1. As acknowledged even by proponents of the forgery theory, the style and vocabulary of the passage is essentially that of Josephus (cf. the studies employing the Rengstorf concordance and the TLG database). Thus, an imitator must have made a substantial effort to create something Josephus might have written. This effort by the imitator would have been hindered, not aided, by taking passages from Luke as a model, as this would add a foreign voice to the text. Since the proposed imitator wished people to mistake the passage for a Josephus original, it would have been perverse to employ a text that would undermine this goal -- indeed, it is such foreign elements that have caused scholars to suspect a forgery.
2. The proposed interpolator would have had to base
the creation on the Emmaus narrative as it appears in Luke. But the parallels
indicate something different: that the two texts were derived from a common
source, a first-century Christian document that is now lost. This is because
the Antiquities account cannot plausibly be derived from the form of
the text as it appears in Luke. The latter is a literary work with
three characters, a conversation, a flashback, and a narrator; the former
is a simple record. It is widely agreed by Luke scholars (see., e.g., Fitzmyer)
that the Emmaus narrative as we have it was a literary creation of Luke's,
derived (at best) from Luke's "special source", which is the material that
Luke uses which does not appear in the other synoptic gospels Matthew and
Mark. Removing the dramatic devices allows us to come nearer to the original
source, and it is this which shows the parallels to the Testimonium.
To have employed Luke, the proposed interpolator would have had to remove the extensive flashback in the middle of the text (which for Luke serves the purpose of linking this story to a one he has told previously), lift two quotations out of the mouths of the characters who speak them, combine them into a single unit, change the first person to the third person, making one error in the process, cutting off the rest of the chapter, and adding in a gratuitous comment about the continued existence of the so-called Christians. This an intrinsically implausible procedure, and there is no precedent for such an interpolation in other ancient texts.
3 Familiar material. A Christian forger would have been intimately familiar with the story of Jesus, and so there would have been no need to closely imitate any previous writer in order to construct a brief paragraph. If a forger intended to create a passage in the manner of the speeches of Luke-Acts, then, given the variation of such texts as shown by the statistical studies, it is extremely improbable that it would follow Emmaus as closely as it does (>95% confidence level).
4. Obscurity. The Emmaus conversation
is an obscure text rarely mentioned in ancient Christian literature, employing
a character (Cleopas) elsewhere unknown in the Gospels. It is terse in
its description of Jesus' deeds and the Greek is in several places awkward
or garbled. These points make it an unlikely model for any sort of
literary effort. The speeches of Acts would have provided a far easier
source to rework. For the forgery theory to be plausible, one would need
to propose a reason why an imitator would choose this section as a model.
5. Early Jewish-Christian. Interpolations by Christians of the 2nd to 4th century generally reflect the form of Christianity of that period. The Testimonium passage reflects an early Jewish-Christian point of view rather than that of, for example, their contemporary Paul. The statistical studies show that descriptions of Jesus resemble the Testimonium less as they separate from it in time. The natural form of a Jesus passage by a later Christian does not appear in the Testimonium. It is thus unexplained why and how a later interpolator decided not to present the Christianity he or she knew.
6. Peculiar phrases. Unique wording occurs in Luke's narrative. An interpolator should have deleted these in order to mimic Josephus' style and to hide the interpolator's source. Most notable here is the unique form "spending a third day." Some reason would have to be found why the proposed forger would retain peculiar phrases while rewriting more innocuous ones.
Upon reflection, any scholar must ask him or her
self: "If Josephus wanted to explain who the Christians were, what would
he do?" And receive the answer: "As always in his work, unless he was recounting
his own direct experience he would employ some reliable, prior source.
The proselytizing of Christians would have been more readily available
than Roman or Judean records, the latter likely destroyed in the war. So,
in fact, the most reasonable thing to expect a priori is that Josephus
would have simply rewritten a Christian proselytizing document. And that
is exactly what we see -- the same sort of document found repeatedly, with
variations, in the Book of Luke-Acts."
This most logical of possibilities in fact is the solution to the mystery of Josephus' account of Jesus.
Note, also, that each of the objections to the proposed Christian interpolator discussed previously are, by contrast, confirmatory of Josephus' use of a now lost document. The text would have not been obscure but a readily available Jewish-Christian self-description. The material would not have been so familiar to Josephus that he wouldn't prefer to adhere to a written source. The early Jewish-Christian nature of the text is the form that Josephus would be the Jerusalem form he would have been most familiar with. The peculiar phrases are evidence of the influence of his source, examples of which can be found throughout the Antiquities (compare any of his Biblical sections with the appropriate part of the Bible); the more difficult the phrase is to understand, the more likely it is that Josephus would not have tried to alter it, accounting for "the third day" and other peculiarities.
This is confirmed by the Arabic version of Agapius, which also lacks this phrase.
However, both Luke and Agapius use the word "Messiah"
later in the passage. This is evidence for the idea that an original use
of the word "Messiah" was moved forward in the passage during transcription
by a later Christian copyist.
The version of Agapius also lacks any such phrase, in agreement with the notion that the Agapius version more closely parallels Luke's narrative than does the Greek version of Josephus.
This is confirmed by the appearance of a similar sentence in the version of Agapius. There is one significant difference in Agapius: the sentence is preceded by "They reported..." This simple phrase takes away any idea that Josephus was expressing Christian beliefs he held himself. As this idea of a report is also fundamental to the Emmaus narrative (the narrative is such a report), we can with good confidence assert that this is the form in which the Josephus passage originally appeared.
The Agapius translation does not have this phrase,
so gives no support,; we recall that nothing from Agapius is conclusive
due to the double translation into the Arabic. Taking rather the hypothesis
that we consider likely authentic that which appears in two out of the
three texts (Luke, Josephus, Agapius), we can accept this phrase as genuinely
appearing in the Antiquities.
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