How many people have never heard about Jesus of Nazareth? Of course everybody has heard of Jesus. The bible tells us his fame spread throughout the lands of Palestine and Syria. This is the god-man / savior of the world who performed miracles only a God could perform: He turned water into wine; fed thousands with a few pieces of bread and fish; walked on water; stilled the raging storm; healed the blind, the deaf, the infirm, the withered hand and the demon-possessed; and raised the dead. His moral teachings are said to surpass anything ever taught.
Rejected by his own Jewish people, the Romans brutally crucified him. But, that didn’t stop Jesus. At his crucifixion the bible tells us the heavens and earth affirmed his deity, causing a three hour eclipse of the sun over all the earth, an earthquake causing Jerusalem’s temple curtain to be split in two, and graves were opened with many Jewish saints resurrected and appearing to the people in Jerusalem. Within three days, the Son of God, defeated Satan the prince of darkness, rose from the dead, appeared to his disciples, then ascended into heaven. How can anybody not love such a story and want to believe it?
The problem sincere, objective-minded inquirers of history have with this astounding story is why the historical record is virtually silent about the Jesus of Nazareth story in the writings of non-Christian Jewish, Greek, and Roman writers. Certainly news of such events, if true, would have spread throughout the Mediterranean world. Yet, the surviving writings of some 35 to 40 independent observers of the first one hundred years following the alleged crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus give virtually no confirmation. These authors were respected, well-traveled, articulate, thinkers and observers, the philosophers, poets, moralists, historians of that era. Some of the most prominent figures who make no mention of Jesus are:
Pliny the Elder
23-79 CE Natural History 37 books on natural events such as earthquakes, eclipse and healing.
1st Century Jewish authors of great significance are:
Compare Philo's writings recorded by Origin to
God and His Word are one < > In the beginning was the Word, the Word was with God, the Word was God Jn 1:1
The Word is the first-born Son of God < > The Word is the only begotten from the Father Jn 1:14
God created the world thru His Word < > All things came into being through Him Jn 1:3
God holds all things together thru His Word < > In Him all things hold together Col 1:17
God draws people through the Messiah < > The Father...draws him Jn 6:44; I will draw all men to myself Jn 12:32
The Word is the fountain...drink that stream for eternal life < > The water I give...a well of water...eternal life Jn 4:14
The Word dwells in and walks among us/in us < > the Word...and dwelt among us Jn 1:14, Christ lives in me Gal 2:20
The Word is appointed judge < > The Father committed all judgment to the Son Jn 5:22
Without divine grace, immortality is impossible < > By grace you are saved, it is the gift of God Eph 2:8
God sharpened His Word, divider of all things < > The Word of God, sharper .. two-edged sword..divides s/s Heb 4:12
God is a Trinity
Jews who sin will go to hell, Gentiles who come to God will be saved and go to heaven,
God’s Son, the Word procures forgiveness < > In whom we have redemption...even the forgiveness of sin Col 1:14
Is the likeness of Philo’s writings to the bible — coincidence or plagiarism?
Justus of Tiberius
Why is this Jesus testimony considered a later fraudulent insertion?
1. Josephus was a Pharisee. Only a Christian would call Jesus the Christ. Josephus would have had to renounce his pharisaical beliefs to say Jesus was the Christ. Josephus died a pharisee.
2. Josephus writing style is to write chapter upon chapter about the most insignificant people and events. The Jesus testimony consists of four sentences. Why would Josephus’ Christ (the Jewish Messiah) deserve only four sentences?
3. The paragraphs before and after the Jesus testimony describe Romans killing Jews. The paragraph following the Jesus testimony begins "About the same time another sad calamity put the Jews in disorder". Would "another sad calamity" refer to the appearing of the "doer of wonderful works" or Romans killing Jews? Such a negative statement is clearly out of context. It is indicative of a later insertion.
4. Finally, and most convincing had Josephus actually written the Jesus testimony, church fathers in the following 200 years would surely refer to it in fending off critics of Jesus’ being just another myth. But, not once does Justin, Irenaeus, Tertullian, Clement of Alexandria, or Origen ever refer to Josephus’ Jesus testimony. We know Origen read Josephus because Origen’s writings criticize Josephus for attributing the destruction of Jerusalem to the killing of James. The church fathers made no reference to Josephus’ alleged Jesus testimony because it was not in Josephus’ writing.
Not only does the Jesus Testimony appear fraudulent, but Josephus’ historical accounts both contradict and omit other New Testament bible stories:
1. According to the bible John the Baptist was killed about 30 CE at the beginning of Jesus ministry. In Josephus, John the Baptist is killed by Herod when Herod is at war with King Aertus of Arabia in 34 - 37 CE.
2. Josephus makes no reference to: the celebration of Pentecost in Jerusalem when allegedly devote Jews of every nation gathered and all received the Holy Spirit evidenced by speaking in new tongues; a Jewish fisherman Peter who is head apostle of the new church; a fellow pharisee named Saul of Tarsus who becomes the apostle Paul, or of the church’s alleged explosive growth throughout Palestine, Alexandria, Greece, or Josephus’ city of residence Rome. Peter and Paul’s alleged martyrdoms in Rome about 60 CE is unknown to Josephus. It bears noting that Christian apologists so determined to rely on the veracity of Josephus’ Jesus testimony excuse his later oversights.
Early 2nd Century Non-Christian Roman writers with references to a Christ, Chrestos or Christians are:
Pliny the Younger
The clear and indisputable fact is 80 to 100 years is a suspiciously long time after alleged events of such magnitude for such minimal credible written recognition . Further, the brevity and scarceness of substantive fact in these three writings relative to the claim that this was about a miracle working Jewish Messiah named Jesus who was God in human flesh, crucified, and resurrected clearly calls into question the credibility of these writings.
Time and space do not allow for discussion of other significant New Testament towns. The historical and archaeological evidence for 1st Century Capernaum (mentioned 16 times in the New Testament), Bethany, Bethpage, Bethabara, and Calvary, like Nazareth is equally unconvincing or even counter-indicative.
The mark of an objective, critical thinking mind is to seek contemporaneous independent confirmation of alleged facts. When the only available evidence of an event or product is, not only suspiciously questionable, but is what the event or product’s promoters want you to believe then "Buyer Beware". The facts are that non-Christian Jewish, Greek, and Roman writers of the decades following the alleged events of Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection are silent about any person named Jesus of Nazareth. Though the fair-minded critical thinker is always willing to consider further evidence, today 2,000 years later, Christianity has no more objective, contemporaneous unbiased evidence for the historicity of Jesus then for Zeus, Krishna, Dionysis, Horus, Mithra or any of the other mythical savior-gods of history.
THE ORIGINS OF CHRISTIANITY AND THE BIBLE by Andrew Benson
THE JESUS THE JEWS NEVER KNEW by Frank R. Zindler
DECONSTRUCTING JESUS by Robert Price, Ph.D.
JOSEPHUS COMPLETE WORKS translated by William Whiston, Ph.D.
THE JESUS PUZZLE by Earl Doherty
THE JESUS MYSTERIES by Timothy Freke and Peter Gandy
Was Jesus a myth historicized?
Lord Raglan studied all the myths and legends that influenced western
civilization in his 1936 book entitled The Hero. His basic premise is
that the mythical hero’s life involved specific acts of ritual drama in which
the hero played specific roles. A quasi-boiler-plate plot always determined the
character’s role. Eventually, myths of priest-kings outlived the ritual and
became many myths and folktales from which we derive many legendary heroes such
as Hercules, or Moses, or Robin Hood. http://www.tam-lin.org/abby
Today’s Luke Skywalker and Harry Potter continued this archetypal tradition of mythical characters. They affirm inherited patterns of thought derived from past collective experiences of humanity. Freud believed these archetypes to be present in our subconscious psyches. Thus, their popularity, as well as opposition from adherents of competing myths, continues today.
Raglan concludes there are at least twenty-two standard archetypal characteristics of this duplicated singular myth. The closer the legendary character fits these characteristics the less likely the hero is a historical personage. Historical persons dramatically differ from Raglan’s twenty-two characteristics which are as follows:
Lord Ragan counted the archetypal event of our most revered heroes. Alexander the Great received the most points for a historical personage, seven. Here is how some people you might have heard of scored.
Oedipus scores 21
Theseus scores 20
Moses scores 20
Dionysus scores 19
Jesus scores 19
Romulus scores 18
Perseus scores 18
Hercules scores 17
Llew Llaw Gyffes scores 17
Jason scores 15
Robin Hood scores 13
Pelops scores 13
Apollo scores 11
Following is Lord Raglan’s analysis of how to determine a historical versus a mythical character:
A score of six or less makes one a historical figure. This is not definite proof that the person existed, since most cartoon characters score low too.
A score of more than seven clearly indicates the hero does not represent a historical account. This does not mean that the hero is totally fictitious. Rather it indicates that many aspects of the hero’s life have been replaced by archetypal fiction.
The fact of Moses and Jesus’ high mythical archetypal scores demands that they are mythical, not historical.
Are the Church Fathers Reliable Conduits Of
St. John Chrysostom, the "’Golden Mouthed," in his work ‘On the Priesthood,’ has a curious panegyric on the clerical habit of telling lies—"Great is the force of deceit! provided it is not excited by a treacherous intention."’
Cardinal Newman thus apologetically spoke: "The Greek Fathers thought that, when there was a justa causa, an untruth need not be a lie. ... Now, as to the just cause, ... the Greek Fathers make them such as these self-defense, charity, zeal for God’s honor, and the like." (Newman, Apology for His Life, Appendix G, p. 345-6.)
The Great Latin Father St. Jerome (340-420) "To confute the opposer, now this argument is adduced and now that. One argues as one pleases, saying one thing while one means another. ... Origen, Methodius, Eusebius, and Apollinaris write at great length against Celsus and Porphyry.... Sometimes, it is true, they are compelled to say not what they think but what is needful.......Of the Apostle Paul, St. Jerome says, "We see passages taken captive by your pen and pressed into service to win you a victory,..... the line so often adopted by strong men in controversy— justifying the means by the result."
Of Eusebius and the others St. Jerome says, that they "presume at the price of their soul to assert dogmatically whatever first comes into their head." (Jerome, Epist. li, 7; id. p. 88). "There is nothing so easy as by sheer volubility to deceive a common crowd or an uneducated congregation." (Epist. lii, 8; p. 93)
"This toleration of evil [sic; i.e.:—the free discussion of Church doctrines and documents]—bore one good consequence: it allowed historical criticism to begin fair. There was need for a revision which is not yet complete, ranging over all that has been handed down from the Middle Ages under the style and title of the Fathers, the Councils, the Roman and other official, archives. In all these departments forgery and interpolations as well as ignorance had wrought mischief on a great scale." (Catholic Encyclopedia xii, 768)
"Many spurious books were forged in the earliest times of the Church, in the name of Christ and his apostles, which passed upon all the Fathers as genuine and divine through several successive ages." (Middleton, Free Inquiry, Int. Disc. p. xcii; London, 1749.)
In his very notable History of Rationalism speaking of that Christian "epoch when faith and facts did not cultivate an acquaintance," the same author, Lecky, thus describes the state of intellectual and moral obliquity into which the Church had forced even the ablest classes of society:
In the same work last quoted, Lecky again, speaking of what he terms "the pious frauds of theologians," which, he shows were "systematized and raised to the dignity of a regular doctrine," says of the pious Fathers: