Secular witness to the Person of Christ

Discussion in 'Other Christian Denominations' started by ReformedBaptist, Oct 12, 2010.

  1. ReformedBaptist

    ReformedBaptist
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    Could see where to exactly put this and I didn't want it limited to Baptist discussion, so here it is. ha! I hope it is a benefit to those who may engage in a discussion with someone who doesn't know of secular/pagan witnesses to the person of Jesus. This came up last weekend when a small group from my church went to a Pagan festival to share the Gospel.

    Cornelius Tacitus

    Speaking of the fires of Rome, which Tacitus reports was the result of an order by Nero himself, writes of the blame Nero put to the Christians:

    This quote is from "The Annals of Imperial Rome" by Tacitus, translated by Alfred John Church and William Jackson Brodribb with an introduction by Alison E. Cooley, and published by Barnes & Noble New York, 2007. ISBN: 978-0-7607-8889-9, page 330.

    This serves as a remarkable witness from an ancient secular author who is considered the greatest historian of ancient Rome. It was written between 114-120AD and was his fifth and final writing. Tacitus was born around 56AD and died around 120AD. It is unfortunate that many parts of this history is lost which contained more information about Tiberius, Gaius-Caligula, the beginning of Claudius' reign, and the later and end of Nero's.

    For our Pagan friends (or otherwise) who supposed no secular source existed to give a witness to the death of Christ, to which I replied "Tacitus" we also offer the following quote from Otto Betz, "No serious scholar has ventured to postulate the non-historicity of Jesus."

    To this quote I add the following apologetic.

    The reasoning that so little witness from secular/pagan historians from history exist for the crucifixtion of Jesus Christ as an argument that it cannot be known to have occured is fallacious. Tacitus mentions Pilate only once. F.F. Bruce wrote, "Pilate is not mentioned in any other pagan document which has come down to us..." In addition, in 1961 Professor Antonio Frova, an Italian archeologist, discovered an inscription on a stone slab found at a theater in Ceasarea bears the name of Pilate. (The New Dictionary of Biblical Archeology, p. 111). If it is an established fact of history that Pilate lived then it may be equally established that Jesus lived and was crucified under his rule.

    Dr. Cooley quotes Tacitus as writing, "This I regard as history's highest function, to let no unworthy action be uncommemorated, and to hold out the repobation of posterity as a terror to evil words and deed."

    If the question then is asked: Why so little secular evidence for the death of Christ seeing that it was so signifcant? We may well answer: Why should the death of the leader of those called Christians who were so despised and abhored by the Roman world be of much consequence to Roman nobility and historians? I would think the account we have from Tacitus would not have been mentioned at all had not Nero laid the blame of the fires of Rome upon the Christians...
     
  2. ReformedBaptist

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    Nearly 30 views and not even an attaboy. :tear:

    Must not be polemical enough or politically charged enough.

    How bout this: The Pope is the Antichrist. ha! :type:
     
  3. Amy.G

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    Sorry RB. I meant to post on this earlier. I think it's fantastic to discover those writings. I would like to see more. I've read one by Pliny the younger who sent spies to see what the horrid Christians were doing when they gathered together and the spies told him they were singing songs, sharing a meal and worshiping one called Christ as if He was God. He could find no reason to arrest them.

    Please post more if you find some. :wavey:


    Oh...and...attaboy!:laugh:
     
  4. webdog

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    Don't forget Josephus as well.

    Oh...btw..."attaboy" :)
     
  5. Zenas

    Zenas
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    Josephus: Antiquities 18.3.3

    Also, good job for digging this out, RB. :thumbs: I had heard of this writing by Tacitus but never saw the quote before.
     
  6. menageriekeeper

    menageriekeeper
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    I find it quite strange and unusual to hear Christians spoken of in terms of "evil", "hideous", and "shameful".
     
  7. webdog

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    Outside of the free world that is the norm unfortunately.
     
  8. webdog

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    There has been some debate as to whether some things were added to Josephus' writings (the truth, the Christ, etc.), but the fact remains even without the added flavor, he still mentions Jesus' existence.
     
  9. targus

    targus
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    Some Romans of the time believed Chrisitans to be cannibals.

    Sort of like anti-Catholics say about Catholics. :tonofbricks:
     
  10. ReformedBaptist

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    Thanks for the attaboys. I feel better now. :D

    I too enjoy the secular witnesses of Christians and Jesus. They are hostile witnesses which give more credibility to the historical person of Jesus.

    When I was sharing the Gospel with the leaders of Wiccan covens on Saturday they challenged whether or not Christ was crucified. One claimed there were no witnesses to this outside the NT. Obviously this is not true.
     
  11. billwald

    billwald
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    The existence and death of the person we know as Jesus is has been proven beyond any reasonable doubt. The dispute is about his being God and his bodily resurrection.
     

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