Can you give me some names of historians who are not Christian that believe Jesus existed?

Please? Thanks. Appreciate it.

Josephus and Tacitus, to name two.

Some of the works of Josephus seem to have been modified well after his death, so it’s important to discern between what he wrote and what others later changed. Nevertheless, he did write about Jesus, in passing, in his narratives.


I would like to name Eliezer ben Hurcanus as well.

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Some of the non-Christian ancient historians who spoke of Jesus’ existence include Tacitus and Pliny the Younger.
For this, see this article, at


Do you guys know of any modern day ones? One living too?

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At some point, there’s a distinction that has to be made. Generally speaking, folks “believe that Jesus existed.” It’s a small minority who claims that Jesus is a fictitious, non-historical character.

On the other hand, there are many who assert He existed, but don’t believe in Him as the Son of God.


Bart Ehrman is our go-to expert to confound the mythicists. Very few people with expertise believe a person identifiable with the Jesus of the Gospels did not live. But historians like Ehrman (an agnostic/atheist) will tell you very little is known about Jesus: He was born in Nazareth, he had a mother and father called Mary and Joseph, and siblings (sorry Catholics, see Bart Ehrman to disagree), was a follower of John the Baptist, formed his own movement, went to Jerusalem, was the centre of a disturbance and was crucified by the Roman Governor, who belied jesus to be claiming to be, or was considered to be ‘King of the Jews’. And from memory that’s about it. But a real person? Yes.


His take on that question is unconvincing. :man_shrugging:

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I think he bases his view on the plain meaning of the words in scripture.

He should base it on the cross-references between Gospels that demonstrate that we’re seeing reference to relatives rather than to uterine siblings, then. :wink:


He seems pretty sure, and I for one would not like to argue with someone of his scholarship! “when the New Testament talks about Jesus’ brothers, it uses the Greek word that literally refers to a male sibling. There is a different Greek word for cousin. This other word is not used of James and the others. A plain and straightforward reading of the texts in the Gospels and in Paul leads to an unambiguous result: these “brothers” of Jesus were his actual siblings. Since neither Mark (which first mentions Jesus having four brothers and several sisters; 6:3) nor Paul gives any indication at all of knowing anything about Jesus being born of a virgin, the most natural assumption is that they both thought that Jesus’ parents were his real parents. They had sexual relations, and Jesus was born. And then (later?) came other children to the happy couple. And so Jesus’ brothers were his actual brothers”.

I should add: I understand completely that this is not the long-held Catholic view which is based on tradition and congruity with the idea of the perpetual virginity of Mary rather than the words of scripture, which they argue can be interpreted to mean something other than the way they are read by scholars such as Bart Ehrman, and virtually all protestants.

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No. You are incorrect. The tradition of the Church teaches otherwise.

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He also seems pretty sure that there’s no God. That says many things about him. :wink:

Adelphos? The NT uses the same word in many other contexts, as well.

Wow, that’s way out there! Both Mark and Paul would have confessed Jesus as the Son of God. How one would get from “natural son of Joseph” to “son of God” is unclear.

I guess that this leads us to ask how we might best understand a written text – by going to the organization who put the text together, or by going to those who, centuries later, and with a prejudice against that organization, provide their own contrary interpretation. :man_shrugging:


This is not true.
Many Lutherans and Anglicans hold the same views as Catholic.
Some Calvinists are agnostic about the Catholic position.

Except when he doesn’t a number of times.


@Guest1 Thought you might find this helpful:

Non Biblical evidence as proof for Jesus Christ (1 of 4)

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Scholars argue between themselves all the time. I don’t doubt he feels certain of his conclusion, but there are reasonable arguments to the contrary. And he is not an ultimate authority on the matter.


Try Robin Lane Fox, The Unauthorized Version. That covers much of the Bible, but does include Jesus as well. Basically Jesus existed, but not all the stories about Him are true.

Of course, Islamic historians believe Jesus existed – the Prophet Isa – but I suspect that is not what you are looking for.

It’s “scandal” in the sense of the sin of scandal: it leads people into error.

(It doesn’t mean something that would show up on TMZ or some gossip rag. :wink: )

It should be noted that “not all the stories about Him are true” is the opinion of the author Robin Lane Fox, not the opinion of the Church assuming we’re referring to canonical Bible stories.


Coming from a Buddhist, this is pretty hilarious… :wink:

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