Jesus: References Out of History

By Jeffrey L. Kuhlman; April, 2017


History is written a through the eyes of the powerful.  Written histories reflect only those factors that were important to them.  Importance to “the Realm” often related either to threats or specific benefits to it.

Jesus has also been referred in informative writings as Christ, Christus, Chrestus, Joshua, or Yeshua depending upon the describing language.  Having a variety of language sources and references supports the existence and importance of Jesus, differentiating Him from the nameless masses. 

Such respected and recognized historians as Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, Flavius Josephus, 93-94 AD,

…Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man; for he was a doer of wonderful works, a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many of the Jews and many of the Gentiles. He was [the] Christ. And when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men amongst us, had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him; for he appeared to them alive again the third day; as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him. And the tribe of Christians, so named from him, are not extinct at this day.

 …But this younger Ananus, who, as we have told you already, took the high priesthood, was a bold man in his temper, and very insolent; he was also of the sect of the Sadducees, who are very rigid in judging offenders, above all the rest of the Jews, as we have already observed; when, therefore, Ananus was of this disposition, he thought he had now a proper opportunity [to exercise his authority]. Festus was now dead, and Albinus was but upon the road; so he assembled the sanhedrim of judges, and brought before them the brother of Jesus, who was called Christ, whose name was James, and some others, [or, some of his companions]; and when he had formed an accusation against them as breakers of the law, he delivered them to be stoned: but as for those who seemed the most equitable of the citizens, and such as were the most uneasy at the breach of the laws, they disliked what was done; they also sent to the king [Agrippa], desiring him to send to Ananus that he should act so no more, for that what he had already done was not to be justified; nay, some of them went also to meet Albinus, as he was upon his journey from Alexandria, and informed him that it was not lawful for Ananus to assemble a sanhedrim without his consent….

Tacitus, Annals, Senator Tacitus, circa 116 AD,

Consequently, to get rid of the report, Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace. Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus, and a most mischievous superstition, thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judæa, the first source of the evil, but even in Rome, where all things hideous and shameful from every part of the world find their centre and become popular. Accordingly, an arrest was first made of all who pleaded guilty; then, upon their information, an immense multitude was convicted, not so much of the crime of firing the city, as of hatred against mankind.

And Pliny the Younger, Roman Governor of Bithynia and Pontus, letter to Emperor Trajan, circa 112 AD about Christians and Christianity.  

As Trajan’s Governor, Pliny was directly responsible for executing Christians, Pliny never mentioned nor affixed a crime other than the mere fact of being Christian.

Letter to the Emperor Trajan

Sir,

It is my constant method to apply myself to you for the resolution of all my doubts; for who can better govern my dilatory way of proceeding or instruct my ignorance? I have never been present at the examination of the Christians [by others], on which account I am unacquainted with what uses to be inquired into, and what, and how far they used to be punished; nor are my doubts small, whether there be not a distinction to be made between the ages [of the accused]? and whether tender youth ought to have the same punishment with strong men? Whether there be not room for pardon upon repentance?" or whether it may not be an advantage to one that had been a Christian, that he has forsaken Christianity? Whether the bare name, without any crimes besides, or the crimes adhering to that name, be to be punished? In the meantime, I have taken this course about those who have been brought before me as Christians. I asked them whether they were Christians or not? If they confessed that they were Christians, I asked them again, and a third time, intermixing threatenings with the questions. If they persevered in their confession, I ordered them to be executed; for I did not doubt but, let their confession be of any sort whatsoever, this positiveness and inflexible obstinacy deserved to be punished. There have been some of this mad sect whom I took notice of in particular as Roman citizens, that they might be sent to that city. After some time, as is usual in such examinations, the crime spread itself and many more cases came before me. A libel was sent to me, though without an author, containing many names [of persons accused]. These denied that they were Christians now, or ever had been. They called upon the gods, and supplicated to your image, which I caused to be brought to me for that purpose, with frankincense and wine; they also cursed Christ; none of which things, it is said, can any of those that are ready Christians be compelled to do; so I thought fit to let them go. Others of them that were named in the libel, said they were Christians, but presently denied it again; that indeed they had been Christians, but had ceased to be so, some three years, some many more; and one there was that said he had not been so these twenty years. All these worshipped your image, and the images of our gods; these also cursed Christ. However, they assured me that the main of their fault, or of their mistake was this:-That they were wont, on a stated day, to meet together before it was light, and to sing a hymn to Christ, as to a god, alternately; and to oblige themselves by a sacrament [or oath], not to do anything that was ill: but that they would commit no theft, or pilfering, or adultery; that they would not break their promises, or deny what was deposited with them, when it was required back again; after which it was their custom to depart, and to meet again at a common but innocent meal, which they had left off upon that edict which I published at your command, and wherein I had forbidden any such conventicles. These examinations made me think it necessary to inquire by torments what the truth was; which I did of two servant maids, who were called Deaconesses: but still I discovered no more than that they were addicted to a bad and to an extravagant superstition. Hereupon I have put off any further examinations, and have recourse to you, for the affair seems to be well worth consultation, especially on account of the number of those that are in danger; for there are many of every age, of every rank, and of both sexes, who are now and hereafter likely to be called to account, and to be in danger; for this superstition is spread like a contagion, not only into cities and towns, but into country villages also, which yet there is reason to hope may be stopped and corrected. To be sure, the temples, which were almost forsaken, begin already to be frequented; and the holy solemnities, which were long intermitted, begin to be revived. The sacrifices begin to sell well everywhere, of which very few purchasers had of late appeared; whereby it is easy to suppose how great a multitude of men may be amended, if place for repentance be admitted.

Even the Roman Emperor Trajan

From Emperor Trajan

                                 My Pliny,

You have taken the method which you ought in examining the causes of those that had been accused as Christians, for indeed no certain and general form of judging can be ordained in this case. These people are not to be sought for; but if they be accused and convicted, they are to be punished; but with this caution, that he who denies himself to be a Christian, and makes it plain that he is not so by supplicating to our gods, although he had been so formerly, may be allowed pardon, upon his repentance. As for libels sent without an author, they ought to have no place in any accusation whatsoever, for that would be a thing of very ill example, and not agreeable to my reign.

all from cultures contradicting the Jesus movement, speak plainly about His existence from which the importance of Jesus in history can be gleaned.  We do in fact know that Jesus was a real person and that there was something “special” about Him, no matter what faith perspective is used.  We also know as historical fact that the followers of Jesus were known as a group as Christians and that many endured all types of pain and execution under certain Romans.

Whatever faith structure they follow, people should not deny proven history, the importance that Jesus had in His time lasting to today, the Christian persecutions, even Josephus referred to Christ as a “doer of wonderful things” that could be construed as His miracles and healings.  Believe as they will, it is good if fully considered, but should not deny the proven.

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Understanding Trump

By

Jeffrey L. Kuhlman

One of the nice things of getting older is finally reaching the point in life where I have passed the learning of adolescence, the family nurturing of the young couple with children, cultural teaching of the mature adult, and am now at the point of sharing wisdom.  Half of my readers will agree with this article and half will not want to.   Either is okay.  Remember, good things are often accomplished by people who others may resent, while great damage is often done by people with the best of intentions.   As for me, I will take the former.

This article is unauthorized and reflects only my personal observations and ideas.   Because the reflections are solely mine, I believe that they are untarnished by outside political agendas or pressures.  Personally, I tend to poke my finger in the eye of power; I do not fear the ideas and thoughts of others; and I tend also to avoid the unthinking or intentionally ignorant.  I even appreciate a good argument, debate, or discussion.  Donald Trump offers all of these.

So . . . what about President Donald J. Trump?  Just who the hell is he?  What makes him tick?

Trump definitely wasn't my first choice as President, and I am sure that many of you have strong feelings about him also.  Feelings such as these are good as they drive the more intelligent of us to consider the visuals we see and comments we hear within a context of truth gleaned from melding divergent ideas rather than responding to innuendo, rumors, and agendas.  We owe it to ourselves to be honest within our own hearts . . . and screw the mindless crowd.   Individuals rioting, agitating, forcing others to conform to their personal moral perspectives, and silencing uncomfortable speech from others shows them as immature children who need spankings and being sent out of the room.

Whether you like it or not, President Donald J. Trump is going to have a well-defined place in history.  Therefore, understanding him is essential.   Most children learn to deal and negotiate with others in the school yard.  To understand Trump, we must first use the context of the "construction yard" in which he grew into adulthood.  Donald Trump learned from hard working men in an often-gritty environment who had broad experience, sometimes painful histories, and who liked an occasional "dirty" joke.  Learning from them, he developed a special kindness towards their life challenges.  Guided by his father he was able to apply this learning to dealing with the sophisticants in the construction and real estate industries.

An honors graduate of one of New York's premier military schools and of Wharton School of Business, arguably the best business school on the globe, he is neither ignorant or a fool.  He is relegated however to much of the thought processes, concepts, and observations of that construction yard he grew up in.

So, what does the construction yard have to do with it?

In that yard he learned to work and negotiate with the working man and their "bosses".  He developed a definition of what a "man" is, measured by his work ethic, win or lose; meeting life's challenges head on; heart felt patriotism; and a simple honesty that will never be understood by "polite" people carrying complex agendas.  He grew up with men who lit off fireworks on the Fourth of July, saluted the flag, loved his family, and marched in the Saint Patrick's Day parade.  In essence he, was a rich kid who was bathed in both money and construction grime.

Trump was forced to learn, under the mentorship of his father, how to apply business ideas to financial success.  As his father's heir in the more-polite environment of business, he learned how to eat and negotiate at a properly set table.  In the construction yard he learned how to lead and win in a sometimes crude, often foul languaged. and physically demanding world in which dealing with crime, litigation, scheduling, suppliers, and oversight were daily routines.

So here is the problem.  Polite society and those of used to the smooth sounding double talk of American politics have difficulty understanding his perspective and this scares them.  Like cornered animals they feel the need to either escape from or sightlessly attack what they do not understand.  In this way, they manage to feel self-important in their tiny minded agendized worlds.

Much has been said about his authorship of the, Art of the Deal.  Frankly, having read it, I didn't care for the book.  I thought it shallow and incomplete.  But!  Having worked in Africa for three years, India for three years, the Persian Gulf for six months, South Korea for a year, and a year in Viet Nam with the marines as a corpsman has given me an understanding about respecting and dealing with other people and cultures that is quite consistent with that books context.   Serving for years as a ship Captain with international crews and as many as eight ethnic groups and five spoken languages on board ship at one time has been similarly beneficial.  I will tell you that Trump does understand working with other ethnicities.

Trump has done a lot of building in the Middle East and elsewhere.  The Middle East is a place born to the deal and anyone successful there must understand how to work in that environment.  Trump knows that the winner of a negotiation is often the one that has a proven willingness to get up, brush off his hands, and leave the table.  Trump understands this, unlike his predecessor and the relatively ineffective Kerry when dealing with Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, the Kurds, and the mish-mash of E.U. countries.  The proof of this is in Trump's success.   His buildings, despite schedules, people, regulation, corruption, potential military and terror threats, litigation, suppliers, and transportation problems, went up profitably and often under schedule.

I have often heard how Trump was not as good a businessman as he thought he was.  To justify this comment, the failure of his casinos in Atlantic City, for instance, is often point to.  Oh, the ignorance of most accusers.  If the facts were checked it would be found that Atlantic City was a 2 to 3-hour drive, depending on traffic, from its market in New York City.  When the tribal casinos (Fox Woods, Mohegan Son, and others) were built in Massachusetts and elsewhere in New England they drew such a large number of the Atlantic City market that all the casinos suffered and most closed in bankruptcy.  Trump was among the first to recognize the problem and withdraw from the casino business there.  Good business choice.

Hey, he made some errors.  His airline was an error as was his school.  I never tasted Trump Vodka or worn a Trump tie.  I have heard from most media sources how he stiffed a construction supplier.  I have never gotten the complete story as to why.  Stiffing a supplier is a major error and unethical, possibly illegal.  However, here is the problem with not getting the whole story.  Perhaps the supplier didn't perform according to the contract.  Perhaps there were unnecessary cost over runs.  Maybe the supplier was involved in unethical practices.  Any one of a thousand incidents could justify not paying.  I do not know the whole story and neither does any of the people I heard it from.

If you expect him to sit back and just let things happen, Trump won't.  He has a different framework and view of timing than most of the politicians that now and will surround him.   Sometimes uncouth statements and references will enter into his conversation.  He often uses construction yard phraseology and language constructs that have unequivocal understanding in popular America but not in more polite society.  I say, "So what?"  He is getting necessary things done and keeping his promises.   An occasional off-color joke or remark has little meaning when measured against his work ethic, honesty, patriotism, and caring for the American citizens he is responsible to.  This is how most of the American working populace relates to their world and why they like Trump.

Early on, I had misgivings about him.  In fact, I leaned toward Marco Rubio during the election process.   I didn't worry about his occasional forays into the unsavory; actually, being a combat veteran and having spent so much time observing the real world, it was refreshing after so much sideways political P.C. bull shit and Pablum fed us by our established political institutions that are so far out of touch.  I've been watching him work since winning the Presidency and what he has done relative to his promises.  I measured this against my own world experiences and I have become a believer ion President Trump's Americanist agenda.

Like him or not, measure him in your life context and what he is doing for your family and those close to you.  Do not measure him through the eyes of an unthinking mindless ant struggling to meet instinctive responses as a member of a group of other mindless ants.

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Is Spiritual Faith Built On Solid Ground or Sandy Soil?

A man once said that faith is a belief in something that could not be seen, smelled, heard, or touched but you know it is there.  This simplistic definition just isn’t enough for me, nor is it enough for many people I know.  For me, and most of us I know, faith has a great spiritual context to it.  Interestingly, much science is being written today substantiating its deepest meanings.  For instance, science has recently and quantitatively shown, (see Biocentrism: How Life and Consciousness are the Keys to Understanding the True Nature of the Universe, Dr.  Robert Lanza) and proven (see Theory of Biocentrism) that existence beyond our lives is certain and that space and time themselves are flexible and non-linear (see Physicists Claim that Consciousness Lives in Quantum State After Death, Janey Tracey, Tuesday, 17 June 2014, Outer Places).  What’s this, science and faith issues coming together (see The Physics of Immortality by Frank Tipler. New York: Doubleday, 1994)? Many of us have consistently believed or assumed that faith and science were non-contradictory. 

Let’s follow this a bit further.  Does the structure of space and time, as being connected, make up a fabric of space that is folded, enabling the existence of concurrent universes?  Theories and some scientists say that they do and are under the laws of quantum physics.  If this is true, death as we know it does not exist; it is merely a continuation of “us” through a transfer into another level of a “multi-verse”.  We, as intrinsic parts of the biocentric multi-verse, maintain our self-ism or perhaps soul identity.  VooDoo? Doubtful as the math behind it through multiple recognized sources at Stanford University, North Carolina University, Princeton University, Max Planc Institute for Physics, Cambridge University and others is becoming known and accepted science.

Animistic cultures separate the various facets of God into lesser entities, often associated with their natural environment.  In many faith structures, the worship of ancestors provides a human aspect of their faith.  The many gods of pagan peoples are often a schism of a mono-theistic deity.  Some people believe that burning human embers will be left by angry gods, or gods that reward cruelty in the search of worshippers; cruelty and the threat of death real or imagined being the means to an end – the creation of controlled worshipping mass of “believers”.  Millions of people believe in a kind God that is more of a parenting and nurturing God who is part of us and who we identify as being part of, rather than God being distant and unfeeling.  These gods appear to us as symbols of unseen power.  The key factor in the understanding of faith is the unseen factor and the absolute knowledge of people that their God or gods exist.  Even Agnosticism and Atheism are faith systems defined by their denials and as such are accepted by most faith communities.

The author live and worked in Asia, the Orient, and Africa for many years, with this experience and intensive Islamic studies in college he has gained a passing knowledge of several faith perspectives that include Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, and Hinduism.  As a follower of the Christian faith, he can only speak in a Christian context.  He provides the reader with the following but subscribes to the idea that the truly faithful should be able to answer similarly in their own faiths.

“I Am.”  The answer to the question posed to God for His name.  “I Am” is existence itself. The “Big Bang” might be equated as the first expression of “I Am”.  It isn’t a stretch to tie the two, science and faith, together in a supportive rather than contradictory relationship.  With the many consistencies in the stories we hear and confirm of crossovers into death and returns, why is it so difficult to consider that human existence beyond physical death, like the I AM and scientific Big Bang are intrinsically tied together.

Nazareth today is known as the Arab Capital of Israel.  A relatively small village in the time of Jesus, it was situated across the ancient trade route to Jerusalem.  Therefore, we can assume that the people of Nazareth were quite worldly and familiar with the distant stretches of the known trading world and its many peoples.   Jesus, a carpenter’s son and carpenter himself, was not on the lower social planes of ancient times.  Trades and skills were essential, and tradesman like tent makers (the apostle Paul) and carpenters (Jesus the Nazerene); as essential parts of the community, were not considered the poor and desperate.  They had status and place.

Being a man of 30, not young by ancient standards, with a recognized place in the community, Jesus felt a call powerful enough to awaken his spiritual self and re-channel His entire life, this in a time when people not on pilgrimage or in migration seldom travelled more than 10 miles from their homes.  Jesus, baptized by His cousin John, began a journey of calling from His Father as part of the God Head.  His journey resulted in His painful death, ascension into heaven, and taking His place with His Father on Heaven’s throne.

Is this story myth, magic, or reality?  Jesus has been referred to as Christ, Christus, Chrestus, Joshua, or Yeshua depending upon the describing language; having a variety of language sources and references supports the existence and importance of Jesus differentiating Him from the nameless masses. 

Such historians as:

Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, Flavius Josephus, 93-94 AD;

Tacitus, Annals, Senator Tacitus, circa 116 AD;

Pliny the Younger, Roman Governor of Bithynia and Pontus, letter to Emperor Trajan, circa 112 AD about Christians and Christianity.  As Trajan’s Governor, Pliny was directly responsible for executing Christians, Pliny never mentioned nor affixed a crime other than the mere fact of being Christian.

The Roman Emperor Trajan himself

These, all from cultures contradicting or persecuting the Jesus movement, speak plainly about His existence from which the importance of Jesus in history can be gleaned.  We do in fact know that Jesus was a real person and that there was something “special” about Him, no matter what faith perspective is used. 

Note:  For text translations written by these people please see our post, Jesus References Out of History, www.rwt2015.com.

At the age of thirty years, Jesus began preaching.  This man from a backwater little town, Nazareth, which today would be akin to “The Strip” found next to any military base around the world, would change the world in a mere three years.  If Jesus had little wealth, it was because He walked away from it.  In a time when only power was listened to, Jesus spoke and acted as a man of peace.  He taught in a time when itinerant messiahs and teachers were scattered everywhere, yet He was listened to and heeded.  Unlike others, both before Alexander and later after Mohammad, who depended upon the use of a sword and the threat of death for their fame, Jesus needed only sandals and a gentle countenance.  Yet people listened by the hundreds, thousands, and eventually millions and hundreds of millions.  How could this happen in a world of violence and skepticism?

It could only happen because of “faith”.  The unsaid and real feeling that there is more to us and our lives may then be evident.   We as humans are wired in a particular way.  As a species we react similarly, our reactions to our environment are similar, we have a similar understanding of what is right and wrong or good and bad.  The greater number of us also has feeling of a “higher authority” and a developed faith structure.

Faith is as real, and perhaps more so, than sand on a beach or birds in flight.  Faith is real and powerful.  The question is which will you follow and be associated with if the God we have faith in is a kind and nurturing God and not the vengeful greedy god that some are faithful to?

 

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