An interesting tendency among some ancient authors was to view Jesus as a philosopher with some distinctive teachings (Lucian, Mara Bar-Serapion, cf. Gospel of Thomas). Lucian lists some of Jesus’ teachings as the need for conversion, the importance of faith and obedience, the brotherhood of all believers, the requirements of abandoning the gods of other systems of belief and the worship of himself, which was either taught or at least the result of his teaching. It might also be inferred that the Christian belief in immortality and lack of fear of death reported by Lucian is also due to Jesus’ teaching.

Pliny’s report that believers took oaths not to commit unrighteousness is probably due to Jesus’ warnings against sin. The Gospel of Truthadds that Jesus taught his listeners about his Father and that Jesus realized that his death was the means of life for many. The Death of Jesus

The Jewish leaders judged that Jesus was guilty of teaching spiritual apostasy, thereby leading Israel astray (Talmud, cf. Apocryphon of John). So the Jews sent a herald proclaiming that Jesus would be stoned for his false teaching and invited anyone who wished to defend him to do so. But none came forward to support him (Talmud).

After suffering persecution (Gospel of Truth) and as a result of his teachings (Lucian), Jesus was put to death (Gospel of Thomas, Treatise on Resurrection). He died at the hands of Roman procurator Pontius Pilate (Tacitus), who crucified him (Josephus, Talmud, Lucian, Gospel of Truth, Acts of Pilate) during the reign of Emperor Tiberius (Tacitus, Phlegon).

Even some details of the crucifixion are provided. The event occurred on Passover Eve (Talmud) and included being nailed to a cross (Phlegon, Gospel of Truth, Acts of Pilate, cf. Tacitus), after which the executioners gambled for his garments (Acts of Pilate). There were signs in nature, too, as darkness covered the land for three hours due to an eclipse of the sun (Thallus, Phlegon), and great earthquakes occurred (Phlegon). One writer (Mara Bar-Serapion) asserted that Jesus was executed unjustly and that the Jews were judged accordingly by God. The Resurrection of Jesus

After Jesus’ death it is recorded that his teachings broke out again in Judea (Tacitus, cf. Suetonius, Pliny). What was the cause for this new activity and spread of Jesus’ teachings after his death? Could Jesus have been raised from the dead? Various answers are mentioned. Mara Bar-Serapion, for example, points out that Jesus’ teachings lived on in his disciples.

According to the Toledoth Jesu, the disciples were going to steal the body, so Juda the gardener reburied it and later sold the body of Jesus to the Jewish leaders, who dragged it down the streets of Jerusalem. Justin Martyr and Tertullian object, asserting that the Jews sent trained men around the Mediterranean region in order to say that the disciples stole the body. The earliest of the sources, Matthew 28:11–15, claims that after Jesus was raised from the dead, the Jewish leaders bribed the tomb guards in order to have them say that the disciples stole the body, even though they did not.