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Question: Is Tacitus's mention of Jesus in "Annals" a reliable confirmation of the historical Jesus?
Strong yes   -3 (20%)
Weak yes   -7 (46.7%)
Unsure   -0 (0%)
Weak no   -3 (20%)
Strong no   -2 (13.3%)
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Total Voters: 15

Author Topic: Tacitus on historicity of Jesus - reliable source or not?  (Read 2225 times)
IDS Judicial Overlord John Dibble
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« on: February 13, 2012, 03:34:57 pm »
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To give some background, in our latest lover's quarrel jmcst and I are having a severe disagreement over the historical reliability of Tacitus confirming the historical existence of Jesus. I don't think it is (even though I do think there was likely a historical Jesus on whom the Gospels are based to some degree or another) and jmfcst thinks I'm an escaped mental patient for saying so. He's said that most of the forum supports him on this, and has gone so far as to put me on ignore because apparently my disagreement with him makes me a hack.

So dear forum goers, I'm curious as to which, if either of us, you agree with.

A strong yes or no indicates you think the other side has no case at all, a weak one indicates you think the other side's points have merit but aren't convincing enough to make you side with them. If neither side is convincing, just vote unsure.


Some background on the subject for those of you who don't wish to read that whole thread linked above:

The text in question:

Quote
Nero fastened the guilt of starting the blaze and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians [Chrestians] 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 mischievous superstition, thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judaea, the first source of the evil, but even in Rome, where all things hideous and shameful from every part of the world find their centre and become popular.

The wiki articles, with some choice bits for your perusal:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historicity_of_Jesus#Tacitus

Quote
Indeed, Charles Guignebert argued that "So long as there is that possibility [that Tacitus is merely echoing what Christians themselves were saying], the passage remains quite worthless".[59] R. T. France concludes that the Tacitus passage is at best just Tacitus repeating what he has heard through Christians.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tacitus_on_Christ

Quote
Scholars generally consider Tacitus's reference to the execution of Jesus by Pontius Pilate to be both authentic, and of historical value as an independent Roman source.



Also, I'll just go ahead and apologize in advance for turning a dispute into a poll, but at least I think the topic isn't completely inane. Part of me felt I had to do it. I may not like jmfcst and think he's irrational at times, but I do respect his intelligence and how he takes his own views seriously, so I have taken the degree to which he has insulted me on this rather personally.
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« Reply #1 on: February 13, 2012, 03:52:47 pm »
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Weak yes. jmfcst is perhaps a little too attached to it, but it's reasonable corroboration considering that there's really no reason to follow a mythical-Jesus hypothesis anyway.
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« Reply #2 on: February 13, 2012, 03:55:45 pm »
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Weak yes.  It certainly indicates that there was a Jesus, but it can't be used to say anything about what he was like because we have no way of knowing what the source of his information was.
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« Reply #3 on: February 13, 2012, 04:11:24 pm »
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One other oddity I'd like to point out that I didn't in the other thread - Tacitus calls Jesus "Christus".

"Christ" is the title Jesus is given, not part of his name. If the Romans had recorded the matter of Jesus getting crucified, even if just in the manner of logging "We executed Jesus on X day of Y year", they wouldn't have name him "Christus", or anything even remotely close, since the word Christ comes from the Greek "Khristós". ("the anointed one") An official report written at the time in Jerusalem probably wouldn't have used a Greek term.

Even if Tacitus had used an earlier Roman source to get the basic information, that source would have been based on some rather incomplete research since it didn't even get the man's name right, and it wouldn't have likely been the original source of information for the reasons stated above. Of course, this could just be me not understanding which languages were prevalent in which areas of the Roman Empire. (if someone does have info on that I'd like to know about it)

This is in contrast to what is considered to be the most authentic of Josephus's mentions to Jesus - "and brought before them the brother of Jesus, who was called Christ, whose name was James,".  Josephus's work on the subject also came out two decades before Tacitus's did, so the name of Jesus was known by this point.
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« Reply #4 on: February 13, 2012, 04:36:18 pm »
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Weak yes. jmfcst is perhaps a little too attached to it, but it's reasonable corroboration considering that there's really no reason to follow a mythical-Jesus hypothesis anyway.

“weak”, huh?  You mean just like those same hacks also claimed the corroboration concerning the existence was of Pilate “weak”, and that the nonNT corroboration about Pilate was due to relying upon Christian sources….that is, until the Pilate inscription was found in 1961 and shut down that line of hackery.

What we are dealing with here is the EXACT same illogical argument they used to dismiss the existence of Pilate.

But, in this case, don’t  expect a Pilate-like inscription to be found regarding Jesus, for there would have been no reason for Rome or Jews to have treated Jesus as nothing but a footnote.

If there were Roman and/or Jewish inscriptions in stone referencing Jesus, then these hacks would use them to cast doubt on the NT claims of Jesus being an outsider.  As it is, the fact that Jesus is just a footnote to both nonChristian Romans and nonChristian Jews is exactly as one would expect given the NT account…but don’t expect these hacks to understand that.

And I am not “too attached to it”, for if you go back and read the opening of that thread, I didn’t even mention corroborative evidence until BM asked for it, so I only provided it for the purpose of catching him up.  And the ONLY reason this “discussion” about Tacitus went on for so long was due to Dibble’s deliberate idiocy.

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IDS Judicial Overlord John Dibble
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« Reply #5 on: February 13, 2012, 04:42:39 pm »
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What we are dealing with here is the EXACT same illogical argument they used to dismiss the existence of Pilate.

Except I'm not denying the existence of Jesus, (which, for the millionth time, I find likely) just how reliable the passage in question is in regards to confirming it.


And the ONLY reason this “discussion” about Tacitus went on for so long was due to Dibble’s deliberate idiocy.

Oh come on now, be honest - you could have just stopped responding at any point. You are every bit as stubborn as I am, don't you even bother trying to deny it.

I'd also like to point out that not one other person has accused me of "deliberate idiocy" on this topic - I think you are letting your personal dislike of me color your opinions.
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« Reply #6 on: February 13, 2012, 05:32:01 pm »
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What we are dealing with here is the EXACT same illogical argument they used to dismiss the existence of Pilate.

Except I'm not denying the existence of Jesus, (which, for the millionth time, I find likely) just how reliable the passage in question is in regards to confirming it.

are you are or you not denying that: Jesus was a SINGULAR person and a Jew who was regarded as a teacher and healer, that he was baptized by John the Baptist, and was crucified in Jerusalem on the orders of the Pilate for sedition against the Roman Empire?

yes or no?

---


And the ONLY reason this “discussion” about Tacitus went on for so long was due to Dibble’s deliberate idiocy.

Oh come on now, be honest - you could have just stopped responding at any point. You are every bit as stubborn as I am, don't you even bother trying to deny it.

I'd also like to point out that not one other person has accused me of "deliberate idiocy" on this topic - I think you are letting your personal dislike of me color your opinions.

No, the only thing it shows is that I hate idiocy.  Especially, idiocy for the purpose of hiding denial, whether it comes from Andrew and his stupid destruction of scriptural meaning of Mat ch 19 and Rom ch1, or your refusal to accept the testimony of the best knowm historians of 1st Century:  1st Century Roman history (Tacitus), 1st Century Christian history (Luke), and 1st Century Jewish history (Josephus), even when they corroborate each other claims.

So, Adieu…Auf wiedersehen…Gesundheit...Farewell.
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« Reply #7 on: February 13, 2012, 05:52:53 pm »
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Of course, this could just be me not understanding which languages were prevalent in which areas of the Roman Empire. (if someone does have info on that I'd like to know about it)


The elites from the Western half spoke Latin, the elites from the Eastern half spoke Greek.  Indeed, most of the soldiers raised from the Eastern Empire would speak Greek and use Greek as their lingua franca, and colonial administrators would almost certainly be bilingual in Latin and Greek (as most heavily-educated Romans were).  Though Pilatus would've definitely had Latin as his native tongue, he would've been fluent in Greek and been able to converse with the Temple Priests and other Jewish elites in it (though it'd be very doubtful he'd know any of the Aramaic of his subjects).
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« Reply #8 on: February 13, 2012, 06:14:24 pm »
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are you are or you not denying that: Jesus was a SINGULAR person and a Jew who was regarded as a teacher and healer, that he was baptized by John the Baptist, and was crucified in Jerusalem on the orders of the Pilate for sedition against the Roman Empire?

yes or no?

This isn't a simple yes or no as you are actually asking me multiple questions here.

1. Jesus as a singular person - There likely would have been a singular person who the gospels were based on, with possibly some things other messiah claimants did/said getting misattributed to him during the period where the traditions were passed on orally.

2. Jesus as a Jew - Given he supposedly claimed to be the Messiah, I would find it strange if he wasn't.

3. Regarded as a teacher and healer - Most religious founders/leaders are regarded as this by at least their own followers. The degree to which he would be viewed as such by outsiders would of course vary. (given Tacitus viewed Christianity as a "superstition" I would say that he did not)

4. Baptized by John the Baptist - I had made no assertions on this particular subject as I had not researched it before. Looking at the wiki article on that particular subject it seems most scholars view it as likely, that they have some convincing arguments to make their case, and that I don't see any counterarguments (which Wikipedia is usually good about providing) I will say this is likely.

5. Crucifixion - If he preached anything close to what was in the gospels there more than likely been a number of folks in the area who would be angry at him, and given that Roman policy often was about taking steps to keep the mob appeased I wouldn't find it unlikely at all that his enemies would work to have him executed in one way or another. Crucifixion was a method Romans used to execute traitors, so if he was charged with sedition then it's one of the more likely methods that would have been used.

6. Execution ordered by Pilate - Given Pilate is well verified as having been the Prefect in Jerusalem around the time, if any type of execution occurred it likely would have more likely than not gone through him.
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« Reply #9 on: February 13, 2012, 06:23:11 pm »
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Of course, this could just be me not understanding which languages were prevalent in which areas of the Roman Empire. (if someone does have info on that I'd like to know about it)


The elites from the Western half spoke Latin, the elites from the Eastern half spoke Greek.  Indeed, most of the soldiers raised from the Eastern Empire would speak Greek and use Greek as their lingua franca, and colonial administrators would almost certainly be bilingual in Latin and Greek (as most heavily-educated Romans were).  Though Pilatus would've definitely had Latin as his native tongue, he would've been fluent in Greek and been able to converse with the Temple Priests and other Jewish elites in it (though it'd be very doubtful he'd know any of the Aramaic of his subjects).

Interesting. I still find it unlikely that any direct Roman records of the event would name him Christ, but does indicate that at least the term Khristós would have been in use before the time of the crucifixion. I'll have to ponder this some more.
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« Reply #10 on: February 13, 2012, 06:37:36 pm »
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Weak yes. jmfcst is perhaps a little too attached to it, but it's reasonable corroboration considering that there's really no reason to follow a mythical-Jesus hypothesis anyway.

“weak”, huh?  You mean just like those same hacks also claimed the corroboration concerning the existence was of Pilate “weak”, and that the nonNT corroboration about Pilate was due to relying upon Christian sources….that is, until the Pilate inscription was found in 1961 and shut down that line of hackery.

That's not what 'weak' means in the context of the options in this poll. 'Strong' has to mean that you think the other side has no case at all, and this isn't even a question as to the history of Jesus (on which I'm a strong yes, obviously, since I'm a Christian), it's a discussion of a specific source.

Duly noted that you're not 'too attached' to it. I'm sorry I said that.
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« Reply #11 on: February 13, 2012, 06:40:08 pm »
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yo, John Dibble, (to be a bit jmfcst-y)

I'm not an expert on Flavius Josephus by any stretch of the imagination, but I don't think he'd have to rely solely on archives to get information on the execution of Jesus Christ. Especially the name 'Chreistos' must have been quite common even at that point.
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« Reply #12 on: February 13, 2012, 06:53:26 pm »
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yo, John Dibble, (to be a bit jmfcst-y)

I'm not an expert on Flavius Josephus by any stretch of the imagination, but I don't think he'd have to rely solely on archives to get information on the execution of Jesus Christ. Especially the name 'Chreistos' must have been quite common even at that point.

correct, it's logically obvious that the context of Christianity regarding the life of Jesus Christ would have well known to Tacitus and the Roman hierarchy, even though Tacitus was a non-believer...unless one is going to argue that Tacitus, historian that he was, wasn't interested enough in historical claims having to do with the decisions of Roman rulers (Pilate’s execution of Jesus) to listen to the central claims of Christianity.
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« Reply #13 on: February 13, 2012, 06:55:00 pm »
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yo, John Dibble, (to be a bit jmfcst-y)

I'm not an expert on Flavius Josephus by any stretch of the imagination, but I don't think he'd have to rely solely on archives to get information on the execution of Jesus Christ. Especially the name 'Chreistos' must have been quite common even at that point.

In regards to Josephus, my point was that he mentioned Jesus by both name AND title while Tacitus didn't. Tacitus referred to only "Christus", seeming to indicate that he thought that was Jesus's name - given it seems unlikely that Roman archival records would refer to him in that fashion, and so it looks like Tacitus didn't use archival records to get that bit of information. Hell, it doesn't even look like he bothered to talk to any Christians about it, as they would have known Jesus by name and title. Whatever source he used seems to have had only partial knowledge on the matter.

I'm sure if Tacitus had cared about the beliefs of Christians (given he only dedicates a single sentence to it and expresses disdain, it seems that he didn't care much) he would have gotten both name and title by doing more detailed research into it, but it seems he only bothered to get a basic familiarity on the subject.
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« Reply #14 on: February 13, 2012, 07:00:04 pm »
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Right, and that's why I think Josephus is a better corroborating source than Tacitus is on this particular subject.
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« Reply #15 on: February 13, 2012, 07:08:26 pm »
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Of course Tacitus didn't talk to any real christians. The main thing he does about them is mentioning them in passing to both illustrate Rome's moral decay (always a favourite topic), and Nero's cruelty. Tacitus is essentially worthless as a source on early christianity. (Doesn't he mention their cannibalistic rites elsewhere? Or was that someone else?)
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« Reply #16 on: February 13, 2012, 07:21:18 pm »
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That's not what 'weak' means in the context of the options in this poll. 'Strong' has to mean that you think the other side has no case at all, and this isn't even a question as to the history of Jesus (on which I'm a strong yes, obviously, since I'm a Christian), it's a discussion of a specific source.

well, I guess if you examine Tacitus’ claims in a vacuum, ignoring other corroborative statement of other historians of the day…anything could seem weak.

But when you’re dealing with three of the best known historians of the 1st Century (Josephus, Tacitus, Luke), and all three are approaching the subject from totally different viewpoints (Jewish leadership, Roman leadership, Christian leadership), hooked into the best historical networks of their time (Jewish history, Roman history, Christian history)…it’s pretty hard to convince a jury of logical people that they all three just happen to find the same story of Jesus sitting in the back of the same Taxi cab and sloppily just all three swallowed it independently on their own.

But, none the less, some of the self-proclaimed ‘scholars” doubted the existence of Pilate, even though the same sources (Josephus, Tacitus, NT) claimed he existed.

Any reasonable (keyword) person, given the tract record of these three sources, would take any corroboration of any fact between these three to the bank, UNLESS there was evidence to the contrary…which in this case there is none.  

Also, any reasonable person would conclude that *IF* the existence of Jesus Christ wasn’t well known and accepted as a given, there is no way Christianity could have begun in Jerusalem, anymore than a religion could have begun in Boston in 1750 regarding some supposedly well known person who was supposedly recently executed in full public view.  People would have simply responded, “Dude, I’ve lived in Boston all my life and have no idea of the events you speak of…”  And the religion would have died right then and there.

But, I’ll leave ya’ll to discuss the finer points of this idiocy among yourselves.
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I looked over Jordan, and what did I see?
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A band of angels coming after me,
Coming for to carry me home.

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« Reply #17 on: February 13, 2012, 07:35:01 pm »
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In regards to Josephus, my point was that he mentioned Jesus by both name AND title while Tacitus didn't. Tacitus referred to only "Christus", seeming to indicate that he thought that was Jesus's name - given it seems unlikely that Roman archival records would refer to him in that fashion, and so it looks like Tacitus didn't use archival records to get that bit of information...

that is a very very stupid statement:

"Consequently, to get rid of the report, 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"

I refer to “Christ” all the time, both in reference to Jesus and both as the root word for “Christians”….and not one person in 10 years has accused me of not knowing the name of Jesus.

The NT itself uses “Christ” dozens upon dozens of time without the article “the” and without the name Jesus.

---

please stop copying and pasting stupid arguments from the internet, and use your own brain, for once.
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I looked over Jordan, and what did I see?
Coming for to carry me home,
A band of angels coming after me,
Coming for to carry me home.

Swing low, sweet chariot,
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« Reply #18 on: February 13, 2012, 08:17:16 pm »
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In regards to Josephus, my point was that he mentioned Jesus by both name AND title while Tacitus didn't. Tacitus referred to only "Christus", seeming to indicate that he thought that was Jesus's name - given it seems unlikely that Roman archival records would refer to him in that fashion, and so it looks like Tacitus didn't use archival records to get that bit of information...

that is a very very stupid statement:

"Consequently, to get rid of the report, 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"

Yes jmfcst, I know what the passage we're debating is - it's in the opening statement. We've only been debating it for days, did you think I had forgotten the contents or something?

Quote
I refer to “Christ” all the time, both in reference to Jesus and both as the root word for “Christians”….and not one person in 10 years has accused me of not knowing the name of Jesus.

The NT itself uses “Christ” dozens upon dozens of time without the article “the” and without the name Jesus.

You know both terms, and you know on is a name and the other is a title plus you know the meaning of the title. It's clear why you would use the phrase "Christ", whether you use 'the' or not.

But what about Tacitus? Why would he use just the title? Two possibilities occur to me:

1. He didn't know Jesus's actual name due to only a passing familiarity with Christian beliefs, and mistook "Christus" as the man's name.
2. He did know it was a title and chose to omit Jesus's actual name intentionally. But why would an unbeliever, especially one who considered Christianity a 'superstition', use the title alone? So maybe he knew it was a title, but not what it meant? If that's the case it still shows incompleteness in research that could have been fixed by talking to even one Christian. But on the other hand, if he did know what the title meant and knew its significance using it in that fashion would be like saying that Jesus was the Christ - an odd thing for someone with such disdain for the believers to do, don't you think?

Quote
please stop copying and pasting stupid arguments from the internet, and use your own brain, for once.

This one I came up with on my own, thank you very much. Of course to you ANYTHING I say contrary to what you think is automatically going to be dumb, because I happen to be the one to say it. Also I again note that you are the ONLY person here saying that the arguments I've presented are dumb. The poll results thus far have only you (presumably) going with the strong yes option. Has it ever occurred to you that maybe, just maybe, YOU are the one being unreasonable? You might want to put your ego to the side for a moment to think about it.
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« Reply #19 on: February 14, 2012, 11:19:11 am »
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Quote
I refer to “Christ” all the time, both in reference to Jesus and both as the root word for “Christians”….and not one person in 10 years has accused me of not knowing the name of Jesus.

The NT itself uses “Christ” dozens upon dozens of time without the article “the” and without the name Jesus.

You know both terms, and you know on is a name and the other is a title plus you know the meaning of the title. It's clear why you would use the phrase "Christ", whether you use 'the' or not.

So, basically you’re admitting that YOU don’t know if Tacitus knew the meaning of the title, and you’re admitting that if Tacitus knew the meaning of the title, then there is absolutely nothing strange about Tacitus referring to Jesus as Christ, just as there are many nonbelievers today who refer to Jesus as “Christ” – therefore, you’re admitting that your argument is nothing more than an empty bag.

The same empty bag these “scholars” used to doubt the existence of Pilate even though Tacitus/Josephus/Bible all accepted the existence of Pilate.   They had no contrary evidence whatsoever to doubt Pilate.  

Even though they claimed to be scientists, the only thing guiding their rejection of Pilate’s existence was the axe they were grinding against the bible.  And even though Josephus, who was in the Jewish leadership even PRIOR to 70AD, wrote and wrote about the activities of Pilate related to events beyond the scope of the NT, these “scholars” still did not believe in his existence.

Contrary to all the corroborative evidence from three extremely knowledgeable yet separate sources that were all in a position to know ...these “scholars” held onto their empty bags and denied Pilate’s existence.  And even though they were self proclaimed “scholars”, they proved themselves to be nothing more than cowards who were too scared to face the emptiness of their objections.

And don’t tell me that you’re not denying the existence of Pilate.  I know that you’re not, but your argument is exactly like their flawed argument - your objections are nothing but an empty bag.

Empty bags don’t redo history…they don’t change past facts…empty bags are simply, empty.  In the end, their worthlessness is proven and they are discarded.  They may have comforted the weak minded for a short time.

It doesn’t matter if your argument is declared to you as empty, you’ll continue to comfort yourself with it until it is proven wrong.  Then, you’ll just move onto the next empty bag.  It’s simply in your nature, for although you claim to be seeking knowledge, what you're really searching for is an empty bag to comfort yourself with, which is why even though you are an unbeliever, you can't stop focusing on Jesus Christ, and you'll accept even the most empty of arguments to try to discount him.  




« Last Edit: February 14, 2012, 11:26:04 am by consigliere jmfcst »Logged

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« Reply #20 on: February 14, 2012, 12:00:41 pm »
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To those of you who said no, do you accept what he wrote on other historical figures?
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« Reply #21 on: February 14, 2012, 12:03:46 pm »
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To those of you who said no, do you accept what he wrote on other historical figures?

as long as those figures aren't mentioned in the bible....cause if they are mentioned in the NT, obviously Tacitus got that info from Christians, who are, of course, unreliable when it comes to 1st Century history.
« Last Edit: February 14, 2012, 02:21:23 pm by consigliere jmfcst »Logged

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« Reply #22 on: February 14, 2012, 02:05:16 pm »
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To those of you who said no, do you accept what he wrote on other historical figures?

Not necessarily, any more than you should take "collapsable boats" Suetonius or "there was a magical tree at the fortress of Machaerus, I swear!" Josephus or any other classical historian at face value on everything.  For a Tacitus-specific example, he writes down Boadicea's death speech.  A death speech that literally no one would have lived to report and that wasn't given in Latin anyway and is almost certainly 100% fictional.
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Einzige is a poltroon who cowardly turns down duel challenges he should be honor-bound to accept. The Code Duello authorizes you to mock and belittle such a pathetic honorless scoundrel.
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« Reply #23 on: February 14, 2012, 02:46:11 pm »
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To those of you who said no, do you accept what he wrote on other historical figures?

Not necessarily, any more than you should take "collapsable boats" Suetonius or "there was a magical tree at the fortress of Machaerus, I swear!" Josephus or any other classical historian at face value on everything.  For a Tacitus-specific example, he writes down Boadicea's death speech.  A death speech that literally no one would have lived to report and that wasn't given in Latin anyway and is almost certainly 100% fictional.

Well, this whole thread is s bit of a sham since it attempts to isolate certain statements of Tacitus from their corroborative counterparts, as if we are stupid enough to judge it apart from the corroborative evidence.  

Apart from the corroborative testimonies, there is no contrary evidence Jesus wasn’t executed by Pilate, just as there was no contrary evidence to Pilate’s existence.  The discovery of Pilate’s Inscription did NOT alter the past, rather it simply forced hacks to find another empty argument.  There will ALWAYS be empty arguments for people to latch onto, but that doesn’t make them smart, nor does it mean those with simple common sense wont see through it.

What’s more, you’re forgetting the fact that if the Book of Acts just made up a whole bunch of historical secular facts, Christianity would have been immediately discredited in the beginning without an argument if the secular facts weren't in line with reality.  The fact that Christianity began in Jerusalem and spread within the Roman world is evidence in itself that the historical context of the Gospel was accepted as a given.

You simply can’t explain the geographic origin and spread of a religion claiming a history in the immediately past if the secular details of that history didn’t match what was commonly known about the immediate past.   Duh!

« Last Edit: February 14, 2012, 02:49:33 pm by consigliere jmfcst »Logged

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I looked over Jordan, and what did I see?
Coming for to carry me home,
A band of angels coming after me,
Coming for to carry me home.

Swing low, sweet chariot,
Coming for to carry me home.
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« Reply #24 on: February 14, 2012, 03:29:12 pm »
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Also notice that Tacitus differentiates between a) the publically known and accepted secular claims of Christianity, and b) the private supernatural claims of Christ’s resurrection, which Tacitus calls “a most mischievous superstition”:

(Roman historian Tacitus)...” a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace. (a)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, (a)and a most mischievous superstition, thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judæa, the first source of the evil, but even in Rome, where all things hideous and shameful from every part of the world find their centre and become popular. Accordingly, an arrest was first made of all who pleaded guilty; then, upon their information, an immense multitude was convicted, not so much of the crime of firing the city, as of hatred against mankind.”

If  Christianity’s secular claims of Pilate executing Christ were ever in doubt, then why would Tacitus call the claim of Christ’s resurrection “a most mischievous superstition”?!  The fact that Tacitus accepts the historicity of Jesus’ death at the hands of Pilate and yet calls the claims of his resurrection as “most mischievous” is proof that Rome accepted the historicity of Jesus’ death by order of Pilate.

Obviously, if the historicity of Jesus’ death was not accepted as common fact, then there would be no need to isolate the claims of Christ’s resurrection as “most mischievous superstition”.

Also, Tacitus’ statement that “an immense multitude [of Christians] was convicted [in Rome]”, is proof that the citizens of Rome also accepted the historicity of Jesus.  For, there is always a few kooks who can be fooled into buying into a story full of secular historical events contrary to common knowledge, but you’re not going to win over great multitudes with stories that contradict what is commonly known about the immediate past.



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Do not fight with one another over my banning.  I've enjoyed the time I have spent with all of you, but the time really has come for me to leave.  It is what I want.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z9Y_GLT4_9I

I looked over Jordan, and what did I see?
Coming for to carry me home,
A band of angels coming after me,
Coming for to carry me home.

Swing low, sweet chariot,
Coming for to carry me home.
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