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Historical Documents

This page contains links to pages on the site which contain a variety of historical documents which are relevant to Biblical Studies. All these are in public domain.

I plan to add to this list gradually

Libellus

When a citizen had obeyed the imperial edict and worshipped the emperor. They wrote a Libellus or Certificate which was signed by the Roman official to show that they had offered sacrifice to the emperor. Many hundreds of these have been found.

Pliny Trajan Letter

A letter from Pliny, the governor of Bithynia to the Emperor Trajan, asking him for advice about what to do about Christians who refused to worship the emperor. This is relevant historical background for the Book of Revelation

Martyrdom of Polycarp

The account of the martyrdom of Polycarp, bishop of Smyrna, who was burnt alive around AD 156 because he refused to worship the emperor

Muratorian Canon

The earliest existing list of the books included into the New Testament, from around AD 170.

Eusebius Canon

In his Ecclesiastical History, Eusebius (AD 264-340) set out the results of research he had conducted into which books were accepted as inspired by different churches around the Roman Empire. He found four classes of books.

Ignatius to the Ephesians

A letter from Ignatius to the Ephesians, containing reference to their bishop Onesimus, and one of the few quotations from the Book of Philemon

Didache

The Didache, or Teaching of the Twelve Apostles

Jerome - On Illustrious Men

This page contains the first nine sections of a work by Jerome which gives helpful biographical information about the apostles.

Hittite Suzerainty Treaties

These are examples of two different Hittite Suzerainty Treaties, made between the Hittites, as the suzerain and a vassal king. Both have similar sections to the Book of Deuteronomy, including a preamble, a historial introduction, clauses of the treaty, invocation of the gods. The first also has a section of curses and blessings.

Josephus Antiquities of the Jews

These are sections of Josephus which describe people or events from the Bible

Moses in the bullrushes and leading Egyptian army
Earthquake during days of Uzziah
Daniel being taken to Babylon
Death of Herod Agrippa I