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Jesus and Pythagoras: Exploring their Evidence

The existence of historical figures can often be a topic of debate and scepticism, while it has often been asserted that Jesus never existed, nobody questions the existence of Greek philosophers such as Pythagoras. However, when examining the evidence, it becomes evident that there is a substantial amount of historical documentation and corroborating sources that support the existence of Jesus.

In fact, the evidence for the existence of Jesus far surpasses that of Pythagoras, the ancient Greek mathematician and philosopher. I will now explore the compelling evidence for the existence of Jesus Christ and compare it to the available evidence for Pythagoras, but while I do not suggest Pythagoras didn't exist, it is interesting to note the different evidential standards some hold Jesus to.

The Evidence for Jesus

Biblical Accounts: The New Testament of the Bible contains numerous accounts of Jesus' life, teachings, miracles, and crucifixion. These documents were written by eyewitnesses and close associates of Jesus, including the apostles Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. While some may question the religious bias of these texts, they are invaluable historical sources that provide insight into the life and impact of Jesus.

Non-Christian Sources: Apart from the biblical accounts, several non-Christian sources from the first and second centuries mention Jesus and his followers. These include the works of Roman historians Tacitus and Suetonius, Jewish historian Josephus, and Greek historian Thallus. These sources provide additional historical attestation to Jesus' existence, his crucifixion, and the early Christian movement.

Early Christian Writings: The early Christian writings outside the New Testament, such as the letters of Paul and the writings of the early Church Fathers, provide further evidence for the existence of Jesus. These writings, which date back to the first century and early second century, affirm the life, teachings, and crucifixion of Jesus.

Martyrdom of Jesus' Disciples: Many of Jesus' disciples, including Peter, James, and Paul, faced persecution and martyrdom for their unwavering commitment to their belief in Jesus. The willingness of these early followers to suffer and die for their faith demonstrates their conviction in the reality of Jesus' existence and the truth of His teachings.

Archaeological Evidence: Archaeological discoveries have unearthed numerous artefacts and inscriptions that confirm the historical context in which Jesus lived. These include the discovery of the Caiaphas Ossuary, which is believed to contain the remains of the high priest Caiaphas mentioned in the New Testament, and the Pilate Stone, which bears an inscription referring to Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor who played a significant role in Jesus' crucifixion.

The Evidence for Pythagoras

Fragmentary Sources: Unlike Jesus, the historical documentation of Pythagoras is relatively sparse and fragmentary. The majority of what we know about Pythagoras comes from later writings, such as those of Plato and Aristotle, who were influenced by Pythagorean ideas. These writings provide some insight into Pythagoras' teachings and mathematical discoveries but do not offer detailed biographical information.

Lack of Contemporary Sources: Unlike the abundance of contemporary and near-contemporary sources for Jesus, there are no surviving accounts from Pythagoras' lifetime or immediately afterwards. The earliest writings about Pythagoras were composed several centuries after his death, making it challenging to establish an accurate historical record of his life and teachings.

Legendary Elements: The lack of contemporary sources has led to the accumulation of legendary and mythical elements in the accounts of Pythagoras. Many stories about his life and accomplishments have been embellished and distorted over time, making it difficult to separate fact from fiction.


When examining the evidence for the existence of Jesus Christ and Pythagoras, it becomes clear that there is a significant imbalance in the available sources. The evidence for Jesus is much more extensive, diverse, and contemporaneous, consisting of biblical accounts, non-Christian sources, early Christian writings, and archaeological evidence. In contrast, the evidence for Pythagoras is limited to fragmentary accounts and writings influenced by Pythagorean ideas.

While it is essential to critically evaluate historical evidence, the abundance of diverse sources and archaeological findings entirely support the existence of Jesus Christ. The historical record surrounding Jesus provides a robust foundation for understanding his life, teachings, and impact on human history. As Christians, we can find confidence in the historical evidence that affirms the reality of Jesus' existence and his profound influence on the world.