Documentation of Christ
Critics of the bible are taking a new approach to
refute Christ, that is, to claim He never existed. However, these primary sources
(translated) strongly suggest the contrary.
- Flavius Josephus (Jewish Historian 37-100 A.D.)
- Antiquities of the Jews
- Book 18, Chapter 3, Paragraph 3 - "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."1
- Note: While some may notice that Josephus writes favorably, one must also know that this is in all the manuscripts. Albeit without the favorable writing the text still claims He existed.
- Book 20, Chapter 9, Paragraph 1 - "...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, [or, some
of his companions]; and when he had formed an accusation against them as breakers
of the law, he delivered them to be stoned..."2
- Tacitus (Roman Historian 56-120 A.D.)
- Book 15, Paragraph 44 - "...Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite
tortures 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 one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus..."3
- Suetonius (Roman Historian 69-122 ? A.D.)
- The Lives of the Twelve Caesars
- Book: Tiberius Claudius Drusus Caesar, Paragraph XXV - "He banished from Rome all the Jews, who were continually making disturbances at the instigation of one Chrestus"4
- Footnote: "[ Suetonius has already, in TIBERIUS, c. xxxvi., mentioned the expulsion
of the Jews from Rome, and this passage confirms the conjecture, offered in the
note, that the Christians were obscurely alluded to in the former notice. The antagonism
between Christianity and Judaism appears to have given rise to the tumults which
first led the authorities to interfere. Thus much we seem to learn from both passages:
but the most enlightened men of that age were singularly ill-informed on the stupendous
events which had recently occurred in Judaea, and we find Suetonius, although he
lived at the commencement of the first century of the Christian aera, when the memory
of these occurrences was still fresh, and it might be supposed, by that time, widely
diffused, transplanting Christ from Jerusalem to Rome, and placing him in the time
of Claudius, although the crucifixion took place during the reign of Tiberius. St.
Luke, Acts xviii. 2, mentions the expulsion of the Jews from Rome by the emperor
Claudius: Dio, however, says that he did not expel them, but only forbad their religious
assemblies. It was very natural for Suetonius to write Chrestus instead of Christus,
as the former was a name in use among the Greeks and Romans. Among others, Cicero
mentions a person of that name in his Fam. Ep. 11. 8.]"
- Pliny the Younger (Lawyer, Author, and Magistrate of Ancient Rome 62 ?-113)
- Letter to the emperor Trajan
- XCVII66 - "IT is my invariable rule, Sir, to refer to you in all matters where I feel doubtful; for who is more capable of removing my scruples, or informing my ignorance? Having never been present at any trials concerning those who profess Christianity, I am unacquainted not only with the nature of their crimes, or the measure of their punishment, but how far it is proper to enter into an examination concerning them..."5
- XCVII66 - "...They affirmed the whole of their guilt, or their error, was, that they met on a stated day before it was light, and addressed a form of prayer to Christ, as to a divinity, binding themselves by a solemn oath, not for the purposes of any wicked design, 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 eat in common a harmless meal..."6
- This text is referring to men who claimed to be Christians, but renounced their
faith when tribulation came. (see Matthew 13:20-21)
Josephus, Flavius. The Works of Flavius Josephus. http://www.sacred-texts.com/
Pliny, the Younger. The Letters of Pliny the Younger by the Younger Pliny.
Tacitus. The Works of Tacitus. http://sacred-texts.com/cla/
Tranquillus, C. Suetonius. THE LIVES OF THE TWELVE CAESARS. http://www.gutenberg.org/