Do we only have ONE copy of the controversial passage about Jesus in Josephus?


[Apr 4/2009]


Someone wrote in:

Do you know offhand how many copies (even approximately) we have of Josephus' "Antiquities of the Jews"? I'm in a discussion with a Christ-myther who seems to be under the impression that we have only one copy. I know we have more than that, but I've been googling to find out how many we have and can't find anything. Thanks.


This was fairly easy to find from the Loeb Classics:


I am assuming your discussion is about the mentions of Jesus (at 18 and at 20), so I will give the data for THIS half of JA (since it circulated in two halves in antiquity, due to size):

Here are the mss used for the old Loeb Classics volume—No.326 (there are more than that now, but these are still the main ones):

in this volume, with Book XI, we reach the second half of Antiquities which, as Dr. Thackeray stated in the Introduction to Volume IV, was anciently bisected (or divided into pentads) in the mss. The authorities on which the text of Ant. xi.-xx. is based are as follows.


So that’s at least 11 major manuscripts, with scores more of bits-and-pieces.


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