Proof of Jesus: Do these ancient documents really prove Christ once lived here?

  • There are several historical texts which showcase that Jesus Christ lived on earth

  • Experts claim Tacitus and Flavius Josephus' writings and Dead Sea Scrolls will prove the reality of Jesus

As per most theological historians, Christian and non-Christians alike, believe that Jesus Christ was a real figure. Apart from the holy book of Christianity, the Bible, there are a few textual evidences which provide proof of Christ's existence and also about his crucifixion.

One of the best historians of the Roman era, Tacitus also mentioned in his writing, The Annals of Imperial Rome, that a man called Christus was put to the cross by Pontius Pilate.

Textual evidence by Tacitus

In the text, Tacitus mentioned about the Great Fire of Rome in 64 AD, which was blamed on a group known as Christians by the Roman emperor Nero. He wrote that Nero put the blame for the fire outbreak on those "commonly called Christians, who were hated for their enormities." The Roman historian also said that Nero wrongly accused the Christians in order to rid the Roman empire of the new religion. The text added that:

"Therefore, to scotch the rumour, Nero substituted as culprits and punished with the utmost refinements of cruelty, a class of men, loathed for their vices, whom the crowd styled Christians.

"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 Judea, 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."

Jesus Christ Pixabay

The accuracy of the claims

It should be noted that as per an associate professor of library science at Purdue University, Lawrence Mykytiuk, there is no reason to doubt what Tacitus had written the book. He said that when the Roman historian mentioned all these incidents, if he considered the information not entirely reliable, he normally wrote some indication of that for his readers but there is no such indication of possible error in the passage which mentioned Christians.

In the War of the Jews' by Flavius Josephus, who was a first-century Romano-Jewish scholar and historian, the writer mentioned Jesus specifically on several occasions. One of his texts reads, "At this time there was a wise man named Jesus."

The historian also wrote that "Many people from among the Jews and the other nations became his disciples. Pilate condemned him to be crucified and to die. But those who became his disciples did not abandon his discipleship."

Jesus Christ
Jesus Christ Pixabay

Other accounts on Jesus' existence

In a documentary, "The Nails of the Cross," which was aired in the History Channel, filmmaker Simcha Jacobovici mentioned the story of two nails, which was allegedly found in a 2,000-year-old tomb in Jerusalem. The tomb is believed by some to be that of the Jewish high priest Caiaphas, who moderated the trial of Jesus in the New Testament.

The Shroud of Turin, perhaps the most famous religious relic in the world, is believed by many to be the burial cloth of Jesus. Over the years 14-by-4-foot linen blanket, which showcases the ghostly image of a man's body, has been worshipped by millions of pilgrims in a cathedral in Turin, Italy. But scientists claimed that this Shroud of Turin was a fake, as the radiocarbon dating revealed that it does not date to the time of Christ but as recent as the 14th century.

The Dead Sea Scrolls, a papyrus document was found in a cave in Israel in the 1940s, probably written sometime between 150 BC and AD 70. After the discovery of the scroll, it was noticed that the text referred to a "teacher of righteousness." Some experts claimed that the teacher was Jesus, while others argue that it could be anyone.

Related topics : Archaeology