I found the following.
I. WAS THERE EVER ANY QUESTION
A. THERE HAVE BEEN SKEPTICS WHO BELIEVED JESUS WAS JUST A “MYTH”…
1. This concept was popular with some scholars of the 1800s’
2. It is rarely found today, except among those…
a. Who are ignorant of the facts
b. Who purposely suppress the evidence (e.g., as was done in
formerly communist-dominated countries)
B. TODAY, NO SERIOUS HISTORIAN (EVEN THOSE WHO ARE ATHEISTS) DISPUTES
THE FACT THAT JESUS EXISTED…
1. H. G. WELLS
a. An atheist, he spoke of Jesus in his book, Outline Of
b. "…one is obliged to say, ‘Here was a man. This part of
the tale could not have been invented.’"
2. WILL DURANT
a. Ex-professor of Philisophy of History at Columbia University
b. He spent two chapters in The Story Of Our Civilization
depicting Jesus as a historical figure right along with the
3. ENCYCLOPEDIA BRITANNICA
a. Used over 20,000 words to describe Jesus
b. More than Aristotle, Cicero, Alexander, Julius Caesar,
Buddha, Confucius, Mohammed, or Napoleon
[So there appears to be sufficient evidence to have convinced these and
others like them that Jesus actually lived.
What is this evidence…?]
II. THE EVIDENCE FOR A HISTORICAL JESUS
A. AMONG “PAGAN” SOURCES…
1. THALLUS (a Samaritan historian, ca. 52 A.D.)
a. Wrote attempting to give a natural explanation for the
darkness which occurred at the crucifixion of Jesus
b. Note carefully:
1) He did not deny the existence of Jesus
2) But only tried to explain away the strange circumstances
surrounding His death
2. LETTER OF MARA-SERAPION (written to his son, ca. 73 A.D.)
a. He tells of the deaths of Socrates, Pythagoras, and of Jesus
b. "What advantage did the Jews gain from executing their wise
king?..Nor did the wise king die for good; he lived on in
the teaching which he had given."
3. CORNELIUS TACITUS (Roman historian, ca. 112 A.D.)
a. Writes of Jesus in his ANNALS
b. "Christus, the founder of the name, was put to death by
Pontius Pilate, procurator of Judea in the reign of
4. PLINY THE YOUNGER
a. Governor of Bithynia in Asia Minor, ca. 112 A.D.
b. Wrote to the emperor Trajan about Christians and their
devotion to Christ
5. SEUTONIUS (Court official and annalist under Hadrian, 120 A.D.)
a. "As the Jews were making constant disturbance at the
instigation of Chrestus, he expelled them from Rome."
b. Luke makes reference to this same expulsion in Ac 18:1-2
B. AMONG “JEWISH” SOURCES…
1. THE TALMUD
a. Consists of two separate books dealing with Jewish law,
written during the period from 100 A.D. to 500 A.D.
b. Speaks frequently of Jesus of Nazareth…
1) In unfriendly terms, of course
2) But never disputing his status as a historical figure
2. FLAVIUS JOSEPHUS
a. A Jewish general turned Roman historian, born 37 A.D.
b. Makes several references to Jesus in his History Of The Jews
c. E.g., “…and brought before it the brother of Jesus, the
so-called Christ, whose name was James.”
[Such is the evidence which must be taken into account by any
intelligent and rational person.