So, in the face of Setanta's brilliant response, let's recap:
Whatever we don't like is suspect.
Whatever we don't like could have been written by pretenders.
It is the other people, who prefer to believe as they do despite a mountain of evidence.
However, he was false when he said the writings of Caesars, historians from the period, and opposing religious documents don't mention/ describe Jesus.
They undeniably do.
Like it or not.
Lash has provided a long passage on the first page of this thread, without attribution, which asserts that Tacitus provides "proof" that the putative Jesus existed. I believe that no attribution was provided because it was drawn from a christian web site, or a web site favorable to a christian view, and that Lash knows this will be obvious if we have the attribution. How ironic, given the frequency with which that member chides others for not "providing a link."
Lash is smart enough to know that if it were known that her source were christian, the source automatically becomes suspect. Of course, if a source to rebut the contentions she has made were "atheist," the same "conflict of interest" would be apparent. Therefore, i provide the following from Drew University. Drew University is a liberal arts school in northern New Jersey. The material i will link here is from a graduate level course in the Theological School at Drew. The opening page of the University's section on its Theological School has a welcome from the Dean, the second paragraph of which, reads, in its entirety:
The Dean of the Drew University Theological School wrote:
Our journey toward wisdom and holiness has its own seasons as we live here together. Gently we become community as we worship, study, play and eat. While our United Methodist connections are extremely important to us, we also represent more than twenty denominations and many communities with no denominational identity. We come from many different countries and states, and represent a variety of ethnic cultures. What a unique gift this environment is to the preparation for ministry!
I think it reasonable to assert that a theological school affiliated with the United Methodists is free of any anti-christian taint. Darrell J. Dougherty, Professor of New Testament, provides this page on the Neronian persecution allegedly described in Tacitus
Professor Dougherty wrote:
But the real question concerns the historical reliability of this information--i.e., whether we have to do here with a later Christian insertion. When I consider a question such as this, the first question to ask is whether it [is] conceivable or perhaps even probable that later Christians might have modified ancient historical sources; and the answer to this question certainly must be yes! Then, with regard to this particular source, I note that the earliest manuscript we have for the Annales dates from the 11th century, and must therefore have been copied and recopied many times, by generations of Christian scribes (and Christian apologists). So there were certainly opporunities to modify what Tacitus originally wrote.
(Please note that Professor Dougherty here relies upon the knowledge of those whom he addresses, when he states that an 11th century manuscript has surely been copied and recopied many times. The graduate students whom he addresses in his course can reasonably be assumed to know that Tacitus completed The Annals of Imperial Rome
in about 103 CE.)
I urge those who wish to pursue this to read the linked page. You can also use the "Return to Home Page" link there to look at other materials from Professor Dougherty's course. The topic of the course, however, is not the historicity of the putative Jesus, but rather, the historical foundation of the claims of wide-spread christian martyrdom in the Roman empire. Such contentions are also usually canards which were much exagerated by christians, in those cases in which they were not fabricated out of hand.
It is a simple matter to find information on interpolations in ancient texts from sources which have sound credentials to argue the point. One needn't believe me, nor Lash--one can find many examples such as that which i have provided by online searches.
Once again, i think it speaks volumes for the reliability of this source that a member of the faculty of a theological school associated with a christian denomination considers the Tacitus passage to be an interpolation.