Where else is Jesus mentioned outside the Bible? The Bible is the primary source for information about Jesus Christ, his life, teachings, and the significance of his death and resurrection. However, there are a few other ancient historical texts that mention Jesus or provide some insight into the world in which he lived.
Where else is Jesus mentioned outside the Bible
Listening to Way-FM, I briefly heard them share about Jesus outside of the Bible like historians of that time and their recordings.
It’s important to note that these mentions are not considered on par with the New Testament accounts, as they are not firsthand testimonies and often contain various inaccuracies or myths.
The Roman historian Tacitus, in his work Annals (written around 116 AD), briefly mentions Jesus and provides some historical context. He refers to Jesus as “Christus” and describes his execution during the reign of Emperor Tiberius under the procurator Pontius Pilate. While Tacitus’s mention doesn’t provide any new information about Jesus, it does confirm the historical existence of Jesus and the crucifixion.
Josephus, a Jewish historian who lived in the 1st century AD, includes references to Jesus in two of his works: Antiquities of the Jews (written around 93-94 AD) and The Jewish War. The passages in Antiquities are often subject to debate regarding possible Christian interpolations, but many scholars agree that Josephus did mention Jesus, though the wording may have been altered over time.
3. Pliny the Younger
In a letter to Emperor Trajan around 112 AD, Pliny the Younger, a Roman magistrate, mentions Christians and their worship of Jesus “as to a god.” Although he doesn’t provide much detail about Jesus himself, it indicates that Christianity was already spreading and gaining followers.
Suetonius, a Roman historian who lived in the 1st century AD, refers to Jesus in his work Lives of the Twelve Caesars (written around 121 AD). He briefly mentions a disturbance among the Jews instigated by “Chrestus” (believed to be a misspelling of Christ), which led to their expulsion from Rome during the reign of Emperor Claudius.
5. Islamic Traditions
Islamic traditions, as recorded in the Quran and Hadith (the sayings and actions of Prophet Muhammad), mention Jesus as an important prophet and messenger of God. While these sources differ from the biblical accounts in some ways, they provide an alternative perspective on his life and ministry.
Certainly! Here are a few more mentions of Jesus outside the Bible:
6. The Talmud
The Talmud, a collection of Jewish teachings and commentary, contains a few references to Jesus. These references are not complimentary and depict Jesus as a false prophet and sorcerer. It’s worth noting that these passages were written much later than the time of Jesus and reflect the perspective of the rabbis who compiled the Talmud.
7. Mara bar Serapion
Mara bar Serapion, a Stoic philosopher, mentions Jesus in a letter to his son. In this letter, written sometime between the 1st and 3rd centuries, Mara bar Serapion compares the untimely deaths of Socrates, Pythagoras, and Jesus, referring to Jesus as the “wise king of the Jews.”
8. Lucian of Samosata
Lucian of Samosata, a Greek satirist and rhetorician who lived in the 2nd century, mentions Jesus in his work “The Death of Peregrinus.” In this sarcastic work, Lucian mocks the early Christians and their devotion to Jesus.
9. Gospel of Thomas
The Gospel of Thomas, a non-canonical text discovered in the Nag Hammadi Library in Egypt, contains sayings attributed to Jesus. This text, believed to have been written in the 2nd century, provides insight into the diversity of early Christian beliefs and traditions.
10. Armenian Infancy Gospel
The Armenian Infancy Gospel, a text from the 6th century, presents various stories about the childhood of Jesus. Although not considered historically reliable, it offers alternative narratives about Jesus’ early life.
11. Acts of Pilate
The Acts of Pilate (or Gospel of Nicodemus), a non-canonical text from the 4th century, includes an account of Jesus’ trial and crucifixion from the perspective of Pontius Pilate.
It’s important to approach these external references with caution and acknowledge that the New Testament remains the primary source for understanding the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. Nevertheless, the mention of Jesus in these ancient texts contributes to the broader historical context of his existence and the impact he had on the world.
Are there any other ancient text that reference Jesus outside of the Bible? If so, feel free to share in the comments below.
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