Series - "Ancient Historical Evidence for Jesus of Nazareth" (pt.5)

We continue our look at Historical evidence for Jesus Christ. In this post we will be looking at the
Other Gentile Sources. First we will look at Lucian and then Mara Bar Serapion.


A second century Greek satirist, spoke rather derisively of Jesus and early Christians. His point was to criticize Christians for being such gullible people that, with very little warrant, they would approve charlatans who pose as teachers, thereby supporting these persons even to the point of making them wealthy. In the process of his critique he relates some important facts concerning Jesus and Christians:

The Christians, you know, worship a man to this day- the distinguished personage who introduced their novel rites, and was crucified on that account.... You see, these misguided creatures start with the general convictions that they are immortal for all time, which explains contempt of death and voluntary self-devotion which are so common among them; and then it was impressed on them by their original lawgiver that they are all brothers, from the moment that they are converted, and deny the gods of Greece, and worship the crucified sage, and live after his laws. All this they quite on faith, with the result that they despise all worldly goods alike, regarding them merely as common property.

From this we see Jesus was worshipped by Christians, Jesus introduced a new teaching in Palestine (location given in another unquoted portion), then He was crucified because of these teachings, Jesus thought his followers certain doctrines, false gods are to be denied, living according to His law, Christians believed to be immortal and Christians accept Jesus' teachings by faith.

Mara Bar Serapion

The British museum owns the manuscript of a letter written sometime between the late 1st and 3rd century A.D. Its author was a Syrian named Mara Bar Serapion, who was writing from prison to motivate his son Serapion to emulate wise teachers of the past.

What advantage did the Athenians gain from putting Socrates to death? Famine and plague came upon them as a judgment for their crime. What advantage did the men of Samos gain from burning Pythagoras? in a moment their land was covered with sand. What advantage did the Jews gain from executing their wise King? It was just after that that their kingdom was abolished. God justly avenged these three wise men: the Athenians died if hunger; Samarians were overwhelmed by the sea; the Jews, ruined and driven from their land, live in complete dispersion. But Socrates did not die for good; he lived on the statue of Hera. Nor did the wise King die for good; he lived on in the teaching which he had given.

From this we learn that Jesus was considered to be a wise and virtuous man, he is addressed twice as the King of Jews, Jesus was killed unjustly by the Jews and Jesus lived in the teachings of early Christians.

In the next post we will be looking at the last source for historical evidence for Jesus, Gnostic Sources. So far with all the overwhelming evidence out there, the logical conclusion is that there was a man named Jesus that walked the earth and people (Christians) followed His teachings sometimes even to the death. It doesn't matter if you agree with His teachings or not (that will be another series in the future), but all the evidence show that He lived. Most of us believe that Alexander the Great, Aristotle, Socrates, Homer, Julius Caesar and Plato lived with much less evidence, so why not Jesus of Nazareth?

Have Intelligent Faith

- Nelis