"Historical Jesus", in a few words
A brief & comprehensive account on how Christianity started through a sequence of events involving Pilate, John the Baptist, Jesus & others
Front page: Jesus, a historical reconstruction (with website search function)
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1) Right after Pilate took over as procurator (and/or prefect) in Judea (fall of 26CE), there is
an unprecedented series of events in Jerusalem & Cesarea (Josephus' Wars II, IX, 2-3 & Ant., XVIII, III, 1), with exceptionally good outcomes, inviting the Jews to think God is back looking after them. Also, this episode weakens Pilate's rule, allowing for John the Baptist (JtB) and the many Jews going to him (and later a certain royal welcome near Jerusalem) (HJ-1b).
2) JtB attracts large crowds for a few months (spring of 27CE), preaching God's Kingdom (of the old prophecies) is near, better to be "cleansed" in order to avoid the accompanying God's wrath (HJ-1b).
3) Jesus enters here, so far as a lower class, uneducated, rural Jew from Galilee (HJ-1a).
He stays around JtB, among others (HJ-1b).
4) Jesus goes to Capernaum right after JtB's arrest. Then two small successive events happen on Sabbath day, creating a short-lived hysteria around Jesus' alleged healing power (HJ-2a).
5) After Jesus is credited to have healed a man with skin disease (in the nearby villages), another hysteria takes hold and gets known all the way to Jerusalem (80 miles away) and beyond (HJ-2a).
6) Peripherally, Jesus talks about a (down to earth) message well adapted to the times (right after JtB's one: "Kingdom to come") and his milieu (rural Galilee): the Kingdom is coming soon (on earth) and it will benefit only the poor (Jews) (HJ-2b).
7) At that time, JtB, rumored to be the future (human) ruler (king) of the Kingdom (HJ-1b), is executed by Herod Antipas (HJ-3a).
8) Then, some Judean/Hellenist activist Jews interpret the healings by Jesus as a Sign; and he is thought to be the One, replacing (or possessed by) JtB (that's not a leap of faith, this part is multi-documented in GMark) (HJ-3a).
9) So, next spring, Jesus gets a "royalish" welcome by some near Jerusalem, days before the Passover (HJ-3a).
10) He feels encouraged enough to do the disturbance ("cleansing" in the temple) (HJ-3a).
11) Because of that (and the welcome), he is soon arrested (abandoned by the Galileans) and crucified (without trials and as a deterrent) with a mocking sign, "the king of the Jews" (spring of 28CE) (HJ-3a).
12) Later, another event (Josephus' Wars II, IX, 4 & Ant., XVIII, III, 2) will make most Jews doubt the Kingdom (to come soon) and re-establish Roman full authority (and fear) over Judea. But some hellenized Jews will keep the hope alive by looking at certain recent events, the Scriptures, Pharisaic beliefs, Philo of Alexandria's writings, etc. ... (see HJ-3b for the post-crucifixion beginning of Christianity)
That's it. Now, if you want to see the justifications and details for all that, you need to read the rest of my website!
Josephus' Wars II, IX, 2-3:
"Now Pilate, who was sent as procurator into Judea by Tiberius, sent by night those images of Caesar that are called ensigns into Jerusalem. This excited a very among great tumult among the Jews when it was day; for those that were near them were astonished at the sight of them, as indications that their laws were trodden under foot; for those laws do not permit any sort of image to be brought into the city. Nay, besides the indignation which the citizens had themselves at this procedure, a vast number of people came running out of the country. These came zealously to Pilate to Cesarea, and besought him to carry those ensigns out of Jerusalem, and to preserve them their ancient laws inviolable; but upon Pilate's denial of their request, they fell down prostrate upon the ground, and continued immovable in that posture for five days and as many nights.
On the next day Pilate sat upon his tribunal, in the open market-place, and called to him the multitude, as desirous to give them an answer; and then gave a signal to the soldiers, that they should all by agreement at once encompass the Jews with their weapons; so the band of soldiers stood round about the Jews in three ranks. The Jews were under the utmost consternation at that unexpected sight. Pilate also said to them that they should be cut in pieces, unless they would admit of Caesar's images, and gave intimation to the soldiers to draw their naked swords. Hereupon the Jews, as it were at one signal, fell down in vast numbers together, and exposed their necks bare, and cried out that they were sooner ready to be slain, than that their law should be transgressed. Hereupon Pilate was greatly surprised at their prodigious superstition, and gave order that the ensigns should be presently carried out of Jerusalem."
Below, the same events are narrated again in Josephus' Antiquities XVIII, III, 1:
"But now Pilate, the procurator of Judea, removed the army from Cesarea to Jerusalem, to take their winter quarters there, in order to abolish the Jewish laws. So he introduced Caesar's effigies, which were upon the ensigns, and brought them into the city; whereas our law forbids us the very making of images; on which account the former procurators were wont to make their entry into the city with such ensigns as had not those ornaments. Pilate was the first who brought those images to Jerusalem, and set them up there; which was done without the knowledge of the people, because it was done in the night time; but as soon as they knew it, they came in multitudes to Cesarea, and interceded with Pilate many days that he would remove the images; and when he would not grant their requests, because it would tend to the injury of Caesar, while yet they persevered in their request, on the sixth day he ordered his soldiers to have their weapons privately, while he came and sat upon his judgment-seat, which seat was so prepared in the open place of the city, that it concealed the army that lay ready to oppress them; and when the Jews petitioned him again, he gave a signal to the soldiers to encompass them routed, and threatened that their punishment should be no less than immediate death, unless they would leave off disturbing him, and go their ways home. But they threw themselves upon the ground, and laid their necks bare, and said they would take their death very willingly, rather than the wisdom of their laws should be transgressed; upon which Pilate was deeply affected with their firm resolution to keep their laws inviolable, and presently commanded the images to be carried back from Jerusalem to Cesarea."
Josephus' Wars II, IX, 4:
"After this he raised another disturbance, by expending that sacred treasure which is called Corban upon aqueducts, whereby he brought water from the distance of four hundred furlongs. At this the multitude had indignation; and when Pilate was come to Jerusalem, they came about his tribunal, and made a clamor at it. Now when he was apprized aforehand of this disturbance, he mixed his own soldiers in their armor with the multitude, and ordered them to conceal themselves under the habits of private men, and not indeed to use their swords, but with their staves to beat those that made the clamor. He then gave the signal from his tribunal [to do as he had bidden them]. Now the Jews were so sadly beaten, that many of them perished by the stripes they received, and many of them perished as trodden to death by themselves; by which means the multitude was astonished at the calamity of those that were slain, and held their peace."
Below, the same event is narrated again in Josephus' Antiquities XVIII, III, 2:
"But Pilate undertook to bring a current of water to Jerusalem, and did it with the sacred money, and derived the origin of the stream from the distance of two hundred furlongs. However, the Jews were not pleased with what had been done about this water; and many ten thousands of the people got together, and made a clamor against him, and insisted that he should leave off that design. Some of them also used reproaches, and abused the man, as crowds of such people usually do. So he habited a great number of his soldiers in their habit, who carried daggers under their garments, and sent them to a place where they might surround them. So he bid the Jews himself go away; but they boldly casting reproaches upon him, he gave the soldiers that signal which had been beforehand agreed on; who laid upon them much greater blows than Pilate had commanded them, and equally punished those that were tumultuous, and those that were not; nor did they spare them in the least: and since the people were unarmed, and were caught by men prepared for what they were about, there were a great number of them slain by this means, and others of them ran away wounded. And thus an end was put to this sedition."