Flavius Josephus was a Jewish historian. He mentioned Jesus by name in his anthology about the Mediterranean world. A Roman historian, Pliny, also made mention of an itinerant preacher named Jesus. The problem with both these accounts is they were not eye witnesses to the life of Jesus. Both men were writing about 100 years after Jesus’ death.
ROMAN HISTORIANS MENTION A MAN NAMED JESUS
Tacitus is another Roman historian who documented Pontius Pilate as the Roman Prefect of Judea from AD 26-36. He also mentions Tiberius as the Emperor of Rome from AD 14-37. Neither Pliny nor Tacitus thought much of the followers of Jesus, referring to them as “pig-headed and obstinate”. Tacitus also considered Christianity a “religion of destructive superstition.”
THE APOSTLE PAUL
The man who did more to contribute to the narrative and mythology of Jesus’ mission was the Apostle Paul. Through him, we have snapshots of Jesus’ missionary work, miracles, and close associates (apostles) who helped spread his disruptive message. The best archeological detective work places Paul’s letters to converts around 25-40 years after Jesus’ death. Paul too, never met Jesus, heard him speak, nor witnessed his death and resurrection.
WHAT WE KNOW TODAY
To date, no recorded debate about Jesus as a historical figure has ever been found. What we do have a record of is early literature from Jewish Rabbis denouncing Jesus as the illegitimate child of Mary and a soccer. Since we also know Jesus often chastised the Jewish priesthood, it is safe to assume he would not have received favorable reviews from these same men. Pagan historians, Lucian and Celsus dismissed Jesus as a scoundrel.
From all available evidence, no one in the ancient world ever questioned whether Jesus lived but most cast doubt on his divinity and philosophy aimed at discrediting the Sadducees and Pharisees.
Scholars today hotly debate this question because faith squares off against proof. Several Think Tanks exist for the express purpose of debunking Christianity. The Committee for Skeptical Inquiry and the Center for Inquiry proclaim a mission statement which includes, in part, “. . . remove the influence of religion in science, education and public policy.” A philosophy our Founding Fathers wholeheartedly embraced.
FAITH VS PROOF
Personally, I believe Jesus did exist. He was a radical the ruling elite wanted to eliminate because he was a threat to the existing power structure of his day. Roman Emperor Constantine recognized the political empire he inherited could not sustain itself and he set about organizing individual Christian churches into a cohesive state religion. What was subsequently done to the message of an itinerant preacher changed his philosophy of inclusive compassion into a fear-based power structure, whose sole objective was monetary and emotional control over a large segment of the population. Constantine didn’t give a fig newton about salvation.
The Fifth Coin is a story with a fact-based historical background. It addresses the modern-day fall-out of Constantine’s creation of an organized religion. There is a Jesuit conspiracy throughout the world today and the Vatican Bank played a key role in the world-wide financial collapse of many countries.
This is a fast paced, action/adventure novel. I used a modern-day format because religious history is as dry and dusty as the Mojave Desert. The information is real, the story-line is fiction. This book is available on Amazon as a Kindle e-book, or a quality paper back.