Josephus was a famous historian who lived around the time of Jesus. He is known for his writings that confirmed Jesus’s existence and details about his life. Additionally, Josephus has provided vital information to understand important ancient Christian documents and artifacts, such as the Dead Sea Scrolls.
In “Jewish Antiquities,” Josephus described Jesus as an honorable man who died by crucifixion at the hands of Pilate. He also described the actions of Jesus’s followers, both Jews and Gentiles, after His death and resurrection. Josephus wrote, “At this time there was a wise man who was called Jesus. His conduct was good and [he] was known to be virtuous. And many people from among the Jews and other nations became his disciples. Pilate condemned him to be crucified and to die. But those who had become his disciples did not abandon his discipleship. They reported that he had appeared to them three days after his crucifixion, and that he was alive; accordingly he was perhaps the Messiah, concerning who the prophets have recounted wonders.”
The disciples did appear to claim Jesus was the Messiah, and that He was resurrected, appearing to them a few days after His death. Josephus confirms the Gospel story in his writing, and supports the fact that Jesus’s disciples continued to spread Jesus’s teachings and life story.
Later in the text, Josephus referred to Jesus again, along with His brother, James. Josephus wrote, “Convening the judges of the Sanhedrin, he [Ananas] brought before them the brother of Jesus who was called the Christ, whose name was James, and certain others. He accused them of having transgressed the law and delivered them up to be stoned.” By this writing, Josephus explicitly connected Jesus, the brother of James, as the one the early Christians identified as Christ.