Mocking Josephus


Josephus, in his writing, always comes off as incredibly self-righteous and self aggrandizing, while comically speaking of himself in the third person and making some humorous sounding mistakes, as he claims that he was a messenger from God sent to save his people while he watches his entire nation slaughtered in front of his eyes over a three and a half year period. Not only his writings, but the Jews in general were frequently mocked for being so very different from the rest of the ancient pagan world. Some of Josephus' writings explicitly address the harsh, mocking critiques he or the other Jews received from Greek historians and writers of his day. Few of these still exist, but we know something about them through his reactions to them:

“…There have been indeed some bad men, who have attempted to calumniate my history, and took it to be a kind of scholastic performance for the exercise of young men. A strange sort of accusation and calumny this!…”
– Flavius Josephus Against Apion, Book I, 1:10​

“…He adds another Grecian fable, in order to reproach us…”
– Flavius Josephus Against Apion, Book II :8​

“Nay, this miracle or piety derides us further, and adds the following pretended facts to his former fable…”
– Flavius Josephus Against Apion, Book I, 11:10​

So the Greeks and other historians of the early Roman empire clearly mocked Josephus' history, also using “Grecian fables” and even mocked Josephus himself:

THE family from which I am derived is not an ignoble one, but hath descended all along from the priests… I am of the chief family of that first course also; nay, further, by my mother I am of the royal blood; for the children of Asamoneus, from whom that family was derived, had both the office of the high priesthood, and the dignity of a king… Thus have I set down the genealog of my family as I have found it described in the public records, and so bid adieu to those who calumniate me [as of a lower original].”
– The Life Of Flavius Josephus, Preface:1​

As you read Josephus, you can start to understand why he had so many critics. It's like, oooh, alright, sorry for suggesting you were from humble origins, as if you were born king of the Jews or something. But apparently the Greeks were mocking the whole war with “Grecian fables” even before Josephus wrote his first work, the Wars of the Jews:

“It is true, these writers have the confidence to call their accounts histories; wherein yet they seem to me to fail of their own purpose, as well as to relate nothing that is sound. For they have a mind to demonstrate the greatness of the Romans, while they still diminish and lessen the actions of the Jews… Yet shall the real truth of historical facts be preferred by us, how much soever it be neglected among the Greek historians.”
– Josephus, Wars of the Jews, Preface:3​

Well, the Greeks are certainly not going to like hearing that from the adopted son of the Lord of the inhabitable Earth! And a lowly Jew nonetheless! It seems none of these Grecian fables that Josephus complains about, mocking the War and the writings of Josephus Flavius have survived, perhaps because the Flavians wanted Josephus' account to be the only history of the war and the events in Israel in the last quarter of the first century. However, Josephus would never have been the type to appreciate such satire and irony anyway, considering it an “evil disposition of mind”:

“…nor by way of irony, as thou wilt say, (for he was entirely a stranger to such an evil disposition of mind,) but he wrote this by way of attestation to what was true…”
– The Life Of Flavius Josephus, 1:65​

In the previous chapter, I demonstrated that the second coming of Jesus “most certainly denoted the government of Vespasian” and his son Titus, when they invaded Israel, as the literal fulfillment of biblical “post-prophecy”. And the temple was destroyed. What I am going to show you in this chapter is that the entire New Testament is a satire of a genocide, or a sort of “Grecian fable”, and virtually every detail of the Gospels has a parallel event in the description of the war by Josephus which it is mocking, from the star of Bethlehem to the “last supper”, every miracle, every parable that never made sense, every detail. The central joke of this satire is that Jesus came to save the Jews. Because nobody saved them. They all died. The whole nation was leveled flat, they slaughtered old and young, male and female, they threw babies over cliffs, tortured people and filled whole cities with so much blood that it extinguished the fires, they crushed the stones of the cities to dust so that one would never know that anyone had ever lived there and then spoiled the country to make sure nothing would ever grow there again and chopped down all the trees in the whole country and didn't have enough wood for the hundreds of thousands of crucifixions, all within exactly forty years or one generation after Jesus said it would happen.

“…I got all those that I remembered as among my own friends and acquaintances to be set free, being in number about one hundred and ninety; and so I delivered them without their paying any price of redemption, and restored them to their former fortune…”
– The Life Of Flavius Josephus, 1:75​

That is exactly what Jesus did too, he paid the price of our redemption, or a hundred and ninety of his friends and acquaintances out of the roughly two million that were slaughtered anyway. Thank you Jesus!