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Was the Hypothetical Vorlage of the Testimonium Flavianum a “Neutral” Text? Challenging the Common Wisdom on Antiquitates Judaicae 18.63-64

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Even if one accepts the most widespread view about the so-called Testimonium Flavianum (Ant. 18.63-64)—i.e., that the text is basically Josephus’s but with some Christian interpolations—a decision on the nature of the alleged original text is still pending. Although a number of scholars have asserted that it contained some unfavorable references to Jesus, the overwhelming majority assert nowadays that it was originally neutral. The aim of the present discussion is to reassess the contemporary discussion on Josephus’s text in order to ascertain which is the most plausible hypothesis regarding the nature of its Vorlage. This article contends that the arguments advanced to support the view of a “neutral” text do not stand up to close examination, and it offers several reasons indicating that the Vorlage must have been at least implicitly negative.

Affiliations: 1: UNEDMadrid, Avenida de los Comuneros 46, 4. B, 37003


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