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Following is the original Greek Testimonium Flavianum (“TF”), from the manuscript Flavius Josephus. For he was a doer of startling deeds, a teacher of people who receive the truth with pleasure.

εἰς ἔτι τε νῦν τῶν Χριστιανῶν ἀπὸ τοῦδε ὠνομασμένον οὐκ ἐπέλιπε τὸ φῦλον.

In the judgment of most scholars, there is simply no way Josephus the Jew would or could have written such things. Ehrman goes on to explain, “When Christian scribes copied the text, they added a few words here and there to make sure that the reader would get the point.

This is Jesus, the superhuman messiah raised from the dead as the scriptures predicted.” Such a claim represents the perfect argument for Ehrman to proffer, since he adheres to the evemerist perspective that Jesus was a real person, a mundane Jewish prophet and wannabe messiah, to whose biography his ardent followers added a series of supernatural fairytales.

And up until this very day the tribe of Christians, named after him, has not died out. Meier’s reconstructed TF, with the purported Christian interpolations in bold: About this time there appeared Jesus, a wise man, if indeed one should call him a man.

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Bart must realize that his views are as repugnant to Christian conservatives as are those of mythicists, and there is little reason not to go further and conclude that, in the case of the TF, those interpolating scribes wrote the entire passage, to be inserted into the text by subsequent copyists.At this point, Ehrman provides a Meier-type “original” TF, with the supposed Christian interpolations removed: At this time there appeared Jesus, a wise man.He was a doer of startling deeds, a teacher of people who receive the truth with pleasure.So, take a stroll down memory lane to remember all of our past Word of the Year selections. As we would expect, Bart believes the Testimonium is genuine, with the typical Christian interpolations. Ehrman (59-60) provides a translation of the TF from “the best manuscript of Josephus”: At this time there appeared Jesus, a wise man, if indeed one should call him a man.

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