Ok those not interested can turn off now: Its going to be, for me, a long OP so snooze or read on
I was doing some re reading after a spirited discussion about Tacitus and Josephus and their supposed supporting entries of the Jesus Myth.I thought I would clarify a few things here.
Lets go with Tacitus first: When he mentioned "Chrestus" it was in the context of Tacitus reporting the beliefs of a small group of Jewish Christians at the time of the Great Fire of Rome in 60CE. Tacitus was writing some decades after the event. Tacitus did not endorse the belief, in any way, in fact he also reported that the general populace were disgusted by the reported religious practises of that group.
Josephus: Josephus was a garrulous old gossip. He wasn't active until the late 1st century and wrote about the Jews in the 80 to 89CE some 50 years after any events. Josephus's works are not entirely accurate and in fact originals do not survive, The earliest copy is from around 300CE. It has numerous inserts by later scribes. One of the most famous is in Book 18 where he supposedly mentions "A wise Man, Good Man, Jesus" and describes his trial and execution. It has been identified by nearly every sane scholar as a much later 4th Century insert. Similarly in Book 20 there is a mention of "James, brother of Jesus, the one called Christ", this has been mostly (not by Carrier) accepted as an original piece of Josephus. but and it is a big BUT, in context Josephus doing exactly the same as Tacitus, i.e reporting the beliefs of the Jews not endorsing them at all.
In addition, Josephus wrote the work "the Jewish Wars" some 20 years before and made no mention of Jesus or James at all adding fuel to the speculation that "The one called Christ" was a margin interpolation.
Note: Neither Josephus nor Tacitus entries are contemporary to this alleged Jesus, they were both writing decades after the supposed crucifixion and inconveniencing of Jesus for the Passover weekend.
Now here's the biggy and I must add kudos to posters on the http://www.atheistfoundation.org.au who have a much bigger list than I!
Here is a list of 1st Century writers we could reasonably expect to have mentioned Jesus and just didn't. They are all available in any good library or online.
Seneca The Younger (4 BCE - 65 CE)
Very prolific writer. So much so that later christians actually forged documents and letters from Seneca mentioning Christ, because, well, he just didn't. Not once. And he would have.
Philo (20 BCE - 50 CE)
He wrote books about Jewish religion and history, and would have mentioned Jesus Christ had he known of him.
Philo was a contemporary of Jesus and Paul,
he had family in Jerusalem,
he wrote a about the times and peoples in Jerusalem, Samaria and Judea as well other places,
he wrote a fairly critical commentary on Pilate
He developed the concept of "Logos" (an intermediary divine being, or demiurge. Philo followed the Platonic distinction between imperfect matter and perfect Form, and therefore intermediary beings were necessary to bridge the enormous gap between God and the material world.The Logos was the highest of these intermediary beings, and was called by Philo "the first-born of God" (Wikepedia)
Pliny The Elder (23 - 79 CE)
Another Roman writer, prolific and a tattle tale. Also an amateur astronomer who doesn't mention the Star of Bethlehem, the darkness at the Crucifixion or jesus at all. He does mention many other individuals including; writers,politicians, revolutionaries,poets and artists. He would have mentioned this "extraordinary "son of god" if he had heard of him.
Petronius (c. 27 - 66)
Was a professional taker of the piss. He was the Roman equivalent of SNL, the "Life of Brian " and "The Holy Grail" a la Monty Python. Nothing was sacred to him. He wrote the Satyricon covering just about every event and important person of the times including crucifixion (no jesus jokes) a Guarded tomb (no Jesus jokes or references) and another tomb scene where someone sees a person they mistake for a resurrection (no jesus jokes or references) All very strange considering he wrote about (and it is bloody funny) Sophocles, Cato, Pompeii, Hannibal and assorted Governors and politicians. Strange that he didn't mention the new christian cult of Jesus as both Peter and Paul were (according to the NT) in Rome preaching at the time, but he did mention bathtimes,dinner, wine, Arabs and Lawyers.
Lucan (39 - 65) ( Thanks to Kapyong http://www.atheistfoundation.org.au) I didn't know of this guy at all.
Marcus Annaeus Lucanus wrote the Pharsalia (Civil War) in Rome in mid 1st century. In this large poem he mentions some events from later times, and he covers many different issues and people in passing. He :
mentions an event from 56 CE,
refers to places as far afield as Sicily and Kent,
referred to Stoic religious beliefs about the end of the world, refers to many books and myths and persons and events not part of the main story.
Feel free to copy with or without acknowledgement for the education of those poor souls that insist there is indeed contemporary independent evidence of the Jewish Jesus character.
Oh and anyone who wants to really debate this subject I have a list of approx 100 or so writers up to the 2nd Century CE (including some christians) that could have mentioned those amazing happenings of approx 38 - 33 CE, but, unaccountably, did not.
(edited for spelling and international readers, last two paras added))
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