The writings of Josephus mention many biblical people and places

Flavius Josephus (37-101 A.D) was a Jewish priest at the time of the Jewish Revolt of A.D. 66. He was captured by the Romans, imprisoned, set free and then retired to Rome where he wrote a history of the Jewish Revolt called the "Jewish War." Later he wrote "Antiquities" as a history of the Jews.

Following is a brief listing of some other people and places mentioned by Josephus that correspond to those mentioned in the Bible. They demonstrate that the Bible is not alone in its description of people, events, and places. It is verified by other sources.

  1. Antipas mentioned
    1. 17:8:1, "And now Herod altered his testament upon the alteration of his mind; for he appointed Antipas, to whom he had before left the kingdom, to be tetrarch of Galilee and Berea, and granted the kingdom to Archelaus."
      1. Rev. 2:13, "I know where you dwell, where Satan's throne is; and you hold fast My name, and did not deny My faith, even in the days of Antipas, My witness, My faithful one, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells."
  2. Herod is mentioned numerous times
    1. 17:8:1, "And now Herod altered his testament upon the alteration of his mind..."
    2. 18.5.3, "Whereupon he ordered the army to march along the Great Plain, while he himself, with Herod the tetrarch, and his friends, went up to Jerusalem to offer sacrifice to God, an ancient festival of the Jews being then just approaching."
    3. See also, 18:2:1,2,3; 18:4:3,5,6; 18:5:1,2,3; 18:7:2, etc.
      1. Luke 3:1, "Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, and Herod was tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip was tetrarch of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias was tetrarch of Abilene."
  3. The Galatians are mentioned
    1. 17:8:3, "First of all went his guards, then the band of Thracians, and after them the Germans; and next the band of Galatians, every one in their habiliments of war."
    2. 12:10:6, "And when he was dead, the people bestowed the high priesthood on Judas; who, hearing of the power of the Romans, and that they had conquered in war Galatia, and Iberia, and Carthage, and Lybia."
      1. Gal. 1:2, "and all the brethren who are with me, to the churches of Galatia."
  4. Jericho mentioned
    1. 17:8:2, "...when Salome and Alexas gathered the soldiery together in the amphitheater at Jericho..."
      1. Num. 22:1, "And the children of Israel journeyed, and encamped in the plains of Moab beyond the Jordan at Jericho."
  5. Jerusalem is mentioned
    1. 20:9:2, "Now as soon as Albinus was come to the city of Jerusalem..."
      1. Matt. 21:10-11, "And when He had entered Jerusalem, all the city was stirred, saying, "Who is this?"  And the multitudes were saying, "This is the prophet Jesus, from Nazareth in Galilee."
  6. Jesus is mentioned
    1. 18:3:3, "Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man; for he was a doer of wonderful works, a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many of the Jews and many of the Gentiles. He was [the] Christ. And when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men amongst us, had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him; for he appeared to them alive again the third day; as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him. And the tribe of Christians, so named from him, are not extinct at this day."
    2. 20:9:1, "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, [or, some of his companions]; 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;"
      1. For information on the Testimonium Flavanium (the quotes of Josephus about Jesus) please see Regarding the quotes from the historian Josephus about Jesus
  7. Judea is mentioned
    1. 20:9:1, "AND now Caesar, upon hearing the death of Festus, sent Albinus into Judea, as procurator."
    2. See also, 20:1:1; 20:5:1,2,3; 20:6:1,2; 20:7:1,2; 20:8:5,10; 20:11:1; etc.
      1. Matt. 2:1, "Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem..."
  8. John the Baptist is mentioned
    1. 18.5.2 Now some of the Jews thought that the destruction of Herod's army came from God, and was a very just punishment for what he did against John called the Baptist [the dipper]. For Herod had him killed, although he was a good man and had urged the Jews to exert themselves to virtue, both as to justice toward one another and reverence towards
      1. Matt. 3:1-2, "Now in those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea, saying, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."
  9. Pontius Pilate is mentioned
    1. 18:3:1, "But now Pilate, the procurator of Judea, removed the army from Cesarea to Jerusalem, to take their winter quarters there, in order to abolish the Jewish laws."
    2. See also, 18:3:1,2,3; 18:4:1,2,5, etc.
      1. Luke 3:1, "Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, and Herod was tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip was tetrarch of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias was tetrarch of Abilene."
  10. Sadducees mentioned
    1. 20:9:1, "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."
      1. Matt. 16:1, "And the Pharisees and Sadducees came up, and testing Him asked Him to show them a sign from heaven."
  11. The Samaritans are mentioned
    1. 18:4:1, "But the nation of the Samaritans did not escape without tumults."
      1. Luke 10:33, "But a certain Samaritan, who was on a journey, came upon him; and when he saw him, he felt compassion."
  12. Tiberius Ceasar is mentioned
    1. 18.6.4, "And now Agrippa was come to Puteoli, whence he wrote a letter to Tiberius Caesar, who then lived at Capreae, and told him that he was come so far in order to wait on him, and to pay him a visit; and desired that he would give him leave to come over to Caprein."
      1. Luke 3:1, "Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, and Herod was tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip was tetrarch of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias was tetrarch of Abilene."

There are many other such references. But what they do is help to establish that the Bible was not written in isolation. It was written in the context of ancient Israel when and where it claims to have been written. This is important when authenticating the Bible and this is why external references are sometimes useful. In this case, Josephus who was a contemporary of the disciples, is referenced in support of biblical accuracy.

 

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