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What sources outside of the Bible give supporting evidence to the existence of Jesus and any of the events in His life?

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This may be better suited to history.SE –  Waggers Nov 17 '11 at 15:08
@Waggers: History.SE strictly deals with geo-political history. It would be closed over there. –  Richard Nov 17 '11 at 15:22
The book "A Case for Christ" covers this very topic. (It's a classic and a good read.) –  Richard Nov 17 '11 at 15:23
This question has already come up on Skeptics (Is there any verifiable historical and/or scientific evidence that Jesus lived?) and had several good answers. IMO the best one was the highest-rated non-accepted answer, by Ian W. Scott. –  Mason Wheeler Nov 17 '11 at 17:25
@MasonWheeler Thanks! That's very interesting. –  Narnian Nov 17 '11 at 17:37

2 Answers 2

up vote 16 down vote accepted

If you want to see some good youtube videos on the subject I can guide you to these links



In short

  1. Lucian
  2. Pliny the younger WIKI LINK
  3. Josephus
  4. St. Ignatius of Antioch.
  5. Tacitus (see: Tacitus on Christ)
  6. Suetonius WIKI LINK
  7. Aristides
  8. Galenus
  9. Lampridius

I tried to get all those that Norman names. Just a problem with spelling those wholly foreign names. You can find all 19 of them in the video though.

It is curious to note that even Tacitus who was a rather big critic of the early church never thought that Jesus was a myth or never existed. When even Christianity's first century opposition talk about Jesus as a historical figure then it really becomes unreasonable to buy into this atheist rhetoric of him being a myth.

Josephus is the account is the most violently opposed because it gives such credence to Christianity. The atheist is left with the burden of proof of proving the text suspect. This again becomes unreasonable seeing as all the extant manuscripts of The Antiquities of the Jews says the same thing.

The Christian when confronted with these attacks need to ask the naysayer what is his / her evidence for these texts being suspect? This will probably get you the response of denial of the burden of proof or if the opponent is honest enough he / she will admit their is none.

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Oh so later testimony holds more sway for you. Rather ridiculous. The people who knew him is not good enough neither is the historians of his day, but the people 2000 years later now those are the people we should trust to tell us who Jesus was. –  Neil Meyer Nov 19 '11 at 19:44
It is like my pastor said Jesus is as sure to have lived as any figure of history can be. Most atheist use their hyper skepticism hypocritically as they do not doubt historical evidence in other cases. If I remember correctly Tacitus is the same person who written a lot of the history Rome. If they are fair to their skepticism they should also not believe Caesar never existed. –  Neil Meyer Nov 19 '11 at 19:50
"The people who knew him" Those people you listed did not meet Jesus. "Oh so later testimony holds more sway for you" No, not at all - I'm not sure where you got that from. "historians of his day", I wouldn't call centuries after his death his day. I can easily believe that some historians wrote about Jesus after hearing about him. Now did that Jesus actually exist, and was that the same Jesus as described in the NT is another question. –  CiscoIPPhone Nov 19 '11 at 22:11
Also, it's not only atheists who doubt the existence of or divinity of Jesus. –  CiscoIPPhone Nov 19 '11 at 22:57
Josepehus was born 3 - 5 years after Jesus was crucified so Yes I would call him a historian of Jesus time. Really if you cannot accept the 1st and second century historians accounts of Jesus then you really have no business believing that any figure of history existed. We have the 27 books in the New Testament and the 19 extra biblical accounts both friend and foe thought Jesus was real so why we should believe the 12st century atheist who says he never existed when no account in the 1st and second century think so is beyond me. –  Neil Meyer Nov 21 '11 at 12:57

A "Case for Christ" does address this question. Among others, Josephus and Pliny both make reference to early Christian practice. The Josephus material is suspect, or more so than Pliny, anyway. Note these are to the followers of Christ, not "see that guy over there named Jesus" type references. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historicity_of_Jesus for a start.

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Welcome to Christianity.SE! –  Richard Nov 17 '11 at 15:35
Why is Josephus testimony suspect? All the manuscripts we have today say virtually the same thing. What evidence the skeptic has of any later on extrapolation they have yet to inform me of. –  Neil Meyer Nov 19 '11 at 15:34
@NeilMeyer: This answer on a related question over on Skeptics does an excelent job of explaining both why Josephus was ever called into question on this point, what the extent of that doubt is, and why the doubt is a non-issue on this case of the actual historicity of Jesus as a character in history. –  Caleb Nov 19 '11 at 16:45

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