tou legomenou Christou
- [from Geoff Riggs; not Liz. H., my better half]
This query is with respect to Josephus's description of Ananus's plans
to deliver over one James for stoning. -- I'm not referring to
Josephus's sometimes contested Test. F. in Josephus's Antiquities 18;
I'm referring to a description of Ananus's abuse of his high position in
delivering over this James person for stoning in Josephus's Antiquities
Now, I don't know if the Greek words "tou legomenou Christou" have been
previously the chief focus of any discussion here. But they may have
been previously discussed in a few contexts here. I'd certainly like to
hear any reflections here concentrating on those words primarily. They
are the words that are extant in Josephus's Antiquities 20, 9,1, when
Josephus is describing the stoning or threatened stoning of this James
person. Instead of just calling the person James, the extant text states
that he was "the brother of Jesus, who (?)was(?) called Christ, whose
name was James". The Greek original of "who (?)was(?) called Christ" is
"tou legomenou Christou".
Varied Greek forms of this locution appear in different contexts. Origen
referring to this Josephus passage uses this specific locution three
times. But in Matthew 1:16, the phrase becomes "ho legomenos Christos"
(RSV translation, _the one called the Christ_) at the end of that
writer's elaborate family tree for Jesus. Then in Matthew 27, at 17 and
22, Pilate uses "ton legomenon Christon" (in the RSV, _who is called
Christ_) instead. There is also a variant of this that appears in John
4:25, when quoting a Samaritan woman's talk about Jesus.
Elsewhere in Origen, we find him writing about Jesus being called "the
Christ" (Against Celsus 1.66 and 4.28), while Justin Martyr (First
Apology, chapter 30) refers to Jesus as one that Christians "call
Now, I'm not as familiar with Greek, particularly Koine Greek, as I'd
like to be, but I've read claims that the form found in the extant
Josephus text and in Origen's citation of Josephus is "in an oblique
case". Do others conversant with Greek essentially agree with that
characterization? And if so, what might that say about the other forms
elsewhere of this locution duly cited here? Also, in context, in the way
it appears in this Josephus passage in Ant. 20, is it possible to say if
the writer really means "who _was_ called Christ", or, in context, is it
possible it might be saying "who _is_ called Christ" instead? Or are
both the context and this specific phrase tense-neutral?
The reference in its context in the extant Josephus passage dealing with
this James character has occasioned some discussion, partly textual in
nature -- i.e., Is it or is it not from Josephus's own hand? What was
the writer (whoever it is) trying to convey? etc., etc.
FWIW, the word order here -- "the brother of Jesus, who was called
Christ [tou legomenou Christou], whose name was James" -- has sometimes
been thought to be strange for Josephus, but I thought I'd throw into
the hopper similar things in Josephus elsewhere:
â??a man of Gischala, the son of Levi, whose name was Johnâ??
_but he had also one that was spurious, by his concubine Drumah, whose
name was Abimelech_
_Now about this time a son of Jeshua, whose name was Joacim, was the
These rare cases, in thousands of lines of material, don't necessarily
prove that "the brother of Jesus, who (?)was(?) called Christ [tou
legomenou Christou], whose name was James" is automatically authentic
Josephus. But these three citations are still a part of the overall
I remain highly curious as to thoughts on either side of the question
regarding the Josephan authenticity of "tou legomenou Christou" and am
still entirely undecided myself as to the answer one way or the other. I
remain most interested of all in hearing from those of greater knowledge
than myself when it comes to deep familiarity with the Greek of the
Josephan era. I simply do not have that myself. If compelled (like Jack
Worthing in "Importance of Being Earnest":-) to answer the question if I
know "everything" or "nothing", if those were my only choices, I would
have to choose "nothing" when it comes to Koine Greek!
Thank you, and I look forward keenly to any replies.
Geoffrey Stone Riggs