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Old Mar 5, 2009, 09:51 AM   #1
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Do any references to Jesus exist outside of the Bible?

I've been wondering this for a while.

Does anyone well-versed in such things know if Jesus is ever mentioned anywhere other than the Bible in any period documents?

Even if not by name, then at least an allusion to him that could be interpreted as such would do.
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Old Mar 5, 2009, 09:56 AM   #2
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Isa in the Koran.

Isa is Arabic for Jesus.

Also, the idea of a carpenter named Jesus is not a mystical one, just what the Bible claims of him is mystical.

in MHO.
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Old Mar 5, 2009, 10:20 AM   #3
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The first century Jewish historian Josephus mentions Jesus. However, there is some doubt wether or not these may have been inserted by the church at a later time.

You might find this of interest.

http://www.tektonics.org/jesusexist/josephus.html
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Old Mar 5, 2009, 10:39 AM   #4
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Wow- what an interesting topic. I'd be interested to know more if anybody finds anything else.
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Old Mar 5, 2009, 10:55 AM   #5
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Yes, references to Jesus exist outside the Bible. A better question would be do credible unaltered references to Jesus exist outside the Bible proving he performed miracles and was crucified and resurrected. My Christians friends would point to Josephus and say yes. I don't believe that is a trustworthy account though.

There was a PBS series trying to find the real Jesus. I found it very educational.

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/religion/

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Old Mar 5, 2009, 11:07 AM   #6
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Well, there was this Greek guy who was heard yelling "Hey Zeus! Stay away from my wife!" one time...
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Old Mar 5, 2009, 11:15 AM   #7
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Well, there was this Greek guy who was heard yelling "Hey Zeus! Stay away from my wife!" one time...
Not quite what I was looking for...

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Old Mar 5, 2009, 11:28 AM   #8
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Here is an article mentioning that the name "Jesus" may indeed be a mistranslation of "Joshua" perpetuated through the years due to the language that the New Testament was written in.

There's also the James Ossuary which some claim is a forgery, but won't release reasons why. If it were proven authentic it would lend some outside evidence to the existence of a famous historical person named Jesus.
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Old Mar 5, 2009, 11:35 AM   #9
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Josephus does mention in passing a man named Jesus as brother of James, but the passage that most Christians seem to cling to, the Testimonium Flavianum, is now pretty much accepted by all but the religiously desperate as having been inserted later. The Antiquities of the Jews were studied in the 3rd Century AD by a Christian scholar named Origen. Origen makes absolutely no reference to the Testimonium, and even contradicts what the Testimonium is supposed to say elsewhere in his writings. However, 100 years later, with the Christian Church suddenly becoming the dominant religion of the Roman Empire, the Testimonium miraculously appears in the Antiquities. A bit convenient really.
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Old Mar 5, 2009, 03:34 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Queso View Post
Josephus does mention in passing a man named Jesus as brother of James, but the passage that most Christians seem to cling to, the Testimonium Flavianum, is now pretty much accepted by all but the religiously desperate as having been inserted later. The Antiquities of the Jews were studied in the 3rd Century AD by a Christian scholar named Origen. Origen makes absolutely no reference to the Testimonium, and even contradicts what the Testimonium is supposed to say elsewhere in his writings. However, 100 years later, with the Christian Church suddenly becoming the dominant religion of the Roman Empire, the Testimonium miraculously appears in the Antiquities. A bit convenient really.
Actually, from what I understand, the scholars only believe that portions of the Testimonium Flavianum have been added to but that Jesus actually was mentioned. Here is a quote from the skepticwiki

Quote:
Testimonium Flavianum
Perhaps the most well-known, and the most disputed, non-Christian reference to Jesus of Nazareth is the Testimonium Flavianum, verse 18:63 in Josephus' Antiquities of the Jews. A translation of the passage in the known manuscripts reads as follows (the parts in ALL CAPS are believed to be interpolations from a later redactor [1]).

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 wonders, A TEACHER OF SUCH MEN AS RECEIVE THE TRUTH WITH PLEASURE. He drew many after him BOTH OF THE JEWS AND THE GENTILES. HE WAS THE CHRIST. When Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men among 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 ABOUT HIM, and the tribe of Christians, so named from him, are not extinct at this day.

Annette Merz, in the book The Historical Jesus: A Comprehensive Guide had pointed out that on the one hand, the passage has content that would be highly unlikely to come from a non-Christian Jew, such as the phrases "if it be lawful to call him a man" and "He was the Christ." On the other hand, much of the language of the text follows Josephus' style. Because of this, most scholars have concluded that the passage as a whole was not a Christian interpolation, but rather that Christians tampered with the passage, either by adding the overtly Christian phrases like "if it be lawful to call him a man" or by changing Josephus' language, i.e. from "he led astray many" to "he drew over many".
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Old Mar 5, 2009, 03:48 PM   #11
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Not that I wish to start a religious war but.

The cornerstone of the "Jesus" "christian beliefs" is faith. As in :

From the Bible :

"Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen."

Faith is mandatory ( according to the bible ) to believe Jesus exists and did/does miracles.

Without faith there can not be "true" evidence of Jesus Christ.
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Old Mar 5, 2009, 03:51 PM   #12
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Yes, a thread on Mac Rumors references him, and I don't think The Gospel of Mac Rumors is in the Bible

I don't think anyone denies Jesus exists, we just deny that he had magical powers and was born to a virgin and came back as a zombie.
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Old Mar 5, 2009, 04:05 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by yg17 View Post
Yes, a thread on Mac Rumors references him, and I don't think The Gospel of Mac Rumors is in the Bible
I didn't realize MacRumors threads are period.

This site's a lot older than I thought...
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Old Mar 5, 2009, 04:10 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Unspeaked View Post
I didn't realize MacRumors threads are period.

This site's a lot older than I thought...
It's right there in the OT

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Originally Posted by Genesis 12:1
God said unto Adam, "Thow looketh bored." So God spoke and said "Let, there be MacRumors." And He looked down on what He made and it was good.
Shortly after the apple was eaten was the advent of the PRSI section and things only went downhill after that.
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Old Mar 5, 2009, 04:10 PM   #15
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I am not exactly sure what you mean by period but there are tons of writings starting in what historians believe is the early 2nd century that reference Jesus. Of course, most were written by people who believed in Jesus in some manner or another. They are called the apocrypha. Wikipedia has a pretty good article describing these writings.

Quote:
Originally Posted by yg17 View Post
Yes, a thread on Mac Rumors references him, and I don't think The Gospel of Mac Rumors is in the Bible

I don't think anyone denies Jesus exists, we just deny that he had magical powers and was born to a virgin and came back as a zombie.
I don't think he had magical powers or came back as a zombie either. Magical powers are something that magicians of the old testament had such as those in Egypt that worked for the pharoah. I believe that Jesus had divine power form God. And the other point is that zombies typically do not have free will or the ability to speak. They are simply a re-animated corpse that is under the control of a sorcorer of some sort. That really doesn't describe the resurrected Jesus described in the Bible. This is sort of an Animate Dead vs. Resurrection thing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by atszyman View Post
It's right there in the OT



Shortly after the apple was eaten was the advent of the PRSI section and things only went downhill after that.

Last edited by WinterMute; Mar 6, 2009 at 12:20 PM. Reason: merge
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Old Mar 5, 2009, 04:16 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by imac/cheese View Post
Actually, from what I understand, the scholars only believe that portions of the Testimonium Flavianum have been added to but that Jesus actually was mentioned. Here is a quote from the skepticwiki
Still doesn't explain the lack of attention to the passage from Origen though does it? You'd think as a Christian he would have made a big deal about that verse had it appeared.
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Old Mar 6, 2009, 12:27 AM   #17
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Outside of the Bible, there are some Greco-Roman sources on Jesus' historicity. Josephus can be largely discounted because we know the work was altered, but we don't know to what extent. Tacitus wrote one short passage of Jesus, but does not cite his source. Suetonius mentions "Chrestus", but that's a common name for slaves, which fits the passage equally well. Pliny the Younger wrote of the beliefs of Christians, but this is of course not evidence of his existence.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tacitus
"derived their name and origin from Christ, who, in the reign of Tiberius, had suffered death by the sentence of the procurator Pontius Pilate"
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suetonius
"Since the Jews constantly made disturbances at the instigation of Chrestus [Emperor Claudius in 49 CE] expelled them from Rome."
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pliny the Younger
"Those who denied that they were or had been Christians, when they invoked the gods in words dictated by me, offered prayer with incense and wine to your image, which I had ordered to be brought for this purpose together with statues of the gods, and moreover cursed Christ — none of which those who are really Christians, it is said, can be forced to do — these I thought should be discharged. Others named by the informer declared that they were Christians, but then denied it, asserting that they had been but had ceased to be, some three years before, others many years, some as much as twenty-five years. They all worshiped your image and the statues of the gods, and cursed Christ.
None of these passages can be verified, have sources, or can be corroborated.
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Old Mar 6, 2009, 12:31 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by atszyman View Post
It's right there in the OT



Shortly after the apple was eaten was the advent of the PRSI section and things only went downhill after that.
And on the the 3rd day of the week Jobs i mean god Created imacs
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Old Mar 6, 2009, 03:17 AM   #19
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Hey, Bilbo is in The Hobbit, AND the Lord of the Rings.
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Old Mar 6, 2009, 03:22 AM   #20
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The only figure that has been verified is Pontius Pilate.

The rest is speculation and invention.
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Old Mar 6, 2009, 03:35 AM   #21
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Could people also post a time period/year when these things were written so that any references far after the time of Jesus could be excluded?
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Old Mar 6, 2009, 09:37 AM   #22
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The New Testament is an edited collection of gospels and letters about Jesus. There were more from that period that were omitted for various reasons. Some are called the New Testament Apocrypha, as imac/cheese already mentioned.
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Old Mar 6, 2009, 09:45 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by MasterNile View Post
Could people also post a time period/year when these things were written so that any references far after the time of Jesus could be excluded?
If you want to go there, you might have ruled out even the Bible as a source. The oldest gospel is dated to at least 70 AD.
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Old Mar 6, 2009, 12:51 PM   #24
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Could people also post a time period/year when these things were written so that any references far after the time of Jesus could be excluded?
Sure.

Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, 93 C.E.
Pliny the Younger, letter to Emperor Trajan, 112 C.E.
Tacitus, Annals, 116 C.E.
Suetonius, Lives of the Twelve Caesars, 121 C.E.
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Old Mar 6, 2009, 04:29 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by yg17 View Post
I don't think anyone denies Jesus exists,
There are some people who claim that Jesus was actually a zealot known by another name, and the gospels were heavily edited in the first century to remove any mention of militancy.
Quote:
Originally Posted by arkitect View Post
The only figure that has been verified is Pontius Pilate.
Herod too, even if the Gregorian calendar years are a little off.
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