Did Jesus Really Exist?

What evidence is there that Jesus really existed? Create a poster or documentary that discusses the evidence. You should look at the work of Cornelius Tacitus (55-117CE); Tranquillus Seutonius (69-140CE); Flavius Josephus (37-100CE) as well as any other evidence you can find. You should treat this like an historical enquiry. Look at the evidence, assess how convincing it is and come to a judgement.  **

Below are three pieces of evidence about Jesus existence:

Taclitus

Suetonius

Josephus

You should know how to evalaute sources from history:

History

What you now need to do it evaluate each of these sources. There is some extra information about each source below to help you with this:

Cornelius TacitusTaclitus2

Tacitus was a Roman Citizen, writing a history of the Roman Empire in the first century. As a Roman he was keen to paint the empire in a good light, but as an historian he was obviously keen to be accurate about what had happened. He had never met Jesus and may never have been to Palestine. Neither had his readers; who just wanted to know how good Rome was. Notice how this says much the same thing as Seutonius’ source.

SeutoniusTranquillus Seutonius

Seutonius was also a Roman Citizen, witing a little later than Tacitus. Again, his audience were educated Romans who cared little for the troubles of the Jews, much less poor carpenters from Nazareth. It must be remembered that Palestine was a tiny part of the Roman Empire, right on it’s Eastern edge. The fact this made the news at all is interesting!

Flavius Josephusflavius-josephus

Josephus was a Jewish historian and we know that the Jews and the Christians were enemies in the first century. You would expect Josephus to say nasty things about Jesus, but in this source he doesn’t. However, this source has been preserved by Christians to be given to others to prove how great Jesus was. It is possible they might have tampered with it? Does it really tie up with everythign else we know about Jesus? What about the other sources? How likely is it that a jewish historian would say these things? Where is his evidence?

See a Sample Project.

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