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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Q 1
What should this article be named?

A: To balance all religious denominations this was discussed on this talk page and it was accepted as early as 2004 that Jesus, rather than Jesus Christ, is acceptable as the article title. The title Christ for Jesus is used by Christians, but not by Jews and Muslims. Hence it should not be used in this general, overview article. Similarly in English usage the Arabic Isa and Hebrew Yeshua are less general than Jesus, and can not be used as titles for this article per WP:Commonname.

Q 2
Why does this article use the BC/AD format for dates?

A: The use of AD, CE or AD/CE was discussed on the article talk page for a few years. The article started out with BC/AD but the combined format AD/CE was then used for some time as a compromise, but was the subject of ongoing discussion, e.g. see the 2008 discussion, the 2011 discussion and the 2012 discussion, among others. In April 2013 a formal request for comment was issued and a number of users commented. In May 2013 the discussion ended and the consensus of the request for comment was to use the BC/AD format.

Q 3
Did Jesus exist?

A: Based on a preponderance of sources, this article is generally written as if he did. A more thorough discussion of the evidence establishing Jesus' historicity can be found at Historicity of Jesus and detailed criticism of the non-historicity position can be found at Christ myth theory. See the policy on the issue for more information.

Q 3a
Is "virtually all scholars" a term that can be used in Wikipedia?

A: The issue was discussed on the talk page:

  • The term is directly used by the source in the article, and is used per the WP:RS/AC guideline to reflect the academic consensus.
Q 3b
What about asking on the reliability noticeboard?

A: Yes, people involved in the page can discuss matters, but an independent opinion from the reliable source noticeboard can further clarify and confirm the sources. An outside opinion was requested on the noticeboard. The outside opinion there (by user:DGG) stated that the issue has been discussed there many times and that the statement in the article (that virtually all scholars of antiquity hold that Jesus existed) represents the academic consensus.

Q 3c
What about the books that claim Jesus never existed?

A: The internet includes some such lists, and they have been discussed at length on the talk page, e.g. a list of over 20 such books was addressed in this talk page discussion. The list came from a non-WP:RS website and once it was analyzed it became clear that:

  • Most of the authors on the list were not scholars in the field, and included an attorney, an accountant, a land surveyor, a film-maker, as well as a number of amateurs whose actual profession was less than clear, whose books were self-published and failed the WP:RS requirements. Some of the non-self-published authors on the list were found to just write popular books, have no academic position and not scholars, e.g. Christopher Hitchens.
  • Some of the books on the list did not even deny the existence of Jesus, e.g. Burton Mack (who is a scholar) holds that Jesus existed but his death was not due to his challenge to Jewish authority, etc. Finkelstein and Silberman's work is about the Old Testament and not really related to Jesus. Tom Harpur holds that Jesus existed but mythical stories were later added to the gospel narratives about him.

The analysis of the list thus indirectly shed light on the scarcity of scholars who deny the existence of Jesus.

Q 3d
Do we have to survey the scholars ourselves?

A: The formal Wikipedia guidelines require us not to do our own survey. The Wikipedia guideline WP:RS/AC specifically states: "The statement that all or most scientists or scholars hold a certain view requires reliable sourcing that directly says that all or most scientists or scholars hold that view." Given that the guideline then states: "statement in Wikipedia that academic consensus exists on a topic must be sourced rather than being based on the opinion or assessment of editors." we should not rely on our own surveys but quote a scholar who states the "academic consensus".

Q 3e
Why even mention the existence of Jesus in the article lead?

A: This was discussed on the talk page. Although scholars at large see existence as a given, there are some self-published, non-scholarly books which question it, and hence non-scholars who read this article need to to have that issue clarified. And note that the statements regarding existence and other attributes need to be kept separate and stating that "Virtually all scholars of antiquity agree that Jesus was from Galilee" would not be accurate, because scholarly agreement on existence is much stronger than on other items.

Q 4
Are the scholars who study Jesus all Christian?

A: No. According to Bart D. Ehrman in How Jesus Became God (ISBN: 978-0-06-177818-6, page 187), "most New Testament scholars are themselves Christian". However, scholars of many faiths have studied Jesus. There are 3 aspects to this question:

  • Some of the most respected late 20th century scholars involved in the study of the historical Jesus, e.g. Amy-Jill Levine, Geza Vermes, Paula Fredriksen, etc. are Jewish. This trend is discussed in the 2012 book "Soundings in the Religion of Jesus: Perspectives and Methods in Jewish and Christian Scholarship by Bruce Chilton Anthony Le Donne and Jacob Neusner (ISBN 0800698010 page 132). While much of the older research in the 1950-1970 time frame may have involved Christian scholars (mostly in Europe) the 1980s saw an international effect and since then Jewish scholars have brought their knowledge of the field and made significant contributions. And one should note that the book is coauthored by the likes of Chilton and Neusner with quite different backgrounds. Similarly one of the main books in the field "The Historical Jesus in Context by Amy-Jill Levine, Dale C. Allison Jr., John Dominic Crossan 2006 ISBN 0691009929" is jointly edited by scholars with quite different backgrounds. In the late 20th and the 21st century Jewish, Christian and secular agnostic scholars have widely cooperated in research.
  • Regarding the existence of a historical Jesus, the article lead quotes Ehrman who is an agnostic and Price who is an atheist. Moreover, G. A. Wells who was widely accepted as the leader of the non-existence movement in the 20th century, abandoned that position and now accepts that the Q source refers to "a preacher" on whom parts of the gospels were based - although he believes that the supernatural claims were just stories that were then attributed to that preacher. That is reflected in his 2004 book "Can we Trust the New Testament", pages 49-50. While scholars continue to debate the historicity of specific gospel narratives, the agreement on the existence of Jesus is quite global.
  • Finally, Wikipedia policies do not prohibit Buddhist scholars as sources on the history of Buddhism, Jewish scholars on Judaism, or Muslim scholars as sources on the history of Islam provided they are respected scholars whose works meet the general WP:RS requirements in terms of publisher reputation, etc.
Q 5
Why are some historical facts stated to be less certain than others?

A: The difference is "historically certain" versus "historically probable" and "historically plausible". There are a number of subtle issues and this is a somewhat complicated topic, although it may seem simple at first:

  • Hardly any scholars dispute the existence of Jesus or his crucifixion.
  • A large majority of scholars agree that he debated the authorities and had "followers" - some scholars say there was a hierarchy among the followers, a few think it was a flat organization.
  • More scholars think he performed some healings (given that Rabbinic sources criticize him for that etc., among other reasons) than those who say he never did, but less agreement on than the debates with authorities, etc.

As the article states Amy-Jill Levine summarized the situation by stating: "Most scholars agree that Jesus was baptized by John, 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." In that statement Levine chose her words very carefully. If she had said "disciples" instead of followers there would have been serious objections from other scholars, if she had said "called" instead of "gathered", there would have also been objections in that some scholars hold that Jesus preached equally to all, never imposed a hierarchy among his followers, etc. Scholars have very specific positions and the strength of the consensus among them can vary by changing just one word, e.g. follower to disciple or apostle, etc.

Q 6
Why is the info box so brief?

A: The infobox is intended to give a summary of the essential pieces of information, and not be a place to discuss issues in any detail. So it has been kept brief, and to the point, based on the issues discussed below.

Q 6a
Was Jesus Jewish?

A: Yes. As the article states in a review of the state of modern scholarship, Amy-Jill Levine stated that scholars agree that Jesus was Jewish, but she adds that: "Beyond recognizing that 'Jesus was Jewish' rarely does scholarship address what being 'Jewish' means." Hence, discussions on the talk page decided that the article and the infobox do not mention anything further than that regarding his race, a possible nationality designator, etc.

Q 6b
Why is the birthplace not mentioned in the infobox?

A: The question came up in this discussion and there is no solid scholarly agreement on Bethlehem, so the infobox does not address that.

Q 7
Why is there no discussion of the legacy/impact of Jesus?

A: That issue is inherently controversial, and has been discussed on the talk page for many years, e.g. see the 2006 discussion, the June 2010 discussion, the Nov 2010 discussion, etc. One user commented that it would turn out to be a discussion of the "impact of Christianity" in the end; because all impact was through the spread of Christianity in any case. So it has been left out due to those discussions.

Q 8
Why is there no discussion of Christian denominational differences?

A: Christianity includes a large number of denominations, and their differences can be diverse. Some denominations do not have a central teaching office and it is quite hard to characterize and categorize these issues without a long discussion that will exceed the length limits imposed by WP:Length on articles. The discussion of the theological variations among the multitude of Christian denominations is beyond the scope of this article, as in this talk page discussion. Hence the majority and common views are briefly sketched and hyper-links are provided to other articles that deal with the theological differences among Christians.

Q 9
What is the correct possessive of Jesus?

A: This article uses the apostrophe-only possessive: Jesus', not Jesus's. Do not change usage within quotes. That was decided in this discussion.

Featured article Jesus is a featured article; it (or a previous version of it) has been identified as one of the best articles produced by the Wikipedia community. Even so, if you can update or improve it, please do so.
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NPOV treatment of gospel accounts[edit]

The "Jesus in the Gospels" section contradicts scholarship in two ways. First, it privileges the canonical gospels. Second, it conflates the stories into one narrative. Both those practices are Christian practices, and they date back to the 100s. So how could we cover this material in a less orthodox and more scholarly way? The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church provides us a good example. First it has a paragraph on Mark, then one on Matthew and Luke, and then one on John. The paragraph on John points out its differences from the synoptics, such as Jesus not experiencing any human weakness (no baptism, no temptation, no Gethsemane, no agony). How about we follow that outline? I took it from a Christian source, and this outline still singles out the canonical gospels, but I'd be happy to keep the canonical boundaries if we can get a treatment that distinguishes among the gospel accounts rather than weaving them together. Jonathan Tweet (talk) 00:48, 4 January 2015 (UTC)

The article is not about the canonical Gospels. Would you propose that in a biographical article on some other historical figure, that we have a separate section for each potential source there was? Or would you suggest that we write a single biographical account citing the sources we have? ReformedArsenal (talk) 15:58, 4 January 2015 (UTC)
"Would you propose that in a biographical article on some other historical figure, that we have a separate section for each potential source there was?" If that's the way good tertiary sources treat the figure, yes. I'm proposing that we follow the worthy example of a reliable, scholarly source rather than following Christian practice. What are you proposing, that we stick with Christian practice? Jonathan Tweet (talk) 16:11, 4 January 2015 (UTC)
Not experiencing any human weakness? John is the gospel that has "Jesus wept". StAnselm (talk) 20:14, 6 January 2015 (UTC)
Good point, Anselm. If we can find a reliable source that makes that point, we should include it.

I understand Jonathan Tweet but would disagree that it is not a scholarly practice (I'm not saying the scholarly practice). First of all, I think scholars all agree that the canonical gospels are the best sources as they are the oldest one. For the same reason, Mark is a better source than Matthew or Luke, which still are better than John. Most scholarly works on the historical Jesus largely pass over John for precisely that reason. I think Jonathan Tweet is right that it is a bit problematic to tell just one story. Which gospel do we go by. To take but one example: it's possible that Matthew is right about Jesus's early childhood, it's possible that Luke is right about it; it's very possible that both Luke and Matthew are wrong butit's absolutely impossible that they would both be right, as they contradict each other time and time again. So do we tell Luke's or Matthew's story? By dividing the story according to the gospels we avoid that problem, but it creates a bigger problem. It might give readers the impression that the scholars think each gospel is equally trustworthy (or not trustworthy). There is no consensus on every detail, but most scholars still agree on some basic aspects as almost certain, on some aspects as probable, on some aspects as unknown, some aspect as improbable and some aspects as almost certainly inaccurate. So I think we should tell one story, and make sure we stick to what modern scholarship, rather than both Christian and anti-Christian tradition, hold.Jeppiz (talk) 19:47, 4 January 2015 (UTC)

Jeppiz, I think I agree with you on just about every count. It would really help to find an example of a good tertiary source that handles the topic as one story. Here's one, the Encyclopedia Britannica article on Jesus Christ. But in this case the one story is a historical story, not the Gospel story. It makes sense to have a single historical account of Jesus, but that's not what this section is. This section isn't about the mortal preacher of history. It's about Jesus as he appears in the New Testament. My sense is that trying to create a historical account of Jesus would be a lot more contentious than "Jesus in the NT" because we can agree on what the NT says but not on who Jesus really was. If there's an example of a neutral, scholarly source that conflates the gospel accounts into one, that could be our model and guideline. But conflating the gospel accounts is a devotional practice, not a scholarly one. Jonathan Tweet (talk) 16:32, 6 January 2015 (UTC)
And here's my better answer to ReformedArsenal: "Would you propose that in a biographical article on some other historical figure, that we have a separate section for each potential source there was?" If we only had four sources, and they contradicted each other, and their contradictions were historically illuminating, then absolutely I'd want to have a separate section for each source. Why would one take four contradictory sources and merge them into one story? That's not how scholars approach the topic. Jonathan Tweet (talk) 16:36, 6 January 2015 (UTC)
(I am playing devil's advocate with the following comment. I actually agree with Jonathan.) True, but many, including most religious and many nonreligious scholars, argue that those four sources are not contradictory. The two genealogies, for example, can be rectified by recognizing one as the biological genealogy and the other as the legal one, and the differing Holy Week timelines can be rectified if one considers there were two slightly different calendars in use during that era. If there is indeed no contradiction then there is no need for different sections. Jtrevor99 (talk) 19:51, 6 January 2015 (UTC)
Jonathan, what we would do (and do do) in other instances, is make notes within the single biographical narrative when one source is contradictory, or where there is not agreement. We don't devote a section to each source. ReformedArsenal (talk) 20:24, 6 January 2015 (UTC)
ReformedArsenal, thanks for that information. I didn't know that what you describe is standard. Could you please point me to a good tertiary sources that treats the topic this way? You say that this is standard. If so, show me a source that follows the standard you describe. While you look for a reliable source that agrees with you, allow me to explain why I want to break the sources out individually. First, that's the way Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church does it. Second, according to the header, this section is not a biographical narrative of Jesus. Its topic is the NT's depictions of Jesus' life. That's a literary topic, or a religious one, not a biographical one. If you would prefer to change this section to be Jesus' biography, then that's a lot like what Britannica has. Honestly, I prefer Britannica's approach because it's historical instead of literary. But the literary question is a lot easier to answer, and this section has always been literary instead of biographical. Jonathan Tweet (talk) 02:33, 10 January 2015 (UTC)
Jtrevor99, thanks for giving me the opportunity to get ahead of your hypothetical objection. What if someone said, "The Gospels don't contradict each other"? I would say, so what? What matters is Wikipedia policy. Our responsibility is not to be right about who Jesus was. Our responsibility is to edit this page in accordance with WP policies and standards. Even if you convince every editor that the Gospels don't contradict each other after all, that doesn't change anything. The editors' personal judgments don't matter. They don't count. Only reliable sources count. All of us, even if we thought the Gospels were God's own Truth, would be honor bound to summarize what the RSs say. If the RSs treat the Gospels individually, then we should, too. Anyone who's arguing without referring to sources is not doing what WP editors are supposed to do. Jonathan Tweet (talk) 02:40, 10 January 2015 (UTC)
Jonathan, this would be absolutely true in an article on the Gospels (as a whole, or individually). However, this is an article about the historical figure "Jesus." The gospels are historical sources for that individual, so if you can show me another article that devotes separate sections to what different sources say about that biographical figure, then we have a precedent to discuss... however, until then we should treat this biographical article like we treat other ones. ReformedArsenal (talk) 02:18, 12 January 2015 (UTC)
Show us a good tertiary source that treats this topic that way you want us to treat it. Jonathan Tweet (talk) 04:37, 14 January 2015 (UTC)
But Jonathan Tweet: I disagree that the current article consistently tries to harmonize the sources into one narrative. In each section, you have paragraphs starting "Matthew begins his gospel...", "In Luke...", "...the Gospel of Mark calls Jesus...", "John's gospel presents...". There are also places that do try to harmonize, however. Maybe we should keep the current breakdown, but be more consistent in not harmonizing sources. Bacchiad (talk) 02:35, 12 January 2015 (UTC)
You're right that this section doesn't completely conflate the topic the way a purely devotional work would. It's maybe half conflated. Years ago, I put a good deal of work in to differentiate among the gospels, but certain editors undid it. For me, it comes down to following scholarly practice. Is there a good source that treats the topic as you suggest? If not, let's follow the lead provided by the Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, or the textbook Historical Jesus. Jonathan Tweet (talk) 04:37, 14 January 2015 (UTC)
I don't see why two randomly chosen sources should be dispositive. The ODotCC presupposes a level of familiarity with the subject - being somewhat more specialized - and the HJ textbook is a textbook, so it has more room. A general encyclopedia is different. Which is why Britannica treats it as one story. But if you want to mock it up on your own userspace I might be convinced. Bacchiad (talk) 05:14, 14 January 2015 (UTC)
I've never seen an encyclopedia treat this in a different way than what I'm proposing. They present a biographical narrative of the subject, noting where appropriate where there are discrepancies among the primary sources. If anything, you would need to substantiate why we should depart from this when this is the standard. ReformedArsenal (talk) 20:40, 14 January 2015 (UTC)
I don't object to treating the biography in a primarily literary-historicographical-critical way. I think that's the right thing to do. Other articles whose subjects have similar problems do that - Homer and Pythagoras for instance. I'm just not convinced (although I could be by a good draft) that breaking it down by the four gospels is the only or best way to do that. Bacchiad (talk) 21:34, 14 January 2015 (UTC)
Still waiting for someone to show us a source that treats the topic of Jesus this way. If you don't like my sources, show us yours. ReformedArsenal, you seem to imply that multiple encyclopedias treat Jesus your way. Please point us to them. Arguments are nice, but show us a source. What secular source treats the topic of Jesus in this manner? If folks prefer the Britannica approach, that's fine, but that's "Jesus according to historians" and not "Jesus according to 1st-century Christians." I also have a text book called Historical Jesus. We could use that model, too. It discusses the synoptics together, and then discusses John together with other semi-gnostic sources. I'd be happy to follow that model. So far, no one else has offered a model to follow from a reputable, secular source. Alternatively, someone locate a WP policy that we should treat Jesus differently from how reputable, secular tertiary sources treat Jesus. Jonathan Tweet (talk) 15:02, 18 January 2015 (UTC)
Alright. WP:BEBOLD, my friend. Bacchiad (talk) 17:45, 18 January 2015 (UTC)
JTweet... I'm not saying Britannica is a source... I'm saying that the typical model of how Encyclopedias handle biography is not to have separate sections for each primary source that contains discrepancies, rather it is to have a single section which tells the narrative information and comments regarding discrepancies along the way. The reputable, secular, tertiary encyclopedic sources treat him exactly as I'm proposing. I've showed you one encylopedia to support this, do you have any evidence of any other encyclopedias that treat it differently? ReformedArsenal (talk) 23:37, 19 January 2015 (UTC)
Thanks for your encouragement, Bacchiad. That might be enough to get me started. My first approach would be to edit one subsection to split it up by book. For example, Jesus' baptism is a great way for us to compare the historical event to the different ways that the four gospels handle that event. Currently the subsection conflates the gospel accounts, and it would be easy to split that out into how Mark, Matthew, Luke, and John each handles it. Once we get each subsection split into separate gospel treatments, then maybe we can re-org the material to put all the Mark stuff first, then Matthew, etc. But in the mean time, the section would get better one subsection at a time. Jonathan Tweet (talk) 20:28, 20 January 2015 (UTC)
I'm sorry, RA, I must have missed something. Which encyclopedia did you show me to support doing things the way you prefer? Britannica handles the topic differently. Specifically, it takes a historical view (what the historical Jesus did) rather than a scriptural view (what the NT says Jesus did). Are you suggesting that we abandon the scriptural perspective and adopt the historical one? That would be NPOV, but it's a lot harder for us to agree on what historians say than what the NT says. Jonathan Tweet (talk) 20:29, 20 January 2015 (UTC)
The Encyclopedia Britannica doesn't handle the topic differently at all. It incorporates the information from all of the sources (Including NT documents) and synthesizes it into one narrative biography, making comments about discrepancies where necessary. Also, the contrast between "historical Jesus" and "Scriptural Jesus" isn't really what is in dispute here. Those who seek a "historical Jesus" do so with the NT as part of their historical documents. What is in dispute here is if we should have separate sections for separate sources, rather than a single narrative biography incorporating all of the biographies. Show me any encyclopedia that does that, and we can talk. ReformedArsenal (talk) 21:40, 20 January 2015 (UTC)
RA, OK, I like the Britannica approach, too. It means changing the section from being about the NT to being about historical Jesus, which is fine with me. How about I start making this section more like the Britannica's article on Jesus? Jonathan Tweet (talk) 23:14, 27 January 2015 (UTC)
RA, the Britannica account is based on the synoptics, not on John. To make our section more like Britannica's article, let's follow that lead and start removing material from John that is considered ahistorical. Jonathan Tweet (talk) 23:41, 27 January 2015 (UTC)
This is getting into dicier territory. We can present what scholar X and professor Y count as historical vs. not historical. But deciding for our own purposes what is historical and not historical would be original research. I don't particularly object to the paragraph you removed on John. It wasn't that great on its own merits - didn't flow well or fit in with its surroundings. But I think your original idea is better. I had misunderstood it as doing one big section on Mark, one on Matthew, one on Luke, one on John. But that wasn't what you were proposing, was it? It was a section on Genealogy and Nativity, with one pgph. Matthew, one on Luke...a section on Baptism and Temptation, with one paragraph on Mark, one on Matthew, one on Luke, one on John...etc., right? I fully support that structure. Bacchiad (talk) 00:08, 28 January 2015 (UTC)
Bacchiad, I know that Britannica's historical approach is dicey, which is why I didn't recommend it. But it's the only NPOV treatment that RA would approve. I was indeed suggesting one section on Mark, another on Luke, etc. That's what I see in my sources. The version you support, with each subsection treating each source separately, is new to me. I would prefer to follow the example of a trusted tertiary source, and I've never seen the topic of Jesus treated the way you support. But I agree with you that the historical approach is dicey. And I doubt that RA will continue to support the Britannica approach because it means removing the material about John. And what would Jesus Christ be without John? So I'm with you, I think. As a compromise, let's treat each source separately within each subsection. The Baptism subsection would be a good place to start, I think, since the gospels all treat Jesus' repentance under John differently. RA will not agree to treating the sources separately, but I bet they're not going to like following Britannica's example, either. Jonathan Tweet (talk) 16:33, 28 January 2015 (UTC)
Bacchiad, after thinking it over, I'd like to propose a simple fix that will make this section no longer in line with Christian POV. ReformedArsenal likes Britannica's treatment, and Britannica excludes the Gospel of John (as do historians in general). So let's change this section to "Jesus in the Synoptic Gospels," and take out everything that's not in the synoptics. That's a fix that's easy to do. It's not perfect, but it demonstrates that we are following a secular program rather than a devotional one. If editors want to treat the three synoptics separately in each subsection, that's a secondary effort. Jonathan Tweet (talk) 18:23, 1 February 2015 (UTC)
That is a possible approach, though I would recommend at least a brief description of why John is excluded, in anticipation of possible criticism. To paraphrase Historical reliability of the Gospels, something along the lines of "According to most scholars, the Gospel of John intends to emphasize Jesus's character and teachings, rather than an accurate rendering of historical events" would probably be sufficient. To wit, any argument in favor of excluding John from discussions that do involve Jesus's character or teachings would face far greater challenge. Jtrevor99 (talk) 23:06, 2 February 2015 (UTC)
I oppose the outright removal of John from this article (the book is very significant), but I am okay having the John material separated into its own section. By the way, the "Life and teachings in the New Testament" section (specifically "Resurrection and ascension") also contains material from Acts and other books. Also, why are concerned about the historical reliability of John for this section? We have a separate "historical views" section that views Jesus from a historical perspective.--FutureTrillionaire (talk) 03:33, 3 February 2015 (UTC)

(restart indents) Jtrevor, you are exactly right. Britannica explains why John, Thomas, and other gospels are excluded, and we would, too. Jonathan Tweet (talk) 20:23, 7 February 2015 (UTC) Future Trillionaire, your personal opinion is warmly welcomed, but can you point to a secular, authoritative, tertiary source that cover this material the way you would like? John may be important, but really only to Christians. The synoptics are important to secular historians, too. Maybe John could be treated in the Christian views section. The way we got to this solution (excluding John) is that we have an editor who was dead set against treating the sources separately. He supported doing it the Britannica way. Fine, the Britannica way is to exclude John. He doesn't like that way either, so he's been silent. Anyway, please show us a secular, scholarly, tertiary source that treats the topic the way you'd like it to be treated. Jonathan Tweet (talk) 20:23, 7 February 2015 (UTC)

The description above may a bit black-and-white, I fear. Most historians use all available sources, meaning all independent material. John (as the non-canonical Gospels) is of course of far less value than the Synoptics or Paul, but a division into "historic vs Christian" is problematic. All the material is mainly "Christian", as I'm sure all agree, meaning that none of it is primarilu concerned with historical accuracy, but all of the early traditions contain at least some material that historians finds useful even when they don't find it reliable.Jeppiz (talk) 20:50, 7 February 2015 (UTC)
Jeppiz, thanks for your feedback. Can you show us a good tertiary source that treats the topic the way that you want us to treat it? I'm for making this section look more like Britannica. Jonathan Tweet (talk) 00:06, 21 February 2015 (UTC)

I second the the motion for Tweet to be bold. Reformed arse can't have it both ways. The article seems to be trying to synthesise too much, I believe there is a policy about that? RA should read it if he thinks it is our job to synthesise, and he has already admitted that that is what's been done. Article seems to synthesise history with myth, the Christian way. This should be a secular article, not one for apologetics. That's what conservopedia is for. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:06, 16 February 2015 (UTC)

Thanks, anonymous. Next step is, I'm going to be bold and change the section to be about Jesus in the synoptic gospels. Jonathan Tweet (talk) 00:06, 21 February 2015 (UTC)
Anonymous, name-calling is not the right way to go. Jonathan Tweet (talk) 02:10, 23 February 2015 (UTC)
Once I have a nice block of time, I'll take a first pass over this section, changing it so that it's like Britannica in that it's based on the synoptics. I've spent a lot of time trying to find an acceptable NPOV approach for this section, and I'm happy with where we ended up. The people who don't like my suggestions have only been able to name one secular tertiary source that they like, and that's Britannica. But we all know that a lot of our fellow editors have deep feelings about this topic. If I'm going to do the work to revise this section, I hope that other editors will support me if there's a conflict. Jonathan Tweet (talk) 02:10, 23 February 2015 (UTC)
Anonymous also falsely assumes that gospel accounts or Christian tradition = myth. It is only myth if it is fabricated or, at least, exaggerated beyond recognition. Perhaps anonymous does not understand that "the Christian way" of conflating what s/he sees as myth with historical fact exists because, to a Christian, there is no delineation between the two, and attempting to introduce one is an attempt to introduce falsehood into facts. Jtrevor99 (talk) 18:08, 24 February 2015 (UTC)
Jtrevor, I'm with you. The gospel accounts are not myths, and conflating the four canonical gospels makes perfect sense from a Christian viewpoint. Jonathan Tweet (talk) 20:46, 24 February 2015 (UTC)
It certainly makes sense from a Christian viewpoint, but that isn't a POV that a secular encyclopedia would take. We should note it, certainly, but it would never be our editorial position.—Kww(talk) 21:32, 24 February 2015 (UTC)
Kww, you are also right about not using Christian POV in this article. Jonathan Tweet (talk) 15:20, 25 February 2015 (UTC)
So having been urged to be bold, I'm removing references to John (and Acts) from this section. When I'm done, I'll change the introduction and the title. The introduction puts John in the same category as the synoptics in terms of reliability, and that's definitely not the mainstream view. Luckily, the Britannica article is free online with lots of great material, so it will be easy to cite the new introduction. Jonathan Tweet (talk) 15:20, 25 February 2015 (UTC)

I've created a new section called "Jesus in John" and placed some of the removed content there. I'm okay with having the Synoptics and John separated to deal with the synthesis issue, but I'm not okay with removing John outright. John is important material that needs to be covered in this article. I think the new section could use some expansion.--FutureTrillionaire (talk) 16:47, 25 February 2015 (UTC)

FT, I'm reverting your addition of a new section to the page because it's not what we've agreed to after months of discussion. I'll be happy to restore it myself if that's what we agree to here on the talk page. To help us out, can you point us to a tertiary source that handles the topic the way you like? You say John is important, but Britannica leaves it out. It's Christian POV to treat canonical sources special but to leave out Thomas, etc. Maybe information about John can go in the Christian views section? I know that this is a touchy topic, but let's work things out on Talk before adding new sections to the article. Jonathan Tweet (talk) 14:35, 26 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Comment: I have reverted the removal of John. I think we need a much clearer consensus, probably through an RfC. StAnselm (talk) 20:08, 26 February 2015 (UTC)
I didn't want to do this, but I'm going to have to put a POV tag on this section now. It's such a good page, I dislike diminishing the readers' experience with a tag. St Anselm, do you have a tertiary source that treats this topic the way you want it to be treated? We have a duty to follow the examples of our best sources, and no one had offered a better example than Britannica. Can you cite a WP policy or standard that says we should include John? If we're following secular standards, on what basis do you reinstate John? Would you like to submit that RfC? And I hope it's not personal on your end. I totally understand why certain people would want to describe Jesus a certain way. And I hope you can understand that some of see little alternative but to follow WP policy, even on such a beloved topic. I'd like to revert Anselm's revert, since he has no support on Talk for it, but I'd prefer it if another editor would do me the favor of reverting for me. Jonathan Tweet (talk) 22:23, 26 February 2015 (UTC)
Yes, you will need to gain consensus for your proposed changes. Your bold edit was fair enough, but please read WP:BRD. I'm not sure Britannica is really supporting you, anyway - it treats John very differently to the way it treats Thomas, for example[1] and cites both John and Acts.[2] StAnselm (talk) 22:30, 26 February 2015 (UTC)
St Anselm, thanks for pointing me to BRD, which I reread, plus Consensus. Our pattern isn't BRD. It's DDDDBR. In months of discussion, editors in favor of the Christian perspective haven't named a reliable source or a WP policy or standard in their favor. That's why I'm hoping some kind, secular soul will re-revert before I feel the need to put a POV tag on the section. Jonathan Tweet (talk) 13:42, 27 February 2015 (UTC)
Well, I don't see any consensus for your proposed changes, and a number of editors have specifically objected to purging John from the article. As it stands, the article is neutral; it's clear that it's talking about the life and teachings of Jesus *in the New Testament*. That is only a "Christian" perspective insofar as virtually everything known/thought about Jesus comes from the "Christian" Bible. So I'm not sure why you are making this a Christian vs. secular debate, and I don't know what reliable source or WP policy you have in your favour. StAnselm (talk) 20:11, 27 February 2015 (UTC)
Agreed. I think that section is indended to be the Christian perspective of Jesus. A section for historical and secualr views is located right below it.--FutureTrillionaire (talk) 04:07, 28 February 2015 (UTC)
St Anselm, as Future Trillionaire says, this section is from the Christian POV. Secular scholars do not regard John as a source for Jesus' biography. Nearly everything historians know about Jesus comes from the synoptics, which contradict John on nearly every major point. The WP policies I'm trying to follow are NPOV and RS. WP should treat this topic the way other secular, tertiary works do, not the devotional way that Christians do. I've cited Britannica and Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, and could cite Theissen's Historical Jesus (a textbook) and Harris's Understanding the Bible (another textbook). If your personal opinion is not in line with reliable sources or WP policy, then please don't try to stop other editors from following NPOV and RS. Jonathan Tweet (talk) 01:38, 2 March 2015 (UTC)
The contradictions you suggest are highly contested, of course. In any case, I think you totally misunderstand what "Life and teachings of Jesus in the New Testament" actually means. It doesn't mean reconstructing what actually happened, etc., but representing what is described in the text. Indeed, if there are contradictions, they can be mentioned. That's what we currently have int he article: "John's Gospel presents the teachings of Jesus not merely as his own preaching, but as divine revelation." I fail to see what is currently non-neutral about the section. I don't think it should be moved to "Christian Views", as to some extent it is a primary source. StAnselm (talk) 02:36, 2 March 2015 (UTC)
You're right that this section is intended as "the Christian perspective on Jesus." That's the problem. A secular scholar would write a very different "Jesus in the NT." I don't want to fight. Maybe the answer is to leave this section Christian. Like you say, there's another section that's secular. If we leave this section sectarian, as you prefer, then let's move it under the Christian Views section. Christian views are fine, especially about Jesus, provided they are labelled as Christian views. The Christian Views section is pretty slim and could use more material. How about I do that? Jonathan Tweet (talk) 01:38, 2 March 2015 (UTC)
As I sort of knew I would, I had to add a POV tag to this section. I've tried discussing this for months and have not gotten very far. Jonathan Tweet (talk) 01:38, 2 March 2015 (UTC)
You haven't gotten very far because you haven't successfully convinced anyone of your point! Why a POV tag on a section entitled "Life and Teachings in the New Testament", which tnen proceeds to describe the portrayal the New Testament gives of Jesus' life and teachings, is necessary is beyond me. You have said in rebuttal that it's because sectarian authors see a different portrayal. St.Anselm has already answered, and rightfully so, that the contradictions you have cited are highly contested and certainly belong to a small minority of sectarian viewpoints. The vast majority agree that the New Testament portrays Jesus as described in this section; the question, instead, in their minds is whether the New Testament provides an accurate portrayal. That question is covered elsewhere in the article. A better response than a POV tag would be clearly pointing out in the Historical Views section your concerns. Or, shall I start putting POV tags on every citation from every secular author in this article, since, even though the citation accurately reflects the author's text, it is from a specific POV that is countermanded by Christian theologians and historians? And for that matter, perhaps we need POV tags on the Historical section, the Jewish section, the Islam section, the Bahai section, etc. since all of those are from distinct POVs that do not agree with secular or Christian views? Jtrevor99 (talk) 16:39, 2 March 2015 (UTC) (Later edit: Upon a reread, the above sounds harsher and rather personal. I apologize if it does to you too as I assure you that isn't what I intended! I nevertheless disagree that a POV tag is needed, or conversely, that there is any justification for a POV tag here and not in multiple sections throughout the article. Jtrevor99 (talk) 17:04, 2 March 2015 (UTC))
Jtevor, I know that this is an issue of great personal importance to you, so I understand how emotional you can get about it, and I appreciate your apology. And thanks for agreeing with me and with Future Trilliionaire that this section is Christian POV. Jonathan Tweet (talk) 15:37, 3 March 2015 (UTC)
The POV tag is unnecessary, misleading, and misapplied. Let me restate: that section of the article accurately reflects what the New Testament states, from a Christian or any other viewpoint. The vast majority of sectarians agree with this, though there are some fringe dissenters. While the New Testament itself is by definition Christian POV, this synopsis of it is not. (Or do you wish to argue that a different synopsis written entirely by sectarians would be substantively different? If so, how? You have thus far failed to convince me that it would be substantially different. I am certain sectarians would challenge the veracity of some of the contents of the New Testament, but a simple summary, which is all this section is attempting, would not differ markedly.) Since the POV tag is meant for Wikipedia text that is itself POV, rather than synopses of source materials that are POV, you have misapplied the tag. You furthermore have not applied the tag to any of the other sections that would need it (i.e. all of them, including Historical perspective), based on your criteria. I therefore urge you to correct this misapplication by deleting the POV tag; if you do not, I will be forced to do so. Jtrevor99 (talk) 18:59, 3 March 2015 (UTC)
I started a new section on the Talk:NPOV page to help us out here. If I incorrectly summarized your argument here or in that section, then please correct it so that we can get additional discussion from other authors and come to a consensus! Thanks. Jtrevor99 (talk) 19:07, 3 March 2015 (UTC)
Thanks, Jtrevor, for soliciting some information from others. It's obviously a tricky topic, so we could use some extra help. The NPOV tag is here because the section treats the article in a Christian way rather than any of the ways that reliable, scholarly, tertiary sources do. Maybe we'll end up solving the problem by moving the material under "Christian Views." As for removing the tag yourself, could you remind us what the policy is on removing an NPOV tag before a dispute is resolved? Jonathan Tweet (talk) 20:49, 4 March 2015 (UTC)
Heh, touché :) You're correct, I won't be removing the notice till we have this figured out. Jtrevor99 (talk) 04:23, 5 March 2015 (UTC)
Thanks, Jtrevor99. This issue has been playing out for months now, so I'm not counting on a speedy resolution. Some editors have agreed with me and others definitely haven't, but there hasn't been a lot of progress, has there? If we're all following the same policies and guidelines, it's a wonder that this is so difficult. One thing I've learned really helps people understand each other is when two people on opposite sides of an issue each try to summarize the other's position, but in a positive way, the way that the other person would put it. Maybe we should try that if we stay stuck. I think I could summarize your position fairly well. Jonathan Tweet (talk) 14:50, 5 March 2015 (UTC)

Semi-protected edit request on 7 January 2015[edit]

Please, out of respect to Christians, at least change Jesus from a "Fictional Character" to an "Historical Figure". Thank you. (talk) 20:13, 7 January 2015 (UTC)

X mark.svg Not done: I can't find the word "fiction" used anywhere on the page. If you want a change made, you will have to be more specific. G S Palmer (talkcontribs) 20:21, 7 January 2015 (UTC)
As we wouldn't do it solely "out of respect for Christians" it's just as well that this was Facebook's issue not ours. Britmax (talk) 22:55, 7 January 2015 (UTC)
There's no need to bait him or anyone else. A jaded reader could misinterpret your comment as "we will be disrespectful of Christians on Wikipedia if it suits us". That is incompatible with Wikipedia's policy to be respectful of all cultures and traditions. Clearly, that is not what you intended, but I would urge caution. Regardless, it amazes me that Facebook has not made the correction after tens of thousands of complaints. Jtrevor99 (talk) 17:19, 8 January 2015 (UTC)
Sorry, which policy to be respectful of all cultures and traditions? Britmax is right, we certainly would not change it just out of respect for Christians. Regardless of one's beliefs, articles are not changed solely for the purpose of being respectful to religions. Only if the content is referenced and reliable is it added. See WP:NOTCENSORED. JZCL 18:37, 8 January 2015 (UTC)
I was referring to WP:NPOV, specifically WP:RNPOV and WP:OUTRAGE. Do you interpret these policies differently? And I'm not questioning whether Britmax is right; I'm questioning how it was stated. I thought I made that clear; I apologize if I didn't. Jtrevor99 (talk) 22:25, 14 January 2015 (UTC)

Trevor, please be more specific. Are you saying that the article should acknowledge that jesus did magic, "out of respect for christians"? You are the one being outrageous. This is an encyclopedia, not an exercise in christian apologetics, let's keep it that way. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:13, 16 February 2015 (UTC)

Oh, please. Your outrage is misplaced, out of date by at least a month, and does not even fit into the conversation. You clearly misunderstood the above. Never did I state or try to defend that "Jesus did magic" or anything silly like that - in fact, that was never even part of the discussion. Instead I merely pointed out the unfortunate phrasing "we wouldn't do it solely out of respect for Christians", even if that is official Wikipedia policy, as such phrasing has baited people in the past and led them to jump to erroneous conclusions. Much as you just did. Next time, please ensure you understand the conversation and its context before you attempt to rehash something that concluded over a month ago with attacks that are completely unrelated to that discussion. Jtrevor99 (talk) 18:16, 24 February 2015 (UTC)

Possible explanations for revelatory driven experiences[edit]

Would add a perspective from a respected, peer reviewed journal under Other Views: "A 2012 paper in the Journal of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences suggested that psychiatric conditions associated with psychotic spectrum symptoms may be possible explanations for revelatory driven experiences and activities such as those of Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Paul the Apostle."[1]

  1. ^ Murray, Evan D.; Cunningham, Miles G.; Price, Bruce H. (September 2012). "The role of psychotic disorders in religious history considered". The Journal of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences 24 (4): 410–426. doi:10.1176/appi.neuropsych.11090214. PMID 23224447. 

This is not a new idea and was offered by Jesus' own family to explain his behavior. The article is not a criticism of Jesus. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:23, 20 January 2015 (UTC)

I've heard a lot of claims about Jesus, but I've certainly never heard this one before. As a result, I highly suspect it is a fringe concept, in which case, it does not merit inclusion at all, regardless of who wrote about it or in what it was published.Farsight001 (talk) 22:56, 20 January 2015 (UTC)
I have heard the suggestion before (for the figures listed, as well as Muhammad), but this is the first from something that would otherwise qualify as an RS (however, the source is not reliable for historical topics). It still merits far less due weight than the Christ Myth Theory. A book dedicating at least a whole chapter to surveying various authors covering the view, sure we'd include it. Ian.thomson (talk) 23:34, 20 January 2015 (UTC)

The claim first appears in Mark 3:21 when Jesus' family sought to take him to protect him. Mainstream religion might prefer to limit public encyclopedia articles to what they are comfortable with(from a religious perspective) but this doesn't criticize Christ would constitute other views. The above article appears to have been reviewed by a Harvard Master of Divinity grad(he can be looked up). Many books purporting to write history are not peer reviewed and are still used as references. Just a thought. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:11, 21 January 2015 (UTC)

The Bible verse would be original research, which we don't use. Please actually present evidence of religious censorship or don't imply that that's the reason why the material isn't included (see WP:Assume good faith). Wikipedia doesn't just use random "books purporting to write history," but those from academic publishers or by accredited experts in a given field, in addition to peer-reviewed works. Please actually name the Harvard MDiv, and where his review was published. If it wasn't published, we don't care. Ian.thomson (talk) 02:27, 21 January 2015 (UTC)

You are right. I apologize for my unfair presumption. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:01, 21 January 2015 (UTC) The Bible verse is from the published article. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:28, 21 January 2015 (UTC)

No, the bible verse is from the bible. The published article is too fringe to merit inclusion, as said above, and your interpretation of the bible verse, which others certainly don't agree with, is considered original research, which we also can't include. If/when the idea becomes more popular in academia, try again. Until then, there's really nothing we can do.Farsight001 (talk) 00:45, 22 January 2015 (UTC)
I don't think it's at all a "fringe" theory to state that people that believe they have received religious visitations are generally mentally ill. Even if one believes that some particular person was genuinely visited by supernatural beings, that presupposes that most of the other people making similar claims are either ill or committing fraud.—Kww(talk) 01:09, 22 January 2015 (UTC)
And yet a fringe idea is exactly what it is because supporters of the claim are almost nonexistent in academia, especially in regards to Jesus.Farsight001 (talk) 02:53, 22 January 2015 (UTC)
The only figure in the source whose own thoughts we have direct access to is Paul. The rest we don't even have contemporary accounts of actions for. Even taking the very conservative assumption that the Gospels were written by the disciples after Jesus lived, that's a degree of separation that makes post hoc attempts at diagnosis questionable. Since there was certainly more separation than that (the Gospels being written throughout the latter half of the 1st century, by first, second, or even third generation followers of the apostles, with at least literary outside influence), there's little to draw conclusions about Jesus's mental state from. It's still possible with inductive reasoning to say that some parts of the New Testament could have happened (apocalyptic but ascetic rabbi? proclaimed Teacher of Righteousness? messiah claimant? executed for their teachings? people called Yeshu or Yeshua? all present), or under what contexts certain things could have been said (whole point of the Jesus Seminar), but Jesus's personal thoughts are too far removed to be examined from a narrow perspective than history, philosophy, or sociology. But to attempt to derive Jesus's personality from the New Testament is like trying to determine Richard III's personality from the Shakespeare play (a mistake).
If a source tried to diagnose Siddhartha Gautama (likely historical, but only documented well after the fact) and Krishna (probably legendary), would this discussion have even happened? Ian.thomson (talk) 03:41, 22 January 2015 (UTC)
Your statement regarding Richard III is a fallacy. Shakespeare and his contemporaries understood the play Richard III was not a fully accurate portrayal, but rather a dramatic portrayal of it. It was written by a known dramatist, playwright and poet with 110 years of separation, and nothing other than historical accounts to go off of. The gospels, on the other hand, were intended (whether they were successful or not) to accurately record and report Jesus' life and interactions with those around him. They were written either by direct contemporaries (as is purported by tradition, and for which there is a significant amount of evidence) or by those with only one or two degrees of separation, which means the time gap is between zero and 35 years. Furthermore those who believed Jesus to be a significant religious figure, and considered lying, misdirection and omission to be sin, would put far greater importance on recording teachings and happenings accurately than would a poet, particularly in an age where people were being tortured and killed for said religious figure. Jtrevor99 (talk) 01:26, 29 January 2015 (UTC)
There are all kinds of policies that one can use to argue that the material shouldn't be included, but WP:FRINGE shouldn't be among them. The existence of ecstatic seizures is generally recognized, and the theory that they are the source of some religious revelations is quite maintstream: and are just two examples. The research we are discussing here is only tangentially related to the specific topic of "Jesus", however, as the base theory can't reasonably be held to have been proven in relation to one particular figure but not to another. If, out of politeness, we assume that at least one genuine religious experience has occurred, there's no way for this theory to apply specifically to Jesus.—Kww(talk) 04:55, 22 January 2015 (UTC)
Yet we must apply some modicum of WP:FRINGE in order to maintain coherence and not overwhelm the article. I generally would agree with inclusion of this theory, even if I believe it to be patently false in Jesus' case, for the aforementioned reasons of prominence and because the theory is presented in the Bible itself. However, that does not mean that all "less mainstream" theories ought be presented...I'd rather not, for example, start a section regarding the theory that Jesus was a space alien and God the mothership, for example. Jtrevor99 (talk) 01:26, 29 January 2015 (UTC)
I have not really favored either side of this issue enough to assert one in particular. But the space alien and mothership example is (presumably) not comparable to a peer-reviewed article in a journal such as the one in question. The argument to not include may yet hold on its own merits, but it should not hinge on this.
There is rationale to not include every bit of information available about a subject in a Featured Article which must summarize all notable views. Ideally, this material would fit in another article on Wikipedia if it is new and emerging through reliable sources but hasn't yet received really significant coverage. But if there is no good fit elsewhere, there are compromises available, such as including the material in a footnote until it receives more coverage—if it does. Airborne84 (talk) 19:41, 2 February 2015 (UTC)
I wouldn't include it unless other tertiary sources tend to include it. I don't think Britannica mentions it, for example. For an article like this, let's stick to the sorts of things that textbooks and encyclopedias cover. Also, papers like this don't always get their history right, and I don't think this one does. Jonathan Tweet (talk) 00:13, 21 February 2015 (UTC)

There are a lot of mainstream sources that speak of ecstatic seizures. Its well known and well established. However, what is fringe is the idea that JESUS had ecstatic seizures. We can't just talk about the seizures for the heck of it here because that's completely off topic. And we can't reasonably claim that Jesus had them because that concept is very fringe. There's just no reason for inclusion.Farsight001 (talk) 23:55, 24 February 2015 (UTC)

Shouldn't the article be called "Jesus Christ"[edit]

Is there a reason why it isn't? I couldn't find anything in the talk page archives about proposed moves. Nikki Lee 1999 (talk) 11:17, 1 March 2015 (UTC)

"Christ" is not a name, but a title, and a title that is only appropriate for Christians. Per WP:NPOV, we don't elevate that particular religious perspective over others (just like we don't write Muhammad PBUH). And as I just found out, this is even covered in the FAQ ;-). --Stephan Schulz (talk) 12:05, 1 March 2015 (UTC)
Definitely not Jesus Christ as Stephan already wrote and explained very well. His name was Jesus (well, the Greek form of his name is Jesus) while Christ is a matter of faith, not neutral facts.Jeppiz (talk) 14:09, 1 March 2015 (UTC)
"Christ" is, as Stephan and Jeppiz have said above, a title rather than a name—specifically the Greek-cognate version of the Hebrew "Messiah". Not everybody recognises Jesus as Christ, therefore putting it in the article title would be POV. —  Cliftonian (talk)  14:58, 1 March 2015 (UTC)
Besides, everyone knows that his family name was Hong. Ian.thomson (talk) 19:06, 1 March 2015 (UTC)
Horus Hong, to be precise. Apparently that's what the "H" in Jesus H. Christ stands for. Wdford (talk) 05:45, 2 March 2015 (UTC)
Did you not see the big banner at the top urging you to read the FAQ before commenting here? The very first FAQ explains the answer to your question. And how carefully did you check the archives? I can remember at least 2 dozen requests (or at least mentions of the change) while I've been around. JZCL 18:16, 2 March 2015 (UTC)

Some Other Opinion[edit]

More Other Opinions[edit]

You got me. I got that one wrong, but it looks like the rest are Christians, though I didn't read any confirmation on the beliefs of Theissen. That's not the point though. You still have not mentioned any evidence for the existence of Jesus, and yes I do want to argue. Farsight001 said that Jesus Myth Theory was as credible as intelligent design is when it comes to evolution. If Farsight001 wants to make statements like that then that person might want to provide some evidence. If Ian.thomson wants to argue, then go about providing some evidence. Trying to minimize an argument, while not really addressing it is not a good way of proving a case. If either of you want to prove that case especially Farsight001, then you can go right ahead, and argue. Making at least some good arguments for evolution isn't tough, and if Jesus Myth Theory is as credible Farsight001 suggest it is, then why not make some arguments to prove the case. Also Ehrman said that he was Agnositc, Humanist, and Atheist, but Jesus Myth Theory is fairly popular among atheists. Believe me, I can name several well respected academics that don't believe Jesus existed, but anyone rattle off names. It will take time to actually give a better understanding of how common it is.1013lg (talk) 03:50, 4 March 2015 (UTC)

I'm not the one wanting to change the article, so its not my job to provide the evidence. Its yours. I agree that trying to minimize an argument while not really addressing it is not a good way of proving a case, but you're the one doing that here, not us. Talk pages are not for arguing, though. They are for the purpose of improving the article only, so if you have no evidence to suggest that we should overturn long standing consensus and ignore the plethora of contradicting evidence that is provided in the article already, you might as well stop wasting everyone's time, including yours, and not post any longer.Farsight001 (talk) 03:57, 4 March 2015 (UTC)
And if you bothered to read any of the other discussions that have taken place on this talk page, you'd find plenty of evidence that a lot of the people on here are not Christians. You'd also find evidence that those of us who are are doing our best to be unbiased and present all viewpoints fairly - which includes going out of our way to not represent our own viewpoints. Your statements are clearly and demonstrably contradicted by the facts. Jtrevor99 (talk) 04:28, 4 March 2015 (UTC)
What in the world does being or not being a Christian have to do with anything? Wikipedia cites WP:RS. We do not care AT ALL whether those sources are Christians or not. We're not ALLOWED to care. And according to WP:NPOV, representing all viewpoints fairly MEANS not representing fringe viewpoints at all. Maybe you should read the policies that govern this place instead of coming in here and acting like you know the rules better than the members that have been around for several years.Farsight001 (talk) 04:32, 4 March 2015 (UTC)
No need to argue. Our duty as editors isn't to figure out what's right. It's simply to follow what the reliable sources say. Find good sources and you don't need to argue. If you can't find good sources, then arguing is beside the point. 1013lg says "'Jesus Myth Theory is fairly popular among atheists'." As an atheist, I consider it shameful the way that my fellow atheists glom onto this fringe idea. To my fellow editors who are Christian (or just good scholars), I apologize on behalf of my people for this interruption. Jonathan Tweet (talk) 14:46, 4 March 2015 (UTC)

18 year old sectarian non-scholarly source[edit]

InterVarsity is a sectarian press, and not a scholarly one (as some sectarian presses can be), so their 18 year old book about historical Jesus is not an RS. Witherington is a Christian scholar who has published books from reputable presses. Let's stick to those books. Jonathan Tweet (talk) 15:21, 5 March 2015 (UTC)

Baker Academic and David C Cook are also sectarian, non-scholarly presses. There is plenty of good scholarship on this topic. We don't need non-scholarly sources. Jonathan Tweet (talk) 15:28, 5 March 2015 (UTC)

IVP can vary in its scholarly-ness; Baker Academic is scholarly. I think the Witherington book should stay, since he is such a significant scholar, and the book is germane to the topic, though a popular introduction. I don't think scholarship in this area has moved so fast as to make 18 year old books out of date. StAnselm (talk) 20:25, 5 March 2015 (UTC)
I'm also concerned about this use of the word "sectarian". I don't think that word means what you think it means. StAnselm (talk) 20:45, 5 March 2015 (UTC)
With the David Cook books, I think they vary: Craig A. Evans is a noted scholar; Warren W. Wiersbe, not so much. (Although Wiersbe has written lots of commentaries, they are slim, popular ones, and the only seminary positions he has had are in preaching and practical theology.) StAnselm (talk) 20:52, 5 March 2015 (UTC)