Earliest mention of Jesus Christ

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  • Nevets
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    Pauline epistles

    Forgetting about whether or not Jesus Christ was born to a virgin and rose from the dead after three days, I want to know what the earliest historical attestation for Jesus Christ is, and according to google the earliest historical written reference for Jesus comes from the Pauline epistles, dated to approximately 50 or 60 AD.

    Given that the Pauline epistles are generally dated AD 50–60, they are the earliest surviving Christian texts that include information about Jesus.[129] These letters were written approximately twenty to thirty years after the generally accepted time period for the death of Jesus, around AD 30–36.[129]

    What about the earlier mention by Claudius?

    But, do we have an earlier mention by Claudius? It has been claimed that Roman emperor Claudius made a reference to an individual named Chrestus  sometime between 41 ad and 54 ad. The reference is as follows:

    Since the Jews constantly made disturbances at the instigation of Chrestus, he expelled them from Rome.
    Historicity

    Certain historians and scholars apparently accept that this remark attributed to Claudius is genuine

    As it is highly unlikely that a hypothetical Christian interpolator would have called Jesus "Chrestus", placed him in Rome in 49, or called him a "troublemaker", the overwhelming majority of scholars conclude that the passage is genuine.[23]

    Sagas of Iceland

    The Sagas of Iceland were written a good twenty years after the events spoken about (feel free to correct me regarding the actual amount of years). Yet we typically do not doubt that Norse explorers were indeed amongst the first to inhabit Iceland, and we generally do not accuse the Icelanders and Norwegians of lying, just because the Sagas were written "after" the events.

    This may be a terrible example. However I am sure there are plenty other examples of matters written after the fact that we just take as gospel without question.

    The Sagas of Icelanders say that a Norwegian named Naddodd (or Naddador) was the first Norseman to reach Iceland, and in the 9th century he named it Snæland or "snow land" because it was snowing. Following Naddodd, the Swede Garðar Svavarsson arrived, and so the island was then called Garðarshólmur which means "Garðar's Isle".
    My question

    So my question is. Do you agree that the Pauline epistles are the first historically reliable mention of Jesus Christ? Do you believe that Claudius was referring to Jesus Christ? And is it not reasonable to conclude that a historical mention of Jesus Christ within approximately 17 years of his death points to Jesus Christ being an actual historical figure at the very least? Even if we doubt his divinity and the miraculous claims attributed to him, there is evidence to suggest he was at the very least historical, and there probably was indeed a man named Jesus Christ with a mother probably named Mary?
  • Mandrakel
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    --> @Nevets
    Even if we doubt his divinity and the miraculous claims attributed to him, there is evidence to suggest he was at the very least historical, and there probably was indeed a man named Jesus Christ with a mother probably named Mary?
    I think that there is a general consensus between historians, both theist and atheist that Jesus Christ did exist.
    There is no reason to disbelieve that Christ was any different to any other charismatic religious leader claiming to be the son of God, for example, Jim Jones and David Koresh.

    I'm sure that in say, three hundred years time, someone will miraculously stumble upon some of the diaries written by Jones's disciples portraying the man as someone of everything righteous and loving. Then, off we go again. For as long as we have unscrupulous entrepreneurs greedy for wealth and power and for as long as we have naive, gullible nitwits falling for these charlatans, we will have religion.

  • Nevets
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    --> @Mandrakel
    Mandrakel wrote...
    I think that there is a general consensus between historians, both theist and atheist that Jesus Christ did exist.
    Perhaps we are not looking for a family with the surname Christ however? Afterall Jesus was not the only person to be given the title "the good"? Take for example, Socrates Chrestus. Or "Socrates the good".

    Socrates Chrestus (Greek: Σωκράτης ό Χρηστός; Chrestus (The Good)[1] died 90–88 BC) was the second son of Nicomedes III of Bithynia. He usurped the Bithynian throne by deposing his elder brother or half brother, Nicomedes IV of Bithynia.

  • Castin
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    --> @Nevets
    "Since the Jews constantly made disturbances at the instigation of Chrestus, he expelled them from Rome."

    Although this reference to "Chrestus" does come from a biography of Emperor Claudius, and Claudius may have reigned from 41 to 54 CE, the text itself was written by Suetonius in 115 CE, so Suetonius is our source here and 115 CE is our date. Pliny the Younger's reference to Christ actually predates Suetonius's by a few years, having been written in 112 CE. Josephus's writings on Jesus predate them both, with his Antiquities of the Jews dating to 93-94 CE. And of course, the Pauline epistles predate all three.

    So my question is. Do you agree that the Pauline epistles are the first historically reliable mention of Jesus Christ? Do you believe that Claudius was referring to Jesus Christ? And is it not reasonable to conclude that a historical mention of Jesus Christ within approximately 17 years of his death points to Jesus Christ being an actual historical figure at the very least? Even if we doubt his divinity and the miraculous claims attributed to him, there is evidence to suggest he was at the very least historical, and there probably was indeed a man named Jesus Christ with a mother probably named Mary?
    I consider Paul our earliest source.

    And it is certainly my belief that Jesus was a historical figure.
  • Nevets
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    Thank you Castin.

    I would also appreciate your opinion regarding my response to Mandrakel.
  • Castin
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    --> @Nevets
    Chrestus indeed meant "the good" or "the worthy," and Christus meant "messiah" or "anointed one." Obviously, Christus was Jesus's proper epithet in Latin.

    Some people believe Suetonius was referring to Jesus as Chrestus, but simply misspelled "Christus" or even misheard the name spoken and transcribed the mishearing. They point to how common such misspellings or alternate spellings were back then.

    Others think Suetonius was referring to a separate person entirely --  a Jew named Chrestus who started some riots. They point to the fact that Jesus ought to have been dead for somewhere in the neighborhood of twenty years when these "disturbances" in Rome took place.

  • Polytheist-Witch
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    One of the archeological indicators used to determine cults of worship around gods in the Western world is to look to areas named after them or statues that might exist for them. For instance the cult of Loki is rather modern in the sense there are no places in Europe named for him compared to say the lake named for Holda or the great oak of Thor cut down by Bishop Boniface. Are there any ancient sites named for Christ or are all the sites for him built by the established church? That can be an indicator or difference between a cult for a god and just a hero's story. 
  • Mandrakel
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    --> @Nevets
    Perhaps we are not looking for a family with the surname Christ however? 
    Yes, it will more likely turn out that Jesus was an illegal Puerto Rican immigrant doing drug running.

  • RationalMadman
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    --> @Mandrakel
    The Latin Americans who use the name Jesus are naming after Jesus, not the other way around. 

    Jesus' actual name during his era was Yahweh, not Jesus. Jesus would never be a genuine name of a Jew, they don't use the letter J in their Hewbrew naming system.

    The name Joseph, for instance, is actually Yosef, Joshua is actually Yeshua.

    The reason they later derived Jesus is that Yah'weh was a nickname, his original name was Yeshua and later changed into Yahshuah which means savior of all.
  • Nevets
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    RationalMadman wrote...
    Jesus' actual name during his era was Yahweh, not Jesus

    I think you mean Yeshua, not Yahweh.
  • RationalMadman
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    People called him what they called god as things proceeded, he was Yahweh in the flesh to many Christians.

    Remember, Christians wrote the Bible almost a whole generation (or two considering how short people's lifespans were) after Jesus was already dead and pretended it was written in present tense  by the disciples and others around then.


  • RationalMadman
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    Yahshuah, not Yeshua. There's a significant semantic difference. Yahshuah means 'your saviour'.
  • Nevets
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    RationalMadman wrote...
    Yahshuah, not Yeshua. There's a significant semantic difference. Yahshuah means 'your saviour'.
    Yehoshua

    According to my source his name was actually Yehoshua. Though Yehoshua can be shortened to Yeshua.

    "Jesus" is an Anglicized form of the Greek name Yesous found in the New Testament. Yesous represents the Hebrew Bible name Yeshua, which occurs as "Jeshua" in English Bibles (Ezra 2:2; Neh 7:7). In Medieval English the "J" was pronounced as a "Y."

    "Yehoshua"
    Yeshua, in turn, is a shortened form of the name Yehoshua ("Joshua" in English Bibles).
    Yahweh

    He was almost definitely not known as Yahweh however. Yahweh was the state God of Israel and Judah, according to the world history encyclopedia.

    Yahweh is the name of the state god of the ancient Kingdom of Israel and, later, the Kingdom of Judah.

  • Timid8967
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    --> @Nevets
    What is the evidence that Jesus ever existed? 


  • Nevets
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    Timid8967 wrote...
    What is the evidence that Jesus ever existed? 
    There is nothing conclusive as far as I am aware.
  • Timid8967
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    There is nothing conclusive as far as I am aware.
    So why give air to a subject that ought to be closed down? It seems to me - the more you bring this sort of stuff up - the more air time and the larger the myth becomes. 

  • Nevets
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    Timid8967...
    So why give air to a subject that ought to be closed down? It seems to me - the more you bring this sort of stuff up - the more air time and the larger the myth becomes. 
    So what is your theory on how the myth originally began? 
  • Timid8967
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    --> @Nevets
    So why give air to a subject that ought to be closed down? It seems to me - the more you bring this sort of stuff up - the more air time and the larger the myth becomes. 
    So what is your theory on how the myth originally began? 
    I don't need a theory. I leave that to others who are much cleverer than me.  I just think that if we give air time to a myth which we think ought to be canceled - then we undo ourselves. 
  • Nevets
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    Timid8967wrote...
    I don't need a theory. I leave that to others who are much cleverer than me.  I just think that if we give air time to a myth which we think ought to be canceled - then we undo ourselves. 

    Thanks for sharing your opinion.

  • Polytheist-Witch
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    --> @Mandrakel
    Yes, it will more likely turn out that Jesus was an illegal Puerto Rican immigrant doing drug running.
    I have to wonder about comments like this. Jesus is never an architect or dr. 
  • RationalMadman
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    Was Yeshua Yahweh in the flesh, yes or no?
  • Castin
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    --> @Timid8967
    What is the evidence that Jesus ever existed? 
    Virtually all scholars agree that Jesus of Nazareth was a historical figure for the simple reason that multiple independent textual sources attest to his existence, including people who had no reason to make him up, like Tacitus and Josephus.

    And if textual evidence is not enough to declare a figure historical, then we must stop talking about, say, Socrates or Pythagoras as if they really existed. We would be shocked at how many figures we would wipe from the face of history if we required archaeological evidence of an ancient person to declare their historicity. Most individuals passed without leaving any trace in the archaeological record -- certainly most first century Judean peasants did.
  • Polytheist-Witch
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    Tacitus observed worshippers not Christ. By that standard the German gods actually walked the Earth too. 
  • Castin
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    Tacitus attests that Christ was put to death by Pontius Pilate under the reign of Emperor Tiberius. Had Tacitus spoken of these worshippers' idol in god-like terms, I would certainly think they probably worshipped a mythical figure. Instead Tacitus spoke of their idol as a mere human who was executed by human rulers. This must weigh my interpretation.

    Much written history is like this -- indirect witnesses such as Tacitus writing decades after the events or persons they discuss. But it is striking that all of the sources on Jesus -- the Gospel sources, the apocrypha, Paul's letters, Josephus's writings, Tacitus's account -- agree that he at least lived. Since it is unlikely that all of these people would independently fabricate the existence of the same man, the most likely explanation is that he existed.
  • Polytheist-Witch
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    Tacitus did not witness the Crucifixion, there are no Roman documents to collaborate this "facts". The passages are to explain why the followers were call Christians. No historian will say for certain Jesus ever existed because Tacitus is still not a strong enough source to say it's 100 percent true.