Monday, February 6, 2012
What evidence exists outside the Bible that Jesus was a real historical figure?
▪ A number of secular writers who lived close to the time of Jesus made specific mention of him. Among them was Cornelius Tacitus, who recorded the history of Rome under the emperors. Regarding a fire that devastated Rome in 64 C.E., Tacitus relates that it was rumored that Emperor Nero was responsible for the disaster. Nero, says Tacitus, tried to place the blame on a group whom the populace called Christians. Tacitus writes: “Christus, from whom their name is derived, was executed at the hands of the procurator Pontius Pilate in the reign of Tiberius.”—Annals, XV, 44.
The Jewish historian Flavius Josephus also mentions Jesus. In discussing events that took place between the death of Festus, the Roman governor of Judea about 62 C.E., and the arrival of his successor, Albinus, Josephus says that High Priest Ananus (Annas) “convened the judges of the Sanhedrin and brought before them a man named James, the brother of Jesus who was called the Christ, and certain others.”—Jewish Antiquities, XX, 200 (ix, 1).