Originally posted by psychosgirl
if jesus was documented in several different cultures..i don't see how he could have been made up.
Jesus was NOT documented by ANY cultures (until long after the alleged events.)
No contemporary author recorded Jesus or the Gospels events.
See this list of early writers which shows tha lack of evidence:
Apologists often cite various names which supposedly mention Jesus - in fact, none of them are contemporary, many of them are NOTHING to do with
Jesus, others are FAR TOO LATE to be evidence.
Here is a list of the alleed "evidence" for Jesus :
The famous Testamonium Flavianum is considered probably the best evidence
for Jesus, yet it has some serious problems :
* the T.F. as it stands uses clearly Christian phrases and names Christ as
Messiah, it could not possibly have been written by the Jew Josephus (who refused to call anyone "messiah"),
* The T.F. comes in several versions of various ages,
* The T.F. was not mentioned by Origen when he reviewed Josephus - Origen
even says Josephus does NOT call Jesus the Messiah, showing the passage was
not present in that earlier era.
* The T.F. first showed up in manuscripts of Eusebius, and was still absent
from some manuscripts as late as 8th century.
* (The other tiny passage in Josephus is probably a later interpolation.)
An analysis of Josephus can be found here:
In short - this passage is possibly a total forgery (or at best a corrupt
form of a lost original.)
it COULD just be actual evidence for Jesus - late, corrupt, controversial but just POSSIBLY real historical evidence.
Such is the weakness of the evidence that this suspect passage is considered
some of the best "evidence" for a historical Jesus of Nazareth.
Roughly 80 years after the alleged events (and 40 years after the war)
Tacitus allegedly wrote a (now) famous passage about "Christ" - this passage
has several problems however:
* Tacitus uses the term "procurator", used in his later times, but not
correct for the actual period, when "prefect" was used.
* Tacitus names the person as "Christ", when Roman records could not
possibly have used this name (it would have been "Jesus, son of Joseph" or
* Tacitus accepts the recent advent of Christianity, which was against Roman
practice (to only allow ancient and accepted cults and religions.)
* (No-one refers to this passage for a millennium, even early Christians who
actively sought such passages.)
This evidence speaks AGAINST it being based on any Roman records -
merely a few details which Tacitus gathered from Christian stories
circulating in his time (c.f. Pliny.)
this passage is NOT evidence for Jesus,
it's just evidence for 2nd century Christian stories about Jesus.
PLINY the Younger (c.112CE)
About 80 years after the alleged events, (and over 40 years after the war)
Pliny referred to Christians who worshipped a "Christ" as a god, but there
is no reference to a historical Jesus or Gospel events.
Pliny is not evidence for a historical Jesus of Nazareth,
just evidence for 2nd century Christians who worshipped a Christ.
Roughly 80-90 years after the alleged Gospel events, (about 75 years after
the war) Suetonius refers to a "Chrestus" who stirred the Jews to trouble in
Rome during Claudius' time, but:
* this "Chrestus" is a Greek name (from "useful"), and is also a mystic name
for an initiate, it is not the same as "Christos"
* this Chrestus was apparently active in Rome, Jesus never was.
this passage is not evidence for Jesus,
it's nothing to do with Jesus,
it's evidence for Christians grasping at straws.
IGNATIUS (107CE? 130-170CE?)
The letters of Ignatius are traditionally dated to c.107, yet:
* it is not clear if he really existed, his story is suspicious,
* his letters are notoriously corrupt and in 2 versions,
* it is probable that his letters were later forgeries,
* he mentions only a tiny few items about Jesus.
Ignatius is no evidence for Jesus himself,
at BEST it is 2nd century evidence to a few beliefs about Jesus.
Quadratus apparently wrote an Apology to Hadrian (117-138), but:
* we have none of his works,
* it is not certain when he wrote,
* all we have is 1 sentence quoted much later.
Quadratus is uncertain evidence from about a century later.
THALLUS (date unknown)
We have NO certain evidence when Thallus lived or wrote, there are NONE of
Thallus' works extant.
All we DO have is a 9th century reference by George Syncellus who quotes
the 3rd century Julianus Africanus, who, speaking of the darkness at the
crucifixion, wrote: "Thallus calls this darkness an eclipse".
there is NO evidence Thallus made specific reference to Jesus or the Gospel
events at all, as there WAS an eclipse in 29. This suggests he merely
referred to a known eclipse, but that LATER Christians MIS-interpreted his
comment to mean their darkness. (Also note the supposed reference to Thallus
in Eusebius is a false reading.)
Richard Carrier the historian has a good page on Thallus:
Thallus is no evidence for Jesus at all,
merely evidence for Christian wishful thinking.
Phlegon wrote during the 140s - his works are lost. Later, Origen, Eusebius,
and Julianus Africanus (as quoted by George Syncellus) refer to him, but
quote differently his reference to an eclipse. There is no evidence Phlegon
actually said anything about Gospel events, he was merely talking about an
eclipse (they DO happen) which LATER Christians argued was the "darkness" in
Phlegon is no evidence for Jesus at all -
merely evidence for Christian wishful thinking.
In mid 2nd century the GNOSTIC Valentinus almost became Bishop of Rome, but:
* he was several generations after the alleged events,
* he wrote of an esoteric, Gnostic Jesus and Christ,
* he mentioned no historical details about Jesus.
Valentinus is no evidence for a historical Jesus.
Polycarp wrote in mid 2nd century, but :
* he is several generations after the alleged events,
* he gives many sayings of Jesus (some of which do NOT match the Gospels),
* he does NOT name any evangelist or Gospel.
Polycarp knew sayings of Jesus,
but provides no actual evidence for a historical Jesus.
Nearly one-and-a-half CENTURIES after the alleged events, Lucian satirised
Christians, but :
* this was several generations later,
* Lucian does NOT even mention Jesus or Christ by name.
Lucian is no evidence for a historical Jesus, merely late 2nd century
lampooning of Christians.
GALEN (late 2nd C.)
Late 2nd century, Galen makes a few references to Christians, and briefly to
This is far too late to be evidence for Jesus.
NUMENIUS (2nd C.?)
In the 3rd century, Origen claimed Numenius "quotes also a narrative
regarding Jesus--without, however, mentioning His name" - i.e. Numenius
mentioned a story but said nothing about Jesus, but by Origen's time it had
become attached to Jesus' name.
This not any evidence for Jesus, it's just later wishful thinking.
TALMUD (3rd C. and later)
There are some possible references in the Talmud, but:
* these references are from 3rd century or later, and seem to be
(unfriendly) Jewish responses to Christian claims.
* the references are highly variant, have many cryptic names for Jesus, and
very different to the Gospel stories (e.g. one story has "Jesus" born about
the Talmud contains NO evidence for Jesus,
the Talmud merely has much later Jewish responses to the Gospel stories.
MARA BAR SERAPION (date unknown)
A fragment which includes -
"... What advantage did the Jews gain from executing their wise King?",
in the context of ancient leaders like Socrates.
It is NOT at all clear WHEN this manuscript was written, nor exactly who it
is referring too, but there is no evidence it is Jesus.
The fact that apologists have to resort to such suspect and late "evidence" shows just how weak the evidence really is.