Sat 14 Jan, 2006 04:06 pm
Prove Christ exists, judge orders priest
From Richard Owen in Rome
AN ITALIAN judge has ordered a priest to appear in court this month to prove that Jesus Christ existed.
The case against Father Enrico Righi has been brought in the town of Viterbo, north of Rome, by Luigi Cascioli, a retired agronomist who once studied for the priesthood but later became a militant atheist.
Signor Cascioli, author of a book called The Fable of Christ, began legal proceedings against Father Righi three years ago after the priest denounced Signor Cascioli in the parish newsletter for questioning Christ’s historical existence.
Yesterday Gaetano Mautone, a judge in Viterbo, set a preliminary hearing for the end of this month and ordered Father Righi to appear. The judge had earlier refused to take up the case, but was overruled last month by the Court of Appeal, which agreed that Signor Cascioli had a reasonable case for his accusation that Father Righi was “abusing popular credulity”.
Signor Cascioli’s contention — echoed in numerous atheist books and internet sites — is that there was no reliable evidence that Jesus lived and died in 1st-century Palestine apart from the Gospel accounts, which Christians took on faith. There is therefore no basis for Christianity, he claims.
Signor Cascioli’s one-man campaign came to a head at a court hearing last April when he lodged his accusations of “abuse of popular credulity” and “impersonation”, both offences under the Italian penal code. He argued that all claims for the existence of Jesus from sources other than the Bible stem from authors who lived “after the time of the hypothetical Jesus” and were therefore not reliable witnesses.
Signor Cascioli maintains that early Christian writers confused Jesus with John of Gamala, an anti-Roman Jewish insurgent in 1st-century Palestine. Church authorities were therefore guilty of “substitution of persons”.
The Roman historians Tacitus and Suetonius mention a “Christus” or “Chrestus”, but were writing “well after the life of the purported Jesus” and were relying on hearsay.
Father Righi said there was overwhelming testimony to Christ’s existence in religious and secular texts. Millions had in any case believed in Christ as both man and Son of God for 2,000 years.
“If Cascioli does not see the sun in the sky at midday, he cannot sue me because I see it and he does not,” Father Righi said.
Signor Cascioli said that the Gospels themselves were full of inconsistencies and did not agree on the names of the 12 apostles. He said that he would withdraw his legal action if Father Righi came up with irrefutable proof of Christ’s existence by the end of the month.
The Vatican has so far declined to comment.
The Gospels say that Jesus was born to the Virgin Mary in Bethlehem, grew up in Nazareth, preached and performed miracles in Galilee and died on the Cross in Jerusalem
In his Antiquities of the Jews at the end of the 1st century, Josephus, the Jewish historian, refers to Jesus as “a wise man, a doer of wonderful works” who “drew over to him both many of the Jews and many of the Gentiles”
Muslims believe Jesus was a great prophet. Many Jewish theologians regard Jesus as an itinerant rabbi who popularised many of the beliefs of liberal Jews. Neither Muslims nor Jews believe he was the Messiah and Son of God
Tacitus, the Roman historian who lived from 55 to 120, mentions “Christus” in his Annals. In about 120 Suetonius, author of The Lives of the Caesars, says: “Since the Jews constantly made disturbances at the instigation of Chrestus, Emperor Claudius expelled them from Rome.”
Actually, there is no physical evidence to prove he existed.
Is there physical evidence Julius Ceasar existed? Curius is all...
There are coins from Ceasars time bearing his likeness.
Of course, I've got coins that contain the word God (though not Jesus).
That's not physical evidence that he existed though.
There are writings from historians and a couple of Caesars discussing Jesus.
So, you refute this?
Q: "Are there any historical writings, other than the Bible, that prove that Jesus ever really lived?"
our A: Yes. Cornelius Tacitus (A.D. 55-120) was considered the greatest historian of ancient Rome. He wrote of Nero who "punished with the most exquisite tortures, the persons commonly called Christians, who were hated for their enormities. Christus [Christ], the founder of the name, was put to death by Pontius Pilate, procurator of Judea in the reign of Tiberius: but the pernicious superstition, repressed for a time, broke out again, not only through Judea, where the mischief originiated, but through the city of Rome also."1
Also, Flavius Josephus, a Jewish historian, (A.D. 38-100+) wrote about Jesus in his Jewish Antiquities, saying that Jesus was a wise man who did surprising feats, taught many, won over followers from among Jews and Greeks, that Jesus was believed to be the Messiah, was accused by the Jewish leaders, was condemned to be crucified by Pilate, and was considered to be resurrected.2
The existence of Jesus Christ is recorded not only by Josephus and Tacitus, but also by ancient writers such as Suetonius, Thallus, Pliny the Younger, and Lucian. And from the Jewish Talmud, "we learn that Jesus was conceived out of wedlock, gathered disciples, made blasphemous claims about himself, and worked miracles, but these miracles are attributed to sorcery and not to God."3
Thus, historians both favorable and unfavorable regarding Jesus did write about him. Also there were many historical writings about the early Christians.
You refute that he is spoken about in rather unsavory terms in some ancient Jewish writings?
What was all that hub-bub about around 33AD?
Is there physical evidence Julius Ceasar existed? Curius is all...
Yes, it's true: the only physical evidence we have points to the existence of Curius.
Quintus Curius Maximus Fistula (app. A.D. 27 - 65): Curius was a general in the Roman army during the early imperial period. In A.D. 59 he led the invasion of Albania, for no good reason. He is briefly mentioned in Suetonius's Lives of the Caesars as "the most aromatic man in all of Rome." Curius served as proconsul in the province of Latvia (current day Lithuania) after reportedly receiving the command of the emperor Claudius (A.D. 41-54) to "go somewhere, anywhere!" Upon his return to Rome, he married the emperor's "kissin' cousin," Octavia Agrippina Enema, who bore him three children -- "one of each," as he liked to joke at parties (but, sadly, it was true). In A.D. 65 the emperor Nero falsely accused his wife Poppea of adultery and stomped her to death: Curius, unfortunately, was underneath Poppea at the time. Although many of the details of Curius's life are sketchy, historians are certain that he existed. A fragment of Curius's diary has been preserved in the Vatican Library, starting with the famously enigmatic sentence "Sum Claudius fluvus" (I am Curius, yellow).
Easy, pray for a miracle to happen and problem solved!
I mean come on he's the son of god, I'm sure he can pull some strings around hu?
Even better, since the preach can talk to god (as every preach claims to do) why not ask him directly for proof?
Cut the middleman out! I'm sure god keeps a copy of Jc's birth certificate around....
Deuteronomy 6:16 ~ Do not test the Lord your God.....
So.... believe in me because I say so?
Reminds me of the wmd argument of someone who claims to speak to god also.
That's why they call it faith. :wink:
I think it's called blind faith
I gather that. Perhaps in the very beginning when one first believes it is blind faith. But as one grows in their relationship with God it's no longer blind.
What do I pray for? Peace. Goodness for humanity. Wisdom and understanding. Lots of things.