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Non-Christian testimonies of the existence of Christ

Non-Christian testimonies of the existence of Christ

By Angeliki Anagnostou

Many believe that Christ was never a real person in our world, and that He is an imaginary creation of a powerful sect that wanted to create a new religion. This is supported by the false fact that there are not strong historical testimonies that declare the historicity of Christ, but only those of the disciples and the wider circle of His followers.

But we must consider that at the time when Christ was still alive and teaching, he was not regarded as a hegemonic person and leader of his society, but only as a saint.

Historians are not concerned with saints, but with the influential persons and the leaders of society. Following that, those who spoke of His existence were considered unreliable, because they had already adopted the new teaching, and were also considered as followers!!!

According to this “logic”, all the millions of undistinguished people who have passed through the centuries from the world, and whom historians have never named, should be considered non-existent!!!

All this, is a malicious vicious circle of controversy, which is aimed at erasing a personality that has shocked to the core every previous religion, and this could never have happened from a non-existent and imaginary figure! Besides, there is no smoke without fire!!!

However, my question is why ONLY the historicity of Christ is questioned, and not e.g. the historicity of Buddha; for whom there are also no reliable historical sources other than religious texts, although Buddha was thought to have come from a royal family, and there should be historical testimonies of him! However, neither Krishna’s nor Orpheus’ of the ancient Greek religion historicity was ever questioned, and for them, there are no historical documents, but only religious and mythological elements, and traditions!!!

Furthermore, all this resurgence of the twelve Olympian gods (dodekatheon) movement, which has thousands of followers and which emerged in the last few years, is completely unsubstantiated and without a trace of historical basis for the existence and authenticity of these hypothetical entities or gods, and the demand for historical proof only for the existence of Christ ends up being an overt prejudice!

A good answer, therefore, to anyone who will question the historicity of Christ will be the demand for corresponding historical evidence of the existence and authenticity of the twelve Olympians or Buddha or Krishna and of all those who created religions.

So, if all these challengers do not have the fully documented historical evidence of the existence of their own holy persons, they have no right to demand historical evidence of the existence of Christ!!!

Nevertheless, the non-Christian testimonies of Christ’s existence do exist, in order to close some mouths!
Therefore, because there is much talk about the historicity of Christ, I decided to quote some interesting non-Christian facts that confirm His existence in our world, in contrast to the undocumented figures of some other religions!

We must know, however, that the rumor of Christ’s non-existence serves very dark demonic beings, which are far more affected by the Existence of Christ than by any other sacred figure in our world, and that is why they fight only Him, and not any other sacred figure.

The irony in this case is that there are more historical facts for Christ’s existence than for any other religious leader!

The facts

1) THE BRITISH MUSEUM


In the British Museum there is an interesting manuscript, which preserves the text of a letter written after 73 AD.

This letter was sent by a Syrian, named Mara Bar Serapion to his son.

At the time, Mara Barra Serapion was in prison; but to encourage his son to chase wisdom, he wrote him a letter and pointed out, that those who kill wise men, end up miserable.

He even gave as examples, the death of Socrates, of Pythagoras and also of Christ.

The letter reads:

“What did the Athenians gain by killing Socrates? Famine and epidemics fell upon them as judgment for the crime. What did the people of Samos gain by burning Pythagoras? Their country was instantly covered with sand. What did the Jews gain by executing their wise King? Immediately thereafter, their kingdom perished. God rightly avenged the death of these three wise men: The Athenians died from hunger. The people of Samos were wiped out from the sea. The Jews were destroyed and driven away from their land to live scattered. But Socrates did not die. He stayed alive in Plato’s teaching. Neither did Pythagoras. He lived in the statue of Hera. Neither did the wise King. He lives through His teaching.”

This writer (Mara Bar Serapion) was a National who simply placed Christ among the great masters of antiquity.

2) THE JEWISH TALMUD

The Jewish Talmud, speaks so disapprovingly and mockingly about Christ, that, although in a negative way, indirectly confirms His existence. Also, all this endless tirade against Christ excludes any possibility for Christianity to have been orchestrated by the cycles of Judaism.


3) HISTORIAN TACITUS

Tacitus’ work was published between 115 and 117 A.D. In an excerpt of his work he speaks of the Fire of Rome and the persecution of Christians that Nero ordered on account of it. This event took place 30 years after Jesus’ death. Some contemporaries believe that it was Paul who started the fire to incriminate the Christians! …Not at all impossible. Tacitus says:

«Some accused Nero as the motivator of the fire. To get rid of the blame, 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 abhorrent superstition, thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judaea, the first source of the evil, but even in Rome.

…Accordingly, an arrest was first made of all who confessed to be Chris-tians; then, upon their information, an immense multitude was convict-ed.” [Tacit. Annals XV, 38, 44]


4) FLAVIUS JOSEPHUS (ANTIQUITIES 18.3.3)

Joseph, the most famous Jewish historian of the first century, wrote “Jewish Antiquity”, a work dating back to 93 AD.
The text referring to Christ is as follows:

“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 re-ceive 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 sug-gestion 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 Chris-tians, so named from him, is not extinct to this day.”

The authenticity of the text of Josephus was supported by F. C. Burkitt in a study entitled: Josephus and Christ, published in the Actes du IVe Congres international d’Histoire des religions tenu a Leide du 9 au 13 Septembre 1912, Leide 1913.

Burkitt’s opinion was adopted and intelligently supported by A. Harnack (Der Judische Geschichtsschreiber Josephus und Jesus Christus at Internationale Monatschrift VII, 1913 p. 1037 et seq.) And by W. Emery Barnes in the Contemporary Review of January 1914.

Among the supporters of the authenticity of the whole passage are Hettinger and Godet (Conferences Apologetiques III Les miracles p.5). Even Renan did not question the authenticity of the passage (Vie de Jesus p. X in the Introduction).

 

5) GAIUS SUETONIUS TRANQUILLUS:

Historian, contemporary of Tacitus. Between the years 10 A.D. and 120 A.D. he wrote his work on the 12 emperors (from Augustus to Domitian).

He mentions that among the Jews there was great upheaval on account of Jesus Christ and therefore, Emperor Claudius exiled them from Rome. This event occurred in 54 A.D., only twenty years after the Golgotha drama (Vita Claud. C. XXV 4, “Judaeos impulsore Chresto assidue tumultuantes Romae expulsit).

Elsewhere again, Suetonius reports that the Christians were run out by Nero because of their malicious superstitions. (‘Christiani genus hominum superstitionis novae et maleficae’ Vita Neron, XVI 2)

 

6) GAIUS PLINIUS CAECILIUS SECUNDUS:

The Emperor of Rome Trajan was in need of a commander for the province of Bithynia – Pontus in Asia Minor. He appointed his trusted friend Gaius Plinius Caecilius Secundus, who was called Pliny the Younger. In Bithynia Pliny arrived in 111 A.D. and died two years later. But during this time he wrote many letters to Trajan on various matters. One of these letters along with Trajan’s answer refers to early Christians. We quote here the letters, translated, as they are published in [‘The Harvard classics’ 1909, Volume 9’ p. 425-428]:

“IT is my invariable rule, Sir, to refer to you in all matters where I feel doubtful; for who is more capable of removing my scruples, or informing my ignorance? Having never been present at any trials concerning those who profess Christianity, I am unacquainted not only with the nature of their crimes, or the measure of their punishment, but how far it is proper to enter into an examination concerning them. Whether, therefore, any difference is usually made with respect to ages, or no distinction is to be observed be-tween the young and the adult; whether repentance entitles them to a par-don, or, if a man has been once a Christian, it avails nothing to desist from his error; whether the very profession of Christianity, un-attended with any criminal act, or only the crimes themselves inherent in the profession are pun-ishable.

On all these points I am in great doubt. In the meanwhile, the method I have observed towards those who have been brought before me as Christians is this: I asked them whether they were Christians; if they admitted it, I re-peated the question twice, and threatened them with punishment; if they persisted, I ordered them to be at once punished: for I was persuaded, what-ever the nature of their opinions might be, a contumacious and inflexible ob-stinacy certainly deserved correction. There were others also brought before me possessed with the same infatuation, but being Roman citizens, I di-rected them to be sent to Rome. But this crime spreading (as is usually the case) while it was actually under prosecution, several instances of the same nature occurred.

An anonymous information was laid before me containing a charge against several persons, who upon examination denied they were Christians, or had ever been so. They repeated after me an invocation to the gods, and offered religious rites with wine and incense before your statue (which for that purpose I had ordered to be brought, together with those of the gods), and even reviled the name of Christ: whereas there is no forcing, it is said, those who are really Christians into any of these compliances: I thought it proper, therefore, to discharge them.

Some among those who were accused by a witness in person at first con-fessed themselves Christians, but immediately after denied it; the rest admit-ted indeed that they had been of that order formerly (some three, others more, and a few above twenty years ago), but had now renounced that error. They all worshipped your statue and the images of the gods, uttering impre-cations at the same time against the name of Christ. They affirmed the whole of their guilt, or their error, was, that they met on a stated day before it was light, and addressed a form of prayer to Christ, as to a divinity, binding themselves by a solemn oath, not for the purposes of any wicked design, but never to commit any fraud, theft, or adultery, never to falsify their word, nor deny a trust when they should be called upon to deliver it up; after which it was their custom to separate, and then reassemble, to eat in common a harm-less meal. From this custom, however, they desisted after the publication of my edict, by which, according to your commands, I forbade the meeting of any assemblies. After receiving this account, I judged it so much the more necessary to endeavor to extort the real truth, by putting two female slaves to the torture, who were said to officiate in their religious rites: but all I could discover was evidence of an absurd and extravagant superstition.

I deemed it expedient, therefore, to adjourn all further proceedings, in order to consult you. For it appears to be a matter highly deserving your considera-tion, more especially as great numbers must be involved in the danger of these prosecutions, which have already extended, and are still likely to ex-tend, to persons of all ranks and ages, and even of both sexes. In fact, this contagious superstition is not confined to the cities only, but has spread its infection among the neighboring villages and country.
Nevertheless, it still seems possible to restrain its progress. The temples, at least, which were once almost deserted, begin now to be frequented; and the sacred rites, after a long intermission, are again revived; while there is a gen-eral demand for the victims, which till lately found very few purchasers. From all this it is easy to conjecture what numbers might be reclaimed if a general pardon were granted to those who shall repent of their error.”

Answering to this letter of Pliny, Emperor Trajan wrote [XCVIII ‘TRAJAN TO PLINY’]:

“You have adopted the right course, my dearest Secundus, in investigating the charges against the Christians who were brought before you. It is not possible to lay down any general rule for all such cases. Do not go out of your way to look for them. If indeed they should be brought before you, and the crime is proved, they must be punished; with the restriction, however, that where the party denies he is a Christian, and shall make it evident that he is not, by invoking our gods, let him (notwithstanding any former suspi-cion) be pardoned upon his repentance. Anonymous information ought not to be received in any sort of prosecution. It is introducing a very dangerous precedent, and is quite foreign to the spirit of our age.”

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