Léon HERRMANN was Professeur honoraire des Universités de Bruxelles et de Rennes, he was a historicist, he wrote this book: Chrestos, Témoignages païens et juifs sur le christianisme du premier siècle
. I knew already that he considered entirely interpolated the Baptist passage in Josephus, but now I have found the reasons adduced by him to consider it as interpolation. I translate from p. 99-100:
(2) It will be noted that, L. Vitellius having been legate of Syria only from 35 to 39, the defeat of Herod Antipas is placed necessarily well after the murder of St. John the Baptist and the Passion of Christ.
This passage interposed between «Such were the orders given by Tiberius to the proconsul of Syria» (A. J., XVIII, 115) and «After having made preparations for war against Areta, Vitellius» (A.J., XVIII, 120) is obviously interpolated entirely, because to και Τιβέριος corresponds Ούιτέλλιος δε. Moreover, the first sentence of the passage presents «some Jews» and the last sentence presents «the Jews», less correct, since it substitutes for a minority the totality of a people which, according to the Gospels themselves, had not been convinced by the preaching of St. John the Baptist. On the other hand, it is clear that, if the passage is found inserted there and not elsewhere, it is because of the mention in A.J., 111-112, of the fortress of Macherus, mention made about the sojourn made there by the daughter of the Arab king Aretas, repudiated by Herod Antipas, who wanted to marry her sister-in-law Herodias.
There is also a connection between the enchainment and beheading of Aretas prescribed by Tiberius to Vitellius in case of victory and the fate effectively inflicted on St. John the Baptist by Herod Antipas. Finally, the distinction made between the two baptisms, that of purification and that of remission, can only emanate from a Christian who has read the Acts of the Apostles (XVIII, 25) on Apollos. Certainly the word «nicknamed» (επικαλούμενου) is used aptly in the place of «named» (καλουμένου), or "called" (λεγομένου), and no connection is established between the action of the Baptist and that of Christ, but in this passage Herod Antipas' hostility is motivated only by the fear of a revolutionary propaganda and not by the denunciation of his quasi-adultery, which one would not expect after what is said about the departure of his first wife. In short, the whole passage appears as an interpolation, the end of which, on the punishment of Herod Antipas by military defeat, appears modelled on A.J., XI, 299-302 (1), although in the latter text it is a sacrilegious fratricide and not an adultery and the murder of a holy man that is avenged by military defeat.
(1) Jesus kills his brother John in the Temple. The punishment for this sacrilegious fratricide is inflicted by Bagosès, general of Artaxerxes.