1] FLAVIUS JOSEPHUS (37 - 100 A.D.)  [A Jewish Pharisee a non-believer - Betrayer in Rome]

  •  Mentions Christ by Name 

2] CORNELIUS TACITUS (55 - 120 A.D. Roman Secular

  • Christ by Name 

3] GAIUS SUETONIUS TRANQUILLUS (69 - 130 A.D.) Roman Secular

  • Christ by Name  

4] MARCROBIUS 

  • Caesar & Herod the Great - Slaughter of babies

5] THALLUS (~ 52 A.D.)  [Egyptian] 

  • The Crucifixion 

[6] Julius Africanus [Egyptian] 

  • The Crucifixion 

7] PHLEGON 

  • The Crucifixion

8] PLINY THE YOUNGER (63 - 113 A.D) Pliny the Younger

  • Christian Persecution [Roman]

9] THE BABYLONIAN TALMUD  

  • Jesus by Name [Babylonian]

10] MARA BAR-SERAPION (Post 70 A.D) 

  • Reference - [Syrian]

11] LUCIAN OF SAMOSATA (120 - ~180 A.D.)

  • Jesus scorned  [A Greek]

12] CELSUS (~ 178 A.D.)

  • Jesus Scorned

13] CLEMENT OF ROME, Martyr (20 - 98 A.D.) Roman - 


14] IGNATIUS OF ANTIOCH, Martyr (25 - ~100 A.D) [Turkey]

  • Jesus by Name 

15] ARISTIDES THE ATHENIAN (126 A.D.), [A Greek]

  • Jesus and Followers

16] JUSTIN MARTYR, Martyr  (~100 - 165 A.D.) Roman 

  •  Trypho, 77 97, 107-8

17] HEGESIPPUS (110 A.D. - 180 A.D.) [A Jew]

  • Testifies to Christ

18] * PHILO of Alexandria  (30 BC-50 A.D.) 

  • An allegory of Christ

19] Jewish Talmud

20]  This particular collection Ignores Barnabas, Peter, James, John, Jude, Thomas, Joseph of Ariamethea, Nicodemus, Hermas, 


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1] Christ by Name [A Jewish -Betrayer in Rome]


FLAVIUS JOSEPHUS (37 - 100 A.D.) Josephus was a first century pharisee and historian of both priestly and royal ancestry who provided important insight into first-century Judaism. Josephus was born only three years after the crucifixion of Jesus, making him a credible witness to the historicity of Jesus.


"Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man, for he was a doer of wonderful works, a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many of the Jews and many of the Gentiles. 

He was the Christ, and when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men among us, had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him. For he appeared to them alive again the third day. 

As the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him. And the tribes of Christians so named from him are not extinct at this day." 

Antiquities XVIII, 3:2



"So [Ananus] assembled a council of judges, and brought before it the brother of Jesus, the so-called Christ, whose name was James, together with some others, and having accused them as lawbreakers, he delivered them over to be stoned." Antiquities XX 9:1



2] Christ by Name [A Roman]

CORNELIUS TACITUS (55 - 120 A.D.) Tacitus was a 1st and 2nd century Roman historian who lived through the reigns of over half a dozen Roman emperors. Considered one of the greatest historians of ancient Rome, Tacitus verifies the Biblical account of Jesus' execution at the hands of Pontius Pilate who governed Judea from 26-36 A.D. during the reign of Tiberius.


"Christus, the founder of the [Christian] name, was put to death by Pontius Pilate, procurator of Judea in the reign of Tiberius. But the pernicious superstition, repressed for a time, broke out again, not only through Judea, where the mischief originated, by through the city of Rome also." Annals XV, 44




3] Christ by Name  [A Roman]

GAIUS SUETONIUS TRANQUILLUS (69 - 130 A.D.) Suetonius was a prominent Roman historian who recorded the lives of the Roman Caesars and the historical events surrounding their reigns. He served as a court official under Hadrian and as an annalist for the Imperial House. Suetonius records the expulsion of the Christian Jews from Rome (mentioned in Acts 18:2) and confirms the Christian faith being founded by Christ.


As the Jews were making constant disturbances at the instigation of Chrestus, [Claudius] expelled them from Rome." Life of Claudius 25.4


4] Caesar & Herod the Great - Slaughter of babies

MARCOBIUS When Caesar Augustus heard that Herod king of the Jews had ordered all the boys in Syria under the age of two years to be put to death, and that the king's son was among those killed, he said, 'I'd rather be Herod's pig than Herod’s  son.'"


5-6] The Crucifixion [Two -Egyptians]

THALLUS (~ 52 A.D.) Although his works exist only in fragments, Julius Africanus debates Thallus' explanation of the midday darkness which occurred during the Passover of Jesus' crucifixion. Thallus tries to dismiss the darkness as a natural occurrence (a solar eclipse) but Africanus argues (and any astronomer can confirm) a solar eclipse cannot physically occur during a full moon due to the alignment of the planets. 

Phlegon of Tralles, a 2nd century secular historian, also mentions the darkness and tries to dismiss it as a solar eclipse. He also states the event occurred during the time of Tiberius Caesar.


"On the whole world there pressed a most fearful darkness. The rocks were rent by an earthquake and many places in Judea and other districts were thrown down. This darkness Thallus, in the third book of his History, calls, as appears to me without reason, an eclipse of the sun. 

For the Hebrews celebrate the passover on the 14th day according to the moon, and the passion of our Savior falls on the day before the passover. But an eclipse of the sun takes place only when the moon comes under the sun. And it cannot happen at any other time... 


7] The Crucifixion

PHLEGON records that, in the time of Tiberius Caesar, at full moon, there was a full eclipse of the sun from the sixth hour to the ninth-manifestly that one of which we speak. Chronography XVIII, 47



8] Christian Persecution [Roman]

PLINY THE YOUNGER (63 - 113 A.D) Pliny the Younger admits to torturing and executing Christians who refused to deny Christ. Those who denied the charges were spared and ordered to exalt the Roman gods and curse the name of Christ. Pliny addresses his concerns to Emperor Trajan that too many citizens were being killed for their refusal to deny their faith.


"I asked them directly if they were Christians...those who persisted, I ordered away... Those who denied they were or ever had been Christians...worshiped both your image and the images of the gods and cursed Christ. 

They used to gather on a stated day before dawn and sing to Christ as if he were a god... 

All the more I believed it necessary to find out what was the truth from two servant maids, which were called deaconesses, by means of torture. Nothing more did I find than a disgusting, fanatical superstition. Therefore I stopped the examination, and hastened to consult you...on account of the number of people endangered. For many of all ages, all classes, and both sexes already are brought into danger..." Pliny's letter to Emperor Trajan



9] Jesus by Name [Babylonian]

THE BABYLONIAN TALMUD The Babylonian Talmud is an ancient record of Jewish history, laws, and rabbinic teachings compiled throughout the centuries. Though it does not accept the divinity of Jesus, it confirms the belief He was hanged (an idiom for crucifixion) on the eve of the Passover.


"On the eve of the Passover Yeshu (Jesus) [Some texts: Yeshu/Jesus the Nazarene] was hanged [crucified]. 

Forty days before the execution, a herald went forth and cried, 'He is going forth to be stoned because he has practiced sorcery and enticed Israel to apostasy. 

Any one who can say anything in his favor, let him come forward and plead on his behalf.' But since nothing was brought forward in his favor he was hanged on the eve of the Passover."


10] Reference - [Syrian]

MARA BAR-SERAPION (Post 70 A.D) Mara Bar-Serapion of Syria penned this letter from prison to his son. Though it is obvious he does not acknowledge Jesus as the Son of God, he does mention aspects of Jesus' life. There is some criticism regarding this passage but it must be noted nothing in Serapion's letter contradicts what we know about Jesus.


What advantage did the Jews gain from executing their wise King? It was just after that their kingdom was abolished. God justly avenged this . . . wise man: . 

The Jews, ruined and driven from their land, live in complete dispersion. 

Nor did their wise King die for good [forever]. He lived on in the teaching which He had given." Source




11] Jesus scorned  [A Greek]

LUCIAN OF SAMOSATA (120 - ~180 A.D.) Lucian was a second century Greek satirist and rhetorician who scornfully describes his views of early Christianity. Though he ridicules the Christians and their Christ, his writings confirm Jesus was executed via crucifixion and that He was the founder of Christianity.


"The Christians, you know, worship a man to this day- the distinguished personage who introduced their novel rites, and was crucified on that account...

It was impressed on them by their original lawgiver that they are all brothers from the moment they are converted and deny the gods of Greece, and worship their crucified sage,..." The Death of Peregrinus 11-13




12] Jesus Scorned

CELSUS (~ 178 A.D.) Celsus was a second century Roman author and avid opponent of Christianity. He went to great lengths to disprove the divinity of Jesus yet never denied His actual existence. Unfortunately for Celsus, he sets himself up for criticism by mimicking the exact accusations brought against Jesus by the pharisees which had already been addressed and refuted in the New Testament. There are two very important facts regarding Celsus which make him one of the most important witnesses in this discussion:


On Jesus' Miracles: "Jesus, on account of his poverty, was hired out to go to Egypt. While there he acquired certain [magical] powers... He returned home highly elated at possessing these powers, and on the strength of them gave himself out to be a god... 

It was by means of sorcery that He was able to accomplish the wonders which He performed...Let us believe that these cures, or the resurrection, or the feeding of a multitude with a few loaves... These are nothing more than the tricks of jugglers... It is by the names of certain demons, and by the use of incantations, that the Christians appear to be possessed of [miraculous] power..."


Not only does Celsus confirm Jesus' existence, he also tries to debate the source of Jesus' miracles. Like the pharisees of Jesus' day, Celsus tries to dismiss these miracles as both demonic possession and cheap parlor tricks. However, he is clearly grasping at straws: On one hand Celsus accuses Jesus of performing magic learned in Egypt, then later states it is by the power of possession, then states the miracles were not really miracles at all but were illusionary tricks performed by a deceiver, then finally states the miracles never occurred!


On the Virgin Birth:

"Jesus had come from a village in Judea, and was the son of a poor Jewess who gained her living by the work of her hands. His mother had been turned out by her husband, who was a carpenter by trade, on being convicted of adultery [with a Roman soldier named Panthera]. Being thus driven away by her husband, and wandering about in disgrace, she gave birth to Jesus, a bastard."


Celsus acknowledges Jesus' birth and existence but does not accept the concept of a virgin conception. He tries to dismiss Mary's premarital pregnancy as the result of an affair she had with a Roman soldier. Strangely 

enough, there is a very similar passage in the Jewish Talmud which makes the same accusation. This gives us reason to believe Celsus might have referenced Jewish sources for some of his arguments.


On the Apostles:

"Jesus gathered around him ten or eleven persons of notorious character... tax-collectors, sailors, and fishermen... [He was] deserted and delivered up by those who had been his associates, who had him for their teacher, and who believed he was the savior and son of the greatest God... 

Those who were his associates while alive, who listened to his voice, and enjoyed his instructions as their teacher, on seeing him subjected to punishment and death, neither died with nor for him... but denied that they were even his disciples, lest they die along with Him."


Celsus' intentions were to argue that if the disciples really believed Jesus was the Son of God, they would not have forsaken Him at His arrest. Instead, he only ends up confirming the Biblical account! The Bible tells us when Jesus was arrested, the apostles denied being His followers. It was only upon Jesus' resurrection they understood the spiritual principles concerning Jesus' crucifixion and boldly went out to preach the Gospel. Celsus is also wrong with his statement, [they] neither died with nor for him. We are told by early historians all but one of the remaining apostles were killed for their faith.


On Jesus' Divinity: 

"One who was a God could neither flee nor be led away a prisoner... What great deeds did Jesus perform as God? Did he put his enemies to shame or bring to an end what was designed against him? No calamity happened even to him who condemned him... 

Why does he not give some manifestation of his divinity, and free himself from this reproach, and take vengeance upon those who insult both him and his Father?" 


Celsus ridicules Jesus for the exact same reasons the pharisees of His time ridiculed Him- if Jesus was the Son of God, why didn't He save Himself from the cross? Neither Celsus nor the pharisees understood the spiritual implications of Jesus' death to atone for sin. Celsus also asks why no judgment came upon the Jews but history shows shortly after His death Jerusalem was invaded by the Romans, the Jewish temple was destroyed, and the Jewish people were dispersed for almost 2,000 years!


John the Baptist

"If any one predicted to us that the Son of God was to visit mankind, he was one of our prophets, and the prophet of our God? John, who baptized Jesus, was a Jew."


Celsus confirms Jesus' baptism by John but asserts that John was the only one who actually prophesied His coming- not the Old Testament Messianic prophecies.


On the Crucifixion:

"Jesus accordingly exhibited after His death only the appearance of wounds received on the cross, and was not in reality so wounded as He is described to have been."


In this statement, Celsus confirms Jesus' death by crucifixion although he claims the only wounds Jesus received were those inflicted by the crucifixion (thus denying any previous torture had taken place). But not even history offers Celsus the benefit of a doubt as floggings were the standard form of torture given to victims prior to crucifixion (See here). Celsus contradicts himself yet again when he later states Jesus was probably never even crucified but instead had an impostor die in His place!



13] Roman - Martyr CLEMENT OF ROME (? - 98? A.D.) Clement was a bishop of Rome and later became known as the fourth pope. He was eventually martyred in approximately 98 A.D. Some speculate Paul was referring to Clement in Philippians 4:3 but this cannot be proven. Clement was a first century apostolic author which gives credence to his first-hand account of early Christianity. In the passage below, Clement confirms the ministry of the disciples and some of the basic tenets of early Christianity.


"The Apostles received the Gospel for us from the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ was sent forth from God. So then Christ is from God, and the Apostles are from Christ. Both therefore came of the will of God in the appointed order. 

Having therefore received a charge, and being fully assured through the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ and confirmed in the word of God will full assurance of the Holy Ghost, they went forth with the glad tidings that the kingdom of God should come. 

So preaching everywhere in country and town, they appointed their first fruits, when they had proved them by the Spirit, to be bishops and deacons unto them that should believe." 

Corinthians 42


14] Jesus by Name [Turkey] Martyr - IGNATIUS OF ANTIOCH (? - ~100 A.D) Ignatius was a Bishop of Antioch reported to have been appointed to his position by Peter of whom he was a disciple. He is also believed to be a disciple of Paul and John. Ignatius was arrested by the Romans and executed as a martyr in the arena. Even though his testimony would ultimately lead to his death, Ignatius was adamant about the things he witnessed. He reinforces early Christian beliefs in the letters he penned while in prison. Even when execution was imminent, Ignatius refused to recant his faith.

  1. "Jesus Christ who was of the race of David, who was the Son of Mary, who was truly born and ate and drank, was truly persecuted under Pontius Pilate, was truly crucified and died in the sight of those in heaven and on earth and those under the earth. Who moreover was truly raised from the dead, His father having raised Him, who in the like fashion will so raise us also who believe in Him." 
  2. Trallians


  1. "He is truly of the race of David according to the flesh but Son of God by the Divine will and powered, truly born of a virgin and baptized by John that all righteousness might be fulfilled by Him, truly nailed up in the flesh for our sakes under Pontius Pilate and Herod the tetrarch... That He might set up an ensign unto all ages through His resurrection." 
  2. Smyrneans, 1


"Be ye fully persuaded concerning the birth and the passion and the resurrection, which took place in the time of the governorship of Pontius Pilate. For these things were truly and certainly done by Jesus Christ our hope." 

Magnesians XI



15] [A Greek] ARISTIDES THE ATHENIAN (126 A.D.) Aristides, along with Quadratus mentioned above, presented an apology to Emperor Hadrian during his stay in Athens in 126 A.D. Aristides describes the treatment of Jesus by His own people, the Jews, and contrasts their beliefs with those of the Christians.


"When the Son of God was pleased to come upon the earth, they received him with wanton violence and betrayed him into the hands of Pilate the Roman governor. Paying no respect to his good deeds and the countless miracles he performed among them, they demanded a sentence of death by the cross... 

Now the 

Christians trace their origin from the Lord Jesus Christ... The Son of the most high God who came down from heaven, being born of a pure [Hebrew] virgin, for the salvation of men... 

And he was crucified, being pierced with nails by the Jews. And after three days He came to life again and ascended into heaven. His twelve apostles, after his ascension into heaven, went forth into the provinces of the whole world proclaiming the true doctrine... They who still observe the righteousness enjoined by their preaching are called Christians." Apology XIV-XV



16] Roman - Martyr

JUSTIN MARTYR (~100 - 165 A.D.) Justin Martyr, possibly the most well-known early Christian apologist, was an educated pagan philosopher who converted to Christianity around 130 A.D. Though he risked losing his wealth, status, and life, Justin fearlessly spread Christianity throughout Asia Minor and Rome.

Refusing to recant his testimony, he was led to his death via scourging and beheading in 165 A.D. Being a thoroughly educated man, Justin weighed the evidence carefully before accepting his new faith and explains to the reader he made his decision only after careful consideration and research.


"There is a village in Judea, thirty-five stadia from Jerusalem, where Jesus Christ was born, as you can see from the tax registers under Cyrenius, your first procurator in Judea... He was born of a virgin as a man, and was named Jesus, and was crucified, and died, and rose again, and ascended into heaven... After He was crucified, all His acquaintances denied Him. But once He had risen from the dead and appeared to them and explained the prophecies which foretold all these things and ascended into heaven, the apostles believed. They received the power given to them by Jesus and went into the world preaching the Gospel." First Apology, 34, 46, 50


"At the time of His birth, Magi from Arabia came and worshipped Him, coming first to Herod, who was then sovereign in your land... When they crucified Him, driving in the nails, they pierced His hands and feet. Those who crucified Him parted His garments among themselves, each casting lots... 


But you did not repent after you learned that He rose from the dead. Instead, you sent men into to the world to proclaim that a godless heresy had sprung from Jesus, a Galilean deceiver, whom was crucified and that His disciples stole His body from the tomb in order to deceive men by claiming He had risen from the dead and ascended into heaven." Dialogue with 

Trypho, 77 97, 107-8


17] [A Jew] HEGESIPPUS (110 A.D. - 180 A.D.) Hegesippus converted to Christianity from Judaism after extensively researching the Gospel story for himself. Instead of accepting the Gospel story at the word of others, he travelled extensively throughout Rome and Corinth in an effort to collect evidence of the early Christian claims. Hegesippus provides important testimony that the stories being passed around were not watered down, embellished, or fabricated.


"This man [James] was a true witness to both Jews and Greeks that Jesus is the Christ... The Corinthian church continued in the true doctrine until Primus became bishop. I mixed with them on my voyage to Rome and spent several days with the Corinthians, during which we were refreshed with the true doctrine. 


On arrival at Rome I pieced together the succession down to Anicetus, whose deacon was Eleutherus, Anicetus being succeeded by Soter and he by Eleutherus. In ever line of bishops and in every city things accord with the preaching of the Law, the Prophets, and the Lord." The History of the Church


Gibbon E. 

It has been remarked . . .  that the virgin purity of the church was never violated by schism or heresy before the reign of Trajan or Hadrian, about one hundred years after the death of Christ (Gibbon E. Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Volume I, Chapter XV, Section I. ca. 1776-1788).


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[18]Philo:

Author of the First NARNIA!” ?


The Works of Philo Judaeus – 

Flaccus, VI.


(36) There was a certain madman named Carabbas

 [NN - Barabbs for frame of reference and “C” for Christ] ... this man spent all this days and nights naked in the roads, minding neither cold nor heat, the sport of idle children and wanton youths;

27:26 Then released he Barabbas unto them: and when he had scourged Jesus, he delivered him to be crucified.


(37) and they, driving the poor wretch as far as the public gymnasium, and setting him up there on high that he might be seen by everybody,

27:27 Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the common hall, and gathered unto him the whole band of soldiers.


 flattened out a leaf of papyrus and put it on his head instead of a diadem,

27:29 And when they had platted a crown of thorns, they put it upon his head, 

and clothed the rest of his body with a common door mat instead of a cloak 

and instead of a sceptre they put in his hand a small stick of the native papyrus which they found lying by the way side and gave to him; and a reed in his right hand: 

27:28 And they stripped him, and put on him a scarlet robe.


 and they bowed the knee before him, and mocked him, saying, Hail, King of the Jews! Mt 27:30 And they spit upon him, and took the REED, and smote him on the head. Mt 27:48 And straightway one of them ran, and took a spunge, and filled it with vinegar, and put it on a REED, and gave him to drink. 



(38) and when, like actors in theatrical spectacles, he had received all the insignia of royal authority, and had been dressed and adorned like a king,

27:28 And they stripped him, and put on him a scarlet robe.

 the young men bearing sticks on their shoulders stood on each side of him instead of spear-bearers, in imitation of the bodyguards of the king,

and mocked him,

 and then others came up, some as if to salute him, and others making as though they wished to plead their causes before him, 

and they bowed the knee before him, saying, Hail, King of the Jews!

 and others pretending to wish to consult with him about the affairs of the state.

and mocked him,



(39) Then from the multitude of those who were standing around there arose a wonderful shout of men calling out Maris!; [and this is the name by which it is said that they call the kings among the Syrians; ]

Hail, King of the Jews!


for they knew that Agrippa was by birth a Syrian, and also that he was possessed of a great district of Syria of which he was the sovereign; 


Matthew

27:26 Then released he Barabbas unto them: and when he had scourged Jesus, he delivered him to be crucified.

27:27 Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the common hall, and gathered unto him the whole band of soldiers.


27:29 And when they had platted a crown of thorns, they put it upon his head, and a reed in his right hand: and they bowed the knee before him, and mocked him, saying, Hail, King of the Jews!





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Philo: author of Christianity?

"Now the image of God is the Word, by which all the world was made."

– Philo, "The Special Laws", I (81)


Philo was an eclectic philosopher who borrowed freely from the Platonists, Stoics and Cynics. Yet he remained tenaciously loyal to his Jewish faith, and regarded Mosaic scripture as a source not only of religious revelation, but also of the philosophic truths propounded by the Greeks. 


According to Philo, the Greek philosophers had "borrowed from Moses" and had received their insights from the God of the Jews. To substantiate this dubious claim Philo found subtle and obscure nuances in the biblical sagas. 


Simply put, the wisdom of the Greeks was to be found entire within the books of Moses – all that one had to discern was the "hidden meaning" of words that, to the uninitiated, patently had no bearing on Greek philosophy. 


Philo was thus able to preserve the arrogant superiority of the Jews who in reality had been subsumed into the Greek world.


How did a transcendent God communicate with the world? Here, a term from the Stoics proved most useful. 

According to Philo, 

"Logos" – Greek for "word" or "reason"– equated to divine reason. 

The Logos or Word emanated from the ineffable God 

and communicated with his creations. 

Thus it was the Logos that spoke to Moses from the burning bush, 

and it was the Logos that infused the righteous High Priest.

When one experienced religious ecstasy it was because the Logos had entered one's own soul. 


Philo defined the curious nature of God's intermediary thus:

"And the Father who created the universe has given to his Archangelic and most ancient Word a pre-eminent gift, to stand on the confines of both, and separated that which had been created from the Creator. 


And this same Word is continually a suppliant to the immortal God on behalf of the mortal race, which is exposed to affliction and misery; and is also the Ambassador, sent by the Ruler of all, to the subject race.


And the Word rejoices in the gift, and, exulting in it, announces it and boasts of it, saying, 

'And I stood in the midst, between the Lord and You; neither being uncreated as God, nor yet created as you, but being in the midst between these two extremities ... 

For I will proclaim peaceful intelligence to the creation from him who has determined to destroy wars, namely God, who is ever the guardian of peace.' "

– Philo, Who is the Heir of Divine Things? 42.205-6.





The "Word" made "Flesh"

When the works of Philo were studied by early Christian theorists (the Alexandrian school of Clement, Origen, etc.) not just the construct of the Logos but the "allegorical method" proved a godsend: the Old Testament presaged not merely Greek wisdom but the Christian godman himself! 


Thus the scripture of the Jews could be scoured for subtle clues supposedly prophesying a saviour in human form.

Again, Philo pointed the way:

"And even if there be not as yet any one who is worthy to be called a son of God, nevertheless let him labour earnestly to be adorned according to his first-born word, the eldest of his angels, as the great archangel of many names; 

for he is called, the authority, and the name of God, and the Word, and man according to God's image, and he who sees Israel." 

– Philo, "On the Confusion of Tongues," (146)


Philo was himself undoubtedly influenced by ancient notions of Hermes Trismegistos ('thrice greatest' Hermes), a Hellenized version of the Egyptian god Thoth – a god of wisdom and a guide to the afterlife. 


Philo knew nothing of Jesus but when, a century after Philo's death, the Christians were historicizing their godman from preconceived notions of what the Saviour should be, they borrowed freely from Philo's work. 


Thus the Christian apologist Justin Martyr multiplexed "divine reason" into the myriad forms that populate the landscape of Christian theology:


"I shall give you another testimony, my friends," said I, "from the Scriptures, that God begat before all creatures a Beginning, a certain rational power from Himself, who is called by the Holy Spirit, now the Glory of the Lord, now the Son, again Wisdom, again an Angel, then God, and then Lord and Logos."

– Justin Martyr, Dialogue with Trypho, LXI – Wisdom is begotten of the father, as fire from fire.


About the same time that Justin was finessing "God's Wisdom" into human form, the author of John's Gospel combined the opening phrase of Genesis with the speculations of Philo's logos to produce the famous opening verse of his gospel.

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." – John, 1.1.


Bringing Philo on Message

In the 4th century so impressed was Church propagandist Eusebius by Philo's descriptions of the Therapeutae (Hellenized Jewish Buddhists of Alexandria) that the church historian decided the Therapeutae were in fact early Christian monks. 


As for Philo himself, Eusebius cheerfully disregarded chronology and credibility and had the grand old Jewish philosopher reading the (as yet, unwritten) gospels and epistles – and conversing with Peter in Rome!


"It seems likely [Philo] wrote this after listening to their expositions of the Holy Scriptures, and it is very probable that what he calls short works by their early writers were the gospels, the apostolic writings, and in all probability passages interpreting the old prophets, such as one contained in the Epistle to the Hebrews and several others of Paul's epistles.


It is also recorded that under Claudius, Philo came to Rome to have conversations with Peter, then preaching to the people there ... It is plain enough that he not only knew but welcomed with whole-hearted approval the apostolic men of his day, who it seems were of Hebrew stock and therefore, in the Jewish manner, still retained most of their ancient customs." 

– Eusebius (The History of the Church, p50,52).


Philo played a major role in the Hellenization of Hebrew scripture, unwittingly preparing the ground for an upstart heresy to supplant and marginalize the ancestral religion he set out to defend. 


The fate of his co-religionist Josephus was to become a bogus witness to Christ – but Philo himself was rendered a closet Christian! 


Compare to Buddha

Time Gap Between Their Life and Earliest Manuscripts.

On the other hand, for Buddha we have

  1. no written records on him from his lifetime, 
  2. nor in the centuries following his death. 
  3. The oldest surviving Buddhist manuscripts are the Gandhāran Buddhist texts reported to have been found in eastern Afghanistan. They are in the form of 27 scrolls dating from 100 BC to 200 AD, 
  4. and that would put them at over 400-600 years after the life of Buddha (3).
  5. https://jamesbishopblog.com/2015/05/04/jesus-vs-buddha-historical-evidence-comparison/

Our entire New Testament, which constitutes our primary sources for the life of Jesus, was completed by 60-65 years after his existence. Our earliest gospel was penned 40 years after his life, and the Pauline epistles ranging from 20 years upwards. Some New Testament literature holds very early creeds that get us even closer to the life of the historical Jesus, this most notably being the creed found in 1 Corinthians 15 that is dated within five years of his life. Other hypothetical sources in the form Q, L, M, pre-Marcan source, pre-Johannine source likewise get us close to Jesus’ life.

Taking that into account the biographical gospel accounts on Jesus are more credible, historically, due to their much earlier dates in comparison to the various biographies and texts on Buddha. The larger the time gap between the life of a specific person and the time that events of that person were penned the much higher the chance that myth and intentional/unintentional embellishments could impugn the historical core.

  • https://jamesbishopblog.com/2015/05/04/jesus-vs-buddha-historical-evidence-comparison/