Quantifying Historical Sources for Jesus.

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Note that the sources listed are not exhaustive. Listed sources are important for studying the historical Jesus & 1st century Christianity.

• Biographical Gospels.

-Mark (70 AD) Author: Unknown.
-Matthew (75-85 AD) Author: Unknown.
-Luke (75-85 AD) Author: Unknown, also authored book of Acts.
-John ( 90 AD) Author: Unknown

• Pre-Gospel Sources.

-Hypothetical Q (used by Luke & Matthew)
-L unique material (Luke’s content)
-M unique material (Matthew’s content)
-Pre-Markan Passion Narrative
-Pre-John Signs Source

• Pauline Epistles (undisputed).

-Romans (56-58 AD)
-1 Corinthians (55 AD) – 1 Corinthians 15 goes back to 3 AD.
-2 Corinthians (55-57 AD)
-Galatians (48-55 AD)
-Philippians (61 AD)
-1 Thessalonians (50 AD)
-Titus (66 AD)
-Philemon (60 AD)

• Non-Pauline Epistles (disputed).

-Colossians (58-62 AD) Author: Unknown.
-Ephesians (60-63) Author: Unknown.
-2 Thessalonians (51-52 AD) Author: Unknown.
-1 Timothy (62-66 AD) Author: Unknown.
-2 Timothy (67 AD) Author: Unknown.
-Hebrews (65 AD) -Author: unknown.

• Additional New Testament Literature.

-Acts (60 AD) – author: Luke.
-James (45 AD) -Author: Unknown.
-1 Peter (60-65 AD)
-2 Peter (65-68 AD)
-1 John (85-95 AD)
-2 John (85-95 AD)
-3 John (85-95 AD)
-Jude (60-80 AD)
-Revelation (90-95 AD)

• Extra-Biblical Sources.

-Antiquities of the Jews (93-94 AD) – Author: Flavius Josephus.
-Annals (116 AD) – Author: Cornelius Tacitus.
-Epistle (73-100 AD) – Author: Mara-Serapion.
-The Lives of the Twelve Caesars (121 AD) – Author: Suetonius .
-Epistulae X.96 (112 AD) – Author: Pliny the Younger

• Further Extra-Biblical References.

-Thallus on the eclipse at Jesus’ crucifixion (52 AD, referred to by Julius Africanus in 221 AD)
-Acts of Pilate (150 AD, referred to by Justin Martyr)
-Phlegon refers to Jesus prophecies (80 AD, referred to by Origen 185-254 AD)
-Celsus (177 AD, referred to by Origen in the 200’s AD) in ‘The True Word’.

• Early Church Fathers.

-Clement (95 AD) in a letter to Corinthian Church.
-Ignatius, bishop of Antioch, (110-115 AD) in letter to the Trallians.
-Ignatius, bishop of Antioch, (110-115 AD) in letter to the Smyrneans.
-Ignatius, bishop of Antioch, (110-115 AD) in letter to the Magnesians.

 

 

11 responses to “Quantifying Historical Sources for Jesus.

  1. Pingback: Who Will You Trust to Believe? | Views From The Narrow Road·

  2. Smile. You really are scraping the barrel with this list, aren’t you?
    For those who may not notice there is not a single contemporary account in the entire list. Not one.
    Not a sniff, not an allusion, not a scratching on a wall. Nothing.
    And we are talking about the supposed Creator of the universe, not some 1st century Judean schmuck, remember.
    Now, that should make you think.

  3. //For those who may not notice there is not a single contemporary account in the entire list. Not one.//

    -That isn’t an issue that cause historians to reject minimal facts on any ancient character. In fact, the closest accounts to Christ are very early – between 20 – 60 years after his death. A creed in 1 Corinthians 15 penned by Paul goes to within 18months – 3 years of the events of Christ’s death.
    You should also read up on Gary Habermas on his study of over 3400 articles that scholars have written on the historicity of Christ from 1975 till present day. He has concluded the minimal facts approach that all scholars agree upon (except for fact 3), such as these:

    Fact1- Jesus was crucified on a Roman cross.
    Fact2 – Jesus was buried in a tomb.
    Fact3 – Jesus was no longer in the tomb 3 days later. (accepted by 75% of scholars).
    Fact4 – The disciples, skeptics (Paul, James, and likely Thomas), as well as 500 others witnessed the risen Christ.

    //And we are talking about the supposed Creator of the universe, not some 1st century Judean schmuck, remember.
    Now, that should make you think.//

    -Why should that make me think when God has authored a library of 66 books, by over 40 authors, over 1500 years, in 3 languages and on 3 different continents?
    Why should I question God after He has given us 27 historical, most part accurate, New Testament books on Jesus Christ?

    The evidence is there.

  4. Where are your sources? I see no citations here.

    Your dating for all the Gospels is wrong. Virtually no scholars accept such early dates for any of the Gospels, Synoptic or otherwise (i.e., John). And, no, historians do not lend credence to accounts written between 30 and 60 years after Jesus’ death. Again, where do you get your information?

    While 1 Corinthians is an early epistle, dated to sometime around 53 to 57 CE, your assertions about chapter 15 are incorrect. In fact, multiple aspects of this epistle are highly contested. Again, where do you get this information?

    Likewise, again, your notions about how to conduct historical research are extremely lacking. I can think of no historian who would lend any significant credence to any text that was not contemporary with the events of Jesus’ life, ministry, and death. You disregard the Qur’an because of its late dating (and supposed correlation of Mary with the Trinity, which is entirely incorrect; have you ever even read the Qur’an?). However, you should be doing the same thing for all of your non-biblical sources. Any sources dated after the composition of the biblical accounts should raise considerable questions about what they truly add to your argument.

    You’re grasping at straws and doing what so many apologists have done before you: using historical names and dates to add a veneer of scholarship to your poorly crafted arguments. You have no irrefutable evidence for any of your assertions. Likewise, you have no evidence that “God authored a library of 66 books, by over 40 authors, over 1500 years.” In fact, the Bible speaks against itself in this regard.

    First, denominations that are far older than your clearly Protestant-derived variety include more than 66 books in the canon; second, the Bible is rife with inaccuracies, contradictions, prejudices, violence, redactions, revisions, and impossibilities. You’re telling me an omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent god wrote this? Then he’s a terrible writer and should consider having someone proofread his next set of divine instructions.

  5. That isn’t an issue that cause historians to reject minimal facts on any ancient character.

    Nonsense! There isn’t a modern secular historian that will give any credence to supernatural claims about any historical character, whether he be a Julius Caesar, Augustus or a character such as Jesus of Nazareth.

    Why should that make me think when God has authored a library of 66 books, by over 40 authors, over 1500 years, in 3 languages and on 3 different continents?
    Why should I question God after He has given us 27 historical, most part accurate, New Testament books on Jesus Christ?

    The evidence is there.

    There is no verifiable evidence and there are certainly no ”facts”, James. You are merely regurgitating apologetic nonsense that has not a shred of verifiable evidence to back it up. Not a shred.

    And this is why religion has held its minions in its thrall since time immemorial.
    You are a shining example of an indoctrinated slave who has lost the ability to exercise critical thought.

  6. //There isn’t a modern secular historian that will give any credence to supernatural claims about any historical character, whether he be a Julius Caesar, Augustus or a character such as Jesus of Nazareth. //

    -Your key word there is secular, no wonder they reject supernatural claims, otherwise they would all be Christians. However, the minimal facts approach makes for a compelling case that Jesus did rise from the dead, especially where naturalistic explanations fail 2 or more facts within this minimal facts approach.
    However, the actual bodily resurrection of Christ fits each of the 4 facts perfectly, and therefore is the best explanation.
    Regarding other historical characters and supernatural claims we would need to analyze them on a case by case basis, and let the facts talk for themselves, and try our best to “not” be like the folks on the Jesus Seminar with an anti-supernatural bias. Who knows, another character from history could just as easily bring naturalism to its knees like Christ has.
    Let the characters of history speak for themselves, and by that method Jesus trumps naturalistic explanations.

    //You are merely regurgitating apologetic nonsense that has not a shred of verifiable evidence to back it up. Not a shred.//

    -I am not really regurgitating anything to be honest, could I accuse you of regurgitating unscholarly polemic and research done by the Jesus Seminar? (I probably could…)
    Nevertheless, this all depends on what you mean by evidence. You are simply stating a subjective opinion without substantiation. I would counter and say that the many eye witness details within the New Testament, the accuracy of Luke in the book of Acts, the missionary of Paul, the deaths of the disciples (mentioned by Josephus Flavius as well as early Church Fathers), the corroboration of Christ in pagan, Jewish and hostile sources, and the testimony of the criterion of dissimilarity, embarrassment, and multiple attestation are all rather significant pieces of evidence concerning the authenticity of the NT.
    You need to do better than to simply assert things.

  7. //You are a shining example of an indoctrinated slave who has lost the ability to exercise critical thought.//

    What an intellectually powerful argument that is. Would like to send more ad-hominems my way?
    Feel free.

  8. Pingback: 36 Reasons Why Scholars Know Jesus really existed. | Life and a Christian.·

  9. Pingback: 11 silly things some atheists say. | Historical Jesus studies.·

  10. I like that you attempted to ascertain all writings pertaining to Yeshua within a reasonable period of time. What I do not like is that you were unable to list them all and you took scripture from modern day versions of bibles, the verbiage and meaning today, rather than what was actually written or occurred during this time.
    much of the word of Gid has been manipulated over time by humans, including the Jews. It is difficult to put the puzzle together without interjecting man’s views into it. People assume that all the writings and rewritings by man are correct. That is why we need the Holy Spirit. We have several means of gaming the truth about God and His word. His written word through some humans is part of the completeness of God.

    Nevertheless, I commend you for taking the time to start your quest.

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