Matthew 21:11

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And the multitudes said, This is the prophet, Jesus, from Nazareth of Galilee. (ASV)


This and several other verses in the Gospels present Jesus Christ as a big celebrity who was followed around by big crowds and was otherwise well-known and admired. This makes the silence and almost-silence of contemporary historians like Philo and Josephus especially odd, since they had written about other Jewish sects and leaders of that place and time.


Josephus mentions John the Baptist, the leader of the most famous religious movement at the time prior to Jesus with a lasting influence even to the day of Josephus as is evident from his text, only in passing due to the defeat of Herod's army by the Nabatean king Aretas IV, and the Jews' perception that this was punishment due to Herod's killing of John the Baptist. We can hardly be surprised then at Josephus lack of mentioning Jesus' movement and fame at the time, even if the Testimonium Flavianum is entirely forged, which itself is unlikely. In any case, Josephus' history seems to be concerned with religious movements insofar as they have some connection with the broader or political history. The only exceptions are the four sects he describes, which is due to the general picture of Judea they give, and his tutor Banus, which is of course part of his autobiography. Should we consider Qumran fictional just because Josephus doesn't mention it? Philo says nothing about even John the Baptist.


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