Tuesday, May 20, 2008


In his seminal work on Christology, Jesus - God and Man, Wolfhart Pannenberg emphasizes that the resurrection is the crucial event by which Jesus the man is attested to be also divine. Like Jurgen Moltmann (The Crucified God) Pannenberg sees the resurrection as absolutely vital to Christian faith - and this means the resurrection as, in some sense, a real historical event, and not simply a subjective vision or existential experience among the disciples, as 'demythologizers' would lead us to believe.

And here's another - Bishop N T Wright's - take on it -

Thursday, May 15, 2008


First, from the negative side:

It is easy to trawl atheist websites and come up with a conclusion like this, which I read somewhere on a Usenet newsgroup:

'More evidence that supports the fact that Jesus the Christ is pure myth and fable. For being considered the most influential person in all of history, it is strange that of the 29 first century historians who existed at the time of Jesus, none of them mention Jesus at all...

A learned friend responds:

1. Philo Judaeus

A philosopher, not a historian.

2. Apollonius of Tyana

Virtually no writings survive

3. Valerius Maximus

Not a historian - wrote a manual on "historical tales for rhetoricians" based largely on Roman history

4. Marcus Manilius

Not a historian - a poet and astrologer

5. Velleius Paterculus

A historian, but dead before the crucifixion (19 BC - 31 AD)

6. Quintus Curtius Rufus

Only surviving work is an autobiography of Alexander the Great. Oddly, Jesus doesn't appear.

7. Pomponius Mela

Not a historian - a geographer

8. Lucius Annaeus Seneca

Not a historian - a very bright man, but not a historian

9. Petronius Arbiter

Not a historian - a satirist

10. C. Musonius Rufus

Not a historian -- a philosopher, none of whose works now exist.

11. Aulus Persius Flaccus

Not a historian - a poet and satirist

12. Marcus Annaeus Lucanus

Only surviving historical work concerns the Roman Civil War. Oddly, does not mention Jesus

13. Hero(n) of Alexandria

Not a historian - a mathematician and engineer

14. Geminus

Not a historian - a mathematician and astronomer

15. Lucius Junius Moderatus Columella

Not a historian -- a writer on agriculture.

16. Cleomedes

Not a historian - an astronomer

17. Phaedrus

Not a historian - a writer of fables in imitation of Aesop

18. Dioscorides

Not a historian - a physician and pharmacologist

19. Plutarch of Chaeronea

A historian whose only extant works in this field focus on Alexander, Pliny and Herodotus. Oddly, does not mention Jesus

20.Justus of Tiberias

A historian whose work is lost and is anyway described by Photius as very brief and largely fictitious.

21. Pliny the Elder (Gaius Plinius Secundus)

His history is lost; the surviving work is a National History, discussing drugs etc.

22. Dio Chrysostom (Cocceianus Dio)

Regarded as a historian by his contemporaries but no historical works survive

23. Marcus Fabius Quintilianus

Only extant work is a textbook on rhetoric

24. Publius Papinius

Publius Papinius **Statius**, you mean? A poet, not a historian.

25. Dio of Prusa

Same person as Dio Chrysostom!!!

26. Silius Italicus

Not a historian - a poet. Only surviving work an epic based on the Punic wars

27. Sextus Julius Frontinus

Not a historian - a soldier and administrator

28. Marcus Valerius Martialus

Not a historian - read his "Epigrams".

29. Hierocles of Alexandria

Writing in the 5th Century AD by which time Christianity was the official religion of the Empire!!!

Watch for more...