Could you tell me where I may find references to Jesus Christ written while he was on the earth or very shortly after his resurrection that are not part of scripture?
Anonymous, from California
One of the most prominent historians and writers of the time of Christ was Josephus. You may possibly find his works in your public library. Here is brief acount of Josephus by L. Michael White, Professor of Classics and Director of the Religious Studies Program University of Texas at Austin.
“One of our most important sources for all the history of this period is the Jewish historian, Josephus. Josephus himself grew up in and around Jerusalem; he claims to have been a part of the Pharisaic group. But he was also obviously from a fairly prominent family. He’s very important because he lived through and was actually part of the first revolt against Rome. After the revolt, he then went on to live in a lavish retirement at Rome itself. And there wrote the history of the Jewish War, and also another work, called ‘The Antiquities of the Jews,’ a long, extensive history of the Jewish people … from Biblical days coming down to his own time. Josephus wrote mostly at the end of the first century … around the year 100, just a few years before and after. And so he gives us a perspective on the whole century of development that had gone before, from the time of Herod the Great down to his own day, when these profound changes were taking place.”
In addtion to the library, it is very convenient to search the net for historical references to the Savior. If you access (+josephus +christ) you will find many. Another interesting web source is “historical jesus.” That will bring up about 7,800 pages. Near the beginning you will find “New Testament Web Resources: Historical Jesus.” Accessing that, you may click on “Xtalk: The Historical Jesus and Early Christian Origins,” and find there a wealth of information.