These Ancient Secular Historians Explode The Recurring Myth That Jesus Never Actually Existed

There is a claim that comes and goes in public forums among critics of Jesus that contends there never was an actual person by that name who did the miracles described in the Gospel and who ultimately was crucified on a Roman cross, buried in a grave donated by a rich man and resurrected three days later.

With the advent of social media, the “Jesus never lived” claim is frequently recirculated on the Internet, thanks in great part to  evangelism efforts inspired by high-profile atheists like the late Physicist Stephen Hawking and astrophysicist/cable TV celebrity Neil deGrasse Tyson.

The reality is, as the following vimeo from David Couchman’s series on “Jesus Myths” makes abundantly clear, ancient secular historians who are readily accepted as legitimate sources for other persons and events in the world of the Roman Empire also attest to the life and death of Jesus:


 

Author: Mark Tapscott

Follower of Christ, devoted husband of Claudia, doting father and grandfather, conservative lover of liberty, journalist and First Amendment fanatic, former Hill and Reagan aide, vintage Formula Ford racer, Okie by birth/Texan by blood/proud of both, resident of Maryland. Go here: https://hillfaith.blog/about-hillfaith-2/

7 thoughts on “These Ancient Secular Historians Explode The Recurring Myth That Jesus Never Actually Existed”

  1. “Christianity is documented” and “Communist China bans Christianity.” Isn’t that called corroboration?

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  2. The problem with those secular historians is the difficulty in showing that they had any indepedent evidence of Jesus’ existence. If the secular historians are relying on the stories that Christians told about the origin of their movement, then they don’t constitute corroboration.

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    1. And you apply the same logic to all the other persons they mention? If you do, then you disqualify virtually all of our ancient sources for secular history, which I doubt you intend to do. But if you only apply your standard to Christ, then the inconsistency indicates a serious weakness — a double standard — in your logic.

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      1. I didn’t hear any other specific people mentioned in the video, but maybe I missed it.

        With any source—ancient or modern—I would want to consider what its sources may have been. A story may appear in dozens of different sources, but if they all got the story from the same place, they may simply be repeating the story rather than corroborating it.

        For example, after the battle of Shiloh in April of 1862, the story is told of a group of congressman who went to President Lincoln to demand that he fire General Grant because of the terrible casualties suffered by the Union army. Lincoln refused, saying “I can’t spare this man. He fights.” You can find this book in dozens—if not hundreds—of books about the Civil War. Despite the number of historians and biographers who have reported this story, it all goes back to a single Pennsylvania congressman who first reported the incident several decades after the war.

        Although the quip is very Lincolnesque, there is reason to question whether Lincoln really said it. By the end of the war, Lincoln had great confidence in Grant, but he didn’t know him well yet in early 1862. After the battle of Shiloh, Lincoln relied on Grant’s superior, General Halleck, to determine whether Grant had acted properly. When Halleck temporarily relieved Grant of command, Lincoln neither objected nor interfered. There doesn’t seem to be any contemporary evidence of Lincoln—at that time—having the kind of confidence in Grant that the quote reflects.

        The problem with Josephus, Tacitus, Pliny, and other secular sources outside the New Testament is that we don’t know whether they had any independent sources of information about Jesus or whether they were simply relying on the stories that Christians told.

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      2. That’s a great point about Lincoln and Grant, though the version I heard had him saying it to Seward in a cabinet meeting. But that’s my point, Vinny. What is it about an individual Christian providing information to Tacitus that disqualifies them whereas the same info coming from a non-Christian would be accepted?

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      3. I should point out, too, Vinny, that I’ve been a journalist for more than three decades and, trust me, I know about qualifying sources. You are absolutely right that one has to be careful about motives and other factors in evaluating the credibility of a source.

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