• N P L Allen North-West University
Keywords: Thallus, Phlegon, Jesus of Nazareth


The current investigation explores whether Thallus and Phlegon cancontinue to have relevance to the current historical Jesus debate.To assist in this process, apart from pertinent input from a range ofcontemporary scholars, the often quoted reference to an assumedsolar eclipse that occurred at the time of Jesus of Nazareth’scrucifixion is critically examined in the light of current astronomicalknowledge. The findings reveal the more likely historical contextthat is often overlooked by many scholars. As a result, only oneconclusion is possible, namely any account of a total solar eclipse atany time during any activity in or around Jerusalem between 23 CEand 43 CE would have to be entirely and undeniably fictitious.In addition, even if one is naïve enough to countenance supposedlyhistorical references to either Thallus or Phlegon, they tell thehistorian nothing that can authenticate either the life or ministry ofJesus of Nazareth.

Author Biography

N P L Allen, North-West University
Prof Nicholas Peter Legh Allen, Dip F.A., M.F.A., M.A., Ph.D., D.Phil., Laur. Tech. F.A. previously Dean of the Faculty of Art and Design at the Port Elizabeth Technikon. Previously Director: Global Engagement at the North-West University. Currently professor in School of Ancient Languages and Text Studeis, North-West University. Confirmed multidisciplinarian. Research areas include multimedia, sindonology, theology, apocrypha, cognate literature, Judaica, early Christian church history, classical and medieval history, the history of optical technology and also aesthetics.


Books and Publications

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Allen, Nicholas Peter Legh. 2015. Clarifying the Scope of Pre-Fifth-Century C.E. Christian Interpolation in Josephus’ Antiquitates Judaica (c. 94 C.E.).Unpublished Ph.D. Thesis. Potchefstroom, South Africa: North-West University.

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Internet Publications

Bruce, Frederick Fyvie. 1959. The New Testament Documents: Are They Reliable? 5th edition [Online]. Available: [6 June 2014].

Carrier, Richard. 1999. Thallus: An Analysis in The Secular Web [Online]. Available: [13 May 2014].

Craig, William Lane. 2014. “Thallus on the Darkness at Noon,” in Reasonable Faith [Online]. Available: [26 June 2014].

Gifford, Edwin Hamilton (Tr.) 1903. English translation according to Eusebius of Caesarea: Praeparatio Evangelica (Preparation for the Gospel). Book 10 in [Online]. Available: [11 August 2014].

Jacoby, Felix. (Ed. and Tr.). 1923-1958. Die Fragmente der griechischen Historiker: 1165 Phlegon history 16a; English translation based on the online edition at the Tertullian Project) [Online]. Available: [11 August 2014].

Lee, Adam, 2014. “Lucian of Samosata: Choking on the Camel: Part 2,” in Patheos [Online]. Available: [10 July 2014].

Lowder, Jeffery Jay. 2000. “Josh McDowell's ‘Evidence’ for Jesus: Is It Reliable?” in The Secular Web [Online]. Available: [1 September 2014].

Mackenzie, Noella and Sally Knipe. 2006. “Research Dilemmas: Paradigms, Methods and Methodology,” in Issues in Educational Research, Vol. 16 (2): 193 - 205. [Online]. Available: (2 June 2014).

Miller, Glenn. 1996. “Thallus c. 50 – 75 A.D.” in Extrabiblical Witnesses to Jesus Before 200 A.D. [Online]. Available: [6 June 2014].

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Whiston, William (Tr.) 1895. Flavius Josephus. The Works of Flavius Josephus. Auburn: John E. Beardsley, in Perseus Digital Library [Online]. Available: [3rd July 2016].