Where is All the Written Evidence for the Historical Jesus?
by Stephen Bedard
If Jesus was so important, why didn’t more people write about him? There should be all kinds of records of his teachings and activities, both from Jewish and Roman sources. If these records are missing, should that create doubt as to Jesus’ existence?
The first thing to remember is that we should be looking for the evidence that we would expect and not the evidence we would like. Yes, it would be nice to have some personal correspondence written and signed by Jesus, but that is not likely to happen. But that is true for most ancient figures as well.
Where is the Roman evidence? It is true that there are a number of Roman writers who mentioned Jesus or at least Christians near the turn of the century. But where are the Roman records of Jesus’ life and trial? Where are the court records? What did Pontius Pilate have to say about the trial? Of these things, the Roman writings are silent. Why is this? There are two reasons. One is that the Romans did not find Jesus all that important. They had no idea that Jesus would be the founder of the world’s largest religion. They also were not interested because it seemed like another petty Jewish squabble. There were always Jewish messiahs popping up. It just was not a big deal.
If the Romans did not care, it does seem that the Jews cared. There were thousands of people who heard Jesus preach. Surely some of those people wrote down what they saw in terms of Jesus’ teachings and miracles. We should have piles of these notes, but for some reason they are missing…
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