Was there evidence outside the Bible of the life of Jesus?
“The main sources we have for knowing about Jesus come from the writings of Christians, and especially from the New Testament itself. But did any writers outside the church say anything at all about him?
Obviously the birth, life and death of the founder of what was then merely another Jewish sect did not greatly interest historians and writers in the Roman Empire. Yet several authors of the time refer to Jesus, and two of them, living within a century of Jesus’ birth, are of particular interest.”
“Josephus was a cynical Jewish historian who became a member of the Roman civil service. He was no friend of the growing Christian faith, rather the opposite. But in his work entitled “The Antiquities of the Jews”, he records the following information about Jesus:”
“At this time there was a wise man who was called Jesus. And his conduct was good and he was known to be virtuous. And many people from among the Jews and from the other nations became his disciples. Pilate condemned him to be crucified and to die. And those who became his disciples did not abandon his discipleship. They reported that he had appeared to them three days after his crucifixion and that he was alive.”
“So here we have a non-Christian writer telling us that Jesus lived, did good, had a following, suffered, died and was reported alive. Josephus had no Christian axe to grind, yet his record agrees substantially with the four gospels.”
“Tacitus was a Roman historian who married the daughter of the Governor of Britain. In one of his writings, he mentioned the execution of Jesus at the order of Pontius Pilate. In AD 115, he recorded the persecution of Christians in Rome by the Emperor Nero. This is his account:”
“Nero..punished with the utmost refinement of cruelty a class hated for their abominations, who are commonly called Christians. Christus, from whom their name is derived, was executed at the hands of the Procurator Pontius Pilate in the reign of Tiberius.”
“How we know about Jesus”
“So through the writings of the first Christians and at least two authors outside of the Christian faith, we are able to know about the life and words of Jesus Christ. Our knowledge of Jesus is far from being shaky or uncertain. Critical study of the gospels has shown that, even though we cannot prove beyond all doubt the truth of every single detail, they contain a reliable core of historical information about Jesus.”
Source: Original Pilgrim: https://www.youtube.com/user/originalpilgrim