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Old 03-07-2012, 12:23 AM
 
Location: Los Angeles, CA
70 posts, read 162,784 times
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ALTER2EGO -to- EVERYONE:

A favorite argument by non-believers is that Jesus Christ's existence is confined to the pages of the Judeo-Christian Bible. When presented with documentary evidence of his historical existence, Bible critics then use another ploy: they attack the credibility of those who confirmed the existence of Jesus Christ and/or they attack the credibility of what was written about Jesus Christ.

Below are three non-Christians from the 1st Century AD who mentioned Jesus Christ in their secular writings. The questions for debate are at the end of this post.

PERSON #1:
Name and Occupation: Cornelius Tacitus, Roman Historian

DOB to Date of Death: A.D. 55 to A.D. 120

Attitude Towards Christianity: Hostile

What He Said: He confirmed that CHRISTUS (a common misspelling of Christ at the time) was executed by Pilate.

Highlights on Tacitus: A Roman historian who lived through the reign of over a half-dozen Roman emperors, Tacitus has been called "the greatest historian of ancient Rome."


PERSON #2:
Name and Occupation: Flavius Josephus, Jewish Historian

DOB to Date of Death: 37 AD -- Died after 100 AD

Attitude Towards Christianity: Apathetic (could care less about them)

What He Said: He confirmed that Christ who performed miracles was executed by Pilate.

Highlights on Josephus: A Jewish historian of priestly and royal ancestry who recorded Jewish history, with special emphasis on the 1st century AD (the century in which Jesus Christ lived and died). He has been credited by many as recording some of the earliest history of Jesus Christ outside of the gospels. Flavius Josephus belonged to the group of Jewish religious leaders--the Pharisees--responsible for Jesus' death.

Flavius Josephus joined the zealots who rebelled against Roman rule between 66 and 74 AD, becoming a leader of their forces in Galilee, and living through the Roman destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70. He was captured by the Romans, and would have been executed, but he went over to their side and ended up becoming the Roman emperor's Adviser on Jewish Affairs.


PERSON #3:
Name and Occupation: Pliny The Younger (born Gaius Plinius Caecilius Secundus), Roman Governor

DOB to Date of Death: 61 AD to 112 AD

Attitude Towards Christianity: Hostile. He executed Christians

What He Said: Referred to Christ as a "god of the Christians."

Highlights on Pliny: Pliny condemned Men, Women, and children to death if they refused to curse Christ and if they refused to deny they were Christians.


DEBATE QUESTIONS:
1. All three of the individuals described above were people in powerful positions who were anti-Christian and belonged to groups that actively killed Christians. All three individuals belonged to organizations that were responsible for Jesus' death. What did they have to gain from mentioning the existence of Jesus Christ in their writings--thereby confirming his earthly existence?

2. Flavius Josephus, a Jew, was born a mere four years after Jesus was executed. He became a Jewish Pharisee as an adult, in addition to becoming a respected historian and advisor to the Roman emperor. Do you see anything significant to his being a Pharisee, a historian, and Roman emperor advisor--and the fact that he mentioned Jesus Christ in his writings?

3. Cornelius Tactitus was known as the greatest historian of his time, during which he lived through the reign of over a half-dozen Roman emperors. Do you see anything significant to his resume and the fact that he mentioned Jesus Christ in his writings?
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Old 03-07-2012, 12:31 AM
 
Location: Los Angeles, CA
70 posts, read 162,784 times
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ALTER2EGO -to- EVERYONE:

The three persons I referenced in my Opening Post have been quoted by many scholars who are experts at spotting forgeries. The writings by Flavius Josephus, Cornelius Tactitus, and Pliny the Younger have been authenticated. There will always be Bible critics coming up with unsubstantiated statements about forgeries, even when there is no evidence to support what they say. I will begin with evidence on Flavius Josephus.

In historian Flavius Josephus, I presented someone who was even closer to Jesus' culture than outsiders like Greek and Roman authors. I gave a JEWISH PHARISEE--someone belonging to the group of religious leaders responsible for Jesus' death.

Josephus was born around 37 AD--a mere four years after Jesus Christ was executed. As an adult, he became a Jewish Pharisee--the very same religious leaders that instigated the Romans into killing Jesus. Josephus' position as a Jewish Pharisee gave him easy access to the Pharisees' documentation of Jesus' execution that a lay person might not have been allowed to see. In other words, Josephus was one of THEM.


According to Bible history, the Jewish religious leaders--the Pharisees--felt threatened by Christianity and its founder Jesus Christ; they viewed him and his religion as a threat to their power. The scripture at John bears this out, as quoted below.

"{47} Consequently the chief priests and the PHARISEES gathered the Sanhedrin together and began to say: 'What are we to do, because this man performs many signs? {48} If we let him alone this way, they will all put faith in him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation.' " (John 11:47-48)

Flavius Josephus joined the zealots who rebelled against Roman rule between 66 and 74 AD, becoming a leader of their forces in Galilee, and living through the Roman destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70. He was captured by the Romans, and would have been executed, but he went over to their side and ended up becoming the Roman emperor's ADVISER ON JEWISH AFFAIRS.

So in addition to him having easy access to records of the Jewish Pharisees (because he was himself a Pharisee), this position as advisor to the Roman emperor gave him access to Roman historical records, which documented the execution of people by the Romans.

FYI: A historian does not have to live close to the time something happens; he simply needs access to accurate documentation of events that occurred. Flavius Josephus the JEWISH PHARISEE and ROMAN EMPEROR ADVISOR was in an excellent position to access the records of Jesus' execution.

His "Antiquities of the Jews" covers the whole of Jewish history up to AD 66. Out of twenty books, six cover the period from the reign of Herod the Great to AD 66 -- i.e. the period when Jesus lived. Concerning Jesus, Flavius Josephus wrote in book 18 of the Antiquities, pp. 63-64:

"About this time there lived Jesus, a wise man, for he was a performer of wonderful deeds, a teacher of such men as are happy to accept the truth. He won over many of the Jews and many of the Gentiles. When Pilate, at the suggestion of THE LEADING MEN AMONG US [meaning the Pharisees], had condemned him to the cross, those who had loved him at the first did not forsake him; and the tribe of Christians, so named from him, are not extinct to this day."



The above statement is a summarization/translation of what Josephus said. With that statement, he identified himself as belonging to the group that made up Jesus' former death squad--the Pharisees. Josephus had nothing to gain from confirming Jesus' historicity.


WHAT JOSEPHUS WROTE:
http://www.facingthechallenge.org/josephus.php

JOSEPHUS' CREDENTIALS:
http://www.allaboutthejourney.org/flavius-josephus.htm
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Old 03-07-2012, 12:34 AM
 
Location: Los Angeles, CA
70 posts, read 162,784 times
Reputation: 23
ALTER2EGO -to- EVERYONE

Pliny the Younger (born Gaius Caecilius or Gaius Caecilius Cilo and lived from 61 AD to 112 AD) was a 1st century Roman governor who routinely executed Christians, regardless of whether they were adults or children--if they either refused to curse Christ or would not deny they were Christians. Below is an excerpt from a letter he wrote to Emperor Trajan of Rome in which he wondered belatedly if he should spare the children and kill only the adults. His letter confirms that Jesus Christ existed in history. To read the full letter, you can use the link that's at the end of this post.


EXCERPTED LETTER FROM PLINY THE YOUNGER TO ROMAN EMPEROR TRAJAN

Pliny Queried as to Whether he Should Spare the Lives of Children and Execute Only the Adults
"I have never been present at the examination of the Christians [by others], on which account I am unacquainted with what uses to be inquired into, and what, and how far they used to be punished; nor are my doubts small, whether there be not a distinction to be made between the ages [of the accused]? and whether tender youth ought to have the same punishment with strong men?"


Pliny Wrote That He Used Threats to Get Christians to Recant. Those Who Didn't Recant Were Executed.
"I asked them whether they were Christians or not? If they confessed that they were Christians, I asked them again, and a third time, intermixing threatenings with the questions. If they persevered in their confession, I ordered them to be executed; for I did not doubt but, let their confession be of any sort whatsoever, this positiveness and inflexible obstinacy deserved to be punished."


Pliny Wrote That He Spared Those Who Submitted To Image Worship And Those Who Cursed Christ In His Presence.
"These denied that they were Christians now, or ever had been. They called upon the gods, and supplicated to your image, which I caused to be brought to me for that purpose, with frankincense and wine; they also cursed Christ; none of which things, it is said, can any of those that are ready Christians be compelled to do; so I thought fit to let them go. All these worshipped your image, and the images of our gods; these also cursed Christ.


Pliny Wrote That He Tortured Some Into Recanting Their Christian Beliefs
"These examinations made me think it necessary to inquire by torments what the truth was; which I did of two servant maids, who were called Deaconesses: but still I discovered no more than that they were addicted to a bad and to an extravagant superstition.

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/religion/maps/primary/pliny.html
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Old 03-07-2012, 12:42 AM
 
Location: Los Angeles, CA
70 posts, read 162,784 times
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ALTER2EGO -to- EVERYONE:

As a reminder, Jesus' historicity was confirmed by several prominent historians of the 1st century AD, including Roman historian Cornelius Tacitus who lived from 55 AD to 120 AD. As previously stated, Tacitus lived through the reign of over a half-dozen Roman emperors, and he has been called "the greatest historian of ancient Rome." Most important, Tacitus was hostile to Christians and therefore had nothing to gain from confirming Jesus as a historical person--independent of what's written in the Judeo-Christian Bible. He confirmed that CHRISTUS (a common misspelling of Christ at the time) was executed by Pilate.


Below is further info on Roman historian Tacitus, taken verbatim from the Encyclopedia Britannica and from Tacitus' own historical writings.

CORNELIUS TACITUS
"Roman orator and public official, probably the greatest historian and one of the greatest prose stylists who wrote in the Latin language… He held several provincial posts of increasing importance before he settled in Rome… After AD 98, Tacitus devoted his private life to literary pursuits. Among his works are the HISTORIES, concerning the empire from 69 to 96, and the later ANNALS, dealing with the period 14-68 AD. In the ANNALS, Tacitus wrote about Christ's life and early church history." (Source: Encyclopedia Britannica, Volume IX, page 760; and Volume I, page 391)


IN "ANNALS," ROMAN HISTORIAN CORNELIUS TACITUS WROTE:
"Consequently, to get rid of the report, 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, 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, where all things hideous and shameful from every part of the world find their centre and become popular. Accordingly, an arrest was first made of all who pleaded guilty; then, upon their information, an immense multitude was convicted, not so much of the crime of firing the city, as of hatred against mankind. Mockery of every sort was added to their deaths. Covered with the skins of beasts, they were torn by dogs and perished, or were nailed to crosses, or were doomed to the flames and burnt, to serve as a nightly illumination, when daylight had expired." Annals 15.44

The Encyclopedia Britannica is not the only respectable source that confirms what Tacitus, Pliny, and Josephus said regarding Jesus. These are facts, and facts don't go away because we want them to. They cannot be rearranged to fit one's narrow views or because certain people don't like what the facts say. Facts are stubborn things. Jesus was a real person who existed in secular history--outside of the Bible.
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Old 03-07-2012, 01:06 AM
 
34,428 posts, read 8,865,664 times
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What are the three inevitable things?

Death, taxes and Josephus, Tacitus, Suetonius, Thallus, Phlegon....

Tacitus and Seutonius tell us about the Christians, sure. They don't exactly confirm Jesus. The evidence is that the mention in Josephus' "Jewish war" is a later addition. It is clumsily inserted between two unrelated events, it reads like the work of a Christian believer, which Josephus wasn't, it is similar to the 'potted biography in Luke (24.19-20) and the church fathers never mention it before the 3rd century.

The other historians are of no help in establishing the historicity of Jesus. I've done the research and looked at all the claims for 'documentary evidence of Jesus' and the only ones that even look like it are Seutonius, Tacitus and Josephus. Philo, who was the 'other' Jewish historian, doesn't even mention Jesus.

Regarding Thallus, (later 1st c) he did not appear to refer to Jesus. Apparently he mentions an eclipse of the sun which Julius Africanus (c221 AD) suggested that this might have been the darkness at the crucifixion. Julius Africanus, in fact quotes Thallus. Phlegon, only comments on Thallus' eclipse to say it could not have been on Passover. In fact he was refuting the claim. Obviously none of these have any bearing on the historicity of Jesus.

Mara Bar-Serapion, again only recounts what was apparently the Christian view - that the Jews lost the jewish war as God's punishment because they executed Jesus. It is still just recounting the Christian view and is not an independent historical reference. Also some claim that this letter might be anything up to 3rd century in date.

Lucian of Samosata, like Tacitus, only mentions the Christians and their beliefs. I can agree that at a relatively early time it was known that the Christians believed that their 'sage' who 'introduced their novel rites' was crucified. That does not quite add up to a historical source for Jesus, though. It is perhaps significant - I'm accepting this - that details of the Jesus story were apparently circulating in the later 1st century, but then we did have Christian authorities at tha time, Origen for example. None of these knew Jesus any better than Paul did, which was not at all.

Calus Plinius Secundus. Pliny the younger, of course, only writes about how to deal with Christians. It says nothing about a historical Jesus.

There is really NO good, solid independent extra- Biblical evidence for a historical Jesus.
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Old 03-07-2012, 01:09 AM
 
Location: Valencia, Spain
13,837 posts, read 9,645,205 times
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Oh please...you can't be serious??? Josephus, Pliny and Tacitus have been debunked by historians too many times to mention. You're clutching at straws!
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Old 03-07-2012, 01:15 AM
 
Location: Valencia, Spain
13,837 posts, read 9,645,205 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AREQUIPA View Post

There is really NO good, solid independent extra- Biblical evidence for a historical Jesus.
Exactly Areq! If we had a pound for every Christian claiming that Josephus, Tacitus, Pliny, Suetonius, Lucian, Galen and Serapian et al mentioned Jesus, we'd be living in the South of France now eh?

I'm surprised they haven't yet claimed that Pilate's letters to his friend Seneca, is proof that Jesus existed.
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Old 03-07-2012, 01:34 AM
 
34,428 posts, read 8,865,664 times
Reputation: 4782
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rafius View Post
Exactly Areq! If we had a pound for every Christian claiming that Josephus, Tacitus, Pliny, Suetonius, Lucian, Galen and Serapian et al mentioned Jesus, we'd be living in the South of France now eh?

I'm surprised they haven't yet claimed that Pilate's letters to his friend Seneca, is proof that Jesus existed.
I don't know anyone who claims the 'Acts of Pilate' as being true, but there may be some. As you know I think the best evidence for a crucified 1st century Jewish agitator called Joshua is in the Bible, not in historians.

People must make up their own minds what to believe, but they deserve to have both sides presented, not just one side of the argument with a lot of uncontested 'it is all true' claims.
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Old 03-07-2012, 02:02 AM
 
Location: Valencia, Spain
13,837 posts, read 9,645,205 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AREQUIPA View Post
People must make up their own minds what to believe, but they deserve to have both sides presented, not just one side of the argument with a lot of uncontested 'it is all true' claims.
Ummmm! You forgot the capital 'T' in the word "true"....to give it added effect!
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Old 03-07-2012, 10:48 AM
 
Location: Los Angeles, CA
70 posts, read 162,784 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AREQUIPA View Post
What are the three inevitable things?

Death, taxes and Josephus, Tacitus, Suetonius, Thallus, Phlegon....

Tacitus and Seutonius tell us about the Christians, sure. They don't exactly confirm Jesus. The evidence is that the mention in Josephus' "Jewish war" is a later addition. It is clumsily inserted between two unrelated events, it reads like the work of a Christian believer, which Josephus wasn't, it is similar to the 'potted biography in Luke (24.19-20) and the church fathers never mention it before the 3rd century.
ALTER2EGO:
What evidence? You haven't presented any. All you're doing is the usual spouting off, expressing your personal opinions--which is all unbelievers ever do. Telling us certain statements in Josephus' writings were "clumsily inserted between two unrelated events" is an opinion.

The supposed insertion of statements regarding Jesus in the writings of Josephus are "clumsily inserted" from whose view point? Yours? From the viewpoint of "scholars" who, like you, are unbelievers and therefore have a reason to contradict? If you're relying on scholars, you have a problem, because I can list scholars who believe the mentioning of Jesus in Josephus' writings are genuine. So what are we left with? Scholars on both sides of the argument.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AREQUIPA View Post
The other historians are of no help in establishing the historicity of Jesus. I've done the research and looked at all the claims for 'documentary evidence of Jesus' and the only ones that even look like it are Seutonius, Tacitus and Josephus. Philo, who was the 'other' Jewish historian, doesn't even mention Jesus.

Calus Plinius Secundus. Pliny the younger, of course, only writes about how to deal with Christians. It says nothing about a historical Jesus.

There is really NO good, solid independent extra- Biblical evidence for a historical Jesus.
ALTER2EGO:
You mean the other historians are no help in convincing you. What makes you think you're that important? Where did you get the idea that I posted this info with you in mind? I listed these three particular historians because their writings have been verified by experts and because in their powerful positions and their dislike for Christ and Christians, they had no reason to lie about Jesus' existence.

There is nothing you or any unbeliever can say to dispute what Josephus, Tacitus, and Pliny wrote. What you are doing here is what I predicted in my opening post. You and your "scholars" have no way of proving they didn't write what they did, so you're using the usual ploy--trying to minimize what they wrote.

The fact remains they mentioned Jesus Christ in their writings, thereby confirming his existence outside the Bible.

Last edited by Miss Blue; 03-08-2012 at 12:00 PM..
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