Perhaps most people don’t believe in Jesus Christ because they think that the only written record of His life is restricted to the Bible and many people see scriptures as less than 100 percent convincing. In fact, some go so far as to say that He never even existed! This is hard to believe, since even the non-religious or other world religions have heard of Him. And there are enormous amounts of secular history from secular historians who were contemporaries’ of Jesus and that go into great detail in writing about Him that are most convincing. And these Historians included almost every culture in the world at that time. Here is what they wrote.
Thallus is perhaps the earliest secular writer to mention Jesus in his writings….even though his writings are so ancient, that no copies exist but those of Julius Africanus, whose writing around 221 A.D. quotes Thallus. Thallus and Africanus both explain mention a strange darkness that occurred at the point of Jesus’ crucifixion. And these stories of a “strange darkness” were written about far and wide on Earth. They all coincided with around 32-33 A.D.
Africanus writes that “Thallus in the third book of his histories, explains away this darkness as an eclipse of the sun…” This record of Thallus, confirms that Jesus lived, and was crucified and that something highly unusual and unexplainable happened on that day. There were many reports of various earthquakes, destruction, and a “strange darkness.”
Africanus also mentions a historian named Phlegon who wrote a chronological history around 140 A.D. In this history, Phlegon also mentions the darkness surrounding the crucifixion in an effort to explain it, but even more interestingly, he mentions Jesus’ ability to foresee the future in describing the life of our Savior.
Josephus (A.D. 37 – c. 100), born of a priestly and royal ancestry, survived and recorded the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70 [*]…and he was a prodigy. At age 13, he was already a consultant for the Jewish rabbis, by 16 he became a Galilean military commander and a Roman citizen. And being under the rule of Roman Emperor Vespasian, he was allowed to write a First Century history of the Jews. Being a devout Jew and Roman citizen, Josephus could hardly be described as a hostile witness. He wrote more about Kings the Messiah’s, but Josephus makes references to the Sadducees, the names of Jewish High Priests of the time, the Pharisees and the Essenes, the Herodian Temple, Quirinius' census and the Zealots. He also writes of such figures as Pontius Pilate, Herod the Great, Agrippa I and Agrippa II, John the Baptist, James the brother of Jesus, and to Jesus. He even describes the death of John the Baptist, mentions the execution of James — all of which are described in the New Testament.
People, groups, times and events written about are corroborated in the New Testament by Josephus’ history. He describes the death of John the Baptist, and calls James the brother of “Jesus the Christ“. In his final passage he writes that Jesus was a wise man and the Messiah, and there is a retelling the resurrection story! All of which is described as such in the Bible. Josephus writes in his Antiquities of the Jews (18.63-64; 3.3).
“Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man; for he was a doer of wonderful works, a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many of the Jews and many of the Gentiles. He was [the] Christ. And when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men amongst us, had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him; for he appeared to them alive again the third day; as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him. And the tribe of Christians, so named from him, are not extinct at this day.”
The interesting thing is that the Historian Origen states that Josephus was “not believing in Jesus as the Christ” [1.] “he did not accept Jesus as Christ” [2.], but Josephus’ declares in the Jesus to be Christ (in the Testimonium). The manuscript evidence in support of the iron-clad, “pre-accretions” reference to Jesus in Josephus is very strong and accepted by the great majority of professional historians [of which I am one]. Between the New Testament and Jospheus, there is no serious reason whatsoever to doubt the historical 'existence' of the Jesus of Nazareth behind those references.
All the relevant non-Jewish historical sources of the time mention Jesus! It is nearly universal. Not just in the books, but common knowledge of Jesus life and death among the people. This was not done undercover, but out in the open as much as could be possible. The crucifixion was done on a hill, and always by a man thoroughfare, for all to see, far and wide. The list is enormous: Tacitus (Annals, AD 115-120), Suetonius (Lives of the Caesars, AD 125), Lucian (mid-2nd century), Galen (AD 150; De pulsuum differentiis 2.4; 3.3) Celsus (True Discourse, AD 170), Mara Bar Serapion (pre AD-200?), Jewish Talmudic References (AD 300).
Jesus historicity and story became known from the Mediterranean to Africa to Asia Minor, and into most of the known world at the time. One example was around 70 A.D., when a Syrian philosopher named Mara Bar-Serapion, writing to encourage his son, compares the life and persecution of Jesus with that of other philosophers who were persecuted for their ideas. He used Him as an example of being persecuted for your belief. The fact that Jesus is known to be a real person with this kind of influence is important. It should not surprise us that Mara Bar-Serapion refers to Jesus as the “Wise King” and was held in high esteem but most of the known-world religions, save Judaism.
Additionally, Suetonius, Pliny the Younger, and Eusebius of Caesarea, who was a third century theologian who used the library in Caesarea for much of his research. Tertullian wrote about Christian worship and persecution that is consistent with New Testament accounts. Justin Martyr, a Gentile who lived in Palestine and later became a Christian records the many doctrines of the church, like the Sacraments, Salvation, etc. “Resources for Philo of Alexandria” who was a Jewish philosopher and historian that lived in the first century.
As we have seen and read, Jesus Himself being historically indisputable; what more can be said, other than He did live, He did many wonders, He did die from crucifixion for the Redemption, (John 3:16), He did rise again, He was known as The Messiah, and as The Christ. This man and His story….is History, incontrovertibly.
1. Origen, Against Celsus, i:47
2. Origen, Commentary on Matthew, x:17
Be First to Comment
Contemporaries: A person or thing living or existing at the same time as another. Not one person you have mentioned actually fits that definition; there is no historical source other than the Bible that can be reliably proven to reference Jesus or his works. I have no problem with you writing articles about your faith but when you misrepresent facts I will hold you accountable. Your reference to Wikipedia is very indicative of your level of research.
Contemporaries are not the only reliable sources of historical information. The historians that Jack mentioned lived close enough to Jesus’ life time to have heard witness testimonies and recorded them. Also, they may have gotten their information from other written records that have been destroyed or lost over time. Josephus could have had access to Roman records of Jesus’ arrest and execution. He could have spoken to many people who were alive when the events in question took place. He was a professional historian and his work should be respected as such. The historicity of Jesus Christ often receives unfair levels of criticism (i.e. the Jesus Seminar, see http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/429 – scroll down to “An Assessment of the Platform and Criteria, you’ll have to disregard the stuff about the Bible being divinely inspired as I know that won’t mean anything to you, there are more academic critiques of the Jesus Seminar that explain what I’m talking about). Don’t forget that whether or not you believe that the Bible is the word of God is a separate issue to its undeniable worth as a source of historical information. Also, the Bible is not the only source referencing Jesus and his works. There were many other sources that weren’t included in the Biblical canon that refer to Jesus. Of course, Duderman, if you don’t want to believe in Jesus, no one can change that. As Stuart Chase wrote, “For those who believe, no proof is necessary. For those who don’t believe, no proof is possible.”
This is exactly the point Amit, we don’t know the source of any of the writings; to claim them as factual or accurate is incorrect. As well, my point was to correct a claim made by the author; he incorrectly implied that there were historical writings contemporaneous with the life of Jesus, there are not. If you have done any research at all you must be aware of the controversy surrounding possible interpolations in Josephus’s work. You must also take into account the much shorter life expectancy during the 1st century and realize that the possibility of later historians talking directly to an eye witness is remote, at best. When talking about facts and history one must be rigidly objective not optimistic.
You’re right that Jack’s references aren’t contemporaries of Jesus. I’m saying that just because they aren’t contemporaries of Jesus doesn’t mean that their information is not factual or accurate. I am familiar with the controversy regarding Josephus’ work. There are always critics. The scholarly debate over Josephus’ authenticity is just that, a scholarly debate with reasonable arguments on both sides. One must examine these arguments and the evidence used to support them and come to a conclusion. I’ve concluded that Jospehus’ work is at least partially authentic. I think he lived close enough to Jesus’ lifetime to have reliable and trustworthy sources to inform his historical works. When comparing his accounts with others, the information is similar enough that I consider it corroborating evidence. I’m not sure what you mean by “much shorter” life expectancy. Granted that life was harder back then and health care wasn’t even close to what it is now, the Apostle John died when he was 94 despite a lifetime of hardship. Paul and Peter died in their sixties and only because they were executed. If John’s life overlapped with that of Josephus (who actually died the same year as John), then surely there could have been other Christians that witnessed some of Jesus’ life and ministry that Josephus could have tapped in to. After all, the New Testament indicates that Jesus had thousands of followers when He died, hundreds of which claimed to have witnessed His ascension. Taking this into consideration, I wouldn’t call the possibility of later historians talking directly to an eye witness “remote at best”. You speak of rigid objectivity, but there really is no such thing. We all have our biases. My belief in Jesus is mine. Your disbelief is yours. In any case, you claimed that Jesus is a mythological person. Given the evidence that we have, I think such a claim is laughable. Why would the Apostles and the other early Christians risk life and limb for something they made up? It just doesn’t make sense. In THE CASE FOR CHRIST and THE CASE FOR THE REAL JESUS, Lee Strobel does a far better job than I can of examining the evidence for and against Jesus. Since you’re all about rigid objectivity, keep in mind that Strobel definitely slants his presentation in favor of Jesus’ existence and identity as the Son of God. My strategy is to look at information presented by people with biases going to both ends of the debate so that I can form my own opinion. That’s why I love reading Richard Dawkins. He thinks in ways that I never could because of my biases. One thing is clear. I’m not going to change your mind and you’re not going to change mine. Sometimes we just have to agree to disagree. It saves time and energy.
I would just like to make a couple final point Amit; points that I think is are important to remember when trying to study Jesus and the events surrounding him, as described in the bible. You state that the Apostle John lived to be 94, state it as fact. But it is not a fact; it is legend, one of many about his later life and no serious scholar would claim otherwise. Despite your claim that there were hundreds and maybe thousands of eyewitnesses that a historian could have spoken to and written down first hand accounts of events, as far as we know, neither Josephus or any other historian did so, which seems odd. As I have stated before I have no problem with your faith but I do have problems when people willfully misrepresent facts.
Other first and second century writers also wrote about Jesus’s historicity or as His existence being a fact. These are not facts misrepresented. He was referred to in the very first century as the Son of God, as the promised Messiah and Lord of Creation. These historians and historical documents included, Clement (A.D. c. 30-100) the Bishop of Rome. The writer of the Epistle of Barnabas (A.D. c. 70-130). Also Polycarp (A.D. 70-155) the Bishop of Smyrna, who was taught and discipled himself by the Apostle John. Another source included Ignatius (A.D. 35-110) the Bishop of Antioch. In fact among men, no person had ever had more written about him, more historical references and historical accounts that Jesus Christ. So, if I compared this to you, then, you by contrast are mythological. How many historians of contemporary or near-contemporary (in a few years) have ever written you your having existed. Your words on a webpage prove nothing. You should not be so quick to discount or really, discredit Tacitus, a Roman historian, who wrote the following in his Annals, c. AD 115, which refer to what the Roman Emperor Nero did after the great fire of Rome which occured c. AD 64: “Consequently, to get rid of the report, Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace. Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus, and a most mischievous superstition, thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judea, the first source of the evil, but even in Rome, where all things hideous and shameful from every part of the world find their centre and become popular.”Annals 15 -44 Now why did they die for someone who didn’t exist?! Many might live for a lie, but how many countless thousands would die for one?
Many serious scholars and historical sources state that John lived until the 68th year after Jesus death (100 AD) and died of old age in Ephesus after a life time of church planting and evangelizing. He mentored Polycarp who became Bishop of Smyrna. From then on, Christianity continued to spread and history was passed down as it has been across civilizations all over the world. I don’t know what your definition of ‘fact’ is, but you seem to write off credible information as legend or myth at will. I’m not misrepresenting facts. You load your language claiming that “no serious scholar” would disagree with you. I know many serious scholars that would. I would say that if anyone is misrepresenting facts, it’s you. As tiresome as it is to reiterate this point, I’ll do it one more time. It’s common practice for historians to research using other recorded documents and interviews of eyewitnesses. I’m saying that, as a professional historian, Josephus (and other ancient historians) would have performed research like this. Maybe he should have included a bibliography along with all of his research notes in the final copy of his works to satisfy the most fastidious critics living 2000 years after he’d written them. Unfortunately, as we are discussing things that happened so long ago, we can both agree that there will always be questions.
To add to Jack’s post, there’s also the Jewish Talmud which contained the account of the death of Jesus, writing: “On the eve of Passover they hanged Jesus the Nazarene. And a herald went out before him for forty days, saying: “He is going to be stoned, because he practiced sorcery and enticed and led Israel astray. Anyone who knows anything in his favor, let him come and plead in his behalf.” But, not having found anything in his favor, they hanged him on the eve of Passover. (b. Sanh. 43a) [taken from Achtemeier, Paul J.; Green, Joel B.; Meye Thompson, Marianne. Introducing the New Testament: Its Literature and Theology, Eerdsman Publishing Company, Grand Rapids Michigan, 2001] The following quote is taken from the aforementioned source: “The debate over the validity of the quest (of the historical Jesus) in no way calls into question the historicity of Jesus himself. Ancient sources, Christian, pagan, and Jewish, testify to his existence.” In “Christianity: The First Two Thousand Years” by David L. Edwards, it is explained that Josephus was a Jewish priest who went over to the Romans from the Jewish rebels in the 60s and “became a pensioned historian explaining his people to the conquerors”. Edwards writes that “the main reference to Jesus by Josephus in surviving copies of a book written early in the 90s has been edited by Christians, but it seems probable that he thought Jesus a ‘wise man’ – a compliment possible for him, to which the editor has clumsily added ‘if indeed one ought to call him a man’.” Edwards acknowledges a Christian addition to the text, but this does not completely eliminate the authenticity of Josephus’ work. It should also be noted that Josephus’ authenticity was called into question during the Enlightenment when atheism became more socially acceptable (there’s nothing wrong with that, but we should take that bias into account when considering this skepticism). Jack, you and I may not agree on some of the finer points of our faith, but we can agree that there’s no point debating with someone when they call any evidence you present legend and myth based on their whim and then hypocritically accuse you of misrepresenting facts. The only reason I’ve bothered responding to Duderman’s posts is because of the off chance that a new believer or faith seeker reads these posts and mistakenly believes that Jesus and all of Christian history is only myth and legend just because Duderman has claimed that with no substantial support. I’d also like to point out that I’ve quoted two history textbooks written by scholars who are respectable enough to have their textbooks published. We haven’t simply conjured up the information we’ve presented. Duderman’s claim that “no serious scholar” would claim that John lived to such an old age is his opinion. There are many serious scholars that believe this and not because of a lack of supporting evidence. A thousand years from now people may claim that the American civil war was a legend. That doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. Jesus was a real person. That may not be a fact according to Duderman, but it’s a fact according to a lot of serious scholars.
Good point Mr. Parasar. Besides the hundreds of Jews that eye-witnessed Jesusâ€™ death, it was common knowledge in all of Judea, in Jerusalem, among the Roman Guard, the Sadducees, Pharisees, and even the Chief Priests. They intentionally witnessed it to ensure that the order for His death sentence was carried out and that His crucifixion took place beyond a shadow of doubt. The last thing the religious leaders wanted was for Jesus to somehow survive and continue to be a threat to their dominion and rule over the Jews. Since there is no statute of limitations in a court of law over murder, the evidence is so significant and the eye witnesses so many, that this case could hold up in a court of law today. Witnessesâ€™ testimony is still valid in court cases, even if the witnesses are no longer living. If ever there was an expert in court testimony and eyewitness accounts of criminal evidence for a felony trial, it was Dr. Simon Greenleaf, an American attorney and jurist (1783-1853). Dr. Greenleaf saw the multiple eye-witness accounts of Jesus and His death and resurrection as so concrete and credible as to still, today, be considered admissible evidence fit for a court of law.1 Mr. Greenleaf concluded that the testimonies recorded in the New Testament, would be considered as valid today as they were then by a jury. He did not consider their testimony as â€œthird partyâ€ or as â€œhear sayâ€, but a large enough number of real people who were really there. It is hard to fathom that this was done before such a large audience and that they were all deceived at the same time. This was not done in a corner or under a rock. 1. Greenleaf, Simon. An Examination of the Testimony of the Four Evangelists by the Rules of Evidence Administered in the Courts of Justice. In which he emphatically stated: “it was impossible that the apostles could have persisted in affirming the truths they had narrated, had not Jesus Christ actually risen from the deadâ€. (Simon Greenleaf, An Examination of the Testimony of the Four Evangelists by the Rules of Evidence Administered in the Courts of Justice, p.29). [This is an excerpt from my press-printed & published book “Blind Chance or Intelligent Design?, Empirical Methodologies and the Bible”, (Amazon.com, etc) Chapter Two.
Hello Mr. Wellman, I enjoyed your article. This paragraph below, from everything I have seen and read, is considered a fake addition to Josephusâ€™ writings by most all biblical scholars nowadays. â€œNow there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man; for he was a doer of wonderful works, a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many of the Jews and many of the Gentiles. He was [the] Christ. And when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men amongst us, had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him; for he appeared to them alive again the third day; as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him. And the tribe of Christians, so named from him, are not extinct at this day.â€ Also when you mention the darkening that was supposed to have happened when Jesus died on the cross, didnâ€™t Matthew also write there was an earthquake and some of the dead arose from the grave and walked the streets of Jerusalem? Was this recorded by secular writers of the time…or did the surrounding Jews write of this in any of their books? I would think the Jewish rabbiâ€™s of the time would write volumes on this kind of divine display. Iâ€™m really baffled that no one of the time wrote about a man going around raising people from the dead and curing the most feared diseases of those days. With the huge crowds he was supposed to have gathered around him, no one wrote of it. Is this one of those occasions where you just must have faith and not question?
In response to the post by thewordofme: The entire paragraph of Josephus’ writings that you reference and claim is fake in the opinion of “most all biblical scholars” is not fake in its entirety. Please refer to my last post. The line “if it be lawful to call him a man” and possibly other flattering remarks about Jesus may have been added by a Christian editor, but the entire passage and its reference to Jesus is not necessarily fake. Also, in the last paragraph of your post you say that you’re baffled that no one wrote about a man raising people from the dead and curing diseases. Again, please refer to my last post which contains an excerpt from the Jewish Talmud accusing Jesus of sorcery. This is obviously not as detailed as descriptions of Jesus healing or raising people from the dead, but it does blatantly suggest that he did some supernatural things. Your reference to Matthew 27: 51-53 is interesting. On the one hand, no other Gospel writer corroborates anything like this happening. Some apologists lean towards this being a metaphorical account in Matthew which leaves them open to the counterargument that if Matthew writes of one metaphorical resurrection, then perhaps his account of Jesus’ resurrection is also metaphorical. I recently read the blog entry of Kevin Pulliam, a man who had a PhD in theology, lost his faith and became an agnostic atheist (http://formerfundy.blogspot.com/2010/02/matthew-2751-53-jewish-concept-of.html). He claims that one cannot claim that Matthew wrote about one metaphorical resurrection and one literal resurrection as he feels this is a “have your cake and eat it too” argument. I disagree as it is entirely possible that one resurrection account was metaphorical while Jesus’ resurrection was literal-historical. Mr. Pulliam may not like it, but he cannot deny that it is possible. As Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote, “when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.” Now I’m not saying that the one metaphorical-one literal reading of this Matthew passage is definitely the truth. What I’m saying is that it isn’t impossible even though it might seem improbable, and so it is possibly the truth. Personally, I subscribe to the metaphorical/literal reading of the end of Matthew’s Gospel. My reason is that Matthew is known to rely heavily on the Old Testament, especially Isaiah, to justify his claim that Jesus is the Messiah. As one important indicator given in the Old Testament of the Messiah’s coming was the resurrection of the dead (Isaiah 26: 19), Matthew included this metaphorical resurrection as his way of saying, “Jesus was and is the Messiah.” One problem with this explanation is that Matthew says that the dead appeared to many people. I think that this could be part of the metaphor/reference to the Old Testament, but I know many would disagree with me. Of course, because of my faith, I’m open to the possibility that what Matthew writes about in 27: 51-53 did literally happen. Why didn’t other people write about it? Maybe they did and their writings were lost. Maybe they were incredibly traumatized by the experience of seeing people they thought were dead walking around and so they did their best to forget about it (I’m trying to be a little funny here, but on second reading I think I’m the only one that’ll laugh at that). Maybe God decided that He only wanted that account in Matthew’s Gospel. I don’t know. My faith makes me believe that Matthew’s account of a mass resurrection is possible as nothing is impossible with God. Could the mass resurrection have happened? Yes. Did it happen? I don’t know, but I’m leaning toward ‘no’ as I believe that the mass resurrection will occur when Jesus returns. Biblical scholars love to theorize about the intended audiences of the Gospel writers and their intended purpose, but as we don’t know these things for certain, strange passages like Matthew 27: 51-53 will always be mysterious to us. The thing people forget about the term ‘faith’ is that it isn’t the same thing as knowledge. There are always doubts. I think that you can try and build your bridge to God with knowledge, but you’ll never make it all the way. There’s always going to be a gap that will require you to take a leap of faith. Jesus is the bridge, the intermediary, and so we have to put our faith in Him. There are plenty of good reasons to support my faith though. One is the historicity of Jesus that I think is reasonably supported when you look at all of the evidence in its entirety. Even in the modern world I’ve heard incredible stories that reaffirm my faith. I’ve heard an account of a Muslim woman who grew up somewhere in the Middle East (Syria, Iran, Iraq, it’s one of those countries but I honestly can’t remember which one) who was hiding from her abusive brother and father one night and found her way to a church. She had never been educated about Jesus (she probably hadn’t been educated much at all) but she had a vision of Him calling her. She prayed in the church for hours. Her father and brother even came looking for her, but couldn’t see her there. She claimed that it was divine intervention. She became a Christian and I believe she escaped the country. There’s also the case of the Apostle Paul, fervent Jew and enemy of the early church who was converted in a similar way as the Muslim woman. To answer your question: “Is this one of those occasions where you must have faith and not question?” That’s really up to the individual person. I think that it’s good to question faith regularly. Just as personal struggles build character, questioning and struggling with faith will build and strengthen it…or in some cases destroy it I suppose (again I refer to Mr. Pulliam). I hope I’ve provided enough possibilities to give some answers as people question Matthew 27: 51-53 and the issue of Jesus’ historicity. Support your bridge to God with knowledge and reason, using them to answer your questions. In the end, though, faith in Christ is what matters most.
that las “not” should have been “now” It is NOW more likely that he has legendary than historical.
“The problems is that the historicity of a Jesus has never been demonstrated.” It has been demonstrated time and time again to the point where most scholars will not debate Jesus’ historical existence. You would be laughed at in most academic settings not populated entirely by conspiracy theorists for making such a claim. How are you even defending that statement? As Jack said in one of his posts on this string of comments, there is more evidence supporting the historical existence of Jesus than there is evidence supporting the existence of you or me. Any debate has been in the form of questioning the authenticity of small pieces of information in a mountain of evidence. Either that or you simply say “Jesus’ existence has never been demonstrated” without supporting your opinion. I’ve written about this type of nonbeliever in this blog: http://www.everydaychristian.com/blogs/post/8112/ The ignorance displayed in some of these posts made by people who are contending that Jesus never actually existed is frustrating. The optimist in me hopes for more intelligence from human beings, so I’m starting to think that you guys are just posting such daft claims to get a rise out of people. For that reason I’m not going to reply to this again.
person of Jesus Christ and never once hints that He didnâ€™t exist. Most of the historical mentions of Jesus the past 2,000 years have been from non-Christian sources. In fact, Encyclopedia Britannica, (15th edition), devotes 20,000 words to Jesus and never mentions, even once, that He did not exist. The surprising thing then to me is what you are saying is that He is the most written about person of anyone Who has ever lived in all of human history that never existed. I find that astonishing. There are 8 writers who claimed to be either eyewitnesses or to have had contact with eyewitnesses of Jesusâ€™ life: Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Paul, Peter, James and the writer of Hebrews. Pontius Pilate, all of Jerusalem too, who witnessed His life and His crucifixion and His death. Tacitus, a Roman historian (55-120 A.D.): “Christus (Christ),… suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilate.” (Annals 15:44) Josephus (38-97 A.D.) wrote, “Pilate condemned him to be crucified and to dieâ€¦. His disciplesâ€¦ reported that he had appeared to them three days after his crucifixion, and that he was alive.” (James H. Charlesworth, Jesus Within Judaism (Garden City: Doubleday, 1988), p. 95) and of course dozens more… The amazing thing about all these debunk Jesus books is that they accept as much of the recorded Gospels as they find convenient, then ignore or repudiate other parts of the same document which contradict their notions. This is what Schweitzer has done The trustworthiness of the Gospels, for example, demonstrate the failures of these theories. There have been many popular attempts to discredit the Jesus of the Gospels and the historical fact of His existence. Even in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries these attempts were prevalent. As Amit said, they have been rejected almost unanimously by careful scholars, especially those who remember similar attempts dis-proven long ago, they still receive widespread attention among non-believers. There have even been strictly fictional, novelistic attempts to deal with these subjects. The term “Historical Jesus” specifically refers to a scholarly reconstruction of the first-century figure Jesus of Nazareth.* This reconstruction is based upon historical methods including critical analysis of gospel texts as the primary source for his biography, along with consideration of the historical and cultural context in which he lived as well as scores of historians that were contemporary, near-contemporary or relied on eye-witnesses. So, as Amit said that this will be his last comment on this, this will be mine. As I said before, who is to say that you, who will have an infinetly lesser amount written about you or other critics, that you ever existed. Your existence will have exponentially less empirical evidence than Jesus has after 2,000 years and we might expect that you and your comments will be less than historical and you and other critics will be mythological, so why should we believe a soon-to-be myth that is criticizing Jesus’ factual historicity to believe someone who will not be known to have even existed after even some few hundred years? I believe Amit is correct: “you guys are just posting such daft claims to get a rise out of people. For that reason Iâ€™m not going to reply to this again.” That is if you indeed DO exist! LOL The sad fact is that, not to worry about the fictional 2012, on one day, you WILL know for certain that He DOES exist, but it will be, sadly, too late then (Rev. 20:12) * D. G.Dunn, Jesus Remembered, Volume 1 of Christianity in the Making, Eerdmans Publishing, 2003 pp. 125 – 127