Virtually all scholars today, teaching in the relevant fields of ancient history, classics, and biblical studies—from all different religious backgrounds—agree on certain bedrock facts concerning Jesus of Nazareth. To name a few: Jesus began his public ministry after being baptized by John the Baptist, he was known as a miracle worker and an exorcist, he was crucified under Pontius Pilate during the reign of Tiberius Caesar, and after Jesus’s death, beginning in Jerusalem, a number of his followers (including a former enemy, Paul) proclaimed that he appeared to them alive, raised from the dead.
This is unalterable historical bedrock.
How do we know these (or any) historical facts about Jesus and early Christianity? Primarily from the New Testament documents originally written in the first century AD. But how close can we get to Jesus of Nazareth through these sources? In other words, what is the earliest historical evidence for Christianity? The answer may surprise you.
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