Pliney, Phlegon, Josephus our extra-biblcal confirmers of the life of Jesus to a degree.
PLINY the Younger (c.112CE)
About 80 years after the alleged events, (and over 40 years after the war) Pliny referred to Christians who worshipped a "Christ" as a god, but there is no reference to a historical Jesus (or Gospel events.) http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/pliny.html
Phlegon wrote during the 140s - his works are lost. Later, Origen, Eusebius, and Julianus Africanus (as quoted by George Syncellus) refer to him, but quote differently his reference to an eclipse. There is no evidence Phlegon actually said anything about Jesus or Gospel events, he was merely talking about an eclipse (they DO happen) which LATER Christians argued was the "darkness" in their stories.
The famous Testamonium Flavianum (the T.F.) in the Antiquities of the Jews is considered probably the best evidence for Jesus, yet it has some serious problems : * the T.F. as it stands uses clearly Christian phrases and names Christ as Messiah, it could not possibly have been written by the devout Jew Josephus (who remained a Jew and refused to call anyone "messiah" in his book which was partly about how false messiahs kept leading Israel astray.), * The T.F. was not mentioned by any of the early Church fathers who reviewed Josephus. * Origen even says Josephus does NOT call Jesus the Messiah, showing the passage was not present in that earlier era. * The T.F. first showed up in manuscripts of Eusebius, and was still absent from some manuscripts as late as 8th century.
In short - this passage is possibly a total forgery (or at best a corrupt form of a lost original.) But, yes, it COULD just be actual evidence for Jesus - late, corrupt, controversial but just POSSIBLY real historical evidence.
Where are the protests of the mythic invention of a Jesus of Nazareth in the first and second century or third century?
Well, 2 John warns of those who don't "acknowledge the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh".
Marcion in mid 2nd century, claimed Jesus was a phantom or spiritual entity, and not born of Mary :
“Marcion, I suppose, took sound words in a wrong sense, when he rejected His birth from Mary...”
“...they deny ... His humanity, and teach that His appearances to those who saw Him as man were illusory, inasmuch as He did not bear with Him true manhood, but was rather a kind of phantom manifestation. Of this class are, for example, Marcion...”
Polycarp's epistle refers to those who do not agree Jesus came in the flesh : "For whosoever does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh, is antichrist"
Basilides in mid 2nd century, denied Jesus was really crucified, and denied the physical resurrection : "Christ sent, not by this maker of the world, but by the above-named Abraxas; and to have come in a phantasm, and been destitute of the substance of flesh: that it was not He who suffered among the Jews, but that Simon was crucified in His stead: whence, again, there must be no believing on him who was crucified, lest one confess to having believed on Simon. Martyrdoms are not to be endured. The resurrection of the flesh he strenuously impugns, affirming that salvation has not been promised to bodies"
Bardesanes in mid 2nd century, denied that Christ was physical : "...assert that the body of the Saviour was spiritual;
Minucius Felix in mid 2nd century, explicitly denies the incarnation and crucifixion along with other horrible accusations. "...he who explains their ceremonies by reference to a man punished by extreme suffering for his wickedness, and to the deadly wood of the cross, appropriates fitting altars for reprobate and wicked men ... when you attribute to our religion the worship of a criminal and his cross you wander far from the truth", and also: "Men who have died cannot become gods, because a god cannot die; nor can men who are born (become gods) ... Why, I pray, are gods not born today, if such have ever been born?"
Tatian in later 2nd century, compared Christianity with pagan mythology and wrote: “Compare you own stories with our narratives. Take a look at your own records and accept us merely on the grounds that we too tell stories”
Celsus in late 2nd century, attacked the Gospels as fiction based on myths : "Clearly the christians have used...myths... in fabricating the story of Jesus' birth...It is clear to me that the writings of the christians are a lie and that your fables are not well-enough constructed to conceal this monstrous fiction"
Porphyry in late 3rd century, claimed the Gospels were invented : "... the evangelists were inventors – not historians”
Julian in the 4th century, claimed Jesus was spurious, counterfeit, invented : "why do you worship this spurious son...a counterfeit son", "you have invented your new kind of sacrifice ". Julian was “convinced that the fabrication of the Galilaeans is a fiction of men composed by wickedness.. ”
So, we see various early Christians deny Jesus was a physical being, adn we see various critics say the stories are "fiction", "lies" and "BASED ON MYTHS".