Proof that Jesus Existed


#1

Can anyone offer me some good reliable extra biblical sources that would be helpful in a debate on whether or not there was a historical Jesus. I'm aware of a few, but if you don't mind listing some that would be great.


#2

The Case for Christ by Lee Strobel

Is wife is a Christian, he was an atheist. He is a reported and spent two years trying to prove to himself that there was not proof of Jesus existing. I have not read the book, but have seen the documentary. Really powerful. A good place to start.


#3

[quote="TwinMommy, post:2, topic:319720"]
The Case for Christ by Lee Strobel

Is wife is a Christian, he was an atheist. He is a reported and spent two years trying to prove to himself that there was not proof of Jesus existing. I have not read the book, but have seen the documentary. Really powerful. A good place to start.

[/quote]

I saw the tv special on that but never got around to the book. Do you mind listing out some extra biblical sources. I'm debating this tomorrow and don't have time to read an entire book.


#4

Letter of Pilate to Tiberius
The Letter of Pontius Pilate, Which He Wrote to the Roman Emperor, Concerning Our Lord Jesus Christ.

Pontius Pilate to Tiberius Cæsar the emperor, greeting.
Upon Jesus Christ, whose case I had clearly set forth to you in my last, at length by the will of the people a bitter punishment has been inflicted, myself being in a sort unwilling and rather afraid. A man, by Hercules, so pious and strict, no age has ever had nor will have. But wonderful were the efforts of the people themselves, and the unanimity of all the scribes and chief men and elders, to crucify this ambassador of truth, notwithstanding that their own prophets, and after our manner the sibyls, warned them against it: and supernatural signs appeared while he was hanging, and, in the opinion of philosophers, threatened destruction to the whole world. His disciples are flourishing, in their work and the regulation of their lives not belying their master; yea, in his name most beneficent. Had I not been afraid of the rising of a sedition among the people, who were just on the point of breaking out, perhaps this man would still have been alive to us; although, urged more by fidelity to your dignity than induced by my own wishes, I did not according to my strength resist that innocent blood free from the whole charge brought against it, but unjustly, through the malignity of men, should be sold and suffer, yet, as the Scriptures signify, to their own destruction. Farewell. 28th March.

newadvent.org/fathers/0810.htm
johnthebaptist.us/jbw_english/documents/articles/rjmi/tr21_pilate_letter_on_christ.pdf


#5

Flavius Josephus, who lived until 98 A.D., was a romanized Jewish historian. He wrote books on Jewish history for the Roman people. In his book, Jewish Antiquities, he made references to Jesus. In one reference he wrote:

About this time arose Jesus, a wise man, who did good deeds and whose virtues were recognized. And many Jews and people of other nations became his disciples. Pilate condemned him to be crucified and to die. However, those who became his disciples preached his doctrine. They related that he had appeared to them three days after his crucifixion and that he was alive. Perhaps he was the Messiah in connection with whom the prophets foretold wonders. [Josephus, Jewish Antiquities, XVIII 3.2]

Even though several different forms of this particular text have survived through the twenty centuries, they all agree with the above cited version. This version is considered to be the closest to the original - the least suspected of Christian text-tampering. Elsewhere in this book, Josephus also reported the execution of St. John the Baptist [XVIII 5.2] and St. James the Just [XX 9.1], even referring to James as “the brother of Jesus who was called Christ.” It should be noted that the past tense in the clause, “Jesus who was called Christ,” argues against Christian text-tampering since a Christian would prefer to write instead, “Jesus who is called Christ.”

Another Jewish source, the Talmud, makes several historical references to Jesus. According to the American Heritage Dictionary, the Talmud is “the collection of ancient Rabbinic writings consisting of the Mishnah and the Gemara, constituting the basis of religious authority for traditional Judaism.” Although not explicitly referred to by name, later rabbis identify the person as Jesus. These references to Jesus are neither sympathetic to Him or His Church. Also these writings were preserved through the centuries by Jews, so Christians cannot be accused of tampering with the text.

The Talmud makes note of Jesus’ miracles. No attempt is made to deny them, but it ascribes them to magical arts from Egypt. Also His crucifixion is dated as “on the eve of the Feast of the Passover” in agreement with the Gospel (Luke 22:1ff; John 19:31ff). Similar again to the Gospel (Matt. 27:51), the Talmud records the earthquake and the tearing in two of the Temple curtain during the time of Jesus’ death. Josephus in his book, The Jewish War, also confirmed these events.

By the beginning of the 2nd century, Romans were writing about Christians and Jesus. Pliny the Younger, proconsul in Asia Minor, in 111 A.D. wrote to Emperor Trajan in a letter:

…it was their habit on a fixed day to assemble before daylight and recite by turns a form of words to Christ as a god; and that they bound themselves with an oath, not for any crime, but not to commit theft or robbery, or adultery, not to break their word, and not to deny a deposit when demanded. After this was done, their custom was to depart, and meet again to take food… [Pliny, Epistle 97]

Special attention should be made to the phrase, “to Christ as a god,” an early secular witness to the belief in Christ’s divinity (John 20:28; Phil. 2:6). Also it is interesting to compare this passage with Acts 20:7-11, a biblical account of an early Christian Sunday celebration.

Next the Roman historian, Tacitus, who is respected by modern scholars for historical accuracy, wrote in 115 A.D. about Christ and His Church:

The author of the denomination was Christ[us] who had been executed in Tiberius time by the Procurator Pontius Pilate. The pestilent superstition, checked for a while, burst out again, not only throughout Judea…but throughout the city of Rome also… [Tacitus, Annals, XV 44]

Even with disdain for the Christian faith, Tacitus still treated the execution of Christ as historical fact, drawing connections to Roman events and leaders. (cf. Luke 3:1ff)

Other secular witnesses to the historical Jesus include Suetonius in his biography of Claudius, Phlegan recording the eclipse of the sun during Jesus’ death and even Celsus, a pagan philosopher. It must be kept in mind that most of these sources were not only secular but anti-Christian. These secular authors, including the Jewish writers, had no desire or intention to promote Christianity. They had no motivation to distort their reports in favor of Christianity. Pliny actually punished Christians for their faith. If Jesus were a myth or His execution a hoax, Tacitus would have reported it as such. He certainly would not have connected Jesus’ execution to Roman leaders. These writers presented Jesus as a real historical person. Denying the reliability of these sources in connection to Jesus would cast serious suspicion on the rest of ancient history.

Now these ancient secular writings do not prove that Jesus is the Son of God or even the Christ, but that is not the goal of this tract. These reports show that a virtuous person named Jesus did live in the early first century A.D. and authored a religious movement (which still exists today). This Person was at least called Christ - the Messiah. Christians in the first century also appeared to consider Him God. Finally these writings support other facts found in the Bible surrounding His life. The claim that Jesus never existed and His life is a myth compromises the reliability of ancient history.

NIHIL OBSTAT:
Reverend M. James Divis, S.T.L.
Censor Librorum

users.binary.net/polycarp/jesus.html


#6

The Roman Historian and Senator Tacitus mentions Jesus of Nazareth and his Crucifixion by Pontius Pilate in his Annals written in 116 AD.


#7

[quote="YosefYosep, post:1, topic:319720"]
Can anyone offer me some good reliable extra biblical sources that would be helpful in a debate on whether or not there was a historical Jesus. I'm aware of a few, but if you don't mind listing some that would be great.

[/quote]

What you actually seem to be looking for is the Historicity of Jesus, i.e. the actual existence of Jesus of Nazareth as a historical person

And Wikipedia provides an excellent starting point:

"Virtually all modern scholars of antiquity agree that Jesus existed,[1][2][3][4] and biblical scholars and classical historians regard theories of his non-existence as effectively refuted.[5][6][7] While there is little agreement on the historicity of gospel narratives and their theological assertions of his divinity[8][9][10][11] most scholars agree that Jesus was a Galilean Jew who was born between 7 and 2 BC and died 30–36 AD.[12][13][14] Most scholars hold that Jesus lived in Galilee and Judea, did not preach or study elsewhere[15][16][17] and that he spoke Aramaic and may have also spoken Hebrew and possibly Greek.[18][19][20] Although scholars differ on the reconstruction of the specific episodes of the life of Jesus, the two events whose historicity is subject to "almost universal assent" are that he was baptized by John the Baptist and shortly afterwards was crucified by the order of the Roman Prefect Pontius Pilate.[21][22][23][24]

Beyond baptism and crucifixion, scholars attribute varying levels of certainty to the historicity of other events and a list of eight facts that may be historically certain about Jesus and his followers has been widely discussed.[22][25][26] However, scholarly agreement on this extended list is not universal, e.g. while some scholars accept that Jesus called disciples, others maintain that Jesus imposed no hierarchy and preached to all in equal terms.[22][26]

Since the 18th century a number of quests for the historical Jesus have taken place, and historical critical methods for studying the historicity of Jesus have been developed. Various Christian and non-Christian sources are used to study and establish the historicity of Jesus, e.g. Jewish sources such as Josephus, and Roman sources such as Tacitus. These sources are compared and contrasted to Christian sources such as the Pauline Letters and the Synoptic Gospels to determine the historicity of Jesus. These sources are usually independent of each other (e.g. Jewish sources do not draw upon Roman sources), and similarities and differences between them are used in the authentication process.[27][28]"

You might note some of these cited sources:

  1. ^ a b James D. G. Dunn "Paul's understanding of the death of Jesus" in Sacrifice and Redemption edited by S. W. Sykes (Dec 3, 2007) Cambridge University Press ISBN 052104460X pages 35-36 states that the theories of non-existence of Jesus are "a thoroughly dead thesis"

  2. ^ a b c The Gospels and Jesus by Graham Stanton, 1989 ISBN 0192132415 Oxford University Press, page 145 states : "Today nearly all historians, whether Christians or not, accept that Jesus existed".

One cannot read the plethora of well established historical evidence and the documentation of impeccable scholarship of the cited sources, many of which are **not **pro-Christian in their overall basic perspective.

:thumbsup:


#8

Yeah I am not the person for that LOL


#9

In all Wikipedia lists 275 noted sources and 21 references.

I would say that that is a metaphorical avalanche of established historic fact to overcome for any “doubter”. :thumbsup:


#10

The only good primary ones besides the New Testament are Josephus, Tacitus, and Suetonius.
The rest are either derivative or fabrications.


#11

[quote="Cor_Cordis, post:9, topic:319720"]
In all Wikipedia lists 275 noted sources and 21 references.

I would say that that is a metaphorical avalanche of established historic fact to overcome for any "doubter". :thumbsup:

[/quote]

I wouldn't rely on Wikipedia too much. Take a look at their article on the origin of Judaism. (They say it started polytheistic. :()


#12

There are no serious historians who doubt Jesus lived.


#13

Catholic Answers Live did a whole hour-long show on this recently. Give it a listen: You can find it here:

Did Jesus Exist?


#14

[quote="BrethrenBoy, post:11, topic:319720"]
I wouldn't rely on Wikipedia too much. Take a look at their article on the origin of Judaism. (They say it started polytheistic. :()

[/quote]

A valid point. But you can track their cited sources on the Historicity of Jesus as an accurate starting point if nothing else.


#15

[quote="BrethrenBoy, post:11, topic:319720"]
I wouldn't rely on Wikipedia too much. Take a look at their article on the origin of Judaism. (They say it started polytheistic. :()

[/quote]

There are many historians who think that the Hebrew people, like all the other people in the ancient world, had many gods in their pantheon. The Hebrews were unique in that they eventually came to a understanding of one in particular, Yahweh. Remember that God had to actually introduce himself to Moses ("I am the God of Abraham...of Issac...of Jacob) to prevent confusion on Moses' part. The first commandment can be understood to mean to forget the other gods, for "you shall not have strange gods before Me." There is nothing wrong with that point on Wikipedia.


#16

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