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Did Jesus Live?

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As amazing as it sounds, some people question whether Jesus actually lived, often claiming that there is only one non-biblical reference to him. That simply is not true; there are many more. But it makes sense that he is not referenced a lot since biographies were written about the rich and powerful.


1. Challenge

2. Two clearest statements

a. Josephus (Antiquities 18.3.3 [63-64])

b. Josephus on James (Antiquities 20.9.1 [20.200])

3. Other sources

a. Jewish — Talmud

b. Tacitus

c. Seutonius

d. Thallus

e. Lucian of Samosata

f. Pliny the Younger

g. Celsus

h. Mara ben Serapion,

4. Summary of what we read about Jesus

a. Jesus lived

b. Jewish

c. Lived in first third of first century

d. Born out of wedlock

e. Ministry intersected with John, who baptized people for repentance of sins

f. Brother James was martyred in 62 A.D. by the high priest Albinus.

g. Worked “wondrous feats” (Josephus)

h. Gathered disciples (5 mentioned by name)

i. Conflict with the Jewish authorities

j. Crucified under Pontius Pilate (26 – 36 A.D.)

k. One Talmudic tradition says he was “hung,” but some early Christian writings use “hung” for suspension on a pole.

l. Sorcerer who led Israel astray

m. Believed to be the Messiah by some

n. Believed to have been seen raised from the dead by his followers who now worship him as a god

5. Why not more references?

6. Conclusions

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