Celsus on 42 Sources for Jesus and 10 for Tiberius


Via Richard Carrier.

This is an argument I haven’t heard before about how well we know about Jesus. According to some apologists, in the 150 years after their lives, there are 42 literary sources about Jesus as a mere 10 about Tiberius. Since we are confident in the existence and various activities of Tiberius, we should be even more certain about Jesus in these regards.

This is quite the claim, and seems to fail the basic smell test. But it seems the hard work has been done about what these sources are, and how they fail, thanks to blogger and Classics major Κέλσος (or Celsus, his professional site here). In his blog post, he points out not only are the numbers amazingly wrong (the apologists missed 33 literary references for Tiberius), but they also do not consider epigraphic evidence, numismatic evidence, and doesn’t look at source quality. Worse, the window of 150 years is amazingly arbitrary; if you go by contemporary mentions of these figures, the ratio is 13/0. That’s right, there are more sources contemporary with Tiberius than these apologists thought there were total, while there are exactly zero for Jesus.

Celsus starts with a Power Rangers reference, and I want to make a Transformers reference. Celsus here is Devastator.

(No, he’s not a Decepticon, nor does he need assembly; he’s just gonna mess your argument up!)

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One thought on “Celsus on 42 Sources for Jesus and 10 for Tiberius

  1. Pingback: On Dracula and Jesus | Fleeing Nergal, Seeking Stars

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