So this is a quick question. We all know Eusebius quoted Testimonium Flavianum in his Church History.

About this time there lived Jesus, a wise man, if indeed one ought to call him a man. For he was one who performed surprising deeds and was a teacher of such people as accept the truth gladly. He won over many Jews and many of the Greeks. He was the Christ. And when, upon the accusation of the principal men among us, Pilate had condemned him to a cross, those who had first come to love him did not cease. He appeared to them spending a third day restored to life, for the prophets of God had foretold these things and a thousand other marvels about him. And the tribe of the Christians, so called after him, has still to this day not disappeared.

He either used a version of passage with Christian interpolations, or he is the one who interpolated it (completely unlikely he made it up).

However, I don't have Church history nor did I read it or found some context. So can someone tell my why Eusebius quoted it, in response to what or in which context?

Thanks in advance!

  • 2
    Please take some time to learn how to use the editor when making questions. Two commas does not a quote make christianity.stackexchange.com/editing-help
    – Peter Turner
    Feb 17, 2020 at 18:09
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    Can you link the source of your quote, please?
    – Ken Graham
    Feb 17, 2020 at 18:33
  • Peter, the point is, I don't write this on computer, but on my mobile, since I don't have one. That is why I can't edit it the way to mark it, altough I would really want to.
    – curious
    Feb 17, 2020 at 19:09
  • Most public libraries allow you to use their computers for up to two hours!
    – Ken Graham
    Feb 18, 2020 at 0:36

2 Answers 2


Apparently the passage may be found in three books by Eusebius. Here is the most common.

The context of mentioning Christ is in relation to his mentioning John the Baptist and elsewhere perhaps James the Just who is brother of Christ. These things are mentioned as explanations for subsequent calamities.

  1. It was on her account also that he slew John, and waged war with Aretas, because of the disgrace inflicted on the daughter of the latter. Josephus relates that in this war, when they came to battle, Herod’s entire army was destroyed, and that he suffered this calamity on account of his crime against John.

  2. The same Josephus confesses in this account that John the Baptist was an exceedingly righteous man, and thus agrees with the things written of him in the Gospels. He records also that Herod lost his kingdom on account of the same Herodias, and that he was driven into banishment with her, and condemned to live at Vienne in Gaul … 7. After relating these things concerning John, he makes mention of our Saviour in the same work, … https://ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf201/npnf201.iii.vi.xi.html

TO ADD/EDIT: In my opinion, this answers the OP question. What is the context for Eusebius quoting Josephus? The answer is to show why the Jews experienced subsequent calamities, including the destruction of their temple and Jerusalem. Jesus is the Christ. John the Baptist was a righteous man. They, along with Pilate and others, put them to death. It was wrong, and God poured out His wrath. That's the point for Eusebius.

  1. Since an historian [Josephus], who is one of the Hebrews themselves, has recorded in his work these things concerning John the Baptist and our Saviour, what excuse is there left for not convicting them of being destitute of all shame, who have forged the acts against them? But let this suffice here. -ibid-

As to what seems to be another question/answer, is Eusebius verifying that Jesus is the Christ, the answer is not really. It is a fact, but not the point. Again the context for Eusebius is to explain why it (destruction of temple and Jerusalem) happened.

To be sure, subsequent Christians have used Josephus' comments as "outside" proof that Jesus is the Christ, and use Eusebius in support of that assertion, but again, that was not Eusebius' primary point.

With this in mind, I'd further argue that the quote from Josephus is in fact true with no, or very minor, subsequent interpolations. If it wasn't true as one explanation for 70ad, why else would Eusebius mention it within context of trying to explain 70ad?

  • Alright, does he simply record that or does he record it to respond to some objection by the Jews or pagans?
    – curious
    Feb 17, 2020 at 19:07
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    see TO ADD/EDIT
    – SLM
    Feb 18, 2020 at 17:41
  • Well, if we are going to be honests, language like, ,,he appeared to them", ,,he WAS the Christ" and ,,if one ought to call him a man" are little, you know, TOO good about Jesus. More likely he said ,,they reported he appeared to them" and ,,he was perhaps the Christ", while the last one...I am not sure. I mean, I doubt someone non-Christian would say something like that.
    – curious
    Feb 22, 2020 at 12:19

Why did Eusebius quote this passage?

Eusebius of Caesarea was a historian of Christianity, exegete, and Christian polemicist. And as the “Father of Church History" (not to be confused with the title of Church Father).

Eusebius of Caesarea (260/265 – 339/340), also known as Eusebius Pamphili, was a historian of Christianity, exegete, and Christian polemicist. He became the bishop of Caesarea Maritima about 314 AD. Together with Pamphilus, he was a scholar of the Biblical canon and is regarded as one of the most learned Christians of his time. He wrote Demonstrations of the Gospel, Preparations for the Gospel, and On Discrepancies between the Gospels, studies of the Biblical text. As "Father of Church History" (not to be confused with the title of Church Father), he produced the Ecclesiastical History, On the Life of Pamphilus, the Chronicle and On the Martyrs. He also produced a biographical work on the first Christian Emperor, Constantine the Great, who ruled between 306 and 337 AD.

Although Eusebius' works are regarded as giving insight into the history of the early church, he was not without prejudice, especially in regard to the Jews, for while "Eusebius indeed blames the Jews for the crucifixion of Jesus, but he nevertheless also states that forgiveness can be granted even for this sin and that the Jews can receive salvation." Nor can his works be trusted to be from subjectivism, for some scholars believe that "Eusebius is a notoriously unreliable historian, and so anything he reports should be critically scrutinized." This is especially true of his 'Life of Constantine', which he wrote as an eulogy shortly after the emperor's death in 337 A.D, and which is "Often maligned for perceived factual errors, deemed by some so hopelessly flawed that it cannot be the work of Eusebius at all." Yet others see him as a "Constantinian flunky," for as a trusted adviser to Constantine, it was politically expedient for him to present Constantine in the best light as possible. Never recognized as a saint, except in the Egyptian and Ethiopian Coptic Churches, the likely reason for this is that traditional sources view Arius finding support " ... from Eusebius of Nicomedia, and our Eusebius, who by that time was bishop of Caesarea."

The above passage [in the question] by Titus Flavius Josephus (The Antiquities of the Jews/Book XVIII) was certainly quoted by Eusebius as an historical proof of the existence of Jesus Christ that was collaborated from non-Christian sources. It is that simple!

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