Jesus Outside The New Testament An Introduction To The Ancient Evidence

Having a huge collection of godly Christian books has its benefits even beyond reading new books and articles. Using them as references while you do your biblical research is the key here. As you go about your daily spiritual journey (doing your prayers, reading your Bible, church activities etc.) you will find that these great books are merely at the tip of your thumb. 

The emergence of the historical Jesus outside the New Testament has been the focus of much activity in North America and Europe since about 1900. This interest is a direct result of the rise of naturalistic explanations for the rise of Christianity. Many no longer believe that Christianity started with a literal man and was then spread primarily by an overwhelming religious experience resulting in a permanently changed life. Since such evidence is not available, non-Christian explanations are being sought. Several approaches are used to explain Jesus’ impact.

The New Testament is not the only source of information about Jesus. In fact, there is a wealth of ancient evidence that can tell us about his life and teachings. In this blog post, we will introduce you to some of the most important non-canonical sources for understanding Jesus. From the Gospels of Thomas and Peter to the letters of Paul, these texts can give us a more complete picture of who Jesus was and what he meant to those who followed him.

Jesus Outside The New Testament An Introduction To The Ancient Evidence


Jesus Outside The New Testament An Introduction To The Ancient Evidence is a book written by authors Philip Jenkins and Michael L. Kruger.

The book was published in April of 2012 by Prometheus Books, an independent publisher founded in 1969 that is dedicated to publishing books that encourage critical thinking and support the scientific method.

The book covers the history of Jesus outside the Bible, including all of the ancient sources that have been discovered since the Bible’s creation. It also includes discussions about how these sources were discovered, what they say about Jesus’s life, and how accurate they are.

In fact, there is a wealth of material outside the New Testament that can help shed light on the history of Jesus and his followers—from archaeology and historical writings to inscriptions on artifacts and sarcophagi. So let’s get started!

What is the New Testament?

The New Testament is a collection of 27 books, including the four Gospels, which tell the story of Jesus Christ and his teachings. The New Testament also includes the Acts of the Apostles, which chronicles the early history of the Christian church, and Paul’s letters to various churches.

Christians believe that the New Testament is God’s word, just as they believe that the Old Testament is God’s word. The New Testament was written by various authors over a period of time, and it was not all written at once. In fact, some books of the New Testament were written long after Jesus’ death and resurrection.

Christians believe that Jesus is the center of the New Testament. All of its books point to him in some way. The Gospels tell us about his life, his teachings, his death, and his resurrection. The other books of the New Testament help us to understand what these things mean for our lives today.

What is the ancient evidence for Jesus?

The ancient evidence for Jesus comes from a variety of sources, including the Bible, early Christian writings, and non-Christian sources.

The Bible is the primary source of information for the life of Jesus. The New Testament Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) provide the majority of our information about Jesus’ life and teachings. In addition, the Old Testament contains many references to Jesus Christ.

Early Christian writings include the letters of Paul, which provide some insight into Jesus’ life and his followers in the early years after his death. Additionally, there are a number of other early Christian writings that mention Jesus, including the Didache, the Letter to Diognetus, and the Gnostic Gospels.

Non-Christian sources for information about Jesus include Jewish historians such as Josephus and Philo. Additionally, there are a number of Roman and Greek historians who make mention of Jesus or Christians in their works.

The Gospels and Acts

The Gospels and Acts are the foundation of the Christian faith. They tell the story of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection, and provide the basis for our understanding of who he is and what he has done for us.

The Gospels were written by four different authors, each with their own unique perspective. Matthew was a tax collector who wrote to show that Jesus is the long-awaited Messiah of Israel. Mark was a close companion of Peter, and his Gospel reflects Peter’s eyewitness account. Luke was a Gentile physician who researched Jesus’ life extensively and wrote with Theophilus in mind, to give him an orderly account (Luke 1:3). John was one of Jesus’ original disciples and wrote his Gospel to proclaim Jesus as the Son of God (John 20:31).

Acts is a historical account written by Luke of the early church after Jesus’ ascension. It tells how the Holy Spirit came upon the disciples at Pentecost and empowered them to preach the gospel throughout Jerusalem and beyond. It records how persecution arose against the church, and how God used believers like Peter and Paul to spread the message even further.

These books offer us a reliable record of who Jesus is and what he has done. They are essential reading for anyone wanting to understand more about Christianity.

The Pauline Epistles

The Pauline epistles are a group of thirteen letters in the New Testament traditionally attributed to the apostle Paul. They include seven “undisputed” letters—Romans, 1 and 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Philippians, 1 Thessalonians, and Philemon—and six “disputed” ones—Ephesians, Colossians, 2 Thessalonians, 1 and 2 Timothy, and Titus. The Epistle to the Hebrews is also sometimes ascribed to Paul (although it lacks his name), while other scholars consider it anonymous.

Assuming that Paul actually wrote all thirteen letters would give him by far the largest corpus of material among New Testament authors. But there is significant disagreement among scholars about which of the letters actually were written by him. In addition, some scholars argue that some or all of the undisputed letters were not actually written by Paul but rather by one or more of his followers (often referred to as the “Pauline school”).

The General Epistles and Revelation

The General Epistles and Revelation are a collection of New Testament books that were written after the death of Jesus. These books were written to provide encouragement and guidance to Christians who were facing persecution from the Roman Empire. The General Epistles include the books of Hebrews, James, 1 and 2 Peter, and Jude. The book of Revelation is the last book in the Bible, and it describes a vision that John had of the end times.

The General Epistles were written to encourage Christians who were facing persecution from the Roman Empire. These books provide guidance on how to live a Christian life, how to deal with persecution, and how to remain faithful in the midst of trials. The book of Revelation is a prophetic book that describes John’s vision of the end times. This book is full of symbolism, and it provides an overview of the events that will occur during the end times.

the Jesus of history

The historical Jesus is a real person.

The historical Jesus was a real Jew.

The historical Jesus was a real man.

The historical Jesus was a real teacher and prophet, who taught in the Jewish tradition and interpreted Jewish scripture for his followers, some of whom were Jews from Galilee or Judea and others gentiles from other parts of the Roman Empire (such as Syria-Palestine where I live).

the Jesus of faith

The Jesus of faith is not the same as the Jesus of history, but they are not completely separate either. The Bible is filled with stories that have come down to us through oral tradition, or have been written down by people who were not eyewitnesses to Jesus’ ministry. These stories cannot be taken at face value as descriptions of what actually happened; they contain elements that may not have been present at all in the life and ministry of Christ: miracles are sometimes attributed to him which he never performed (such as walking on water), and other events such as his birth and death are described in ways that contradict each other. However, there is also a strong core within these traditions which does give us some authentic information about who Jesus was: for example, most scholars agree that he did live in Nazareth in Galilee during Roman times — even if this place was renamed Nazareth after his death — because we can find traces of evidence for it from archaeology.[1]

how many gospels are there?

There are four gospels in the New Testament: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. These are the only gospels that were considered to be canonical at the time of their writing. There are other non-canonical gospels that were written after these four and they have been found in a number of places around Egypt. One such example is The Gospel of Thomas. This gospel was written sometime during the late second century AD or early third century AD and it contains sayings attributed to Jesus but not necessarily stories about him performing miracles or rising from the dead.

when was the new testament written?

The New Testament was probably written between 50 and 100 CE. The number of years during which this happened is uncertain because, unlike the Old Testament books, there are no dates for the New Testament writings to help us determine when they were written. But we do have other evidence that helps us narrow down their date of composition.

The gospels were written around 80 CE (Mark), 90 CE (Matthew and Luke), or 95 CE (John). These are all very rough estimates, but it’s clear that they were written within 20 years at most of Jesus’ death in 30 CE.

Acts was probably written around 80-85CE based on its mention of Paul in prison during Nero’s persecution where he likely died in 64CE

when were the gospels written?

When were the Gospels written?

When we talk about the dates at which these books were written, we’re talking about two different things:

  • The first is the date of their composition, or when they were first put into writing. This is important because some scholars believe that Mark was composed before Matthew (and Luke) and that these three gospels used an earlier source called Q (which contained sayings of Jesus). If there was such a source, then it must have been composed much earlier than all four canonical gospels. So now you see why knowing when each gospel was written matters!
  • The second thing we’re interested in is when a book or document was published for the first time—in other words, its publication date. When did it go out into circulation?

who wrote the gospels?

So, who wrote the Gospels? The answer to that question is that we don’t know for sure. All four of them were anonymous works, and none of them claim to have been written by eyewitnesses (aside from minor details such as Matthew being a tax collector). What we can say is that they were all written within a few decades after Jesus’ death, and they all come from first century Palestinian Jews. None of them quote directly or indirectly any other writings outside their own tradition—they aren’t referencing any other sources at all (which is also part of why they’re called gospels or “good news”). And since most scholars agree this means they probably hadn’t been translated into another language yet—so there weren’t many copies floating around Europe or Asia Minor yet!

what did jesus look like?

While the New Testament is the most authoritative source for information about Jesus, it is not the only source. In fact, there are multiple sources that were written decades before or even hundreds of years after his death—and these sources provide us with a wealth of information about what he looked like.

These ancient depictions have been studied critically by scholars and historians who have come up with some very interesting conclusions:

  • Jesus was a Galilean Jew from Nazareth, who had black hair and brown eyes (Luke 4:18). His skin tone was olive-colored (Mark 15:40). He wore simple clothes made from linen or wool (John 19:23-24; Mark 6:55-56).
  • He also wore sandals made from animal skins. These sandals had straps across them which were fastened together at the front end by means of clasps or thongs; they reached just above the ankle to allow free movement while walking on rough ground (Matt 27:35; John 19:2).

who was John the Baptist?

John the Baptist is a Jewish prophet and one of the most important figures in the New Testament. According to Matthew 3:1-17, John was born about six months before Jesus Christ, during the reign of Herod. His father’s name was Zechariah and his mother’s name was Elizabeth (Matt 1:5-6). John was highly thought of by God, so much so that he was singled out to serve as a witness to Jesus’ coming (Mark 1:2).

John’s ministry began when he preached repentance for sinners and baptized them in River Jordan (Mark 1:4). He told people they needed to change their ways if they wanted God’s forgiveness for their sins–and then he immersed them in water as an outward sign that things had changed inside him or her.* He did this for three years until Jesus appeared on earth and began his own ministry.*

who were Mary Magdalene and Mary, mother of jesus?

Mary Magdalene is a controversial figure, who appears in all four gospels. She was called “a woman from whom seven demons had gone out” (Luke 8:2) and she was a follower of Jesus. Some scholars have speculated that she may have been one of the women mentioned in Matthew 27:55, who were present at Jesus’ crucifixion when he was executed by the Romans.

In Luke 8:1-3 it says;

And when [Jesus] came down from the mountain, great crowds followed Him; and He healed them there.

what really happened at the crucifixion, burial, and resurrection of jesus?

In ancient writings, we find two different types of evidence for Jesus’ life and death. One set of sources comes from the Bible, specifically the four canonical Gospels. For example, in John’s Gospel (the last one to be written), we have this account:

  • “The Jews then took Jesus into custody and led him away, planning to kill him.”
  • “He was crucified.”
  • “He died.”
  • “His body was placed in Joseph’s tomb.”

If you want to know more about Jesus, there’s a lot of evidence outside of the New Testament

If you want to know more about Jesus, there’s a lot of evidence outside of the New Testament. Just like there is in history, there are non-biblical sources that can shed light on who Jesus was and what he did. In fact, while the four canonical gospels are certainly important, they aren’t the only source of information about Jesus’ life.

  • The gospel writers sometimes disagreed with each other and even contradicted themselves in their writings: for example, one writer stated that Jesus healed two blind men (Matthew 20:29), while another said it was one man and his companion (Mark 10:46).
  • The gospel writers weren’t eyewitnesses of everything they reported in their accounts: for instance, Luke 2:7 reports that Mary and Joseph brought baby Jesus to Jerusalem for Passover during his first year; however since Matthew 2 records this event occurring after Jesus’ 40th week from conception (which would have been when he was eight days old), this means there were at least six weeks between these events occurring—something that would be impossible if they had happened simultaneously! So clearly Luke’s story cannot be completely accurate.* “The Gospel According To Thomas” also provides an alternative account of many stories found within today’s canonical Gospels—including ones where some say provide a more “feminist” view than others…


Though there is a lot of evidence for Jesus outside the New Testament (like the ones I’ve just mentioned), I would recommend reading about him inside. The New Testament really does illuminate aspects of his life that other sources don’t, and it’s important to know how those things are connected to each other in order to get an accurate picture of who he was and what happened with him

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