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Historic Jesus

Aug 12, 1996 05:07 AM

Now I bring one more reference about Jesus lived under Pilate.

Enc. Britanica Vol22 page 337
[The mention of Jesus`execution in the Annals of the Roman historian Tacitus
(Annals XV,44) written about AD110 is worthy of note. In his account of the
persecution of christians under the emperor Nero which was occasioned by the
burning of Rome (AD 64), the Emperor in order to rid himself of suspicion,
blamed the fire on the so-called Christians, who were already hated among
the people. Tacitus writes in explanation: The name is derived from Christ,
whom the procurator Pontius Pilate had executed in the reign of Tiberius."
The "temporarily suppresscd pernicious superstition" to which Jesus had given
rise in Judaea soon afterward had spread as far as Rome. Tacitus does not
speak of Jesus but, rather, of Christ (originally the religious title
'-Messiah," but used very early among Christians outside Palestine as a
proper name for Jesus)]

Commenting this passage Gibbon I, XVI, 213 wrote:
[The most sceptical criticism is obligated to respect the truth of his
extraordinary fact, and the integrity of this celebrated passage of Tacitus.
The former [persecution of Nero against christians and jews in Rome] is
confirmed by the diligent and accurate Suetonius, who mention the punishment
which Nero inflicted on the christians, a sect of man who had embraced a new
and criminal superstition (Nero XVI). The latter [authenticity of Anals XV,44]
may be proved by the consent of the most ancient manuscripts, by the inimitable
character of the style of Tacitus,by his reputation, which guarded his text
from the interpolations of pious fraud, and by the purpot of his narration,
which accused the first christians of the most atrocious crimes without
insinuating that they possessed any miraculous or even magical powers above
the rest of mankind]

Here Gibbon refers to pious fraud made in Josephus text of Antiquities XX,200,
also cited by HPB. Suetonius also wrote after AD100, about christian in
Vita Claudii XXV,4 "He [Claudius] expelled the Jews, who had on the instigation
of Chrestus continually been causing disturbances, from Rome." This may refer
to turmoils occasioned among the Jews of Rome by the intrusion of Christianity
into their midst. But the information must have reached the author in a
completely garbled form or was understood by him quite wrongly to mean that
this "Chrestus" had at that time appeared in Rome as a Jewish agitator.
Claudius' edict of expulsion (AD 49) is also mentioned in Acts 18:2.
(Enc. Britanicca)


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