More secular proofs of Christ:
Plinius Secundus, Pliny The Younger - Governor of Bithynia in Asia Minor (A.D. 112), Pliny was writing the emperor Trajan seeking counsel as to how to treat the Christians. He explained that he had been killing both men and women, boys and girls. There were so many being put to death that he wondered if he should continue killing anyone who was discovered to be a Christian, or if he should kill only certain ones. He explained that he had made the Christians bow down to the statues of Trajan. He goes on to say that he also "made them curse Christ, which a genuine Christian cannot be induced to do." In the same letter he says of the people who were being tried:
"They affirmed, however, that the whole of their guilt, or their error, was that they were in the habit of meeting on a certain fixed day before it was light, when they sang in alternate verse a hymn to Christ as to a God, and bound themselves to a solemn oath, not to do any wicked deeds, but never to commit any fraud, theft, adultery, never to falsify their word, not to deny a trust when they should be called upon to deliver it up (Epistles, X. 96).
Suetonius (A.D. 120) - A Roman historian, a court official under Hadrian, annalist of the Imperial House, Suetonius says: "As the Jews were making constant disturbances at the instigation of Chrestus [another spelling of Christus], he expelled them from Rome" (Life of Claudius, 25. 4). He also writes: "Punishment by Nero was inflicted on the Christians, a class of men given to a new and mischievous superstition" (Lives of the Caesars, 26. 2)
Tertullian (Regarding Pilate and Tiberius) - Jurist-theologian of Carthage, in a defense of Christianity (A.D. 197) before the Roman authorities in Africa, mentions the exchange between Tiberius and Pontius Pilate: "Tiberius accordingly, in whose days the Christian name made its entry into the world, having himself received intelligence from the truth of Christ's divinity, brought the matter before the senate, with his own decision in favor of Christ. The senate, because it had not given the approval itself, rejected his proposal. Caesar held to his opinion, threatening wrath against all the accusers of the Christians (Apology, V.2).
Thallus, the Samaritan-born historian - One of the first Gentile writers who mentions Christ is Thallus, who wrote in A.D. 52. However, his writings have disappeared and we only know of them from fragments cited by other writers. One such writer is Julius Africanus, a Christian writer about A.D. 221. One very interesting passage relates to a comment from Thallus. Julius Africanus writes: "Thallus in the third book of his histories, explains away this darkness as an eclipse of the sun- unreasonably, as it seems to me" (unreasonably, of course, because a solar eclipse could not take place at the time of the full moon, and it was the season of the Paschal full moon that Christ died). Thus from this reference we see that the Gospel account of the darkness that fell upon the land during Christ's crucifixion was well-known and required a naturalistic explanation from those non-believers who witnessed it. 10/113
Phlegon, a first century historian - He is also mentioned by Julius Africanus, and quotes Phlegon that "during the time of Tiberius Caesar an eclipse of the sun occurred during the full moon". 60/n.p. Phlegon is also mentioned by Origen in Contra Celsum, Book 2, sections 14, 33, 59. "And about this darkness..." He says that "Phlegon mentioned the eclipse which took place during the crucifixion of the Lord Jesus Christ, and no other [eclipse], it is clear he did not know from his sources about any [similar] eclipse in previous times... and this is shown by the historical account itself of Tiberius Caesar."
And then there is the Letter of Mara Bar-Serapion - It is in the British Museum. A manuscript preserving the text of a letter written around A.D.73. This letter was sent by a Syrian named Mara Bar-Serapion to his son Serapion. He instances the deaths of Socrates, Pythagoras and Christ. "What advantage did the Athenians gain from putting Socrates to death? Famine and plague came upon them as a judgment for their crime. What advantage did the men of Samos gain from burning Pythagoras? In a moment their land was covered with sand. What advantage did the Jews gain from executing their wise King? It was just after that their kingdom was abolished. God avenged these three wise men: the Athenians died of hunger; the Samians were overwhelmed by the sea; the Jews, ruined and driven from their land, live in complete dispersion. But Socrates did not die for good; he lived on in the teaching of Plato. Pythagoras did not die for good; he lived on in the statue of Hera. Nor did the wise king die for good; He lived on in the teaching which He had given. 10/114
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