Article - Jesus Was a Historical Man (part 3)

Other sources outside of God’s word that confirm Jesus’ historicity (continued from part 2): (4) THALLUS (A.D. 52) was one of the first historical Gentile writers who mentioned Christ. Christian writer JULIUS AFRICANUS (221 A.D.) comments about Thallus: “Thallus, in the third book of his histories, explains away this darkness as an eclipse of the sun-unreasonably, as it seems to me. Unreasonably, of course, because a solar eclipse could not take place at the time of the full moon, and it was the season of the Paschal full moon that Christ died.” Julius is referring to the Gospel accounts of the darkness which fell upon the land during Christ’s crucifixion (Luke 23:44-45). Because this event was so well known, non-believers felt compelled to give a naturalistic explanation for it. However, even Thallus was not fully convinced of his own “natural” explanation. (1/113); (5) JUSTIN MARTYR (A.D. 150), Christian apologist and philosopher, wrote in his Defence of Christianity to the Emperor Antonius Pius, and referred him to Pilate’s report. Justin supposed it was preserved in the imperial archives. But the words, “They pierced my hands and my feet,” he says, “are a description of the nails that were fixed in His hands and His feet on the cross; and after He was crucified, those who crucified Him cast lots for His garments, and divided them among themselves; and that these things were so, you may learn from the ‘Acts’ which were recorded under Pontius Pilate.” Later he says: “That He performed these miracles you may easily be satisfied from the ‘Acts’ of Pontius Pilate.” (Apology I. 48); (6) MARA BAR-SERAPION, non-Christian philosopher, wrote a letter some time later than A.D. 73 to his son while he was in prison to encourage him to seek wisdom. He pointed out that those who persecuted wise men were overtaken by misfortune. He mentions the deaths of Socrates, Pythagoras and Christ (1/114; see Robert E. Van Voorst, Jesus Outside the New Testament: An Introduction to the Ancient Evidence, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 2000. p 54); (7) CLEMENT of Rome, “Apostolic Church Father” of the 1st century A.D., wrote: “The Apostles received the Gospel for us from the Lord Jesus Christ; Jesus Christ was sent forth from God” (Corinthians 42); (8) IGNATIUS of Antioch, “Apostolic Church Father” of the 1st century A.D., wrote: “Jesus Christ who was of the race of David, who was the Son of Mary, who was truly born and ate and drank, was truly persecuted under Pontius Pilate, was truly crucified and died…” (Letter to the Trallians); (9) POLYCARP of Smyrna, “Apostolic Church Father” of the 2nd century A.D., spoke passionately of Christ and wrote against certain heretics of his day. IRENAEUS, “Apostolic Church of the 2nd century, said that Polycarp had personal association with the apostle John, and with others who “had seen the Lord” (Eusebius V. XX).

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