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Question: Is there historical evidence for Jesus outside of the Bible?

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posted on Nov, 21 2002 @ 10:55 PM

Answer: The Bible makes historical statements many of which can be easily confirmed by other historical documents. For example, we are told in the Old Testament portion of the Bible that King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon conquered Jerusalem. In the Gospel biography of Jesus written by Luke he tells us that John the Baptist began his ministry, "in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar." But what about Jesus? Do any documents exist from first century that confirm the existence and nature of Jesus? The answer is yes. Not only do they exist, but they are the work of historians who would had a natural prejudice against religious zealots, and therefore gave an objective opinion.

Josephus was a Jewish historian born around A.D. 37. In Book 18 of his works, Josephus is primarily concerned with the Caesars of Rome, and their sub-rulers in the eastern part of the Roman Empire including Jerusalem. In Chapter 3 Paragraph 3 of this book we read:

"Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man; for he was a doer of wonderful works, a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many of the Jews and many of the Gentiles. He was the Christ. And when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men amongst us, had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him; for he appeared to them alive again the third day; as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him. And the tribe of Christians, so named from him, are not extinct at this day."

This is important because Josephus was not a Christian. In addition to the reference above, Josephus also makes mention of John the Baptist and of James the brother of Jesus. The following quote from Book 20 Chapter 9 Paragraph 1 of his work is interesting:

"Festus was now dead, and Albinus was but upon the road; so he assembled the Sanhedrim 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."

But Josephus is not the only writer to make mention of Jesus. Pliny the Younger was governor of Pontus/Bithynia from A.D. 111-113. His writings are interesting in light of the fact that he reported to the emperor of Rome, Trajan, how he would interrogate and persecute Christians that would not worship the emperor:

"Meanwhile, in the case of those who were denounced to me as Christians, I have observed the following procedure: I interrogated these as to whether they were Christians; those who confessed I interrogated a second and a third time, threatening them with punishment; those who persisted I ordered executed." and "They asserted, however, that the sum and substance of their fault or error had been that they were accustomed to meet on a fixed day before dawn and sing responsively a hymn to Christ as to a god, and to bind themselves by oath, not to some crime, but not to commit fraud, theft, or adultery, not falsify their trust, nor to refuse to return a trust when called upon to do so."

Other accounts could be listed here, but these give enough evidence to establish the fact that as early as the first century A.D. Christians existed who considered Jesus as the Christ, that He rose from the dead, they followed Him in obedience, and worshipped Him as God.

posted on Nov, 22 2002 @ 03:06 AM
To bad the book name's weren't mentioned...They'd prolly be on the net somewhere... But what about other people as well... Different culture's. Jesus was really well known back in his day...Should be ton's on him from nearly everyone in that area that had to deal with that sorta thing..

posted on Nov, 22 2002 @ 03:30 AM
It's an old topic so I'll not add much unless new interest manifests itself: but you'll ahve no trouble finding Josephus or Pliny in decent translation (neither wrote that much that has survived) - bear in mind that the relevant sections of Josephus have long been regarded by many as fraudulent later interpolations.

posted on Nov, 22 2002 @ 03:32 AM
"Jesus was really well known back in his day" (sic)
We may however have to aim a little higher..........

posted on Nov, 22 2002 @ 04:18 AM
aim a little higher?

posted on Nov, 22 2002 @ 10:01 AM
Yes NetChicken, you are right my friend.
Jesus no doubt is proven live outside the Bible in Multiple sources, and some of those sources repeat the same things about his perosnality, miracles..etc. You are even right when you say "as early as the first century A.D. Christians existed who considered Jesus as the Christ, that He rose from the dead, they followed Him in obedience, and worshipped Him as God."

I beg to differ on this statement though yes it is true BUT Jesus is quoted saying repeatedly to those people that he was just a man, he was no God, so the people said surely than you must be the son of God, and he said NO, i am just a man!

I guess they didnt believe him.
Nice post

posted on Nov, 22 2002 @ 11:21 AM
What NC is looking for is accounts CONTEMPORARY (1 AD - 100 AD) to Jesus.

Tacitus and Flavius Josephus appear to be the ONLY existing accounts contemporary to Jesus, both were born after his death and were only reporting what was told to him.

A *fascinating* refutation of that is found at this site (warning: a bunch of angry Jews who are upset with the Christians converting their members and even more outraged at the "Jews for Jesus" band) :

In a nutshell, the site argues that the gospels were not written at the time Jesus lived or even shortly after his death (which is accepted by almost everyone.) What's interesting is that it proposes that the gospel writers were plagarizing from other sources. It's kind of lengthy slogging to read, but the deductions are interesting. And it rips apart the Christian scholarship (no surprise, given how offended they are at the proseletyzing)

I bet it surprises no one that the athiests weigh in on the same side as the Jews on the Jesus question (no historical evidence). This web page is easier reading -- a simple table

What the Muslims say:
Lots of intriguing stuff involving the name of Jesus. No contemporary accounts of him, however:

Anyway, those are some sites with reasonably interesting scholarship. All have an agenda to push but the range is broad enough that any of you can START an inquiry using those.

posted on Nov, 22 2002 @ 11:29 AM
And for a TOTALLY weird take on the whole thing, check out "Jesus in India", a Muslim document.

Really bad scholarship -- it then tries to equate Jesus with Buddha. This has just one tiny problem (ignored by the author) -- Buddha was born about 550 BC.

...but it's an entertaining read, anyway:

posted on Nov, 22 2002 @ 12:34 PM
The Gnostic gospels are at least one source not in the bible.The gospel of St Thomas or the Gospel of Mary Magdeline are supposed to be contemporary.

It's an interesting question.The Romans were pretty good record keepers.

posted on Nov, 22 2002 @ 01:51 PM
So were the egyptians. Yet, I don't know of any recorded event of the exodus by them or of moses... I've only seen it in the bible... That was a pretty big event for them. They definatley would have recorded it..

posted on Nov, 22 2002 @ 02:06 PM
I've always accepted that Jesus was real person that had lived and I still do.So don't jump down my throat for this.

Could Jesus have been a concept or an Idea.That storytellers gave a perfect human form to.Perhaps the concept of independent nation state that could only be achieved with a new philosophy.The birth of christ the origins of a new philosophy,The crucifiction the death of that same philosophy.

Again I'm not trying to insult anyones beliefs.I'm just interested in what you all think.

posted on Nov, 22 2002 @ 02:13 PM
If jesus was nothing more than a concept, then this would throw most, if not all of religion into serious doubt...

posted on Nov, 22 2002 @ 02:28 PM

Originally posted by OrionSirius

I beg to differ on this statement though yes it is true BUT Jesus is quoted saying repeatedly to those people that he was just a man, he was no God, so the people said surely than you must be the son of God, and he said NO, i am just a man!

If I can recall well, Jesus actually said that WE are gods.
He also said that the kingdom of God is within. And also that we will do greater things than him.

posted on Nov, 22 2002 @ 04:15 PM
Wait a second...Let's see if I understand this correctly....

Jesus said he wasn't god nor the son of god, but he was just a man like the rest of us?! Yet, other people took it upon themselves to say he WAS these thing's?

So the whole concept of jesus being god/son of god is actually false then, right? I mean...If jesus was the son of god or god incarnate, why would he say he wasn't? Seems like religion wrote the jesus account for themselve's...

Where does jesus say these thing's anyway's?

posted on Nov, 22 2002 @ 04:31 PM
Good question, James G.

John 1:1
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God

John 1:14
And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

John 8:40
"But now ye seek to kill me, a man that hath told you the truth, which I have heard of God."

John 14:28
Ye have heard how I said unto you, I go away, and come again unto you. If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father: for my Father is greater than I

The rest of the interesting and contradictory list is here:

posted on Nov, 22 2002 @ 07:23 PM
Thanx. But, is there anything that just clearly says, I am not god or the son of god...Biblical speak gives me headaches...

posted on Nov, 22 2002 @ 09:13 PM
Absolutely. All these centuries, we have had it wrong.
Once again, without the Holy Spirit, it makes little sense. Not understanding what Christ was saying, for example, when He said the His Father was greater than He, there seems to be a contradiction.
No contradiction, no conspiracy, just folks without understanding trying to explain the fallacy.
But carry on. I have gotten to the point where I find it amusing when non-believers ask leading questions and non-believers give supposedly factual answers, and have learned from experience that those who actually follow the faith and study their own faith, when interject, are looked at with even less knowledge than those with little more than anti-"ism" websites and books for their information.
Pearls and Swine come to mind. I'll just say that it seems that reading words and understanding what is said seems to be harder than I thought it to be, even though the Book said it was that way.

posted on Nov, 22 2002 @ 09:28 PM
(shrug) I just quote the Bible -- well, usually. It seems like when people argue about religion, the first round always states the position and every interchange after that is always of the "Oh yeah? SHOW me where it is in the Bible! Yeah? Huh?!" variety.

I just cut to the chase. Y'all can sort it out.

posted on Nov, 22 2002 @ 09:41 PM
And you quote it nicely, no doubt.
Ever wonder why people come to this place to ask their Biblical questions? Especially when they discount the followers of the Biblical faith? Really, do you think they are looking for truth, or fact or information? I've found that most of them are looking to find others of like mind and have a bashing session.
Arguing the Bible is quite senseless and, so far that I've seen at this place, anyway, no minds are changed, nobody is converted one way or another, and no conspiracy is illuminated.

Good cutting to the chase, and I'll cut to the quick - there'll be no sorting as there is never a desire to sort, only bash and discount, followed by an attempt to persuade and convert. Unless, of course, the thread is initiated by "Truth", in which case it starts by demagogue and alter call, followed by discount and bash.

posted on Nov, 22 2002 @ 10:02 PM
The point about where does it say...? is well made and it will not be unnoticed that this thread potentially very interesting is remarkable for the lack of Scriptural reference -not a line until Byrd: as a result of which, much is merely unsubstantiated (not to mention un-substantiable) assertion.

To be sure, the topic cannot be discussed without some sort of study of what Jesus is reported to have said and what was said about him, before and after his mortal life.
He appears to have been assiduous in not claiming to be the Messiah the Jews expected and was fond of saying, in effect: if you say so when questioned as to his title or nature.
What is said of him clearly puts him in a long rabbinical tradition: Isaiah, Micah...many more. Perhaps the mention in Daniels vision is best known:

I saw in the night visions, and, behold, [one] like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion [is] an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom [that] which shall not be destroyed.
(Daniel 7

Names such as Son of Man (quite literal: "huios anthropou" in the Greek, "bar enash" in the Hebrew have meaning and resonances when put in an OT context.
To be the Son of man is to be the Messiah (even if it is a very different Messiah from the one the Rabbis expected)

As for Jesus claiming his divinity again he seems to have left it to others and most of the evidence comes in the NT after the Gospels the Pauline tradition is the most influential.
However, in the markedly Greek and philosophical Book of John with its emphasis on Christs identity with the Word, we have the familiar:
Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw [it], and was glad. Then said the Jews unto him, Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham? Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am. John 8:
and quite explicitly -John gives us Doubting Thomas and an unambiguous statement of the Evangelists purpose.

Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust [it] into my side: and be not faithless, but believing. And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God.
Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed [are] they that have not seen, and [yet] have believed. And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book:
But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name. John 20

In short, there is much scriptural evidence to suggest that Jesus asserted his divinity none to suggest he denied it and everything to counter any absurdity along the lines of he said he was just a man.

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