7 eye-opening facts we learn about early Christianity from a Roman Historian who hated Christians

by Erik Manning

Most of what we learn about Jesus and early Christianity comes from the New Testament. This is not a big shock. But what does come as a shock to some is that we can also learn a lot from non-Christian sources. There are some hostile sources from the first century from whom we can glean a lot. One of them is from a guy named Tacitus.

Who is Tacitus?

Publius Cornelius Tacitus is his full name, and that’s as Roman as it gets. Tacitus was a Roman senator and is also considered to be one of the greatest Roman historians. His works – The Annals and Histories gives us a lot of info on Roman politics and history.

Tacitus was no friend of Christians. You’ll see from what he says that he thinks Christianity is a hateful superstition. He seems rather unmoved about the Christians who were “covered with the skins of beasts and torn by dogs”. Seems like a really nice guy.

To give some background, when Tacitus was only 8 years old, there was a huge fire in Rome. This is one of those things that would have led the news on all networks in our day. There are some rumors that Nero himself may have been responsible for the fire. What’s an emperor to do when you burn down a big part of the capital? Blame these newfangled Christians, that’s what.

Here’s what Tacitus had to say…
 

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7 eye-opening facts we learn about early Christianity from a Roman Historian who hated Christians