by Roman Piso

June 1998
This article is keyed to Whiston's translation of Josephus

from RomanPisoHomepageBookshelf Website


It appears that it cannot be stated enough that Josephus was most deliberate in his works and that he makes statements all through his works that serve (at least in his own mind) to absolve or excuse himself for misleading and making misleading statements and outright lies.

In other words, he makes a practice of placing what amount to ‘disclaimers’ throughout his works under the guise of making them when the subject matter is apparently dealing with some other subject or “non-subject,” sometimes, even as if just ‘off the cuff.” These things are just “tacked on” here and there so that he IS saying what he is doing (i.e. making the admission), but he places these deliberately “out of context” to their true meaning so that he can just keep right on going full in the knowledge that whether or not the reader realizes it, he has in fact stated just what he is doing - and therefore, to HIS mind, he is telling the “TRUTH.”

One example is this statement; “and where it must be reproachful to write lies, when they must be known by the reader to be such.” Notice that he says “READER,” not the writer!!! (pg. 428) (Wars of the J., Preface, 5)

Also, “Yet were there fictitious stories added to what was really done...” (pg. 517) (Wars of the J., B. III, Ch. IX, 5)

Josephus deliberately tries to confuse by

(1) Writing about personages out of their chronological order. Example: Speaking of King Solomon, then Vespasian (pg. 173) (Ant. of the Jews, B. VIII, Ch. II, 5).

(2) Misspelling names. Example: He even spells his own name in places “Josepos” and to see this, you will need to find the Loeb Classical Library editions of Josephus which have the Greek words spelled as they are in the earliest texts. He says: “Josepos said thus...” (pg. 569) (Wars, B. VII, Ch. II, 1). Also, see page 574 (Wars of the Jews, B. V, Ch. XIII, 3).

(3) Deliberately misleads with ‘half-truths’. Example: “He (King Herod) was by birth a Jew.” This is a half-truth and Josephus knew it. (Ref. pg. 422) (Ant. B. XX, Ch. VIII, 7). (4) He deliberately perpetuates and invents superstitious notions, ideas and beliefs:

(A)   He speaks of the “skill” of expelling demons. (pg. 125, 173) - (Ant. B. VI, Ch. II, 1; Ant. B. VIII, Ch. II, 5)
(B)   He is the first to speak of a “laser root,” which in later mythology becomes the “mandrake root.” (pg. 42, 595-596) - (Ant. B. I, Ch. XIX, 8; Wars of Jews., Book. VII, Ch. VI, 3)
(C)   He perpetuates the idea of “signs” and omens. See the omen of the ‘owl’. (pg. 386) (Ant. B. XVIII, Ch. VI, 7) And also; (pg. 412) (Ant. B. XIX, Ch. VIII, 2)
(D)   The idea of “Ghosts.” (pg. 112, 266) - (Ant. B. V, Ch. II, 8; Ant. B. XII, Ch. XI, 2)
(E)   The idea of “Angels.” (pg. 119) (Antiquities of the Jews, B. V, Ch. VIII, 3)
(F)   “Evil Spirits and Demons.” (pg. 136) (Ant. B. VI, Ch. XI, 2)
(G)   Fortune Tellers and “Mediums” (pg. 143) (Ant. B. VI, Ch. XIV, 2)
(H)   Prophets telling the future and showing “signs”, wonders and miracles. (pg. 184, 429) (Ant. B. VIII, Ch. VIII, 5; Wars of the Jews, Preface, 11)
(I)   The idea of “Witches.” (pg. 202) (Ant. B. VIII, Ch. VI, 3)
(J)   He invented the saying of “Grace.” (pg. 250) (Ant. B. XII, Ch. II, 12)
(K)   The idea of “Royal Birthright,” which we no longer believe in today.
(pg. 348) (Ant. B. XVI, Ch. VIII, 1)
(L)   An eclipse of the moon as a “sign,” a “sign” that could be predicted with accuracy by the astronomers and High Priests of the day (pg. 365) (Ant. B. XVII, Ch. VI, 4)
(M)   “Some Supernatural Providence” (pg. 432) Providence (Supernatural), ordained, divine (pg. 466) (W. of J, B. I, Ch. III, 6; W. B. II, Ch. XXXI, 3) 

(N) Promoted the phrase “God Forbid.” (pg. 528) (W. B. IV, Ch. III, 10)

(O) Other “signs,” such as a star resembling a sword and a comet that continued a whole year. Check on this! We should be able to tell by what we know about astronomy today if this is really a true statement. (pg. 582) Note that he speaks of these ‘signs’ as appearing before the destruction of Jerusalem. (Wars, B. VI, Ch. V, 3)
(P) He writes of religion as being (for those who can “see” it) as the most profitable “business,” saying, “... to make the altar every day fat with sacrifices of great value.” (pg. 205) (Ant. B. IX, Ch. VIII, 2)

And it was a very profitable business! (and still IS!) It was huge. The tithes and sacrifices were “divided up” by percent to the High Priests who in turn sent the majority of it to the King of the locale (in Judea, King Herod, etc.), who in turn, sent tribute to the emperor of Rome. They knew by records just about how much to expect to come in to them in the form of tithes.

They had this down to a ‘science’. They asked for 10% in tithes, and also received revenue of like amount from all citizens from taxes. They were milking the populace of great wealth on a constant and ongoing basis. And when the “zealots” (Pharisees) had disrupted this system, they (the rulers and aristocrats) felt as if “they” were being ‘robbed’ of the loot that ‘they’ had been robbing the citizens of!!! And so, they called the sicarii or zealots “robbers” to make them appear to be the “bad guys.” The royals and aristocrats were mad with greed. Even to the point of really pushing the idea of “Daily Sacrifices.” (pg. 574) (Wars of the J., B. VI, Ch. II, 1)

The works of Josephus, step by step, shows us just how “they” accomplished the “grand facade” (“they” meaning Josephus and his fellow writers of the day, as well as the royals and aristocrats). There is usually only one or two examples of each little part of the items that they used to pull it all off with.

Another thing that we discovered was the use of words in both their “male” and “female” forms for the purpose of hiding true meanings. More and better examples of this are available elsewhere, but for our purpose here, we use this one which is found only as an example in the works of Josephus. (pg. 449) (Wars, B. I, Ch. XVIII, 2)

This is shows an example of calling a male by a female name. But that is sufficient to show that they had this as a general idea of interpolating or using names and words in either male or female forms in order to give hidden meanings and/or to mislead.

Here we have some “Fantastic Statements” by Josephus:

“... a great deal of fictitious blood was shed,” (pg. 400) (Ant. B. XIX, Ch. I, 13)

“Oh, Josephus, art thou still fond of life; and canst thou bear to see “the light” (i.e. “Jesus” as the representative in the story of “royalty”, who saw themselves as ‘the light’ - in other words, those being in possession of wisdom and great knowledge as opposed to the common person), in a state of slavery?” (pg. 515, Wars, B. III, Ch. VIII, 4) What is being said in a disguised way is “Josephus (aka Arrius Piso), you are fond of life (the ‘good life’) and you cannot bear to see this turned around so that the Royals are in a state of slavery - as that is what it would be like for the royals if slavery were abolished.” It would be as if the royals were slaves to the common person, as they would lose their power over them and become subject to the masses. In effect, royalty, for all intents and purposes would cease to exist excepting for family lineage. And so, this is why it was of the utmost importance to Josephus (Arrius Piso) and the royals that he accomplish his ‘task’ with Jesus and the New Testament, as well as with his other works and that of the rest of his family and relatives.

“Yet were there fictitious stories added to what was really done.” (pg. 517)
(Wars of the Jews, B. III, Ch. IX, 5)

He deliberately misspells the word “stone” as “son” to infer “the Son (of God),” i.e. “Jesus” is coming!!! You will need to see this in Greek in the Loeb Classical Library edition. But the place in Whiston’s is given here. (pg. 557) (Wars of the Jews, B. V, Ch. VI, 3)

It is Josephus who is saying to take his blood (like “Jesus”) as your preservation or ‘salvation’! (pg. 564) (Wars of the Jews, B. V, Ch. IX, 4)

“The Divine Spirit” (“Holy Ghost,” as spoken of in the NT) (pg. 127)

“Some of them betook themselves to the writing of fabulous narrations.” (pg. 608) (Against Apion, B. I, 5) For him to say this is absolutely amazing, especially when you read the things that HE had written. See HIS story of the “Laser Root”! In other words the “mandrake root.” (pg. 595-596)

And this should be quite enough for anyone to take pause at and to think upon.