10 Historical Facts About Jesus From Non-Christian Sources
by Alisa Childers
If you have ever been involved in religious discussion on Facebook or Twitter, you have probably come across some version of the comment below:
“I just think it’s interesting that the only book that even talks about Jesus is the Bible! I’m not even sure we can prove he actually existed.”
Although this assertion is largely rejected by scholars in all spheres of historical and biblical studies, it tends to pop back up on social media like a never-ending game of digital whack-a-mole. The truth is that Jesus is not only documented in the eye-witness testimony compiled in the New Testament, but He is mentioned as a historical person by several non-Christian sources within 150 years of His life. From those sources, we can learn 10 things about Jesus without even opening a Bible:
1. He was known to be wise and virtuous.
This fact was reported by Jewish Historian Josephus, who was born around AD 37. In his Antiquities of the Jews, he reports:
At this time there was a wise man named Jesus. His conduct was good, and [he] was known
to be virtuous. (1)
2. He had a brother named James.
In recounting the stoning of James, Josephus records:
So he assembled the sanhedrin of judges, and brought before them the brother of Jesus, who
was called Christ, whose name was James, and some others; and when he had formed an
accusation against them as breakers of the law, he delivered them to be stoned. (2)
3. He was known to perform miracles.
Celsus was a 2nd-century Greek philosopher and a fierce opponent of Christianity. In what is known to be the first comprehensive intellectual attack on Christianity, he tried to resolve why Jesus was able to perform miracles. The story is wild—but the main point is that by trying to explain away the miracles of Jesus, he is actually affirming that they happened…
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