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A Report by Andrew Collins
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What is the historical evidence that Jesus Christ lived and died?

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Author Topic: What is the historical evidence that Jesus Christ lived and died?  (Read 182 times)
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« on: December 02, 2017, 08:26:32 pm »

It must also be pointed out that Tacitus' hostile accounts of Nero (as most other accounts by early historians) are now regarded as highly suspect by many historians, and are frequently contradicted by more recent study of historical evidence.

For example, as regards Nero's alleged persecution of Christians, recent scholarship suggests that some Christians did participate in helping propagate the disastrous fire in Rome as they believed it to be the coming of a prophecised apocalypse, and it seems to be generally accepted that many confessed to this whether or not they had in fact participated. The result was that many were rounded up and arrested, however, legal documents discovered suggest that, far from persecuting them summarily, it was actually Nero himself (who had previously served as a consul) who insisted on proper investigations and trials (which is consistent with the account of Suetonius).

Historical accounts of Nero are hugely problematic as during his reign he had managed to alienate and infuriate almost all of the wealthy, the powerful and influential, the Senators and upper classes (from whose ranks the writers of the subsequent accounts came), and also because he was apparently so popular amongst the lower populace that, even though he was declared public enemy after his death and serious attempts were made to erase his image and memory from public consciousness, belief in the popular legend that he would return after death persisted for several centuries.

There is a very readable (though not necessarily authoritative) account of some of the more modern perspectives on a somewhat rehabilitated Nero called Nerone: Duemila anni di calunnie by a journalist called Massimo Fini, but I'm not aware of an English translation. You might be able to catch some of the flavour here:
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