Historical evidence about Jesus

Hi everyone!
Could you recommend the most informative books, videos. podcasts etc. that I could use to learn about non-Christian historical evidence about Jesus? I’ve read a little about the ancient writings of Josephus and Tacitus but I would like a few references that would give me a more complete collection of all the evidence. I already have the book The Case for Christ.

I want the evidence not only for my own learning but also to help strengthen my defense of the Christian faith when talking to non-believers.

Thank you!
Delia

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Hello @Deliamj

I would like to recommend you a same book by Lee Strobel entitled The Case for Christianity this book has a lot of evidences (historically, archeologically, etc.) for the Christian faith. Take this book as a “level up” version of The Case of Christ.

Just a snippets. Here its table of contents:
Part I - Seeking Spiritual Answers (doubts, questions, practical ideas, answers)
Part II - God (His existence, the Big Bang, Fine-tuning, DNA)
Part III - Bible (reliability, historical evidence, gospels, archeological evidence)
Part IV - Jesus (Son of Man, Son of God, Resurrection, Deity, His disciples)
Part V - Other challenges (religions’ claim, evil, morality, hell, trinity)
Part VI - Answers to Action (acceptance, faith, salvation, eternal life)

I hope you consider this!

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Hey @Deliamj! Looking into the life of Christ is truly amazing especially as we see history only proves His life to be more sure and His death even more certain!

Paula Fredriksen, in her Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews, speaks of “facts”.

We have facts. Facts about Jesus , and facts about the movement that formed after his crucifixion. Facts are always subject to interpretation — that’s part of the fun — but they also exist as fixed points in our investigation. . . .

So let’s put our facts up front in order to begin our search here. What do we know about Jesus of Nazareth, and how do these facts enable us to start out on the road to a solid and plausible historical portrait of him? The single most solid fact about Jesus’ life is his death : he was executed by the Roman prefect Pilate, on or around Passover, in the manner Rome reserved particularly for Roman insurrectionists, namely, crucifixion. (pp.7-8)

Two amazing historical records written about the life of Christ were by skeptics — later known as the apostle Paul and James who were both eye witnesses of Christ. We should remember that just because some historical proof might be a part of the Bible doesn’t negate the historical facts it holds.

If you haven’t already, I’d recommend you check out the book Investigating the Historical Jesus by Gary Habermas. I have not personally read it but from what I hear from those who have, it is really good and unveils Jesus from a historical viewpoint. In it I believe Gary lists all the extra biblical records of Jesus outside of the NT.

I hope this resource helps in your pursuit of searching out who Jesus was that you might be able to give a better answer, be it that you have the opportunity to share.

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Great point. We have multiple first- and second-hand testimonies about various aspects of Jesus’s life that non-Christians dismiss just because they are in the Bible. What makes non-Christian accounts more reliable? :wink:

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Hello @domingoosabel,
Thank you for your response. I actually have that book! The content is composed of questions and it is very good. There are some non-Biblical references but only a few.

Thank you again!

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Hi @CharityLinzey,
Thank you for your suggestion about the book from Gary Habermas. I have heard about it so I’ll check it out.

For a little more explanation, the people I’m talking to are members of my family who do not trust anything from the Bible so that’s why I need non-Biblical references, even though I understand Paul and James were skeptics.

Thank you!

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May the Lord give you wisdom in sharing Jesus with your family!!

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@Deliamj, following up to @CharityLinzey’s suggestion, Gary Habermas has his own website: https://www.garyhabermas.com, through which you may download an e-book version of Evidence for the Historical Jesus and a plethora of other materials for free. (I couldn’t find an Investigating the Historical Jesus.) I also recommend checking out “The Resurrection Argument That Changed a Generation of Scholars - Gary Habermas at UCSB”, which was published by The Veritas Forum on YouTube on November 8, 2012. This is a little dry, but he does a great job of showing why we have good reason to believe that we have reliably early testimony about Jesus’s resurrection without exaggerating evidence–what he calls the “Minimal Facts Method.” These do not directly address your question, but the evidence that Dr. Habermas provides shows that the New Testament writings themselves are reliable evidence for the historicity of Jesus and his resurrection.

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Thank you @blbossard, for the correction!
Yes, it’s Evidence for the Historical Jesus by Gary Habermas.

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Hi Delia,

This is a HUGE area of study, ranging from very skeptical views about the historical Jesus to very orthodox ones. My view is, if one is going to be a good apologist, to read a variety of both. That said, I always start with an orthodox or conservative viewpoint, and then move on to the more skeptical literature.

For a solid, scholarly work on the historical Jesus from a conservative, Evangelical scholar, I would suggest Craig Keener’s book, not because it precludes the use of the Gospels as evidence for the historical Jesus, but precisely because it does use them:

After working through Keener, another book worth examining would be Theissen and Merz’ book:

This latter book is certainly from a more liberal standpoint, but it is one of the best resources available, and is often quoted by other scholars.

Hope this helps.

Anthony

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Hi @blbossard,
Thank you for the references.
That’s great that the Historical Jesus book is free!

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Hi @anthony.costello,
Thank you for the guidance and references. I saw the Keener book on Amazon and wondered if it was a good resource. Now I have lots of wonderful reading to do and I’m looking forward to it!

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These are great resources but always remember that the truth of Scripture and Jesus to loved ones is the changed and ever changing life of yourself! As they see the face of Jesus in your face and the principles that HE taught in you, they may begin to ask about the reason for the Hope you have! Bless you as you share HIS love!!!

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Hello Deliamj,
Thank you for your question.
For me one of the most tangible and historical evidences of Christ’s first coming has to do with the
prophecy of His second coming and the ancient physical response this prophecy has invoked among the enemies of Him who would seek to thwart His coming again, but in doing so have actually help to fulfil the prophecy.
I am speaking of the Eastern Gate of Jerusalem and the historical significance of it in scripture and the
response it has caused among those would on the one hand claim to believe none of it, but on the other hand have been inspired to take great measures to prevent it .
I hope to one day go and look at this gate and see the great historical evidence of those who lived much closer to His first coming and as a result have taken great measures to prevent His second coming.
The old axiom of not listening to what people say, but look at what they have done is in full effect with
regard to the Eastern Gate .
.https://www.gotquestions.org/eastern-gate-Jerusalem.html
For me this is one of the greatest physical , historical , evidences, not only of Christ’s first visitation but of His future coming because it was created not by those who would claim belief, but those who would staunchly deny all of it .
God Bless+ Mike

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Hi @ConsecratedLife,
This is very interesting! Why are people who don’t believe in Christ trying so hard to stop his return? I will read more about the Eastern Gate as part of my research. Thank you!

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Hi @Deliamj. Wow! That’s great. I would like to recommend the book Evidence that demands a verdict by Josh Mcdowell, More than a Carpenter by Josh Mcdowell and the book we are currently discussing in Girltalk apologetics, Cold-case Christianity by J.Warner Wallace. Both authors were atheists turned Chrtistians like Lee Strobel. J. Warner Wallace grew up in an atheist family but came to know Christ because of the evidences he saw. He’s a well-know homicide detective. Hope this helps.:blush:

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Hi @Keithy,
I am very familiar with both Wallace and McDowell! I have Wallace’s book but not the ones from McDowell.
Thank you! :slightly_smiling_face:

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Check out “Can We Trust the Gospels?” By Peter J Williams

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I will @Sgpage - Thanks!

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