By Peter Walker
As to the issue of independant records of Jesus and the alleged events of
the New Testament, there is only one contemperaneous source that even
discusses this. This is the _Jewish Antiquities_ by Josepheus, Governor of
Galilee, who was born in 37 C.E.
The passage is brief and is the only reference to Jesus in the work, and
does not fit with the rest of the text. Thus, it is generally regarded as a
later insertion by Christian apologists and thus a forgery.
For those interested, this is the passage in full:
"About this time lived Jesus, a wise man, if indeed he should be called a
man. He wroght miricles and was a teacher of those who gladly accept the
truth, and had a large following among the Jews and pagans. He was the
Christ. Although Pilate, at the complaint of the leaders of our people,
condemned him to die on the cross, his early followers were faithful to
him. For he appeared to them alive again on the third day, as god-sent
prophets had foretold this and a thousand wonderful things of him. The
people of the Christians which is called after him, survive until the
Curiously enough, this is the *only* non-Christian source of the time that
refers to the events of the NT as historical, and this is clearly a later
The other writers and historians of the time regard Christians with
contempt and derision, and refer only to Christ as the object of their
Seneca, who was proconsul of Achaia when Paul was allegedly teaching there,
makes no mention of him or Christ, yet St. Jerome claims that Seneca did
know of Christianity.
The most interesting part is the stance of the early Christian writers.
Justin Martyr (141 C.E.) relates an encounter with the Jew Trypho, who told
him "Now Christ, if he indeed has been born and exists anywhere, is unknown
and does not even know himself and has no power until Elias come and make
him manifest to all. And you, having accepted a groundless report, invent a
Christ for yourselves..." and later refers to "that Jesus who you say was
crucified." It seems odd that a Jew would deny the existence of such a
heretic, rather than to attack him.
What's more, Justin was completely ingorant of the existence of the
Gospels, as apperently was Paul, these books perhaps having been composed
between 80 and 120 CE (though the Theophilus to which Luke addressed his
book was bishop of Antioch from 169 to 177 CE). Pope Clement I, c. 97 CE,
never quoted fron the Gospels, nor was there any mention until 185 CE in
Irenaeus. Apparently the gospel stories were widely unknown to the first
century and a half of Christians.
But there was no historical Jesus. He is an architype, fused from Mithra,
Osiris, Dionysius, and Krishna, all gods who died and rose for man's sins,
several of whom were born of virgins. Indeed, Mithraists were practicing
the mass and celebrating the nativity long before Christians (more on
Mithra in a later posting).
This explains why early Christian writers insisted that the religion's
mysteries not be taken as literal truth, but as mystical allegories. That
is, until the Church.