Why do Christians continue to use Josephus, Tacitus and Pliny the younger as evidence for Jesus?

Josephus and Tacitus were born in 37 CE and 56 CE and Pliny the younger in 61 CE. None of them were remotely eye witnesses, nor could be credible second hand accounts. What ridiculous rationality can you people come up with to continue to use and over use these refuted sources, time and again?

20 Answers

  • 6 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    Cos they just don't get it...

    The only other accounts of Jesus (other than the Bible) were written way after his supposed death.

    Josephus wasn't even born until 4yrs after Jesus was crucified and he didn't even write the "Antiquities of the Jews" until the late 1st century, and then the writing only has two passages "possibly" attributed to Jesus.

    There is Tactus, who “eluded to” the crucifixion of Jesus in Book 15 of the "Annals".

    But he wasn't even born until 56AD, and the "Annals" weren't even written until 116AD, 83yrs after Jesus death.

    Two others, Julius Africanus & Lucian of Samosata, weren’t even born until the 2nd century AD.

    Even Pliny the Younger wasn’t born until 30yrs after Jesus was crucified.

    They are not witnesses, so how can they be credible?

    As for the "letter from Pilate to Emperor Claudius", that is a pseudepigrapha letter, and not even written until the 4th century… which means that it’s a forgery.

    As for Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus, he wasn't born until 40yrs after Jesus death and most scholars believe that his passages on "Chrestus" were about some other person and then passages were later changed by Christian scribes.

    And as for Mara Bar-Serapion (not born until the 2nd century) only had one passage that talks about a "wise king?"

    That is hardly an automatic nod to Jesus.”


    • Commenter avatarLogin to reply the answers
  • Beyond
    Lv 6
    6 years ago

    What then of Clement of Rome? Polycarp? Ignatius? or their following disciples Papias, Irenaeus, and so on... the first group being disciples of the Apostles (and likely witnesses of Jesus as children) and the second being the very next generation... no... you don't want to accept these, and why?

    The only reason you will not accept these is because they believed!

    Thus, not being secular immediately disqualifies their testimony, doesn't it? And yet those of these that witnessed and wrote of the events as later disciples, earning the title for some as "Apostolic Fathers" are utterly discarded by the unbelieving. SO if you are not told by someone who has no faith, you will not believe. Does it not strike you that the events they saw left them no option to not believe? Polycarp died tied to a stake in flames, because he would not recognize Caesar as Lord.

    The unbelieving won't tell you it's true... so don't believe. It is your choice. Only the believers will tell you it is reality, not fiction. Just because their writings were not considered part of the Canon of Scripture does not disqualify them as false. IN many cases, they mirror the Gospels in close harmony, and describe the development of the faith.

    Why is Google your only reference in this?

    Why is your bent more to the popular than to the true?

    Source(s): "A General Survey of the History of the Canon of the New Testament" by Brooke/Foss/Wescott (Yes, an actual book.)
    • Commenter avatarLogin to reply the answers
  • Anonymous
    6 years ago

    Sorry to not directly answer your question, but if you want 'evidence' for whether the Christian bible is the word of god, you must simply read the 'holy bible'.

    In it, you'll find all the evidence you could EVER need that it was written my a collection of racist, misogynistic, homophobic, usually sadistic sheepherders, and in no way whatsoever even resembles a shadow of a 10th hand account of what a truly omnipotent, omniscient creator and designer of the universe would deem his magnum opus.

    The typical, studied atheist is a venerable genius next to the depraved, outright simpleton that is the god of the bible.

    In his holy name... amen.

    • Commenter avatarLogin to reply the answers
  • 6 years ago

    The passages in Josephus' history that apparently prove Jesus was real are forgeries. In fact all the non-biblical references to Jesus' existence are believed to be either errors in translation, or fakes.

    • Commenter avatarLogin to reply the answers
  • How do you think about the answers? You can sign in to vote the answer.
  • 6 years ago

    You have obviously never read any of the actual texts, preferring to focus on a babyish statement about the dates they lived. If you ever bothered to read their works, they were remarkable historians writing about their own historical experiences and knowledge obtained from older people close to them. And they, along with Suetonius, affirmed Christians and their beliefs for the historical record.

    Do you not understand that a younger person can talk to and interview older people, the ages of parents and grandparents and even older to obtain eyewitness information?

    Many people believe the theory of evolution and the Big Bang theory even though the fossil record is missing millions of skeletons to bridge the gaps in the fossil record, AND no one witnessed the Big Bang, but they believe it anyway... At least Josephus, Tacitus and Pliny were contemporaries to the first Christians. Have you ever read Younger Pliny's letter to emperor Trajan about Christians?

    Here's what Pliny said:

    " the sum and substance of their fault or error had been that they were accustomed to meet on a fixed day before dawn and sing responsively a hymn to Christ as to a god, and to bind themselves by oath, not to some crime, but NOT to commit fraud, theft, or adultery, not falsify their trust, nor to refuse to return a trust when called upon to do so. When this was over, it was their custom to depart and to assemble again to partake of food--but ordinary and innocent food."

    "I judged it all the more necessary to find out what the truth was by torturing two female slaves who were called deaconesses. But I discovered nothing else but depraved, excessive superstition."

    Are you related to the Pagan Pliny by any chance? No, I think not.

    What he wrote was at least intelligent-

    • Commenter avatarLogin to reply the answers
  • Mel
    Lv 7
    6 years ago

    Since, in earlier centuries, historical events were often transmitted orally from one generation to the next, all the historians you listed would have likely heard such oral accounts. Admittedly, these accounts would have had some inaccuracies, omissions, biases and apocryphal additions but competent historians can often reconcile variations or at least state them. Some written sources available to historians contemporaneously in the 1st Century would have been destroyed in several fires later of the Library at Alexandria.

    Keep in mind historians don't need to be eyewitnesses; they simply need to do reliable research based on a variety of sources.

    • Commenter avatarLogin to reply the answers
  • 6 years ago

    Why don't you do some research on that era and see if you can find writings from anybody who said Jesus didn't exist. You will find people (Romans, Jews, etc) writing about how Jesus was a fraud, how his miracles were fake, how his miracles were black magic, how he failed to fulfill some of the Messianic prophecies, etc...you will find all sorts of writings attempting to discredit Jesus but you won't find any that say he didn't exist. Why is this? Well, because he existed lol, and that's why nobody claimed he didn't exist up until a couple hundred years ago.

    • Commenter avatarLogin to reply the answers
  • Jea
    Lv 7
    6 years ago

    Though none of those sources are credible, it is all they have.

    There is nothing in reality that indicates such a character existed.

    How could anyone think Jesus was an actual person? He was invented as a marketing tool for ignorant people 2000 years ago. There is no excuse whatsoever for believing it today.

    • Commenter avatarLogin to reply the answers
  • I'm a Christian and don't use those sources.

    How about all those Christians that knew and met Jesus or knew someone that met Jesus that died as Christians?

    All those Christian martyrs speak volumes

  • Anonymous
    6 years ago

    Compared to other people? Compared to the people you cite

    as if you think they existed themselves? Why do you think

    they existed? How about Plato, or maybe Alexander?

    How about Nero, or Pilate or Herod?

    The Jews had no dispute generally about Jesus existence,

    they just didn't follow, period.

    • Commenter avatarLogin to reply the answers
Still have questions? Get your answers by asking now.