“Jesus Never Existed” rose to become a top trend throughout social media on Wednesday, spurred in part by the resurrection among media outlets of a three year old book by “independent historian” Michael Paulkovich. He concludes that, after examining 126 documents from the time of Jesus, there exists no historical evidence for the Christian messiah’s historical existence. Many on the left began tweeting that Jesus was a mythological and fictional character, most using Paulkovich’s findings as evidence:
Paulkovich claims, “Historian Josephus published Jewish Wars c. 95. He had lived in Japhia, one mile from Nazareth—yet Josephus seems to have been unaware of both Nazareth and Jesus.” Josephus was a Jewish priest and historian who became a prisoner of war to the Romans after surrendering as a commander in Galilee during the first Jewish Revolt against Rome. According to biblical historical writer Lawrence Mykytiuk, “Jewish War doesn’t mention Jesus except in some versions in likely later additions by others, but Jewish Antiquities does mention Jesus—twice.” With the current evidence gained from analysis of Josephus’ other writing, Jewish Antiquities, it is clear that the famed Jewish historian was indeed aware of Jesus’ existence and acknowledged it
There is ample additional evidence to disprove Paulkovich's claim. The Roman historian Tacitus, who lived within decades of Christ’s death, explicitly mentioned Jesus as an historical figure while describing Nero’s persecution of Christians.
“But not all the relief that could come from 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. Hence to suppress the rumor, he Falsely charged with the guilt, and punished Christians, who were Hated for their enormities. Christus, the founder of the name, was Put to death by Pontius Pilate…”
Tacitus referred to Jesus as “Christus,” as many pagan writers of that era did, and he even acknowledged that Jesus was indeed put to death by Pontius Pilate. Other historians on Paulkovich’s list, such as Asclepiades of Prusa, lived a century before Jesus’ birth. Some on the list, such as Epictetus, were not historians at all but philosophers, mathematicians, satirists, poets, and several physicians. Perhaps if the modern college campuses had not totally degenerated, the gullible leftists trending “Jesus never existed” would know the difference between an historian and an hepatologist.