Sunday, December 27, 2015

Jesus in Ancient Non-Christian Sources

While all Historical Jesus scholars go to the New Testament to learn about Jesus, ancient non-Christian sources report a number of facts as well. Interestingly, the facts we learn about Jesus in non-Christian sources support the Christian view of Jesus, not the Muslim view of Jesus.

In this short video, Dr. Craig Blomberg shares the details we learn about Jesus from non-Christian sources.


George Monnat, Jr. said...

Dr. Wood,

Thank you for that. I still run across mythicists, and I quote Tacitus and Josephus. I heard those and Pliny. Do you have a transcription of what he said, or can you list the sources he mentioned, preferably with full names?

Thank you,

Jesus is Lord said...

Brother Georges,
I was actually thinking the same about the sources mentioned! It is really helpful to have not only this information on video but on paper as we often minister online! Thank You brother David!

Naram-Sin said...

The problem is that most of these sources are not particularly reliable. And the ones that are, tend to retell rumors. The Talmud is particularly unreliable, having been written down some 500+ years after the fact. An example of the fictitious nature of the Talmudic reports is the story of the rabbi who told Mary that she would go to heaven if she told the truth, whereupon Mary immediately recants everything and admits to adultery. Hardly, the most believable story. However, if all you are saying is that the non-Christian reports are closer to the New Testament than to the Qur'an, that's probably true. But certainly not a surprise. Ultimately, it is the moral superiority of Christian teachings to the hate and immorality taught in the Qur'an that wins the argument.

Luther-Carlo Suvu said...

To be fair it's admittable almost all scholars are in agreement Novum Testamentum written by Josephus is unreliable for its tampering and doubtful authenticity.

Tacitus's record is the best one i think but it should be clarified that it contains about record on christian 'claiming and believing' Jesus the formerly crucified person as the risen Lord and also was worshipped as 'deity'.

No records that early christians viewed Jesus as just mere prophet, they all regarded Jesus as God but to be fair we also have to admit the reports on Jesus's resurrection come solely from 'christians' and Tacitus only recorded them.

Another thing I want to comment about if i may, is about this negative tendency of Over-Reliance on historical record to prove Jesus existence and events surrounding him from historical point of view.

My 'beef' is particularly toward Mike Licona who prones to deny the resurrection of the saints at the time of Jesus's death by considering the event as some sort of fairy-tale instead of true real life event. And he based his argument solely because Josephus hadn't recorded such event.

First,Josephus came from family line of Saducces meaning doctrinally speaking he rejects any notion of resurrection of the death.

Second,since Josephus is closely related with the Sanhedrin , it's no big surprise if he would surpress and keep silent any report around Christ's resurrection along with miracles accompanying it.

Third,why Mike Licona prones to deny the resurrection of the saints at time of Jesus's death just because there hasn't been any 'historical' report about it? So i guess Mr.Licona would probably deny the Red Sea miracle since there were no ancient Egyptian nor Hittians records about Red Sea miracle,wouldn't he?

David Wood said...

Luther-Carlo said: "To be fair it's admittable almost all scholars are in agreement Novum Testamentum written by Josephus is unreliable for its tampering and doubtful authenticity."

Wow. The "Novum Testamentum" ("New Testament") of Josephus??? I assume you meant the "Testimonium Flavianum," but you're still wrong. Most scholars believe that Josephus did talk about Jesus, but that a later Christian editor embellished the passage. Stop making things up.

You also say that Mike "based his argument solely because Josephus hadn't recorded such event." Anyone who says this has never read Mike's argument.

I say this in the gentlest way possible. You need to stop commenting and start studying. You're utterly clueless and you think you're not.

Luther-Carlo Suvu said...

@Brother David

yup sorry for the Novum Testamentum error, and still although probably Josephus might talk about Jesus but because of 'high probability of heavy tampering' on Testimonium Flavianum i don't want to put it on the top list for evidence and prefer more on Tacitus's record though.

About Mike Licona if u kindly would can u clarify and enlighten us about his genuine position on the story of resurrection of the saints at time of Christ's death please? because he seems to view the event to be some sort of 'never happened'. And on what base he 'seemingly' considers the event as some sort of 'never happened then? (hopefully i'm wrong about this)

P.s Licona's position in this particulat matter is quite intriguing enough because some evangelicals leaders have considered him not in conservative-evangelical circle anymore because of this.


ignatius said...

Hello David!

In case you're not familiar with it, there is a 10th-century Arabic manuscript of Josephus from a Melkite historian named Agapius in which the embellishments from Antiquities 18.63-64 are missing. This comes from a manuscript tradition which did not undergo the alterations of the conventional text, and in all likelihood it accurately reflects Josephus's original wording, showing the viewpoint of someone who remains unconvinced about Christian claims.

I found out about this from Appendix I (pp.336-338) of Eusebius: The Church History, Translation and commentary by Paul L. Maier, Grand Rapids, MI (2nd edition, 2007).

An earlier discussion is in Schlomo Pines, An Arabic Version of the Testimonium Flavianum and Its Implications (Jerusalem: Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities, 1971).

More readily available is . Here there is a short section: Arabic and Syriac Josephus.

Thanks for the valuable videos and articles.