Why Are The Ancient Historians Silent About Jesus?

By Richard Smith

Consider the following list. These are the historians and writers who DID live within Christ's alleged lifetime or within a hundred years of it, after the time:

 Apollonius             Persius
 Appian                 Petronius
 Arrian                 Phaedrus
 Aulus Gellius          Philo-Judaeus
 Columella              Phlegon
 Damis                  Pliny the Elder
 Dio Chrysostom         Pliny the Younger
 Dion Pruseus           Plutarch
 Epictetus              Pompon Mela
 Favorinus              Ptolemy
 Florus Lucius          Quintilian
 Hermogones             Quintius Curtius
 Josephus               Seneca
 Justus of Tiberius     Silius Italicus
 Juvenal                Statius
 Lucanus                Suetonius
 Lucian                 Tacitus
 Lysias                 Theon of Smyran
 Martial                Valerius Flaccus
 Paterculus             Valerius Maximus
Yet, aside from two FORGED passages in the works of a Jewish writer mentioned above, and two disputed passages in the works of Roman writers, there isn't ANY mention of Jesus Christ. At all. Consider:
"Philo was born before the beginning of the Christian era, and lived until long after the reputed death of Christ. He wrote an account of the Jews covering the entire time that Christ is said to have existed on earth. He was living in or near Jerusalem when Christ's miraculous birth and the Herodian massacred occurred. He was there when Christ made his triumphal entry into Jerusalem. He was there when the crucifixion with its attendant earthquake, supernatural darkness, and resurrection of the dead took place -- when Christ himself rose from the dead, and in the rpesence of many witnesses ascended into heaven.

"These marvelous events which must have filled the world with amazement, had they really occurred, we unknown to him. It was Philo who developed the doctrine of the Logos, or Word, and although this Word incarnate dwelt in that very land and in the presence of multitudes revealed himself and demonstrated his divine powers, Philo saw it not.

"Justus of Tiberius was a native of Christ's own country, Galilee. He wrote a history covering this time of Christ's reputed existence. This work has perished, but Photius, a Christian scholar and critic of the ninth century, who was acquainted with it, says: 'He (Justus) makes not the least mention of the appearances of Christ, of what things happened to him, or of the wonderful works that he did' (Photius' Bibliotheca, code 33).

"Josephus: Late in the first century, Josephus wrote his celebrated work, _The_Antiquities_of_the_Jews_, giving a history of his race from the earliest ages down to his own time. Modern versions of this work contain the following passage:

"'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, at the suggestion of the principal men amongst us, had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him; for he appeared to them alive again the third day, as the divine prophets 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. (Book XVIII, Chapter iii, Section 3).'
"For nearly sixteen hundred years Christians have been citing this passage as a testimonial, not merely to the historical existence, but to the divine character of Jesus Christ. And yet a ranker forgery was never penned.

"Its language is Christian. Every line proclaims it the work of a Christian writer. 'If it be lawful to call him a man.' 'He was the Christ.' 'He appeared to them alive again the third day, as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him.'

"These are the words of a Christian, a believer in the divinity of Christ. Josephus was a Jew, a devout believer in the Jewish faith -- the last man in the world to acknowledge the divinity of Christ. The inconsistency of this evidence was early recognized, and Abrose, writing in the generation succeeding its first appearance (360 A.D.), offers the following explanation, which only a theologican could frame:

"'If the Jews do not believe us, let them, at least, believe their own writers. Josephus, whom they esteem a great man, hath said this, and yet hath he spoken truth after such a manner; and so far was his mind wandered from the right way, that even he was not a believer as to what he himself said; but thus he spake, in order to deliver historical truth, because he thought it not lawful for him to deceive, while yet he was no believer, because of the hardness of his heart, and his perfidious intentiion.'
"Its brevity disproves its authenticity. Josephus' work is voluminous and exhaustive. It comprises twenty books. Whole pages are devoted to petty robbers and obscure seditious leaders. Nearly fourty chapters are devoted to the life of a single king. Yet this remarkable being, the greatest product of his race, a being of whom the prophets foretold ten thousand wonderful things, a being greater than any earthly king, is dismissed with a dozen lines."

-- The Christ, by John E. Remsburg, reprinted by Prometheus Books, New York, 1994, pages 171-3.

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