( 6th December 2023 - FROM CHATGPT )
The existence of Jesus is a historical question that has been debated among scholars for centuries. While there is no contemporary written evidence directly written by Jesus or by someone who personally knew him, there are references to Jesus in historical texts written by others in the years following his life.
The earliest and most frequently cited non-Christian sources that mention Jesus include the works of the Jewish historian Flavius Josephus and the Roman historian Tacitus. However, it's important to note that these references are not contemporary accounts, as both Josephus and Tacitus were born after Jesus' death.
Josephus, in his "Antiquities of the Jews" (written around 93-94 AD), mentions Jesus in two passages, known as the Testimonium Flavianum. However, scholars debate the authenticity of these references, suggesting that they may have been altered or added by later Christian scribes.
Tacitus, in his "Annals" (written around 116 AD), makes a passing reference to a "Christus" who suffered under Pontius Pilate. This reference is generally considered more reliable than the Testimonium Flavianum, but it is still not a first hand account.
Apart from these, there are a few other references in the writings of Pliny the Younger, Suetonius, and the Jewish Talmud that indirectly mention Jesus or early Christians.
In summary, while there is some non-Christian historical evidence mentioning Jesus, it's not contemporary, and the reliability and interpretation of these references are subjects of ongoing scholarly discussion and debate. The primary sources for information about Jesus come from the New Testament of the Bible, written by early Christian authors, which is a religious rather than a strictly historical text.
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There is more evidence for the existence of WMD in
The Christian gospels do not record actual events; they are the romantic visions of a small religious group!
Josephus' Account of Jesus
There are no Roman, or Jewish, records of the first century that refer to, nor support, the accounts in the Christian gospels ……… except one …. & only one, and that single record is suspect! Even if we allow this one suspect record …….. where is all the other independent, contemporary, evidence of the existence of Jesus Christ?
In Rome, in the year 93, Josephus published
his lengthy history of the Jews. While discussing the period in which the
Jews of Judea were governed by the Roman procurator Pontius Pilate, Josephus
included the following account:
“About this time there lived Jesus, a wise man, if indeed one ought to call him a man. For he was one who performed surprising deeds and was a teacher of such people as accept the truth gladly. He won over many Jews and many of the Greeks. He was the Messiah. And when, upon the accusation of the principal men among us, Pilate had condemned him to a cross, those who had first come to love him did not cease. He appeared to them spending a third day restored to life, for the prophets of God had foretold these things and a thousand other marvels about him, and the tribe of the Christians, so called after him, has still to this day not disappeared.”
(Also see the reference to Josephus regarding the “Murder of the Innocents” below)
This account has been embroiled in controversy since the 17th century. It could not have been written by a Jewish man, say the critics, because it sounds too Christian: it even claims that Jesus was the Messiah (ho christos, the Christ)!
The critics say: this paragraph is not authentic. It was inserted into Josephus' book by a later Christian copyist, probably in the third or fourth century.
The opinion was controversial. A vast literature has been produced over the centuries debating the authenticity of the Testimony of Flavius Josephus.
A view that has been prominent among American scholars was summarized in John Meier's 1991 book, A Marginal Jew.
This opinion held that a mixture of writers formed the paragraph. It parsed the text into two categories: anything that seemed too Christian was added by a later Christian writer, while anything else was originally written by Josephus.
Unfortunately, this evidence was meagre and self-contradictory. Nevertheless, it was an attractive hypothesis, though most likely a false one!
THE MYTH OF THE MURDER OF THE FIRST BORN
The myth of the dangerous child was virtually universal in pre-biblical times.
The myth is that a child is born about whom certain
prophecies have been made, and who represents a threat to a king or tyrant.
The child is then removed from danger and later returns in triumph.
Dangerous-child stories exist of Buddha, Zoroaster, Hercules, Oedipus, Romulus and Remus, and many others All of these legends pre-date that of Jesus by several centuries. The most recent dangerous-child story -- that of Jesus, as told in the Bible by Matthew, deserves special attention.
At the time of Jesus’ birth, the world's population was about 200 million. There were about 209,000 inhabitants in Palestine at that time. The population of Bethlehem, and surrounding district was about 4,200. We can assume that the age distribution ranged from zero to about forty. Thus, there would have been about one-twentieth of 4,200, or about 210 infants and toddlers under two years who, apparently, were slashed to death by Herod's swordsmen.
If 210 children had been murdered by the Romans, there would have been unleashed a flood of contemporaneous lamenting poems, art, and journalistic accounts. But, the story of the murderous Herod is found only in the gospel according to Matthew;
- nowhere else in the Bible is this catastrophic slaughter mentioned, and no Jewish or Roman historians, of that time, say a word about this alleged sensational event!
The Roman historian Cornelius Tacitus (110 AD), who went out of his way to record every misdeed of despots and tyrants, was completely silent. Silent also was Josephus (40 AD), the Jewish historian who provided a detailed account of all the lesser evil-doings of Herod up to the end of his life; not a word did he write about Herod's massacre of the innocent children.
If this biblical account is false, then it must bring into question the whole of biblical testament. This assumption is further confirmed by the story above.
It follows, that as there was no independent, contemporary, confirmation of the existence of Jesus Christ, outside of the gospels, then there should be no record of his crucifixion. Indeed that is true. There are no independent, contemporary records of Jesus’ death. It was recorded, by the Romans, that two men were crucified, at about that time. One of whom was Barabas.
Furthermore IF, as the gospels say, “Pontius Pilate washed his hands of the matter, and handed Jesus over to the Jews for punishment.” Jesus, (if he had existed!) would not have been crucified, as the Jews did not crucify their wrong doers
I have done further research, (Monday, 17 April 2006) and have been surprised at how much information there is about the lack of evidence for the existence of Jesus. I can find no independent information supporting the existence of Jesus.
I refer you to these sites :-
infedels.org (now why did they choose that URL!?) summarises with this :-
“So, then, Christ may be said to be a fiction in the four senses that :-
1) It is quite possible that there was no historical Jesus.
2) Even if there was, he is lost to us, the result being that there is no historical Jesus available to us.
3) The Jesus who "walks with me and talks with me and tells me I am his own" is an imaginative visualization, and in the nature of the case, can be nothing more than a fiction.
4) "Christ", as a corporate logo for this and that religious institution, is a euphemistic fiction, not unlike Ronald McDonald, Mickey Mouse, or Joe Camel, the purpose of which is to get you to swallow a whole raft of beliefs, attitudes, and behaviours by an act of simple faith, short-circuiting the dangerous process of thinking the issues out to your own conclusions.”
It may be that I am selectively choosing my references, so please let me know of any independent reference.
Saturday, 18 September 2010 I do some more research and find this.....(Click this link)
Thursday 5 th February 2015. Being "nagged" that I have not added to the site for a ?long? time; I thought I would add this summary :-
"It is beyond reasonable doubt that Jesus did not exist. This is based on the assumption that there are no contemporary written records of his existence."
There is more evidence for the existence of fairies than there is for the existence for Jesus ........ Click Here