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Thursday, February 11, 2021

Josephus, Tacitus and Today

I was reading this morning about extra-Biblical accounts about the crucifixion of Jesus. Two Roman historians briefly mention it. 

Josephus was born about 37 CE and was a Jewish Roman historian. There are copies of his writings, but none earlier than the11th century. There are mentions of his writings on Jesus by several Christian writers in the first couple of centuries, and later by some Syrian writers. There are disagreements about what he said. Some say one thing and others the opposite. Such as: Pilate did not kill Jesus because the Jews asked him to; or the Jews asked him to; or "if you can call him a man;" or he was the Messiah; or he was thought by some to be the Messiah; etc.

Tacitus was born about 56 CE. In his "Annals" he wrote about the suspicion that Nero burned Rome in order to blame the unpopular Christians for the destruction. Tacitus, as a Roman elite, had a very negative view of Christians and even more so of Jews. He writes proudly of Pilot for giving an appropriate response to the threat that Jesus posed. As much as he despised the Jews and thought them superstitious, he did not indicate they had any role in the crucifixion.

Of course, the Christians had a different view of Jesus, but they also did not, and still don't, have a consistent account of who and what caused the crucifixion.

So then what came to mind is our current situation in America and the world. We may not be able to unravel ancient history definitively, but one would think current events could be seen clearly. BUT not so.  The reports about what is going on are filtered through all sorts of belief systems that skew things this way and that - right before our eyes. It makes me think of the "stop think" of dystopia. W e have no way to know what is true, what is propaganda, what is error, what ideology twisted it for what end. This is for simple things and complex things. 

Masks are not useful, wear a mask when going out, wear a mask at home, wear 3 masks, all from Dr. Fauci, let alone all the other experts. The President incited a riot at the Capital, the riot was planned in advance, the riot started while he was still talking, he told everyone to be peaceful, he is on trial for inciting a riot so that he can be removed from office even though he is no longer in office, it's unconstitutional to impeach a private citizen, we're doing it anyway.  Five people were killed in the riots at the Capital, only one was shot (and she was unarmed) the rest died of heart attacks and strokes. Covid is so dangerous we have to shut down life, but we are opening our borders to masses of untested immigrants coming from places where Covid is rampant. I could go on for pages with examples.

Is it wise to get angry and worked up over things about which we have no idea what is accurate and what is not? I stare in wonder over the hatred and anger over this or that, knowing full well that none of the upset people have any way to know if whatever it is is true or not.

So I am going to live my life the best I can and deal with life here and now, with the things I have first hand knowledge, of what I'm pretty sure are real. And, since I have no control over the crazed haters and the confusers, I let them go to implode on their own. God bless us all.

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