Friday, January 27, 2006

Holtz and Extra-Biblical Secular Confirmation of Biblical Miracles

The Gospel miracles have no extra-scriptural corroboration

Holtz says that "extra-scriptural records do not corroborate the gospel miracles." Early anti-Christian Jewish Rabbinical tradition such as that of Trypho states that Jesus did works of a miraculous nature. Anti-Christian Greco-Roman writers Celsus [1], Porphyry, Hierocles, and Julian accept that some of Jesus' miracles actually occurred. Greco-Roman literary trends and popular belief trends show widespread acceptance by the Roman Empire of credible, historical miracles by Jesus.

Holtz says that "the Good Friday 3-hour darkness 'over all the land'" and the "the Good Friday earthquake" "in fact went unnoticed by every non-Christian writer." The non-Christian Roman Phlegon reported the exact hours of the darkness and reported the Good Friday earthquake as a historical fact. The darkness was a historical fact; only the explanation was in question. Julius Africanus pointed out that the crucifixion darkness could not be naturalistically explained as an eclipse because Passover was a full moon. Holtz also claims that "The identification of Thallus' eclipse with "this darkness" might just be in the mind of Julius Africanus." Such an assertion is unreasonable. Thallus was clearly referring specifically to the darkness surrounding Jesus Christ's crucifixion. Julius Africanus was highly skilled at textual criticism, and traveled widely. Julius Africanus was committed to the truth, considered reliable by subsequent historians, had the resources and information access needed to be a qualified historian, and demonstrated historiographical integrity.