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'Jesus' Categories

Hostile Testimony

Some people claim that Jesus never existed. No historian would ever make that claim, for even secular historians acknowledge the fact of his life, including hostile historians.  The first century Roman historian Tacitus would fall in the hostile category. Here is what Tacitus wrote about Jesus (in a passage explaining what Emperor Nero did when he was blamed for burning Rome): 

"To dispel the rumor, Nero substituted his culprits, and treated with the most extreme punishments some people, popularly known as Christians, whose disgraceful activities were notorious. The originator of that name, Christus, had been executed when Tiberius was emperor by order of the procurator Pontius Pilatus. But the deadly cult, though checked for a time, was now breaking out again not only in Judea, the birthplace of this evil, but even throughout Rome, where all the nasty and disgusting ideas from all over the world pour in and find a ready following."  In this one passage, this hostile historian (whom the Encyclopedia Britannica calls "probably the greatest historian…in the Latin language") confirms the existence of "Christus," his location in "Judea," his time period (the reign of "Tiberius"), and his executioner, "Pilate." Just as the Bible says.  

Reference: Robert T. Boyd, Boyd’s Handbook of Practical. Apologetics (Kregel, 1997), p 195