The Ancient Library

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his attack on Justus, the historian (Vit. 65), earnestly defending himself from the charge of having in any way caused the war with Rome. Had this feeling originated in a religious conviction that the Jewish nation had forfeited God's favour, the case, of course, would have been different; but such a spirit of living practical faith we do not discover iii Josephus. Holding in the main the abstract doctrines of a Pharisee, but with the prin­ciples and temper of an Herodian, he strove to accommodate his religion to heathen tastes and prejudices; and this, by actual omissions (Ottius, Praetermissa a Josepho, appended to his Spici-legium\ no less than by a rationalistic system of modification. Thus he speaks of Moses and his law in a tone which might be adopted by any dis­believer in his divine legation. (Prooem. ad Ant. § 4, c. Apion. ii. 15.) He says that Abraham went into Egypt (Gen. xii.), intending to adopt the Egyptian views of religion, should he find them better than his own. (Ant. i. 8. § I.) He speaks doubtfully of the preservation of Jonah by the whale. (Ant. ix. 10. § 2.) He intimates a doubt of there having been any miracle in -the passage of the Red Sea (efre Kurd $ov\T](riv 0eoi», eYre /car* at/ToAiaTw), and compares it with the passage of Alexander the Great along the shore of the sea of Paraphylia. (Ant. ii. 16. § 5 ; comp. Arr. Anab. i. 26; Strab.xiv. p. 666.) He interprets Exod. xxii. 28, as if it conveyed a command to respect the idols of the heathen. (Ant. iv. 8. § 10, c. Apion. ii. 33.) Daniel's interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar's dream of the image he details as far as the triumph of the fourth kingdom; but there he stops, evidently afraid of offending the Romans. (Ant. x. 10. § 4.) These instances may -suffice : for a fuller statement see Brinch, Eocani. Hist. Fl. Joseph., appended to Havercamp's edition, vol. ii. p. 300, &c. After all this, it will not seem uncharitable if we ascribe to a latitudinarian indifference, as much at least as to an enlightened and humane moderation, the oppo­sition of Josephus'to persecution in the name of religion, and his maintenance of the principle that men should be left, without compulsion, to serve God according to their conscience. (Vit. 23, 31.)

The way in which Josephus seems to have been actually affected towards Christianity is just what we might expect antecedently from a person of such a character. We have no room to enter fully into the question of the genuineness of the famous pas­sage (Ant. xviii. 3. § 3) first quoted by Eusebius (Hist. Eccl. i. 11, Dem. Evan. iii.- 5)V wherein Christ is spoken of as something more than m^n—-€fy€ avtipa avrtiv \tyeiv XPW (f°r we must riot, with Heinichen, insist too much on the alleged clas­sical usage of etfyc)—and testimony is borne to his miracles, to the truth and wide reception- of his doctrines, to his Messiahship—6 Xpurrds dfiros iff, and to his death and resurrection, iri accordance with the prophecies. For a detailett discussion of the question we must refer the reader to the treatise of Daubuz, and to Arnoldus's collection of letters on the subject, appended to Havercamp's edition of Josephus (vol. ii. p. 18.9, &c.), also to Harles'sFa-bricius (vol. v. p. 18, note bb), and especially to Heinichen's Excursus on Euseb. Hist. Eccl. i. 11, and the authors on both sides of the controversy, of whom he there gives a full list. The external evidence for the passage is very strong; but the testimony which it bears in favour of Christianity is so decisive, that some have concluded from it


that Josephus must have been himself a believer; an Ebionite Christian at least * according to the opinion of Whiston (Dissert, i.), while others have adduced the fact that he was not a Christian as a proof that the passage is spurious. The former opinion appears to be contradicted by positive tes­timony (see Orig. Comm. ad Matt. ap. Haverc. ad init.) c. Cels. p. 35), and has no support from the works of Josephus beyond this one place itself. He speaks, indeed, in high terms of John the Baptist (one of whose disciples Hudson supposes Banus to have been), but there is nothing in his language to show that he had any correct notion of his true character as the predicted forerunner of our Lord (Ant. xviii. 5. $ 2). His condemnation also of the murder of St. James, the first bishop of Jerusalem (Ant. xx. 9. § 1), is no more than might have been and was expressed (as he himself tells us) by all the most moderate men among the Jews; and the statement, quoted as from him by Origen (II. cc.) and Eusebius (ffist. Eccl. ii. 23), that the destruc­tion of Jerusalem was a punishment from God for this murder, is not to be found in any of our pre­sent copies of his works. As to his having been an Ebionite, this conjecture would imply a warmer zeal for the Jewish law than he seems to have felt, though it would be somewhat more plausible (since the Ebionites and Essenes had much in common ; see Burton's Bampt. Led. vi. notes 81—83), were there any good grounds for the assertion of Daubuz that, as Josephus was disposed in his youth to the tenets of the Essenes (to whom ie thinks Banus belonged), so he returned to those opinions after the ruiii of his country, when nothing more was to be got by being a Pharisee, and was an Essene when he wrote his Antiquities. We may conclude then that Josephus was no believer in Christ; but this need not, of itself, be any barrier to our recep­tion of the disputed passage ; since it is quite con­ceivable that, with his character and temptations, he might well admit the divine legation of Jesus, without fully realising all that such an admission required, without, in fact, the consistency and courage to be a Christian. A man of the world, with little or no earnestness, he might think it the moderate and philosophical, certainly the safe course, to sit loose to religion altogether ; and the term indifference may describe his state of mind even more appropriately than perplexity, such as Gamaliel's. (Acts, v. 34, &c.) To this we may add, as not impossible, the view of Daubuz, Boeh-mert, and others, that there were Christians even at the court of Domitian who at that time (a. d. 93) were persons of influence — Flavins Clemens, for instance, and Flavia Domitilla, to say nothing of the doubtful case of Epaphroditus, and that Josephus therefore had an obvious motive for speaking with reverence of the author of Christi­anity. (Euseb. Hist. Eccl. iii. 17, 18; comp. St. Paul, Philip, iv. 22.) Nor are the above remarks less applicable in the main, even if we entirely or partially reject the passage ; for Christianity must have attracted the attention of Josephus, and so there would be much significance either in his si­lence on the subject or in his faltering testimony. Our own opinion is, that he was not likely to com­mit himself by language so decisive ; nor at the same time do we look upon the passage as altogether spurious. It would rather appear (according to the view of Villoison, Routh, and Heinichen) that the strongest expressions and phrases have been

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