Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Josephus' Silence on Herod's Massacre

MYTH
The silence of Josephus indicates that the Massacre of the Holy Innocents never happened

Holtz claims that Flavius Josephus does not mention Herod's massacre [Matthew 2:16], with the implication that it did not occur. This is a logically fallacious argument from silence. The expectation that Josephus would right down an exhaustive record of Herod's atrocities is absurd because Herod's atrocities were so numerous. Although several babies in the small town of Bethlehem were callously murdered, Josephus might not have deemed this event worth mentioning due to the fact that things were already so violent at the time and Herod committed many other far more bloody acts (Josephus writes that Herod murdered a vast number of people). The massacre fits perfectly with Herod's character. In the small village of Bethlehem in the countryside there were relatively few boys younger than two.