Sunday 12 June 2011

The historicity (not) of Jesus

Christians often throw out names of non-Christian writers who they claim wrote about Jesus like: Josephus, Tacitus, Pliny the Younger, and Lucian of Samosata, among others. First, most of those writers didn’t write very much at all about Jesus. Many talk about someone called “Christ.” Christians assume this refers to Jesus, but there have been many people during that time and in other times who claimed to be “the Christ.” But what I find more interesting is that none of those writers were contemporaries to Jesus who was alleged to have been crucified in the year 33 CE:
  • Josephus (37 CE – c. 100 CE)

  • Tacitus (56 CE – 117 CE)

  • Pliny the Younger (61 CE – c. 112 CE)
Lucian of Samosata (125 CE – after 180 CE)
Here are some historians who would have been contemporaries of Jesus and interestingly enough never mentioned him at all:
  • Philo Judaeus (20 BCE - 50 CE)

  • Seneca (4? BCE - 65 CE)

  • Pliny the Elder (23? CE - 79 CE)
Then there are the Scrolls of Gabriel's Revelation which tell a story remarkably similar to that of Jesus except that the principle character was named Simon. The scrolls pre-date the alleged birth of Jesus. In other words, the Scrolls of Gabriel serve as a rough draft for the Gospel story. 


  1. If one worships the sun, the moon or the earth, or the wind or fire then at least they are self-evident by their contemporary existence - whenever one lives.

    The problem with worshiping humans is that we only live for a limited time and a while later we tend to change our allegiance to someone else.

    Mind you, that also happened to the Greek and Roman gods didn't it (and to many others of that ilk) but then we couldn't - and still can't - see or otherwise witness them.

    Best to stick to things that are here and now. But if you don't like the old elements you could always go for the trees I suppose.

    Does that mean Prince Charles could be the Messiah?

  2. At the time paganism would have made a great deal of sense. Monotheism is far more delusional.

  3. When we begin to examine the gospels and the letters of the New Testament, we find that Jesus appears as the central figure in them. The four gospels tell us about His life here on earth while the epistles describe the meaning of His death and resurrection according to Christian belief. We can actually say, that if He hadn’t lived on earth, none of these would have been written.
    As we examine the historicity of Jesus, we can find proof of His life on earth. This proof has been preserved by His successors, such as the early church fathers, and also His opponents. Both sources refer to various parts of His life.

  4. @ man with desire. I think we have different interpretations of the word "proof".