Van Voorst states that “of all Roman writers, Tacitus gives us the most precise information about Christ “. Crossan considers the passage important in establishing that Jesus existed and was crucified, and states: “That he was crucified is as sure as anything historical can ever be, since both Josephus and Tacitus
He also does not reference Paul the apostle, a former Pharisee, who was a contemporary of Josephus’s father in Jerusalem, even though, according to Acts, Paul and his activities were known to two successive Roman governors (procurators) of Judaea, Marcus Antonius Felix and Porcius Festus, and to King Herod Agrippa II
In Jewish Antiquities 18.116-119, Flavius Josephus includes a section on John the Baptist . His reason for including it was that it contained a widely circulating explanation for the victory of the Nabatean king Aretas over the tetrarch Herod Antipas.
To the Romans , Jesus was a troublemaker who had got his just desserts. To the Christians, however, he was a martyr and it was soon clear that the execution had made Judaea even more unstable. Pontius Pilate – the Roman governor of Judaea and the man who ordered the crucifixion – was ordered home in disgrace.
The extant manuscripts of the book Antiquities of the Jews, written by the first-century Jewish historian Flavius Josephus around 93–94 AD, contain two references to Jesus of Nazareth and one reference to John the Baptist.
The complete passage is: “On (Sabbath eve and) the eve of Passover Jesus the Nazarene was hanged and a herald went forth before him forty days heralding, ‘ Jesus the Nazarene is going forth to be stoned because he practiced sorcery and instigated and seduced Israel to idolatry.
Josephus , at least, has not hesitated to testify this in his writings, where he says , “These things happened to the Jews to avenge James the Just, who was a brother of Jesus, that is called the Christ. For the Jews slew him, although he was a most just man.”
James D.G. Dunn states that most scholars infer that ” Suetonius misheard the name ‘Christus’ (referring to Jesus as Christ ) as ‘Chrestus'” and also misunderstood the report and assumed that the followers of someone called Chrestus were causing disturbances within the Jewish community based on his instigation.
In The Antiquities of the Jews (Book 18:116-19), Josephus confirmed that Herod Antipas “slew” John the Baptist after imprisoning him at Machaerus, because he feared John’s influence might enable him to start a rebellion.
Antipas reluctantly beheaded John, and later, when Jesus ‘ miracles were reported to him, he believed that John the Baptist had been resurrected.
These books are called Matthew , Mark, Luke , and John because they were traditionally thought to have been written by Matthew , a disciple who was a tax collector; John, the “Beloved Disciple” mentioned in the Fourth Gospel; Mark, the secretary of the disciple Peter; and Luke , the traveling companion of Paul.
The Gospels say that although Jesus was born in Bethlehem, he spent much of his early life in Nazareth, in northern Israel . Recent archaeological research reveals that during the first century A.D., Nazareth was a Jewish settlement whose inhabitants appear to have rejected the spread of Roman culture.
From the beginning Roman religion was polytheistic. From an initial array of gods and spirits, Rome added to this collection to include both Greek gods as well as a number of foreign cults.
Pontius Pilate , Latin in full Marcus Pontius Pilatus , (died after 36 ce), Roman prefect (governor) of Judaea (26–36 ce) under the emperor Tiberius who presided at the trial of Jesus and gave the order for his crucifixion.