Can a Scientist Affirm the Resurrection?

Each Easter, many Christians celebrate the Resurrection. How can this be so?

Each Easter, many Christians in science celebrate the Resurrection. The foundation of the Christian faith is Jesus, and the teaching that God raised him from the dead 2,000 years ago.

But the first disciples attested to a physical resurrection. How could an untruth logically support high moral character? How could it have sustained the apostles through the extremes of persecution they experienced founding Christianity?

That only demonstrates that they believed in the resurrection. It does not mean they actually witnessed it. You believe the resurrection happened, but you did not witness it, did you?

To explain how a scientist can be a Christian is actually quite simple. Science cannot and does not disprove the resurrection. Natural science describes the normal reproducible working of the world of nature. Indeed, the key meaning of “nature”, as Boyle emphasized, is “the normal course of events.” Miracles like the resurrection are inherently abnormal. It does not take modern science to tell us that humans don’t rise from the dead. People knew that perfectly well in the first century; just as they knew that the blind from birth don’t as adults regain their sight, or water doesn’t instantly turn into wine.

So do you then believe all of the miracle claims made that are not connected to your personal faith and which are supported by as much, if not more, evidence? My guess is you do not.

Science functions by reproducible experiments and observations. Miracles are, by definition, abnormal and non-reproducible, so they cannot be proved by science’s methods.

By those standards, science can not be used to investigate the Big Bang. As far as we can tell it only happened once. So I think your definition is invalid, as I am sure you agree science can address questions relating to the Big Bang.

In the case of Jesus’ resurrection, we must consider the historical evidence, and the historical evidence for the resurrection is as good as for almost any event of ancient history.

Really? There is no better evidence for the eruption of Vesuvius? The military conquests of Alexander the Great? The rise and fall of the Roman Empire? The Qin and Han dynasties of China? Etc etc etc? This if a frankly ludicrous claim. There is not a single, solitary scrap of evidence for the smallest detail of Jesus’s very existence that dates to his lifetime. Not one.

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Can a plumber affirm the Resurrection? How about a shoe salesman? Are those two questions just as meaningless as the one posed here?

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The question, as posed, is wrong.

A scientist is also a human. As a human, that person is entitled to affirm the resurrection if so inclined. But, in his role as a scientist, he is not entitled to affirm the resurrection because there is no supporting scientific evidence.

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One further error Hutchinson makes: He fails to appreciate that history uses the same naturalistic presumptions as does science. So history can no more be used to determine that a supernatural event has occurred than can science.

Which is not inconsistent with what he writes. But it does not mean he is any less obligated to provide evidence for his claims even if that evidence is not scientific in the strictest sense. And on that count he fails miserably.

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Yeah, this sort of thing is vacuous and tiresome. Of course: anyone can “affirm” anything he wants. The election was stolen. Zeus is real. The Ford Motor Corporation is controlled by a cabal of invisible underground lizard-people. Affirmed, affirmed, and affirmed. Who can stop anyone from “affirming” anything?

I suppose the theme here is “I’m a scientist, so yupper, I must be real good at thinkin’, and I believe this, so there ya go!” I understand that theme, and I give it all the weight it deserves.

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This is where Atheists lose majority of people. Let me explain:

To say there is no scientific evidence of a resurrections is incorrect. To insinuate that no evidence is directly under the umbrella of science and therefore is cast away as mythos is a very dangerous slope. Let us take Wat Tyler for an example… There is no mathematical formula or any directly observable phenomenon that support of Wat Tyler’s existence. Yet through historical documentation and corroborating sources, we can say with certainty that Wat Tyler did exist. We use the same principles to say Jesus existed and the same ones are used to doubt the existence of others such as Socrates.

Let us use Wat Tyler again (peasants revolt). An interesting thing about the Peasants Revolt is the attempt to white-wash it from history during it’s time. Many authors from that time period try to skim over it as if it was just a small band of bandits. Others try to attribute the revolt to powers at be in contention with the crown. And others use various other methods. So what we are left with is a pile of documents that all say the Peasants Revolt happened; yet, they disagree with the why it happened and sometimes if it had happened at all. This is where historians piece together historical accounts. After all is said and done we are left with a story that a group of people enraged over taxation and the practices that went along with taxation marched up to London where they were slaughtered when talks went south. So when pieces of history disagree with eachother we are still able to decipher what happened to decent satisfaction.

Now what about Christ? So the first sources we have for documentation is the Gospels and the Pauline Epistles. Since these are canonized by Christians, many lump them under the umbrella of Mythos due to disagreement with the Christian view. Although I heavily disagree (on many grounds) with the assumption they are incorrect because people do not believe the underlying premise. There is far more evidence outside of the canonized. For instance Josephu, Tacitu, Pliny the Younger, Celsus, Phlegon of Tralles, and most importantly in my opinion The Talmud where they attribute every work to Witch Craft where we have accounts of people refusing healing due to Jesus’ name or implication being involved.

At no point in time during the first 2 centuries (to my knowledge) is any miracle done by Jesus refuted except by means of Witch Craft or trickery. We have multitudes of evidence all pointing to the Life, Death, and Resurrection of Christ. The only counter arguments brought forward is it was of Witch Craft or trickery, not that it didn’t exist. For example: if I were to claim President Nixon levitated 50 feet above the ground, everyone would say I was wrong, that it never happened. If I were to say David Copperfield levitated 50 feet above the ground, no one would correct my statement but they would add in their own opinions as to why he levitated. The latter is what we notice with Jesus, no one denies the events happened. Instead, people deny the implication of the events. Jesus was obviously a huge political figure of the time, we know this due to the overwhelming historical accounts despite it being a non-violent event.

So, after all these sources talking about Christs life, death, and implications: we get to the resurrection… We have accounts which are eye witnesses to the event. These accounts are written in John, Mark, Luke, and Matthew. Today people discredit these accounts not based on merits of Historical Methods but based on conjecture and emotional beliefs. These accounts are corroborating with every other source. They do not contradict eachother or any non-Christian account. They are written by 4 separate peoples each with their own perspective, merits, and styles. And pass the all Historical Methods imposed upon them. IF Mark, Luke, Matthew, and John did not claim Jesus is the Christ there would be no contention.

The basis of the Christian religion is that Jesus is God and proved it not only by His life, but also by His resurrection after death. This has been the corner stone of the Christian Religion since the beginning and not once is the resurrection questioned until generations have passed. If the miracles and works never existed we would see the chroniclers refute them and proclaim they never happened. Instead we see chroniclers corroborate with the events but reject the implication or document the events making no mention of the implication.

In summary: the phenomena of doubting the existence or resurrection of Jesus is a modern luxury (as well as the existence of Jesus, but the argument Jesus never existed is so imbecilic I do not believe anyone here will make it). We can evidentially see that between (roughly) 40-100a.d. people did not have this luxury of denial available to them. Thus all Historical Evidence supports the notion that Jesus was crucified and did come back to life. Whether you attribute this to trickery or witch craft is available. But denying the event in itself is to deny Historical Evidence as any means of evidence. Furthermore: to assume there has to be another form of Scientific Evidence such as a mathematical model would again destroy all forms of Historical Evidence as no historical figure can meet those demands. Example: prove that Tizona belonged to El Cid without any historical record.

With the evidence we use to base all historical records, the resurrection of Jesus is verified as true. So yes, a scientist can affirm to the Resurrection and I would argue that saying one cannot affirm is to destroy all means of accepting history.

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Life and death are not the issue here. Nor, at present, are miracles. The only current issue is resurrection, so most of what you say is irrelevant. What actual accounts of resurrection do you have outside the gospels, all written many years later and not by eyewitnesses.

Highly unlikely that these are eyewitness accounts. Why would you think so?

What other sources? (And I remind you we’re talking specifically about the Resurrection. Josephus only mentions that there was such a person.)

You have, however, mentioned none of this “Historical Evidence” except the Gospels. Why?

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I was formulating my argument from the ground. So yes a lot of it is redundant but none of it is irrelevant. I was showing that the exact same evidence used to support the Life and Death of Jesus supports the Resurection.

I need a source for this, every source I have ever seen always points to Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John being eye witnesses.

That all manuscripts of the Gosepls are written within the time we would expect them to be written in. The latest being John which is around 90-110 a.d. (date accepted by virtually all secularists, Christians and some secularists date it earlier at 60a.d.) That all of the Gospels have a unique view and perspective as well as a unique style of writing and documenting. None of this indicates forgery.

On a side note: the Gospels predate all historians accounts on the events thus becoming bastion of evidence. In any other context, records like the Gospels are the pinnacle of evidence. Not only are they written by eye witnesses, they are written by people who actively lived and experienced life with person in question.
For example: I love WW2 airplanes, it’s a hobby of mine. There are really great documentaries on the subject, but the documentaries with the most weight are always those which have Eye Witnesses corroborating the events.
If I were to tell you two of america’s top scoring aces did not get any kills in the largest airbattle over Germany despite shooting all their ammunition. My source being documentation that they were there, returned to base with no ammo, and scored 0 victories. We would assume it is true.
Now, if I show you an interview with Bud Anderson and Chuck Yeager explaining: they had no knowledge the Luftwaffe would even show up that day since they assumed the Luftwaffe had given up. They became bored and decided to go into the Swiss Alps. They jettisoned their fuel tanks on a side of a cliff and took turns shooting the tanks watching them explode until they had no ammo left… Thus they went to Switzerland to have fun instead of escorting the bombers and that’s how they missed the largest battle of Europe.
The historical document corroborates with their eye witness accounts. However, the eye witness accounts change the fact from them being in the battle to them being in the Alps. Notice: eyewitness accounts take precedence over non-eyewitness accounts. (there are exceptions to the rule but the Gospels do not fit criteria for the exception)

If the Gospels did not make the claim “Jesus is God”, they would be widely accredited as the priority evidence. Nothing suggests otherwise except the implication they make. Hence why people discredit them not based on Historical Merit but on emotional beliefs.

I showed some of the evidence to support the life of Christ (not all). I then made the assessment based on two things.

1st.) All of the sources are in agreeance with the Gospels and vice versa. They all agree on these facts: Christ was worshiped, Christ was highly influential, and Christ was the foundation for the Christian religion.

2nd.) The belief that Christ rose from the dead (resurrection) predates ALL sources, and not a single source rejects the assumption. They either corroborate the events or do not state them. Since this belief predates ALL sources. We would expect historians to recant this belief if it was a false historical statement . They would reject or correct the events.

This goes back to my President Nixon vs David Copperfield analogy.
Let’s assume there is a cultural belief that Nixon levitated above the ground therefore he is God. Historians of our time would state Nixon never levitated once but people for some reason believe he did. (A great example is how Historians remark on Joseph Smith)
Now, if the belief was David Copperfield levitated above the ground therefore his is God. Historians would state it as a matter of fact that people believe David is God due to levitating. Other historians would state people believe David is God, but also explain that David’s levitation was not a proof of diety but instead trickery or illusion. This is because David really did levitate, but the implication of levitation is debated.

The later is exactly what we notice with Christ. Historians of the day mention Him and His miracles as a matter of fact, some corroborating with the miracles, others explaining it as trickery or witch-craft. But no historian says the events never happened.

For example:
The Gospels mention Jesus’ miracles and everything as proof of Him being God.
The Talmud states Jesus’ miracles and everything is witch-craft.
Historians such as Josephus mention Jesus as a matter of fact
And others mention Jesus in passing.
None of them recant the events as non-existent, all assume the position that they are verified events with people objecting to the implication of the events.

I refer you back to the luxury of modern times in which people assume the Gospels’ are not legitimate due to being the foundation of a religion.

Historians today give explanations to how the Apostles could believe the resurrection’s true while Christ stayed dead. None of them assume the Gospels are false.
To assume the Gospels’ are false due to their implication is Special Pleading or an Argument from Incredulity (a type of fallacy). You are insinuating that evidence cannot be the foundation of a religion without evidence of your own.

William McNeil wrote " The Roman authorities in Jerusalem arrested and crucified Jesus… But soon afterwards the dispirited Apostles gathered in an upstairs room and suddenly felt again the heartwarming presence of their master. This seemed absolutely convincing evidence that Jesus’ death on the cross had not been the end but the beginning… The Apostles bubbled over with excitement and tried to explain to all who would listen all that had happened ."
An accredited historian does not look at the Gospels’ as fraudulent no historian can. The coordinating evidence is staggering and frankly beyond nearly anything in human history.
The Gospels mention people by name as witnesses to events, and were in circulation while these witnesses were still alive. This is a very bold thing to do, if the Gospels were fraudulent events, this would not be possible.
Not only that, they claim the lineage of Jesus in a culture that had been tracking their ancestry for Thousands of years. The implications of this are dire news for Christians if it were false. Myself being from a small town can tell you out of personal knowledge. Everyone with X name is related and everyone knows who they are. It would be hubris to assume you could forge a lineage and pass it off to those who are apart of the lineage.

The only positions one can rationally take is: the resurrections was trickery, or the resurrection was real.
If you take the position of the resurrection being trickery you quickly run into issues with Paul but I digress.

So now I ask you, why do you assume the Gospels’ are not evidence? Is it Special Pleading or an Argument from Incredulity? You can pick which one.

I have reread the conversation to see if there was anything I missed and I am under the assumption that I have.

When I mentioned people in passing I should have expanded further. I mentioned them without expanding assuming pre-knowledge for everyone which is hypocritical since I spent so much time laying the argument from it’s foundations. So I will reference the historians passages now.

Senator Tacitus 56a.d. - 120a.d.
“Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus, and a most mischievous superstition, thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judea, the first source of the evil, but even in Rome, where all things hideous and shameful from every part of the world find their centre and become popular.”
The term “checked for the moment” is overwhelmingly believed to be in reference for the resurrection.

Suetonius
“Punishments were imposed on the Christians—adherents of a new and dangerous superstition”
In reference to Caesars being divine. It is extremely well known the Romans were tolerant to every religion including Judaism except Christianity (after the formation of Christianity Judaism was often confused with Christianity by the Roman State). The leading belief as to why is Christians believing that only Jesus can be God they would reject any other and the Romans feared it would create public unrest or turmoil.

Phlegon of Tralles 2nd century (unknown birth and date)
"“In the fourth year, however, of Olympiad 202, an eclipse of the sun happened, greater and more excellent than any that had happened before it; at the sixth hour, day turned into dark night, so that the stars were seen in the sky, and an earthquake in Bithynia toppled many buildings of the city of Nicaea.” Widely believed to directly coincide to the crucifixion of Christ.

The Tallmud goes into great detail to say Mary is Miriam and she was a whore so Jesus’ birth was not a miracle and many other things. It is summarized best by this short summary of Peter Schafer’s book Jesus in the Talmud | Princeton University Press

As far as to go into more evidence:
During the reign of Nero all witnesses were still alive and they would have been able to verify the details. Such as an earth quake happening in Jerusalem, Christ’s resurrection, the fulfillment of prophecies, or the performing of miracles.
Mass Hysteria cannot last decades even centuries if the hysterical are being killed off. (I am rushing this argument of hysteria but I hope you understand what I am implying)

Tacitus
" Mockery of every sort was added to their deaths. Covered with the skins of beasts, they were torn by dogs and perished, or were nailed to crosses, or were doomed to the flames and burnt, to serve as a nightly illumination, when daylight had expired. Nero offered his gardens for the spectacle, and was exhibiting a show in the circus, while he mingled with the people in the dress of a charioteer or stood aloft on a car. Hence, even for criminals who deserved extreme and exemplary punishment, there arose a feeling of compassion; for it was not, as it seemed, for the public good, but to glut one man’s cruelty, that they were being destroyed."

It is hard to get thousands of people to willingly kill themselves for an event that never happened. People love Trump and Obama, good luck trying to convince thousands of them to be fed to wild animals or burned at the stake for them.
My point being, if your argument is the resurrection never happened in either forgery or reality. You cannot explain the Mass Hysteria leading people by the droves to their certain deaths. Yet, Christianity kept growing.

So in summary: I have pointed to extra-biblical sources referencing ‘miracles’ during the crucifixion or referencing the resurrection.
I have also stated that the willingness of people to put themselves under genocide does not point to an event that never happened.
And lastly, all Gospels coincide with historians of their day and there is no evidence or reason to believe the Gospels are of false historical record.(in post above)

A question:

Do we have any corroborating evidence that Jesus’ purported execution (or executions like it) would have been reported to Rome? Executions of locals/non-Roman citizens would have been a fairly routine and minor exercise of the local governor’s authority, so unlikely to to be ‘mentioned in dispatches’ (if I can be forgiven for employing a heavily anachronistic, if equivalent, turn of phrase) or similar. And any local record-keeping of such events is likely to have been disrupted or destroyed by the Jewish-Roman Wars (66-135CE), so it is entirely possible that no official record of routine executions in Jerusalem from this period existed by the 2nd Century.

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You can go through the table of contents, it is all cited and it might have a citation directed at your question.

Relevant page numbers? That’s nearly 900 pages.

Also, from the index, I can see no information on whether records of provincial trials of locals/non-Roman citizens (as opposed to Roman officials) were reported to Rome.

To give a short answer, we have no writings to my knowledge from Pontius Pilate. So no historical documents saying “I am Pilate and sentence Jesus of Nazareth to death for civil unrest”.
Edit: there are forgeries out there, but they are known. Such as one describing Jesus’ appearance, clothes, demeanor, etc. was made by the Catholic church in the 1500’s if memory serves me correctly. (Most forgeries are made by the catholics funnily enough)

Long answer and ramblings below.
In fact: atheists denied his existence until very recently(despite historical documents referencing him, such as Tacitus). The reason no one denies his existence anymore is they found inscriptions bearing his name. But until roughly 60 years ago, Pontius Pilate was a main argument that Atheists used to “debunk” Christianity.

I gave that paper not for a 900 page read, you would have to buy a subscription to the website if you do wish to read it anyways… I gave it because the table of contents is cited with rough descriptions of the contents in an easily read manner. For example if you want knowledge on “Rebels in Judea” the table of contents will bring you to Josephus, A. J. 20.102… Typing that into google will give you Josephus 20th book talking about Rebels in Judea.

Being frank I was not sure exactly what you were asking for since I had already referenced Tacitus a roman Senator mentioning Christ was crucified. So I just gave a nice resource full of roman laws, customs, transcripts, etc about the topic.

For the full reading you can find it in places like here (but the layout is pretty poor)
The Trial and Crucifixion of Jesus. Texts and Commentary [1 ed.] 9783161529566, 9783161516740 - EBIN.PUB

None of that answers, or is even relevant, to my question:

My question was not “did Pontius Pilate exist?”

But I don’t want “Rebels in Judea”, and none of sections in the ToC seem to be about Roman record-keeping of executions. I even skimmed the section on “Reports of Trial Proceedings” – but that gave information on a Senate proceeding against a Roman magistratenot remotely relevant to whether executions of locals ordered by Roman governors would be reported back to Rome.

I take it from this, that you don’t have any information responsive to my question?

Well and good.

If we could establish this without gratuitous, irrelevant and unsubstantiated accusations against “atheists”, that would be preferable. Such accusations just make you sound like a walking, talking Chick tract – a caricature of an anti-atheist bigot.

What is your question?

I stated I did not understand it, so maybe rephrasing your question instead of assuming I can guess at it would be helpful. I attempted to guess at it twice and apparently missed the mark by a wide margin.

Furthermore I made no accusations, and everything I have stated on this forum has been substantiated to the best of my ability.

And don’t worry, we can still find remnants of this argument circulating despite being out-dated.

To insinuate my claims were not substantiated is to claim ignorance on my behalf. Which we would assume is not true since I am attempting to hold intellectual discussion. Therefore it would be claiming arrogance in fabrication. It would be preferable if accusations you make are based on facts, and that you do not get emotional if someone brings up a sore subject… A subject like Atheists denying the existence of Pontius Pilate despite extremely credible historical records proving the opposite.

It is not my fault it was used as evidence against Christianity, I did not mention it to jab or prod at you. I like “fun facts” tid-bits of information especially those that relate to understanding the past.

But to get back on topic, please restate your question since your “Do we have any corroborating evidence that Jesus’ purported execution (or executions like it) would have been reported to Rome?” Was not about a Roman Senator talking about Jesus’ execution. Nor was it about Pontius Pilate documents on sentencing Jesus. I have not the faintest clue of what you are asking.

Gee, thanks. i pick “It’s impossible to discuss the question with you”.

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My question was:

Paraphrasing, if some non-Roman commoner in a Roman province was executed at the provincial governor’s orders, do we have evidence that this event would have been reported back to Rome?

What you wrote was:

It was gratuitous, because it turns the discussion into a confrontational ‘us versus them’ argument. I would also note that Agnostics, Muslims, Hindus, etc, etc, and possibly even some of the more liberal, non-literal Christians, might also deny the existence of Jesus.

It was unsubstantiated because you offered no evidence to support your contention, at the time you made it.

How it is irrelevant has become somewhat ambiguous. If, as I originally interpreted it, you meant “him”/“his” to mean Pilate (who is the only person, other than Tactitus, that you mention by name), then it is irrelevant – as I was not disputing Pilate’s existence. (Parenthetically, I have not even disputed anybody’s existence, at least not yet.) This interpretation is supported by the fact that you have now posted a link to an article on “Did Pontius Pilate actually exist?”

Alternatively, you could have meant Jesus as “him”/“his” to mean Jesus – which seems to be supported by the fact that you posted a link to an ‘American Atheists’ article on “Did Jesus Exist?” But as I have not, as yet, denied Jesus’ existence either, this would also be irrelevant.

The problem being that these two links don’t fully substantiate either interpretation.

The fact that I included “or executions like it” in my question meant that I was generalising from Pilate ordering Jesus’ execution – to include similar executions whereby a Roman governor ordered the execution of a non-Roman citizen commoner. This generalisation renders moot arguments about Pilate and/or Jesus specifically.

Giving a concrete example of this inquiry, would a Roman Governor, of the Province of Africa (modern day Tunisia) who had a local Berber fisherman executed, have reported the execution back to Rome? (Substitute any other Roman province, ethnicity, and/or peasant occupation, as it pleases you.)

The relevance of this question, is whether Tactitus’ position as a Roman senator would have given him access to reliable information on Jesus’ execution. His position would have given him access to official records, but if the execution would not have been recorded there, then this access could not elevate the reliability of his mention of the execution.

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very good point.

another good point

I disagree with this, I did not see it as irrelevant. The reason being is I thought the question was about “Did Pilate write anything about Christ” In which a common argument used to follow about Pilates non-existence and therefore proof of Christianity being incorrect.

I apologize for jumping to conclusions so quickly. But this is why I said “short answer, we have no writings to my knowledge from Pontius Pilate. So no historical documents…” Followed by me saying Pilate does exist.
Again, I assumed your position instead of hearing it out, and I was wrong.

Pilate wouldn’t have needed to be report the crucifixion unless he (in this case being a Prefect/Governor) was in fear that some how it was political suicide. So no.
Stuff like this was considered ‘part of the job’. Rome was far to big to have every governor send back a correspondence with daily tasks. For instance, with Tacitus we can see Tacitus had been killing Christians as the law commanded, but felt guilty about it so decided to write back for clarification. Capital Punishment was completely under their domain as Governor.
In my opinion: if anything at all, I would expect Pilate to send a brief summary due to the large civil unrest, but this is my opinion not fact.

“Imperator Caesar Augustus, ponti|fex maximus, holding the tribunician
power for the seventeenth time, declares: Whatever | disputes shall arise
between Greeks in the province of Cyrene, || except for those who are
liable for capital offenses, in whose case the governor of the province | has
the duty of conducting the investigation and rendering judgments himself
or establishing a list of judges, | – for all other matters it pleases me that
Greek judges be granted to them, unless some | defendant or accused
wishes to have Roman citizens for judges. For the parties | to whom Greek
judges will be given in consequence of this decree of mine, it pleases me
that no judge should be given || from that city from which the plaintiff or
accuser comes, or th|e defendant or accused.”
Cyrene Edicts of Augustus (SEG IX 8)

Commentary starts on page 205 and 208 specifically talks about Capital Punishment in “The Trial and Crucifixion of Jesus” Again, a really good resource for many things Roman.
The Trial and Crucifixion of Jesus. Texts and Commentary [1 ed.] 9783161529566, 9783161516740 - EBIN.PUB

As far as Tacitus knowing about Jesus, I do not know how Tacitus learned of Jesus. But it is very fair to assume by the time Tacitus’ was Governor that everyone in Rome would have been somewhat familiar with the Jewish problem for Rome… This being the Jewish Revolts and the Christians lack of integration. After all, Jerusalem rebelled and was sieged by Rome, and the “Great Fire of Rome” was blamed on the Christians. At the time of Tacitus, the Jewish issue would have been widely known.
(I say “Jewish Issue” because many Romans did not distinguish between Jews and Christians)

I hope this answers your question.