said to him:
--"Aqiba, you have reminded me!
Once I was walking in the upper market at Sepphoris
and I encountered one of the disciples of Jesus the Nazarene,***
Jacob of Kephar Sichnin by name.
He said to me:
--'It is written in your Torah:
--'You shall not bring the harlot's pay (to God)...' (Deut 23:19),
but may it be used to build a retreat for the high priest?'
I said nothing at all to him.
He said to me:
--'Thus is is taught by Jesus the Nazarene:***
'For a harlot's pay she gathered them
and to a harlot's way they shall return'
(Micah 1:7).
They came from a polluted place,
let them return to a polluted place,'
His saying pleased me.
So for this I was (now) arrested for heresy!"
  --- Babylonian Talmud, Aboda Zara 16b-17a
* The suspected "heresy" [minuth] was probably being a "Nazarene" (i.e., Christian). The Galilean Eliezer was arrested by the Roman civil authority, not by his fellow rabbis.
** "platform": Talmud's "gallows" [garedum] is probably a corrupt reading. An earlier shorter version of this story found in Tosefta cHullin 2.24 has "tribunal" [bema].
*** "Jesus the Nazarene" appears only in manuscript M, but was probably deleted by Christian censors from other Talmud mss. Tosefta cHullin 2.24 has "Jesus ben Pantiri." The words of Jacob are not given in the Tosefta version of this story.

194. Healing in Jesus' Name Forbidden
22 The case of Rabbi Eleazar ben Dama, whom a serpent bit:
Jacob of Kephar Sama came in to cure him
in the name of Jesus [Yeshua] ben Pandira.*
But Rabbi Ishmael did not allow it.
He said:
--"Ben Dama, you are not permitted!"
(Ben Dama) said:
--"I will bring you a proof (text) that he may heal me!"
But he had not finished furnishing the proof when he died.
Rabbi Ishmael (ben Elisha) said:
--"Happy are you, ben Dama!
For you have departed in peace
and have not violated the commandments of the sages!"
23 For lasting punishment comes on anyone 
who breaks through a fence of the sages, as it is written:
--"A serpent shall bite him who breaks through a fence" (Eccles 10:8).
  --- Tosefta, cHullin 2.22-23
* ben Pandira = "son of Pantera": reference to a Talmudic tradition that Jesus was really fathered by a Roman soldier named Pantera or Pandira.

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