• April 21, 2024
Suetonius, represented in the Nuremberg Chronicle

Does Suetonius refer to Jesus?

Suetonius, represented in the Nuremberg ChronicleHot off the presses! Here is a MAJOR piece of the Christ-myth puzzle. I have taken a lengthy article and broken it down into different essays, with numerous links both to these other articles and to references, citations and annotated footnotes. You will see the other new articles in this “Chrestos” series in the “Related articles” and “Further Reading” sections.

This “Chrestos” research ties together many loose ends in study of Christian origins. I think I have sufficiently demonstrated that Suetonius cannot be used as “proof” of a “historical” Jesus of Nazareth.

Is Suetonius’s Chrest a Reference to Jesus?

Does the Roman historian refer to the historical Jesus of Nazareth, or is the famous Suetonian passage concerning “Chresto” about another individual altogether?

One of the few citations from antiquity proffered by Christian apologists and others to prove the purported historicity of the figure “Jesus Christ” is a sentence from the ancient Roman historian Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus’s Lives of the Twelve Caesars (book 5, Life of Claudius 25.4). Published around 120 AD/CE, this passage is one of two in Suetonius’s works held up as “evidence” of Jesus of Nazareth’s existence as a “historical” personage, the second a sentence in that writer’s Life of Nero 16.2 which supposedly discusses “Christians.” Here I will examine the Claudius passage in terms of its value in this quest for the “historical Christ.”…

6 thoughts on “Does Suetonius refer to Jesus?

  1. Exactly.

    And I as point out in my article, among these numerous “Chrestos” or “Chrestoi” is the Jewish tribal god Yahweh, the “Good Lord.”

    Hence, if Suetonius’s Jews were rabblerousing under the instigator Chresto, it was most likely their [i]god[/i].

    Thus, Suetonius would not provide any evidence whatsoever of a historical “Jesus of Nazareth,” and this purported “proof text” can be retired from the apologists’ playbook.

    Ditto with Josephus ([url]http://truthbeknown.com/josephus.htm[/url]), Tacitus and Pliny ([url]http://truthbeknown.com/pliny.htm[/url]).

  2. Suetonius on 60-year-old events.
    Suetonius’ work, The Life of Claudius, dates between the years 110 and 120. Claudius reigned from the year 41 to the year 54. Therefore, the expulsion of the Jews from Rome to which Suetonius refers took place about sixty years before his writing. In my opinion, such a great passage of time from the event to the publication of the work casts doubt on the accuracy of the events documented therein.

    An English translation of the work can be found at the following link:


    The sentence referring to the expulsion of the Jews from Rome is contained in a paragraph which covers several of Claudius’ domestic, political, and diplomatic achievements. Suetonius’ presents a glossy picture of those achievements, but does not provide much detail. In my opinion, there are several possibilities as to what facts are alluded to in Suetonius’ sentence stating that the Jews were expelled from Rome because they were making disturbances at the instigation of “Chrestus.” I agree with Acharya that the moniker “Chrestus” applied to various figures and movements predating the recited events and that there is insufficient evidence to ascribe to Suetonius’ reference the Jesus Christ figure of the New Testament.

  3. If Suetonius, Pliny, Tacitus and Josephus are all eliminated from the Christian apologist playbook, then, that leaves nothing left doesn’t it? What will they cling to next?

    Of course, whatever they cling to will still be the same grasping at straws as we all now know that there exists no credible evidence for a historical Jesus.

  4. Excellent work Acharya!
    Dear Acharya,

    Brilliant as always!

    Socrates makes a distinction between chrestos and agatha, the former being “wholesome” and agatha meaning only “good”. Luke 18:19 & Mark 10:18 seems ignorant of this.

    However, that distinction had already been made sice 500 b.c., and at the very same time the Buddhists introduced PATHOS in place, and with a new unselfish meaning attached to it, of PENTHOS, at the same time BENTHOS replaced BATHOS. Such a revision, as with the OT confusion over the arya/terebinth (Butm) tree, was probably noticed by Terebinthus, or Buddas, who church fathers say claimed to be virgin born and they repeat each other in claiming that he conversed with Jesus apostles.

    “that I shall feel extremely grateful if anybody would point out to me the historical channel through which Buddhism influenced Christianity” Max Muller

    In legend, the terenbinth tree is said to be the wood of the cross, the thorns of Christ in at least one legend, and the tree which aided Mary (Leto’s was an olive or palm, Maya’s was the Asok tree, asoka = nepenthes, another clever pun on nirvana or nibbana. To reach it one must sit under the tree of suffering (ter-penthos) which becomes the tree of the heart (anachardiaceous) and the tree of grace (Shejr Al-Kheir, the Butm tree)

  5. This issue of Christos and Chrestos is so important and extremely significant to the case against the historical Jesus. I’d like to compile as many of the relevant links from the forum as possible for ease of convenience:

    Is Suetonius’s Chresto a Reference to Jesus? ([url]http://www.truthbeknown.com/suetoniuschresto.html[/url])

    Chresto in the Suetonius Manuscript Tradition ([url]http://www.truthbeknown.com/suetoniusmanuscripts.html[/url])

    Chrestos Magical Cup? ([url]http://www.truthbeknown.com/chrestos-magical-bowl.html[/url])

    Does Suetonius refer to Jesus? ([url]http://www.freethoughtnation.com/contributing-writers/63-acharya-s/676-does-suetonius-refer-to-jesus.html[/url])

    Isis the Chrest ([url]http://www.truthbeknown.com/isis-the-chrest.html[/url])

    Apollo the Chrest? God of Oracles and Son of God ([url]http://www.truthbeknown.com/apollo-chrest.html[/url]) (Apollo, Son of God and the Chrest?)

    Christos or Chrestos? ([url]http://freethoughtnation.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=26&t=3900[/url])

    Archeologist finds a 50 BCE cup with the word “Christ” ([url]http://freethoughtnation.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=21&t=2274[/url])

    A study on the Tacitus manuscript under ultraviolet light reveals that an “i” has been overwritten on an “e” in the word chrestos ([url]http://www.jesusneverexisted.com/josephus-etal.html#chrestos[/url])

    The sources of CHRESTOS and CHRISTOS in Antiquity ([url]http://www.mountainman.com.au/essenes/chrestos%20christos.htm[/url])

    Chrestos: a religious epithet; its import and influence ([url]http://books.google.com/books/about/Chrestos_a_religious_epithet_its_import.html?id=9QcDAAAAQAAJ[/url])

    Chrestians before Christians? An Old Inscription Revisited ([url]http://www.textexcavation.com/documents/zarachrestianinscription.pdf[/url])

    Isis the Chrēst ([url]http://www.truthbeknown.com/isis-the-chrest.html[/url])

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