6a00d8341c630a53ef010535eb7801Did Jesus really exist?

The majority of information we have about Jesus' life, death and resurrection are found in the Bible accounts, but can we find any evidence for the existence of Jesus outside the Bible?
   
Stephen Gaukroger, in his book, It Makes Sense, writes, 'even if we dismiss the Bible's evidence for the existence of Jesus, we can still discover his presence in other early writings. In about AD 52, a man called Thalles wrote an account of the history of the mediterranean world. In it he mentioned Jesus being crucified, and tried to provide an explanation for the darkness which occurred at the same time (see Luke 23:44-45). Pliny, a governor in a Roman province, wrote to the emperor about AD112 and mentioned Jesus and his followers - he wanted advice about how to cope with them. Tacitus, a Roman historian writing in AD 115, wrote of 'those who are commonly called Christians', and said that 'Christus, from whom their name is derived, was executed at the hands of the procurator Pontius Pilate in the reign of Tiberius'. (Tacitus, Annals, XV. 44.2-8.)'
   
Perhaps the most compelling report outside the biblical accounts is found in the writings of Josephus, a first century Jewish historian. He writes, 'Now, there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man, for he was a doer of wonderful works, a teacher of such men as received the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many of the Jews and many of the Gentiles. He was the Christ. And when Pilate had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him; for he appeared to them alive again at the third day; as the divine prophet had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him. And the tribe of Christians, so named from him, are not extinct at this day.' (Antiquities of the Jews, XVIII, 33.)
   
It is worth pointing out that none of the witnesses above had any Christian sympathies. But what are we to do with this and the other archaeological evidence pointing to Jesus? None of it really explains who Jesus was, rather it simply reinforces the claim that a man matching Jesus' description actually existed. The question is, if we are able to accept that a man called Jesus existed, is it worth examining what Jesus taught, how he lived, and ultimately who he claimed to be? To find out more about the life and teaching of Jesus, click here.