Where’s the Historical Evidence for Jesus?

This post by Dr. David E. Lee originally appeared at Real Truth About Religion.

(Credit: El Greco / Wikimedia Commons /Public Domain)

The Fact Is… there is no extra-biblical evidence that Jesus existed, not one iota of evidence anywhere at all. Although there were over 40 major contemporary historians that produced a voluminous amount of literature in one of the most well documented periods of history, as well as the Romans who recorded everything, there is no mention whatsoever of the New Testament Jesus other than the New Testament Bible.

The following verses from the New Testament were devised to deceive us into believing that Jesus was a very famous and important person of the time, as he surely would have been had he actually lived and the things attributed to him were true.

Matthew 4:24 News about him spread all over Syria, and people brought to him all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures, and the paralyzed; and he healed them.

Matthew 9:26 News of this spread through all that region

Matthew 14:1 At that time Herod the tetrarch heard the reports about Jesus.

Matthew 28:15 So the soldiers took the money and did as they were instructed. And this story has been widely circulated among the Jews to this very day.

Mark 1:28 News about him spread quickly over the whole region of Galilee.

Mark 1:45 Instead he went out and began to talk freely, spreading the news. As a result, Jesus could no longer enter a town openly but stayed outside in lonely places. Yet the people still came to him from everywhere.

Luke 4:14 Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread through the whole countryside.

Luke 4:37 And the news about him spread throughout the surrounding area.

Luke 5:15 Yet the news about him spread all the more, so that crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses.

Luke 7:17 This news about Jesus spread throughout Judea and the surrounding country.

Jerusalem was a major trade route at that time, so if what the bible says about Jesus was true, his miracles would have certainly come to the attention of foreign travelers and been recorded somewhere. It was also under Roman control and the Romans documented everything of even minute importance that took place within their empire. It was also under the scrutiny of the governor Herod, who was in charge of tax collection for Rome, of which one of the above text claims Herod had received reports about Jesus. Yet no one recorded a single word about him.

It is true that the Romans later suppressed and destroyed practically every religious and philosophical writing in existence that opposed their sanctioned christian doctrines, but they would have had no cause to suppress information about the Jesus figure. They were the ones who invented the “Jesus is God in the flesh” fraud in the first place. For info on this please refer to the video “Caesar’s Messiah” on my blog post Who Invented Christianity. Irregardless, they certainly chronicled other Jewish rabble rousers of the time.

Christian apologist can only point to these four sources in their desperate attempt to manufacture extra-biblical literary evidence for Jesus (and hope to retain a hint of credibility) and these writers were not even alive during his supposed lifetime. They are Josephus, Pliny, Tacitus and Suetonius. Yet, these sources are nothing more than pious fraud. They are either forgeries or are tortured to misrepresent the truth.

Why there are no records of Jesus Christ

It is not possible to find in any legitimate religious or historical writings compiled between the beginning of the first century and well into the fourth century any reference to Jesus Christ and the spectacular events that the Church says accompanied his life.

This confirmation comes from Frederic Farrar (1831-1903) of Trinity College, Cambridge:

“It is amazing that history has not embalmed for us even one certain or definite saying or circumstance in the life of the Saviour of mankind … there is no statement in all history that says anyone saw Jesus or talked with him. Nothing in history is more astonishing than the silence of contemporary writers about events relayed in the four Gospels.” (The Life of Christ, Frederic W. Farrar, Cassell, London, 1874)

This situation arises from a conflict between history and New Testament narratives.

Dr Tischendorf made this comment:

“We must frankly admit that we have no source of information with respect to the life of Jesus Christ other than ecclesiastic writings assembled during the fourth century.” (Codex Sinaiticus, Dr Constantin von Tischendorf, British Library, London)

There is an explanation for those hundreds of years of silence: the construct of Christianity did not begin until after the first quarter of the fourth century, and that is why Pope Leo X (d. 1521) called Christ a “fable” (Cardinal Bembo: His Letters…, op. cit.).

Reprinted with permission from the author.

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  1. in addition to the referenced already cited in other comments (IE Josephus and various Roman sources). The fact that there are references in Jewish Rabbinical writings in the centuries following. Certainly if there was evidence of his (IE "Jesus" ) the Rabbis would have left it for us, particularly the scholars based in various Talmudic Schools in Mesopotamia which were outside of the reach of Roman Authorities. It makes more sense to believe that the reactions of so many in the early centuries was based on some actual events rather than the idea that everything was made up by the Romans. Certainly much WAS made up by the Romans who were to add concepts and ideas to the story that even the original "gospel writers did not assert (for example-the "trinity"). But to assert without any evidence to the contrary, that when there was "smoke" without any fire behind it is assuming that we should believe the theory of the non-existence of Jesus "by faith" alone. If one were to seriously delve into legitimate "biblical" scholarship, see where translations of "New Testament" material had been mistakenly or deliberately altered, it would be clear that these texts stemmed from original documents written prior to official Roman control and re-direction of the material….Another thing that the author might explore would have been a thorough study of Torah (including Talmud) and Judaic "mystical" literature and philosophy and thence become aware that the (of "Jesus") teachings and likely sayings were much in keeping with a real Jewish Sage of the time. And historical references to the more Judaic "Church of Jerusalem" headed by "James the Just" and their "Ebionite" successors fits into the scenario of an actual personage.

  2. I don't know how someone can write an article like this without mentioning Paul, James, Peter, and John. These were all real people who lived prior to the destruction of the temple in 70 AD. Paul's writings also appeared before 70 AD. Anyway, Paul interacted with these Jerusalem-based religious leaders, and the main subject of controversy was a person named Jesus.

    So you've got about half of the story. Where's the other half?


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