Speaking with a Jewish acquaintance about Jesus and this was his response…..not sure how to respond just yet but will research it more. Would love your thoughts.
Note: Answers are interspersed with the claims of this person. Criticism/claims are in black italics, responses are in blue.
"Romans. They recorded all kinds of insignificant details about Judah and Jerusalem but never mentioned Jesus. None of the historians of the era mention him. . . Josephus (a Jewish historian 37 CE to 100 CE) wrote the history of the Jews and never mentioned any of the "miracles" or things attributed to the man you think was the messiah. Josephus lived after Jesus supposedly died (so he isn’t an eye witness), and yet the only mentions of Jesus in his works are all suspected as forgeries by later xtian scribes who maintained his histories — yet even these forgeries are insignificant for one who was supposedly "the" messiah.
Extra-Biblical references to Jesus:
1. Tacitus, Roman historian (AD 56-118)(about AD 115 concerning Nero in AD 64);
Not all the relief that could come from the man, not all the bounties that the prince could bestow, nor all the atonements which could be presented to the gods, availed to relieve Nero from the infamy of being believed to have ordered the conflagration, the fire of Rome. Therefore, to squelch the rumor, Nero created scapegoats and subjected to the most refined tortures those whom the common people called ‘Christians,’ [a group] hated for their abominable crimes. Their name comes from Christ, who, during the reign of Tiberius, had been executed by the procurator Pontius Pilate. Suppressed for the moment, the deadly superstition broke out again, not only in Judea, the land which originated this evil, but also in the city of Rome, where all sorts of horrendous and shameful practices, from every part of the world converge and are fervently cultivated.
2. Flavius Josephus (AD 38-100) Writing about AD 94 under Domitian. Concerning events he had indirect knowledge of. Josephus was a Pharisee. Jewish historian who was a turncoat, switching from the Jewish rebel side to Rome to serve under Nero and Vespasian. Josephus is a relatively reliable historian.
The “Testamonium Flavium” (Antiquities 18:3.3)
About this time there lived Jesus, a wise man, if indeed one ought to call him a man. For he was one who wrought surprising feats and was a teacher of such people as accept the truth gladly. He won over many Jews and many of the Greeks. He was the Messiah. When Pilate, upon hearing him accused by men of the highest standing amongst us, had condemned him to be crucified, those who had in the first place come to love him did not give up their affection for him. On the third day he appeared to them restored to life, for the prophets of God had prophesied these and countless other marvelous things about him. And the tribe of Christians, so called after him, has still to this day not disappeared.
Agapius, an Arab Christian in 9th century probably quotes the original, leaving out the parts in parenthesis. Note the passage reads grammatically well without the parts in parenthesis.
Note: Josephus also reports the martyrdom of “James, the brother of Jesus who was called the Christ” (Antiquities 20:20)
3. 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
It is taught: On the eve of Passover they hung Yeshu and the crier went forth for forty days beforehand declaring that "[Yeshu] is going to be stoned for practicing witchcraft, for enticing and leading Israel astray. Anyone who knows something to clear him should come forth and exonerate him." But no one had anything exonerating for him and they hung him on the eve of Passover. Ulla said: Would one think that we should look for exonerating evidence for him? He was an enticer and G-d said (Deuteronomy 13:9) "Show him no pity or compassion, and do not shield him." Yeshu was different because he was close to the government
4. Suetonius about AD 120 Very reliable historian wrote concerning the times of Claudius about AD 50
"As the Jews were making constant disturbances at the instigation of Chrestus, he Claudius) expelled them from Rome”
5. Lucian of Samosata Social commentator and critic of Christianity
6. Pliny the Younger AD 112 Writing to Emperor Trajan.
Those who denied that they were or had been Christians, when they invoked the gods in words dictated by me, offered prayer with incense and wine to your image, which I had ordered to be brought for this purpose together with statues of the gods, and moreover cursed Christ — none of which those who are really Christians, it is said, can be forced to do — these I thought should be discharged. Others named by the informer declared that they were Christians, but then denied it, asserting that they had been but had ceased to be, some three years before, others many years, some as much as twenty-five years. They all worshiped your image and the statues of the gods, and cursed Christ
8. Mara bar Sarapion
9. Thallus We know of Thallus only from a third century Christian historian named Julius Africanus who wrote a three-volume treatise of world history in 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. Whether or not this source proves the darkness at the time of Jesus’ crucifixion is dubious, 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. Because we do not have Thallus’ history and because we have a Christian interpreting rather than quoting it, this is rather dubious support to Christian claims.
The number of Pagan sources for Jesus Christ among contemporaries or within 100 years: 9
The number of Pagan sources for Tiberius among contemporaries or within 100 years: 9 (or 10 if you count Luke)
There are 1500 years separating the Exodus from the story of Jesus. 3500 years ago there is little recorded history — and yet there IS history of Israel (the Merneptah Stele dates to 1200 BCE — 3200 years ago — and it mentions Israel).
According to the narrative in the Gospel of Luke, Mary, in an advanced stage of
pregnancy, traveled 70 miles over a rough terrain, during the winter, on the back of a donkey, in order to reach Bethlehem of Judea for the census of Quirinius
At least the following two significant problems plague this account. First, with the census of Quirinius having been accurately dated to 6 C.E.,16 it would mean that Jesus was born in that year. Second, the journey to Bethlehem of Judea is unlikely, given the alternative of Bethlehem of Galilee being located only 4 miles away over a relatively constant terrain. These difficulties give rise to the likelihood that the Nativity account in the Gospel of Luke is inaccurate at best, if
not fictitious altogether.
According to the narrative in the Gospel of Matthew, Herod slaughtered all infants and toddlers in Bethlehem of Judea who were under the age of two There are two major problems with this account. First, the date of Herod’s death is ccurately known to be 4 B.C.E. This would mean that Jesus had to be born during the 4 – 6 B.C.E. time span, thus showing a 10-year discrepancy with the year of birth deduced from the account in the Gospel of Luke. Second, the archaeological evidence indicates that Bethlehem of Judea was not populated during the Herodian period, and that no viable record of such a massacre has been
found outside of the New Testament. These difficulties give rise to the likelihood that the Nativity account in the Gospel of Matthew is inaccurate at best, if not fictitious altogether"