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Jesus’ Resurrection Proven by Early Non-Christian Writers

Posted by FactReal on March 29, 2013

ANCIENT NON-CHRISTIAN SOURCES PROVIDE 100 FACTS ABOUT JESUS
Crowning With Thorns by Caravaggio (Jesus Christ Resurrection)

Crowning With Thorns by Caravaggio

About 18 different ancient non-Christian writers provide more than 100 facts about the birth of Christ, His life, teachings, miracles, crucifixion, resurrection and ascension:

Josephus, Tacitus, Thallus, Phlegon, Pliny the Younger, Suetonius, Emperor Trajan, Emperor Hadrian, the Talmud, Lucian, Mara bar Serapion, etc.

Next are the historical facts of Jesus’ resurrection.

FACT 1. JESUS DIED DUE TO THE RIGORS OF CRUCIFIXION
Jesus was crucified circa 30 A.D. His death was reported by several non-Christian writings:

Ancient sources:
▪ Josephus, Jewish historian, (Antiquities 18.3, 18.64), 1st century
▪ Tacitus (Annals 15.44), circa A.D. 115
▪ Lucian de Samosata, Greek satirist, (The Death of Peregrine, 11-13), circa mid-2nd century
▪ Mara bar Serapion (Letter to his son – currently at British Museum), late 1st-3rd century
▪ Talmud (Sanhedrin 43a), late 2nd century

Crucifixion was a common form of Roman execution

Ancient sources:
▪ Josephus (The Wars of the Jews 5.11.1, 5.6.5)
▪ M. Tullius Cicero (Against Verres 2.5.64)
▪ Cornelius Tacitus (The Annals 15.44)

Crucifixion was a torturous death
The crucified died of
▪ Exhaustion
▪ Asphyxia
▪ Dehydration
▪ Congestive heart failure
Early testimony support
▪ The Roman soldiers pronounced Jesus dead.
▪ Many people witnessed the events of which the writers of the Gospels wrote.
▪ Reported in all four Gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke, John (circa 1st century).*
▪ The flowing of blood and water from the wound made by the soldier’s spear (John 19:34).*
FACT 2. JESUS WAS BURIED IN A KNOWN, ACCESSIBLE TOMB
▪ Jewish and Roman leaders and people, who witnessed the crucifixion, knew where the tomb was.
▪ The owner of the tomb was a member of the Jewish Sanhedrin named Joseph of Arimathea (Mark 15:43).

Had the Gospels been false on this matter they would not have been able to withstand the swift correction and ridicule from the Jews.
Dead Christ by Champaigne (Jesus Christ Resurrection)

FACT 3. EMPTY TOMB
Jesus’ tomb was discovered to be empty just a few days later
Enemy and critics attested that the tomb was empty.

Ancient sources:
▪ Justin Martyr (Trypho 108)
▪ Tertullian (De Spectaculis 30)

No corpse produced
There is no record from Jewish, Roman, critics and other writings to attest that a body was in the tomb. The enemies of Jesus had every reason to produce a body since it would have benefited them. If any corpse had still been in the tomb, it would have been impossible for Christianity to get off the ground in Jerusalem due to the importance of the Resurrection.

Women testimony of the empty tomb
A woman’s testimony was not highly regarded in those days in Roman and Jewish cultures.

Ancient sources:
▪ Josephus (Antiquities 4.8.15)
▪ Talmud (Sotah 19a); Talmud (Rosh Hashannah 1.8); Talmud (Kiddushin 82b)
▪ Origen (Contra Celsum 2:59; 3:55)
▪ Gaius Suetonius, Roman historian, (The Twelve Caesars, Augustus 44) circa A.D. 115
▪ Luke 24:11*

Embarrassing admissions support historical claims
Even the disciples (who were Jews) thought it was nonsense what the women were saying. (Luke 24:11)
It would have been damaging to the disciples’ claim to invent the story and place women as the primary witnesses. Thus, the empty tomb account appears to be historically credible in light of the principle of embarrassment.
FACT 4. JESUS’ DISCIPLES EXPERIENCED THE RISEN JESUS
The disciples preached that Jesus was raised, that the tomb was empty, and that Jesus ascended.
They preached a seen and living Jesus with whom they partook food; they preached the Ascension with equal vigor.

Ancient sources:
▪ Clement, Bishop of Rome, (First Clement 42:3), A.D. 95
▪ Polycarp, Bishop of Smyrna, (Letter to the Philippians 9:2), A.D. 101
▪ Clement, bishop of Rome, is reputed to have personally known the disciples, according to two early church fathers, Irenaeus and Tertullian, circa 30-100
▪ Polycarp was, according to Irenaeus, taught by the apostles and knew many who had seen Christ, circa 69-155
▪ Polycarp mentions the resurrection of Jesus 5 times in his letter to the church in Philippi. (Letter to the Philippians 9:2)

Verbal tradition
The ancients relied on verbal tradition to teach others. Later on they were copied into writings which were later compiled into the New Testament. Verbal tradition before the New Testament pointed to Jesus’ original disciples saying that the risen Jesus had appeared to them.

Ancient sources:
▪ Tertullian, African church father (The Prescription Against Heretics, 32)
▪ Irenaeus, early church father (Against Heresies, 3.3.3), circa 185
▪ Irenaeus (Letter To Florinus) (preserved by 4th-century church historian, Eusebius)
▪ Tertullian (Prescription Against Heretics, 32)

Written tradition
We have written tradition that shows the disciples saying that Jesus had appeared to them after he rose from the dead.

Ancient sources:
▪ The 4 Gospels attest to the resurrection of Jesus and report the disciples’ claims that Jesus rose from the dead. The Gospels, all written within 70 years of the crucifixion, testify that Christ rose again.*
▪ Former church persecutor, Paul, claims to have known the disciples firsthand. He wrote the disciples claimed Jesus rose (1 Corinthians 15:9-11, Galatians 2:1-10).*
▪ The creed in 1 Corinthians 15 originated within 5 years of Jesus’ crucifixion. This creed says that Christ died for our sins, was buried, and was raised on the third day and that he appeared to the disciples.*

FACT 5. THE TRANSFORMATION OF THE DISCIPLES
Caravaggio- Incredulity Of Saint Thomas (Jesus Christ Resurrection)

Incredulity of Thomas by Caravaggio

After Jesus’ resurrection, the disciples receive strength and conviction in the face of martyrdom

The disciples were transformed from doubters who were afraid to identify with Jesus, to bold proclaimers of his death and resurrection, even being willing to die for this belief.

Ancient sources:
▪ Ignatius, bishop of Antioch in Syria, (Smyrn 3:2-3)
▪ Clement of Rome (1 Clement 5:2-7)
▪ Polycarp (Letter to the Philippians 9:2)
▪ Tacitus, Roman historian, (The Twelve Caesars 15.44), A.D. 109
▪ Dionysius of Corinth (cited by Eusebius, first church historian, in Ecclesiastical History 2:25:8, 3.1), A.D. 170
▪ Tertullian (Scorpiace 15), A.D. 200
▪ Josephus (cited by Eusebius, first church historian, in Ecclesiastical History 2:23), A.D. 95
▪ Hegesippus (cited by Eusebius, first church historian, in Ecclesiastical History 2:23), A.D. 165-175
▪ Clement of Alexandria (cited by Eusebius, first church historian, in Ecclesiastical History 2:23), A.D. 200
▪ Origen (Contra Celsum 2:56,77), A.D. 230-250
▪ Origen (Commentary on Genesis, volume 3
(cited by Eusebius, first church historian, in Ecclesiastical History 3:1)
▪ Luke (Acts 7;12)*

The skeptical Jew, James, was converted by the resurrection
▪ Early creed reports appearance to James (1 Cor. 15:7)*
▪ The Gospels (Mark, John)*

Ancient sources:
▪ Josephus (Antiquities 20:200)
▪ Hegesippus (cited by Eusebius, first church historian, in Ecclesiastical History 2:23), A.D. 165-175
▪ Clement of Alexandria (cited by Eusebius, first church historian, in Ecclesiastical History 2:1; 2:23), A.D. 200

Conversion of Saul of Tarsus after seeing the risen Jesus
Paul, the great persecutor of Christianity, was converted by the resurrection
(Acts 9:3-9, 17, 22; 1 Cor. 15:8, 9:1; Gal. 1:22-23).
Paul believed to have experienced a personal appearance of the risen Jesus.

Ancient sources:
▪ Clement of Rome (1 Clement 5:2-7)
▪ Polycarp (Letter to the Philippians 9:2)
▪ Tertullian (Scorpiace 15; (cited by Eusebius, first church historian, in Ecclesiastical History 2:25:8)
▪ Origen’s commentary on Genesis, volume 3 (cited by Eusebius, first church historian, in Ecclesiastical History 3:1)

The disciples stood by their account and paid the price
Jesus Resurrection (Crucifixion Of Peter by Caravaggio)

Crucifixion of Peter by Caravaggio


Would you pay with your life for a lie? Liars make poor martyrs.

The disciples were persecuted and tortured for preaching the Resurrection of Jesus:
▪ Peter was crucified upside down.
▪ Andrew was crucified.
▪ Luke was hanged by idolatrous priests.
▪ Mark was dragged in the streets of Alexandria.
▪ Bartholomew flayed to death with a whip in Armenia.
▪ Thomas was pierced with a Brahmin sword.

These persecutions would have stopped if the disciples had quit preaching the Resurrection message and the Ascension of Jesus. Their preaching was a threat to the reputation of the Jewish leaders.

WHY THE RESURRECTION IS IMPORTANT
▪ The fact that Jesus rose from the dead is the cornerstone of the Christian faith.
▪ The resurrection was proclaimed in Jerusalem where the empty tomb was.
▪ The church was born and grew.

(Jesus Christ Resurrection)(Giotto-Ascension)

Ascension by Giotto

SOURCES
MIT’s Classic Archive: Ancient Authors and their Writings
Dr. Gene Scott: The Resurrection (PDF)
Christian Answers
Catholic Answers
Original Catholic Encyclopedia
The Case for the Resurrection of Jesus
The Case for the Real Jesus
Truth in Action
Risen Indeed
▪ D. James Kennedy and Jerry Newcombe, The Da Vinci Myth vs. The Gospel Truth

* The bible is used here as reference to the Christian stories — not as a proof of the Resurrection. However, it is important to know that the bible contains writings within 70 years of Jesus. Other historic writings have a larger span than the bible between the time the original was written and the earliest copy. For example, Plato’s Tetralogies have 1,200 years interval between original and earliest copy. Aristotle’s works have 1400 years span. Homer’s Iliad, 500 years. The bible has more copies in existence of the ancient writings than any other ancient book that we regard as historic: Homer (Iliad), Plato (Tetralogies), Aristotle, Ceaser (The Gallic Wars). Copyist errors are minimal. The New Testament has 77 separate books and letters of ancient times which were later compiled into the bible. So, they serve as early testimonies from Christians.

MORE FACTS:
Resurrection of Jesus Proven by Logic
Resurrection of Jesus: Facts and Evidence (Video)
Ancient Writers Prove Jesus Is Not a Myth
THE REAL THANKSGIVING STORY – As Written by the Pilgrims
CHURCH & STATE SEPARATION IS A MYTH

RELATED
The Absurdity of Not Believing the Disciples Account of Jesus Resurrection
EASTER: Daily Bible Readings

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Lucian (Ancient Anti-Christian Satirist) Wrote about Jesus Christ and His Crucifixion

Posted by FactReal on April 12, 2012

HISTORICITY OF JESUS
Lucian of Samosata* (c. 120 – c. 180 A.D.) was a second century Assyrian satirist who wrote in the Greek language and mocked Christians. He was also a traveling lecturer and a rhetorician concerned with accuracy. Lucian used his mordant wit to scornfully describe and ridicule early Christians. But by doing so, he left writings confirming that Jesus: was real, was the founder of Christianity, was worshiped by the Christians, and was crucified.

Lucian’s work The Death of Peregrinus or The Passing of Peregrinus), 11-13:
This is one of the earliest surviving pagan perceptions of Christianity. Here Lucian satirized the Christians while telling the story of a philosopher sage who at one point becomes a leader of the Christians to take advantage of their gullibility.

“The Christians, you know, worship a man to this day,–the distinguished personage who introduced their novel rites, and was crucified on that account…and then it was impressed on them by their original lawgiver that they are all brothers, from the moment that they are converted, and deny the gods of Greece, and worship the crucified sage, and live after his laws.”

Sources: Sacred Texts, Tertullian

* Lucian was born in Samosata, Commagene, Syria — now Samsat, Turkey.

RELATED
Tacitus (Non-Christian Historian) Wrote about Jesus Christ
Josephus (Non-Christian Historian) Wrote about Crucifixions
Josephus (Non-Christian Historian) Wrote about Jesus Christ
Resurrection of Jesus Proven by these Ancient Writers
Resurrection of Jesus Proven by Logic
Resurrection of Jesus: Facts and Evidence (Video)
Ancient Writers Prove Jesus Is Not a Myth

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Tacitus (Non-Christian Historian) Wrote about Jesus Christ

Posted by FactReal on April 8, 2012

HISTORICITY OF JESUS
The Roman historian and senator Cornelius Tacitus (c. AD 55 – c. AD 120) wrote about Jesus Christ, His execution, and Nero’s persecution of Christians in first century Rome.

Tacitus’s book The Annals is one of the earliest secular historical records to mention Christ. Tacitus referred to the execution (crucifixion) of Jesus as the “extreme penalty.”

Tacitus’s book The Annals, Book XV, Chapter 44:
Here Tacitus makes a rather unsympathetic reference to Jesus and the early Christians:

And there were sacred banquets and nightly vigils celebrated by married women. But all human efforts, all the lavish gifts of the emperor, and the propitiations of the gods, did not banish the sinister belief that the conflagration was the result of an order. Consequently, to get rid of the report, Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace. Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus, and a most mischievous superstition, thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judaea, the first source of the evil, but even in Rome, where all things hideous and shameful from every part of the world find their centre and become popular. Accordingly, an arrest was first made of all who pleaded guilty; then, upon their information, an immense multitude was convicted, not so much of the crime of firing the city, as of hatred against mankind. Mockery of every sort was added to their deaths. Covered with the skins of beasts, they were torn by dogs and perished, or were nailed to crosses, or were doomed to the flames and burnt, to serve as a nightly illumination, when daylight had expired.

Nero offered his gardens for the spectacle, and was exhibiting a show in the circus, while he mingled with the people in the dress of a charioteer or stood aloft on a car. Hence, even for criminals who deserved extreme and exemplary punishment, there arose a feeling of compassion; for it was not, as it seemed, for the public good, but to glut one man’s cruelty, that they were being destroyed.

Sources: MIT; Perseus; Scribd, page 208.

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Josephus (Non-Christian Historian) Wrote about Crucifixions

Posted by FactReal on April 8, 2012

CRUCIFIXIONS WERE COMMON FORM OF EXECUTION USED BY ROMANS
The historian of antiquity Flavius Josephus (born A.D. 37 — died circa A.D. 100) also wrote how crucifixions were used by the Romans as a form of punishment.

● Josephus’s book The Wars of the Jews, Book 5, Chapter 11, Section 1:
Here Josephus recorded how the Romans terrorized the Jewish population by crucifying many of them before the walls of Jerusalem during the siege of A.D. 70. At one point, the number of crucifixions reached 500 a day and there was no room for all the crosses.

Meanwhile, as Titus’ earthworks were progressing, his troops captured any who ventured out to look for food. When caught, they resisted, and were then tortured and crucified before the walls as a terrible warning to the people within. Titus pitied them — some 500 were captured daily — but dismissing those captured by force was dangerous, and guarding such numbers would imprison the guards. Out of rage and hatred, the soldiers nailed their prisoners in different postures, and so great was their number that space could not be found for the crosses.

Sources: Ancient writings via Project Gutenberg, Scribd.
Josephus as summarized by Paul L. Maier, Josephus, the Essential Works: A Condensation of Jewish Antiquities and The Jewish War (Kregel Academic, 1995), p 358.

● Josephus’s book The Wars of the Jews, Book 5, Chapter 6, Section 5:

Now it happened at this fight that a certain Jew was taken alive, who, by Titus’s order, was crucified before the wall, to see whether the rest of them would be aftrighted, and abate of their obstinacy.

Source: Ancient writings via Project Gutenberg.

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Josephus (Non-Christian Historian) Wrote about Jesus Christ

Posted by FactReal on April 8, 2012

HISTORICITY OF JESUS
Flavius Josephus (A.D. 37 – circa 100), the first century pagan historian and Jewish priest and general, wrote about the Jew’s history and wars. He also wrote about Jesus in his twenty-one volume The Antiquities of the Jews, book 18, chapter 3, section 3:

Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man; for he was a doer of wonderful works, a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many of the Jews and many of the Gentiles. He was [the] Christ. And when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men amongst us, had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him; for he appeared to them alive again the third day; as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him. And the tribe of Christians, so named from him, are not extinct at this day.

Source: Ancient writings via Gutenberg, Perseus

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Happy Easter: Jesus is Risen!

Posted by FactReal on April 8, 2012

“Everyone who believes in him will receive forgiveness of sins through his name.”
(Acts 10:43)
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world should be saved through Him.” (John 3:16-17)
IMPORTANCE OF THE RESURRECTION
• The Resurrection is the fundamental argument for our Christian belief – it is the center of Christianity.
• It shows the justice of God who exalted Christ to a life of glory, as Christ had humbled Himself unto death (Philippians 2:8-9).
• The Resurrection completed the mystery of our salvation and redemption; by His death Christ freed us from sin, and by His Resurrection He restored to us the most important privileges lost by sin (Romans 4:25).
• By His Resurrection we acknowledge Christ as the immortal God, the efficient and exemplary cause of our own resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:21; Philippians 3:20-21), and as the model and the support of our new life of grace (Romans 6:4-6 and 9-11).

Gospel: Jn 20:1-9

On the first day of the week,
Mary of Magdala came to the tomb early in the morning,
while it was still dark,
and saw the stone removed from the tomb.
So she ran and went to Simon Peter
and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and told them,
“They have taken the Lord from the tomb,
and we don’t know where they put him.”
So Peter and the other disciple went out and came to the tomb.
They both ran, but the other disciple ran faster than Peter
and arrived at the tomb first;
he bent down and saw the burial cloths there, but did not go in.
When Simon Peter arrived after him,
he went into the tomb and saw the burial cloths there,
and the cloth that had covered his head,
not with the burial cloths but rolled up in a separate place.
Then the other disciple also went in,
the one who had arrived at the tomb first,
and he saw and believed.
For they did not yet understand the Scripture
that he had to rise from the dead.

Meaning:

As Mary Magdalene and two other women among Jesus’ disciples approached the  tomb, the angel came and rolled away the stone. But Jesus was already gone from  there. How do we know this? John gives us an important piece of evidence: The  linen cloths that wrapped Jesus’ body are lying there. But the cloth that had  been on Jesus’ head has been rolled up – not merely cast aside. It didn’t roll  itself up. And a dead body couldn’t do that. Neither would the Roman soldiers  who had been guarding the tomb. Something has happened that cannot be  explained!

John, “the disciple whom Jesus loved,” gets to the tomb first after Mary  Magdalene alerts the Eleven. But he doesn’t go in first. He leaves that to the  one whom Jesus appointed as the Rock on which He would build His Church. Among  the Church’s first bishops, it is St. Peter, the first pope, who first witnesses  the evidence that Jesus has risen from the dead. Then John enters. The one who  was with Jesus to the end on the cross quickly believes. They may not yet have  understood the Scriptures. But their belief in His resurrection begins here — as will be the case shortly for Mary and the other women when the risen Jesus  meets them face to face.

Let us say with them: “Christ is risen indeed! Alleluia!”

Readings for today:

  • First Reading: Acts 10:34a, 37-43
  • Second Reading: Colossians 3:1-4
  • Gospel: John 20:1-9
FACTS:
Jesus’ Resurrection Proven by these Ancient Writers
Resurrection of Jesus Proven by Logic
Ancient Writers Prove Jesus Is Not a Myth
Resurrection of Jesus: Facts and Evidence (Video)
THE REAL THANKSGIVING STORY – As Written by the Pilgrims
CHURCH & STATE SEPARATION IS A MYTH

RELATED
The Absurdity of Not Believing the Disciples Account of Jesus Resurrection
EASTER: Daily Bible Readings

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