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Numismatic Evidence that Corroborates Suetonius’ Life of Otho and Contradicts the Gospels

12 Jan

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Keener and WrightTo follow up on my previous review of Christian scholar Craig Keener’s “Otho: A Targeted Comparison” in Biographies and Jesus, I’d like to briefly discuss the relevance of numismatic evidence in evaluating Suetonius’ Life of Otho in comparison to the NT Gospels.

Numismatics is the study of ancient currency, and is particularly relevant to the study of Roman emperors, since the rulers of the Roman Empire would stamp their faces on the currency in circulation throughout the Mediterranean. A number of years ago I took a seminar on Roman numismatics with professor Edward Watts at UC Riverside, in which I did a research project on the emperor Otho and the currency he circulated with his image during his short reign. It is also relevant to another seminar that I took with professor Michele Salzman in which I did a research project related to the depiction of Roman taxation in…

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