Socrates dies with honor, surrounded by his disciples listening to the most tender words -the easiest death that one could wish to die. Jesus dies in pain, dishonor, mockery, the object of universal cursing – the most horrible death that one could fear. At the receipt of the cup of poison, Socrates blesses him who could not give it to him without tears; Jesus, while suffering the sharpest pains, prays for His most bitter enemies. If Socrates lived and died like a philosopher, Jesus lived and died like a god.
Can the person whose history the Gospels relate be himself a man? What affecting goodness in his instructions! What sublimity in his maxims! What profound wisdom in his discourses! What presence of mind, what ingenuity of justice in his replies! Yes, if the life and death of Socrates are those of a philosopher, the life and death of Jesus are those of a God.
French philosopher (1712-1778)
Jewish authors would never have invented either that style nor that morality; and the Gospel has marks of truth so great, so striking, so utterly inimitable, that the invention of it would be more astonishing than the hero… Shall we suppose that the evangelical history is a mere fiction? Indeed it bears no marks of fiction; on the contrary, the history of Socrates, which no one presumes to doubt, is not so well attested to as that of Jesus Christ.
— Jean Jacques Rousseau