Josephus - The Roman Mouthpiece


Born: 37 AD, Jerusalem
Died: c. 100 AD, Rome

Josephus, commander of the rebel forces fighting the Romans in Jerusalem in 70 AD, was captured and taken to Rome to live his life out as an author and Roman puppet.

  • What was his relationship with Paul?
  • What inspired him to write his Jewish histories?
  • Why is his autobiography full of anomalies?
  • Did he write the Gospels?

Josephus the Roman Mouthpiece Excerpt…

‘There’s a Jewish man called Paul and his Turkish friend Omar, who have been talking in the marketplaces. They have just a single message which has reached my bosses’ ears.’

I didn’t let my face change, but immediately I could see the connections.

‘Oh? What are they saying?’

‘It’s around the idea of love thy neighbour. If we could all live in harmony with each other, then life would be easier and more pleasant and peaceful for everyone.’

‘Sounds a sensible idea.’

‘Indeed. Apparently, this idea originated in Jerusalem which is where Paul was living when he first heard about it. He’s been preaching these messages based on the supposed life and sayings of a teacher called Jesus some forty-odd years ago.’

The name didn’t resonate, but this had probably happened before I was born.

‘Now you may not be aware that one of the Roman goals is to try and achieve some unity or harmony, particularly across the different cultures in the lands that we have conquered. So, Paul’s message fits splendidly with this aim.’

I was becoming increasingly wary, wondering what was coming next.

‘What would you like me to do?’ I asked.

‘To start with, just go and listen to them. Paul doesn’t speak our language, but Omar does – he’s the translator. But do not interact with them. Don’t ask questions or get involved in any discussion that might begin in the crowd. We need you to remain inconspicuous.’

‘OK, that’s easy. I imagine you’d like me to start today?’

‘Yes please.’

‘Oh… and what am I to do after I’ve listened to them a few times?’

‘I’ll get back to you on that.’


The central figure in these biographies, of course, is Jesus. He was surrounded by all the disciples but only those who are significant in our stories are shown here within the shaded square. All the people shown here, except the disciple Andrew, have told us their stories which explain how they met and interacted over the course of their lives. The lines joining two people indicate who met and worked with who in the course of spreading Jesus’ message. The names in the cursive script are the manuscripts that are currently being worked on; the others are future contributors.

Interrelationships between story-tellers and their books