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Historical Jesus

Discussion in 'Christianity DIR' started by dynavert2012, Nov 25, 2013.

  1. dynavert2012

    dynavert2012 Active Member

    Oct 2, 2012
    Hello Christians

    i was talking to an agnostic who left Christianity because of there's no proof for the existence of Jesus outside the bible and Quran but no historian at that era recorded anything about Jesus and so she considered his existence as a myth specially that his birth, life and resurrection are identical to Krishna, Mithra and Horus

    do you have any historical documents about the life of Jesus outside the bible

    thanks in advance..
  2. WordSponge

    WordSponge Member

    Nov 6, 2013
    Hello Sir,
    Josephus, the Jewish historian who lived at that time, has a one liner.
    The Aposles had miracles signs and wonders.
    Christianity is like a dead religion since the baptism was changed.
    The only people having ant Spiritusl Gifts and new energy now
    are the private seekers who baptize correctly.

    We are hoping for the others.
    Keep well,
  3. Windwalker

    Windwalker Integralist
    Premium Member

    Jan 5, 2013
    Love, Light, and Life
    None that can be pointed to as definitive to a first hand or contemporary knowledge. Same is true of Moses. Same is true of Abraham.
  4. LegionOnomaMoi

    LegionOnomaMoi Veteran Member
    Premium Member

    Jan 6, 2012
    Well, as an agnostic, perhaps I can provide some counters to what the person you spoke with said.

    First, it's important to understand that when people use the term "proof" in relation to history they are typically applying something like the legal term. The problem with this is that historians can use any and all information available to them and that it is they, as experts, who weigh it (unlike in courts, where an untrained jury would). As a result, frequently historians come closer to "proof", or at least do not have many of the obstacles present in courts. In general, proof is for mathematics and eve the sciences do not use the term to describe the confirmatory results of experiments.

    Second, it is true there isn't a great deal of evidence outside of the New Testament for Jesus. That doesn't mean there is none, nor that none of it is important. A fairly exhaustive list would include:
    Josephus, Tacitus, Suetonius, Pliny the Younger, Mara bar Serapion, Lucian of Samosata, the Talmud, Celsus, Papias, & Thallos. Of these, there is no question that Josephus is, taken singularly, the best non-biblical source. Some of the others are questionable at best. If pressed, I'd say that Josephus, Tacitus, and Papias are the only ones who provide by themselves at least some reliable confirmation of Jesus' existence.

    Third, it is important to realize that although the gospels are religious documents, that doesn't preclude them from being forms of ancient history. In actuality, we have more evidence for the historical person of Jesus than virtually anybody from in and around his day, including important aristocrats. If you are interested in learning why historians regard the gospels as at worst containing historical accounts and at best as biographies, I would be more than happy to direct you to sources or answer any questions.

    Fourth, it's important to avoid treating sources in isolation. For example, Paul mentions in passing that, while staying with Peter, he also saw Jesus' brother James. The gospels also state the Jesus had a brother named James and even more importantly, so did the non-Christian Jewish historian Josephus. It's kind of hard to have a brother without existing.

    Almost without exception, the stories about other dying and resurrecting gods are modern inventions. The Persian Mitra had nothing in common with Jesus. Mithras, the deity worshipped in the Roman mystery religions, was like Jesus in that Mithras was a savior deity, but not only did he not die and then resurrect, this cult didn't exist until after most of not all of the NT had been written. Same with Attis. As for most of the others, like Horus and Krishna, what you will find (mostly online) about similarities is simply factually incorrect.

    Thallos' writings have not survived but he is quoted by Julius Africanus.

    Josephus mentions Jesus twice in his Antiquities of the Jews, once in a passage that most scholars believe to have been edited, but also believe did originally refer to Jesus. In the other reference, Jesus is mentioned in passing to identify (kinship identification) the main person of interest: Jesus' brother James.

    Pliny does not mention Jesus but refers to Christians in his letters to Trajan.

    Tacitus refers to Christians to in his description of Nero and the first, but he also mentions that they are called Christians because of whom they follow: Christ. He also mentions that this Christ was executed by Pilate.

    In his Lives of the Caesars Suetonius mentions the expulsion of Jews from Rome because of their disturbances. He notes that these were instigated by a certain "Chrestus" which may refer to Christ but we can't know.

    In a passionate letter to his son, Mara bar Serapion lists a number of tragic events and among them that the Jews killed "their wise king" (Jesus, as a messianic claimant, certainly seems to have caused others to believe he was claiming kingship).

    Lucian likewise mentions the execution of someone who appears to be Jesus given the description, but we can't know.

    More promising is Celsus, an anti-Christian whose work survives in extensive quotation by Origen. Although it is late, Celsus tells us of rumors regarding Jesus that are in no Christian tradition. Give the nature rumors and Celsus' anti-Christian stance, had anybody ever thought that Jesus didn't exist it, it seems likely that Celsus would have used such rumors. He did not, and neither did anybody else (Christian or no).

    Finally, Papias' writing survive in part in part in the monumental history by Eusebius. Papias describes knowing those who either knew Jesus knew his disciples.
    #4 LegionOnomaMoi, Nov 25, 2013
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2013
    • Like Like x 2
  5. ronandcarol

    ronandcarol Member
    Premium Member

    Jul 7, 2011
    The evidence of the existence of Jesus, than and now, is in the lives of each and every believer. The many that believe in Jesus as their Lord and Savior, the many who's sins have been blotted out by this Jesus that you need proof of. Whoever can put their trust in,
    , should ask the ONE TRUE God for a believing measure of Faith to believe in this Jesus, who is knocking at the door, waiting for all to open it.

    Praise God, & Open the Door
    Ron and Carol
  6. Pegg

    Pegg Jehovah our God is One

    Jul 13, 2010
    Jehovah's Witness
    when you consider that Jesus was only on the scene for a little over 3 years, its not hard to understand why so little was written about him by those outside his inner circle.

    Jesus didnt head out into the other nations to preach his message...he stayed within a relatively small group of people. So there is very little written about him by them, and the only outside nation who have references to him is Rome because that was the only nation at the time affected by Jesus.

    The most direct mention of Christ is found in the writings of Josephus . He says that during the interval between the death of Governor Festus, about 62*C.E., and the arrival of his successor Albinus, the high priest, Ananus (Ananias), “convened the judges of the Sanhedrin and brought before them a man named James, the brother of Jesus who was called the Christ, and certain others. He accused them of having transgressed the law and delivered them up to be stoned.”—Jewish Antiquities, XX, 200 (ix, 1).
    Its noteworthy that some skeptics and higher critics claim this is not written by Josephus, while at the same time accepting other passages from this particular journal as being written by him.

    There are references to Christians, as followers of Christ were called though.

    Celsus, a Roman philosopher of the second century C.E., makes it a matter of mockery that “labourers, shoemakers, farmers, the most uninformed and clownish of men, should be zealous preachers of the Gospel.” (The History of the Christian Religion and Church, During the Three First Centuries, by Augustus Neander)

    Josephus wrote: “And the tribe of the Christians, so called after [Jesus], has still to this day [about 93*C.E.] not disappeared.”—Jewish Antiquities, XVIII, 64 (iii, 3).

    Pliny the Younger, the governor of Bithynia, stated: “This is the course I have taken with those who were accused before me as Christians. I asked them whether they were Christians, and if they confessed, I asked them a second and third time with threats of punishment. If they kept to it, I ordered them for execution.”

    “[It] is not confined to the cities only, but has spread its infection among the neighboring villages and country.”

    Suetonius, another Roman historian, born toward the end of the first century*C.E., relates events that occurred during Nero’s reign, saying: “Punishment was inflicted on the Christians, a class of men given to a new and mischievous superstition.”—The Lives of the Caesars (Nero, XVI, 2)

    The historian Tacitus reports: “They [Christians] died by methods of mockery; some were covered with the skins of wild beasts and then torn by dogs, some were [impaled], some were burned as torches to light at night.”
  7. roger1440

    roger1440 I do stuff

    Apr 22, 2012

    “No proof for the existence of Jesus” does not disprove his existence. Historians cannot prove 99% of the people of the 1st century existed. People of antiquity did not have birth certificates. Most people of that time period did not have last names. Parents didn’t seem to be very creative when naming their children. Many people had the same name. The New Testament has three or four women by the name Mary. In order to distinguish one person with the same name as another person something known about the person would be added to the name. Examples are: “Mary mother of Jesus” and “Mary Magdalene”. “Mary Magdalene” was a Jewish chic from Magdala. Few people at that time could read or write. Fewer yet in the rural areas could read or write. Jesus was from Galilee, which is a rural area. Even if his “birth” and “resurrection” is a myth that does not necessary make Jesus a myth. One has nothing to do with the other. Granted there are myths similar to the Jesus of the gospels. This is a big world with a long history of events. I’m not saying Jesus did exist, I’m saying there is a strong likelihood he existed, but what do I know, I’m just some heretic.
  8. Clarity

    Clarity Active Member

    Jan 7, 2014
    There's too much evidence of Jesus' existence for this to be a serious opinion. Even those who hated Jesus wrote about him, like Tacitus and Jewish rabbis contributing to the Talmud.