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Ashley's two dozen

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posted on Jun, 1 2008 @ 05:56 PM
HEGESIPPUS (110 A.D. - 180 A.D.) Hegesippus converted to Christianity from Judaism after extensively
researching the Gospel story for himself. Instead of accepting the Gospel story at the word of others, he
travelled extensively throughout Rome and Corinth in an effort to collect evidence of the early Christian claims.
Hegesippus provides important testimony that the stories being passed around were not watered down,
embellished, or fabricated.

"This man [James] was a true witness to both Jews and Greeks that Jesus is the Christ... The Corinthian church
continued in the true doctrine until Primus became bishop. I mixed with them on my voyage to Rome and spent
several days with the Corinthians, during which we were refreshed with the true doctrine. On arrival at Rome I
pieced together the succession down to Anicetus, whose deacon was Eleutherus, Anicetus being succeeded by
Soter and he by Eleutherus. In ever line of bishops and in every city things accord with the preaching of the Law,
the Prophets, and the Lord." The History of the Church

Perhaps of all the figures mentioned in this section, no one uses more extra-biblical resource evidence than
Hegesippus (in fact, he hardly uses Biblical testimony at all!). Because his entire manuscript is basically a
compilation of outside research, I'll only list a few examples:

* Hegesippus describes the ministry and demise of James (Jesus' brother) at the hands of the pharisees.
These accounts were not mentioned in the New Testament.
* Hegesippus fervently retraced the roots of the early church and states he did so in order to ensure the
circulating testimonies concerning Christ were genuine.
* In his research, Hegesippus recounts the ministries of several witnesses (primarily church fathers) not
included in the Bible.
* Hegesippus documents the interrogation of Jesus' grand-nephews by Domitian and records they lived into
the reign of Trojan.
* Hegesippus documents the martyrdom of Bishop Symeon, (the son of Cleopas mentioned in Luke 24:18).
He was believed to be either a relative, disciple, and/or contemporary of Jesus.
* Hegesippus addresses heresies being spread by differing sects, implying he did not focus his research
solely on Biblical teachings.

posted on Jun, 1 2008 @ 05:56 PM

The Bible has been accused on several occasions of committing historical errors but has later been proven
accurate through archaeological finds. For instance, the Old Testament mentions a tribe of people known as the
Hittites. Skeptics pointed out there was no such civilization in history yet in the 19th century records of the
Hittites were discovered within Assyrian ruins. Today we know a lot about the Hittites such as their language,
craftsmanship, geography, and empire chronology. The New Testament mentions the pool of Bethesda as a place
where Jesus healed a paralytic. No such location was known to exist until it was discovered in Jerusalem as a
place where the sick would gather to seek healing. Just because an artifact has not yet been recovered does not
mean none exist. Lastly, though the discovery of an artifact may be interesting, it would never be enough for the
devout skeptic. Even a non-biased archaeologist would have a hard time proving a relic's authenticity.

In regards to personal writings, Socrates, for example, exists only in the writings of his students. There is not a
single document still in existence that contains his original works. If we apply the same logic with Socrates
skeptics use to determine Jesus' historicity, we must assume Socrates was a figment of the imagination of his
students. But if we are to accept Socrates as a historical figure based on four secondary accounts, we must also
accept Jesus as a historical figure whose life was documented by His disciples, historians, and those who rejected
His divine claims. When skeptics claim there is a difference between a man such as Socrates and Jesus, they
would be absolutely correct- Jesus had more accounts written about Him.


Critics claim because some accounts were recorded after Jesus' life they cannot be considered historically
reliable. But this skepticism comes from a misunderstanding of antiquity. We need to place ourselves in a time
where 95% of the population was illiterate. If I really wanted to get this research across to the typical English
speaking American, I would not post this website in Latin! Likewise, documenting the Gospels preserved the
accounts for future generations but oral evangelism was the practical method in making the Gospel available to
the current population. Whether the accounts were written the day after Jesus' ascension or 30 years later, the
fact is they were still penned by either the original witnesses or during the lives of the original witnesses who
could confront heretical accounts.

Jesus also concentrated His ministry in various provinces of Judea- not secular hubs of the ancient world like
Rome or Alexandria. Christianity spread into the surrounding areas after the life of Jesus. I would be far more
suspicious of a Roman historian writing an excerpt about Jesus in 30 A.D. rather approximately 95 A.D. when
Christianity had reached Rome. When critics argue the only first hand accounts of Jesus' life are found in the
Bible, it makes me wonder where else they think should be. Jesus' ministry only lasted three years and was
limited to Judea (considered the ghetto of the Roman Empire). There would have been no reason given the short
time frame and limited area of Jesus' ministry to have been exhaustively recorded in Roman literature without
the accusation of forgery.


Critics mention two important events that appear not to be recorded in secular history: the darkness that
occurred after Jesus' crucifixion and the slaughter of the innocents by Herod the Great. As stated previously in
this discussion, the midday darkness which occurred after Jesus' death is mentioned by the secular historian
Thallus and Phlegon (though they try to dismiss the event as a solar eclipse). The event is also mentioned by
Christian apologists Origen and Philopon but I only focused on the secular accounts due to their critical origins.

The shocking nature of the slaughter of the innocents would make one think all historians would have recorded
such an event. Even Josephus records atrocities committed by Herod against those he believed had ambitions of
attaining his throne. Herod even murdered his two sons of Maccabean heritage for fear they would overthrow
him. History shows Herod was a very paranoid ruler who was willing to do what was needed to maintain his
position. If he had ordered the slaughter of all males under two years of age, it would have been well within his
character. We must also realize that Bethlehem was a small village- not a raging metropolis. If the village only
had a few hundred residents, as is ascertained, statistically this would make the number of males under the age
of two around twenty in number.

But Herod's character and the amount of victims is not proof of this event. Where is the actual evidence that this
event occurred? If we can consider the eye witness account of Matthew reliable, we can accept his version of the
events. But if we are looking for extra-Biblical sources, we can consider the following passage:

"When Augustus heard that Herod king of the Jews had ordered all the boys in Syria under the age of two years
to be put to death and that the king's son was among those killed, he said, 'I'd rather be Herod's pig than Herod’s
son.'" Macrobius

Unlike the account mentioned in the book of Matthew, Macrobius mentions the massacre taking place in Syria and
combines the event with the murder of Herod's sons. Because Palestine was considered a Syrian province at the
time, Macrobius could be referring to the vicinity of Bethlehem. Due to the difference between Macrobius' and
Matthew's account and knowing Macrobius was a pagan, we can assume Macrobius used an independent source
for his writings.

From the Catholic Encyclopedia (paraphrased): "Herod's ruling passions were jealousy and ambition, which urged
him to sacrifice even those that were nearest and dearest to him: murder was an equally good means to an end.
The slaughter of the Innocents squares perfectly with what history relates of him, and Matthew's statement is not
contradicted by the silence of Josephus- for he follows Nicholas of Damascus who was a courtier to Herod.
Macrobius states that Augustus, having heard about the children Herod had ordered slain in Syria was the king's
own son, remarked 'It is better to be Herod's swine than his son.' Cruel as the slaughter may appear to us, it
disappears among the cruelties of Herod. It cannot surprise us that history does not speak of it. The author
shows, as others have done, that the number of children slain may not have been very great."


Critics cite the lack of a physical description of Jesus as evidence that He never existed. In fact, the only
reference to His human appearance is a prophecy found in Isaiah! Yet, the fact there is no known physical
depiction of Jesus doesn't mean He never existed. Even if a painting or sculpture did exist it's authenticity would
certainly be disputed. Furthermore, many other figures of antiquity have no contemporary image depicting their
appearance yet we can believe they existed.

Even if there were entire manuscripts dedicated to detailing Jesus' appearance or museums filled with first
century artwork depicting Jesus, it still would not prove He existed. There are paintings and sculptures of
mythological Greek and Egyptian deities, fairy tale creatures, and fictional characters of literature. Aphrodite,
Paul Bunyan, Dorian Gray, Isis, and Peter Pan all have artwork depicting their appearances yet they are
imaginary figures. A physical depiction or lack of one neither proves nor disproves one's existence.

A very good reason there may be no images of Jesus is to prevent the sin of idolatry. Original images of Jesus
would certainly be considered holy relics by some people. Many believers would turn their attention away from
Jesus as the Son of God to the man-made images of an earthly Jesus.

posted on Jun, 1 2008 @ 05:56 PM

Other than Justin Martyr's mention above when he refers his readers to the tax registers that document Jesus'
birth, there really was no need to have done so in their opinion. If I was to write a biography of a historical
figure, Adolph Hitler for example, I would find it unnecessary to dedicate an entire chapter to quotes,
photographs, and sources which confirm his existence. To us, he is known to be a historical figure. I would have
to anticipate 2,000 years from now there would be those who would doubt he ever existed. We know that only 65
years after the Holocaust there are people who deny its scope (even when faced with mounds of evidence that
verify the tragedy)! The authors of antiquity were discussing a figure known to exist. The burden of proof
revolved around Jesus' divinity- not existence- as we can see in the above testimony. The authors had no reason
to even suspect His actual existence would one day be in question.

I would also like to mention there is no text from this period of antiquity that argues Jesus did not exist. The
easiest way to silence the early Christians would be to prove the focal point of their beliefs was a lie- but this
never happened! Even the secular authors listed on this page do not argue Jesus' existence.


This argument leads to the false assumption that any author who was a contemporary of Jesus would find it
necessary to write about Him. We could dissect every single author of Jesus' lifetime, but because others have
already done so, I will simply give a brief synopsis. The three authors commonly mentioned are Pliny the Elder,
Seneca, and Philo Judeaus:

1. Pliny the Elder's area of expertise was natural phenomena. He dedicated his writings to the historical
sciences such as botany, geography, and zoology. In essence, he wrote scientific almanacs- not
religious history.
2. Philo Judeaus was a Jewish-Hellenistic philosopher- not a historian like many critics claim. He was also an
Egyptian-born Jew who served as an ambassador to Caligula for Jewish rights in Alexandria- not Judea.
3. Seneca was a Roman philosopher and rhetorician who concerned himself with philosophies, tragedies, and
meteorologies. His works were more literary than historical.

The miscellaneous others who are randomly mentioned may be dismissed for a variety of reasons including
geographical locations and areas of interest. In my opinion, the amount of evidence we do have regarding Jesus
is incredible considering there was no organized media at the time. Though given little attention at its onset,
secular authors had no choice but to take notice once Christianity began to spread like wildfire. This is when we
begin to see an explosion in written evidence concerning Jesus.

posted on Jun, 1 2008 @ 05:57 PM
A lot of evidence has been presented during this discussion to confirm Jesus Christ as a historical figure. We
have viewed accounts taken from numerous authors of different theological backgrounds and we have answered
some common skeptic questions concerning Jesus' historicity.

I purposely avoided using Biblical evidence to support the existence of Jesus because that would be "using the
Bible to prove the Bible." Instead we focused this study on extrabiblical sources. However, early Christian
historians and witnesses were unanimous in their accounts that several New Testament books were written by
eye witnesses of both Jesus and the apostolic ministry. If these authors were indeed eye witnesses, we can
believe they also provide evidence to the historicity of Jesus.

Some readers may be satisfied with such evidence, some may not. Whatever the case, I encourage you to
examine all the facts for yourself before reaching a logical conclusion.

posted on Jun, 1 2008 @ 06:02 PM
Well, there you go, Iason. They range from very solid to so-so to possible. If you need more just ask. We can also move on to New Testament sources by eye witnesses. Hopefully I don't look too psychotic doing what I just did but please remember it was done at your incessant request made in your two most recent threads and you were not content with a link to the subject matter.

I expect complete rebuttals to all of my points on my desk by morning, Sir.

Please be thorough and leave no stone unturned. I will reply to you once I see you have refuted every source, argument, and skeptical interjection.


[edit on 6/1/2008 by AshleyD]

posted on Jun, 1 2008 @ 06:38 PM
An obvious source that's been overlooked is

"Truly this was the son of God." (John Wayne 1962)

posted on Jun, 1 2008 @ 06:57 PM

Originally posted by Iasion

Originally posted by AshleyD
You will have to pardon my laziness of only providing links at this time.

I posted my arguments here at length and in detail.
But you won't do the same.

I could just as easily post a link and say :
"here, this link proves you wrong".
But we all know debate by link is not acceptable.

In short - Ashley has failed to support his claim of 2 dozen historical evidences for Jesus.

Agreed. There is NO historical evidence at all that I've ever seen or heard of that refers to jesus christ. The 'evidence' on Ashley's website is at times verging on hysterically funny. 'Some christians were willing to die for their god' is NOT evidence for their gods existence. Period.

There were literally dozens of madman wandering around Israel around 20AD or thereabouts claiming to be the 'Messiah'. That much IS historically proven.


Claiming that famous roman astonomers did NOT record amazing astronomical events like the 'darkening of the whole world' because they thought it might be supernatural, therefore not worth them recording, is evidence only of the actual scarcity of any real evidence for jesus's existence.

As I already knew from many years of reading on the subject matter myself - there actually is no historical evidence out there at all. So this thread is just another christian paper usual.


[edit on 1-6-2008 by jimbo999]

posted on Jun, 1 2008 @ 07:28 PM

Originally posted by jimbo999
There is NO historical evidence at all that I've ever seen or heard of that refers to jesus christ.

I would like to draw everyone's attention to the blatantly false statement 'NO historical evidence at all.' We can debate the evidence and I am sure we will. However this statement is obviously false as my spam fest proves. There is evidence of Jesus and it is historical. Therefore, historical evidence. And we didn't even take into consideration the New Testament as a source which is also historical evidence.

Such statements verify the futility of debating this topic with those who don't have a problem of not understanding the evidence but who refuse at all costs to accept the evidence. Out of everything I posted, this was Jimbo's main argument on which he focused:

'Some christians were willing to die for their god' is NOT evidence for their gods existence. Period.

This argument was already refuted and I even said dying for one's belief only shows the sincerity of that person's belief- not proof that what they believe is true. However, what sense would it make for 1st century Christians to die for a man they knew did not exist? Are you telling me those living 2,000 years after the fact know more of the ANE than those living in that period? My previously posted rebuttal is more thorough but that is the Cliff Notes version.

posted on Jun, 2 2008 @ 12:26 PM
Now that is A LOT of information. All of it is very interesting.

I found the Babylonian Talmud to be the most convincing of all the non-Biblical sources. Mainly because a source of Jewish history will be known beyond a shadow of doubt to speak of actual historical events through the eyes of a Jewish point of view. So nobody can make the accusation of Christian interpolation.

Pretty much all of the information was pretty compelling though. Very nice work, Ashley.

posted on Jun, 2 2008 @ 03:33 PM
References to Jesus of Nazareth in Ancient Non-Christian Literature
Some Christian apologists commonly claim that the events described in the New Testament are independently attested to in writings by non-Christians, thereby supporting the accuracy of the New Testament. This FAQ contains a summary of alleged references to Jesus and to early Christianity, with special emphasis on the writings of Josephus and on pagan writers. I have omitted discussion of references to Jesus in the Talmud and other Jewish religious writings, as well as the gnostic Christian texts. While these writings are themselves important, they tend to contradict New Testament accounts, and so are seldom cited by Christian apologists.

Several problems confront a study such as this. For one, it is known that some texts have been corrupted over time, or have been changed by unscrupulous copyists. Thus, it is not always possible to separate later interpolations from the original writings. (See the section on Josephus for an example of this.) Second of all, some texts have been lost, and are only known through quotations in secondary sources. In addition, not only have some alleged references to Jesus been lost as primary sources, but some early criticisms of Christianity were suppressed by the early Church and no longer survive. Furthermore, of the surviving texts, both pro-Christian and otherwise, many texts cannot be dated with precision, or survive in more than one form. Thus, caution is warranted in interpreting material.

A reader of the ancient texts is struck by how little the literature has to say about events in the New Testament. For example, Herod's infamous murder of the Innocents (in which he ordered the slaughter of hundreds of children), while playing a major role in the New Testament, is not mentioned by any other source, including the various accounts of Herod's reign. Likewise, Josephus' account of first century Palestine devotes much more attention to John the Baptist than to Jesus.

Finally, some comment must be made on the issue of "independent confirmation". Even if a reference to Jesus in a text is authentic, and not a later Christian insertion, that text may not provide any new information. For instance, if a writer is merely repeating what he was told by Christians, who in turn derive their information from the New Testament, then the text in question does not provide independent confirmation of the New Testament, as the claims involved are ultimately derived from the NT. An example of what might constitute independent confirmation would be an eyewitness account by a non-Christian author, or an entry in a Roman legal document. These sources would presumably not be mere repetitions of what Christians believed to have happened, but instead might offer actual independent confirmation.

I am indebted to Michael Martin's "The Case Against Christianity" for much of the information presented here. While I disagree with some of Martin's conclusions, his work presents a starting point for consideration of the sources. I am particularly thankful to the following alt.atheism readers, who contributed both information and criticism of this work: Geoff Arnold, Ray Ingles, Jeff Lowder, James Lippard, Jim Perry,,,, and Any errors in this text are mine, not theirs.

Scott Oser

posted on Jun, 2 2008 @ 03:35 PM
Josephus and Jesus
The Jewish historian Flavius Josephus, writing during the second half of the first century CE, produced two major works: History of the Jewish War and Antiquities of the Jews. Two apparent references to Jesus occur in the second of these works. The longer, and more famous passage, occurs in Book 18 of Antiquities and reads as follows (taken from the standard accepted Greek text of Antiquities 18:63-64 by L. H. Feldman in the Loeb Classical Library):

About this time there lived Jesus, a wise man, if indeed one ought to call him a man. For he was one who wrought surprising feats and as a teacher of such people as accept the truth gladly. He won over many Jews and many of the Greeks. He was the Messiah. When Pilate, upon hearing him accused by men of the highest standing amongst us, had condemned him to be crucified, those who had in the first place come to love him did not give up their affection for him. On the third day he appeared to them restored to life, for the prophets of God had prophesied these and countless other marvellous things about him. And the tribe of the Christians, so called after him, has still to this day not disappeared.

This passage is called the Testimonium Flavianum, and is sometimes cited by propagandists as independent confirmation of Jesus' existence and resurrection. However, there is excellent reason to suppose that this passage was not written in its present form by Josephus, but was either inserted or amended by later Christians:

The early Christian writer Origen claims that Josephus did NOT recognize Jesus as the Messiah, in direct contradiction to the above passage, where Josephus says, "He was the Messiah." Thus, we may conclude that this particular phrase at least was a later insertion. (The version given above was, however, known to Jerome and in the time of Eusebius. Jerome's Latin version, however, renders "He was the Messiah" by "He was believed to be the Christ.") Furthermore, other early Christian writers fail to cite this passage, even though it would have suited their purposes to do so. There is thus firm evidence that this passage was tampered with at some point, even if parts of it do date back to Josephus.
The passage is highly pro-Christian. It is hard to imagine that Josephus, a Pharisaic Jew, would write such a laudatory passage about a man supposedly killed for blasphemy. Indeed, the passage seems to make Josephus himself out to be a Christian, which was certainly not the case.
Many Biblical scholars reject the entire Testimonium Flavianum as a later Christian insertion. However, some maintain that Josephus's work originally did refer to Jesus, but that Christian copyists later expanded and made the text more favorable to Jesus. These scholars cite such phrases as "tribe of Christians" and "wise man" as being atypical Christian usages, but plausible if coming from a first century Palestinian Jew. Of course, a suitably clever Christian wishing to "dress up" Josephus would not have much trouble imitating his style.

Philip Burns ( has provided some of the following material on the following alternate versions or reconstructions of the Testimonium Flavianum.

One possible reconstruction of the Testimonium Flavianum, suggested by James Charlesworth, goes like this, with probably Christian interpolations enclosed in brackets:

posted on Jun, 2 2008 @ 03:36 PM
About this time there was Jesus, a wise man, [if indeed one ought to call him a man]. For he was one who performed surprising works, and) a teacher of people who with pleasure received the unusual. He stirred up both many Jews and also many of the Greeks. [He was the Christ.] And when Pilate condemned him to the cross, since he was accused by the first-rate men among us, those who had been loving (him from) the first did not cease (to cause trouble), [for he appeared to them on the third day, having life again, as the prophets of God had foretold these and countless other marvelous things about him]. And until now the tribe of Christians, so named from him, is not (yet?) extinct.

In Charlesworth's version, references to Jesus' resurrection, Messiahship, and possible divinity ("if indeed one ought to call him a man") are removed. These elements are clearly unacceptable coming from a non-Christian Jew such as Josephus. If in fact Josephus's original text mentioned Jesus at all, it was certainly much closer to this version than to the highly pro-Christian one which has survived. One possible problem with Charlesworth's reconstruction is the use of the term "Christians"--it is not clear from the reconstructed text why "Christians" would be named after Jesus, unless Josephus had previously referred to him as "Christ". It seems inconsistent to delete the reference to Jesus being "Christ", but to keep the suggestion that this is how Christians got their name.

A reconstruction by F.F. Bruce sidesteps this particular problem by having Josephus take a more hostile stance towards Jesus:

"Now there arose about this time a source of further trouble in one Jesus, a wise man who performed surprising works, a teacher of men who gladly welcome strange things. He led away many Jews, and also many of the Gentiles. He was the so-called Christ. When Pilate, acting on information supplied by the chief men among us, condemned him to the cross, those who had attached themselves to him at first did not cease to cause trouble, and the tribe of Christians, which has taken this name from him, is not extinct even today.

Bruce's version also seems somewhat inconsistent, calling Jesus a "wise man" while also identifying him as a source of trouble and as someone who "led away many Jews". A further problem concerns the reference to Jesus's ministry among the Gentiles. In Jesus: A Historian's Review of the Gospels, Michael Grant argues that Jesus in fact avoided ministering to Gentiles, and that a Christian Gentile ministry arose only after his death. If Grant is right, then Josephus is confusing the actions of Jesus with the actions of the early Christian church.

A late Arabic recension of this passage in Josephus comes from Agapius's Book of the Title, a history of the world from its beginning to 941/942 C.E. Agapius was a tenth century Christian Arab and Melkite bishop of Hierapolis. The following translation is by S. Pines:

"Similarly Josephus, the Hebrew. For he says in the treatises that he has written on the governance (?) of the Jews: "At this time there was a wise man who was called Jesus. His conduct was good, and he was known to be virtuous. And many people from among the Jews and the other nations became his disciples. Pilate condemned him to be crucified and to die. But those who had become his disciples did not abandon his discipleship. They reported that he had appeared to them three days after his crucifixion, and that he was alive; accordingly he was perhaps the Messiah, concerning whom the prophets have recounted wonders."

posted on Jun, 2 2008 @ 03:37 PM
While some have argued that this passage may be close to the original, one should note especially that this version is from a much later text, and that Josephus at least admits the possibility that Jesus was the Messiah, which seems unlikely. These two facts make this version suspect. In fact, E. Bammel argues that the passage reflects the conflicts between Christianity and Islam in Agapius's time, rather than being a genuine reflection of the original text.

The consensus, if there is such a thing, would seem to be that:

The Testimonium Flavianium preserved in the extant Greek is not the original text. At best, certain phrases within it are later Christian insertions. At worst, the entire passage is a later insertion.
In particular, Josephus probably did not claim that Jesus was the Messiah, or that he rose from the dead. At best, he only confirms that Jesus existed and perhaps was killed by Pilate.
Josephus apparently refers to Jesus in passing later in the "Antiquities", where we find this passage:

"so he [Ananus, son of Ananus the high priest] assembled the sanhedrin of judges, and brought before him the brother of Jesus, who was called Christ, whose name was James, and someothers (or some of his companions) and when he had formed an accusation against them, he delivered them to be stoned." (Antiquities 20.9.1)

Opinion about this passage is mixed. Some scholars believe that it is a later Christian insertion, like the Testimonium Flavianium may be, but of course much less blatantly so. Others believe that the passage may in fact be genuine. No adequate means of deciding the issue exists at this time. However, those who argue for Jesus's non-existence note that Josephus spends much more time discussing John the Baptist and various other supposed Messiahs than he does discussing Jesus. However, while there is some reason to believe that this second passage is a fabrication, there is not enough evidence to definitely conclude this.

On the whole, it seems at least plausible that Josephus made some references to Jesus in the original version of Antiquities of the Jews. However, the extent of these references is very uncertain, and clear evidence of textual corruption does exist. While Josephus may be the best non-Christian source on Jesus, that is not saying much.

Tacitus and Jesus
In his Annals, Cornelius Tacitus (55-120 CE) writes that Christians

"derived their name and origin from Christ, who, in the reign of Tiberius, had suffered death by the sentence of the procurator Pontius Pilate" (Annals 15.44)

Two questions arise concerning this passage:

Did Tacitus really write this, or is this a later Christian interpolation?
Is this really an independent confirmation of Jesus's story, or is Tacitus just repeating what some Christians told him?
Some scholars believe the passage may be a Christian interpolation into the text. However, this is not at all certain, and unlike Josephus's Testimonium Flavianum, no clear evidence of textual tampering exists.

The second objection is much more serious. Conceivably, Tacitus may just be repeating what he was told by Christians about Jesus. If so, then this passage merely confirms that there were Christians in Tacitus' time, and that they believed that Pilate killed Jesus during the reign of Tiberius. This would not be independent confirmation of Jesus's existence. If, on the other hand, Tacitus found this information in Roman imperial records (to which he had access) then that could constitute independent confirmation. There are good reasons to doubt that Tacitus is working from Roman records here, however. For one, he refers to Pilate by the wrong title (Pilate was a prefect, not a procurator). Secondly, he refers to Jesus by the religious title "Christos". Roman records would not have referred to Jesus by a Christian title, but presumably by his given name.

posted on Jun, 2 2008 @ 03:37 PM
Thus, there is excellent reason to suppose that Tacitus is merely repeating what Christians said about Jesus, and so can tell us nothing new about Jesus's historicity.


Suetonius and Jesus
In his The Lives of the Caesars, Suetonius, writing around 120 CE, states:

"Since the Jews constantly made disturbances at the instigation of Chrestus [Emperor Claudius in 49 CE] expelled them from Rome." (Claudius 5.25.4)
Occasionally this passage is cited as evidence for Jesus's historicity. However, there are serious problems with this interpretation:

"Chrestus" is the correct Latin form of an actual Greek name, and is not obviously a mispelling of "Christus", meaning Christ.
The passage seems to imply that there was actually someone named Chrestus at Rome at the time. This rules out a reference to Jesus.
Even if Suetonius is referring to Christians in Rome, this only confirms the existence of Christians, not the existence of Jesus. There is no doubt that there were Christians in Rome during the first century CE--this of course does NOT imply that Jesus actually lived during the first half of this century.
Thus, Suetonius fails to confirm the historicity of Jesus.

posted on Jun, 2 2008 @ 03:38 PM
Thallus and Jesus
In a lost work referred to by Julius Africanus in the third century, the pagan writer Thallus reportedly claimed that Jesus's death was accompanied by an earthquake and darkness. However, the original text is in fact lost, and we can confirm neither the contents of the text or its date. It is possible that Thallus was merely repeating what was told to him by Christians, or that the passage which Africanus cites is a later interpolation. Outside of the New Testament, no other references to earthquakes or unusual darkness occur in the contemporary literature. This is very surprising, given the effect these sorts of events would presumably have had on the populace.


Pliny the Younger and Jesus
Pliny the Younger, writing near 100 CE, corresponded regularly with the emperor Trajan. In these writings, Pliny specifically mentions and describes the beliefs and practices of Christians in Asia Minor, and asks Trajan's advice about what action to take against them, if any. However, Pliny's writings provide no independent confirmation of the events of the New Testament, but merely show that there were indeed Christians living in Asia Minor.

posted on Jun, 2 2008 @ 04:52 PM
reply to post by Terra Serranum

Your rebuttals to the information that Ashley posted are based on speculations and "what if" type senarios, none of which can be proven. And all of which have already been answered in the "skeptic interjection" portions of Ashley's posts.

Please read more carefully next time.

[edit on 6/2/2008 by Lightmare]

posted on Jun, 2 2008 @ 04:52 PM
I have a question for you, Terra. I started with your very first reply that you pasted from elsewhere and began breaking it down in quoted segments in order for me to reply to you. However, upon reading your arguments I realized I had already answered most of those arguments. So I went back and scanned through your other posts but ~90% of that author's arguments were already answered by myself in this thread. So, I am a little confused.

If you want me to respond to your arguments I have already answered in this thread by linking to whichever one of my posts contains the rebuttal then answer whatever new arguments you pose, I will be happy to do so. I'm just not sure why I am being given arguments I have already answered in this very thread.


posted on Jun, 2 2008 @ 04:57 PM

Originally posted by Lightmare
And all of which have already been answered in the "skeptic interjection" portions Ashley's posts.

Please read more carefully next time.

Thank you Lightmare. I thought I was losing my mind there for a minute. I just asked the poster the same thing while you must have been typing your reply also asking him about that. I started out replying immediately (I never read comments before clicking the quote button if I already know I'm going to reply to it) then thought, 'Hey. Wait a minute. I've already answered all of this.'

posted on Jun, 2 2008 @ 05:11 PM
Ah. NM. He is offline now. Ok. Linkies, then. It's either this or get back to house cleaning.


reply to post by Terra Serranum

General Objections. Already Answered:

reply to post by Terra Serranum

Objections to Josephus' Testimonum. Already Answered:

reply to post by Terra Serranum

Objections to Tacitus. Already Answered:

reply to post by Terra Serranum

Objections to Suetonius. Already Answered:

reply to post by Terra Serranum

Objections to Thallus. Already Answered:

Objections to Pliny. Already Answered:


Now I'll scan through your posts to see if there is anything not already answered and will reply after this post if I see anything.

EDIT: I went back and looked. Not seeing anything that wasn't really covered already. If anything there were just a couple of 'what if' scenarios like Lightmare mentioned. No real objections substantiated by evidence but instead only speculative cogs being thrown into the works. If I missed something please let me know.

[edit on 6/2/2008 by AshleyD]

posted on Jun, 2 2008 @ 05:33 PM
reply to post by Terra Serranum

If your going to counter an argument, don't just copy and paste from here,
it makes you look like a plagiarist.

AshleyD already covered Josephus, saying she wasn't sure he WASN'T added on to.

edit for spelling.

[edit on 2-6-2008 by Clearskies]

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