Historicity of Jesus

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The historicity of Jesus concerns the analysis of historical evidence to determine whether Jesus of Nazareth existed as a historical figure, and whether any of the major milestones in his life as portrayed in the gospels can be confirmed as historical events, as opposed to being myth, legend, or fiction.

The historicity of Jesus is distinct from the related study of the historical Jesus, which refers to scholarly reconstructions of the life of Jesus based primarily on critical analysis of the gospel texts.[1][2][3]

Since the 18th century a number of quests for the historical Jesus have taken place, and historical critical methods for studying the historicity of Jesus have been developed. Unlike for some figures in ancient history, the available sources are all documentary. In conjunction with Biblical sources such as the Pauline Letters and the Synoptic Gospels, three passages in non-Christian works have been used to support the historicity of Jesus. These are two passages in the writings of the Jewish historian Josephus, and one from the Roman historian Tacitus. Although the authenticity of all three passages has been disputed to varying degrees, most biblical scholars believe that all three are at least partially authentic.

The historical analysis techniques used by Biblical scholars have been questioned.[4] However the majority viewpoint among those scholars of various disciplines who have commented on the subject is that Jesus existed, although biblical scholars differ about the beliefs and teachings of Jesus as well as the accuracy of the parts of his life that have been recorded in the Gospels.[5][6][7][8][9][10][11][12][13][14] Scholars who believe that Jesus existed differ on the historicity of specific episodes described in the Biblical accounts,[14] but most scholars agree that Jesus was a Galilean Jew who was born between 7-4 BC and died 30–36 AD,[15][16][17] that Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist, that he was crucified by the order of the Roman Prefect Pontius Pilate[11][12][13] and that he lived in Galilee and Judea and did not preach or study elsewhere.[18][19][20] The theory that Jesus never existed at all has very little scholarly support.[21][22][23][24][25]

Historicity[edit]

Historicity is the historical actuality[26] or historical authenticity[27] of a person or event, as opposed to being a myth, legend, or fiction. Historicity focuses on the truth value of knowledge claims about the past (denoting historical actuality, authenticity, and factuality.) The historicity of a claim about the past is its factual status.[28][29]

Questions regarding historicity concern not just the issue of "what really happened," but also the issue of how modern observers can come to know "what really happened."[30] This second issue is closely tied to historical research practices and methodologies for analyzing the reliability of primary sources and other evidence.[31][32]

Evidence of Jesus[edit]

Judea Province during the first century.

The sources for the historicity of Jesus are mainly Christian sources, such as the gospels and the purported letters of the apostles. The authenticity and reliability of these sources has been questioned by many scholars, and few events mentioned in the gospels are universally accepted.[33]

There are three mentions of Jesus in non-Christian sources, which have been used in historical analyses of the existence of Jesus.[34] These are two mentions in the works of 1st-century Roman historian Josephus and one mention in the works of the 2nd-century Roman historian Tacitus.[34][35]

Josephus' Antiquities of the Jews, written around 93–94 AD, includes two references to the biblical Jesus Christ in Books 18 and 20. The general scholarly view is that while the longer passage, known as the Testimonium Flavianum, is most likely not authentic in its entirety, it is broadly agreed upon that it originally consisted of an authentic nucleus, which was then subject to Christian interpolation or forgery.[36][37] Of the other mention in Josephus, Josephus scholar Louis H. Feldman has stated that "few have doubted the genuineness" of Josephus' reference to Jesus in Antiquities 20, 9, 1 and it is only disputed by a small number of scholars.[38][39][40][41]

Roman historian Tacitus referred to Christus and his execution by Pontius Pilate in his Annals (written ca. AD 116), book 15, chapter 44.[42] The very negative tone of Tacitus' comments on Christians make the passage extremely unlikely to have been forged by a Christian scribe[43] and the Tacitus reference is now widely accepted as an independent confirmation of Christ's crucifixion,[44] although some scholars question the authenticity of the passage on various different grounds.[43][45][46][47][48][49][49][50][51]

Classical historian Michael Grant wrote that:

If we apply to the New Testament, as we should, the same sort of criteria as we should apply to other ancient writings containing historical material, we can no more reject Jesus' existence than we can reject the existence of a mass of pagan personages whose reality as historical figures is never questioned.[52]

Widely accepted historical events[edit]

Virtually all modern scholars of antiquity agree that Jesus existed, and most biblical scholars and classical historians see the theories of his non-existence as effectively refuted.[7][9][10][21][53] There is no evidence today that the existence of Jesus was ever denied in antiquity by those who opposed Christianity.[54][55] Geoffrey Blainey notes that a few scholars have argued that Jesus did not exist, but writes that Jesus' life was in fact "astonishingly documented" by the standards of the time – more so than any of his contemporaries – with numerous books, stories and memoirs written about him. The problem for the historian, wrote Blainey, is not therefore, determining whether Jesus actually existed, but rather in considering the "sheer multitude of detail and its inconsistencies and contradictions".[56][not in citation given] There is, however, widespread disagreement among scholars on the details of the life of Jesus mentioned in the gospel narratives, and on the meaning of his teachings.[14]

According to New Testament scholar James Dunn, nearly all modern scholars consider the baptism of Jesus and his crucifixion to be historically certain.[11] He states that these "two facts in the life of Jesus command almost universal assent" and "rank so high on the 'almost impossible to doubt or deny' scale of historical 'facts' they are obvious starting points for an attempt to clarify the what and why of Jesus' mission." that they are often the starting points for the study of the historical Jesus.[11]

Bart D. Ehrman states that the existence of Jesus and his crucifixion by the Romans is attested to by a wide range of sources including Josephus and Tacitus.[57][need quotation to verify] John P. Meier views the crucifixion of Jesus as historical fact and states that based on the criterion of embarrassment Christians would not have invented the painful death of their leader.[58][not in citation given] Meier states that a number of other criteria, e.g. the criterion of multiple attestation (i.e. confirmation by more than one source), the criterion of coherence (i.e. that it fits with other historical elements) and the criterion of rejection (i.e. that it is not disputed by ancient sources) help establish the crucifixion of Jesus as a historical event.[59][not in citation given] Biblical scholar John Dominic Crossan, highly skeptical with regard to the Gospel accounts of miracles, wrote in 1995

That (Jesus) was crucified is as sure as anything historical can ever be, since both Josephus and Tacitus... agree with the Christian accounts on at least that basic fact.[60]

One of the arguments in favour of the historicity of the baptism of Jesus by John is that it is a story which the early Christian Church would have never wanted to invent, typically referred to as the criterion of embarrassment in historical analysis.[61][62][63] Based on this criterion, given that John baptised for the remission of sins, and Jesus was viewed as without sin, the invention of this story would have served no purpose, and would have been an embarrassment given that it positioned John above Jesus.[61][63][64] The Gospel of Matthew attempts to offset this problem by having John feel unworthy to baptise Jesus and Jesus giving him permission to do so in Matthew 3:14–15.[65]

Historian of ancient history Robin Lane Fox states "Jesus was born in Galilee".[5][not in citation given] Co-director of Ancient Cultures Research Centre at Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia Alanna Nobbs[66] has stated "While historical and theological debates remain about the actions and significance of this figure, his fame as a teacher, and his crucifixion under the Roman prefect Pontius Pilate, may be described as historically certain."[6][clarification needed]

Amy-Jill Levine has summarized the situation by stating that "there is a consensus of sorts on the basic outline of Jesus' life" in that most scholars agree that Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist, and over a period of one to three years debated Jewish authorities on the subject of God, gathered followers, and was crucified by Roman prefect Pontius Pilate who officiated 26-36 AD.[17] There is much in dispute as to his previous life, childhood, family and place of residence, of which the canonical gospels are almost completely silent. This silence is a problematic fact in explaining the historiography of Jesus. It has been suggested that it was the result of a conflict between the Nazarene Jewish followers of Jesus, led by his brother James, and the nascent Gentilic Christians led by the Apostle Paul.[67][68][69]

Scholars attribute varying levels of certainty to other episodes. E.P. Sanders and Craig A. Evans independently state that there are two other incidents in the life of Jesus that can be considered historical: that Jesus called disciples, and that he caused a controversy at the Temple.[70][not in citation given] This extended view assumes that there are eight elements about Jesus and his followers that can be viewed as historical facts—four episodes in the life of Jesus and four about him and his followers, namely:[12][70]

  • Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist. He called disciples. He had a controversy at the Temple. Jesus was crucified by the Romans near Jerusalem.[12][70]
  • Jesus was a Galilean. His activities were confined to Galilee and Judea. After his death his disciples continued. Some of his disciples were persecuted.[12][70]

Scholarly agreement on this extended list is not universal.[12][70][71]

The Mishnah (c. 200) may refer to Jesus and reflect the early Jewish traditions of portraying Jesus as a sorcerer or magician.[72][73][74][75] Other possible references to Jesus and his execution may exist in the Talmud, but they also aim to discredit his actions, not deny his existence.[72][76]

Methods of research[edit]

When judging the historical reliability of the gospels, scholars ask if the accounts in the gospels are, when judged using normal standards that historians use on other ancient writings, reliable or not.[77] The main issues are what are the 'original' gospels, whether the original gospel works were accurate eyewitness accounts, and whether those original versions have been transmitted accurately through the ages to us. In evaluating the historical reliability of the Gospels, scholars consider a number of factors. These include authorship and date of composition,[78] intention and genre,[79] gospel sources and oral tradition,[80][81] textual criticism,[82] and historical authenticity of specific sayings and narrative events.[78]

The genre of the gospels is essential in understanding the intentions of the authors regarding the historical value of the texts. New Testament scholar Graham Stanton states that "the gospels are now widely considered to be a sub-set of the broad ancient literary genre of biographies."[83] Charles H. Talbert agrees that the gospels should be grouped with the Graeco-Roman biographies, but adds that such biographies included an element of mythology, and that the synoptic gospels also included elements of mythology.[84] E.P. Sanders states that “these Gospels were written with the intention of glorifying Jesus and are not strictly biographical in nature.”[85] Ingrid Maisch and Anton Vögtle writing for Karl Rahner in his encyclopedia of theological terms indicate that the gospels were written primarily as theological, not historical items.[86] Erasmo Leiva-Merikakis notes that "we must conclude, then, that the genre of the Gospel is not that of pure 'history'; but neither is it that of myth, fairy tale, or legend. In fact, 'gospel' constitutes a genre all its own, a surprising novelty in the literature of the ancient world."[87] Some critics have maintained that Christianity is not founded on a historical figure, but rather on a mythical creation.[88] This view proposes that the idea of Jesus was the Jewish manifestation of a pan-Hellenic cult, known as Osiris-Dionysus,[89] which acknowledged the non-historic nature of the figure, using it instead as a teaching device.

Scholars tend to consider Luke's works (Luke-Acts) to be closer in genre to "pure" history,[90][90][91] although they also note that “This is not to say that he [Luke] was always reliably informed, or that - any more than modern historians - he always presented a severely factual account of events.”[90] New Testament scholar, James D.G. Dunn believes that "the earliest tradents within the Christian churches [were] preservers more than innovators...seeking to transmit, retell, explain, interpret, elaborate, but not create de novo...Through the main body of the Synoptic tradition, I believe, we have in most cases direct access to the teaching and ministry of Jesus as it was remembered from the beginning of the transmission process (which often predates Easter) and so fairly direct access to the ministry and teaching of Jesus through the eyes and ears of those who went about with him."[92] Nevertheless, David Jenkins, a former Anglican Bishop of Durham and university professor, has stated that “Certainly not! There is absolutely no certainty in the New Testament about anything of importance.”[93]

Critical scholars have developed a number of criteria to evaluate the probability, or historical authenticity, of an attested event or saying represented in the gospels. These criteria are applied to the gospels in order to help scholars in reconstructions of the Historical Jesus. The criterion of dissimilarity argues that if a saying or action is dissimilar to, or contrary to, the views of Judaism in the context of Jesus or the views of the early church, then it can more confidently be regarded as an authentic saying or action of Jesus.[94][95] One commonly cited example of this is Jesus' controversial reinterpretation of the Mosaic law in his Sermon on the Mount, or Peter's decision to allow uncircumcised gentiles into what was, at the time, a sect of Judaism. The criterion of embarrassment holds that the authors of the gospels had no reason to invent embarrassing incidents such as the denial of Jesus by Peter, or the fleeing of Jesus' followers after his arrest, and therefore such details would likely not have been included unless they were true.[96] Bart Ehrman, using the criterion of dissimilarity to judge the historical reliability of the claim Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist, notes that "it is hard to imagine a Christian inventing the story of Jesus' baptism since this could be taken to mean that he was John's subordinate."[97]

The criterion of multiple attestation says that when two or more independent sources present similar or consistent accounts, it is more likely that the accounts are accurate reports of events or that they are reporting a tradition which pre-dates the sources themselves.[98] This is often used to note that the four gospels attest to most of the same events, but that Paul's epistles often attest to these events as well, as do the writings of the early church, and to a limited degree non-Christian ancient writings. The criterion of cultural and historical congruency says that a source is less credible if the account contradicts known historical facts, or if it conflicts with cultural practices common in the period in question.[99] It is, therefore, more credible if it agrees with those known facts. For example, this is often used when assessing the reliability of claims in Luke-Acts, such as the official title of Pontius Pilate. Through linguistic criteria a number of conclusions can be drawn. The criterion of "Aramaisms" as it is often referred[100] holds that if a saying of Jesus has Aramaic roots, reflecting Jesus' Palestinian context, the saying is more likely to be authentic.[101]

Since the 18th century, scholars have taken part in three separate "quests" for the historical Jesus, attempting to reconstruct various portraits of his life using historical methods.[102][103] Although textual criticism of Biblical sources had been practiced for centuries, these quests introduced new methods and specific methodologies to determine the historical validity of their conclusions.[104]

While textual criticism (or lower criticism) had been practiced for centuries, a number of approaches to historical analysis and a number of criteria for evaluating the historicity of events emerged as of the 18th century, as a series of "Quests for the historical Jesus" took place. At each stage of development, scholars suggested specific forms and methodologies of analysis and specific criteria to be used to determine historical validity.[104]

The first Quest, which started in 1778, was almost entirely based on biblical criticism. This was supplemented with form criticism in 1919 and redaction criticism in 1948.[104] Form criticism began as an attempt to trace the history of the biblical material before it was written down, and may thus be seen as starting when textual criticism ends.[105] Form criticism looks for patterns within units of biblical text and attempts to trace their origin based on the patterns.[105] Redaction criticism may be viewed as the child of text criticism and form criticism.[106] This approach views an author as a "redactor" i.e. someone preparing a report, and tries to understand how the redactor(s) has molded the narrative to express their own perspectives.[106]

At the end of the first Quest (c. 1906) the criterion for multiple attestation was used and was the major additional element up to 1950s.[104] The concept behind multiple attestation is simple: as the number of independent sources that vouch for an event increases, confidence in the historical authenticity of the event rises.[104]

Other criteria were being developed at the same time, e.g. "double dissimilarity" in 1913, "least distinctiveness" in 1919 and "coherence and consistency" in 1921.[104] The criterion of double dissimilarity views a reported saying or action of Jesus as possibly authentic, if it is dissimilar from both the Judaism of his time and also from the traditions of the early Christianity that immediately followed him.[107] The least distinctiveness criterion relies on the assumption that when stories are passed from person to person, the peripheral, least distinct elements may be distorted, but the central element remains unchanged.[108] The criterion of "coherence and consistency" states that material can be used only when other material has been identified as authentic to corroborate it.[104]

The second Quest was launched in 1953, and along with it the criterion of embarrassment was introduced.[104] This criterion states that a group is unlikely to invent a story that would be embarrassing to themselves.[104] The criterion of "historical plausibility" was introduced in 1997, after the start of the third Quest in 1988.[104] This principle analyzes the plausibility of an event in two separate components: contextual plausibility and consequential plausibility, i.e. the historical context needs to be suitable, as well as the consequences.[104]

Currently modern scholarly research on the historical Jesus focuses on what is historically probable, or plausible about Jesus.[109][110] More recently historicists have focused their attention on the historical writings associated with the period in which Jesus lived[111][112] or on the evidence concerning his family.[113][114][115]

Myth theory[edit]

Main article: Christ myth theory

The Christ myth theory is the proposition that Jesus of Nazareth never existed, or if he did, he had virtually nothing to do with the founding of Christianity and the accounts in the gospels.[116] The theory that Jesus never existed at all has very little scholarly support.[21][22][23][24][25]

Criticism of Jesus research methods[edit]

Donald Akenson, Professor of Irish Studies, in the department of history at Queen's University, has argued that, with very few exceptions, the historians attempting to reconstruct a biography of the man apart from the mere facts of his existence and crucifixion, have not followed sound historical practices. He has stated that there is an unhealthy reliance on consensus, for propositions, which should otherwise be based on primary sources, or rigorous interpretation. He also identifies a peculiar downward dating creep, and holds that some of the criteria being used are faulty. He says that the overwhelming majority of biblical scholars are employed in institutions whose roots are in religious beliefs. Because of this, more than any other group in present day academia, biblical historians are under immense pressure to theologize their historical work. It is only through considerable individual heroism, that many biblical historians have managed to maintain the scholarly integrity of their work.[4][117][118]

Bart Ehrman and separately Andreas Köstenberger contend that given the scarcity of historical sources, it is generally difficult for any scholar to construct a portrait of Jesus that can be considered historically valid beyond the basic elements of his life.[119][120] On the other hand, scholars such as N. T. Wright and Luke Timothy Johnson argue that the image of Jesus presented in the gospels is largely accurate, and that dissenting scholars are simply too cautious about what we can claim to know about the ancient period.[87]

Since Albert Schweitzer's book The Quest of the Historical Jesus, scholars have for long stated that many of the portraits of Jesus are "pale reflections of the researchers" themselves.[121][122][123] John Dominic Crossan summarized the recent situation by stating that many authors writing about the life of Jesus "... do autobiography and call it biography."[121][124]

According to James Dunn, "...the 'historical Jesus' is properly speaking a nineteenth- and twentieth-century construction using the data provided by the Synoptic tradition, not Jesus back then and not a figure in history."[125] (Emphasis in the original). Dunn further explains that "the facts are not to be identified as data; they are always an interpretation of the data.[126]

William Hamilton says: "Jesus is inaccessible by historical means. All we can know (or need to know) is that he has come."[127]

The British Methodist scholar Clive Marsh[128] has stated that the construction of the portraits of Jesus as part of various quests have often been driven by "specific agendas" and that historical components of the relevant biblical texts are often interpreted to fit specific goals.[129] Marsh lists theological agendas that aim to confirm the divinity of Jesus, anti-ecclesiastical agendas that aim to discredit Christianity and political agendas that aim to interpret the teachings of Jesus with the hope of causing social change.[129][130]

John Meier, a Catholic priest and a professor of theology at University of Notre Dame, has stated "... I think a lot of the confusion comes from the fact that people claim they are doing a quest for the historical Jesus when de facto they’re doing theology, albeit a theology that is indeed historically informed ..."[131] Meier also wrote that in the past the quest for the historical Jesus has often been motivated more by a desire to produce an alternate Christology than a true historical search.[132]

Dale Allison, a Presbyterian theologian and professor of New Testament Exegesis and Early Christianity at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, says, "... We wield our criteria to get what we want ..."[133] Allison states that to an outsider the portraits of the historical Jesus seem to crisscross each other in a "maze of contradictions" partly because the scholars involved make different assumptions about the nature of the quest.[134][135]

According to the historian of religion R. Joseph Hoffmann, a humanist, there has never been "a methodologically agnostic approach to the question of Jesus' historical existence."[136]

The New Testament scholar Nicholas Perrin on the other hand has argued that since most biblical scholars are Christians, a certain bias is inevitable, but he does not see this as a major problem.[137][138]

The historian and philosopher C. Stephen Evans, a professor at the Baptist Baylor University,[139] holds that the stories told by "scientific, critical historians" are based on faith convictions no less than is the account of Jesus as the Christ the Son of God, an account that he maintains can be reasonably accepted as historically true.[140]

The linguist Alvar Ellegård argued that theologians have failed to question Jesus' existence because of a lack of communication between them and other scholars, causing some of the basic assumptions of Christianity to remain insulated from general scholarly debate.[141][142] However, the Old Testament scholar Albrektson, while identifying some possible problems, says in response that a great many biblical scholars do practise their profession as an ordinary philological and historical subject, avoiding dogmatic assumptions and beliefs.[143]

Albert Schweitzer accused early scholars of religious bias. Rudolf Bultmann argued that historical research could reveal very little about the historical Jesus. Some have argued that modern biblical scholarship is insufficiently critical and sometimes amounts to covert apologetics.[144][145]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Amy-Jill Levine in the The Historical Jesus in Context edited by Amy-Jill Levine et al. 2006 Princeton Univ Press ISBN 978-0-691-00992-6 pages 1-2
  2. ^ Jesus: Apocalyptic Prophet of the New Millennium by Bart D. Ehrman (Sep 23, 1999) ISBN 0195124731 Oxford Univ Press pages ix-xi
  3. ^ Jesus Remembered Volume 1, by James D. G. Dunn 2003 ISBN 0-8028-3931-2 pp. 125-127
  4. ^ a b Akenson, Donald (1998). Surpassing wonder: the invention of the Bible and the Talmuds. University of Chicago Press. pp. 539–555. ISBN 978-0-226-01073-1. Retrieved Jan 8, 2011. "... The point I shall argue below is that, the agreed evidentiary practices of the historians of Yeshua, despite their best efforts, have not been those of sound historical practice ..." 
  5. ^ a b Fox, Robin Lane (2005). The Classical World: An Epic History from Homer to Hadrian. Basic Books. p. 48. ISBN 978-0465024971. 
  6. ^ a b Dickson, John. "Best of 2012: The irreligious assault on the historicity of Jesus". Abc.net.au. Retrieved 17 June 2014. 
  7. ^ a b While discussing the "striking" fact that "we don't have any Roman records, of any kind, that attest to the existence of Jesus," Ehrman dismisses claims that this means Jesus never existed, saying, "He certainly existed, as virtually every competent scholar of antiquity, Christian or non-Christian, agrees, based on clear and certain evidence." B. Ehrman, 2011 Forged : writing in the name of God ISBN 978-0-06-207863-6. page 285
  8. ^ Robert M. Price (a former fundamentalist apologist turned atheist who says the existence of Jesus cannot be ruled out, but is less probable than non-existence) agrees that this perspective runs against the views of the majority of scholars: Robert M. Price "Jesus at the Vanishing Point" in The Historical Jesus: Five Views edited by James K. Beilby & Paul Rhodes Eddy, 2009 InterVarsity, ISBN 028106329X page 61
  9. ^ a b Michael Grant (a classicist) states that "In recent years, 'no serious scholar has ventured to postulate the non historicity of Jesus' or at any rate very few, and they have not succeeded in disposing of the much stronger, indeed very abundant, evidence to the contrary." in Jesus: An Historian's Review of the Gospels by Michael Grant 2004 ISBN 1898799881 page 200
  10. ^ a b Richard A. Burridge states: "There are those who argue that Jesus is a figment of the Church’s imagination, that there never was a Jesus at all. I have to say that I do not know any respectable critical scholar who says that any more." in Jesus Now and Then by Richard A. Burridge and Graham Gould (Apr 1, 2004) ISBN 0802809774 page 34
  11. ^ a b c d Jesus Remembered by James D. G. Dunn 2003 ISBN 0-8028-3931-2 page 339 states of baptism and crucifixion that these "two facts in the life of Jesus command almost universal assent".
  12. ^ a b c d e f Prophet and Teacher: An Introduction to the Historical Jesus by William R. Herzog (4 Jul 2005) ISBN 0664225284 pages 1-6
  13. ^ a b Crossan, John Dominic (1995). Jesus: A Revolutionary Biography. HarperOne. p. 145. ISBN 0-06-061662-8. "That he was crucified is as sure as anything historical can ever be, since both Josephus and Tacitus ... agree with the Christian accounts on at least that basic fact." 
  14. ^ a b c Jesus as a Figure in History: How Modern Historians View the Man from Galilee by Mark Allan Powell 1998 ISBN 0-664-25703-8 pages 168–173
  15. ^ Paul L. Maier "The Date of the Nativity and Chronology of Jesus" in Chronos, kairos, Christos: nativity and chronological studies by Jerry Vardaman, Edwin M. Yamauchi 1989 ISBN 0-931464-50-1 pages 113-129
  16. ^ The Cradle, the Cross, and the Crown: An Introduction to the New Testament by Andreas J. Köstenberger, L. Scott Kellum 2009 ISBN 978-0-8054-4365-3 page 114
  17. ^ a b Many scholars agree that Jesus debated with fellow Jews on how best to live according to God's will, engaged in healings and exorcisms, taught in parables, gathered male and female followers in Galilee, went to Jerusalem, and was crucified by Roman soldiers during the governorship of Pontius Pilate" The Historical Jesus in Context edited by Amy-Jill Levine et al. Princeton University Press ISBN 978-0-691-00992-6 page 4
  18. ^ Joel B. Green, Scot McKnight, I. Howard Marshall, Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels (InterVarsity Press, 1992), page 442
  19. ^ The Historical Jesus in Recent Research edited by James D. G. Dunn and Scot McKnight 2006 ISBN 1-57506-100-7 page 303
  20. ^ Who Is Jesus? by John Dominic Crossan, Richard G. Watts 1999 ISBN 0664258425 pages 28-29
  21. ^ a b c Robert E. Van Voorst Jesus Outside the New Testament: An Introduction to the Ancient Evidence Eerdmans Publishing, 2000. ISBN 0-8028-4368-9 page 16 states: "The nonhistoricity thesis has always been controversial ... Biblical scholars and classical historians now regard it as effectively refuted"
  22. ^ a b The Cambridge companion to Jesus by Markus N. A. Bockmuehl 2001 Cambridge University Press ISBN 978-0-521-79678-1 pages 123-124. Page 124 state that the "farfetched theories that Jesus' existence was a Christian invention are highly implausible."
  23. ^ a b Powell, Mark Allan (1998). Jesus as a figure in history: how modern historians view the man from Galilee. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press. p. 168. ISBN 978-0-664-25703-3. 
  24. ^ a b Jesus in history, thought, and culture: an encyclopedia, Volume 1 by James Leslie Houlden 2003 ISBN 1-57607-856-6-page 660
  25. ^ a b Van Voorst (2000) p. 14
  26. ^ http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/historicity
  27. ^ http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/historicity
  28. ^ Wandersee, J. H. (1992), The historicality of cognition: Implications for science education research. J. Res. Sci. Teach., 29: 423–434. doi: 10.1002/tea.3660290409
  29. ^ Harre, R., & Moghaddam, F.M. (2006). Historicity, social psychology, and change. In Rockmore, T. & Margolis, J. (Eds.), History, historicity, and science (pp. 94-120). London: Ashgate Publishing Limited., [1]
  30. ^ William J. Hamblin, professor of history at Brigham Young University. Two part article on historicity, [2] and [3]
  31. ^ Hall, J. (2007). Historicity and Sociohistorical Research. In W. Outhwaite, & S. Turner (Eds.), The SAGE Handbook of Social Science Methodology. (pp. 82-102). London, England: SAGE Publications Ltd. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.4135/9781848607958.n5
  32. ^ Hall, J. (2007). History, methodologies, and the study of religion. In J. Beckford, & N. Demerath (Eds.), The SAGE handbook of the sociology of religion. (pp. 167-189). London: SAGE Publications Ltd. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.4135/9781848607965.n9
  33. ^ Jesus as a Figure in History: How Modern Historians View the Man from Galilee by Mark Allan Powell 1998 ISBN 0-664-25703-8 page 181
  34. ^ a b Jesus and the Gospels: An Introduction and Survey by Craig L. Blomberg 2009 ISBN 0-8054-4482-3 pages 431-436
  35. ^ Van Voorst (2000) pp. 39-53
  36. ^ Schreckenberg, Heinz; Kurt Schubert (1992). Jewish Traditions in Early Christian Literature. ISBN 90-232-2653-4. 
  37. ^ Kostenberger, Andreas J.; L. Scott Kellum; Charles L. Quarles (2009). The Cradle, the Cross, and the Crown: An Introduction to the New Testament. ISBN 0-8054-4365-7. 
  38. ^ The new complete works of Josephus by Flavius Josephus, William Whiston, Paul L. Maier ISBN 0-8254-2924-2 pages 662-663
  39. ^ Josephus XX by Louis H. Feldman 1965, ISBN 0674995023 page 496
  40. ^ Van Voorst, Robert E. (2000). Jesus Outside the New Testament: An Introduction to the Ancient Evidence ISBN 0-8028-4368-9. page 83
  41. ^ Flavius Josephus; Maier, Paul L. (December 1995). Josephus, the essential works: a condensation of Jewish antiquities and The Jewish war ISBN 978-0-8254-3260-6 pages 284-285
  42. ^ P.E. Easterling, E. J. Kenney (general editors), The Cambridge History of Latin Literature, page 892 (Cambridge University Press, 1982, reprinted 1996). ISBN 0-521-21043-7
  43. ^ a b Robert E. Van Voorst, Jesus Outside the New Testament: An Introduction to the Ancient Evidence, Wm. B. Eerdmans, 2000. p 39- 53
  44. ^ Eddy, Paul; Boyd, Gregory (2007). The Jesus Legend: A Case for the Historical Reliability of the Synoptic Jesus Tradition Baker Academic, ISBN 0-8010-3114-1 page 127
  45. ^ F.F. Bruce,Jesus and Christian Origins Outside the New Testament, (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1974) p. 23
  46. ^ Theissen, Gerd; Merz, Annette (1998). The historical Jesus: a comprehensive guide. Minneapolis: Fortress Press. p. 83. ISBN 978-0-8006-3122-2. 
  47. ^ The Case Against Christianity, By Michael Martin, pg 50-51, at http://books.google.co.za/books?id=wWkC4dTmK0AC&pg=PA52&dq=historicity+of+jesus&hl=en&sa=X&ei=o-_8U5-yEtTH7AbBpoCoAg&ved=0CCUQ6AEwAg#v=onepage&q=tacitus&f=false
  48. ^ The Historical Jesus in the Twentieth Century: 1900-1950, By Walter P. Weaver, pg 53, pg 57, at http://books.google.co.za/books?id=1CZbuFBdAMUC&pg=PA45&dq=historicity+of+jesus&hl=en&sa=X&ei=o-_8U5-yEtTH7AbBpoCoAg&ved=0CEoQ6AEwCQ#v=onepage&q=tacitus&f=false
  49. ^ a b Secret of Regeneration, By Hilton Hotema, pg 100, at http://books.google.co.za/books?id=jCaopp3R5B0C&pg=PA100&dq=interpolations+in+tacitus&hl=en&sa=X&ei=CRf-U9-VGZCe7AbxrIDQCA&ved=0CCAQ6AEwATge#v=onepage&q=interpolations%20in%20tacitus&f=false
  50. ^ Jesus, University Books, New York, 1956, p.13
  51. ^ France, RT (1986). Evidence for Jesus (Jesus Library). Trafalgar Square Publishing. pp. 19–20. ISBN 0-340-38172-8. 
  52. ^ Michael Grant (1977), Jesus: An Historian's Review of the Gospels
  53. ^ James D. G. Dunn "Paul's understanding of the death of Jesus" in Sacrifice and Redemption edited by S. W. Sykes (Dec 3, 2007) Cambridge University Press ISBN 052104460X pages 35-36 describes theories that Jesus was a mythical figure as a "thoroughly dead thesis."
  54. ^ Encyclopedia of theology: a concise Sacramentum mundi by Karl Rahner 2004 ISBN 0-86012-006-6 pages 730-731: "in antiquity it never occurred to anyone, even the bitterest enemies of Christianity, to doubt the existence of Jesus"
  55. ^ Van Voorst, Robert E (2000). Jesus Outside the New Testament: An Introduction to the Ancient Evidence. Eerdmans Publishing. ISBN 0-8028-4368-9-page 15: "no pagans or Jews who opposed Christianity denied Jesus' historicity or even questioned it"
  56. ^ Geoffrey Blainey; A Short History of Christianity; Viking; 2011; p.xix-xx
  57. ^ The New Testament: A Historical Introduction to the Early Christian Writings by Bart D. Ehrman 1999 ISBN 0-19-512639-4-page 248
  58. ^ John P. Meier "How do we decide what comes from Jesus" in The Historical Jesus in Recent Research by James D. G. Dunn and Scot McKnight 2006 ISBN 1-57506-100-7 pages 126-128
  59. ^ John P. Meier "How do we decide what comes from Jesus" in The Historical Jesus in Recent Research by James D. G. Dunn and Scot McKnight 2006 ISBN 1-57506-100-7 pages 132-136
  60. ^ Crossan, John Dominic (1995). Jesus: A Revolutionary Biography. HarperOne. ISBN 0-06-061662-8 page 145
  61. ^ a b Jesus as a figure in history: how modern historians view the man from Galilee by Mark Allan Powell 1998 ISBN 0-664-25703-8 page 47
  62. ^ Who Is Jesus? by John Dominic Crossan, Richard G. Watts 1999 ISBN 0664258425 pages 31-32
  63. ^ a b Jesus of Nazareth: An Independent Historian's Account of His Life and Teaching by Maurice Casey 2010 ISBN 0-567-64517-7 page 35
  64. ^ The historical Jesus: a comprehensive guide by Gerd Theissen, Annette Merz 1998 ISBN 0-8006-3122-6 page 207
  65. ^ John the Baptist: prophet of purity for a new age by Catherine M. Murphy 2003 ISBN 0-8146-5933-0 pages 29-30
  66. ^ "Professor Alana Nobbs". Mq.edu.au. Macquarie University. Retrieved 17 June 2014. 
  67. ^ Eisenmann, Robert, (2001), "James the Brother of Jesus: The Key to Unlocking the Secrets of Early Christianity and the Dead Sea Scrolls"
  68. ^ Butz, Jeffrey (2005), "The Brother of Jesus and the Lost Traditions of Christianity" (Inner Traditions)
  69. ^ Tabor, James (2012), "Paul and Jesus: How the Apostle Transformed Christianity" (Simon and Shuster)
  70. ^ a b c d e Authenticating the Activities of Jesus by Bruce Chilton and Craig A. Evans 2002 ISBN 0391041649 pages 3-7
  71. ^ Jesus as a Figure in History: How Modern Historians View the Man from Galilee by Mark Allan Powell (1 Nov 1998) ISBN 0664257038 page 117
  72. ^ a b Jesus and the Politics of his Day by E. Bammel and C. F. D. Moule (30 Aug 1985) ISBN 0521313449 page 393
  73. ^ In Jesus: The Complete Guide edited by J. L. Houlden (8 Feb 2006) ISBN 082648011X pages 693-694
  74. ^ Jesus in the Talmud by Peter Schäfer (24 Aug 2009) ISBN 0691143188 page 141 and 9
  75. ^ Jesus and the Gospels: An Introduction and Survey by Craig L. Blomberg (1 Aug 2009) ISBN 0805444823 page 280
  76. ^ Kostenberger, Andreas J.; Kellum, L. Scott; Quarles, Charles L. (2009). The Cradle, the Cross, and the Crown: An Introduction to the New Testament ISBN 0-8054-4365-7. pages 107-109
  77. ^ "Historicity", The Oxford English Dictionary.
  78. ^ a b Craig L. Blomberg, Jesus and the Gospels: An Introduction and Survey (2nd Edition).425.
  79. ^ Paul Rhodes Eddy & Gregory A. Boyd, The Jesus Legend:A Case for the Historical Reliability of the Synoptic Jesus Tradition. (2008, Baker Academic).309-262.
  80. ^ Craig L. Blomberg, Historical Reliability of the Gospels (1986, Inter-Varsity Press).19-72.
  81. ^ Paul Rhodes Eddy & Gregory A. Boyd, The Jesus Legend:A Case for the Historical Reliability of the Synoptic Jesus Tradition. (2008, Baker Academic).237-308.
  82. ^ Craig L. Blomberg, Jesus and the Gospels: An Introduction and Survey (2nd Edition).424.
  83. ^ Graham Stanton, Jesus and Gospel. p.192.
  84. ^ Charles H. Talbert, What Is a Gospel? The Genre of Canonical Gospels pg 42 (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1977).
  85. ^ “The Historical Figure of Jesus," Sanders, E.P., Penguin Books: London, 1995, p., 3.
  86. ^ Encyclopedia of theology: a concise Sacramentum mundi by Karl Rahner 2004 ISBN 0-86012-006-6 pages 730-741
  87. ^ a b Meier 1994 v.2 ch. 17; Ehrman 1999 p.227-8
  88. ^ Examples of authors who argue the Jesus myth hypothesis: Thomas L. Thompson The Messiah Myth: The Near Eastern Roots of Jesus and David (Jonathan Cape, Publisher, 2006); Michael Martin, The Case Against Christianity (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1991), 36–72; John Mackinnon Robertson
  89. ^ Freke, Timothy and Gandy, Peter (1999) The Jesus Mysteries. London: Thorsons (Harper Collins)
  90. ^ a b c Grant, Robert M., "A Historical Introduction to the New Testament" (Harper and Row, 1963), religion-online.org
  91. ^ Richard Bauckham, Jesus and the Eyewitnesses. 117.
  92. ^ James D.G. Dunn, "Messianic Ideas and Their Influence on the Jesus of History," in The Messiah, ed. James H. Charlesworth. pp. 371-372. Cf. James D.G. Dunn, Jesus Remembered.
  93. ^ [4], retrieved 15nov2010
  94. ^ Norman Perrin, Rediscovering the Teaching of Jesus 43.
  95. ^ Christopher Tuckett, "Sources and Method" in The Cambridge Companion to Jesus. ed. Markus Bockmuehl. 132.
  96. ^ Meier, John P., A Marginal Jew: Rethinking the Historical Jesus, Doubleday: 1991. vol 1: pp. 168–171.
  97. ^ Bart D. Ehrman, The New Testament:A Historical Introduction to the Early Christian Writings.194-5.
  98. ^ The criteria for authenticity in historical-Jesus research: previous discussion and new proposals, by Stanley E. Porter, pg. 118
  99. ^ The criteria for authenticity in historical-Jesus research: previous discussion and new proposals, by Stanley E. Porter, pg. 119
  100. ^ Bart D. Ehrman, The New Testament:A Historical Introduction to the Early Christian Writings.193.
  101. ^ Stanley E. Porter, The Criteria for Authenticity in Historical-Jesus Research: previous discussion and new proposals.127.
  102. ^ The Jesus Quest: The Third Search for the Jew of Nazareth by Ben Witherington (May 8, 1997) ISBN 0830815449 pages 9-13
  103. ^ The Quest for the Plausible Jesus: The Question of Criteria by Gerd Theissen and Dagmar Winter (Aug 30, 2002) ISBN 0664225373 pages 1-6
  104. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Criteria for Authenticity in Historical-Jesus Research by Stanley E. Porter 2004 ISBN 0567043606 pages 100-120
  105. ^ a b The Westminster Dictionary of Christian Theology by Alan Richardson 1983 ISBN 0664227481 pages 215-216
  106. ^ a b Interpreting the New Testament by Daniel J. Harrington (Jun 1990) ISBN 0814651240 pages 96-98
  107. ^ The Historical Jesus and the Final Judgment Sayings in Q by Brian Han Gregg (30 Jun 2006) ISBN 3161487508 page 29
  108. ^ Criteria for Authenticity in Historical-Jesus Research by Stanley E. Porter 2004 ISBN 0567043606 pages 77-78
  109. ^ John, Jesus, and History Volume 1 by Paul N. Anderson, Felix Just and Tom Thatcher (14 Nov 2007) ISBN 1589832930 page 131
  110. ^ John P. Meier "Criteria: How do we decide what comes from Jesus?" in The Historical Jesus in Recent Research by James D. G. Dunn and Scot McKnight (15 Jul 2006) ISBN 1575061007 page 124 "Since in the quest for the historical Jesus almost anything is possible, the function of the criteria is to pass from the merely possible to the really probable, to inspect various probabilities, and to decide which candidate is most probable. Ordinarily the criteria can not hope to do more."
  111. ^ Mason, Steve (2002), "Josephus and the New Testament" (Baker Academic)
  112. ^ Tabor, James (2012)"Paul and Jesus: How the Apostle Transformed Christianity" (Simon & Schuster)
  113. ^ Eisenman, Robert (1998), "James the Brother of Jesus: The Key to Unlocking the Secrets of Early Christianity and the Dead Sea Scrolls" (Watkins)
  114. ^ Butz, Jeffrey "The Brother of Jesus and the Lost Teachings of Christianity" (Inner Traditions)
  115. ^ Tabor, James (2007), "The Jesus Dynasty: The Hidden History of Jesus, His Royal Family, and the Birth of Christianity"
  116. ^ Bart Ehrman, Did Jesus Exist? Harper Collins, 2012, p. 12, "In simpler terms, the historical Jesus did not exist . Or if he did, he had virtually nothing to do with the founding of Christianity." further quoting as authoritative the fuller definition provided by Earl Doherty in Jesus: Neither God Nor Man. Age of Reason, 2009, pp. vii-viii: it is "the theory that no historical Jesus worthy of the name existed, that Christianity began with a belief in a spiritual, mythical figure, that the Gospels are essentially allegory and fiction, and that no single identifiable person lay at the root of the Galilean preaching tradition."
  117. ^ "Queen's University:Department of History". Retrieved Jan 22, 2011. "Don Akenson: Professor Irish Studies" 
  118. ^ Mack, Burton (2001). The Christian Myth: Origins, Logic, and Legacy. New York: Continuum International Publishing Group. pp. 34–40. ISBN 978-0-8264-1543-1. Retrieved Jan 10, 2011. 
  119. ^ The Cradle, the Cross, and the Crown: An Introduction to the New Testament by Andreas J. Köstenberger, L. Scott Kellum 2009 ISBN 978-0-8054-4365-3 pages 117–125
  120. ^ Jesus: Apocalyptic Prophet of the New Millennium by Bart D. Ehrman 1999 ISBN 0-19-512473-1 pages 22–23
  121. ^ a b The Cradle, the Cross, and the Crown: An Introduction to the New Testament by Andreas J. Köstenberger, L. Scott Kellum 2009 ISBN 978-0-8054-4365-3 pages 124-125
  122. ^ Jesus the Christ by Walter Kasper (Nov 1976) ISBN page 31
  123. ^ Theological Hermeneutics by Angus Paddison (Jun 6, 2005) ISBN 0521849837 Cambridge Univ Press page 43
  124. ^ The Historical Jesus by John Dominic Crossan (Feb 26, 1993) ISBN 0060616296 page xviii
  125. ^ Dunn, James (2003). Christianity In the Making Volume 1: Jesus Remembered. Cambridge, MA: Eermans. p. 126. 
  126. ^ Jesus Remembered, by James Dunn; p.102
  127. ^ Hamilton, William (1994). A Quest For the Post-historical Jesus. New York: Continuum. p. 19. 
  128. ^ "Biography Clive Marsh". 
  129. ^ a b Clive Marsh, "Diverse Agendas at Work in the Jesus Quest" in Handbook for the Study of the Historical Jesus by Tom Holmen and Stanley E. Porter (Jan 12, 2011) ISBN 9004163727 pages 986-1002
  130. ^ Clive Marsh "Quests of the Historical Jesus in New Historicist Perspective" in Biblical Interpretation Journal Volume 5, Number 4, 1997 , pp. 403-437(35)
  131. ^ Meier, John. "Finding the Historical Jesus: An Interview With John P. Meier". St. Anthony Messenger. Retrieved Jan 6, 2011. "... I think a lot of the confusion comes from the fact that people claim they are doing a quest for the historical Jesus when de facto they’re doing theology, albeit a theology that is indeed historically informed. Go all the way back to Reimarus, through Schleiermacher, all the way down the line through Bultmann, Kasemann, Bornkamm. These are basically people who are theologians, doing a more modern type of Christology [a faith-based study of Jesus Christ] ..." 
  132. ^ John P. Meier (26 May 2009). A Marginal Jew: Rethinking the Historical Jesus, Law and Love. Yale University Press. pp. 6–. ISBN 978-0-300-14096-5. Retrieved 27 August 2010. 
  133. ^ Allison, Dale (February 2009). The Historical Christ and the Theological Jesus. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing. p. 59. ISBN 978-0-8028-6262-4. Retrieved Jan 9, 2011. "We wield our criteria to get what we want." 
  134. ^ The Historical Christ and the Theological Jesus by Dale C. Allison (Feb 1, 2009) ISBN 0802862624 pages 8-9
  135. ^ Dale Allison, Constructing Jesus: Memory, Imagination, and History 2010, ISBN 0801035856 page 44
  136. ^ Csillag, Ron. "For scholars, a combustible question: Was Christ real?", The Toronto Star, December 27, 2008. See the project's website at The Jesus Project, Center for Inquiry, accessed August 6, 2010.
  137. ^ "Jesus is His Own Ideology: An Interview with Nick Perrin". "My point in the book is to disabuse readers of the notion that Jesus scholars are scientists wearing white lab coats. Like everyone else, they want certain things to be true about Jesus and equally want certain others not to be true of him. I’m included in this (I really hope that I am right in believing that Jesus is both Messiah and Lord.) Will this shape my scholarship? Absolutely. How can it not? We should be okay with that."
  138. ^ McKnight, Scot (4/09/2010). "The Jesus We'll Never Know". Retrieved Jan 15, 2011. "One has to wonder if the driving force behind much historical Jesus scholarship is ... a historian's genuine (and disinterested) interest in what really happened. The theological conclusions of those who pursue the historical Jesus simply correlate too strongly with their own theological predilections to suggest otherwise." 
  139. ^ "Biography of C Stephen Evans". Baylor University. Retrieved 2007-03-16. 
  140. ^ Evans, C. Stephen. "The historical Christ and the Jesus of faith". Klaxo.net. Retrieved 2007-03-16.  See C. Stephen Evans, The Historical Christ and the Jesus of Faith: The Incarnational Narrative as History (New York: Oxford University Press, 1996), p. vi-vii.
  141. ^ Ellegård, Alvar. "Theologians as historians", Scandia, 2008, p. 171–172, 175ff.
  142. ^ Hoffmann, Joseph. "Threnody: Rethinking the Thinking behind The Jesus Project". Retrieved 2011-01-05. "... And second, because I have often made the claim that it has been largely theological interests since Strauss’s time that ruled the historicity question out of court. ..." 
  143. ^ Albrektson, Bertil; Ellegard, et al (9 Jan 2011). "Theologians as historians". Retrieved 2011-01-09. "In fact a great many biblical scholars do practise their profession as an ordinary philological and historical subject, avoiding dogmatic assumptions and beliefs." 
  144. ^ "Introducing the Journal of Higher Criticism". 
  145. ^ Hendel, Ronald (June 2010). "Knowledge and Power in Biblical Scholarship". Retrieved 2011-01-06. "... The problem at hand is how to preserve the critical study of the Bible in a professional society that has lowered its standards to the degree that apologetics passes as scholarship ..." 

References[edit]

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(1991), v. 1, The Roots of the Problem and the Person, ISBN 0-385-26425-9
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(2001), v. 3, Companions and Competitors, ISBN 0-385-46993-4
(2009), v. 4, Law and Love, ISBN 978-0-300-14096-5
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