WHY WAS JAMES KILLED IN THE FIRST PLACE? He was killed because he was a CHRISTIAN, and not just any Christian but one of 3 TOP Christian leaders(with PAUL and PETER). How can I explain it better? Suppose an ATHEIST, and not just any atheist but one of the 5 MOST FAMOUS atheist writers in the world(like Richard Dawkins,Christopher Hitchens,Sam Harris,French philosopher Michel Onfray,Dan Barker,John Loftus) is taken by the US government and accused of being a TERRORIST.
Everybody knows it is FALSE, but he is EXECUTED anyway. He would have been obviously killed not because he was a terrorist, a false charge, but because he was an atheist.
CAN JOSEPHUS BE TRUSTED AS A SOURCE?
Josephus wrote his JEWISH ANTIQUITIES about 95 AD and there he also mentions JOHN the BAPTIST in a half-page report. He can be trusted because of:
A. TIME PERIOD: he was born in 37 AD and so he was NOT 2 years old, 5 years old, or 7 years old but 25 YEARS OLD in 62 AD, when James was killed. In other words he was a CONTEMPORARY of the event.
B.PLACE: he was born in Jerusalem and later he wrote his AUTOBIOGRAPHY and we know that in 62 AD he was living in JERUSALEM. He was in the same city James was killed.
C.SOCIAL POSITION: he was a member of the upper-class and his father was a prominent Jewish priest so Josephus had access to reliable information about the politics of Jerusalem society.
THE TEXT:”Jewish Antiquities 20.9:
“And now Caesar, upon hearing the death of Festus, sent Albinus into Judea, as procurator. But the king deprived Joseph of the high priesthood, and bestowed the succession to that dignity on the son of Ananus, who was also himself called Ananus. Now the report goes that this eldest Ananus proved a most fortunate man; for he had five sons who had all performed the office of a high priest to God, and who had himself enjoyed that dignity a long time formerly, which had never happened to any other of our high priests. But this younger Ananus, who, as we have told you already, took the high priesthood, was a bold man in his temper, and very insolent; he was also of the sect of the Sadducees, who are very rigid in judging offenders, above all the rest of the Jews, as we have already observed; when, therefore, Ananus was of this disposition, he thought he had now a proper opportunity [to exercise his authority].
Festus was now dead, and Albinus was but upon the road; so he assembled the sanhedrim of judges, and brought before them the BROTHER OF JESUS, who was called CHRIST, whose name was JAMES, and SOME OTHERS and when he had formed an accusation against them as BREAKERS of the LAW,he delivered them to be STONED: but as for those who seemed the MOST EQUITABLE of the citizens, and such as were the MOST UNEASY at the BREACH of the LAWS, they disliked what was done; they also sent to the king [Agrippa], desiring him to send to Ananus that he should act so no more, for that what he had already done was not to be justified; no, some of them went also to meet Albinus, as he was upon his journey from Alexandria, and informed him that it was NOT LAWFUL for Ananus to assemble a sanhedrim without his consent. Whereupon Albinus complied with what they said, and wrote in anger to Ananus, and threatened that he would bring him to punishment for what he had done; on which king Agrippa took the high priesthood from him, when he had ruled but three months, and made Jesus, the son of Damneus, high priest.”
Notice it says JAMES was a “breaker of the law”.What law?JEWISH law,because James believed Jesus was GOD,blasphemy.It was NOT because James believed Jesus was the Messiah(not blasphemy),or that he had resurrected(not blasphemy).
It says the most equitable of the Jews were AGAINST “the breach of laws”.What law?ROMAN law,the Jews had NO right to apply capital punishment(except if a Gentile entered the Temple),power of capital punishment had been taken from them in 6 AD(according to the TALMUD).The high priest was a troublemaker,the Romans were going to get angry.
GREAT SCHOLARLY ARTICLES
GLEN MILLER is awesome,a real inspiration.His website is so smart,in defense of Jesus against skeptical claims:
His article “Was John’s Gospel ANTI-SEMITIC?”:
Category: Apologetics and polemics