Did a Divine Jesus Really Exist or Was He Just Human
May 1, 2011 Leave a comment
The following list is of the historians and writers who lived in the same area and within Christ’s alleged lifetime or within a hundred years after his death
Aulus Gellius Philo-Judaeus
Damis Pliny the Elder
Dio Chrysostom Pliny the Younger
Dion Pruseus Plutarch
Epictetus Pompon Mela
Florus Lucius Quintilian
Hermogones Quintius Curtius
Justus of Tiberius Silius Italicus
Lysias Theon of Smyran
Martial Valerius Flaccus
Paterculus Valerius Maximus
However, aside from two passages in the works of a Jewish writer mentioned above and two heavily disputed passages in the works of Roman writers, there just isn’t any contemporary–or soon after his death, mention of Jesus Christ in the writing of scholars and historians.
Philo (20 BC-50 AD) was born before the beginning of the Christian era, and lived well after the reputed death of Christ.
Philo was the one who developed the doctrine of the Logos, or Word, and although this Word incarnate (Jesus himself) supposedly dwelt in that land, and in the presence of multitudes he revealed himself and demonstrated his divine powers–Philo apparently never knew it.
His writings include an account of the Jews covering the entire time that Christ was said to exist on earth. He lived in or near Jerusalem when Christ was supposedly born and when the Herod massacre occurred. Philo was there when Christ made his triumphal entry into Jerusalem; he was there when the crucifixion and reputed earthquake, supernatural darkness, and the resurrection of the dead zombies in the graveyard took place. – He never wrote about it.
Had these events really taken place you would think the word would spread all over the Middle East and Mediterranean world which at the time was teaming with religious fervor and many many stories going around about a Messiah. Here was a man who would be the Messiah, who raised the dead and cured incurable diseases and yet no one wrote of him.
Justus of Tiberius was a Jewish author and historian who lived in the second half of the 1st century AD and was a native of Christ’s own country, Galilee. He wrote a history covering this time of Christ’s reputed existence. Sadly the original work has perished, but Photius, a Christian scholar and critic of the ninth century who was acquainted with it says: “He (Justus) makes not the least mention of the appearances of Christ, of what things happened to him, or of the wonderful works that he did” (Photius’ Bibliotheca, code 33).
“Josephus: (37 – c.100 AD) Late in the first century, Josephus wrote his celebrated work, “The Antiquities of the Jews”, giving a history of his race from the earliest ages down to his own time. Modern versions of this work contain the following 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 received 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. (Book XVIII, Chapter iii, Section 3)
For sixteen hundred years or so Christians have been citing this passage as a testimonial, to the historical existence, and the divine character of Jesus Christ. However most all Biblical scholars agree that the sentence is probably a pious forgery written by a scribe or zealous Christian many years after Josephus.
“Its brevity disproves its authenticity. Josephus’ work is voluminous and exhaustive. It comprises twenty books. Whole pages are devoted to petty robbers and obscure seditious leaders. Nearly forty chapters are devoted to the life of a single king. Yet this remarkable being, the greatest product of his race, a being of whom the prophets foretold ten thousand wonderful things, a being greater than any earthly king, is dismissed with a dozen lines.”– The Christ, John E. Remsburg, reprinted by Prometheus Books, New York, 1994, pages 171-3.
I’m divided on this…the man may have existed, but I really doubt he was the Messiah or divine in any way. Just myths like the Old Testament. Too much stuff just doesn’t add up…the whole story is incoherent and flawed…not a sign of a God inspired work.
“The world has been for a long time engaged in writing lives of Jesus… The library of such books has grown since then. But when we come to examine them, one startling fact confronts us: all of these books relate to a personage concerning whom there does not exist a single scrap of contemporary information — not one! By accepted tradition he was born in the reign of Augustus, the great literary age of the nation of which he was a subject. In the Augustan age historians flourished; poets, orators, critics and travelers abounded. Yet not one mentions the name of Jesus Christ, much less any incident in his life”…Moncure D. Conway, Modern Thought