reply to post by Annee
By saying "zero eye-witness testimony," you, of course, are discarding the testimony of John, who just happened to be standing by the cross while
Jesus was being crucified. After all, John was either some mythical figure or he was in on the conspiracy to start a movement of self-giving and
communal ministry and service.
You're also discarding the testimony of Mark, who traveled with Peter and wrote what the apostle preached. He didn't witness the crucifixion, but he
was there for the rest of Jesus' ministry...only to then turn around and fake his resurrection in order to start the community of love and grace
already mentioned...of course.
If you don't want to believe these obvious liars, there's always this, from Tacitus (AD 116):
"Nero fastened the guilt . . . on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace. Christus, from whom the name had its
origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of . . . Pontius Pilatus, and a most mischievous superstition, thus
checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judaea, the first source of the evil, but even in Rome."
Of course, this doesn't say he was raised from the dead, but it certainly testifies of Christ's existence. At least, that was the common belief as
of AD 116.
Pliny, ca AD 112, wrote to Emperor Trajan:
"They were in the habit of meeting on a certain fixed day before it was light, when they sang in alternate verses a hymn to Christ, as to a god, and
bound themselves by a solemn oath, not to any wicked deeds, but never to commit any fraud, theft or adultery, never to falsify their word, nor deny a
trust when they should be called upon to deliver it up; after which it was their custom to separate, and then reassemble to partake of food--but food
of an ordinary and innocent kind."
Such an evil cult.
Josephus, writing around AD 94, mentioned Jesus twice in his Antiquities of the Jews. Once, he recorded the death of James, the "brother Jesus the
so-called Christ." And, just for the sake of being complete, on another occasion, he is claimed to have made more explicit reference to Christ:
"At 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, a teacher of people
who with pleasure received the unusual. He stirred up both many Jews and many of 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 living (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 extinct."
This, of course, is very likely a later Christian forgery (and I'm actually being serious with that...Origen, for example, never made any reference
to it, when he really should have).
Now, is it really any wonder that no Roman records of Christ's crucifixion exist? How many times did Rome burn, destroying those records? None exist
today. It's not just records of Jesus being crucified that don't exist...it's official records of everyone who was crucified. I guess no one was
ever crucified by Rome.
There is evidence that Christ existed. What we don't have is secular evidence that he was raised from the dead. And are you really surprised by that?
Can you imagine what would have happened in the Empire if the Roman officials had actually declared that Jesus had been raised from the dead after
three days by the power of the God of the Jews?