What extra-Biblical sources mention Jesus? Why didn't He receive more attention?


#1

[quote=“Section VII of http://oce.catholic.com/index.php?title=Miracle”]We read that the people, seeing the things which He did, followed Him in crowds (Matt., iv., 25), to the number of 5000 (Luke, ix, 14), so that He could not enter the cities, and His fame spread from Jerusalem through Syria (Matt., iv, 24). His reputation was so great that the chief priests in council speak of Him as one who “cloth many miracles” (John, xi, 47), the disciples at Emmaus as the “prophet, mighty in work and word before God and all the people” (Luke, xxiv, 19), and St. Peter describes Him to Cornelius as the wonderworking preacher (Acts, x, 38). Out of the great mass of miraculous events surrounding our Lord’s person, the Evangelists made a selection. True, it was impossible to narrate all (John, xx, 30).
[/quote]

Are these statements true? Certainly Luke 9 numbers the crowd at “about five thousand.” Wouldn’t such attention have attracted the attention of extra-biblical document writers? Roman authorities? What extra-biblical sources mention Jesus? If there are none, why not? How can people today argue that Jesus never existed? I don’t see anyone arguing that other historical figures never existed.

I have the following books on my reading list. Are there any others, or others I should read first?
[LIST=1]
*]Jesus Outside the New Testament by Robert E. Van Voorst
*]Jesus and Christian Origins Outside the New Testament by F. F. Bruce
[/LIST]


#2

Jesus is mentioned in Josephus book “Antiquities of the Jews.” In book 18, chapter 3, section 3. He calls him a miracle worker, condemned by Pilate, he had Jewish and Gentile followers. He even states he was the Christ! Of course critics claim this passage was added by someone else. :smiley:


#3

There are actually several places Jesus was mentioned, but there is always someone who will give you a reason why that source doesn’t count.

But don’t discount Biblical sources. It’s not like someone just sat down and wrote the New Testament. It was written by several authors over a period of time, and at the time the Gospels and letters were written, they WERE extra-Biblical sources.


#4

Well if they gathered in a remote location as the narrative seems to suggest then unless the romans had been tipped off by someone who would have noticed?

Remember we are talking 2000 years ago what happened in the backwaters even of the mighty roman empire would not have made the top news of the day immediately.
Mo internet, no daily newspapers, etc. :smiley:
Things did not percolate quickly those days.

So it is not surprising if not many people outside the close vicinity did not became aware until much later, probably many received news of the miracles much after Jesus death and resurrection. :rolleyes:


#5

I study history at least once a week but often times I’ll do a little reading on it every day.


#6

Furthermore, there is almost no extra-Islamic evidence of the existence of Mohammed, yet this is seldom mentioned by those who seek to debunk the Bible.


#7

For one, Jesus wasn’t the only messianic claimant who attracted a following. There were a lot of them, and many such people also ended up dead. So Jesus, in a way, wasn’t really ‘special’: normally He would have been considered just one of those prophets and/or messiahs who appeared out of nowhere promising signs of deliverance. What really sets Jesus apart is the way the movement He had inspired did not diminish after He was executed (as a criminal, no less) but instead thrived and flourished. That’s what caught the attention of everyone.


#8

This leads directly into another question: What of the claims that “loads of people were performing miracles back then, or so people claim, so Jesus really isn’t special”? Any thoughts or reading recommendations in response to this claim?


#9

This page is a good start. Also, read Josephus.


#10

The Roman historian Tacitus mentions Jesus when he wrote about the fire of Rome in 63 ad.

Consequently, to get rid of the report, Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace. Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus, and a most mischievous superstition, thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judæa, the first source of the evil, but even in Rome, where all things hideous and shameful from every part of the world find their centre and become popular.

Tacitus’ Annals, 15.44


#11

There are few other sources because we are talking about 2000 years ago when writing was not so easy as it is today. And Anything that was written that long ago would not survive the degradation of the material it was as written on. The only way something would survive that long is if people wanted it to by copying it over the centuries so that it would remain. So we shouldn’t be surprised if the majority of things that Christians wanted to survive are favored Christian books. No one is going to pay someone to copy things that mean nothing to them. Even today we throw out books we don’t need anymore. Instead we should be thankful we have what we do.

The existence of Jesus is a credible fact. The majority of NT scholars, secular or not, admit at least 3 facts. Probably the least contended fact is that Jesus was crucified. The next is that the tomb was discovered empty. And the final is that Jesus appeared to the women at the tomb and to the disciples. How these facts are explained is what is different between NT scholars. As a Christian these facts are most reasonably explained by the Resurrection.

William Lane Craig on the Resurrection

m.youtube.com/watch?v=4iyxR8uE9GQ


#12

Here is an interesting interview with Dr. Craig from 2001 worth watching.

m.youtube.com/watch?v=xUKW2Bm5P2k


#13

Actually the works of forty-one historians who lived during the first century and early second century and who wrote about Judea and Rome have survived. We should also take into account, that according to Christianity, the Christian leader was not only the Messiah ben David but God Himself in human form. Which you would think would garner some notice. Especially when he is born and when he leaves this world there are extraordinary events reported in the Christian scriptures, a special star and the three wise men, Matthew’s account of the resurrection of Jewish saints. In between the Christian scriptures describe miracles from raising the dead to feeding thousands. Thousands upon thousands are reportedly drawn to the Christian leader.

Yet even the Christian scriptures are contradictory as to when the Christian leader was born (either no later than 4 b.c.e. [Herod’s death] or in 6 c.e. [the Roman census]). Somehow none of these 41 historians mention Jesus or his disciples or his apostles or any of these miraculous events recorded in the Gospels.

It’s almost as if the historical Jesus was invented in the second century after these first century historians lived. This would certainly explain all those contradictions in the Christian scriptures which were developed as a formal written theology in the second century. It would certainly explain how the life of the Christian leader in the Gospels follows the classic mythic archetype in heroic myths and epics of the time.


#14

That’s an interesting fable you weave, but no one finds that credible except you and pseudo scholarship. Considering that you are Jewish it sounds like configuration bias.

Besides that there is no reason why we should discount the books of the NT as evidence. They are no different then other sources of the first centuries, unless you have some preconceived bias against them. I assume you believe in God because you say you are Jewish. How much evidence outside of the Tanakh is there by non Jews for the events in them like the exodus with Moses and the kingdom of King David? The evidence for them comes from the Jews. So why should we trust them any more than Christian writings which have even more evidence.?

Your view is easily discredited. For instance Most scholars date Pauls first letter to about 20 years after the Resurrection, some earlier, long before the 2nd century.


#15

Historicity of Jesus


#16

Robert Van Voorst states that the scarcity of Jewish references to Jesus is not surprising, given that Jesus was not a prominent issue for the Jews during the first century, and after the devastation caused by the Siege of Jerusalem in the year 70, Jewish scholars were focusing on preserving Judaism itself, rather than paying much attention to Christianity.

Yet even the Christian scriptures are contradictory as to when the Christian leader was born (either no later than 4 b.c.e. [Herod’s death] or in 6 c.e. [the Roman census]). Somehow none of these 41 historians mention Jesus or his disciples or his apostles or any of these miraculous events recorded in the Gospels.

We do not know the exact rendering of how these regions were governed or how long a census laste. Your so called contradiciton is really a lack of knowledge.

It’s almost as if the historical Jesus was invented in the second century after these first century historians lived. This would certainly explain all those contradictions in the Christian scriptures which were developed as a formal written theology in the second century. It would certainly explain how the life of the Christian leader in the Gospels follows the classic mythic archetype in heroic myths and epics of the time.

Of course there is to much evidence against Jesus be invented in the second century. Your historians would have a better claim to that.


#17

This is a fallacy argument from silence (argumentum e silentio) – where the conclusion is based on the absence of evidence, rather than the existence of evidence.

It is interesting to note that four of these historians actually mentioned Jesus but they are dismissed as vague or forgeries. Josephus mention is entirely thrown out even though the consensus is that

And now Caesar, upon hearing the death of Festus, sent Albinus into Judea, as procurator. But the king deprived Joseph of the high priesthood, and bestowed the succession to that dignity on the son of Ananus, who was also himself called Ananus… Festus was now dead, and Albinus was but upon the road; so he assembled the sanhedrin of judges, and brought before them the brother of Jesus, who was called Christ, whose name was James, and some others; and when he had formed an accusation against them as breakers of the law, he delivered them to be stoned

Is not an interpolation, as this passage on James is found in all manuscripts, including the Greek texts.


#18

One major difference: Most of the NT is without provenance. We don’t know who wrote most of the books, when they were written, where they were written and, most importantly, why they were written.


#19

Without Josephus’s original autographs, then all we’re comparing copies to is other copies – which doesn’t prove that it isn’t an interpolation.


#20

Dr Gary Habermas and Michael Licona write in The Case for the Resurrection of Jesus

Let’s look at an even better example, a contemporary of Jesus. Tiberius Caesar was the Roman emperor at the time of Jesus’ ministry and execution. Tiberius is mentioned by ten sources within 150 years of his death: Tacitus, Suetonius, Velleius Paterculus, Plutarch, Pliny the Elder, Strabo, Seneca, Valerius Maximus, Josephus, and Luke. Compare that to Jesus’ forty-two total sources in the same length of time. That’s more than four times the number of total sources who mention the Roman emperor during roughly the same period. If we only considered the number of secular non-Christian sources who mention Jesus and Tiberius within 150 years of their lives, we arrive at a tie of nine each

Non Christian Jewish evidence that mentiosn Jesus within 150 years of his death

[LIST]
*]Talmud

*]Jewish historian Josephus
[/LIST]

Extra Biblical Christian evidence that mentions Jesus within 150 years of his death

[LIST]*]Clement of Rome

*]2 Clement from anon author

*]Igantius of Antioch

*]Letter to Philippians from Polycarp

*]Martyrdom of Polycarp

*]Didache

*]Letter of Barnabas

*]Shepherd of Hermas

*]Fragments of Papias

*]Letter of Diognetus

*]Epistula Apostolorum

*]Heggisipus

*]Justyn Martyr

*]Aristides

*]Athenagoras

*]Theophilus of Antioch

*]Quadratus

*]Aristo of Pella,

*]Melito of Sardis
[/LIST]

Heretical texts

[LIST]
*]Treatise

*]Gnostic Gospel of Thomas

*]Apocryphon of John

*]Gospel of Truth

*]Apocalypse o Peter, not Nag Hammadi writing
[/LIST]

Secular sources that mention Jesus within 150 years of his death

[LIST]

*]Roman historian Tacitus

*]Rome politcian Pliny the Younger

*]Historian Phlegon

*]Greek satirist Lucian

*]Roman philosopher Celsus

*]Historian Suetonius

*]historian Thallus,

*]Prisoner Mara Bar-Serapion whose text is in a British Museum
[/LIST]

New Testament authors that mention Jesus

[LIST]*]Mark

*]Matthew

*]John

*]Luke

*]Jude

*]Peter

*]James

*]Paul
[/LIST]


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