Books

Is there Evidence for Jesus outside the Bible?

by Steve Ray on January 4, 2016

Some people think Jesus is a mythical figure like Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny. Others think Jesus might be historical but only mentioned in the Bible is the only source of information on the existence of Jesus. They question whether Jesus really existed as a real historical figure. Is the Bible the only source that confirms the historical existence of Jesus?

Jesusat33AJesus was a historical person. He really lived in space and time. The Bible is a very reputable source of information about the historical Jesus who walked the paths of Israel. But even though the Bible is certainly adequate to affirm the existence of Jesus, there ARE other sources that confirm his historical existence.

Below are a list of books and websites that address this issue head-on. There is evidence of Jesus’ existence outside the Bible and these are books I have in my library that provide the evidence. No one has to doubt his historical existence, that is for sure. If you know of any other sources, please let me know in the Comments below.

Books about the Historical Evidence for Jesus

The Evidence for Jesus by R. T. France
The Historical Jesus: Ancient Evidence for the Life of Christ by Gary Habermas
Ancient Evidence for the Life of Jesus: Historical Records of His Death and Resurrection by Gary Habermas
Jesus Outside the New Testament: An Introduction to the Ancient Evidence by Robert Van Voorst
The Evidence for Jesus by James Dunn

Internet Sources

Wikipedia has a pretty helpful source under the title Historicity of Jesus. It deals with early Christian sources outside the Bible but I would especially point out the subsection on Greco-Roman sources which provides a number of good quotations.

New Testament Documents: Are they Reliable? by F. F. Bruce. The complete book is on-line.

The above are mostly Protestant books though they are very good. If anyone knows other books or a good Catholic source, let me know. Good websites would be especially welcome.

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Families are great and so are great stories. One of our favorite authors is W. Wilson Rawls who only wrote two books but they are both treasures — especially for reading aloud to kids. 

The first of Rawls’ books we read a year or so ago was entitled Where the Red Fern Grows. What a great story, especially to read aloud with the wind blowing and the fireplace dancing.

This weekend our family is all together for Easter. My son Jesse and his wife Anna are home with their seven kids and Charlotte and Wes are home too. I started reading The Summer of the Monkeys a week ago to the seven Ray kids when I visited them near Chicago and we are finishing it up this weekend. I lay on the couch (my official reading position) and they are piled on all around me.

Today we are coming to the end of the story of a boy raised in the Ozark’s who wants nothing more than his own pony. He finally earns the pony but almost immediately takes it back to use the money for another purpose (I won’t spoil the book for you). I had tears in my eyes and it took every bit of will power I had to keep reading. Good thing I had a handkerchief with me. 

Mom was always the best mom ever, cleaning, cooking, and caring while Dad read us stories

My dad could never finish reading such a book to us kids without tearing up at the end. My mom usually had to finish the last chapter. My dad would not buy us a TV as we grew up — he chose instead to read us stories every night after dinner. I love him for that great gift. He read us many of these great classics for families.

I know the last 20 pages of the book will be almost impossible for me to finish tonight but I’ll give it my best shot. If I get too choked, Janet or one of the grandkids will have to finish reading the final pages. 

On another note, a bird flew in front on the van on the way home from the Easter Vigil Mass. It was a rare bird, at least not seen very often due to it’s nocturnal habits and shy demeanor. Even as a birdwatcher all my life I had never seen an American Woodcock.

My son jumped from his van with his kids and picked it up off the road. They nursed it to health yesterday and we put it back outside. It slept on our rocks overnight and this morning flew away. It was a pleasant, unexpected and welcomed visit. Now we have one more bird to check off our Life List of Birds We’ve Seen.

Being a family is very cool — God knew what he was doing. 

All the grandkids signed the Title Page after we finished the book. It is now a family heirloom.

UPDATE: Just finished reading the story at 3:30 PM on Easter Sunday. Emotional ending. Great story of family bonds, Christian morality, deferred pleasure and eternal values in the midst of tough trials, painful choices and childhood dreams. Horses, crippled legs, hound dogs, 22 rifles, suffering, growing up and loyalty.

In the tradition of my mother and father who read us countless stories, we finished the adventure together today by writing about the story, the date and the people listening to the story read.

Today was no different. Here is the title page with the story book we just read and the signature of the grandkids who sat enraptured until the tearful end. Now we are thinking of the next book we will read together. 

Blessed be God forever! I love my family! Happy Easter! (Can’t wait to read these stories again to new grandkids as they grow older and new ones as they are born.)

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Cover of the "mythical" booklet "Trail of Blood"

What is the history of Baptists? Can they trace their roots back to the 1st century? Many ”fundamentalist” Baptists believe they can. Are they correct?

There is a booklet that is very popular among this fundamentalist crowd. It is entitled “The Trail of Blood”. The booklet claims that Catholics persecuted the true Christians — the Baptists — leaving behind a trail of blood.

I used to believe this premise and now that I have looked more carefully I wrote an article about this booklet and this the idea Baptists are the true Christians that have survived Catholic attempts to destroy them. Here is how my article begins:

“When Baptists attempt to discover the origins of their tradition they are faced with a historical dilemma. The search for Baptists roots hits a dead end in the sixteenth century. Most acknowledge that Baptist tradition is a tributary flowing out of the Protestant Reformation, but others attempt to discover a line of historical continuity, of doctrine and practice, back to Jesus and even John the Baptist. These Baptists are commonly referred to as “Baptist Successionists”. . . “

-For my full article on the Trail of Blood, click here (pdf).
-For other articles and references, click here.
-For more such articles and letters, click here.

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Great New Didache Bible from Ignatius Press

January 24, 2015

The Didache Bible Is Here, By Dr. Jeff Mirus This Bible uses the Second Edition of the Catholic Edition of the Revised Standard Version, widely regarded as the best translation available today. This means it was last revised according to the principles promulgated in Liturgiam Authenticam in 2001. The printing is well done—clean, clear and easy to [...]

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Summer Picks – Books Steve Uses on Verbum Software

July 28, 2014

When Verbum asked me what books I would recommend for summer reading, it was easy to come up with some great titles. I use Verbum every day, and there are certain books I use over and over again. The books are all interconnected, so while you could sit and read any of the books I picked (they’re [...]

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Islam: Not Peace, but a Sword

April 26, 2013

Why didn’t interfaith dialogue prevent the Boston jihad bombings? “…the positive achievements that we Catholics have attained in our inter-religious dialogue with devout Muslims…” — Bishop Robert McManus of Worcester, Massachusetts, February 8, 2013 Why didn’t that “inter-religious dialogue with devout Muslims” in the Boston area, which is where McManus is, prevent the Boston jihad [...]

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Special Offer for the Year of Faith

March 7, 2013

Jesse Ray here. We just finished producing my dad’s newest recorded talk on CD. Proclaiming the Gospel: Back Then – And All Over Again. It is available now for a special price along with his popular book called Faith for Beginners – Understanding the Creeds.  Sample 1 | Sample 2 Click HERE to learn more.

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My Two Books to Help Understand the Papacy and the Process

February 12, 2013

Ray, a former Evangelical Protestant and Bible teacher, goes through the Scriptures and the first five centuries of the Church to demonstrate that the early Christians had a clear understanding of the primacy of Peter in the see of Rome. (Click on book image to learn more or to purchase) He tackles the tough issues [...]

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Excellent Summary and Explanation of the Pope’s New Book on The Infancy Narratives of Jesus

December 27, 2012

Not only a good summary of “The Infancy Narratives of Jesus of Nazareth” but also of the Pope’s thought in general. A short, crisp enjoyable read – especially over Christmas. Click here for the article in Catholic World Report.

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Great Free Offer: “Catholic World Report” Magazine FREE On-line!

October 12, 2012

    From my friend Mark Brumley, president of Ignatius Press: Friends, many of you know about Ignatius Press’ magazine Catholic World Report.  It’s completely online now.  I’m writing to encourage you to sign up for the free Catholic World Report email newsletter. It’s sent out weekly to alert people to outstanding articles, interviews, and [...]

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Update on Stuff :-)

April 21, 2012

First, we are in Amsterdam ready to board our connector to Israel. We will attend a friend’s wedding in Nazareth and then take our bus to Tel Aviv to pick up our 81 pilgrims. This pilgrimage is sponsored by Ave Maria (with Teresa Tomeo) and Priests for Life (with Executive Director Janet Morana). Watch for [...]

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Seclusion is Paying Off!

February 18, 2012

Seclusion is paying off. I finished writing the sections for Joshua and Ruth. I now have only to write Judges and the Intro! Making good progress on this study for CSS which will also be a book published by Ignatius Press a year or two down the road. I have four other books in the [...]

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Tonight Finished Teary-Eyed Reading to the Grandkids

December 23, 2011

We’ve been reading aloud Where the Red Fern Grows to the grandkids. I remember reading it to my own kids. We always write in the cover of the book, date it and sign it. We all had tears in our eyes through the last two chapters, just like I did 20 years ago too. But [...]

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Know Someone Who Loves the Bible? – A Christmas Gift Idea!

November 23, 2011

I spent two years of my life writing my book St. John’s Gospel: A Bible Study Guide and Commentary. It was one of the “richest” periods of my life and I put on scuba gear and dove into that profound Gospel written by the very old man (almost 100 years old) who had laid his [...]

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An Evening with Paul Badde

May 4, 2011

“The Face of God” is a great new book that reads like a detective novel yet it is true. Paul Badde’s tracks down the face cloth of Christ which had been found in the tomb after Jesus’ resurrection. It is a great read and I encourage everyone to get a copy from Ignatius Press, either [...]

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A Nice Discovery

May 3, 2011

It’s always nice to walk into the Ancora Bookstore at the Vatican and find your book for sale there. It is humbling and gratifying. Just signed a contract with Ignatius Press for my manuscript on Genesis. Another two books also in the pipeline. Blessed be God forever.

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