Sunday, May 01, 2016

Did Josephus exist?

A stock objection to the historical Jesus is the dearth of references to Jesus outside the NT by his contemporaries. Christian apologists usually respond by mentioning references to Jesus in Tacitus and Josephus. 

I'd just like to turn this around. How many references are there to Tacitus and Josephus by their contemporaries? Other than their own writings, what literary references do we have regarding 1C figures like Tacitus and Josephus from their own period? 

Offhand, I don't recall "skeptics" who doubt the historicity of Tacitus and Josephus despite the lack of independent attestation by their contemporaries. 


  1. Tacitus is a recipient of a letter by Pliny the Younger on the eruption of Mt Vesuvius. Josephus is mentioned by Seutonius in his 'Life of Vespasian'.

    1. Good point, but it draws attention to the paucity of multiple-attestation.