I used to be a follower of Christ. I was wondering is there any PROOF outside of the Bible that proves the miracles that he performed including him coming back from the dead? I would like the sources that where written by non-believers at that time period if this is all possible with you.  So far every time I asked this question I never get a straight answer from so-called true believers. Thank you for your time on this matter I just wonder what your take is on all this?


Clearly your request is a reasonable one.  I am sorry if you have not had good experiences when you have asked other believers this question.  It might be worth remembering, however, that to some extent this is a rather high level of expectation.  For example, in the first century there were two categories of people–those who believed that Jesus did in fact rise from the dead and those who did not.  It will be impossible to find historical material from non-believers which provided direct evidence in support of the resurrection because non-believers are not in the habit of providing evidence that disproves what they believe!   For this reason, if we find the kind of material you are demanding it would have to have been written down accidentally, without the intention of the writer to confirm that Jesus worked miracles.  What you are asking would be analogous to reading a book by a believer, looking for evidence that God does not exist.

Despite this, I know of two examples of this sort which do meet your request for “proof” outside the Bible (and outside of the writings of believers).  In both cases, the writer provides for us evidence that Jesus worked miracles, but in writing intended to downplay belief in such miracles.

The first comes from the Babylonian Talmud 43a.    Babylonian Talmud  (late first or second century AD)  Babylonian Sanhedrin43a-b  “On the eve of the Passover they hanged Yeshu and the herald went before him for forty days saying [Yeshu] is going forth to be stoned in that he hate practiced sorcery and beguiled and led astray Israel   Here Jesus is accused of sorcery, in obvious parallel with the charge leveled in Matthew 12:22-23.  The writer of the Talmud does not agree that Jesus worked bona fide miracles, but he reports that he did things which, to the enemy of Jesus could only be written off as sorcery.    Also, in Babylonian Sanhedrin107b  it is claimed that Jesus practiced magic. In  tHul2:22-23  it is reported that healings were done in the name of Jesus.  So we have indirect confirmation of the crucifixion of Jesus and of his working of public miracles-only charging that the miracles were worked by Satan, not God.

The point I would make from this material in the Jewish Talmud from the late first century is that it proves that Jesus was a person they felt they had to deal with and that it was sufficiently common knowledge that he worked signs and wonders that they felt they had to address this by claiming that Jesus did his miracles by the power of Satan (sorcery). Does this “prove” that Jesus worked miracles?  Maybe or maybe not. What it proves is that many in his day were convinced that he worked miracles and that his enemies were aware of sufficient positive evidence of this that they felt they needed to explain it.

My second example of a first century writer who accidentally provided evidence of the miraculous events surrounding Jesus comes from the writer Thallus.  We know of Thallus only from a third century Christian historian named Julius Africanus who wrote a three-volume treatise of world history. According Julius, Thallus wrote in what we consider the 50s AD.  In discussion the darkness at the time of the resurrection of Jesus, Julius Africanus mentions that in the 3rd book of Thallus’ history, he mentions the darkness and calls it an eclipse of the sun.  Africanus believes that Thallus is wrong (ie he is wrong that this was due to an eclipse).  Whether or not this source proves the darkness at the time  If Jesus’ crucifixion is debatable, but it does seem to support the idea that even non-Christians were aware of the resurrection as early as the 50s AD-at about the time the first book of the NT was written.  It also supports the claim, not necessarily of the darkness having occurred, but of the darkness having been claimed and believed by the Christians.  By the way, we have access to information that Julius Africanus did not.  Using modern astronomical measurements,we can determine when total or near total eclipses of the sun occurred thousands of years in the past.  It is a fact that there was no solar eclipse which is even a reasonable candidate to be a natural explanation of the darkness at the time Jesus died.  As with the Talmud evidence, the source of the material is not trying to prove that a miracle happened, but he is trying to explain extant data which was common knowledge in a way consistent with his unbelief.

In summary, the request for “proof” in written documents that Jesus did in fact work miracles from non-believers is, logically, a very high bar indeed.  We can assume that most of those who witnessed his miracles either came to believe in him or found ways to explain away what they saw.  In fact, I believe that it is striking that we have these two documented examples of non-Christians–the writers of the Talmud and Thallus–feeling the need to explain what seems to have been a common knowledge that there was much reason to believe Jesus worked miracles.

I hope this helps.

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