External Secular Contemporaneous Corroborations pro and con
External Secular Contemporaneous
Corroborations pro and con
Cornelius Tacitus: Roman senator and historian writing in Annals 15.44 about 100 A.D. "But not all the relief that could come from man, not all the bounties that the prince could bestow, nor all the atonements which could be presented to the gods, availed to relieve Nero from the infamy of being believed to have ordered the conflagration, the fire of Rome. Hence to suppress the rumor, he falsely charged with the guilt, and punished Christians, who were hated for their enormities. Christus, the founder of the name, was put to death by Pontius Pilate, procurator of Judaea in the reign of Tiberius: but the pernicious superstition, repressed for a time broke out again, not only through Judaea, where the mischief originated, but through the city of Rome also, where all things hideous and shameful from every part of the world find their center and become popular. Accordingly, an arrest was first made of all who pleaded guilty; then, upon their information, an immense multitude was convicted, not so much of the crime of firing the city, as of hatred against mankind."
Pliny the Younger: governor of Roman Bithynia writing about 106 A.D. "For whatever the nature of [the Christians'] creed might be..." "...curse Christ, which a genuine Christian cannot be induced to do." "They affirmed, however, that the whole of their guilt, or their error, was, that they were in the habit of meeting on a certain fixed day before it was light, when they sang in alternate verse a hymn to Christ as to a god, and bound themselves to a solemn oath, not to do any wicked deeds, but never to commit any fraud, theft, adultery, never to falsify their word, not to deny a trust when they should be called upon to deliver it up."
Lucian of Samosata: satirist and playwright writing about 50 A.D. "...the wondrous lore of the Christians..." "...next after that other, to be sure, whom they (the Christians) still worship, the man who was crucified in Palestine because he introduced this new cult to the world." "Then, too, their first lawgiver persuaded them that they are all brothers...after they have thrown over and denied the gods of Greece and have done reverence to that crucified sophist himself and live according to his laws."
Gaius Suetonius Tranquillis: 115 A.D. Life of Claudius 25.4 and Life of Nero 16.2 "As the Jews were making constant disturbances at the instigation of Chrestus, he [ Claudius ] expelled them [the Jews] from Rome." "Punishment [by Nero] was inflicted on the Christians, a class of men given to a new and mischievous superstition."
Thallus: a historian writing 50-75 A.D. "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."
The Hebrew Talmud: about third century. "Those who say that God changed the Law for another New Law, and that the Torah no longer has any value, although they do not deny that it was given by God, as the Christians and the Turks believe. All of these deny the Law of the Torah."
Mara Bar Serapion: a Syrian stoic philosopher writing about 75 A.D. "Or the Jews by the murder of their Wise King, seeing that from that very time their kingdom was driven away from them?Â For with justice did God grant a recompense to the wisdom of all three of them.Â For the Athenians died by famine; and the people of Samos were covered by the sea without remedy; and the Jews, brought to desolation and expelled from their kingdom, are driven away into every land."
Celsus: a philosopher writing his antichristian polemic "True Reason" in 178 A.D. "Again, if God, like Jupiter in the comedy, should, on awaking from a lengthened slumber, desire to rescue the human race from evil, why did he send this Spirit of which you speak into one corner (of the earth)? He ought to have breathed it alike into many bodies, and have sent them out into all the world. Now the comic poet, to cause laughter in the theater, wrote that Jupiter, after awakening, dispatched Mercury to the Athenians and Lacedemonians; but do you not think that you have made the Son of God more ridiculous in sending him to the Jews?"
Flavius Josephus ben Matthias: writing his "Jewish Antiquities" 18.3.3 in 94 A.D. "About this time there lived Jesus, a wise man, if indeed one ought to call him a man. For he was one who performed surprising deeds and was a teacher of such people as accept the truth gladly. He won over many Jews and many of the Greeks. He was the Messiah. And when, upon the accusation of the principal men among us, Pilate had condemned him to a cross, those who had first come to love him did not cease. He appeared to them spending a third day restored to life, for the prophets of God had foretold these things and a thousand other marvels about him. And the tribe of the Christians, so called after him, has still to this day not disappeared." A critical analysis of this interpolated text at (www.josephus.org/testimonium.htm) finds that it was sourced in a lost Gospel.You can find many more such works at: http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/index.html
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