A reader has a question…

A reader has a question… January 13, 2012

…about extrabiblical references to Christ.

Somebody needs to tell the “Jesus was not born in 1 AD but in 5 BC” folks that they need to straighten out the “And besides he was never born at all” people. Then they need to look at the latest research, which is inching the birth of Christ back toward 3 or 2 BC–and squaring it up rather well with St. Luke, who is actually a rather careful historian (according to ancient, not modern, notions of what a historian should do, of course).

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  • John Simmins

    If you Google “star of Bethlehem”, the first entry is a very interesting calculation on the dates in Christ’s life. The same author had a special on EWTN on the topic during Christmas.

    • Confederate Papist

      Ah…you beat me to it John! It’s a good site but you really have to work on getting through all the scientific jargon…but that’s what I love about it. Science proving Christ…you have to know that ticks the New Athiests off!

      Mark – this is an *excellent* piece. Well done!

  • math_geek

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Josephus_on_Jesus
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tacitus_on_Jesus

    Some help for people trying to actually learn about the non-Christian accounts of the historicity of Jesus.

  • Justin B.

    Marc,

    Can you provide some links about the latest research you’re talking about? I’d like to check this out!

  • Cinlef

    Since the people who tend to be sympathetic to the whole “There was no historical Jesus” argument have in my experience been people whose focus was on hard science, and are unaware that history due to the nature of its subject matter has different evidential standards the tactic I’ve had the most success with is to try and get them to name any other roughly contemporaneous figure from the Ancient World and then point out that by the standards they are applying to Jesus there is little to no evidence that Socrates/Plato/Aristotle/Julius Caesar etc existed

  • Lawrence K

    The census did not require Joseph to go to Bethlehem to be counted. He could have stayed in Nazareth and been enrolled there. There weren’t any birth certificates or drivers’ licenses in those days! The reason he travelled to Bethlehem was because that was his city, the City of David, and as a son of David who was proud (in a good way) of his heritage, he chose (or perhaps even felt obligated?) to be officially counted as a citizen of Bethlehem, not of Nazareth.

    The story is often misread to mean that the Romans forced everyone to travel a great distance to the city where his or her ancestors lived. Not only is that absurd, it’s also not what the Gospels say.

  • Lawrence K

    Another point, regarding the comparison to Mormonism: Nobody but Joseph Smith claimed to have seen the angel Moroni, nor to have seen Heavenly Father and his son Jesus Christ (both of whom had physical bodies, and apparently looked quite caucasian). But there were a total of eleven people besides Smith who claimed to have seen the Golden Plates in 1830: a first group of three, and a second group of eight. Over the next decade, at least one of them recanted (by some accounts, more recanted), and all three men in the first group and one in the second group ended up denouncing Joseph Smith — some of them forming splinter groups of their own.