Jesus on trial

I see in an Italian court a jury is going to decide whether Jesus lived or not.  An Italian guy does not think he did, and he seems to think that if the court finds that Jesus did not exist, then it will make Christianity collapse.  I have to say, I don’t know how a jury will decide one way or the other.  And really, does it matter?  I suppose it does in the long run.  There are primary (original) sources that might mention Christ that are outside the New Testament.  One comes from the writings of a Roman historian Tacitus–The Lives of the Caesars.  In his section Life of Claudius (a Roman emperor from 41-54 AD) chapter 25.4 he mentions that a certain Jews were causing problems because of someone named "Chrestus" and that Claudius had them expelled from Rome.  It is not known whether this Chrestus is Christ, and there is a big scholarly debate whether this passage was written in by Christians after Tacitus had died.  Regardless, you can read the text yourself. 
We also find mention of the Christians in his section on the Life of Nero, section 16.  Another historian, this time Jewish, is Josephus (born in 37 AD and died around 101).  He wrote a work called The AntiquitiesIn Chapter 18.3.3 he states:

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 amongst us, had condemned him to the cross, hose 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 tribe of Christians, so named from him, are not extinct at this day.

(I took this quote directly from the website given above).  Scholars are also in disagreement whether or not Josephus wrote this or whether it was a Christian addition later. 

My point is that it will be impossible for a court to find whether Christ existed or not.  My personal opinion is that he did exist.  It seems hard to believe that all of the writings of the New Testament were created around a lie.  Anyway, have fun reading the primary texts.

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