Words and Stuff
Was Jesus actually alive?
I would like to use this thread to discuss if Jesus was a living man. This thread is not for discussing if he is the Son of God or not.
From the research I have done, I would say he was a real person but I am sure that some would disagree because I will admit that some of the proof here can be disputed.
Here is some of the proof I have compiled.
• We have better documentary evidence for Jesus life, death and resurrection than that most historical figures from more than about 400 years ago really lived. There is a Roman historian, Josephus, whose writings from the first century referred to Jesus. While not without controversy, this account and its supporting evidence along with the early manuscripts of the New Testament books make a strong case for Jesus' authenticity.
• Christians were persecuted and fed to the lions within the lifetime of people who knew Jesus is almost unquestioned, so I can say without hesitation that, according to generally accepted historical record, people who lived in the first and second century, who were contemporaries of Jesus and his disciples, believed he was real and chose to be tortured to death under Nero and others rather than deny that the gospel of Jesus is truth. This qualifies as a very strong case for the authenticity of the gospel since most people will not choose torture or being fed to lions to defend a lie... many wouldn't to defend the truth. Nero ruled from about 54AD to 69AD which was within the lifetime of some of the disciples of Jesus. Much more could be said.
• Logically why would 12 followers allow themselves to be hunted, tortured, and martyred for something they knew wasn't real? We know that the disciples were alive and died for the cause. All but John were directly killed for their faith. (John was exiled to an island to die) So all evidence of their persecution promotes the proof of their leader. Maybe- just maybe you could say that one or two were nuts, like Judas, but all of them? and hundreds of other witnesses? Not likely.
• Consider the reason that the gospel of Luke was ever written. Luke was a second-hand believer- The follower of a direct disciple. He wrote by investigative reporting. He went where Jesus went, interviewed witnesses, saw the evidence and wrote it all down so that in 2000 years, a bunch of atheists could have proof. His was written separate from the others. The reason they all match up- It happened!
Here are a few more non-believer accounts of this Jesus from Nazareth, called Christ, actually being seen:
• Cornelius Tacitus, a respected first-century Roman historian, wrote: “The name [Christian] is derived from Christ, whom the procurator Pontius Pilate had executed in the reign of Tiberius.” Tacitus lived from A.D. 55 to A.D. 120. He was a Roman historian and has been described as the greatest historian of Rome, noted for his integrity and moral uprightness. His most famous works are the Annals and the Histories. The Annals relate the historical narrative from Augustus’ death in A.D.14 to Nero’s death in A.D. 68. The Histories begin their narrative after Nero’s death and finish with Domitian’s death in A.D. 96. In his section describing Nero’s decision to blame the fire of Rome on the Christians, Tacitus affirms that the founder of Christianity, a man he calls Chrestus (a common misspelling of Christ, which was Jesus’ surname), was executed by Pilate, the procurator of Judea during the reign of the Roman emperor Tiberias. Tacitus was hostile to Christianity because in the same paragraph he describes Christus’ or Christ’s death, he describes Christianity as a pernicious superstition. It would have therefore been in his interests to declare that Jesus had never existed, but he did not, and perhaps he did not because he could not without betraying the historical record. See —THE COMPLETE WORKS OF TACITUS (NEW YORK, 1942), “THE ANNALS,” BOOK 15, PAR. 44.
• Suetonius and Pliny the Younger, other Roman writers of the time, also referred to Christ. Suetonius was a Roman historian and a court official in Emperor Hadrian’s government. In his Life of Claudius he refers to Claudius expelling Jews from Rome on account of their activities on behalf of a man Suetonius calls Chrestus [another misspelling of Christus or Christ]. Pliny was the Governor of Bithynia in Asia Minor (AD. 112). He was responsible for executing Christians for not worshipping or bowing down to a statue of the emperor Trajan. In a letter to the emperor Trajan, he describes how the people on trial for being Christians would describe how they sang songs to Christ because he was a god.
• Flavius Josephus, a first-century Jewish historian, wrote of the stoning of James*, whom he identified as “the brother of Jesus, who was called Christ.” Josephus was a Jewish historian who was born in either 37 or 38 AD and died some time after 100 AD. He wrote the Jewish Antiquites and in one famous passage described Jesus as a wise man, a doer of wonderful works and calls him the Christ. He also affirmed that Jesus was executed by Pilate and actually rose from the dead! (*THE JEWISH ANTIQUITIES, JOSEPHUS, BOOK XX, SEC. 200)
• Lucian of Samosata was a Greek satirist of the latter half of the second century. He therefore lived within two hundred years of Jesus. Lucian was hostile to Christianity and openly mocked it. He particularly objected to the fact that Christians worshipped a man. He does not mention Jesus’ name, but the reference to the man Christians worship is a reference to Jesus.
• Mara Bar-Serepion Some time after 70 A.D., Mara Bar-Sarapion (spelled either Se- or Sa-), who was probably a Stoic philosopher, wrote a letter to his son in which he describes how the Jews executed their King. Claiming to be a king was one of the charges the religious authorities used to scare Pontius Pilate into agreeing to execute Jesus.
Just wondering what you all thought
“There are only two kinds of people, those who accept dogmas and know it, and those who accept dogmas and don’t know it.” – G. K. Chesterton - The Mercy of Mr. Arnold Bennett, Fancies vs. Fads