As Klaus Schilling writes,
So, why is there the suetonian ''impulsore Chresto''?
And why is the term 'Chrestiani' found also in Tacitus (Annales 15:44)?
I don't think that the reason is that the passage (with Chrestiani, with or without the reference to Christ) is genuine, so there were Christians calling Jesus 'Chrestus' already in pre-70 times.
I think that a more probable scenario is that the interpolator introduced the term ''Chrestus'' (respectively ''chrestiani'') in Suetonius (resp. in Tacitus) to transform in a hypothetical (=not-historical) conflict between paganism and Judaism what was really, in the time of the interpolator, a real conflict between the Gnostics (adoring the 'Good God' as opposed to the Jewish God) and the Judaizers (adoring the Jewish Messiah).
Note that the interpolator does essentially two things:
1) he concedes that the hero was named 'Chrestos', i.e. 'Good',
2) but he insists that the hero was Jewish and the his persecutor was pagan.
So he reunites in the same hero (Jesus) the (really contrasting or, docet Marcion, ''antithetical'') titles of Good and Messiah, under the common threat against all the Christians en bloc. In this way the Christians seem to be united, against only a common enemy: Claudius or Nero.
Discussion about the New Testament, apocrypha, gnostics, church fathers, Christian origins, historical Jesus or otherwise, etc.
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