"...later discoveries about other versions, including the Arabic version by Agabus a Muslim scholar, validate its authenticity...."
In addition to these, the Jewish scholar and historian Flavius Josephus who was also one of the army commanders of the Roman Emperor Vespacian, wrote about Jesus Christ in his book 'The Antiquities of the Jews' in the first Century AD. In the passage of the book known as 'Testimonium Flavianum', Josephus makes an extensive comment about Jesus Christ, during which he stated:'At this time there appeared Jesus, a wise man. For he was a doer of startling deeds, a teacher of people who received the truth with pleasure. And he gained a following both among many Jews and among many of Greek origin. And when Pilate, because of an accusation made by the leading men among us condemned him to the cross, those who had loved him previously did not cease to do so. And up till this very day the tribe of Christians (named after him) has not died out' (Ant. 18.63-64).
This passage has often been subjected to academic debates as to its authenticity and was originally believed by some scholars to have been adulterated through inclusion of sentences that were favourable to the Christian faith by over-zealous Christians. However later discoveries about other versions, including the Arabic version by Agabus a Muslim scholar, validate its authenticity and as Dunn, D. G. James argues in his book 'Jesus remembered' the majority of scholars are in agreement that this passage is an authentic reflection of Josephus's statement about the Lord Jesus Christ.
It's perhaps not quite as cut and dried among thoughtful, genuine scholars as the author may be suggesting: "Josephus on Jesus."
However, this bit does lend itself to not dismissing the Testimonium out of hand: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Josephus_on_Jesus#Arabic_and_Syriac_Josephus
I hadn't been aware of that before this, so I appreciate having been led to the article this night concerning my Lord and Savior, my beloved brother, Jesus, who is both my leader and my servant, just as he said from his huge and most beautiful heart.
I absolutely believe Jesus Christ was an actual historical man and no myth. I think people who do not are self-deluded. My favorite connection runs from Jesus through John to Polycarp and then Irenaeus. That is a Christian line that is very compelling.
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That said, we make the following absolutely clear here:
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- It's not freedom of religion if they tax it.
And when they were come to Capernaum, they that received tribute money came to Peter, and said, Doth not your master pay tribute? He saith, Yes. And when he was come into the house, Jesus prevented him, saying, What thinkest thou, Simon? of whom do the kings of the earth take custom or tribute? of their own children, or of strangers? Peter saith unto him, Of strangers. Jesus saith unto him, Then are the children free. (Matthew 17:24-26)