I am doing some reading of M. M. Mangasarian – The Truth About Jesus. He makes the point that the Hebrew historians of the time make no mention of even the existence of Jesus. Since the Romans were excellent historians themselves, I am trying to research if they recorded anything of the events of the trial of Jesus in the affairs of Pilate. Any help appreciated.
Nothing I have ever run across. I have never even read of a reference. The only one I know of is the later reference of Josephus that is probably a forgery.
Mangasarian’s great, ain’t he? I discovered him in one of Russ Kick’s books. I think anyone would have to agree that he builds a brilliant argument.
A couple of points that I don’t recall him covering… the NT tells us that Herod ordered mass infanticide to kill off the Messiah before he could become a threat. This is not recorded anywhere. (Though it did basically become the plot of the Terminator movies.)
Also, the NT says that the Earth went dark for 3 hours when Jesus died. Again, not recorded anywhere. You’d think this would’ve caught the notice of an astronomer or two.
The NT, in other words, is bullshit… but there could’ve been a historical Jesus, as Mangasarian concedes. But there is no evidence for it. As we discussed in the “was there a Jesus” forum, even the Apologetics admit that the Josephus reference was at least partially forged… and he was writing decades after the “fact”. There is no eyewitness confirmation of a historical Jesus.
Here is the link to the Mangasarian piece: http://www.infidels.org/library/historical/m_m_mangasarian/truth_about_jesus.html
He is great indeed. I was also wondering if there are any Roman chronicles of the times and events of Pilate in which Jesus should be mentioned, but is conspiciously missing. Any info?
As far as I know, there are no Roman records of Jesus… somebody, I think GVI, mentioned that Pilate didn’t really take names. So it’s possible that Jesus was just one more for the grinder… but no evidence for it. (And it seems to me that Sam’s Hitchens quote applies here—that which can be asserted w/o evidence can be dismissed w/o evidence.)
However, even Sam himself told me that he thinks there “probably” was a Jesus… but he never did tell me what his basis for that was.
As far as I know, there is no direct evidence for Jesus’s historical existence. However, somewhat more can be gleaned from the nature of the Gospels, I think, than most skeptics generally assume.
The Classical world did not have much realistic prose fiction. Stories about the mythic figures to whom Jesus is often compared, such as Bacchus and Osiris and Mithras, all happened “once upon a time,” outside of secular history. The closest approach to an ancient historical novel, the Aeneid, is a poem about a royal exile who lived in the misty past. The Gospels, on the other hand, are rather flat prose accounts about the life of a carpenter who was born in the reign of Augustus Caesar and executed about 30 years later by a Roman official named Pontius Pilate. When people in the Classical world wrote fiction (that is, simply made stuff up from nothing), they did not make up stuff quite this boring.
Had Jesus been a wholly fictional figure, we’d expect to see tales in the Gospels concerning his battles against great monsters in the distant past, his epic journeys to fictional lands beyond the map, and so on.
The prosaic nature of Gospel prose writing argues for at least some sliver of historicity concerning Jesus, or a figure very much like him. As I noted in another post on the Did Jesus Exist thread, there were many other “kings” of the Jews executed around this time; it seems to have been a fairly common phenomena, a Jewish nationalistic response to Roman occupation. While there may not have been an individual named Yeshua (Jesus), the Gospel stories are almost certainly rooted in these historical phenomena and individuals. They aren’t only just-so stories; rather, they are just-so stories constructed around real political events.
However, one shouldn’t read too much into this speculation. It is merely deduction.
Hmmm, maybe, but I dunno… these guys were trying to sell their character under the Jewish banner after all. And a pacifistic version at that. So having Jesus slay cyclopses (cyclopli?) would rather defeat the purpose. And, as Sam points out, weren’t fantastical god-myths pretty much on their way out by the time Jesus allegedly came along?
Also, as I argued earlier—that the story is set amidst ‘real’ goings-on isn’t very impressive… Spider-Man is ‘closer’ to reality than Superman, since he lives in NYC and not the fictional Metropolis, but this is not an argument for Spidey’s historicity.
Oops, forgot to log in…!
I have been told or I’ve read somewhere that it would not be likely to find records of individual executions by Pontius Pilate.
This is because he was known as such a brutal, sadistic ruler that even Rome was embarrassed by the sheer number of executions.
However, I can’t remember where the source was for that statement so I can’t be sure of its accuracy.
You would think that if Rome was embarrassed by the number of executions by Pilate, that this implies some sort of record keeping. Perhaps not by name but maybe a score sheet? If Pilate wanted to wash his hand of this matter you would think he would have written a CYA.