Tacitus – Ancient Roman Historian – Reports on Jesus
by Ryan Leasure
Most of what happened in the ancient world went unrecorded. Think about it. People from bygone eras didn’t have technology like YouTube, TV, or the internet — much less the printing press. It’s sad really. We’ll never know about 99.99% of what happened back then. The less than 1% we do know is because a few literate historians covered the highlights.
We know about famous military commanders and epic battles. Emperors and politicians of powerful kingdoms also make the cut. But most events and people have vanished off the historical landscape.
With Jesus of Nazareth, though, we have four biographies on his life all dating within the lifetime of eye-witnesses. We also have a slew of letters by some of his other followers making him one of the best attested individuals in the history of the ancient world. It’s quite remarkable considering he came from a backwoods section of Galilee far removed from prominent Roman locations.
Historians normally gush over this amount of material. The amount and quality of sources towers just about everyone else. Yet some skeptics cry foul. They don’t accept the Gospels or New Testament letters for the reason that they’re Christian documents.
Well as it turns out, we have other, non-Christian sources also testifying to Jesus. One such source comes from the pen of an early Roman historian named Tacitus. As you’ll see, Tacitus corroborates significant events from the New Testament…