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The Historicity Of Jesus And Of The New Testament


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#1 de_skudd

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Posted 10 January 2009 - 12:47 PM

There was a discussion broached in an earlier conversation concerning the Bible being written (or put together) by the Counsel of Nicaea around 325 AD… The maker of the comment did recant the statement. This showed me his honesty and forthrightness.

But, after hearing this misconception for a time now, I thought it fitting to post a treatise I’ve been working on, and have taught from.

For the skeptic who wishes to denounce The New Testament and/or Jesus, as fabrications, myths or corrupted over two plus millennia, I submit the following:

The Historicity of Jesus and of the New Testament

Is there proof Jesus was a real person?

Does this proof extend to the writers of the Gospels as real persons?

Do these evidences support the historical claims of the Gospels?

Does the culmination of the evidences (the ancient historical documentation) lend credence (proof) to the truth claims of Jesus and His followers?


This treatise will:

List historical texts
Investigate the proof claims of the historical writers and modern skeptics
Draw logical conclusions of historical writings and texts
Summarize information and draw logical conclusions of the overall thesis…

Can we prove (beyond a reasonable doubt) Jesus was a real person, and not a myth or legend? And why do I use the language of "proof" in describing evidences for Jesus' historicity? "Proof" is stronger language than "evidence" or "reason"… And "proof" implies evidence that is thought to be irrefutable and incapable of any logical alternative interpretation.

1- Can we prove Jesus was a real person?

There are many today who believe that Jesus was NOT a real person, and the entire New Testament is myth or legend, or just a good story that was “added to” over the centuries until it reached mythological (or legendary) status.

There are many who believe Jesus may have lived, but he was nothing more than a good person, a great philosopher and teacher. And although his teachings are good moral lessons, at best these teachings will do no more than act as a moral guide for life. Unfortunately, included in this group are the majority of our liberal pseudo-theologians and liberal pseudo-scholars (they were taught these, and many other misguided twisting of historical truth at liberal seminaries and collages). And they go as far as to posit conspiracy theories and fallacies such as:
There is no historical evidence to prove Jesus existed
Miracles cannot happen and therefore these are nothing more than stories by the Apostles to bolster the Jesus story.
The resurrection didn’t really happen because miracles can’t happen.
The New Testament is a second and or third century document created at various counsels.
The third and fourth century (and subsequent) scribes added additional stories that bolstered and mythologized Christian origons .

These, and many other misleading ideas are enthusiastically pushed upon unsuspecting (and sometimes lazy) congregations (unwilling to do the studies) to discredit the validity of Jesus, the Apostles, the New Testament and everything contained within it.

The first step we take in correcting these misconceptions and out-and-out lies about the historicity of Jesus is to establish that Jesus and His Apostles were real people Historically. Then we can get it settled chronologically and geographically and move on to other truths.

The ultimate goal is believing Jesus Christ is the son of God. But this treatise is to establish Him historically, not divinely. That is a future question, to be answered in a future communication. Keep in mind, the majority of “professing” Christianity DOES NOT BELIEVE THIS ! They will tell you that you will need to take an enormous blind leap of faith to do so. That you cannot prove it, and that you cannot believe the historical record.

So, to do this, we will provide historic writings accepted by the vast majority of legitimate Historic Scholars:

-First-

Historical evidence concerning Jesus, by Secular (or non-Christian) writers:
There are a number of ancient historians, writers, and educators whom we will introduce regarding the historic evidences of this man we call Jesus. They recognized Him as the founder of the Christian movement that spread across the known world. None of these writers were Christians, many were openly hostile towards Christianity. And they were unabashed in their criticism of this new “religion”.

1- Flavius Josephus a Jewish historian - was born in 37 A.D., died in 100 A.D. he was a trained Pharisee and fought in the Jewish-Roman war (of 66-74 AD) against the Romans. After the siege of Jotapata in Galilee (in A.D. 67), Josephus surrendered to the Romans, won the favor of General Vespasian and later became a Roman citizen. He accompanied General Titus (Vespasian’s Son) when Titus led the Roman Army against Jerusalem (where Jerusalem was destroyed in 70 AD).

Josephus wrote several books that have come down to us today, History of the Jewish War (seven different books) and Jewish Antiquities, to name a few. Josephus was not a Christian himself, but did write about Jesus:

“At this time lived Jesus, a wise man, if indeed it is proper to call him a man. For he was a doer of wonderful works, a teacher of men who receive the truth gladly, and he won to himself both many Jews and many Greeks. This was the Christ. And when Pilate, on the indictment of the chief men among us, sentenced him to crucifixion, those who loved him at first did not cease loving him; for he appeared to them alive again the third day as indeed the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonders concerning him. And even to this day the race of Christians named from him is not extinct.” (Antiquities, Book 18, Chapter 3, Section 1).

Some scholars claim the above quote was not originally written by Josephus but was nothing more than an interpolation by Christian writers after the fact. Nevertheless, Eusebius (Who we’ll talk about later) quoted the above passage twice, as early as 315 AD.


Josephus also mentioned James, the brother of Jesus (as the brother of Jesus):

“Festus was now dead, and Albinus was but upon the road; so he assembled the Sanhedrim of judges, and brought before them the brother of Jesus, who was called Christ, whose name was James, and some others, [or, some of his companions]; and when he had formed an accusation against them as breakers of the law, he delivered them to be stoned…” Antiquities, Book 18 , Chapter 3

Josephus not only references Jesus twice here (and thus confirming His existence), but he also validates that Jesus had a brother named James (who also proved to be a thorn in the side of the Jewish leadership, and therefore had to be done away with). And it is strongly believed (because of New Testament inferences and later writers) that James and was the leader of the Jerusalem church, and for this he was martyred.

**Keep in mind- These Roman Historians that I’m quoting here had access to the official governments records and documents. All Roman officials were sending reports back to Rome. If anything of significance happened, the appointed officials were required to send reports back. (Many writers of antiquity referred to these reports. Where do you think they got most of their information?)**

2- Carius Cornelius Tacitus (A.D. 55--120), a Roman historian famous for his integrity and goodness. He outlived six emperors and was called the greatest historian of ancient Rome (many of his writings were about 100 A. D.). Tacitus was believed to be hostile towards Followers of Jesus. And yet, when writing about Nero and the accusation that he burned the city of Rome (and blamed it on the Christians), Tacitus says:

“Nero fastened the guilt of starting the blaze and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace. Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus, and a most mischievous superstition, thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judaea, the first source of the evil, but even in Rome, where all things hideous and shameful from every part of the world find their centre and become popular” (Tacitus, Annals, 15, 44).

Notice that while Tacitus had no favorable regard for these Christians of whom he wrote, he does mention Christ as being the founder of their belief. He also confirms that Tiberius was emperor at the time, and that Pontius was the magistrate (or Procurator) who sentenced Jesus to death. All corroborating New Testament facts.

3- Suetonius (Roman historian, born about 88 A. D.). While Suetonius does not mention Christ by name, he does refer to His title and to Christianity. This reference (amongst many more) clearly prove the early origin of Christianity and details that are in agreement with the biblical account. Here, a brief writing about the life of Nero whose reign began in 54 A.D. and ended in 68 A. D.:


"As the Jews were making constant disturbances at the instigation of Chrestus, he Claudius expelled them from Rome”. and elsewhere he wrote “Punishment by Nero was inflicted on the Christians, a class of men given to a new and mischievous sect”. (Suetonius, The Twelve Caesars).

The event is believed to be the one noted in Acts 18:2. The term Chrestus also appears in other texts applied to Jesus, and many scholars (see Robert Graves - Claudius 25, in The Twelve Caesars, Francois Amiot - Jesus A Historical Person p. 8; and F. F. Bruce, Christian Origins p. 21 Amongst others) consider it a variant spelling of Christ, or at least a reasonable spelling error.

4- Pliny the younger, (born in 61 A. D.) Pliny (Governor of Bithynia at the time) was a very prodigious writer. For instance, being an eye witness He wrote concerning the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius and subsequent destruction of Pompeii. The following quote was extracted from a letter he wrote to the Emperor Trajan in 112 A.D concerning a large number of Christians he found there, he wrote back to Trajan to get information on how to deal with them:
"It is my rule, Sire, to refer to you in matters where I am uncertain. For who can better direct my hesitation or instruct my ignorance? I was never present at any trial of Christians; therefore I do not know what are the customary penalties or investigations, and what limits are observed…." He also wrote: "…All who denied that they were or had been Christians I considered should be discharged, because they called upon the gods at my dictation and did reverence, with incense and wine, to your image which I had ordered to be brought forward for this purpose, together with the statutes of the deities;
and especially because they cursed Christ, a thing which, it is said, genuine Christians cannot be induced to do…." he went on to say : “ An anonymous document was published containing the names of many persons. Those who denied that they were or had been Christians, when they invoked the gods in words dictated by me, offered prayer with incense and wine to your image, which I had ordered to be brought for this purpose together with statues of the gods, and moreover cursed Christ -- none of which those who are really Christians, it is said, can be forced to do -- these I thought should be discharged.” and he further wrote: “They (i.e, the Christians arrested) asserted, however, that the sum and substance of their fault or error had been that they were accustomed to meet on a fixed day before dawn and sing responsively a hymn to Christ as to a god, and to bind themselves by oath, not to some crime, but not to commit fraud, theft, or adultery, not falsify their trust, nor to refuse to return a trust when called upon to do so.... I therefore postponed the investigation and hastened to consult you. For the matter seemed to me to warrant consulting you, especially because of the number involved. For many persons of every age, every rank, and also of both sexes are and will be endangered. For the contagion of this superstition has spread not only to the cities but also to the villages and farms.…” Pliny to Trajan, Letters 10.96–97


5- Lucian, a second century Romano-Syrian satirist, who wrote in Greek, wrote:
The Christians, you know, worship a man to this day — the distinguished personage who introduced their novel rites, and was crucified on that account… You see, these misguided creatures start with the general conviction that they are immortal for all time, which explains the contempt of death and voluntary self-devotion which are so common
among them; and then it was impressed on them by their original lawgiver that they are all brothers, from the moment that they are converted, and deny the gods of Greece, and worship the crucified sage, and live after His laws. All this they take quite on faith, with the results that they despise all worldly goods, alike, regarding them merely as common property Lucian, The Death of Peregrine, 11-13 in The Works of Lucian of Samosata, translated by H. W. Fowler (Oxford: Clarendon, 1949) vol. 4

Lucian didn’t believe in Christianity, but he gives a pretty good description of what was going on in the second century. And he wouldn’t be satirizing Christians if it wasn’t what they did, and what they believed, and if Jesus didn‘t really live and teach what they followed. Why would Lucian be lampooning them, if what they were really doing wasn’t found to be repugnant and humorous to him?

6- Thallus whose identity is difficult to determine, is known to have written a history from the Trojan War to his own time, which was sometime in the first or early second century. His work has been lost. However, an important reference to it was made by Sextus Julius Africanus. Julius Africanus, writing around 221 A.D., described the darkness and earthquakes which occurred when Our Lord was crucified (mentioned in the gospels). He cited Thallus as a non-Christian who gave testimony to these events:

On the whole world there pressed a most fearful darkness; and the rocks were rent by an
earthquake, and many places in Judea and other districts were thrown down. This darkness Thallus, in his third book of History, calls (as appears to me without reason) an eclipse of the sun. Julius Africanus, Extant Writings XVIII in Ante-Nicene Fathers, ed. A. Roberts and J. Donaldson (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1973) vol. VI, p. 13

Some complain about this reference by Thallus, saying that no other ancient writer commented on this darkness. But Thallus (who was a pagan chronologer and historian) did write it, and he didn’t seem to have an ulterior motive to do so. This seemed to be nothing more than scientific objection by Julius Africanus’ to what he saw as a grave mistake Thallus’ attempt to explain away the darkness as an eclipse.

7- Celsus was a second century Greek philosopher and opponent of Christianity. He is known to us mainly through the reputation of his literary work, The True Word almost entirely reproduced in excerpts by Origen in his counter-polemic Contra Celsum of 248 A.D., 70 or 80 years after Celsus wrote.

Celsus writes:
“The Christians say, Come to us you who are sinners, you who are fools or children, you who are miserable, and you shall enter into the kingdom of Heaven: the rogue, the thief,

the burglar, the poisoner, the despoiler of temples and tombs, these are their proselytes.
Jesus, they say, was sent to save sinners; was he not sent to help those who have kept themselves free from sin? They pretend that God will save the unjust man if he repents and humbles himself.” Celcus The True Word

Celsus ridiculed Christians, and in doing so he quotes HEAVILY from the New Testament (a book that today’s liberal theologians say didn’t exist during his time). In his writings are approximately 80 (Eighty) quotations from the New Testament books. The fact that he’s quoting from these books, as a Pagan, lends credence to their existence during his time. And his quotes takes for granted that the Christians of the time consider the New Testament writings as GOSPEL (universally accepted). If these books didn’t exist, or were of recent manufacture, why would he believe that all Christians actually believe these things.

It’s not just that he quoted from them, it’s that he quoted from them as if ALL Christians believed them.

He doesn’t make up any quotations (The quotations are verbatim), and he doesn’t quote any of the spurious gospels (ht e gospel of Andrew, the gospel of Barnibus etc..). This takes the origins back further than his own time.

8- The Talmud- which dates to the earliest period of composition (Tannaitic period) contains the following:

“On the eve of the Passover, Yeshu was hanged. Forty days before the execution took place, a herald went forth and cried: "He is going forth to be stoned because he has practiced sorcery and enticed Israel to apostasy. Any one who can say anything in his favour, let him come forward and plead on his behalf." But since nothing was brought forward in his favour he was hanged on the eve of the Passover.” The Babylonian Talmud, translated I. Epstein (London: Soncio, 1935), vol. 3, Sanhedrin 43a, p. 281

9- Mara Bar-Serapion, a Syrian stoic philosopher who wrote to encourage his son to pursue wisdom. He uses examples of Socrates, Pythagoras and a "wise King" (Jesus) who was executed by the Jews. The letter was circa 70AD:

"What advantage did the Athenians gain from putting Socrates to death? Famine and plague came upon them as a judgment for their crime. What advantage did the men of Samos gain from burying Pythagoras? In a moment their land was covered with sand. What advantage did the Jews gain from executing their wise king? It was just after that that their kingdom was abolished. God justly avenged these three wise men: the Athenians died of hunger; the Samians were overwhelmed by the sea; the Jews, ruined and driven from their land, live in complete dispersion. But Socrates did not die for good; he lived on in the teaching of Plato. Pythagoras did not die for good; he lived on in the statue of Hera. Nor did the wise king die for good; he lived on in the teaching which he had given."



It must be noted he that Mara Bar-Serapion wasn’t attempting to convert his son to Christianity. But he did affirm the life and ministry of Jesus. And he did point out the apparent result of the death Jesus in not only the demise of Israel, but the flourishing of Christianity (despite the heavy persecution meted out by the Romans upon the Christians).

10- Tertulian:

Tertullian, writing in c. 180 BC, said, “Come now, you who would indulge a better curiosity, if you would apply it to the business of your salvation, run over [to] the apostolic churches, in which the very thrones of the apostles are still pre-eminent in their places, in which their own authentic writings are read, uttering the voice and representing the face of each of them severally” This is from Chapter 36; Schaff’s translation.

What did he mean by “Authentic writing”? Tertulian was clearly telling them to check the documents that were STILL THERE! Being preserved by the various churches severally, and as it is inferred, being read (on a regular basis I would think).



Now, we must understand… Though not all of the above referenced writers were Non-Christians. But those who were, Some were exceedingly hostile towards Jesus and His followers. And this, in-and-of itself, brought an unexpected (for the hostile writers) boon to Christianity. It helped to support the FACT, that Jesus was a real person in history. That He enticed much of the known world, by the early to late second century, to follow His teachings through the evidences of His wisdom and miracles. And most of the non-Christians hated Him and His followers for that….


This brings to mind John 15:18-19 “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you” NIV…. And some of which were indifferent or ambivalent toward the Gospel and some even felt empathy towards the Christians because of the cruelty heaped upon them. They were writing from all over their world and they were commenting on the rapidly expanding followers on one Jesus Christ.

We can also deduce the following from the above writings, by piecing together the facts contained within the writing of these non-Christians:

1- Jesus lived during the time of Tiberius Caesar
2- He lived a virtuous life
3- He was a wonder worker (worker of miracles)
4- He had a brother named James
5- He was acclaimed to be the Messiah
6- He was crucified under Pontius Pilate
7- He was crucified on the eve of the Jewish Passover
8- Darkness and Earthquake occurred when He died
9- His disciples believed He rose from the dead
10-His disciples were willing to die for their belief
11-Christianity spread rapidly as far as Rome in a relatively short period of time.
12- His disciples denied the Roman gods (under threat of imprisonment, torture and horrendous deaths) and worshiped Jesus as God.

In light of these non-Christian references; the theory that Jesus never existed is clearly an awkward position for the skeptic, and altogether irrational. Given these facts, you must ask yourself; How could these non-Christian writers collectively reveal a storyline harmonious with the New Testament if Jesus never existed?

-Second-

Historical evidence concerning Jesus, by the first and second century Church Fathers: These are the generations of church leaders that followed the Apostles. Many of them were under the tutelage of the Apostles. They quoted the New Testament extensively. In fact, it is noted that if the New Testament were completely lost, all of it could be reconstructed IN IT”S ENTIRETY by their writings except for only eleven verses (I don‘t have enough faith to be an theist, Geisler/Turek pp 228). This totally debunks the “Added To” textual claims of the Skeptics, Post Modernists and other such critics. These writers also gave a lot of insight on the lives and times of the Apostles.

1- Clement of Rome, or Clemens Romanus, is considered the first Apostolic Father of the early Christian church. He was appointed Bishop of Rome in 93 A.D. He was martyred in 101. He wrote an epistle to the Corinthians in 95 A.D. He was a disciple of John. He quotes the first three Gospels, five of Paul’s epistles, and 1st and 2nd Peter (The authenticity of 2nd Peter is usually called into question, but here it is being quoted during the life of John). Clement writes:


“The apostles received the Gospels for us from the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ was sent forth from God. So then Christ is from God, and the Apostles are from Christ. Both therefore came of the will of God, in the appointed order. Having therefore receiving the charge, having been fully assured to the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ and confirmed in the word of God with full assurance of the Holy Ghost, they went forth with the glad tidings”.

This early quote by Clement totally destroys skeptic’s complaint about the Trinity doctrine evolving (no pun intended) much later. Clement went on to say:

“Take up the epistle of the blessed Apostle Paul. What did he write to you in the beginning of the Gospel? Truly unto the inspiration of the Spirit, he wrote to you concerning himself and Cefus and Apolous. Because even then parties have been formed among you”.

He wrote this in 95 A.D. to Corinth from Rome. And he knew of Paul’s letter to Corinth, they (the letters) had circulated that much! Also, he said “Take up the epistle of the blessed Apostle Paul”! This means that the letters of Paul had circulated all the way to Rome by 95 AD!!!


2- Polycarp of Smyrna (69 A.D. - 155 A.D.) was a second century bishop of Smyrna. He died a martyr when he was stabbed after an attempt to burn him at the stake failed. It is recorded that "He had been a disciple of John." With Clement of Rome and Ignatius of Antioch, Polycarp is one of three chief Apostolic Fathers.

In one of the most well documented events in history, against an angry mob, the Roman pro-counsel took pity on this kindly old man and urged him to proclaim Caesar as lord. If only Polycarp would make the declaration, and offer a small pinch of incense to Caesars statue, he would live. Polycarp replied:

“Eighty-six years have I served Christ, and He never did me any wrong. How can I blaspheme my King who saved me?”

Polycarp sites (and quotes) the first three Gospels, all of Paul’s epistles except Titus and Philemon. He sites Acts, 1st and 1st John.

3- Ignatius of Antioch (also known as Theophorus) (35 A.D. - 110 A.D.) was the third Bishop of Antioch and a student of the Apostle John. He was a student of Peter, Paul and John. En route to his martyrdom in Rome, Ignatius wrote a series of letters which have been preserved as an example of the Theology of the earliest Christians.

In his letter to the Romans, he testified to his willingness to die for his faith:

“I am writing to all the Churches and I enjoin all, that I am dying willingly for God's sake, if only you do not prevent it. I beg you, do not do me an untimely kindness. Allow
me to be eaten by the beasts, which are my way of reaching to God. I am God's wheat, and I am to be ground by the teeth of wild beast, so that i may become the pure bread of Christ.”

4- Quadratus of Athens is said to have been the first of the Christian Apologists. He is said by Eusebius of Caesarea (Chronicon "ad annum Abrahamum 2041" [124 A.D.] ) to have been a disciple of the Apostles (auditor apostolorum). Quadratus said:

“The words of our Savior were always present, for they were true: those who were healed, those who rose from the dead, those who were not only seen in the act of being healed or raised, but were also always present, not merely when the Savior was living on earth, but also for a considerable time after his departure, so that some of them survived even to our own times”. Richard Bauckham, Jesus and the Eyewitnesses (Cambridge: Eerdmans, 2006), pp. 53l.

What does this mean? These walking miracles were a testimony to the glory of Jesus Christ and His truth even up until the time of Quadratus. Some of them were still alive and walking around, and testifying to the miracles of Jesus!!!

5- Eusebius of Caesarea (c 263 – 339?) (often called Eusebius Pamphili, "Eusebius [the friend] of Pamphilus") became the bishop of Caesarea (314 AD). He is often referred to as the Father of Church History because of his work in recording the history of the early Church , especially Chronicle and Ecclesiastical History.

Eusebius quoted the writings of Hegesippus:

"And the Church of the Corinthians remained in the true word until Primus was bishop in Corinth; I made their acquaintance in my journey to Rome, and remained with the Corinthians many days, in which we were refreshed with the true word. And when I was in Rome, I made a succession up to Anicetus, whose deacon was Eleuterus. And in each succession and in each city all is according to the ordinances of the law and the Prophets and the Lord.” Eusebius, Hist. Eccles. iv.22.

6- Hegesippus (110 AD — 189 AD), was a Christian chronicler of the early Church who certainly wrote against heresies of the Gnostic and of Marcion. The date of Hegesippus is insecurely fixed by the statement of Eusebius that the death and apotheosis of Antinous (130) occurred in Hegesippus' lifetime, and that he came to Rome under Anicetus (Bishop of Rome, 175-189) and wrote in the time of Eleuterus.

“James, the Lord's brother, succeeds to the government of the Church, in conjunction with the apostles. He has been universally called the Just, from the days of the Lord down to the present time. For many bore the name of James; but this one was holy from his mother's womb. He drank no wine or other intoxicating liquor, nor did he eat flesh; no razor came upon his head; he did not anoint himself with oil, nor make use of the bath. He alone was permitted to enter the holy place: for he did not wear any woolen garment, but fine linen only. He alone, I say, was wont to go into the temple: and he used to be found kneeling on his knees, begging forgiveness for the people-so that the skin of his knees became horny like that of a camel's, by reason of his constantly bending the knee in adoration to God, and begging forgiveness for the people. Therefore, in consequence of his pre-eminent justice, he was called the Just, and Oblias, which signifies in Greek Defence of the People, and Justice, in accordance with what the prophets declare concerning him.” Concerning the martyrdom of James, the brother of the Lord, from Book V

This is a description of James (the brother of Jesus), and his piety.

Remember, earlier in his life he (along with his brothers) refuted the deity of Jesus. After the resurrection, James had a great change of heart. Later in this letter of Hegesippus, is the description of the martyrdom of James.

Further, what is taken away from the writings of (and about) Hegesippus is this: He not only corroborates the historicity of Jesus, but that of his brothers as well.

7- Papias (working in the 1st half of the 2nd century) was one of the early leaders of the Christian church and Bishop of Hierapolis near Laodiceia and Colossae.

Papias describes his way of gathering information:

"I will not hesitate to add also for you to my interpretations what I formerly learned with care from the Presbyters (Elders or Apostles) and have carefully stored in memory, giving assurance of its truth. For I did not take pleasure as the many do in those who speak much, but in those who teach what is true, nor in those who relate foreign precepts, but in those who relate the precepts which were given by the Lord to the faith and came down from the Truth itself. And also if any follower of the Presbyters happened to come, I would inquire for the sayings of the Presbyters, what Andrew said, or what Peter said, or what Philip or what Thomas or James or what John or Matthew or any other of the Lord's disciples, and for the things which other of the Lord's disciples, and for the things which Aristion and the Presbyter John, the disciples of the Lord, were saying. For I considered that I should not get so much advantage from matter in books as from the voice which yet lives and remains.”

Papias wanted to hear from the source, firsthand information as told by the eye witnesses! HE was qualifying and quantifying the veracity of the Apostles, their writings and of the personage of Jesus Himself through the Apostles!!!

About the origins of the Gospels, Papias (as quoted by Eusebius) wrote this:
"Mark having become the interpreter of Peter, wrote down accurately whatsoever he remembered. It was not, however, in exact order that he related the sayings or deeds of Christ. For he neither heard the Lord nor accompanied Him. But afterwards, as I said, he accompanied Peter, who accommodated his instructions to the necessities [of his hearers], but with no intention of giving a regular narrative of the Lord's sayings.
Wherefore Mark made no mistake in thus writing some things as he remembered them. For of one thing he took especial care, not to omit anything he had heard, and not to put anything fictitious into the statements. Matthew put together the oracles [of the Lord] in the Hebrew language”

Papias made several points here about the writing of the book of Mark:

He stated that Mark wrote the words of Simon Peter-
1- accurately
2- in “Exact Order”,
3- Mistake Free,
4- Omitting nothing, and
5- Nothing Fictitious!

He (Papias) also noted that Matthew originally wrote his gospel in Hebrew, and that it was later translated into Greek.

He also wrote of his investigations:
“if by chance anyone who had been in attendance on the elders should come my way, I inquired about the words of the elders — [that is,] what [according to the elders]
Andrew or Peter said, or Philip, or Thomas or James, or John or Matthew or any other of the Lord’s disciples, and whatever Aristion and the elder John, the Lord’s disciples, were saying. translation by Richard Bauckham in his Jesus and the Eyewitnesses (Cambridge: Eerdmans, 2006), pp. 15-16.

What does this tell us? Papias was checking with the sources to insure the validity of the texts. Thus, while Papias was collecting his information many of the disciples were still alive (99 AD) and Papias gathered information from people who had known them.

8- Tertulian:

Tertullian, writing in c. 180 AD, said, “Come now, you who would indulge a better curiosity, if you would apply it to the business of your salvation, run over [to] the apostolic churches, in which the very thrones of the apostles are still pre-eminent in their places, in which their own authentic writings are read, uttering the voice and representing the face of each of them severally” This is from Chapter 36; Schaff’s translation.

What did he mean by “Authentic writing”? Tertulian was clearly telling them to check the documents that were STILL THERE! Being preserved by the various churches severally, and as it is inferred, being read (on a regular basis I would think).

2- Does this proof extend to the writers of the Gospels as real persons?

If you’ve taken note of some writers above, you’ll find that they spoke of the Apostles:

Josephus mentioned James (the brother of Jesus): “and brought before them the brother of Jesus, who was called Christ, whose name was James”.

Tertulian mentioned the Apostles: “in which the very thrones of the apostles are still pre-eminent in their places, in which their own authentic writings are read”.

Clement of Rome mentioned the Apostles: “Jesus Christ was sent forth from God. So then Christ is from God, and the Apostles are from Christ.”

Papias Mentions Peter, Mark and Matthew: "Mark having become the interpreter of Peter, wrote down accurately whatsoever he remembered. It was not, however, in exact order that he related the sayings or deeds of Christ. For he neither heard the Lord nor accompanied Him. But afterwards, as I said, he accompanied Peter, who accommodated his instructions to the necessities [of his hearers], but with no intention of giving a regular narrative of the Lord's sayings. Wherefore Mark made no mistake in thus writing some things as he remembered them. For of one thing he took especial care, not to omit anything he had heard, and not to put anything fictitious into the statements. Matthew put together the oracles [of the Lord] in the Hebrew language”.

He (Papias)also mentioned Phillip, Thomas and John: I would inquire for the sayings of the Presbyters, what Andrew said, or what Peter said, or what Philip or what Thomas or James or what John or Matthew or any other of the Lord's disciples, and for the things which other of the Lord's disciples, and for the things which Aristion and the Presbyter John, the disciples of the Lord, were saying.

Clement of Rome mentions the Apostle Paul: “Take up the epistle of the blessed Apostle Paul”.

Hegesippus mentions James: “James, the Lord's brother, succeeds to the government of the Church, in conjunction with the apostles.”

Throughout the correspondence so far, we have seen that the writers of antiquity (be they secular, Jewish or Christian (some vehemently opposed to, indifferent towards or in agreement with the Christian faith) wrote with great frequency about Jesus his disciples and the steadily growing Christian following.

How could this have happened if the biblical characters didn‘t exist? Have all of these ancient writers of historical fact conspired to promulgate such a lie? And what possible reason would they have to do so?

The evidence we have provided thus far is overwhelming and undeniable to the reasonable person. And yet this is just a small percentage of the actual writings. We have only provided a few quotes from these historical writers. Just a small amount of Biblical corroborating texts.

And how do the skeptics reply to evidences?

They would have you believe (as I stated earlier)-

There is no historical evidence to prove Jesus existed

Miracles cannot happen and therefore these are nothing more than stories by the Apostles to bolster the Jesus story. The resurrection didn’t really happen because miracles don’t happen. The New Testament is a second and or third century document. The third and fourth century (and subsequent) scribes added additional stories.


But I have given you ample evidence to prove Jesus existed. And I didn’t rely on the New Testament to do so (as so many skeptics claim you have to do). Not only were there Christian sources, but irrefutable secular and Jewish sources as well. And the majority of them were hostile to Jesus and Christianity. And all before the middle of the second century.

They say miracles cannot happen. Why? Because they have never seen one. But, just because you personally have never seen something, does that mean it doesn’t exist? That is an inane and illogical presupposition that smacks of question begging! What purpose would it serve the Apostles, to lie about what they saw? They gained no riches from it! They gained only hardship, torture and death (in the material sense). They gave up their homes, families, livelihoods, health and lives to preach the “Good News” of Jesus Christ for a lie? Why would they claimed to have witnessed not only the miracles of Jesus, but His death, burial, resurrection and ascension, when they knew it was a lie? And how can the skeptic logically defend that the Apostles were willing to die for something they knew to be a lie? And most of these deaths were of the horrendous nature! Sawn in half, crucified, boiled in oil!!!

The evidence has proven, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that the New Testament is an early first century collection of documents. And the surface hasn’t even been scratched on this subject. I will, in subsequent lessons give proof that all of the new testament books were written prior to 80 AD. So, it doesn’t matter what some scribes may have done after 350 AD, we have at our disposal the quotes of secular historians, Jewish historians, and The early Church Fathers that will almost entirely re-construct the entire New Testament. And all from the first two centuries.


3. Do these evidences support the historical claims of the Gospels?

No answer but the affirmative will suffice…. If you’re looking for truth!


4. Does the culmination of the evidences (the ancient historical documentation) lend credence (proof) to the truth claims of Jesus and His followers?

Absolutely. If you’re looking for truth!


The evidence for Jesus' existence cannot be "proved," as a mathematical theorem. But it is equally true that such a proof of his non-historicity is out of the question due to it‘s absurdity and lack of contrary evidence to His life . But, given the logic of the skeptic, then neither can we prove the lives of George Washington, John Adams or Thomas Jefferson for that matter.

In matters of history, "proof" can only mean a reasonable and logical certainty based upon the available data. And, after all, mathematical demonstration has no more ultimate criterion of validity than that of reasonableness. The New Testament data is perfectly clear in the testimony of the disciples, to the reality of Jesus' earthly career. And this data comes from a time when the possibility that the apostles could have been deceived in any way upon this point is out of the question. As eye wittiness’s of the accounts they recorded, or themselves had recorded (in the case of Peter to his scribe Mark), their testimony cannot be impugned by any reasonable person. And, not only does Paul make the historical personality of Jesus a necessary centerpiece to his gospel, but the whole situation in which Paul moves, breaths, lives and dies, reveals a historical background in which memory of this individual is central. The earliest phases of gospel tradition have their roots in Israeli soil and reach back to the period when personal associates of Jesus were still living; while primitive Christology shows distinct traces of Jesus ( The man of Galilee) behind its faith in the heavenly Christ.

The disciples' had no reason to lie, as some atheist/agnostics/skeptics and liberal theologians are wont to suggest. Also, the letters of these disciples were held in high regard by the Christians of the time, and the serious Historians of today.

Summary and Conclusion

Both the authenticity and the historicity of the New Testament documents are firmly established today. The authentic nature and vast amount of the manuscript evidence is overwhelming compared to the classical texts from antiquity. Furthermore, many of the original manuscripts date from within twenty to thirty years of the events in Jesus’ life, that is, from contemporaries and eyewitnesses.

The historicity of these contemporary accounts of Christ’s life, teachings, death, and resurrection is also established on firm historical grounds. The integrity of the New Testament writers is established by the character of the witnesses as well as by the quantity and independent nature of their witness. As to the accuracy of their reports there is support in general from the secular history of the first century and in particular from numerous archaeological discoveries supporting specific details of the New Testament account.

The words of the great classical scholar Sir Fredric Kenyon serve well to summarize the question of reliability of the New Testament documents: "The interval then between the dates of original composition and the earliest extant evidence becomes so small as to be in fact negligible, and the last foundation for any doubt that the Scriptures have come down to us substantially as they were written has now been removed. Both the authenticity and the general integrity of the books of the New Testament may be regarded as finally established"

#2 CTD

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Posted 10 January 2009 - 10:31 PM

I'm about halfway through the piece. Taking a break, and saving a copy of the page. Excellent work!

#3 Adam Nagy

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Posted 11 January 2009 - 12:47 PM

Once again, de_skudd, thank you for providing an excellent reference source.

#4 de_skudd

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Posted 12 January 2009 - 12:53 PM

It is my pleasure to add what I can to the cause my friend...

#5 Arch

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Posted 27 May 2009 - 08:55 PM

A very interesting and in depth post de_skudd. I think there are a lot of skeptics that would do well to read this. Regardless of what your faith may be, there is far to much evidence to claim Christ did not exist.

I look forward to your next edition.

Regards,

Arch.

#6 Arch

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Posted 19 June 2009 - 04:17 AM

Hi guys,

For quite a few years now I've been of the opinion that there is plenty of evidence for an historical Jesus. If there was an historical Jesus, then there's every chance he may have been a divine one also.

Recently I got linked to an article where the author tried to convince his readers that there was no eye witness accounts of Jesus' life and that all information we have concerning the man is second hand.

Did Jesus exist?

I've taken the time to compare this to another forum de_skudd set up where he illustrated that many non-Christians had written about Jesus.

The Historical Jesus

The problem I found was that none of de_skudd's sources were first hand - all the authors had written long after Jesus' crucifixion.

As I said, I've been under the impression that if nothing else an historical Jesus existed, however this new information is making me have some doubts. I invite people to provide evidence either for or against an historical Christ. If possible use first hand documents, but don't feel limited to them.

Another question which I wouldn't mind getting answered is whether or not Herod performed the Massacre of the Innocents
Below is a discussion myself and Ron started on another forum.

Clement of Alexandria says, "From the birth of Christ, therefore, to the death of Commodus [the Roman emperor who died on 31 December A.D. 192] are, in all, a hundred and ninety-four years, one month, thirteen days". If we suppose that he is using the Roman calendar, we deduce that Clement set Christ's birth on 18 November 3 B.C. We may arrive at a different date if we suppose that Clement, a resident of Egypt, is using the Egyptian calendar without intercalation. Measuring backward from Commodus' death an interval of 194 years (each exactly 365 days), one month (thirty days), and thirteen days bring us to 6 January 2 B.C.


Sorry Ron, just been trying to wrap my head around the dates. It tends to get confusing when you juggle dates that are around the birth of Christ (due to having to swap between negative and positive dates).

If the earliest Christ could have been born was 3BC (-3), and Herod died in 4BC (-4), then Herod was indeed dead before Christ was born by a year. Christ would need to have been born in 4BC or earlier (eg, 5BC) for the dates to work.

Are these dates correct? Herod died in 4BC, and the earliest Christ could have been born was 3BC?


Discuss! :D

#7 Arch

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Posted 22 June 2009 - 05:19 PM

48 views and still no responses :o Is no one interested in discussing or should I just go ahead and assume there is no evidence? :lol:

#8 Adam Nagy

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Posted 22 June 2009 - 07:29 PM

I think this thread needs merged with one of our pinned topics... consider it done.

#9 Adam Nagy

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Posted 22 June 2009 - 07:35 PM

Arch,

If you dismiss the work of Jesus based on some contrived nuances that actually are catered to hamstring the historical investigation then you have a huge problem. Whatever 'reasonable doubt' (I'm being generous here) you can come up with to bolster a case against Jesus will do away with known history if applied consistently to other historical records. The Bible leaves all other historic documents in the dust based on availability, consistency and correlation with archeological findings.

If you intend on being an honest historian and dismiss the scriptural record, you also have to notify everyone of your disbelief of all history due to the lack of evidence.

#10 Arch

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Posted 23 June 2009 - 04:06 AM

Arch,

If you dismiss the work of Jesus based on some contrived nuances that actually are catered to hamstring the historical investigation then you have a huge problem. Whatever 'reasonable doubt' (I'm being generous here) you can come up with to bolster a case against Jesus will do away with known history if applied consistently to other historical records. The Bible leaves all other historic documents in the dust based on availability, consistency and correlation with archeological findings.

If you intend on being an honest historian and dismiss the scriptural record, you also have to notify everyone of your disbelief of all history due to the lack of evidence.

View Post


Oh I agree, these is a striking amount of evidence that talks about Jesus, as de_skudd has already pointed out. I just find it amazing that there is no first hand references to Him, and that he left no mark on this earth (that we have found) in all his time here.

"The Bible leaves all other historic documents in the dust based on availability, consistency and correlation with archeological findings."

Availability is irrelevant to accuracy and I'd happily argue the Bible is neither consistent or correlates to archaeological findings, but that's an entirely different subject unto itself. For now I'd prefer to concentrate on the Gospels and the story of Christ, so if you have some evidence to show I'd like to hear it.

"If you intend on being an honest historian and dismiss the scriptural record, you also have to notify everyone of your disbelief of all history due to the lack of evidence."

The article I linked actually covers this. If you haven't already I'd recommend going and reading it.

I'd just like to pre-empt this discussion by saying I do believe that an historical Jesus did exist (lets not get into whether historical = divine, there's another forum for that). Which was why I was surprised to match de_skudd's report to this other article and find that the two authors agreed on the evidence, but came to completely differing opinions on what it means.

In all honesty it would be somewhat shocking for me to discover that Jesus may not have existed, and let's face it, devastating to all the believers here.
I expect that most people here will be arguing for an historical Jesus existing, and for that reason alone I'm happy to play devils advocate and argue for the other side, not necessarily because I believe it, but because someone has to :blink:

Regards,

Arch.

#11 scott

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Posted 25 June 2009 - 06:37 PM

Oh I agree, these is a striking amount of evidence that talks about Jesus, as de_skudd has already pointed out. I just find it amazing that there is no first hand references to Him, and that he left no mark on this earth (that we have found) in all his time here.

"The Bible leaves all other historic documents in the dust based on availability, consistency and correlation with archeological findings."

Availability is irrelevant to accuracy and I'd happily argue the Bible is neither consistent or correlates to archaeological findings, but that's an entirely different subject unto itself. For now I'd prefer to concentrate on the Gospels and the story of Christ, so if you have some evidence to show I'd like to hear it.

"If you intend on being an honest historian and dismiss the scriptural record, you also have to notify everyone of your disbelief of all history due to the lack of evidence."

The article I linked actually covers this. If you haven't already I'd recommend going and reading it.

I'd just like to pre-empt this discussion by saying I do believe that an historical Jesus did exist (lets not get into whether historical = divine, there's another forum for that). Which was why I was surprised to match de_skudd's report to this other article and find that the two authors agreed on the evidence, but came to completely differing opinions on what it means.

In all honesty it would be somewhat shocking for me to discover that Jesus may not have existed, and let's face it, devastating to all the believers here.
I expect that most people here will be arguing for an historical Jesus existing, and for that reason alone I'm happy to play devils advocate and argue for the other side, not necessarily because I believe it, but because someone has to :(

Regards,

Arch.

View Post


Arch, um... Sigh, I have plenty of Biblical Archeaology magazines I could lend you, but hey, just subscribe to it. The findings do corrolate, and you cannot argue that, unless you don't believe in absolutes... Like many atheist... who would even go as far as to argue that the magazine itself, the pictures, or the people within could not be proven true, or absolute, thus probably not being real at all.

What Deskudd provided was more than sufficient, and continuing to argue only makes things... uh... pointlessly prolonged. Oh well, let us continue this debate.

#12 Arch

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Posted 25 June 2009 - 09:02 PM

Arch, um... Sigh, I have plenty of Biblical Archeaology magazines I could lend you, but hey, just subscribe to it.

What Deskudd provided was more than sufficient, and continuing to argue only makes things... uh... pointlessly prolonged.  Oh well, let us continue this debate.

View Post


Hey Scott,

Thanks for the reply, I was starting to get worried no one would :P

I have no idea which magazine you're referring to, so subscription would be a little hard. Also I'm cheap; :D I wouldn't want to spend money on something that I wouldn't get anything out of. Would it be too much to ask for a couple of examples from this magazine? Doesn't need to have all the facts and figures, just a general idea would do.

I think what de_skudd provided was excellent, and it's still enough for me to conclude there most likely was an historical Jesus. I just found it surprising that in all the evidence I've seen I'm yet to see any first hand information talking about Jesus. Jesus never left any evidence of his life on earth. Likewise, no one who lived at the same time as him wrote anything about him. It just seems really odd that a man who was so influential wouldn't have left behind any trace of himself except for stories.

Regards,

Arch.

#13 Ron

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Posted 27 June 2009 - 03:42 PM

I just found it surprising that in all the evidence I've seen I'm yet to see any first hand information talking about Jesus. Jesus never left any evidence of his life on earth. Likewise, no one who lived at the same time as him wrote anything about him. It just seems really odd that a man who was so influential wouldn't have left behind any trace of himself except for stories.

View Post


I’m going to attempt to assist you here Archie, but, judging from your past posts, you’ll likely just blow it off because you don’t want to believe it. So here goes:

What De_skudd provided, takes you right up to the New Testament, and therefore answers ALL of your questions and ill-conceived misunderstandings.

You said……

It just seems really odd that a man who was so influential wouldn't have left behind any trace of himself except for stories.

View Post

…..Which is incorrect Archie; there are NO LESS than 12 eyewitnesses (and actually many-many-many-many more) to the life, ministry, miracles, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus! You may attempt to dismiss their testimony, but you do so out of prejudice and ignorance. Matthew, John, Peter, James, Andrew, Phillip, Nathanael, Cleophas, Paul, James and Jude (the brothers of Jesus), Mary (the mother of Jesus), Mary Magdalene (etc… etc… etc…) were ALL "Eye Witnesses" of the Historical Jesus.

Matthew, John, Peter, James, Jude and Paul all wrote of their eye witness evidences of Jesus. And you have these first hand, eyewitness accounts at your fingertips. Therefore, when you said…….

I just found it surprising that in all the evidence I've seen I'm yet to see any first hand information talking about Jesus.

View Post

AND

Likewise, no one who lived at the same time as him wrote anything about him.

View Post

….. you proved that your unjustified assumptions and out and out omissions are weak at best, and hold no water.

But, if you wish to continue to deny the historical facts of Jesus, you are doing so on “Blind” faith.

#14 Ron

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Posted 27 June 2009 - 03:55 PM

Arch,

If you dismiss the work of Jesus based on some contrived nuances that actually are catered to hamstring the historical investigation then you have a huge problem. Whatever 'reasonable doubt' (I'm being generous here) you can come up with to bolster a case against Jesus will do away with known history if applied consistently to other historical records. The Bible leaves all other historic documents in the dust based on availability, consistency and correlation with archeological findings.

If you intend on being an honest historian and dismiss the scriptural record, you also have to notify everyone of your disbelief of all history due to the lack of evidence.

View Post


I hate to prejudge Archie’s honesty (and I doubt I am), but he’s totally disregarding the writings of Matthew, John, Peter, James, Jude and Paul as first hand witnesses. SO when he says “The problem I found was that none of de_skudd's sources were first hand - all the authors had written long after Jesus' crucifixion.” And “I just found it surprising that in all the evidence I've seen I'm yet to see any first hand information talking about Jesus.” And "I just find it amazing that there is no first hand references to Him, and that he left no mark on this earth (that we have found) in all his time here.", we clearly have grounds for questioning his honesty.

I’m just wondering, at this point, if there is an ulterior motive here. I hope not. :lol:

#15 Arch

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Posted 27 June 2009 - 05:42 PM

Hi Ron,

You obviously have a problem with me implying that the Gospels and the books of 'letters' aren't first hand writings. Have you read the above article I linked? It explains why they aren't. If you want to debate why these are first hand writings I suggest you start by explaining why the author of my linked article is incorrect.

Regards,

Arch.

#16 Ron

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Posted 27 June 2009 - 06:48 PM

You obviously have a problem with me implying that the Gospels and the books of 'letters' aren't first hand writings.

View Post


Archie, history has a problem with revisionists. So I would ask you this: Who would better know if these were the writings of the Apostles, the people who knew them personally (Clement of Rome, Polycarp of Smyrna, Ignatius of Antioch, Quadratus of Athens, Papias) or Jim Walker and Elaine Pagels (skeptics of our century).

Did you even take the time to reconcile these flimsy accusations against the above mentioned writers? You know; the ones who knew the Apostles personally.

Have you read the above article I linked? It explains why they aren't. If you want to debate why these are first hand writings I suggest you start by explaining why the author of my linked article is incorrect.

View Post


Yes Archie, I have read the above article, and I’ve read the sources of their article. Did you? Did you happen to notice the tell tail signs of misdirection in their accusations? I suggest you get better sources before you attempt to pawn them off here.

But, if you wish to debate this topic using these tactics, I think I would enjoy that.

#17 Arch

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Posted 27 June 2009 - 08:27 PM

Did you even take the time to reconcile these flimsy accusations against the above mentioned writers? You know; the ones who knew the Apostles personally.

View Post


I did not realise this was the case, and it is things like this I hoped to learn. Could you link me something that shows these writers did know the Apostles personally, and didn't just derive it from the Gospels?

I only ask because many of the above writers wrote about Jesus generations after he was crucified. In many cases the Apostles would have died from old age, if not sooner from martyrdom or illness.

Regards,

Arch.

#18 Ron

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Posted 28 June 2009 - 07:26 AM

I did not realise this was the case, and it is things like this I hoped to learn. Could you link me something that shows these writers did know the Apostles personally, and didn't just derive it from the Gospels?

I only ask because many of the above writers wrote about Jesus generations after he was crucified. In many cases the Apostles would have died from old age, if not sooner from martyrdom or illness.

View Post


Many of the writers above were students of the Apostles, and a few were around when Jesus was ministering. Also, when you’ve read the writings of all the current perspectives, it’s not hard to sift through and separate the spurious writers from the serious historians. It’s like the difference between an accomplished historian and a tabloid sensationalist. But, regardless of all of this, if you go to the source, you will never go wrong.

As to links, I would suggest better reading than links will give you. You can start with Roman historian A. N. Sherwin-White’s book “Roman Society” and Ancient Historian Michael Grant’s book “Jesus” (amongst many others). But, the historical documents written by the men themselves will give you the insight you really need. You need to read the writings of:

Clement of Rome: He was a disciple (student) of both Paul and Peter, and it is said that he is the Clement mentioned in Phil. 4:3 (of which denial can only be made by opinion and not fact). He was the Bishop of Rome (Catholics refer to him as Pope). According to Tertullian, Clement was ordained by Peter himself. Origen identifies Clement as Pauls fellow-laborer (Philippians 4:3), and so do Eusebius, Epiphanius, and Jerome. Therefore his relationship is supported by many ancient writers, and only discredited by “modern” so-called writers.

Read his letter to the Corinthians. (I’m not speaking of the so-called 2nd epistle here)

Clement wrote:

"The Apostles received the Gospel for us from the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ was sent forth from God. So then Christ is from God, and the Apostles are from Christ. Both therefore came of the will of God in the appointed order. Having therefore received a charge, and being fully assured through the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ and confirmed in the word of God will full assurance of the Holy Ghost, they went forth with the glad tidings that the kingdom of God should come. So preaching everywhere in country and town, they appointed their first fruits, when they had proved them by the Spirit, to be bishops and deacons unto them that should believe." - Corinthians 42


Ignatius: He was a student of John the Apostle. Ignatius wrote several letters en route to his martyrdom in Rome. He had been condemned to death during Trajan’s persecution of the Christians.

These include his letters to: Polycarp (Bishop of Smyrna), the Ephesians, the Romans, the Magnesians, the Trallians, the Philsdelphinas, and the Smyrnaeans.

Ignatius wrote:

"Jesus Christ who was of the race of David, who was the Son of Mary, who was truly born and ate and drank, was truly persecuted under Pontius Pilate, was truly crucified and died in the sight of those in heaven and on earth and those under the earth. Who moreover was truly raised from the dead, His father having raised Him, who in the like fashion will so raise us also who believe in Him." - Trallians

And:

"He is truly of the race of David according to the flesh but Son of God by the Divine will and powered, truly born of a virgin and baptized by John that all righteousness might be fulfilled by Him, truly nailed up in the flesh for our sakes under Pontius Pilate and Herod the tetrarch... That He might set up an ensign unto all ages through His resurrection." - Smyrneans, 1

And:

"Be ye fully persuaded concerning the birth and the passion and the resurrection, which took place in the time of the governorship of Pontius Pilate. For these things were truly and certainly done by Jesus Christ our hope." - Magnesians XI


Polycarp of Smyrna: Bishop of Smyrna, was a disciple of John the Apostle, who appointed him to that position.

In the Martyrdom of Polycarp (as recorded by Eusebius) the exchange between the pro-counsel was taking pity on the elderly man and said: "Take the oath and I let you go, revile Christ," Polycarp said: "For eighty and six years have I been his servant, and he has done me no wrong, and how can I blaspheme my King who saved me?"
For the words of Polycarp, read: Polycarp's Letter to the Philippians.

Quadratus of Athens: Bishop of Athens and Christian apologist. Was said, by Eusebius, to be a direct disciple (student) of the Apostles.

Eusebius writes of the apologetic from Quadratus to the Emperor Hadrian:

“After Trajan had reigned for nineteen and a half years Aelius Adrian (Hadrian) became his successor in the empire. To him Quadratus addressed a discourse containing an apology for our religion, because certain wicked men had attempted to trouble the Christians. The work is still in the hands of a great many of the brethren, as also in our own, and furnishes clear proofs of the man's understanding and of his apostolic orthodox. 2 He himself reveals the early date at which he lived in the following words: "But the works of our Saviour were always present, for they were genuine:-those that were healed, and those that were raised from the dead, who were seen not only when they were healed and when they were raised, but were also always present; and not merely while the Saviour was on earth, but also after his death, they were alive for quite a while, so that some of them lived even to our day." Such then was Quadratus. - Eusebius, Hist. Eccl. IV.3.

Papias: Bishop of Hierapolis, a student of John, and companion of Polycarp. None of the works of Papias’s treatise called “An Exposition of the Lord's Reports” are extant. But, they did survive to be quoted by Irenaeus and Eusebius (both of whom quoted his works extensively)

All ar attributed to Papias, as quoted from his writings.
“ And of Papias there are five treatises in circulation, and which were entitled, An Exposition of the Lord's Reports. Irenaeus also mentions these as his only writing, using the following words: ‘And these things Papias, who has been a hearer of John and a colleague of Polycarp, an early man, corroborates in writing in the fourth of his books. For there were five books that he composed’.” - Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History

“I will not hesitate to add also for you to my interpretations what I formerly learned with care from the Presbyters and have carefully stored in memory, giving assurance of its truth. For I did not take pleasure as the many do in those who speak much, but in those who teach what is true, nor in those who relate foreign precepts, but in those who relate the precepts which were given by the Lord to the faith and came down from the Truth itself. And also if any follower of the Presbyters happened to come, I would inquire for the sayings of the Presbyters, what Andrew said, or what Peter said, or what Philip or what Thomas or James or what John or Matthew or any other of the Lord's disciples, and for the things which other of the Lord's disciples, and for the things which Aristion and the Presbyter John, the disciples of the Lord, were saying. For I considered that I should not get so much advantage from matter in books as from the voice which yet lives and remains.” - Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History



“Mark having become the interpreter of Peter, wrote down accurately whatsoever he remembered. It was not, however, in exact order that he related the sayings or deeds of Christ. For he neither heard the Lord nor accompanied Him. But afterwards, as I said, he accompanied Peter, who accommodated his instructions to the necessities [of his hearers], but with no intention of giving a regular narrative of the Lord's sayings. Wherefore Mark made no mistake in thus writing some things as he remembered them. For of one thing he took especial care, not to omit anything he had heard, and not to put anything fictitious into the statements. Matthew put together the oracles [of the Lord] in the Hebrew language, and each one interpreted them as best he could.”

But whenever someone who had followed the presbyters came along, I would carefully ask about the words of the presbyters, what Andrew or what Peter had said or what Philip or what Thomas or James or what John or Matthew or any other of the disciples of the Lord, and which Aristion and the presbyter John, disciples of the Lord say too. For I did not assume that whatever comes from books is as helpful to me as what comes from a living and lasting voice. - Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History


As you'll notice, there is direct lineage between Jesus, His Apostles, and the above writers (had you thoroughly read De_skudds posting, you'ed have seen these facts). You can attempt to refute it, but attempt is the best you can do.

There is much more that I cannot begin to add here. But, as I said, when you take only the prejudicial attitude written into today’s commentary, as opposed to the eye witnessed accounts of those who lived it, you are doomed to fall into the trap of spurious inaccuracies. The above paper by Dee has tied together all the principle and witnesses of the first two centuries to show the truth in the historical accounts. But (and correct me if I’m wrong Dee) it was never meant to be all inclusive due to the mountains of “Ancient” literature on the subject. If all the literary evidence for Jesus and His apostles were posted here, you’d never be able to sift through it. You’re better off researching, then coming back to discuss.

And, if you check the “Ancient” literature on the subject, you’ll easily see the nonsense that is being argued today. There is absolutely NO “Ancient” literature that refutes the history of Jesus, his disciples, or His ministry, some just mock in disbelief, satirize, or scorn what He (and they) did, and they were persecuted and martyred for those beliefs.

Also, if you’ll take note, the mocking disbelief, satirizing, and scornful attitude continues today. But the refutation of actual historical evidence is still nonexistent.


So, when you make light of facts you are ignorant of, it only magnifies the fact that you didn’t look any further than the historical hucksters. And, if that’s the company you want to keep, all the links and historical documentation in the world cannot help you.

#19 Arch

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Posted 28 June 2009 - 08:17 PM

Hi Ron,

Thanks for that information. I've only glanced over it while I'm on my work break, but I'll take the time to go through it more thoroughly later. By the sounds of it Clement would be a good person to start doing more research on. There seems to be plenty of information available on him too.

As you'll notice, there is direct lineage between Jesus, His Apostles, and the above writers (had you thoroughly read De_skudds posting, you'ed have seen these facts). You can attempt to refute it, but attempt is the best you can do.

So, when you make light of facts you are ignorant of, it only magnifies the fact that you didn’t look any further than the historical hucksters. And, if that’s the company you want to keep, all the links and historical documentation in the world cannot help you.


Firstly Ron I think I need to reiterate that I believe there was an historical Jesus. The study I've done previously lead me to this conclusion and was backed by de_skudd's report. I believe I've already stated this previously, so please don't accuse me of being ignorant. I'm only trying to cover both sides here.

There is absolutely NO “Ancient” literature that refutes the history of Jesus


I'd prefer not to get into a debate on this, but I did feel the need to point out how illogical this is. Assuming Jesus did not exist, why would there be any ancient literature claiming he did not exist? It would be redundant. Considering how few people knew how to scribe I doubt too many people would waste their time writing about how imaginary people did not exist.

I highly doubt we'll find any ancient documents claiming Jesus did not exist; but we might find an absence of valid documents claiming his existence.

I'd like to ask another two questions, just to be thorough in this investigation.
1. Is there any way we can verify the Apostles were who they said they were?
2. I may have missed it, but did any of the documents you linked show first hand knowledge of Christ? Or were they just writings about the Apostles who said that Christ existed?

Regards,

Arch.

#20 Ron

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Posted 29 June 2009 - 03:14 AM

Thanks for that information. I've only glanced over it while I'm on my work break, but I'll take the time to go through it more thoroughly later. By the sounds of it Clement would be a good person to start doing more research on. There seems to be plenty of information available on him too.

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Clement is a good place to start, but you cannot limit yourself to him, and you have to take care, as well, of the spurious modern writers.

I'd prefer not to get into a debate on this, but I did feel the need to point out how illogical this is. Assuming Jesus did not exist, why would there be any ancient literature claiming he did not exist? It would be redundant. Considering how few people knew how to scribe I doubt too many people would waste their time writing about how imaginary people did not exist.

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Ancient writings are replete with writings of nonexistent things Archie. Also, your misinterpretation of the volume of scribes is incorrect. The Jews themselves had a large contingent of scribes (for obvious reasons). And, there were massive amounts of writing going on (I, for one would have loved to see the library at Alexandria prior to its destruction, and the Senate library at Rome as well). The sheer amount of written reports to Rome from its providences must have been staggering (this is where Tacitus, Suetonius, Josephus, and Pliny, amongst many other ancient historians, got much of their material).

I highly doubt we'll find any ancient documents claiming Jesus did not exist; but we might find an absence of valid documents claiming his existence.

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As proven above, there is irrefutable evidence in many “of valid documents claiming his existence”.

1. Is there any way we can verify the Apostles were who they said they were?

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Did you not read all of the above?


2. I may have missed it, but did any of the documents you linked show first hand knowledge of Christ? Or were they just writings about the Apostles who said that Christ existed?

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The Historical New Testament documents are such documents Archie….. Did you somehow miss that as well?




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