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I'm aware that there are credible historical texts that reference Jesus and His general path, independent of the Bible.

However, I'm curious to know, do any of those specifically describe the miracles performed by Jesus?

Are there any independent established sources that mention the miracles performed and the people He performed them on?

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If given a list, do you want non-canonical gospels to appear on that list? –  svidgen Mar 29 '13 at 2:11
    
And in either case, if someone with more time wishes to comb through it before I get to it, this list mentions some extra-biblical sources and indicates a few that attest to Jesus' miracles: newadvent.org/cathen/08375a.htm –  svidgen Mar 29 '13 at 2:18
    
This will depend on how you define "independent". There are several external sources that mention Jesus as a wonder-worker or the equivalent, but all of them likely got their information from the New Testament, or from Christians. –  Bruce Alderman Mar 29 '13 at 21:36
    
Consider that the Bible is NOT one book, but a collection of 66(?) books written by various authors throughout history. Of these authors, Paul (St Paul) could be considered independent because he was not a follower of Jesus, but converted after Jesus revealed Himself to him. In fact, he was a persecutor of Christians up until that point. Keep in mind that any writing on Jesus works which are not considered forgeries would have been included in the collection of works we know as the Bible. –  Juann Strauss Oct 14 '13 at 7:56

3 Answers 3

up vote 8 down vote accepted

Eusebius in the third century wrote against Celsus's second century attack on Christianity (which only survives today in quotations from Eusebius). Celsus claims Jesus performed miracles by sorcery. He seems to accept that Jesus did perform miracles, he just disputes the source of Jesus' power.

The Talmud also calls Him a sorcerer: "The master said: Jesus the Nazarene practiced magic and deceived and led Israel astray." (Sanhedrin 107b)

I don't know how early (or late) the dates are on the Talmudic references, so I don't know if they're affirming that He did perform miracles based on reliable testimony (that they actually know He did) or if it's just a reaction to the Christians' claim, in which case they chose to accept the testimony of the Christians concerning His acts but they deny that He is divine.

If we accept Jesus' resurrection as one of His miracles, there is a bit more. The Gospel of the Hebrews mentions it (second century work, I believe; not certain we can claim it's an independent source) and Justin Martyr (second century) in his Dialogue with Trypho wrote that the Jewish leaders were still claiming the disciples stole the body in his day (which means they affirmed the tomb was empty).

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The Quran mentions miracles they believe he performed.

“When the disciples said: O Jesus, son of Mary! Is your Lord able to send down for us a table spread with food from heaven? He said: Observe your duty to God, if ye are true believers. They said: We desire to eat of it and our hearts be at rest, and that We may know that you have spoken truth to us, and that We may be witnesses thereof. Jesus, son of Mary, said: 'O God, our Lord, send down for us a Table laden with food out of heaven, that shall be for us a recurring festival, the first and last of us, and a miracle from You. And provide us our sustenance, for You are the best of providers!” (Quran 5:112-114)

Also Josephus, a very early Jewish historian, mentions his miracles.

This is the Catholic Encyclopedia's translation:

About this time appeared Jesus, a wise man (if indeed it is right to call Him man; for He was a worker of astonishing deeds, a teacher of such men as receive the truth with joy), and He drew to Himself many Jews (many also of Greeks. This was the Christ.) And when Pilate, at the denunciation of those that are foremost among us, had condemned Him to the cross, those who had first loved Him did not abandon Him (for He appeared to them alive again on the third day, the holy prophets having foretold this and countless other marvels about Him.) The tribe of Christians named after Him did not cease to this day.

Wikipedia gives the following translation of that passage:

Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man; for he was a doer of wonderful works, a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many of the Jews and many of the Gentiles. He was [the] Christ. And when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men amongst us, had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him; for he appeared to them alive again the third day; as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him. And the tribe of Christians, so named from him, are not extinct at this day.[50]

Those are the only non canonical accounts of his miracles that I'm aware of.

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I'm not at all sure the Quran counts as an independent source. Don't most historians consider it to be largely derived from the Bible? As for the passage in Josephus, you really should mention that both your sources cast a certain amount of doubt on its authenticity. –  TRiG Mar 29 '13 at 19:36

Romano-Jewish historian, Flavius Josephus "Antiquities of the Jews", AD 93–94 Book 18, Chapter 3, 3. "Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man; for he was a doer of wonderful works, a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many of the Jews and many of the Gentiles. He was [the] Christ. And when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men amongst us, had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him; for he appeared to them alive again the third day; as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him. And the tribe of Christians, so named from him, are not extinct at this day."

Talmud, AD 70-200 Sanhedrin 43a "On (Sabbath eve and) the eve of Passover, Jesus the Nazarene was hanged and a herald went forth before him forty days heralding, 'Jesus the Nazarene is going forth to be stoned because he practiced sorcery and instigated and seduced Israel to idolatry. Whoever knows anything in defense may come and state it.' But since they did not find anything in his defense they hanged him on (Sabbath eve and) the eve of Passover." Sanhedrin 107b "The master said: Jesus the Nazarene practiced magic and deceived and led Israel astray."

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