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Discussion 4 to Meditation 38
On the Historical Evidence for Jesus

by Jack Lanham

Re: Meditation 38

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I am not offering this as a proof that Jesus ever existed but it appears to be something that could be verified, or rather checked out by someone who is not too apathetic. I used to receive a free publication called "The Plain Truth" edited by Herbert W. Armstrong a non-denominational minister.

I was impressed by him in that he supported Christianity but pointed out many of the usually accepted errors of traditional Christian churches. For instance the fact that the bible never changed the Sabbath from Saturday to Sunday and that the religious holidays were just overlaid onto pagan holidays. And that the birth of Christ would have had to be in the springtime.

The question that was submitted to him was: "Is there any evidence, other than the bible, that Jesus was a real person.

His reply: The first-century Jewish historian Josephus wrote about the death of James "the brother of Jesus who was called Christ" (Antiquities of the Jews, book XX,9:1) This casual mention provides literary evidence that the existence of Jesus Christ was common knowledge.

The Roman historian Tacitus commented on the Christians in Rome: "Christus, from whom the name (Christian) had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty (crucifixion) during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilateus" (Annals, book XV, 44).

Suetonius offers the opinion that the Jews in Rome were "making disturbances at the instigation of one Chrestus" (The Lives of the Twelve Caesars, book V.25)

I hope that this will be of some use to anyone who cares to check it out.