Earliest reference describes Christ as ‘magician’

A team of scientists led by renowned French marine archaeologist Franck Goddio recently announced that they have found a bowl, dating to between the late 2nd century B.C. and the early 1st century A.D., that is engraved with what they believe could be the world’s first known reference to Christ.

If the word “Christ” refers to the Biblical Jesus Christ, as is speculated, then the discovery may provide evidence that Christianity and paganism at times intertwined in the ancient world.

The full engraving on the bowl reads, “DIA CHRSTOU O GOISTAIS,” which has been interpreted by the excavation team to mean either, “by Christ the magician” or, “the magician by Christ.”

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2 Responses to Earliest reference describes Christ as ‘magician’

  1. dan says:

    Keith, thanks for this post. For the last several years I’ve been fascinated about what sort of factual information exists concerning the history of Christianity immediately following the crucifixion. My understanding from reading a dozen New Testament historians is that none of the four gospels were eyewitness accounts and all were written one to two generations after Jesus’ death/resurrection. Nor are any of the authors known, although Luke may have been a companion of Paul. There are no contemporary accounts of Jesus existence outside of the New Testament [written between 65 CE and 95 CE] during the first 100 years other than a comment by the historian Josephus, who refers to Jesus indirectly in a single sentence describing the death of Jesus’ brother, James. Any possible references to Jesus by anyone in the first century, especially non-Christian accounts, are very unusual.

  2. Rev. Hart says:

    Dan, there is also Pliny the Younger and Origen. They were non-Christian figures who wrote about their dealings with the early members of the Jesus movement (read: the Early Church).

    If you are thusly interested, you’ll definitely enjoy Josh McDowell’s thorough Evidence for Christianity.

    Grace and peace.

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