Article - Jesus Was a Historical Man (part 2)

There is more evidence for the historicity of Jesus of Nazareth (c. 4 B.C. – A.D. 30) than any other person of antiquity. There are at least 8 inspired writers of the New Testament, 20 early “Christian” authors (“Church Fathers”), 4 heretical writers and 7 additional non-Christian sources that make specific mention of Jesus within 200 years of Jesus’ life. The mention of Jesus from these 39 known ancient, historical writers actually outnumbers the mention of the leader of the entire Roman Empire Tiberius Caesar (ruled A.D. 14-37 during Jesus’ earthly life) by a ratio of 4:1! This article will consider only a few of the evidences of Jesus from ancient, uninspired writings: (1) FLAVIUS JOSEPHUS (A.D. 37-100), Jewish historian, wrote in his “Antiquities of the Jews”: “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 was 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 has 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.” (18.3.3). Josephus also wrote: “he assembled the Sanhedrin of judges, and brought before them the brother of Jesus, who was called Christ, whose name was James.” (20.9.1); (2) TALMUD (A.D. 200-500): these writings of Jewish traditions claim that Jesus was born out of wedlock after his mother was seduced by a Roman soldier named Pandera. They refer to Jesus’ miracles as “magic” and state that He claimed to be God. They also mention Jesus’ execution: “On the eve of the Passover they hanged Jesus…” (Baraila, Babylonia Sanherdrin, 43a); (3) TERTULLIAN (A.D. 197), theologian in defense of Christianity, wrote: “Tiberius accordingly, in those days the Christian name made its entry into the world, having himself received intelligence from the truth of Christ’s divinity, brought the matter before the senate, with his own decisions in favor of Christ. The senate, because it had not given the approval itself, rejected his proposal. Caesar held to his opinion, threatening wrath against all of the accusers of the Christians” (Apology, V. 2). [Continued in part 3]


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