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Historicity Of Jesus Christ Doubted Only By Anti-Religionists

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By DAVID NABHAN

(Editor’s Note: This article first appeared in NEWSMAX December 5 and is reprinted here with the author’s permission. David Nabhan wrote Earthquake Prediction: Dawn of the New Seismology, published in 2017 by Skyhorse Publishing, New York.)

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The media focuses regularly on curmudgeons whose claim to fame is sneering at the flag on Independence Day, pooh-poohing any reason for feast or celebration on Thanksgiving, and during Christmas season trotting out their yearly insult to 2.2 billion people worldwide. That there is a purely political impetus for these bizarre assaults on the foundational events of our culture seems clearly obvious.
The thinly veiled questioning of the very historical existence of Jesus of Nazareth by elitist poseurs, however, is a heightened insult, for the slanders are presented under the pretense of supposed scholarly investigation. The inquiry masquerades as simply an unbiased exercise in historiography, which nonetheless comes to their conclusion that almost a third of the entire planet’s population have based their religious lives upon the shoulders of someone who never even walked the Earth.
If one is looking for fair-minded scholarship in any of this however, there’s certainly enough of it. Five of the most iconic Roman historians circa 1st century AD — Tacitus, Josephus, Dio Cassius, Suetonius, Pliny the Younger — not only mention Jesus Christ, quite plainly, in their annals but make reference to Him in just that way that speaks the surest about the validity of the passages.
Tacitus, for example — a straight-shooting, honorable Roman patrician, the son-in-law of Agricola, governor of Britannia — gives Jesus exactly the kind of dismissive footnote a noble Roman would employ. The events themselves and an honest dedication to his art seem to have demanded of Tacitus a place in his chronicle for the individual Jesus; it’s visibly apparent the historian would rather be writing about someone else. “Christus suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilate,” Tacitus writes.
He’s hardly one of Jesus’ admirers, going on to explain that the “mischievous superstition” wrought by Christus’ followers had broken out in Judea and “the evil” had found its way to Rome, “where all things hideous and shameful become popular.”
This text, it should be noted, is a good example of the earmarks by which historians judge documents and passages as accurate and the exact opposite of what makes them wary. Obvious fakeries, such as the Donation of Constantine, abound in splashy headlines, feature powerful forces benefiting from them, and are replete with numerous linguistic anachronisms.
For Jesus not to exist the anti-religious crowd must unfortunately work some miracles of their own, making quite a few other very important people disappear from history along with Jesus Christ. Caiaphas, the High Priest of the Sanhedrin, who arrested Jesus, was real. So was King Herod Agrippa, who refused to hear the case since it was political dynamite. He kicked it over to someone else who also lived, one Pontius Pilate, Roman governor of Judea. The only person imaginary in all of this, we’re asked to accept, is the defendant.
Calvary, Golgotha, Gethsemane — these places too exist. This imaginary Jesus nonetheless also had a dozen quite real disciples who spread out across the Roman Empire. One of them, Peter, met his death in the same horrific manner as Jesus, but went so far as to request upside-down crucifixion because he didn’t deem himself worthy of the same execution as his supposedly made-up mentor. Nero must be fantastical too then, since he would be the mythical Roman emperor who executed the lead apostle of this Jesus — who didn’t exist.
This pseudo-topic belongs in the same ashcan as faked moon landings and the Mossad being responsible for 9/11. At least the dilettantes who have discovered and exposed the great Christian façade have no problem with every other historic figure who created every of the world’s great religions. The ancient figures of Buddha (Prince Siddhartha), Muhammad, Zarathustra, Confucius, and Lao Tsu are never questioned as to having lived.
Not only is Jesus the only such figure anyone dares to lampoon, He’s also the only one that people pretend to go so far as to declare never even existed. Moreover, even quasi-mythical personages — Heracles, Homer, Arthur, Achilles — with far less historical credence in their corner, have free-thinking, far left-leaning scholars only too eager to posit that there must be some kernel of truth for their existence.
No such even-handed courtesy, however, is granted to the central icon of the greatest religion in the history of the planet. Instead, Jesus is simply a target of the same avant-garde nihilists to vent their utter dismissal and antipathy for anything Western — including its religion.
History is forensic science to some extent, speaking for important events that can no longer articulate directly. It tells us that there is good reason for Christmas to have been observed for two millennia, and for it to be celebrated for the next two thousand years as well.

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