Jesus: A (Relatively) Late Insert to Christianity
Notice that early Christianity big cheese Theophilus of Antioch defines "Christians" on the basis of their practice of anointing themselves with "holy oil". Good Theophilus is not aware of any "Jesus Christ"; another extant writing of his is a "Chronology of the World" from Adam to Emperor Marcus Aurelius - without any Jesus Christ. And Theophilus was no lightweight; he was bishop, the highest ranking cleric of the time, of Antioch, the location that was the FIRST PLACE where the members of his religion were referred to as "Christians", according to Acts. 11:26. The jeez was DEFINITELY a later creation pasted into the theology.
Morgan Lefaye: Could you give me a link, please?
Did YOU ever come to the right shop! Music to my ears!
CHAP. XII.--MEANING OF THE NAME CHRISTIAN. - it's a ways down on the page.
CHAP. XXIV.--CHRONOLOGY FROM ADAM. - also near the bottom.
One of the best sources I can recommend is the Rev. Robert Taylor's Diegesis, in .pdf form at that link. It's from the early 1800s, and it's astonishing how many sources he had at his disposal that you've never heard of. Like Bishop Melito of Sardis (ca. 171 CE):
"For the philosophy which we profess, truly flourished aforetime among the barbarous nations; but having blossomed again (or been transplanted) in the great reign of thy ancestor Augustus, it proved to be above all things ominous of good fortune to thy kingdom."The reign of Augustus? 16 January 27 BC – 19 August 14 CE. More than a decade before the jeez began its supposed "ministry" by the most generous estimate.
The passage continues : "For from thenceforth the Roman empire increased in glory, whose inheritor now you are, indeed for all your subjects : both you and your son will be continually prayed for. Retain, therefore, this religion, which grew as your empire grew ; which began with which was reverenced by your ancestors before all other religions. Only Nero and Domitian, through the persuasion of certain envious and malicious persons, were disposed to bring our doctrine into hatred. But your godly ancestors corrected their blind ignorance, and rebuked oftentimes by their the rash enterprises of those who were ill affected towards us. And your own father wrote unto the municipal authorities in our behalf, that they should make no innovations, nor practice anything prejudicial to the Christians. And of yourself, we are fully persuaded that we shall obtain the object of our humble petition, in that your opinion and sentence is correspondent unto that of your predecessors, yea, and even more gracious, and far more religious."
This document - and it is wholly indisputable - is absolutely fatal to all the pretended historical evidences of Christianity, inasmuch as it demonstrates the facts:
Ist. That it is not true that Christians, as such, had ever at any time been the objects of any extensive or notorious political persecution.
2nd. That it is not true that Christianity had any such origin as has been generally imagined for it.
3rd. That it is not true that it made its first appearance at the time generally assigned; for it had flourished before that time.
4th. That it is not true that it originated in Judea, which was a province of the Roman empire ; for it was an importation from some foreign countries which lay beyond the boundaries of that empire.
Why are sources like Melito of Sardis unknown to us? Because the Church has deliberately suppressed, if not outright disappeared, such witnesses.