Another Source for Tiberius!

I said that I wouldn’t be blogging until later this month, but something relevant came up while I was researching on a seminar paper and I had to write about it. Originally when I searched for the authors that Habermas and Licona missed in the 10/42 apologetic, I did in fact look into the historian Titus Livy, but could find no reference to Tiberius in his surviving work. Livy died in 17 CE under the reign of Tiberius and his massive history of Rome, spanning from Romulus all the way to the reign of Augustus, I knew must have mentioned Tiberius. Unfortunately, however, most of Livy’s history is lost and we only have the early books and not the later ones dealing with Augustus’ reign. Unable to find an instance of Tiberius in the surviving portions of the work, I did not include Livy as a source, though I knew that somewhere in his lost books he must have mentioned Tiberius.

I am currently working on a seminar paper dealing with the poet Lucan’s De Bello Civili about Caesar’s civil war, and one of the sources Lucan drew upon were the lost portions of Livy’s history. How do we know this? Because Periochae survive for Livy’s lost books that briefly summarize the content of each of them. I looked into the last couple of books dealing with Augustus’ reign and, sure enough, books 134-142 have multiple references to Tiberius, detailing his military campaigns under Augustus. The Periochae for book 142 even deals with the intimate detail of Tiberius losing his younger brother Drusus during a military campaign (Tiberius traveled night and day to reach him on his death bed).

I said when I first wrote my rebuttal to the 10/42 source slogan that there were probably more sources out there that I had missed for Tiberius. Turns out that Livy is one of them, which adds another contemporary and a historian at that to Tiberius’ tally, bringing it to 44 in 150 years and 14 during his lifetime. I’ve updated my article to factor in this new source. There are no doubt more out there for Tiberius, whereas I highly doubt that after all the special interest in Jesus there are any more out there for him. Most of the Pagan literature from the time has been lost, but fragments like this turn up and, even when they don’t, we still know that there must have been many more lost historians who documented Tiberius’ reign. In contrast with Jesus, despite a millennium of biased preservation of Christian literature by medieval monks, we have no trace of a single contemporary source. Tiberius was merely an emperor. Jesus allegedly put out the very Sun in the sky. Who should we expect to have made a bigger ripple?

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