Originally posted by Logician
Actually, no serious scholar today doubts the historicity of Jesus. All of these following historians mention Jesus of Nazareth as a historical figure
who existed in the first century CE, or they mention Christ......
There are several contemporary scholars who argue Jesus was a myth:
* Robert Price
* Earl Doherty
* Hermann Detering
* Freke and Gandy
* Prof. G.A. Wells
Furthermore, there have been MANY authors who have argued Jesus is a myth -
* C.F. Dupuis, 1791, Abrege De L'Origine Des Cultes
* Robert Taylor, 1829, Diegesis
* Bruno Bauer, 1841, Criticism of the Gospel History of the Synoptics
* Mitchell Logan, 1842, Christian Mythology Unveiled
* David Friedrich Strauss, 1860, The Life of Jesus Critically Examined
* Kersey Graves, 1875, The World's Sixteen Crucified Saviours
* T.W. Doane, 1882, Bible Myths and their Parallels in Other Religions
* Gerald Massey, 1886, Historical Jesus and Mythical Christ
* Thomas Whittaker, 1904, The Origins of Christianity
* William Benjamin Smith, 1906, Der vorchristliche Jesus
* Albert Kalthoff, 1907, The Rise of Christianity
* M.M. Mangasarian, 1909, The Truth About Jesus ? Is He a Myth?
* Arthur Drews, 1910, The Christ Myth
* John M. Robertson, 1917, The Jesus Problem
* Georg Brandes, 1926, Jesus – A Myth
* Joseph Wheless, 1930, Forgery in Christianity
* L.Gordon Rylands, 1935, Did Jesus Ever Live?
* Edouard Dujardin, 1938, Ancient History of the God Jesus
* P.L. Couchoud, 1939, The Creation of Christ
* Alvin Boyd Kuhn, 1944, Who is this King of Glory?
* Karl Kautsky, 1953, The Foundations of Christianity
* Herbert Cutner, 1950, Jesus: God, Man, or Myth?
* Guy Fau, 1967, Le Fable de Jesus Christ
Originally posted by Logician
Thallus (c. 50-75AD) ,Phlegon (First century) , Josephus (Antiquities of the Jews, c.93), Letter from Pliny the Younger to Trajan (c. 110), Tacitus
(Annals, c.115-120) , Suetonius (Lives of the Caesars, c. 125) , Galen (various writings, c.150), Celsus (True Discourse, c.170). ,Mara Bar Serapion
(pre-200?) ,Talmudic References( written after 300 CE, but some refs probably go back to eyewitnesses), Lucian (Second century) Numenius (Second
cent.) , Galerius (Second Cent.)
Here we go again ...
You've never checked these have you Logician?
You just posted them from an apologist site.
Here are the facts -
We have NO certain evidence when Thallus lived or wrote,
there are NONE of Thallus works extant.
What 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
refered to a known eclipse, but that LATER Christians interpreted his comment to mean their darkness. (Also note the supposed reference to Thallus in
Eusebius is a mis-reading.)
Richard Carrier the historian has a good page on Thallus:
Thallus is NO evidence for Jesus at all - merely 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 said anything about Gospel events.
Phlegon is NO evidence for Jesus at all - merely Christian wishful thinking.
The famous Testamonium Flavianum is considered probably the best evidence for Jesus, yet:
* the T.F. uses clearly Christian phrases and names Christ as Messiah, it could not possibly have been written by a Jew (who refused to call anyone
* 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:
So, this passage is probably a total forgery (or a tampered form of a lost original.)
Such is the weakness of the evidence that this forgery is considered some of the best "evidence" for a historical Jesus of Nazareth.
PLINY the Younger
About 80 years after the alleged events (c.114CE), Pliny refered to Christians who worshipped a "Christ" as a god, but :
* there is no reference to a historical Jesus at all,
* merely a report of 2nd century Christian practice.
Pliny is no evidence for a historical Jesus of Nazareth.
Roughly 80 years after the alleged events Tacitus allegedly wrote a (now) famous passage about "Christ" - this passage has several problems
* 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 millenium, even early Christians who actively sought such passages.)
Thus, even if the Tacitus passage is not a later interpolation,
it is not evidence of a historical Jesus based on earlier Roman records,
merely a few details which Tacitus gathered from Christian stories circulating in his time (c.f. Pliny.)
Roughly 80-90 years after the alleged Gospel events, Suetonius refers to a "Chrestus" who stirred the Jews to trouble in Rome during Claudius'
* this "Chrestus" is a Greek name (from "good") 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,
* Jesus was never said to have lead the Jews in Rome into trouble during Claudius' time.
So, this passage is unlikely to refer to Jesus of Nazareth at all - I am surprised that this obviously un-related passage is cited so often.
Late 2nd century, Galen makes a few references to Christians, and briefly to Christ.
This is far too late to be evidence for Jesus.
You MUST be JOKING ?!
In late 2nd century Celsus wrote an ATTACK on the Gospels as FICTION based on MYTHs!
And you think this is evidence for Jesus?
Celsus wrote in On The True Doctrine: "Clearly the christians have used...myths... in fabricating the story of Jesus' birth...It is clear to me
that the writings of the christians are a lie and that your fables are not well-enough constructed to conceal this monstrous fiction"
Celsus was one of the greatest thinkers and most well-educated writers of the day, he was right in the thick of the action during the key period of
the formation of Christianity. He was well qualified to comment on the formation of the Gospels, his critique was so damaging that the Christians
eventually banned and destroyed every copy they could of this book, yet numerous quotations and refutations, and some fragments, have allowed
re-construction of much of this work.
MARA BAR SERAPION
A fragment which says -
"... 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 who this is referring too, but there is no evidence it is Jesus.
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 variant and quite different to the Gospel stories (e.g. one story has "Jesus" born about 100BC.)
the Talmud contains later Jewish responses to the Gospel stories,
the Talmud contains NO evidence for a historical Jesus.
Nearly one-and-a-half CENTURIES after the alleged events, Lucian satirised Christians as gullible and easily lead fools who believed anything, but
* this was several generations later,
* Lucian does NOT even mention Jesus or Christ by name.
Lucian is no evidence for a historical Jesus.
In the 3rd century, Origen claimed Numenius "quotes also a narrative regarding Jesus--without, however, mentioning His name"
This is not evidence for Jesus at all, merely later wishful thinking.
No such person is on record that I can find.
The only place his name is mentioned is on apologists sites, such as the one Logician pasted from.
Originally posted by Logician
Encyclopedia. Britannica says, in its discussion of the multipleextra-biblical witnesses (Tacitus, Josephus, the Talmud, etc.):"These independent
accounts prove that in ancient times even the opponentsof Christianity never doubted the historicity of Jesus, which was disputedfor the first time
and on inadequate grounds by several authors at the endof the 18th, during the 19th, and at the beginning of the 20th centuries."(Article on
Doubts existed from the earliest times -
Even in the BIBLE, we have -
2 John warning of those who don't
"acknowledge the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh".
Then, Trypho, (possibly Rabbi Tarphon), in early 2nd century , reportedly claimed the Christ was unknown to history (in the Dialogue with Justin
Martyr, he admits Jesus was a man who was crucified) :
“But Christ - if He has indeed been born, and exists anywhere - is unknown...”
The Christian father Polycarp's epistle refers to those who do not agree Jesus came in the flesh :
"For whosoever does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh, is antichrist"
The church father Minucius Felix, in mid 2nd century, explicitly denies that the incarnation and crucifixion are Christian doctrine
other horrible accusations :
"...he who explains their ceremonies by reference to a man punished by extreme suffering for his wickedness, and to the deadly wood of the cross,
appropriates fitting altars for reprobate and wicked men ... when you attribute to our religion the worship of a criminal and his cross you wander far
from the truth", and also: "Men who have died cannot become gods, because a god cannot die; nor can men who are born (become gods) ... Why, I pray,
are gods not born today, if such have ever been born?"
Church father Tatian, in later 2nd century, compared Christianity with pagan mythology and wrote:
“Compare you own stories with our narratives. Take a look at your own records and accept us merely on the grounds that we too tell
Church father Dionysius of Corinth, in late 2nd century, claims Christians were changing and faking his own letters just as they had changed the
"scriptures of the Lord "
Church father Caius, claimed the truth about Jesus was falsified from the late 2nd century :
"For they say that ... from ... Zephyrinus the truth was falsified ..."
Porphyry, in late 3rd century, claimed the Gospels were invented :
"... the evangelists were inventors – not historians”
Julian, in the 4th century, claimed Jesus was spurious and counterfeit :
"why do you worship this spurious son...a counterfeit son", "you have invented your new kind of sacrifice "
So, it is simply NOT TRUE to say that no-one doubted Jesus' existance until recent times.