What do ancient non-Christian sources tell us about the historical Jesus?

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March 7, 2015 by Puppetocracy

A lot of people like to express their contempt for God and sound edgy by saying Jesus never existed. Statements such as this reveal more about the person saying it than doing anything to undermine the solid historicity of the person of Jesus Christ. It shows their ignorance of evidence and the methods normally used to establish the degrees of certainty that can be had concerning historical claims. Using the logical method of collecting evidence that corroborates with the premise that Jesus was a real person one can arrive conclude with certainty that he was. Here is some of the historical evidence from non-christian sources. This combined with the biblical accounts and the fact that his follower exist in large numbers all over the world make the case water tight.


The Annals, by Roman historian Tacitus The Annals, by Roman historian Tacitus

This article from Biblical Archaeology covers all the non-Christian historical sources that discuss Jesus.

About the author:

Lawrence Mykytiuk is associate professor of library science and the history librarian at Purdue University. He holds a Ph.D. in Hebrew and Semitic Studies and is the author of the book Identifying Biblical Persons in Northwest Semitic Inscriptions of 1200–539 B.C.E. (Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2004).

Here are the major sections:

  • Roman historian Tacitus
  • Jewish historian Josephus
  • Greek satirist Lucian of Samosata
  • Platonist philosopher Celsus
  • Roman governor Pliny the Younger
  • Roman historian Suetonius
  • Roman prisoner Mara bar Serapion

And this useful excerpt captures the broad facts about Jesus that we get from just the first two sources:

We can learn quite a bit about Jesus from Tacitus and Josephus, two famous historians who were not Christian. Almost all the following statements about Jesus, which are asserted in…

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