What Historical Evidence is there to Support the Existence of Jesus Christ?
by Jack Wellman
Is there actual historical evidence to prove the existence of Jesus Christ? Did ancient historians believe in the actual person of Jesus Christ? Can historical evidence about Jesus Christ’s existence be believed?
Is There Actual Historical Evidence to Prove the Existence of Jesus Christ?
Even though the Bible is a collection of historical facts that have been verified by archeology and paleontology, we will restrict our article on the written human records of Jesus Christ’s authenticity and historicity. There are so many historians that have written about Jesus Christ that it would be impossible to include them all here. The fact is there are so many that these historians testimonies would have to be expanded into a major, voluminous book. For time’s sake, we will restrict historical evidence to those major historians that have the greatest authenticity.
Thallus is perhaps the earliest secular writer to mention Jesus in his writings….even though his writings are so ancient, that no copies exist but those of Julius Africanus, whose writings were around AD 221 quotes Thallus. Thallus and Africanus both mention a strange darkness that occurred at the point of Jesus’ crucifixion. And these stories of a “strange darkness” were written about far and wide on the earth. They all coincided with around AD 32-33. This written record of Thallus confirms that Jesus lived, and was crucified and that something highly unusual and unexplainable happened on that day. There were many reports of various earthquakes, destruction, and a strange darkness that occurred around AD 32-32.
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Africanus also mentions a historian named Phlegon who wrote a chronological history around AD 140. In this history, Phlegon also mentions the darkness surrounding the crucifixion in an effort to explain it, but even more interestingly, he mentions Jesus’ ability to foresee the future in describing the life of our Savior.
Did Ancient Historians Believe in the Actual Person of Jesus Christ?
Josephus (AD 37 – c. 100), born of a priestly and royal ancestry, survived and recorded the destruction ofJerusalemin AD 70. He was a child prodigy. At age 13, he was already a consultant for the Jewish rabbis, by 16 he became a Galilean military commander and a Roman Citizen. And being under the rule of Roman emperor Vespasian, he was allowed to write a first-century history of the Jews. Being a devout Jew and Roman Citizen, Josephus could hardly be described as a hostile witness. He wrote more about Kings than Messiah’s, but Josephus makes references to the Sadducees, the names of Jewish High Priests of the time, the Pharisees and the Essenes, the Herodian Temple, Quirinius’ census and the Zealots. Josephus also wrote of such figures as Pontius Pilate, Herod the Great, Agrippa I and Agrippa II, John the Baptist, James the brother of Jesus, and about Jesus. All these names were those found in the New Testament…
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