Scandinavia and the World

Comments #9869456:

Death of the author 13 2, 3:18pm

@Nisse_Hult There's a distinct problem there, in that most Biblical scholars are themselves Christians and thus have a theological bias to believe some Jesus existed. So let's do some examining. Ideally, we'd want primary sources (documents written about Jesus during his life), but there are none. So let's examine the secondary sources. We have one source that could be second hand in the form of Paul who purportedly met with Peter and James. That being said, Paul himself claims that he neither received his gospel from man nor was he taught it (and had at least one theological disagreement with Peter). So by Paul's own admission, he is not a second hand source. Between our known authors and the dating of accounts from unknown authors, all accounts we have evidently originate far removed from the events recorded. Furthermore, sources about Jesus's life, even those apparently written around the same time, differ wildly and often contradict each other (especially evident as we've recovered so-called ''apocryphal'' gospels). As for the authors we do know, we have Church fathers who state what Christian's believe, Tacitus writing in the 2nd century and recording what Christians believed about their group's founding, other historians recording the actions and/or beliefs of Christians at the time, and Josephus with one interpolation added by Christians into text that may or may not have mentioned Jesus being crucified by Pilate prior to the alteration (we don't know) and one passage wherein he mentions James the brother of Jesus, who was called Christ, being executed after a sham trial. Josephus is quite literally the best source we've got and we don't even know if he originally mentioned anything regarding what Jesus did while alive or how he died. So, at best, we've got confirmation of... a guy who Christians call Christ (and that's granting that James actually was Jesus's brother and not just believed to be by others for some reason (ex: James lied, people assumed he was because he shared a name with Jesus's brother in the story, etc...)). Let's now take a look at what is ''almost universally accepted'' about Jesus's life, that he was baptized by John the Baptist and was crucified under the order of Pontius Pilate. The evidence for the baptism are the synoptic gospels (which all either copy from or are the gospel of Mark or the postulated Q document neither of which are from an eyewitness as they both evidently drew from the same preexisting oral traditions), the gospel of John (whose author was evidently aware of at least one of the synoptics considering the numerous points it deliberately and blatantly contradicts the synoptics), and the criterion of embarrassment (the fact that this is only ever used in New Testament research speaks volumes regarding how effective it actually is). The evidence for the crucifixion are... the gospels, Tacitus, Josephus, the criterion of embarrassment (at least the rest are new), the criterion of multiple attestation (at least potentially viable assuming the passage in Josephus with the interpolation in it originally did mention Pilate ordering Jesus's crucifixion), and the criterion of coherence (not the most impressive when you remember that a fictional character using a rotary phone in a story set during the time when rotary phones were common would satisfy this). So at best for historical Jesus, we've got a guy who had a following and probably was crucified. That is the extent of the reconstruction of Jesus's life and teachings by critical historical methods. So I'll ask again but more clearly this time, can we really say the Biblical Jesus historically existed when the only traits he shares with the (probably) real Jesus is his name, popularity (evidently differing in several degrees of magnitude based on what the gospels record versus what history supports), and probably their method of execution? Technically you can say yes and be right, but then again technically Abe Lincoln from America: The Motion Picture would also have historically existed. Apologies for the block of text, my keyboard's return key has decided not to work today.