Who was Jesus Christ?

For almost twenty centuries the name of Jesus Christ has been in the minds of a countless number of people. Some of these have even been tortured or put to death, for their conviction and belief that Jesus Christ was a person of tremendous importance to them.

And while these people have been so confident in Jesus, there have been others who have denied that he ever existed, saying that he was merely a myth.

An historical look at the person of Jesus Christ.

Real Or Myth?

Christianity is based on a man called Jesus Christ.

For almost twenty centuries the name of Jesus Christ has been in the minds of a countless number of people. Some of these have even been tortured or put to death, for their conviction and belief that Jesus Christ was a person of tremendous importance to them.

And while these people have been so confident in Jesus, there have been others who have denied that he ever existed, saying that he was merely a myth.

Actually this latter aspect is not new, for back in the times of Jesus there were very many that did not want to acknowledge that he existed. He was a man who was either loved or hated
Away with this man… crucify him! Why, what evil has he done?” Luke 23:18,22

Two-thousand years later, the situation is found to be little different.

If Jesus was a real person, it is asked, then why was he not mentioned in contemporary literature? Why is it, if Jesus was a real person, that “there is no worthwhile contemporary evidence outside the New Testament of the Bible that Jesus ever existed?”

This question is one we’ve probably all come across, or questioned silently in our own minds. This question arises in some people’s minds because they are irked that such a person could have such a dramatic influence on so many people’s lives. Rather than find out why this person Jesus Christ has such influence, they choose to refute that he ever existed.

But why the unease? Why do they not refute the existence of a person such as Julius Caesar, or Tiberius Caesar, for whom history has just as brief testimony; and in fact considerably less testimony?

Historical Example.

The situation is not new. If we go back in history to the times of ancient Egyptian history, to the time of Thutmose III (1500-1450 BC approx) we encounter a powerful woman named Hatshepsut, half-sister and wife of Thutmose III. She took the position of Pharaoh on the death of Thutmose II, and reigned for some twenty-one years. When she died, Thutmose III, free at last to be the rightful Pharaoh, took a hammer and chisel and attempted to blot out all reference to this woman who had overshadowed him. Systematically he removed all indications of her name. But in time the masonry covering of her name on the Karnak obelisk fell away and revealed the royal name.

So it is with the name of Jesus Christ. Over the centuries people have tried to obliterate his name. But belief in his real existence has continued unabated. Today, even Christian clergy try to diminish Jesus.

Contemporary Literature.

Is it true that contemporary literature failed to mention Jesus Christ?

No, it is not. However, the amount of literature from that period surviving through to this day is extremely limited. A 300mm space between bookends would accommodate all that is available.

There are few writers of that period:

Velleius Paterculus — who left a badly written history of Rome, written about 30 AD.

Phaedrus — a Macedonian freedman who left some pleasant fables, approx 40 AD.

Seneca — a Spanish contributor, who wrote a series of philosophical treatises and letters around 63 and 64 AD.

Lucan – Seneca’s nephew, who wrote a poem about Julius Caesar.

Columella — a Spanish soldier who served in Syria during the years that saw Pilate’s recall from Judea, and wrote a book on agriculture in AD 60.

Gaius Petronius — who wrote the novel Satyricon , the only novel from that century that is known to us. [The novel Quo Vadis is based on this writer and his story.]

Persius – a few hundred lines of his verse is all that remains.

That is the complete listing of the literature contemporary with Jesus; and it is a compilation in which the mention of Jesus would not be expected.

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