Extra-Biblical Historical Evidence for Christianity
1. Crucified Man Heel Bone
In 1968, an ossuary containing the skeletal remains of a man in his twenties, including his heel bone with a nail still embedded in it, was discovered in Jerusalem. Anthropologists determined that the man, called Jehohanan, had likely been crucified in the first century (ca. 7-66 A.D.), with a leg on either side of the cross and the nail driven in sideways through his heel. This discovery confirms the description of Jesus’ crucifixion in Scripture and that the method of crucifixion even existed, which had been disputed by many skeptics.
2. Pilate StoneIn 1961, a limestone block originating from a temple dating to 26-36 A.D., with the Latin inscription “Pontius Pilate, Prefect of Judea,” was discovered in a Roman city. The Pilate stone confirms the Biblical description of Pontius Pilate, the man who sentenced Jesus to be crucified (Matt. 27:2).
3. Round Sealing Stones
4. Dead Sea Sediment Deposit & Ein Gedi Spa Beach Cores Secular geologists also confirmed the activity of two major earthquakes in the area, including one during the period between 26 and 36 A.D., after studying three cores from the Ein Gedi Spa beach. This is perfectly consistent with the Bible’s record of a great earthquake, that shook Jerusalem, on the day of Jesus’ crucifixion, April 3, 33 A.D. (Matt. 27:51).
5. Nazareth Inscription Considering that thieves only ever plundered tombs for valuables—not bodies, this is a strange pronouncement to make. Unless, of course, the lie that Jesus’ disciples had stolen the body, which Jewish leaders deliberately spread to explain the fact that the tomb was empty after Jesus’ resurrection (Matt. 28:13-15), had reached the Roman emperor…
6. Alexamenos Graffito
7. Megiddo Mosaic Inscription
In 2005, an inscription was discovered on part of a 54-square-meter mosaic floor within the Megiddo Complex in Israel, which reads: “The god-loving Akeptous has offered the table to God Jesus Christ as a memorial.” Dating back to the third century, the Megiddo Mosaic, like the Alexamenos graffito, shows that Jesus was being worshipped as God by at least the third century A.D. Again, providing indirect evidence for the resurrection.
|Ancient mosaic in Israel describing Jesus as God|
8. Josephus (37-101 A.D.)
And when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men among us, had condemned him [Jesus] to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him…And the tribe of Christians, so named from him, are not extinct at this day.
9. Tacitus (56-120 A.D.)
Christus…suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of…Pontius Pilatus, and a most mischievous superstition [Christianity], thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judaea, the first source of the evil, but even in Rome…
10. Lucian of Samosata (115-200 A.D.)
The Christians…worship a man to this day – the distinguished personage who introduced their novel rites, and was crucified on that account…and worship the crucified sage…
11. Mara Bar-Serapion (70 A.D.)
Or the Jews by murdering their wise king?…After that their kingdom was abolished. God rightly avenged these men…The wise king…Lived on in the teachings he enacted.
12. Suetonius (69-140 A.D.)
Punishment was inflicted on the Christians, a class of men given to a new and mischievous superstition [the resurrection].
13. Pliny the Younger (61-113 A.D.)In a letter to the emperor Trajan, written around 111 A.D., Pliny wrote:
…they had met regularly before dawn on a fixed day [Sunday in remembrance of Jesus’ resurrection] to chant verses alternately amongst themselves in honor of Christ as if to a god.
14. Phlegon (80-140 A.D.)
Jesus, while alive, was of no assistance to himself, but that he arose after death, and exhibited the marks of his punishment, and showed how his hands had been pierced by nails.Phlegon also identified the exact year and time of day of the darkness and earthquake at Christ’s crucifixion:
In the fourth year of the 202nd Olympiad (i.e., AD 33) there was ‘the greatest eclipse of the sun’ and that ‘it became night in the sixth hour of the day [i.e., noon] so that stars even appeared in the heavens. There was a great earthquake in Bithynia, and many things were overturned in Nicaea.’
15. Thallus (52 A.D.)
This darkness Thallus, in the third book of his History, calls, as appears to me without reason, an eclipse of the sun.