This is why it might be helpful to point out the purpose of this post as stated in my opening paragraph. The main point is to highlight non-Christian sources regarding Jesus' existence, not necessarily to "prove" all of the events mentioned solely based on that non-Christian history. The non-Christian sources give us facts that actually agree with the multiple, independent eyewitness testimony we find in the New Testament documents. Many of the non-Christian sources I cite were actually hostile to Christianity—and yet they agree with the eyewitnesses on many things.
That lends credibility to both Christian and non-Christian sources. You wrote, "if they were prepared to die for their beliefs at the hands of Nero, so what? If we combine the non-Christian testimony with the Christian sources early church fathers and NT documents , what we find are men who were actual eyewitnesses to the events of Jesus' life. They claimed they saw Him risen from the dead, and then were willing to be tortured and killed for that belief—never recanting, cutting a deal with the government, or trying to save their own skin.
People might die for what they think is true, but no one would die for what they know is a lie—and these were the eyewitnesses who would have known if it were a lie.
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That is very convincing evidence that Jesus was, in fact, resurrected from the dead. Wright put it, "As a historian, I cannot explain the rise of early Christianity unless Jesus rose again, leaving an empty tomb behind him. Once you are willing to die for a "fact" then that fact is real? This is why I laugh at Christian logic.. Coz there is none. No matter what, you twist real facts to accommodate your beliefs. Hi Kim, Thanks for your comment.
If you re-read mine, you'll see that I never inferred that just because someone is willing to die for something—that makes it real. If you want to appeal to logic, that is a straw man argument. I stated that the actual eyewitnesses were willing to suffer and die maintaining the claim that they had seen Jesus risen from the dead.
That fact is good evidence that they were telling the truth about what they saw. How do you best explain that fact? Regarding your point 7 - you can't have a solar eclipse during a FULL moon. Was the source mis-quoted, or was the source just wrong? Hi Sandy, The Bible simply says that there was "darkness over the land.
The main point is that the darkness recorded in the Bible is also recorded by non-Christian history, even if the non-Christian source misunderstood what caused it. A person's belief in something is not proof of that something's existence. Children have "evidence" of the Tooth Fairy and Santa Clause. And they truly believe that those things exist. But that does little to prove the existence of either.
Belief alone, even first hand witness statements, are not proof that anything exists or happened.
A simple Google search will show you just how unreliable witness statements are - from police archives themselves. With every hand that the statement passes through, the odds of it being what actually happened decrease.
- What is the historical evidence that Jesus Christ lived and died?!
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The only things that we have that are testable are the promises that Jesus claims to have made. Like the promise of coming quickly We can only test the claims made in the Bible, like "Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. It has been disproven over and over by the Christian parents of children and children of parents who have prayed and agreed that their loved one would be healed only to watch them die. Sure, you can come up with excuses it wasn't God's will, and what not but this verse Matthew doesn't impose God's will upon the wishes of those asking IMHO, the most damning evidence against the Bible is the failure of verses like Matthew to deliver what Jesus promised they would.
Hi Jim, thanks for your thoughts. I certainly see where you're coming from with some of this. Have you considered that your interpretation of Matthew might be in tension with it's original context? The "two of you" who agree in verse 19 references back to the "two or three witnesses" in vs. In this context, if there is an unrepentant person, the highest level of discipline is to break fellowship. The community of "two or more" is acting with God's authority: "whatever they ask for it will be done for them by my Father in heaven," regarding the status of the unrepentant person. We know from the "parable of the lost sheep" just before this section that Jesus' heart is to bring the sinner back into the fold—but breaking fellowship until that time protects the rest of the flock—and ultimately helps restore the sinner.
Hey Nigel I am a lawyer. Did you know hearsay proof is often allowed in any courtroom under the exceptions to the hearsay rule?? Very nice. It is clear in my book that you chose to cite those writers who were NOT christian converts yet put on historical account the record that they came across, even though they were yet in opposition to it.
There is much more to cite if one wanted to go to those who were directly transformed by the life and resurrection of the Christ. Thanks for this post. The willingness of Christ's followers to die for their faith only proves that indeed, Christ had ressurected.
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I pray in the name of Jesus. Not just one but many will open their eyes to the proof that is laid before them. Prides and disbelief will shatter as they now accept that there was a Christ who died and was resurrected for our sins, Amen. The protests about Jesus's true identity and existence always fascinate me.
I don't believe in alla, buddha, etc. These other "gods" are not on my radar as valid or true any more than santa clause is and I certainly have never felt the need to publicly declare that or denounce them. The truth of the matter is, there is power in the name of Jesus. People are affected by His name. Some are repulsed, some are frightened, some are threatened, some are comforted, some are made curious. Personally I think those of you that are compelled to object are actually hungering for Him, and trying to deny that or blot it out.
Surrender Dear One. He awaits you with love. This is a huge misrepresentation. The facts presented in this post are either wrong or distorted. Most historians agree that the text written by Josephus was edited by Christian scribes. It he did write about Jesus, it was something unpleasant. So any reference to Josephus in invalid. Christus has been a regular name in Roman Empire. Virtually all references to non-Christian sources in this post are invalid. Except for sources saying that Christians existed in between AD.
There are however correct procedures and historical methods for proving the existence of historical Jesus. And most historians today agree that Jesus really existed.
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Hi Christian. The version of the Josephus quote that you cite is not the one I used. I used the one that most scholars agree is authentic see my reference notes.
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I agree that there is a version that was interpolated by Christian scribes, but I did not use it. As I commented to Nigel above—only a few scholars have argued that the entire Testimonium is a forgery, but the vast majority accept it as authentic. Also, that isn't the only time Josephus mentions Jesus. You have to go against the consensus of scholarship to say that it's invalid to cite Josephus. You say that there are "correct procedures and historical methods" for proving the historical Jesus. I'd love to hear about them Hi Barry, this post isn't really about Paul, but if you're interested in a good treatment of the objections you brought up, I recommend listening to this by N.
I have believed in and loved Jesus for 50 years now.. Praise His Wonderful Name! Also enjoyed your article - Thanks for sharing Very good. The past two summers I have taught at camps this information proving Jesus existed and was not a myth. Young people respond by 40 to 50 at a time.
They just need educated. Thank you for sharing this with your corner of the world.