Historical Evidence For Jesus

It may be easy to say you don’t believe in the Bible and deny that Jesus ever lived. But it is very difficult to look past the historical references of the life of Jesus. It is even more impressive when you realize that not all of the quotes are from individuals that even liked the fact He ever existed. Please consider the following evidence.

References To Jesus

Josephus (A.D. 37 – c. A.D. 100) Book 18, Ch. 3, part 3 (63-64),“Now there arose at this time a source of further trouble in one Jesus, a wise man who performed surprising works, a teacher of men who gladly welcome strange things. He led away many Jews, and also many of the Gentiles. He was the so-called Christ. When Pilate, acting on information supplied by the chief men around us, condemned him to the cross, those who had attached themselves to him at first did not cease to cause trouble, and the tribe of Christians, which has taken this name from him is not extinct even today.”

Book 20, Ch. 9, part 1: “So he assembled the sanhedrim of judges, and brought before them the brother of Jesus, who was called Christ, whose name was James, and some others, [or, some of his companions]; and when he had formed an accusation against them as breakers of the law, he delivered them to be stoned…”

Gaius Plinius Caecilius Secundus (AD 61-112) – Epistles X96 “Christians were “meeting on a certain fixed day before it was light, when they sang in alternate verse a hymn to Christ as to a god, and bound themselves to a solemn oath, not to do wicked deeds, never commit fraud, theft, adultery, not to lie nor to deny a trust..”

Gaius Suetonius Tranquilla (AD 117-138) Life of Claudius “Because the Jews at Rome caused constant disturbances at the instigation of Chrestus [Christ], he [Claudius] expelled them from the city [Rome].” –

Clement Of Rome (95-97 AD) Letter to Corinth “The Apostle Received the Gospel for us from the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ was sent forth from God. So Then Christ is from God, and the Apostles are from Christ.”

Tacitus (c. A.D. 55 – c. A.D. 117) Annals, Book XV CH44: “Consequently, to get rid of the report, Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace. Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus, and a most mischievous superstition, thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judaea, the first source of the evil, but even in Rome, where all things hideous and shameful from every part of the world find their centre and become popular.”

References To His Crucifixion

Pontius Pilate (A.D. 27-36) First Apology 48 “And that it was predicted that our Christ should heal all diseases and raise the dead, hear what was said. There are these words: “At His coming the lame shall leap as an hart, and the tongue of the stammerer shall be clear speaking: the blind shall see, and the lepers shall be cleansed; and the dead shall rise, and walk about.” And that He did those things, you can learn from the Acts of Pontius Pilate.” –

Pontius Pilate (A.D. 27-36) First Apology 35 “And the expression, “They pierced my hands and my feet,” was used in reference to the nails of the cross which were fixed in His hands and feet. And after He was crucified they cast lots upon His vesture, and they that crucified Him parted it among them. And that these things did happen, you can ascertain from the Acts of Pontius Pilate.’ –

Julius Africanus (c. A.D. 160 – c. A.D.240) “Chronography, XVIII, 47 refers to writings by Thallus and Phlegon concerning the darkness during the Crucifixion: On the whole world there pressed a most fearful darkness; and the rocks were rent by an earthquake, and many places in Judea and other districts were thrown down. This darkness Thallus, in the third book of his History, calls, as appears to me without reason, an eclipse of the sun…Phlegon records that, in the time of Tiberius Caesar, at full moon, there was a full eclipse of the sun from the sixth hour to the ninth – manifestly that one of which we speak.”

The Talmud (c A.D. 135) Babylonia Sanhedrin 43A “On the eve of the Passover Yeshu [Jesus] was hanged. For forty days before the execution took place, a herald went forth and cried, “He is going to be stoned because he has practiced sorcery and enticed Israel to apostasy. Anyone who can say anything in his favor, let him come forward and plead on his behalf.” But since nothing was brought forward in his favor he was hanged on the eve of the Passover.”

Phlegon (A.D. 80) Origen Against Celsus  Referencing “Chronicle of History” “Now Phlegon, in the thirteenth or fourteenth book, I think, of his Chronicles, not only ascribed to Jesus a knowledge of future events . . . but also testified that the result corresponded to His predictions.” –

Origen Against Celsus Referencing “Chronicle of History” “And with regard to the eclipse in the time of Tiberius Caesar, in whose reign Jesus appears to have been crucified, and the great earthquakes which then took place . . . ” –

“Phlegon mentioned the eclipse which took place during the crucifixion of the Lord Jesus and no other (eclipse); it is clear that he did not know from his sources about any (similar) eclipse in previous times . . . and this is shown by the historical account of Tiberius Caesar.” – De. opif. mund. II21

Lucian of Samosata (A.D. 120-180)  The Passing Peregrinus “The Christians. . . worship a man to this day – the distinguished personage who introduced this new cult, and was crucified on that account. . . . You see, these misguided creatures start with the general conviction that they are immortal for all time, which explains their contempt for death and self devotion . . . their lawgiver [taught] they are all brothers, from the moment that they are converted, and deny the gods of Greece, and worship the crucified sage, and live after his laws. All this they take on faith.”