Even Jesus isn’t immune to fake news, as popular modern theories try to cast Christ as a blend of deities derived from pagan myths, but there is more evidence that Jesus lived as a real person than of other historical figures.
Was Jesus a real, living, breathing human or only a mythological figure created for some incredibly motivating storytelling?
There are many who attempt to cast Jesus Christ as a myth and contend that there is no proof that he ever lived. But as you’re about to learn, even atheist scholars contend that there was a real man called Jesus of Nazareth who lived 2000 years ago. And in fact, there is more proof for the existence of Jesus than we actually have for other historical figures that are readily accepted as having lived.
What better sources to validate the existence of Jesus than non-Christians? There is one Jewish historian and two Roman historians who did just that.
The Jewish historian Flavius Josephus, who lived around AD 47-100, referred to Christ in his history of Judaism “Jewish Antiquities” published around AD 93, Big Think reports. Josephus spoke about Jesus’ brother James.
About 20 years later, two Roman historians, Pliny and Tacitus wrote about Jesus.
In his book “Annals,” by Tacitus, written in AD 115, he mentions the execution of Jesus by the Roman prefect Pontius Pilate. He also alludes to the crucifixion and places it within the timeframe that matches the Christian gospels.
In letters written to Emperor Trajan around AD 112, Pliny the Younger, who was also governor in Asia Minor, described Christians worshipping Jesus as a God.
Warner Wallace of Cold-Case Christianity also lists a number of other writers he calls “hostile eyewitnesses,” meaning those sources that don’t like or are against Christians and Jesus Christ. In other words, they have no motivation to defend the gospel, yet they attest that Jesus Christ existed.
Under “hostile non-biblical pagan accounts,” Wallace names the following historical writers: Thallus (52AD), Tacitus (56-120AD), Mara Bar-Serapion (70AD), Phlegon (80-140AD), Pliny the Younger (61-113AD), Suetonius (69-140AD), Lucian of Samosata (115-200 A.D.), Celsus (175AD).
Additionally, Wallace names “hostile non-typical Jewish accounts,” as sources from Josephus (37-101AD), Jewish Talmud (400-700AD), The Toledot Yeshu (1000AD).
Bart Ehrman, an agnostic atheist scholar and professor of religious studies at the University of North Carolina. He is the author of several New York Times bestsellers, all critical of Christianity. Ehrman argues for the existence of Jesus in a book aptly titled: “Did Jesus Exist? The Historical Argument for Jesus of Nazareth.”
“Whatever else you may think about Jesus, he certainly did exist,” Ehrman says.