Speaking on Josephus in Notre Dame

I’ll be delivering a paper at the Society of Biblical Literature Midwest Region meeting at Saint Mary’s College in Notre Dame (near South Bend, Indiana) this February 11 (Saturday), between 3 and 4pm (probably in the latter half of that hour), in the Apocrypha and Cognate Literature section. The conference runs from the 10th through the 12th (you can register here; students get half price and I don’t think have to be SBL members, but other registrants must be).

Even if you can’t attend the conference and thus the talk, I’ll be accessible to chat, and will have books to sell and sign for any who are interested (as well as handouts for my talk that will include the URL for the paper I presented), at the Bistro 933 bar in the Hilton Garden Inn (South Bend, IN), from 5 to 7pm that same Saturday (February 11).

My paper will be:

“Jesus among the Historians: How the Manuscripts of Josephus Changed Over Time and What They Originally Said: A Survey of Recent Scholarship”

Abstract: Manuscripts of the Antiquities of Josephus at the Christian library of Caesarea were changed over time, between 220 and 320 A.D., saying different things about Jesus under their first custodian, Origen, than under their last custodian, Eusebius. Recent publications by Richard Carrier, Louis Feldman, G.J. Goldberg, Paul Hopper, Ken Olson, and Alice Whealey shed new light on what happened and what we should conclude about what Josephus originally wrote, illustrating another difference time has made: past opinions were based on errors or misinformation, which these authors have corrected, making awareness of their work now essential to the subject.

In the allotted twenty minutes I will cite and summarize the salient findings of three journal articles, and five chapters from academic monographs, published by six scholars over the last five to ten years, that together revise common assumptions made or relied upon in scholarship and scholarly opinion elsewhere regarding the two passages in Josephus that currently reference Christ (the Testimonium Flavianum, in book 18 of the Antiquities, and the James reference, in book 20). This content is essential to any scholar who wishes to be brought up to date on the latest findings on this topic. And the subject material covers two differences made by time: the difference made to the text of Josephus in the course of a single century; and the difference made to modern expert conclusions about that text in the course of the last decade.

One comment

  1. Giuseppe Ferri January 18, 2017, 6:35 am

    Hi Richard,
    I am very curious about your view about this two arguments pro authenticity of the entire Testimonium Taciteum:

    Do you think that they are sufficient to think that Tacitus wrote the Christ line in his passage about Chrestians ? Why?

    Assuming that Tacitus wrote about Jesus, why do you think that his witness is to be considered probably not independent (and therefore of no value to prove historicity)?

    Very thanks,


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