Sunday, May 21, 2006

Refreshingly honest pagans?

I stole this article from someone, and it's good reading for a Sunday, when one ought to be growing in charity. I on the other hand was on an awesome road trip to Rhode Island, which has excellent pizza for some reason.

In any event, a handful of Romans recorded their brief notice of Jesus and His followers as the years wore on.

Pope John Paul also mentioned the historian Tacitus, writing between A.D. 115 and 120 on the burning of Rome, which the emperor Nero had blamed on the Christians. Tacitus recorded that the founder of this sect (”hated for their abominations”) was one “Christus,” who “suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilate.”

Christ also appears, by name only, in the “Lives of the Caesars,” by the historian Suetonius, writing around A.D. 121.

Another brief but more telling remark comes in the testimony of Pliny the Younger, writing in A.D. 111-113 when he was Roman governor of Bithynia, on the Black Sea. Reporting his routine interrogations and torture to the emperor Trajan, Pliny spoke of the Christian sect as something harmless. They gather once a week, he wrote, “on a designated day, before dawn, to sing in alternating choirs a hymn to Christ as to a God.”

The pagan Pliny’s report, then, is among the earliest records of orthodox Christology - relating the early Church’s belief of the divinity in Christ. (Dan Brown, call your office.)

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