ALTER2EGO -to- EVERYONE: A favorite argument by non-believers is that Jesus Christ's existence is confined to the pages of the Judeo-Christian Bible. When presented with documentary evidence of his historical existence, Bible critics then use another ploy: they attack the credibility of those who confirmed the existence of Jesus Christ and/or they attack the credibility of what was written about Jesus Christ. Below are three non-Christians from the 1st Century AD who mentioned Jesus Christ in their secular writings. The questions for debate are at the end of this post. PERSON #1: Name and Occupation: Cornelius Tacitus, Roman Historian DOB to Date of Death: A.D. 55 to A.D. 120 Attitude Towards Christianity: Hostile What He Said: He confirmed that CHRISTUS (a common misspelling of Christ at the time) was executed by Pilate. Highlights on Tacitus: A Roman historian who lived through the reign of over a half-dozen Roman emperors, Tacitus has been called "the greatest historian of ancient Rome." PERSON #2: Name and Occupation: Flavius Josephus, Jewish Historian DOB to Date of Death: 37 AD -- Died after 100 AD Attitude Towards Christianity: Apathetic (could care less about them) What He Said: He confirmed that Christ who performed miracles was executed by Pilate. Highlights on Josephus: A Jewish historian of priestly and royal ancestry who recorded Jewish history, with special emphasis on the 1st century AD (the century in which Jesus Christ lived and died). He has been credited by many as recording some of the earliest history of Jesus Christ outside of the gospels. Flavius Josephus belonged to the group of Jewish religious leaders--the Pharisees--responsible for Jesus' death. Flavius Josephus joined the zealots who rebelled against Roman rule between 66 and 74 AD, becoming a leader of their forces in Galilee, and living through the Roman destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70. He was captured by the Romans, and would have been executed, but he went over to their side and ended up becoming the Roman emperor's Adviser on Jewish Affairs. PERSON #3: Name and Occupation: Pliny The Younger (born Gaius Plinius Caecilius Secundus), Roman Governor DOB to Date of Death: 61 AD to 112 AD Attitude Towards Christianity: Hostile. He executed Christians What He Said: Referred to Christ as a "god of the Christians." Highlights on Pliny: Pliny condemned Men, Women, and children to death if they refused to curse Christ and if they refused to deny they were Christians. DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: 1. All three of the individuals described above were people in powerful positions who were anti-Christian and belonged to groups that actively killed Christians. All three individuals belonged to organizations that were responsible for Jesus' death. What did they have to gain from mentioning the existence of Jesus Christ in their writings--thereby confirming his earthly existence? 2. Flavius Josephus, a Jew, was born a mere four years after Jesus was executed. He became a Jewish Pharisee as an adult, in addition to becoming a respected historian and advisor to the Roman emperor. Do you see anything significant to his being a Pharisee, a historian, and Roman emperor advisor--and the fact that he mentioned Jesus Christ in his writings? 3. Cornelius Tactitus was known as the greatest historian of his time, during which he lived through the reign of over a half-dozen Roman emperors. Do you see anything significant to his resume and the fact that he mentioned Jesus Christ in his writings?