What did ancient, non-Christian writers say about Jesus?

Some skeptics say that we really can’t know much about Jesus since, after all, what we do know about him comes only from Christian sources–i.e., from the New Testament writers (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Paul, et al). And since these early writers were themselves sincere devotees to Jesus, they cannot be trusted in what they say about Jesus since they write from an obvious Christian bias.

In response, two things need to be pointed out. First, the truth is that such objections don’t carry much weight at all. There are many things to be said here, but suffice it to say presently that one’s beliefs do not automatically disqualify them from writing history–whether the person is a modern Christian historian or an early Christian historian (such as Luke). Just because the early Christians were believers in Jesus doesn’t mean they can’t record history accurately or truthfully. Besides, most skeptics are hardly consistent on this issue. After all, if religious skeptics are the only ones permitted to record history, as they themselves often insist, then (as G.K. Chesterton once said) shall we not dismiss these writings too since, as skeptics, they are clearly biased toward skepticism? Such reasoning will inevitably lead to the destruction of all historical research, undermining education itself.

Second, it’s not the case that we know about Jesus only from Christian sources. In fact, there are several non-Christian writings that discuss Jesus and early Christianity.

So, let’s forget about those early Christian writers for a minute; let’s look outside ancient Christian circles for details about Jesus of Nazareth. Is it possible to learn something about the historical Jesus (and early Christianity) from ancient, non-Christian sources? If so, what is it that we can learn?

Craig Blomberg is a distinguished professor of New Testament at Denver Seminary and is considered an authority on this subject. He received his PhD from Aberdeen in Scotland and spent some time as a research fellow at Tyndale House (Cambridge, England). You can read more about him on his faculty page here.

Below is a video of Dr. Blomberg answering the question, What do ancient non-Christian sources tell us about Jesus? I think you will find it very interesting.

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