2.Communications in the ancient world
Second, Daniel-Rops notes a few considerations that help explain why even more was not written about Jesus in ancient times. For instance, the first century was certainly not characterized by advanced communications, at least by any modern standards. Any number of events, persons, or situations could be newsworthy in a regional setting and get hardly any attention on the international scene. Furthermore, there were very few ancient writers, comparatively speaking. Consequently, they would have plenty to write about and often confined themselves to situations that were “official” or of international interest.
At the beginning, we cannot be sure that Jesus or the earliest Christians made any such international commotion. Lastly, Jesus’ background as a peasant from a humble family would mitigate against him receiving any great amount of attention. Even the Christian teaching of his messiahship might look to an outsider to be a Jewish sectarian dogma, making Jesus just another “pretender” to be the king of the Jews.^54
Again, we must not be misled by these considerations into the mistaken conclusion that extra-New Testament sources ignore Jesus. There are a surprising
53 Charles Templeton, Act of God(New York: Bantam, 1979), p. 152. 54 Daniel-Rops, “The Silence of Jesus’ Contemporaries,” pp. 13–14, 17–18.
number of non-Christian sources that do tell us a number of things about him. There are also several reasons why even more is not reported.
Summary and Conclusion
In this chapter we have investigated some misconceptions concerning the historicity of Jesus, reaching the conclusion that none of them presents compelling reasons to disregard all or part of our source material about him.