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A report of this classification would have been found in at least the Acta Diurna and the Acta Senatus, both of which were available to Tacitus.This report would have included such basic information on Christianity as to its origin and founder such that we find in Tacitus' description.Similarly, a modern writer may be indifferent towards Mormons but may nevertheless take their story of the origin of the name "Mormon" at face value.On (3), Tacitus is giving merely the briefest account of the origin of the name Christian and so cannot be expected to mention such Christian doctrines.Sulpicius Severus's Chronicle 2.29 attests to much of it in the early fifth century, so most suggested interpolations would have to have come in the second through fourth centuries.As Norma Miller delightfully remarks, "The well-intentioned pagan glossers of ancient texts do not normally express themselves in Tacitean Latin," and the same could be said of Christian interpolators.
(1) As his practice, Tacitus was a meticulous researcher, frequently consulting written documents and multiple sources.(3) Tacitus refers to the founder of the name as 'Christus', while written records would presumably have used the name Jesus.(4) As meticulous as the Romans were, crucifixion records hardly went back nearly a century in time (the Annals being written c. (5) There is insufficient motive for Tacitus to research about this Christus in any detail, as the reference appears in Tacitus merely as an explanation of the origin of the name Christian, which in turn is being described only as an example of Nero's cruelty.Rather, it could be that Tacitus relied upon a report that described the Christian sect and their classification as a religio prava.
This classification would have been made sometime before the official persecution of Domitian, which could not have been undertaken legally without such a classification.
The next thing was to seek means of propitiating the gods, and recourse was had to the Sibylline books, by the direction of which prayers were offered to Vulcanus, Ceres, and Proserpina.