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Who Is Panthera, Roman Soldier And Supposed Biological Father Of Jesus?

First off: This article doesn’t exist to support, defame, etc., Christianity or its detractors, or to reduce the vastness of history to a simplistic matter of “sides.” Non-Christians will look at the Panthera story and say, “Well sure,” as surely as Christians will say, “Not true.” Facts won’t change beliefs. Even so, facts on this topic are surprisingly scarce, assumedly because it’s so sensitive. It’s slid from the spotlight of knowledge, but sources do exist.

On that point, in “A True Discourse” (175 to 181 C.E.), Greek writer Celsus relates what he’d heard whispered amongst Jewish communities of his day, including stories of the Roman soldier Panthera. Celsus’ time witnessed an obscure Jewish cult rise to prominence across a wide swath of people, free and enslaved, men and women. Even though Christianity didn’t only appeal to the underclass, as World History Encyclopedia discusses, it did include them, which would have seemed like a threat to the established order. This is especially true because Christianity was monotheistic — i.e., “our god or no god” — just like Judaism, which in a multicultural, polytheistic Roman Empire might have seemed presumptuous or disrespectful. 

And so, as Bluffton University quotes Celsus, Christianity existed for “the silly, and the mean [the poor], and the stupid.” To those suspicious of that early cult, it made perfect sense that the founder wasn’t some divine entity, but just a guy with a tall tale swallowed by the gullible.

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