Jesus - and His Deeds, Outside of the Bible


#1

Firstly, before I begin I apologise for two specific reasons:
This question has probably been asked many times before, please bare with me.
And I may have chosen the wrong sub-forum for this particular query.

I keep hearing from atheists, at least the relatively intelligent among them, that the lack of information about both Jesus and his affect on thousands of people within contemporary sources - particularly Roman and Jewish, proves that Jesus achieved nothing remarkable during his time. They follow up this indictment by utilising NT language against itself; how could 5,000 people be fed by the implementation of a miracle, or how can a dead girl by raised back to life - without the details of this event being spread around to the point of fame, or infamy, yet failing to gain the attention of recorders and writers?

There is a list doing the rounds via atheist bloggers, that offers the names of mostly Roman historians and writers of Jesus’s time. Their complaint seems to be focused around the idea that if Jesus was as famous as the NT suggests, why does he fail to make a dent upon the commentary of contemporary outside writers and recorders?

Thank you.


#2

communications were so poor in the time jesus lived

everything was word of mouth

no newspapers, no tv, no radio

the handful of people who actually witnessed jesus’ miracles were most likely disbelieved by their neighbors who were feeding their chickens and living a hard-scrabble hand-to-mouth life at the time

the entire nation was being occupied by an invading pagan army

nobody trusted anybody

2,000 years of earthquakes, invasion conquest & disaster including the sack of the city of jerusalem in 79 AD destroyed what little. if any, record of the life of jesus existed at the time


#3

Jesus did attract a lot of attention. His fame spread throughout Galilee, and vast crowds of people followed him wherever he went, clamoring for his love and attention and help. John writes that so much more happened than is in the gospels and that if it were set down the world could not hold all the books.

Given the lack of communication in first century Palestine, Jesus attracted a lot of attention.


#4

Well, maybe because He was seen as a small-town, itinerant preacher in the most rebellious province in the Roman Empire?:shrug:


#5

Good answer.


#6

I feel the same way. I also believe that there can’t have been many writers around Jerusalem around that time anyway, jotting down details of the various characters and events of the day. And even if there were, their work hasn’t survived.

The atheist response is to usually cite a number of Roman writers of Jesus’s time, asking why they (Romans) fail to include information about his ministry, despite affecting thousands of people in ancient Judea.


#7

The historian Eusebius in his Church history, 4.3, 1.2, tells us that writing about 123 A.D., apologist Quadratus cited those in his day who had been cured or raised from the dead by Jesus of Nazareth – prime witnesses – long after the miracles, crucifixion and death of the Son of God. No other religious founder claimed to be God and proved it – not Mohammed of Islam, not in Hinduism, not in Buddhism, not in Taoism, not in Confucianism.

His miracles “were so frequent, the eyewitnesses so numerous, and the evidence so stark, that not even Christ’s enemies disputed the fact of their occurrence. Instead they ascribed them to the power of the devil, or defied Him to perform another one in His own favour.” (See Mt 12:24; 27:39-42;Jn11:47).Apologetics and Catholic Doctrine, Sheehan/Joseph, Saint Austin Press, 2001, p 104].

The evidence of history which attests Christ as the Son of God, sent to redeem humanity, also attests, to this day, to His reality and His truths through the facts of the miracle of the Sun at Fatima, the medically attested miracles that take place at Lourdes, and the Eucharistic miracles.

No one can refute these facts of history.


#8

One of the other major problems is that most of the atheistic disputers discount the bible as an eyewitness because they discount it as fiction. No other document that has survived is treated with such ignominy. The bible alone has eye witness accounts that prove his existence, the works he did etc. Any collaborating information found elsewhere proves the worth of the document they so despise.


#9

Look at our own times. If you read the secular press, you would have to believe all sorts of misinformation. In the French papers of the day, where are the stories of St. Bernadette? Where are the FrontPage headlines about the miracle at Fatima? If you want this information, you’ll have to go to religious sources.

History is written by the victors. It would be 300 years before secular Christians could write their own history. In the meantime, there was no such thing as freedom of speech or journalistic integrity in the Roman world. Historians wrote what flattered the empire. Jewish writers tried to delete Jesus from the record.


#10

Roman’s couldn’t care less about some itinerant Jewish prophet.

No Roman leader wanted to be stationed anywhere near Judea or Samaria. The whole place was considered a backwater.

-Tim-


#11

Great answers! Thanks. The point about the Bible, especially NT writers being treated as dishonest and fictional is very true. What’s more - when people say ‘well, why aren’t there any non-believers, neutral witnesses of Christ’s miracles and deeds who appear on record?’
It’s such a bizarre and illogical demand.

If you witnessed Christ perform unbelievable actions, and presupposing you had the ability, money and permission to both write and influence potential readers anyway, your recordings would reflect a belief in Christ - even if not intended. Because nobody would witness such a thing and still claim to be an agnostic. It’s a demand that cannot be met.

The point about Roman writers is equally compelling. Atheists try to place emphasis on the claims made in the NT about the fame Christ had managed to attract because of his ministry. Therefore atheists somehow assume Roman writers - most of which were living nowhere near Judea, and as a previous poster pointed out - found themselves influenced by a carefully considerate approach not to document anything which could be considered as treasonous or insulting, but nevertheless would obviously have known about Christ, and risked their lives proclaiming his inexplainable deeds!

I honestly think some of the atheist types of today presume communications and information in Jesus’s day worked pretty similar to Twitter, CNN and Facebook :confused:


#12

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