Christ myth theory

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For discussion of Jesus in a comparative mythological and religious context, see Jesus in comparative mythology, and for the body of myths associated with Christianity, see Christian mythology. For the scholarly study of the life of Jesus, see Historical Jesus, for analysis of information supporting the historical existence of Jesus, see Historicity of Jesus and Sources for the historicity of Jesus, and for the debate over the validity of stories in the New Testament, see Historical reliability of the Gospels.
Christ myth theory
Noel Coypel The Resurrection of Christ.jpg
The Resurrection of Christ by Noel Coypel (1700)—Some myth theorists see this as a case of a dying-and-rising god.
Description 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.
Early proponents

Charles François Dupuis (1742–1809)
Constantin-François Volney (1757–1820)

Richard Carlile (1790-1843)
Bruno Bauer (1809–1882)
Edwin Johnson (1842-1901)
Dutch Radical School (1880-1950)
Albert Kalthoff (1850–1906)
W. B. Smith (1850–1934)
J. M. Robertson (1856–1933)
Thomas Whittaker (1856-1935)
Arthur Drews (1865–1935)
Paul-Louis Couchoud (1879-1959)
Alvin Boyd Kuhn (1880–1963)
Modern proponents G. A. Wells, Tom Harpur, Michael Martin, Thomas L. Thompson, Thomas L. Brodie, Robert M. Price, Richard Carrier, Earl Doherty
Subjects Historical Jesus, Early Christianity, Ancient history

The Christ myth theory (also known as the Jesus myth theory, Jesus mythicism, mythicism,[1] or Jesus ahistoricity theory[2]) is the hypothesis 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.[3][4][5] The Christ myth theory contradicts the mainstream historical view, which is that while the gospels include many mythical or legendary elements, these are religious elaborations added to the biography of a historical figure.[6]

Variations of the Christ myth theory may be asserted by different proponents of the theory. Typically, one or more of the arguments used are derived from or directly taken from the threefold argument first developed in the 19th century by Bruno Bauer, who is credited as the first scholar to deny the existence of Jesus.[7] According to Albert Kalthoff (1850–1906) a social movement produced Jesus when it encountered Jewish messianic expectations.[8] Arthur Drews (1865–1935) saw Jesus as the concrete form of a myth that predated Christianity.[8]

Some of the arguments commonly used by Christ myth theory proponents are:

  • that the lack of eyewitness or contemporary accounts of Jesus makes the historical position untenable.[7][9][10]
  • that the New Testament has no evidential value.[7][11][12][13][14]
  • that no evidential conclusion is possible—for the existence of Jesus—that is also independent of the New Testament.[15]
  • that the evidence is so weak that no one can really know one way or another whether Jesus existed.[16][17]
  • that there is no attestation of a human Jesus on earth—in the earliest authentic New Testament writings—that places him in a time period contemporary to Paul.[18][19][20]
  • that Christianity had pagan or mythical roots and that the Biblical Jesus was the product of a downward transformation—from a celestial deity—to a supernatural human on earth, who was then historicized.[5][7][21][22]

The Christ Myth Theory is a fringe theory, but is accepted by a small number of academics, some of whom—in terms given by Robert M. Price—hold the "Jesus agnosticism" viewpoint, while others go further and hold the "Jesus atheism" viewpoint.[10][16][23][24] Some scholars have made the case that there are a number of plausible "Jesuses" that could have existed, that there can be no certainty as to which Jesus was the historical Jesus.[25] or that Jesus had lived far earlier, in a dimly remembered remote past.[26]

Despite this there remains a strong consensus in historical-critical biblical scholarship that a historical Jesus did live in that area and in that time period.[27][28][29][30][31][32][33] However, scholars differ on the historicity of specific episodes described in the Biblical accounts of Jesus.[34] There are two events whose historicity receives "almost universal assent": that Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist and was crucified by the order of the Roman Prefect Pontius Pilate.[35][36][37]

18–19th centuries proponents[edit]

Volney and Dupuis[edit]

a sketch of a bust of Constantin-François Chassebœuf
French historian Constantin-François Volney, one of the earliest myth theorists

The beginnings of the formal denial of the existence of Jesus can be traced to late 18th-century France, and the works of Constantin François Chassebœuf de Volney and Charles-François Dupuis.[38][39] Volney and Dupuis argued that Christianity was an amalgamation of various ancient mythologies and that Jesus was a totally mythical character.[38][40]

Dupuis argued that ancient rituals in Syria, Egypt and Persia had influenced the Christian story which was allegorized as the histories of solar deities, such as Sol Invictus.[41] He argued also that Jewish and Christian scriptures could be interpreted according to the solar pattern, e.g. the Fall of Man in Genesis being an allegory of the hardship caused by winter, and the resurrection of Jesus an allegory for the growth of the sun's strength in the sign of Aries at the spring equinox.[41]

Volney argued that Abraham and Sarah were derived from Brahma and his wife Saraswati, and that Christ was related to Krishna.[42] Volney published before Dupuis but made use of a draft version of Dupuis' work, and followed much of his argument, but at times differed from him, e.g. in arguing that the gospel stories were not intentionally created as an extended allegory grounded in solar myths, but were compiled organically when simple allegorical statements were misunderstood as history.[41][43]

Volney's perspective was not purely religious, but had a sociopolitical component that in the short term acted against it, in that the association with the ideas of the French Revolution and Volney's influence on Napoleon hindered the acceptance of these views in England.[44] Despite its short term setbacks, the work of Volney gathered significant following among British and American radical thinkers during the 19th century.[44]

Strauss[edit]

In 1835, German theologian David Friedrich Strauss published his extremely controversial The Life of Jesus, Critically Examined (Das Leben Jesu). While not denying that Jesus existed, he did argue that the miracles in the New Testament were mythical retellings of normal events as supernatural happenings.[45][46][47] According to Strauss, the early church developed these miracle stories to present Jesus as a fulfillment of Jewish prophecies of what the Messiah would be like. This rationalist perspective was in direct opposition to the supernaturalist view that the bible was accurate both historically and spiritually.

The book caused an uproar across Europe. Anthony Ashley-Cooper, 7th Earl of Shaftesbury called the 1846 translation by Marian Evans "the most pestilential book ever vomited out of the jaws of hell,"[48] and Strauss' appointment as chair of theology at the University of Zürich caused such controversy that the authorities offered him a pension before he had a chance to start his duties.[49]

Bauer[edit]

German Bruno Bauer, who taught at the University of Bonn, took Strauss' arguments further and became the first author to systematically argue that Jesus did not exist.[50][51]

Beginning in 1841, in his Criticism of the Gospel History of the Synoptics, Bauer argued that Jesus was primarily a literary figure. However, he left open the question of whether a historical Jesus existed at all. Finally, in his Criticism of the Pauline Epistles (1850-1852) and in A Critique of the Gospels and a History of their Origin (1850–1851), Bauer argued that Jesus had not existed.[52] In Christ and the Caesars (1877) he suggested that Christianity was a synthesis of the Stoicism of Seneca the Younger and of the Jewish theology of Philo as developed by pro-Roman Jews such as Josephus.[53] Bauer's work was heavily criticized at the time; in 1839 he was removed from his position at the University of Bonn, and his work did not have much impact on future myth theorists.[50][54]

Higgins[edit]

English gentleman Godfrey Higgins studied Greek, Latin and law at Cambridge before becoming a soldier, archaeologist and author. His two-volume, 867-page book Anacalypsis: An Enquiry into the Origins of Languages, Nations, and Religions, was published posthumously in 1836. In his treatise, Higgins claims, "the mythos of the Hindus, the mythos of the Jews and the mythos of the Greeks are all at bottom the same; and ... are contrivances under the appearance of histories to perpetuate doctrines,"[55] and that Christian editors “either from roguery or folly, corrupted them all.”[56]

Graves[edit]

American Kersey Graves was a school teacher and author who wrote the 1875 book The World's Sixteen Crucified Saviors. Using Higgins as his main source, Graves claims that Jesus did not exist, and instead was based on demigods from different countries who were either crucified or who ascended into heaven. He also claimed that many of these figures shared similar stories, traits or quotes as Jesus. The validity of the claims in the book have been greatly criticized by Christ myth proponents like Richard Carrier and largely dismissed by biblical scholars.[57]

Massey[edit]

Starting in the 1870s, English poet and author Gerald Massey became interested in Egyptology and reportedly taught himself Egyptian hieroglyphics at the British Museum.[58] In 1883, he published The Natural Genesis where he asserted parallels between Jesus and the Egyptian god Horus. His other major work, Ancient Egypt: The Light of the World, was published shortly before his death in 1907. His assertions have influenced various later writers such as Alvin Boyd Kuhn, Tom Harpur and D.M. Murdock. Harpur argues that Massey has been largely ignored by scholars,[59] and despite criticisms from Stanley Porter and Ward Gasque, Massey's theories regarding Egyptian etymologies for certain scriptures are supported by noted contemporary Egyptologists.[60]

Radical Dutch school[edit]

In the 1870s and 1880s, a group of scholars associated with the University of Amsterdam, known in German scholarship as the Radical Dutch school, rejected the authenticity of the Pauline epistles, and took a generally negative view of the Bible's historical value.[61] Within this group, the existence of Jesus was rejected by Allard Pierson, the leader of the movement, Sytze Hoekstra, and Samuel Adrian Naber. Abraham Dirk Loman argued in 1881 that all New Testament writings belonged to the 2nd century, and doubted that Jesus was a historical figure, but later said the core of the gospels was genuine.[62] The group wrote in Dutch and focused mostly on the Old Testament.[61] They had some notable followers, but by the early part of the 20th century they had faded out.[61]

In addition to the authors listed on this page, early Christ myth proponents included Swiss skeptic Rudolf Steck.,[63] English historian Edwin Johnson, English radical Rev. Robert Taylor and his associate Richard Carlile.

20th century proponents[edit]

During the early 20th century, several writers published arguments against Jesus' historicity, often drawing on the work of liberal theologians, who tended to deny any value to sources for Jesus outside the New Testament, and limited their attention to Mark and the hypothetical Q source.[62] They also made use of the growing field of religious history which found sources for Christian ideas in Greek and Oriental mystery cults, rather than Judaism.[64] Joseph Klausner wrote that biblical scholars "tried their hardest to find in the historic Jesus something which is not Judaism; but in his actual history they have found nothing of this whatever, since this history is reduced almost to zero. It is therefore no wonder that at the beginning of this century there has been a revival of the eighteenth and nineteenth century view that Jesus never existed."[65]

The work of social anthropologist Sir James George Frazer has had an influence on various myth theorists, although Frazer himself believed that Jesus existed.[66] In 1890 he published the first edition of The Golden Bough which attempted to define the shared elements of religious belief. This work became the basis of many later authors who argued that the story of Jesus was a fiction created by Christians. After a number of people claimed that he was a myth theorist, in the 1913 expanded edition of The Golden Bough Frazer expressly stated that his theory assumed a historical Jesus.[67]

In 1900, Scottish MP John Mackinnon Robertson argued that Jesus never existed but was an invention by a first-century messianic cult.[68][69] In Robertson's view, religious groups invent new gods to fit the needs of the society of the time.[68] Robertson argued that a solar deity symbolized by the lamb and the ram had long been worshiped by an Israelite cult of Joshua and that this cult had then invented a new messianic figure, Jesus of Nazareth.[68][70][71] Robertson argued that a possible source for the Christian myth may have been the Talmudic story of the executed Jesus Pandera which dates to 100 BCE.[68][72] Robertson considered the letters of Paul the earliest surviving Christian writings, but viewed them as primarily concerned with theology and morality, rather than historical details. He viewed references to the twelve apostles and the institution of the Eucharist as stories that must have developed later among gentile believers who were converted by Jewish evangelists like Paul.[68][73][74]

The English school master George Robert Stowe Mead took a somewhat different position when publishing his book Did Jesus Live 100 B.C.? in 1903. Mead argued that Jesus had existed, but that he had lived in 100 BCE.[75] Mead based his argument on the Talmud, which he meant pointed to Jesus being crucified c. 100 BCE. In Mead's view, this would mean that the Christian gospels are mythical.[76] Tom Harpur has compared Mead's impact on myth theory to that of Bruno Bauer and Arthur Drews.[77] Robert M. Price cites Mead as one of several examples of alternative traditions that place Jesus in a different time period than the Gospel accounts.[78]

In 1909, school teacher John Eleazer Remsburg published The Christ (Retitled The Christ Myth in a 2007 NuVision Publications reprint) which made a distinction between a possible historical Jesus ("Jesus of Nazareth") and the Jesus of the Gospels ("Jesus of Bethlehem"). Remsburg's thought that there was good reason to believe that the historical Jesus existed, but that the "Christ of Christianity" was a mythological creation.[79] Remsburg compiled a list of 42 names of "writers who lived and wrote during the time, or within a century after the time" who Remsburg felt should have written about Jesus if the Gospels account was reasonably accurate but who did not.[80] The Remsburg List was improved upon in an article in Free Inquiry magazine in August 2014, citing 126 writers shortly after Jesus whom the author thought should have written about Jesus, but did not.[81] The supporting evidence was presented in the appendix to the author's book.[82]

Also in 1909, German philosophy professor Christian Heinrich Arthur Drews wrote The Christ Myth to argue that Christianity had been a Jewish Gnostic cult that spread by appropriating aspects of Greek philosophy and life-death-rebirth deities.[83] In later books (The Witnesses to the Historicity of Jesus (1912) and The Denial of the Historicity of Jesus in Past and Present (1926)) Drews reviewed the biblical scholarship of his time as well as the work of other myth theorists, attempting to show that everything about the historical Jesus had a mythical character.[84] Drews met with criticism from Nikolai Berdyaev who claimed that Drews was an anti-Semite who argued against the historical existence of Jesus for the sake of Aryanism.[85] Drews took part in a series of public debates with theologians and historians who opposed his arguments.[86][87]

Drew's work found fertile soil in the Soviet Union, where Marxist–Leninist atheism was the official doctrine of the state. Soviet leader Lenin argued that it was imperative in the struggle against religious obscurantists to form a union with people like Drews.[88] Several editions of Drews's The Christ Myth were published in the Soviet Union from the early 1920s onwards, and his arguments were included in school and university textbooks.[89] Public meetings asking "Did Christ live?" were organized, during which party operatives debated with clergymen.[90] Drews also influenced French philosopher Paul-Louis Couchoud who argued that Jesus never existed but was invented by the Apostle Paul and that Christianity was a schismatic branch of the followers of John the Baptist.[91] Charles Guignebert, an atheist professor of history at Sorbonne University criticized Couchoud's theory and defended the historicity of Jesus, first in an article in the Review of History of Religions (1926), then with his book entitled Jesus (1933).

In 1927, British philosopher Bertrand Russell stated in his lecture Why I Am Not a Christian that "historically it is quite doubtful that Jesus existed, and if he did we do not know anything about him, so that I am not concerned with the historical question, which is a very difficult one", though Russell did nothing to further develop the idea.[92]

Modern proponents[edit]

George Albert Wells[edit]

English professor of German George Albert Wells presented his arguments for the Christ myth theory in his books; The Jesus of the Early Christians (1971), Did Jesus Exist? (1975), The Historical Evidence for Jesus (1982), The Jesus Legend (1996), The Jesus Myth (1999), Can We Trust the New Testament? (2004), and Cutting Jesus Down to Size (2009). Wells had a profound impact on the Christ myth theory, according to New Testament scholar Graham Stanton.[93] And British theologian Kenneth Grayston advised Christians to acknowledge the difficulties raised by Wells.[94]

In his early trilogy (1971, 1975, 1982), Wells denied Jesus’ historicity by arguing that "the gospel Jesus is an entirely mythical expansion" of a Jewish Wisdom figure—the Jesus of the early epistles—who lived in some past, unspecified time period.[95][22][96] and also on the views of New Testament scholars who acknowledge that the gospels are sources written decades after Jesus's death by people who had no personal knowledge of him. In addition, Wells writes, the texts are exclusively Christian and theologically motivated, and therefore a rational person should believe the gospels only if they are independently confirmed.[97] Wells clarifies his position in The Jesus Legend, that "Paul sincerely believed that the evidence (not restricted to the Wisdom literature) pointed to a historical Jesus who had lived well before his own day; and I leave open the question as to whether such a person had in fact existed and lived the obscure life that Paul supposed of him. (There is no means of deciding this issue.)"[98][26]

In his later trilogy from the mid-1990s (1996, 1999, 2004),[99] Wells conceded that his early argument against Jesus’ historicity was incomplete and required the inclusion of a historical "personage who is not to be identified with the dying and rising Christ of the early epistles."[95][100] In The Jesus Myth, he argues that the Biblical Jesus figure did not exist and asserts that there was a minimally historical Jesus figure, a Galilean preacher, whose teachings were preserved in the Q document, a hypothetical common source for the gospels of Matthew and Luke.[101] Wells clarifies his position in Cutting Jesus Down to Size:

What we have in the gospels is surely a fusion of two originally quite independent streams of tradition, ...the Galilean preacher of the early first century who had met with rejection, and the supernatural personage of the early epistles, [the Jesus of Paul] who sojourned briefly on Earth and then, rejected, returned to heaven—have been condensed into one. The [human] preacher has been given a [mythical] salvific death and resurrection, and these have been set not in an unspecified past (as in the early epistles) but in a historical context consonant with the Galilean preaching. The fusion of the two figures will have been facilitated by the fact that both owe quite a lot of their substance in the documents—to ideas very important in the Jewish Wisdom literature.[102][22][96]

Biblical scholar Robert Van Voorst said that with this argument Wells had performed an about-face[103] while Doherty presented it as another example of the view that the Gospel Jesus did not exist.[104][105] Wells writes that he belongs in the category of those who argue that Jesus did exist, but that reports about him are so unreliable that we can know little or nothing about him.[106][107][99] He argues, for example, that the story of the execution of Jesus under Pilate is not an historical account, writing, "I regarded (and still do regard) [the following stories;] the virgin birth, much in the Galilean ministry, the crucifixion around A.D. 30 under Pilate, and the resurrection—as legendary".[100]

Thomas L. Brodie[edit]

In 2012, the Irish Dominican priest and theologian Thomas L. Brodie, holding a PhD from the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas in Rome and a co-founder and former director of the Dominican Biblical Institute in Limerick, published Beyond the Quest for the Historical Jesus: Memoir of a Discovery. In this book, Brodie, who previously had published academic works on the Hebrew prophets, argued that the gospels are essentially a rewriting of the stories of Elijah and Elisha when viewed as a unified account in the Books of Kings. This view lead Brodie to the conclusion that Jesus is mythical.[108] Brodie's argument builds on his previous work, in which he stated that rather than being separate and fragmented, the stories of Elijah and Elisha are united and that 1 Kings 16:29–2 Kings 13:25 is a natural extension of 1 Kings 17–2 Kings 8 which have a coherence not generally observed by other biblical scholars.[109] Brodie then views the Elijah–Elisha story as the underlying model for the gospel narratives.[109]

In early 2013, it was reported that the Dominican order had forced Brodie to resign his teaching job and banned him from writing and lecturing while under investigation for disputed teaching. The Dominican order disputed the story and stated that Brodie had already performed three terms as director at the institute and was not intending to serve a fourth, but that the book would be reviewed by a committee of scholars within the Irish Dominicans.[110] The institute's website indicates the investigation is ongoing.[111] The Dominican Biblical Institute closed in 2015.[112] "There is an unjustifiable jump between methodology and conclusion" in Brodie's book, according to Gerard Norton, and "are not soundly based on scholarship." They are, according to Norton, "a memoir of a series of significant moments or events" in Brodie's life that reinforced "his core conviction" that neither Jesus nor Paul of Tarsus were historical.[113]

Earl Doherty and Richard Carrier[edit]

American historian Richard Carrier.

Canadian writer Earl Doherty argued in Jesus: Neither God nor Man—The Case for a Mythical Jesus (2009) that Jesus originated as a myth derived from Middle Platonism with some influence from Jewish mysticism, and that belief in a historical Jesus emerged only among Christian communities in the 2nd century.[114]

In 2002, Richard Carrier reviewed Earl Doherty's work on the origination of Jesus,[115] concluding that Doherty's thesis was plausible, however, Carrier had not yet concluded it was probably more true than the minimal historicity thesis (he also noted that some of Doherty's points were untenable and that only his core thesis was at least coherent with the evidence). And he held the "Jesus agnosticism" viewpoint until he began formal research on Jesus ahistoricity theory in 2008, which eventually convinced him that the evidence actually favored the core Doherty thesis. That is, that Paul and other writers of the earliest existing proto-Christian documents did not believe in Jesus as a person who was incarnated on Earth in an historical setting, rather, they believed in Jesus as a heavenly being who suffered his sacrificial death in the lower spheres of heaven, where he was crucified by demons and then was subsequently resurrected by God. This mythological Jesus was not based on a historical Jesus, but rather on an exegesis of the Old Testament in the context of Jewish-Hellenistic religious syncretism, and what the early authors believed to be mystical visions of a risen Jesus.

Carrier argues in his book On the Historicity of Jesus: Why We Might Have Reason for Doubt, that there is insufficient Bayesian probability, that is evidence, to believe in the existence of Jesus. Furthermore, he argues that the Jesus figure was probably originally known only through private revelations and hidden messages in scripture which were then crafted into a historical figure, to communicate the claims of the gospels allegorically. These allegories then started to be believed as fact during the struggle for control of the Christian churches of the first century. He argues that the probability of Jesus' existence is somewhere in the range from 1/3 to 1/12000 depending on the estimates used for the computation.[5][116]

Robert M. Price[edit]

Robert Price at a microphone
American New Testament scholar Robert M. Price.

American New Testament scholar and former Baptist pastor Robert McNair Price was a fellow of the Jesus Seminar, a group of writers and scholars who study the historicity of Jesus and who argue that the Christian image of Christ is a theological construct into which traces of Jesus of Nazareth have been woven.[117] He was also a member of the Jesus Project. Price believes that Christianity is a historicized synthesis of mainly Egyptian, Jewish, and Greek mythologies.[118]

Price questioned the historicity of Jesus in a series of books, including Deconstructing Jesus (2000), The Incredible Shrinking Son of Man (2003), Jesus Is Dead (2007), and The Christ-Myth Theory and Its Problems (2012), as well as in contributions to The Historical Jesus: Five Views (2009), in which he acknowledges that he stands against the majority view of scholars, but cautions against attempting to settle the issue by appeal to the majority.[119]

Price argues that if critical methodology is applied with ruthless consistency, one is left in complete agnosticism regarding Jesus's historicity.[120] Price is quoted saying, "There might have been a historical Jesus, but unless someone discovers his diary or his skeleton, we'll never know."[121]

In Deconstructing Jesus Price points out, "(w)hat one Jesus reconstruction leaves aside, the next one takes up and makes its cornerstone. Jesus simply wears too many hats in the Gospels—exorcist, healer, king, prophet, sage, rabbi, demigod, and so on. The Jesus Christ of the New Testament is a composite figure (...) The historical Jesus (if there was one) might well have been a messianic king, or a progressive Pharisee, or a Galilean shaman, or a magus, or a Hellenistic sage. But he cannot very well have been all of them at the same time."[122] Price also states "I am not trying to say that there was a single origin of the Christian savior Jesus Christ, and that origin is pure myth; rather, I am saying that there may indeed have been such a myth, and that if so, it eventually flowed together with other Jesus images, some one of which may have been based on a historical Jesus the Nazorean."[123] In a discussion on euhemerism, Price cautiously asserts that "a genuine historical figure" may ultimately lie at the root of the Christian religion.[124] That figure (about whom he detects no surviving mundane, secular information) would have eventually been made into God through apotheosis. But Price admits uncertainty in this regard. He writes in conclusion, "There may have been a real figure there, but there is simply no longer any way of being sure."[125]

Citing accounts that have Jesus being crucified under Alexander Jannaeus (83 BCE) or in his 50s by Herod Agrippa I under the rule of Claudius Caesar (41–54 CE). Price argues that these "varying dates are the residue of various attempts to anchor an originally mythic or legendary Jesus in more or less recent history."[126][127]

Price maintains that there are three key points for the traditional Christ myth theory:[128]

  • There is no mention of a miracle-working Jesus in secular sources.
  • The epistles, written earlier than the gospels, provide no evidence of a recent historical Jesus; all that can be taken from the epistles, Price argues, is that a Jesus Christ, son of God, lived in a heavenly realm, there died as a sacrifice for human sin, was raised by God and enthroned in heaven.
  • The Jesus narrative is paralleled in Middle Eastern myths about dying and rising gods; Price names Baal, Osiris, Attis, Adonis, and Dumuzi/Tammuz as examples, all of which, he writes, survived into the Hellenistic and Roman periods and thereby influenced early Christianity. Price alleges that Christian apologists have tried to minimize these parallels.[129][130]

Thomas L. Thompson[edit]

Thomas L. Thompson, Professor emeritus at the University of Copenhagen, is a leading biblical minimalist of the Old Testament.[131] In his 1999 book The Bible in History: How Writers Create a Past, Thompson deals with general historiographical issues, including the importance of understanding the types and purposes of different biblical stories and the dangers of treating myth and poetry as history in the Old Testament.

In his 2007 book The Messiah Myth: The Near Eastern Roots of Jesus and David,[132] Thompson argues that the biblical accounts of both King David and Jesus of Nazareth are mythical in nature and based on Mesopotamian, Egyptian, Babylonian, and Greek and Roman literature. For example, he argues that the resurrection of Jesus is taken directly from the story of the dying and rising god, Dionysus.[12][133] Thompson however, does not draw a final conclusion on the historicity or ahistoricity of Jesus, but writes;

Whether the gospels in fact are biographies—narratives about the life of a historical person—is doubtful. Their pedagogical and legendary character reduces their value for historical reconstruction. New Testament scholars commonly hold the opinion that a historical person would be something very different from the Christ (or messiah), with whom, for example, the author of the Gospel of Mark identifies his Jesus (Hebrew: Joshua = savior), opening his book with the statement: “The beginning of the good news about Jesus Christ, God’s son.”[134][135]

Thompson coedited the contributions from a diverse range of scholars[136] in the 2012 book Is This Not the Carpenter?: The Question of the Historicity of the Figure of Jesus.[137] Writing in the introduction, "The essays collected in this volume have a modest purpose. Neither establishing the historicity of an historical Jesus nor possessing an adequate warrant for dismissing it, our purpose is to clarify our engagement with critical historical and exegetical methods."[138]

In a 2012 online article, Thompson defended his qualifications to address New Testament issues. He rejected the label of "mythicist", and reiterated his position that the issue of Jesus' existence cannot be determined one way or the other.[139] He was a fellow of the short-lived Jesus Project from 2008 to 2009.

Other Modern Proponents[edit]

British academic John M. Allegro

In his books The Sacred Mushroom and the Cross (1970) and The Dead Sea Scrolls and the Christian Myth (1979), the British archaeologist and philologist John M. Allegro put forward the theory that stories of early Christianity originated in a shamanistic Essene clandestine cult centred around the use of hallucinogenic mushrooms.[140][141] [142][143] He also argued that the story of Jesus was based on the crucifixion of the Teacher of Righteousness in the Dead Sea Scrolls.[144][145] Similarly, Alvar Ellegård (1919–2008) suggested that Paul's Jesus may have been based on the Teacher of Righteousness in the Dead Sea Scrolls, although he thought that this was not the Jesus of the gospels.[146][147]

Allegro's theory was criticised sharply by Welsh historian Philip Jenkins who wrote that Allegro relied on texts that did not exist in quite the form he was citing them.[148] Based on this and many other negative reactions to the book, Allegro's publisher later apologized for issuing the book and Allegro was forced to resign his academic post.[142][149]

Influenced by Massey and Higgins, Alvin Boyd Kuhn (1880–1963) argued an Egyptian etymology to the Bible, that the gospels were symbolic rather historic, and that church leaders started to misinterpret the New Testament in the third century.[150] Author Tom Harpur dedicated his 2004 book The Pagan Christ to Kuhn, suggesting that Kuhn has not received the attention he deserves since many of his works were self-published.[151]

Canadian author Tom Harpur (photo by Hugh Wesley)

Building on Kuhn's work, Harpur listed similarities among the stories of Jesus, Horus, Mithras, Buddha and others. According to Harpur, in the second or third centuries, the early church created the fictional impression of a literal and historic Jesus and then used forgery and violence to cover up the evidence. [152]

Harpur's book received a great deal of criticism, including a response book, Unmasking the Pagan Christ: An Evangelical Response to the Cosmic Christ Idea.[153] Fellow mythicist Robert M. Price also wrote a negative review, saying that he did not agree that the Egyptian parallels were as forceful as Harpur thought.[154] Harpur published a sequel,Water Into Wine in 2007.[155]

The Christ myth theory enjoyed brief popularity in the Soviet Union, where it was supported by Sergey Kovalev, Alexander Kazhdan, Abram Ranovich, Nikolai Rumyantsev, and Robert Vipper.[156] Later, however, several scholars, including Kazhdan, retracted their views about mythical Jesus and by the end of the 1980s Iosif Kryvelev remained as virtually the only proponent of Christ myth theory in Soviet academia.[157]

Questionable accuracy and authorship of the Gospels[edit]

Any study of the gospels must first determine the genre under which they fall. Genre "is a key convention guiding both the composition and the interpretation of writings".[158] Whether the gospel authors set out to write novels, myths, histories, or biographies has a tremendous impact on how they ought to be interpreted. If, for example, Rudolf Bultmann was correct, and the gospel authors had no interest in history or in a historical Jesus,[159] then the gospels must be read and interpreted in this light. However, some recent studies suggest that the genre of the gospels ought to be situated within the realm of ancient biography.[160][161][162][163][164][165] Although not without critics,[166] the position that the gospels are a type of ancient biography is the consensus among scholars today.[167][168]

One of the most important concerns in accurately accounting for the oral transmission of the gospel, is the model of transmission used. The oral model developed by the form critics drew heavily on contemporary theory of folkloric transmission of oral material, and partly as a result of this form criticism posited that the Jesus tradition was transmitted informally, added to freely, and was uncontrolled.[169] Kenneth E. Bailey writes that informal controlled oral traditions primarily account for the content of the Synoptic Gospels and that "(b)y informal we mean that there is no set teacher and no specifically identified student" but "there are elders and gifted men and the socially more prominent who tend to do the reciting. ...If the storyteller is going off track, he will be corrected. But the storyteller is allowed a small degree of flexibility, particularly in parables and recollections of historical peoples and events." And that this model is contrasted with the formal controlled oral tradition, where the material that is passed on "is controlled in the sense that the material is memorized (and / or written), identified as ‘tradition' and thus preserved intact".[170][171]

The position that the oral gospel traditions accurately transmitted—without loss or corruption—the gospel message of Jesus, is the consensus among scholars today. The accuracy of the tradition was insured by the community designating certain learned individuals to bear the main responsibility for retaining the gospel message of Jesus. The prominence of teachers in the earliest communities such as the Jerusalem Church is best explained by the communities' reliance on them as repositories of oral tradition.[172] One of the most striking features to emerge from recent study is the "amazing consistency" of the history of the tradition "which gave birth to the NT". The heart and fundamental thrust of the oral tradition was carefully maintained. The core was stable and did not alter in its essential character at any time during the history of the New Testament.[173][174]

Marcan priority assumes that the Gospel of Mark was the first gospel to be written. However, biblical scholars do not have access to any primary sources for the Gospels, which makes any absolute conclusions about them doubtful as is also the case with any oral transmission of the gospel prior to the first-written gospel.[175][176] Per the Gospels status as reliable historical sources, Raphael Lataster writes, "The Gospels, and indeed all the sources concerning Jesus, are not primary sources; they are not contemporary to the events they describe, nor is it reasonable to assume that they were written by eye-witnesses. The extant sources concerning Jesus are, at best, secondary sources."[177][178][179]

Richard Carrier writes, "The Gospels cannot really be dated, nor are the real authors known. Their names were assigned early, but not early enough for us to be confident they were accurately known. It is based on speculation that Mark was the first, written between AD 60 and AD 70, Matthew second, between AD 70and AD 80, Luke (and Acts ) third, between AD 80 and AD 90, and John last, between AD 90 and AD 100."[180]

Modern biblical scholarship also places the dates for most of the gospels decades after his death, but within the latter half of the first century.[181] Dr. Charles E. Hill, a Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity at Reformed Theological Seminary, agrees with myth proponents that the canonical gospels were not written by Jesus's disciples, but believes they were written by immediate or near immediate successors and quickly accepted by the majority of the Church.[182]

Pauline epistles[edit]

The Pauline epistles are generally dated to 50–60 CE (i.e. approximately twenty to thirty years after the generally accepted time period for the death of Jesus, around 30–36 CE), and are the earliest surviving Christian texts that may include information about Jesus.[183] The Pauline letters at times refer to creeds, or confessions of faith, that predate their writings.[184][185][186] For instance, 1 Corinthians 15:11 refers to others before Paul who preached the creed.[186] These Pre-Pauline creeds date to within a few years of Jesus' death, and developed within the Christian community in Jerusalem.[187] Scholars generally view these as indications that the existence and death of Jesus was part of Christian tradition a few years after his death and over a decade before the writing of the Pauline epistles.[185][187] James Dunn states that 1 Corinthians 15:3 indicates that in the 30s Paul was taught about the death of Jesus a few years earlier.[188]

Eddy and Boyd present a summary of information about Jesus' earthly life presented in the Pauline epistles. For example in Galatians 1:19, Paul refers to the "Lord's brother" who was alive at the time of Paul; another that 1 Corinthians 15:3-8 refers to those who had interacted with Jesus as Paul's contemporaries; and in 1 Thessalonians 2:14-16 Paul refers to the Jews "who both killed the Lord Jesus" and "drove out us" as the same people, indicating that the death of Jesus was within the same time frame as the persecution of Paul.[189]

Two more elements in the Pauline letters that pertain to the existence of Jesus and his being a Jew include Galatians 4:4 which states that he was "born of a woman" and Romans 1:3 that he was "born under the law".[190][191][192][193][194]

A 3rd century fragment of the Paul's letter to the Romans

Although Paul had met Apostle Peter and stayed with him for 15 days (Galatians 1:18), Paul had not met Jesus in person and only claims to have known him as the "risen Christ".[183][195][196] Most scholars view the Pauline letters as essential elements in the study of the historical Jesus.[183][190][191][192][197]

Myth theorists generally reject the usefulness of these letters.[129][198] Willem Christiaan van Manen of the Dutch school of Radical criticism noted various anachronisms in the Pauline Epistles. He claimed that they could not have been written in their final form earlier than the 2nd century. He noted that the Marcionite school was the first to publish the epistles, and that Marcion used them as justification for his gnostic and docetic views that Jesus' incarnation was not in a physical body. Van Manen also studied Marcion's version of Galatians in contrast to the canonical version, and argued that the canonical version was a later revision which de-emphasized the Gnostic aspects.[199]

G. A. Wells criticized the infrequency of the reference to Jesus in the Pauline letters. He notes that there is no information in them about Jesus's parents, place of birth, teachings, trial, nor crucifixion.[20][198] Wells also argues that Paul and the other epistle writers—the earliest Christian writers—do not provide any support for the idea that Jesus lived early in the 1st century. The Jesus of Paul may have existed many decades, if not centuries, before.[26][198][200] For Wells, the Jesus of the early Christians was a pure myth, derived from mystical speculations stemming from the Jewish Wisdom tradition. According to this view, the earliest strata of the New Testament literature presented Jesus as the personification of Wisdom incarnate, "a basically supernatural personage only obscurely on Earth as a man at some unspecified period in the past".[22][96]

Richard Carrier argues that Paul is actually writing about a celestial deity named Jesus. He notes that there is little if any concrete information about Christ's earthly life in the Pauline epistles, even though Jesus is mentioned over three hundred times.[201] Carrier points out that according to Paul (Phil. 2. 7), Christ "came 'in the likeness of men' (homoiomati anthropon) and was found 'in a form like a man' (schemati euretheis hos anthropos) and (in Rom. 8.3) that he was only sent 'in the likeness of sinful flesh' (en homoiomati sarkos hamartias). This is a doctrine of a preexistent being assuming a human body, but not being fully transformed into a man, just looking like one..."[202]

Robert M. Price wrote that "the historical Jesus problem replicates itself in the case of Paul" and that the epistles have the same limitations as the Gospels as historical evidence. He sees the epistles as a compilation of fragments, possibly with a Gnostic core and that "nearly all were interpolated by Polycarp".[203] He argues that passages such as Galatians 1:18-20, Galatians 4:4, and 1 Corinthians 15:3-11 are late Catholic interpolations, and that 1 Thessalonians 2:14-16 was unlikely to have been written by a Jewish person.[204]

Argument against the Christ myth theory[edit]

Main article: Historicity of Jesus

A plurality of New Testament scholars, applying the standard criteria of historical investigation, find that the historicity of Jesus is more probable than not,[205][206][207][208][nb 1][nb 2][nb 3][nb 4] although they differ about the beliefs and teachings of Jesus as well as the accuracy of the details of his life that have been described in the gospels.[nb 5][36][nb 6][215] While scholars have criticized Jesus scholarship for religious bias and lack of methodological soundness,[nb 7] with very few exceptions, such critics generally do support the historicity of Jesus, and reject the theory that Jesus never existed at all.[31][nb 8][218][219][220]

Some of the notable experts who have published peer reviewed books on the historicity of Jesus using the most current scholarship available on the subject include Dale Allison, Amy-Jill Levine and Geza Vermes, all of whom believe that a historical Jesus existed, although they tend to see that historical Jesus as a Jewish preacher who never claimed to be God nor had any intention to found a religion. Levine further notes:

"There is a consensus of sorts on a basic outline of Jesus’ life. 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 (26-36 CE)."[221]

Professor of Religious Studies Bart D. Ehrman and biblical scholar John Dominic Crossan criticise the "universally" agreed upon claim put forth by Robert M. Price that there is no mention of Jesus in secular sources, and states that the existence of Jesus and his crucifixion by the Romans is attested to by secular sources including Josephus and Tacitus.[222][223] There are three Non-Christian sources which are used to study and establish the historicity of Jesus - two mentions in Josephus, and one mention in the Roman source Tacitus.[224][225][226][226][227] Per the works of Josephus, Géza Vermes asserts;

The historical Jesus can be retrieved only within the context of first-century Galilean Judaism. The Gospel image must therefore be inserted into the historical canvas of Palestine in the first century CE, with the help of the works of Flavius Josephus.[228]

Josephus' Antiquities of the Jews, written around 93–94 AD, includes two references to the biblical Jesus 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.[229][230] 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.[231][232][233][234]

Roman historian Tacitus referred to 'Christus' and his execution by Pontius Pilate in his Annals (written ca. AD 116), book 15, chapter 44.[235] The very negative tone of Tacitus' comments on Christians make most experts believe that the passage extremely unlikely to have been forged by a Christian scribe.[236] The Tacitus reference is now widely accepted as an independent confirmation of Christ's crucifixion,[237] although some scholars question the authenticity of the passage on various different grounds.[236][238][239][240][241][242][243][244]

Ehrman points out that we don't have archaeological or textual evidence for the existence of most people in the ancient world; even famous people like Pontius Pilate, whom the Myth Theorists agree was involved.[245] Classical historian and popular author Michael Grant has written 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.[246]

Criticism[edit]

Main article: Historicity of Jesus

Historicity refers to the question of whether alleged past persons and events are genuinely historical, or merely mythical. The study of whether the Jesus mentioned in the Christian New Testament was a real person is covered in the article Historicity of Jesus.

In general, modern scholars who work in the field largely agree that Jesus himself did exist historically, but scholars differ on the historicity of specific episodes described in the Biblical accounts of Jesus,[34] and the only two events subject to "almost universal assent" are that Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist and was crucified by the order of the Roman Prefect Pontius Pilate[35][36][37] (although some argue that "the only thing New Testament scholars seem to agree on is Jesus’ historical existence"[247]).

Gregory A. Boyd and Paul Rhodes Eddy doubt that Paul viewed Jesus similar to the savior deities found in ancient mystery religions.[248]

During the 21st century, the Christ myth theory has become more widespread because of the Internet, but also met with greater criticism. Professor Bart D. Ehrman, rejecting CMT, states that "The view that Jesus existed is held by virtually every expert on the planet"[249] but Ehrman also recognizes that there are "a couple of bona fide scholars" who support the Christ myth theory.

Christ Myth theories find virtually no support from scholars. According to New Testament scholar Bart D. Ehrman, most people who study the historical period of Jesus believe that he did exist, and do not write in support of the Christ myth theory.[250] 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.[251]

Ehrman also notes that "mythicist" views would prevent one from getting employment in a religious studies department:

These views are so extreme and so unconvincing to 99.99 percent of the real experts that anyone holding them is as likely to get a teaching job in an established department of religion as a six-day creationist is likely to land on in a bona fide department of biology.[252]

Additionally, Ehrman levies stronger criticism against the first "universally" agreed upon claim put forth by Price that there is no mention of a miracle working Jesus in secular sources. Ehrman points out that we don't have archaeological or textual evidence for the existence of most people in the ancient world; even famous people like Pontius Pilate, whom the Myth Theorists agree was involved. "And what records from that decade do we have from his reign," Ehrman asks, "what Roman records of his major accomplishments, his daily itinerary, the decrees he passed, the laws he issued, the prisoners he put on trial, the death warrants he signed, his scandals, interviews, his judicial proceedings? We have none. Nothing at all."[253]

"The same is true of the Jewish historian, Flavius Josephus. Due to his treachery and betrayal of his own people, Josephus not only saved his skin during the Jewish War but also became a personal favorite of the Roman Emperor Vespasian,"[254] says Robert Hutchinson, in his book Searching for Jesus. He continues, quoting Ehrman, "Yet despite being a personal friend of the emperor, how often is Josephus mentioned in Greek and Roman sources of his own day, the first century CE? Never."[254]

Maurice Casey, theologian and scholar of New Testament and early Christianity, stated that the belief among professors that Jesus existed is generally completely certain. According to Casey, the view that Jesus did not exist is "the view of extremists" and "demonstrably false", and that "professional scholars generally regard it as having been settled in serious scholarship long ago".[255]

In his 1977 book Jesus: An Historian's Review of the Gospels, classical historian and popular author Michael Grant concluded 'modern critical methods fail to support the Christ-myth theory.'[256] In support of this, he quoted Roderic Dunkerley's 1957 opinion that the Christ-myth theory has 'again and again been answered and annihilated by first-rank scholars'.[257] At the same time he also quoted Otto Betz's 1968 opinion 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.'[258] In the same book, he also wrote:

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.[246]

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.[259]

Graeme Clarke, Emeritus Professor of Classical (Ancient) History and Archaeology at Australian National University[260] has stated ""Frankly, I know of no ancient historian or biblical historian who would have a twinge of doubt about the existence of a Jesus Christ - the documentary evidence is simply overwhelming."[261]

Co-director of Ancient Cultures Research Centre at Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia Alanna Nobbs[262] 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."[263]

R. Joseph Hoffmann, who had created the Jesus Project, which included both mythicists and historicists to investigate the historicity of Jesus, wrote that an adherent to the Christ myth theory asked to set up a separate section of the project for those committed to the theory. Hoffmann felt that to be committed to mythicism signaled a lack of necessary skepticism. He noted that most members of the project did not reach the mythicist conclusion.[264]

Books[edit]

The following books support aspects of the Christ myth theory:

Documentaries[edit]

Since 2005, several English-language documentaries have focused, at least in part, on the Christ myth theory:

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Maurice Casey, Jesus: Evidence and Argument or Mythicist Myths?, Bloomsbury T&T Clark, 2014.
  2. ^ Lataster, Raphael (2015). "Questioning the Plausibility of Jesus Ahistoricity Theories — A Brief Pseudo-Bayesian Metacritique of the Sources". The Intermountain West Journal of Religious Studies. 6:1. 
  3. ^ Mitchell, Logan (1842). The Christian mythology unveiled, lectures. Cousins. p. 151. Jesus Christ in the New Testament, has no reference whatever to any event that ever did in reality take place upon this globe; or to any personages that ever in truth existed: and that the whole is an astronomical allegory, or parable, having invariably a primary and sacred allusion to the sun, and his passage through the signs of the zodiac; or a verbal representation of the phenomena of the solar year and seasons. (Image of Title page & p. 151 at Google Books) 
  4. ^ 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."
  5. ^ a b c Carrier, Richard (2014). On the Historicity of Jesus: Why We Might Have Reason for Doubt. Sheffield Phoenix Press Limited. p. 52. ISBN 978-1-909697-49-2. [T]he basic thesis of every competent mythologist, then and now, has always been that Jesus was originally a god just like any other god (properly speaking, a demigod in pagan terms; an archangel in Jewish terms; in either sense, a deity), who was later historicized. 
  6. ^ Theissen & Merz 1998, pp. 93-118.
  7. ^ a b c d Voorst, Robert Van (2000). Jesus Outside the New Testament: An Introduction to the Ancient Evidence. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing. p. 9. ISBN 978-0-8028-4368-5. Bauer laid down the typical threefold argument that almost all subsequent deniers of the existence of Jesus were to follow (although not in direct dependence upon him). First, he denied the value of the New Testament, especially the Gospels and Paul’s letters, in establishing the existence of Jesus. Second, he argued that the lack of mention of Jesus in non-Christian writings of the first century shows that Jesus did not exist. Neither do the few mentions of Jesus by Roman writers in the early second century establish his existence. Third, he promoted the view that Christianity was syncretistic and mythical at its beginnings. 
  8. ^ a b Theissen & Merz 1998, pp. 90.
  9. ^ Lataster, Raphael (December 14, 2014). "Weighing up the evidence for the 'Historical Jesus'". The Conversation. The Conversation (website). Retrieved 28 August 2016. There are no existing eyewitness or contemporary accounts of Jesus. All we have are later descriptions of Jesus’ life events by non-eyewitnesses, most of whom are obviously biased. 
  10. ^ a b "Hector Avalos: Who was the historical Jesus?". Ames Tribune. GateHouse Media. Mar 2, 2013. Retrieved 28 August 2016. [ Hector Avalos, professor of Religious Studies at Iowa State University] My own opinion, as an academic biblical scholar, is that there is not enough evidence to settle the question one way or the other. I am an agnostic about the existence of the historical Jesus. A main problem continues to be the lack of documentation from the time of Jesus to establish his existence definitively. Jesus is supposed to have lived around the year 30. But there is no mention of him anywhere in any actual document from his own time or from the entire first century. 
  11. ^ Lataster, Raphael (2015). "Questioning the Plausibility of Jesus Ahistoricity Theories — A Brief Pseudo-Bayesian Metacritique of the Sources". The Intermountain West Journal of Religious Studies. 6:1: 68. Scholar of religion James Tabor (University of North Carolina) also notes Paul’s spurious sources: "This mean the essentials of the message Paul preaches are not coming from those who were with Jesus, whom Paul sarcastically calls the “so-called pillars of the church,” adding “what they are means nothing to me” (Galatians 2:6), but from voices, visions, and revelations that Paul is “hearing” and “seeing.” For some that is a strong foundation. For many, including most historians, such “traditions” cannot be taken as reliable historical testimony."(James Tabor, “Paul as Clairvoyant,” accessed 21/09/2012, http://jamestabor.com/2012/05/23/paul-as-clairvoyant-2). 
  12. ^ a b Thompson, Thomas L. (20 April 2009). "Historicizing the Figure of Jesus, the Messiah". The Messiah Myth: The Near Eastern Roots of Jesus and David. Basic Books. p. 8. ISBN 978-0-7867-3911-0. The assumptions that (1) the gospels are about a Jesus of history and (2) expectations that have a role within a story’s plot were also expectations of a historical Jesus and early Judaism, as we will see, are not justified. 
  13. ^ Lüdemann, Gerd (2010). "Paul as a Witness to the Historical Jesus". In R. Joseph Hoffmann. Sources of the Jesus Tradition: Separating History from Myth. Prometheus Books. p. 212. ISBN 978-1-61614-189-9. In short, Paul cannot be considered a reliable witness to either the teachings, the life, or the historical existence of Jesus. 
  14. ^ Lunn, Nicholas P. (30 April 2015). The Original Ending of Mark: A New Case for the Authenticity of Mark 16:9-20. James Clarke & Co. pp. 6–7. ISBN 978-0-227-90459-6. [apud Richard Carrier] If Mark did not write verses 16:9-20, but some anonymous person(s) later added those verses, pretending (or erroneously believing) that Mark wrote them (as in fact they must have), then this Gospel, and thus the Bible as a whole, cannot be regarded as inerrant, or even consistently reliable. Were those words intended by God, he would have inspired Mark to write them in the first place. That he didn't entails those words were not inspired by God, and therefore the Bible we have is flawed, tainted by sinful human forgery or fallibility... The interpolation of the Markan ending thus refutes Biblical inerrancy. (Posted by Dr. Richard Carrier on a website concerned with disproving biblical inerrancy. See http://www.errancywiki.com/index.php?title=Legends2) 
  15. ^ Lataster, Raphael (November 12, 2015). "Afterword by Richard Carrier". Jesus Did Not Exist: A Debate Among Atheists. p. 418. ISBN 1514814420. [T]here is no independent evidence of Jesus’s existence outside the New Testament. All external evidence for his existence, even if it were fully authentic (though much of it isn’t), cannot be shown to be independent of the Gospels, or Christian informants relying on the Gospels. None of it can be shown to independently corroborate the Gospels as to the historicity of Jesus. Not one single item of evidence. Regardless of why no independent evidence survives (it does not matter the reason), no such evidence survives. 
  16. ^ a b Price, Robert M. Deconstructing Jesus. Prometheus Books, Publishers. p. 17. ISBN 978-1-61592-120-1. Generations of Rationalists and freethinkers have held that Jesus Christ corresponds to no historical character: There never was a Jesus of Nazareth. We might call this categorical denial “Jesus atheism.” What I am describing is something different, a “Jesus agnosticism.” There may have been a Jesus on earth in the past, but the state of the evidence is so ambiguous that we can never be sure what this figure was like or, indeed, whether there was such a person. 
  17. ^ Tom Dykstra (2015). "Ehrman and Brodie on Whether Jesus Existed: A Cautionary Tale about the State of Biblical Scholarship". The Journal of the Orthodox Center for the Advancement of Biblical Studies (JOCABS). 8 (1): 29. As for the question of whether Jesus existed, the best answer is that any attempt to find a historical Jesus is a waste of time. It can’t be done, it explains nothing, and it proves nothing. [Vol. 8, No. 1 (2015)] 
  18. ^ Eddy, Paul Rhodes; Boyd, Gregory A. (1 August 2007). The Jesus Legend: A Case for the Historical Reliability of the Synoptic Jesus Tradition. Baker Academic. p. 202. ISBN 978-0-8010-3114-4. [Paul and Jesus among the Skeptics - Paul’s Lack of Historical Information] While New Testament scholars agree that Paul has relatively little to say about the life and ministry of Jesus, most grant that Paul viewed Jesus as a recent contemporary. The most extreme legendary-Jesus theorists, however— particularly the Christ myth theorists—deny this. They argue that nothing in Paul’s letters indicates that he believed Jesus was a contemporary of his. Rather, they contend, the Jesus of Paul’s theology is a savior figure patterned after similar figures within ancient mystery religions. According to the theory, Paul believed that Christ entered the world at some point in the distant past—or that he existed only in a transcendent mythical realm—and died to defeat evil powers and redeem humanity. Only later was Jesus remythologized as a Jewish contemporary. 
  19. ^ Price, Robert M. (4 February 2010). "Jesus at the Vanishing Point". In James K. Beilby, Paul Rhodes Eddy. The Historical Jesus: Five Views. InterVarsity Press. p. 63. ISBN 978-0-8308-7853-6. The second of the three pillars of the traditional Christ-Myth case is that the Epistles, earlier than the Gospels, do not evidence a recent historical Jesus. Setting aside the very late 1 Timothy, which presupposes the Gospel of John (the only Gospel in which Jesus “made a good confession before Pontius Pilate”), we should never guess from the Epistles that Jesus died in any particular historical or political context, only that the fallen angels (Col 2:15), the archons of this age, did him in, little realizing they were sealing their own doom (1 Cor 2:6-8). 
  20. ^ a b Wells, George Albert (2007). "Jesus, Historicity of". In Tom Flynn, Richard Dawkins. The New Encyclopedia of Unbelief. Prometheus Books, Publishers. p. 447. ISBN 978-1-61592-280-2. The most striking feature of the early documents is that they do not set Jesus’s life in a specific historical situation. [...] In Paul, for instance, there is no cleansing of the temple (which, according to Mark and Luke, was the event that triggered the resolve of the chief priests and scribes to kill Jesus), no conflict with the authorities, no Gethsemane scene, no thieves crucified with Jesus, no weeping women, no word about the place or time, and no mention of Judas or Pilate. Paul’s colorless references to the crucifixion might be accepted as unproblematic if it were unimportant for him. But he himself declares it to be the very substance of his preaching (1 Cor. 1:23 and 2:2). Yet he lived as a Christian for three years before even briefly visiting Jerusalem (Gal. 1:17f.), and says nothing that would indicate that he took interest in, or even had awareness of, holy places there. 
  21. ^ Carrier, Richard (August 2014). "The Bible and Interpretation - Why We Might Have Reason for Doubt: Should We Still Be Looking for a Historical Jesus?". www.bibleinterp.com. Retrieved 29 August 2016. Christianity, as a Jewish sect, began when someone (most likely Cephas, perhaps backed by his closest devotees) claimed this [Celestial deity] “Jesus” had at last revealed that he had tricked the Devil by becoming incarnate and being crucified by the Devil (in the region of the heavens ruled by Devil), thereby atoning for all of Israel’s sins. [...] It would be several decades later when subsequent members of this cult, after the world had not yet ended as claimed, started allegorizing the gospel of this angelic being by placing him in earth history as a divine man, as a commentary on the gospel and its relation to society and the Christian mission. 
  22. ^ a b c d G.A. Wells. "Earliest Christianity (1999)". infidels.org. Retrieved 23 September 2016. [This article was originally published in The New Humanist Vol. 114, No. 3. Sept 1999, pp. 13-18.] I have argued that there is good reason to believe that the Jesus of Paul was constructed largely from musing and reflecting on a supernatural 'Wisdom' figure, amply documented in the earlier Jewish literature, who sought an abode on Earth, but was there rejected, rather than from information concerning a recently deceased historical individual. The influence of the Wisdom literature is undeniable; only assessment of what it amounted to still divides opinion. ...The Jewish literature describes Wisdom as God's chief agent, a member of his divine council, etc., and this implies supernatural, but not, I agree, divine status. 
  23. ^ Dr. Richard Carrier. "Questioning the Historicity of Jesus". Strange Notions. Brandon Vogt. Retrieved 6 April 2016. The hypothesis that Jesus never really existed has started to gain more credibility in the expert community. Some now agree historicity agnosticism is warranted, including Arthur Droge (professor of early Christianity at UCSD), Kurt Noll (associate professor of religion at Brandon University), and Thomas Thompson (renowned professor of theology, emeritus, at the University of Copenhagen). Others are even more certain historicity is doubtful, including Thomas Brodie (director emeritus of the Dominican Biblical Centre at the University of Limerick, Ireland), Robert Price (who has two Ph.D.’s from Drew University, in theology and New Testament studies), and myself (I have a Ph.D. in ancient history from Columbia University and have several peer reviewed articles on the subject). Still others, like Philip Davies (professor of biblical studies, emeritus, at the University of Sheffield), disagree with the hypothesis but admit it is respectable enough to deserve consideration. 
  24. ^ Lataster, Raphael (29 March 2016). "IT'S OFFICIAL: WE CAN NOW DOUBT JESUS' HISTORICAL EXISTENCE". Think. 15 (43): 65–79. doi:10.1017/s1477175616000117. Think, Volume 15, Issue 43, Summer 2016, Published online by Cambridge University Press 
  25. ^ Is This Not the Carpenter?: The Question of the Historicity of the Figure of Jesus, Ed. By Thomas L. Thompson and Thomas S. Verenna, 2012
  26. ^ a b c Price, Robert M. (4 February 2010). "Jesus as the Vanishing Point". In James K. Beilby, Paul Rhodes Eddy. The Historical Jesus: Five Views. InterVarsity Press. p. 65. ISBN 978-0-8308-7853-6. Some mythicists (the early G. A. Wells and Alvar Ellegard) thought that the first Christians had in mind Jesus who had lived as a historical figure, just not of the recent past, much as the average Greek believed Hercules and Achilles really lived somewhere back there in the past.  Unknown parameter |DUPLICATE_chapter= ignored (help)
  27. ^ 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
  28. ^ Jesus Now and Then by Richard A. Burridge and Graham Gould (Apr 1, 2004) ISBN 0802809774 page 34
  29. ^ Jesus by Michael Grant 2004 ISBN 1898799881 page 200
  30. ^ The Gospels and Jesus by Graham Stanton, 1989 ISBN 0192132415 Oxford University Press, page 145
  31. ^ a b 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
  32. ^ Did Jesus Exist?:The Historical Argument for Jesus of Nazareth. HarperCollins, USA. 2012. ISBN 978-0-06-220460-8. 
  33. ^ B. Ehrman, 2011 Forged : writing in the name of God ISBN 978-0-06-207863-6. page 285
  34. ^ 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 181
  35. ^ a b 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".
  36. ^ a b c Prophet and Teacher: An Introduction to the Historical Jesus by William R. Herzog (4 Jul 2005) ISBN 0664225284 pages 1-6
  37. ^ 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. 
  38. ^ a b Weaver 1999, p. 45-50.
  39. ^ Schweitzer 2001, p. 355ff.
  40. ^ Voorst 2000, p. 8.
  41. ^ a b c Wells 1969.
  42. ^ British Romantic Writers and the East by Nigel Leask (Jun 24, 2004) ISBN 0521604443 Cambridge Univ Press pages 104 -105
  43. ^ By Tristram Stuart, "The Bloodless Revolution", p. 591.
  44. ^ a b Stephen Prickett in the Companion Encyclopedia of Theology edited by Peter Byrne, Leslie Houlden (Dec 4, 1995) ISBN 0415064473 page 154-155
  45. ^ The Life of Jesus, Critically Examined by David Friedrich Strauss 2010 ISBN 1-61640-309-8 pages 39–43 and 87–91
  46. ^ The Making of the New Spirituality by James A. Herrick 2003 ISBN 0-8308-2398-0 pages 58–65
  47. ^ Familiar Stranger: An Introduction to Jesus of Nazareth by Michael J. McClymond (Mar 22, 2004) ISBN 0802826806 page 82
  48. ^ The historical Jesus question by Gregory W. Dawes 2001 ISBN 0-664-22458-X pages 77–79
  49. ^ See Douglas R McGaughey, "On D.F. Strauß and the 1839 Revolution in Zurich"
  50. ^ a b Robert E. Van Voorst Jesus Outside the New Testament: An Introduction to the Ancient Evidence Eerdmans Publishing, 2000. ISBN 0-8028-4368-9 pages 7-11
  51. ^ Beilby, James K. and Eddy, Paul Rhodes. "The Quest for the Historical Jesus", in James K. Beilby and Paul Rhodes Eddy (eds.). The Historical Jesus: Five Views. Intervarsity, 2009, p. 16.
  52. ^ Schweitzer, Albert. The Quest of the Historical Jesus. Fortress, 2001; first published 1913, pp. 124–128, 139–141.
  53. ^ Moggach, Douglas. The Philosophy and Politics of Bruno Bauer. Cambridge University Press, 2003, p. 184. *Also see Engels, Frederick. "Bruno Bauer and Early Christianity", Der Sozialdemokrat, May 1882.
  54. ^ In Search of Jesus: Insider and Outsider Images by Clinton Bennett (Dec 1, 2001) ISBN 0826449166 Continuum page 204
  55. ^ Tom Harpur, 2004, p. 30
  56. ^ Tom Harpur, 2004, p. 59
  57. ^ Kersey Graves and The World's Sixteen Crucified Saviors by Richard Carrier (2003)
  58. ^ Tom Harpur, 2004, The Pagan Christ
  59. ^ Tom Harpur, 2004, p. 200
  60. ^ Harpur's response to Porter and Gasque
  61. ^ 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 10
  62. ^ a b Schweitzer, Albert. The Quest of the Historical Jesus. Fortress, 2001; first published 1913, pp. 356–361, 527 n. 4.
  63. ^ Arthur Drew, 1926, The Denial of the Historicity of Jesus in Past and Present
  64. ^ Arvidsson, Stefan. Aryan Idols: Indo-European Mythology as Ideology and Science. University of Chicago Press, 2006, pp. 116–117.
  65. ^ Klausner, Joseph. Jesus of Nazareth. Bloch, 1989; first published 1925, pp. 105–106.
  66. ^ In Search of Jesus: Insider and Outsider Images by Clinton Bennett (Dec 1, 2001) ISBN 0826449166 Continuum page 205
  67. ^ Deconstructing Jesus by Robert M. Price (2000) ISBN 1573927589 page 207
  68. ^ a b c d e Van Voorst, Robert E (2000). Jesus Outside the New Testament: An Introduction to the Ancient Evidence. Eerdmans Publishing. ISBN 0-8028-4368-9 pages 11-12
  69. ^ J.M. Robertson, 1856-1933 by G.A. Wells (1 Jan 1987) ISBN 0301870020 pages 162-163
  70. ^ Christianity And Mythology by John M. Robertson London: Watts 1900 ISBN 0766187683 (reprinted by Kessinger 2004) page 34
  71. ^ A Short History of Christianity by John M. Robertson 1902 London: Watts ISBN 0766189090 (reprinted by Kessinger 2004) page 72
  72. ^ Robertson, J. M. A Short History of Christianity. Watts, 1902, pp. 6–12, 14–15.
  73. ^ A Short History of Christianity by John M. Robertson 1902 London: Watts ISBN 0766189090 (reprinted by Kessinger 2004) page 18
  74. ^ J.M. Robertson, 1856-1933 by G.A. Wells (1 Jan 1987) ISBN 0301870020 page 149
  75. ^ G. R. S. Mead and the Gnostic Quest by Clare Goodrick-Clarke (Aug 10, 2005) ISBN 155643572X pages 1-3
  76. ^ Did Jesus Live 100 B.C.? by G. R. S. Mead (1903) ISBN 1596053763 (Cosimo Classics 2005) pages 10-12
  77. ^ Pagan Christ: Is Blind Faith Killing Christianity? by Tom Harpur (2006) ISBN 0802777414 p 163
  78. ^ Price, Robert. "Jesus as the Vanishing Point" in James K. Beilby & Paul Rhodes Eddy (eds.) The Historical Jesus: Five Views. InterVarsity, 2009, pp. 80–81.
  79. ^ The Christ by John Remsburg 1909, Chapter 1: "Christ's Real Existence Impossible"
  80. ^ The Christ Myth by John Remsburg 1909, Chapter 2: "Silence of Contemporary Writers"
  81. ^ Paulkovich, Michael (2014). "The Fable of the Christ". Free Inquiry. 34 (5): 56. 
  82. ^ Paulkovich, Michael (2012), No Meek Messiah, Spillix Publishing, pp. 330–355, ISBN 0988216116 
  83. ^ Drews' book was reviewed by A. Kampmeier in The Monist, volume 21, Number 3 (July 1911), pages 412–432. [1]
  84. ^ Weaver, Walter P. The historical Jesus in the twentieth century, 1900–1950. Continuum International Publishing Group, 1999, pp. 50 and 300.
    • Also see Wood, Herbert George. Christianity and the Nature of History. Cambridge University Press, 1934, p. xxxii.
    • Drews, Arthur. Die Christusmythe. Eugen Diederichs, 1910, published in English as The Christ Myth, Prometheus, 1910, p. 410.
  85. ^ Berdyaev, Nikolai, "The Scientific Discipline of Religion and Christian Apologetics", Put' / Путь vol. 6, 1927
  86. ^ Gerrish, Brian A. Jesus, Myth, and History: Troeltsch's Stand in the 'Christ-Myth' Debate", The Journal of Religion, volume 55, issue 1, 1975, pp 3–4.
  87. ^ "Jesus never lived, asserts Prof. Drews", The New York Times, February 6, 1910.
  88. ^ Thrower, James. Marxist-Leninist "Scientific Atheism" and the Study of Religion and Atheism. Walter de Gruyter, 1983, p. 426.
  89. ^ Nikiforov, Vladimir. "Russian Christianity" in Leslie Houlden (ed.) Jesus in History, Thought, and Culture: An Encyclopedia. ABC-CLIO, 2003, p. 749.
  90. ^ Peris, Daniel. Storming the Heavens. Cornell University Press, 1998, p. 178.
  91. ^ The historical Jesus in the twentieth century, 1900–1950 by Walter P. Weaver, 1999 ISBN Continuum Publishing Group, 1999, pages 300-303
  92. ^ Russell, Bertrand. "Why I am not a Christian", lecture to the National Secular Society, Battersea Town Hall, March 6, 1927, Retrieved 2010-08-02.
  93. ^ Stanton, Graham. The Gospels and Jesus. Oxford University Press, 2002; first published 1989, p. 143.
  94. ^ Ellegård, Alvar (2008). "Theologians as historians". Scandia: Tidskrift för historisk forskning (59): 2. [S]everal reviewers of Wells concede that the questions he has raised are indeed pertinent. For instance, Professor Kenneth Grayston (Methodist Recorder, 16th Nov., 1971) writes: “instructed Christians … /should/ admit the difficulties collected by Professor Wells, and construct a better solution.” Grayston repeats this judgment in reviewing Wells’s second book. 
  95. ^ a b Wells, George Albert (2004). Can We Trust the New Testament?: Thoughts on the Reliability of Early Christian Testimony. Open Court Publishing. pp. 49–50. ISBN 978-0-8126-9567-0. In my first books on Jesus [1971, 1975, 1982], I argued that the gospel Jesus is an entirely mythical expansion of the Jesus of the early epistles. [...] The weakness of my earlier position was pressed upon me by J.D.G. Dunn, who objected that we really cannot plausibly assume that such a complex of traditions as we have in the gospels and their sources could have developed within such a short time from the early epistles without a historical basis (Dunn 1985, p. 29). My present standpoint is: ...[that the Q source resolves this issue, however] the Q material—whether or not it suffices as evidence of Jesus's historicity—refers to a [human] personage who is not to be identified with the [mythical] dying and rising Christ of the early epistles. 
  96. ^ a b c Wells, George Albert (2007). "Jesus, Historicity of". In Tom Flynn, Richard Dawkins. The New Encyclopedia of Unbelief. Prometheus Books, Publishers. p. 449. ISBN 978-1-61592-280-2. That Jewish Wisdom ideas influenced early Christian writings is undeniable, for Jewish statements made about Wisdom are there made of Jesus. Christ is called “the power of God and the wisdom of God" (1 Cor. 1:24); in him are “hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Cols. 2:3). Like Wisdom, Christ assisted God in the creation of all things (1 Cor. 8:6)—an idea spelled out in the Christological hymn of Colossians 1:15-20. And like the Jewish Wisdom figure, Jesus sought acceptance on earth but was rejected and returned to heaven. Furthermore, in the Wisdom of Solomon, the righteous man, Wisdom’s ideal representative (no particular person is meant), is persecuted but vindicated post mortem. His enemies have condemned him to “a shameful death” (2:20), but he then confronts them as their judge in heaven, where he is “counted among the sons of God" (5:5). 
  97. ^ Martin, Michael (March 1993). The Case Against Christianity. Temple University Press. p. 38. ISBN 978-1-56639-081-1. Wells stresses that his skepticism concerning the historicity of Jesus is based in large part on the views of Christian theologians and biblical scholars who admit that the canonical Gospels were written by unknown authors not personally acquainted with Jesus, between forty and eighty years after Jesus’ supposed lifetime. According to Wells they also admit that there is much in these accounts that is legend and that the Gospel stories are shaped by the writers' theological motives. Furthermore, the evidence provided by the Gospels is exclusively Christian. Given this situation, Wells says, a rational person should believe the accounts of the Gospels only if they are independently confirmed. 
  98. ^ Wells, George (1 December 2013). The Jesus Legend. Open Court Publishing Company. p. 19. ISBN 978-0-8126-9872-5. Paul sincerely believed that the evidence (not restricted to the Wisdom literature) pointed to a historical Jesus who had lived well before his own day; and I leave open the question as to whether such a person had in fact existed and lived the obscure life that Paul supposed of him. (There is no means of deciding this issue.) 
  99. ^ a b Wells, George (1 December 2013). Cutting Jesus Down to Size: What Higher Criticism Has Achieved and Where It Leaves Christianity. Open Court Publishing Company. pp. 201–202. ISBN 978-0-8126-9867-1. [Eddy and Boyd (2007)] distinguish (pp. 24f) three broad categories of judgment, other than their own, concerning Jesus: 1. that “the Jesus tradition is virtually—perhaps entirely—fictional.” 2. that Jesus did exist [but with limited historical facts]... 3. that a core of historical facts about the real historical Jesus can be disclosed by research... Eddy and Boyd are particularly concerned to refute the standpoint of those in category 1 of these 3, and classify me as one of them, as “the leading contemporary Christ myth theorist” (p. 168n). In fact, however, I have expressly stated in my books of 1996, 1999, and 2004 that I have repudiated this theory, ...I have never espoused this view, not even in my pre-1996 Jesus books, where I did deny Jesus’s historicity. Although I have always allowed that Paul believed in a Jesus who, fundamentally supernatural, had nevertheless been incarnated on Earth as a man. 
  100. ^ a b Wells, George (1 December 2013). Cutting Jesus Down to Size: What Higher Criticism Has Achieved and Where It Leaves Christianity. Open Court Publishing Company. p. 16. ISBN 978-0-8126-9867-1. [F]rom the mid-1990s I became persuaded that many of the gospel traditions are too specific in their references to time, place, and circumstances to have developed in such a short time from no other basis, and are better understood as traceable to the activity of a Galilean preacher of the early first century, the personage represented in Q (the inferred non-Markan source, not extant, common to Matthew and Luke; cf. above, p. 2), which may be even earlier than the Paulines. This is the position I have argued in my books of 1996, 1999, and 2004, although the titles of the first two of these—The Jesus Legend and The Jesus Myth—may mislead potential readers into supposing that I still denied the historicity of the gospel Jesus. These titles were chosen because I regarded (and still do regard) [that the following stories;] the virgin birth, much in the Galilean ministry, the crucifixion around A.D. 30 under Pilate, and the resurrection—as legendary. 
  101. ^ Wells, George Albert (1999). The Jesus myth. Open Court. ISBN 0812693922. 
  102. ^ Wells, George (1 December 2013). Cutting Jesus Down to Size: What Higher Criticism Has Achieved and Where It Leaves Christianity. Open Court Publishing Company. p. 16. ISBN 978-0-8126-9867-1. 
  103. ^ Van Voorst, Robert E. "Nonexistence Hypothesis", in James Leslie Holden (ed.) Jesus in History, Thought, and Culture: An Encyclopedia. ABC-CLIO, 2003, p. 660.
  104. ^ Doherty, Earl (1999). "Book and Article Reviews, The Case of the Jesus Myth: Jesus — One Hundred Years Before Christ by Alvar Ellegard". Retrieved 2011-10-07. 
  105. ^ Eddy and Boyd (2007), The Jesus Legend, p. 24.
  106. ^ For a more brief statement of his position, Wells refers readers to his article, "Jesus, Historicity of" in Tom Flynn's The New Encyclopedia of Unbelief. Prometheus Books, 2007, p. 446ff. - Per Wells, G. A. Cutting Jesus Down to Size. Open Court, 2009, pp. 327–328.
  107. ^ Wells, G. A. "A Reply to J. P. Holding's 'Shattering' of My Views on Jesus and an Examination of the Early Pagan and Jewish References to Jesus". The Secular Web. 2000. Retrieved 2010-08-03.
  108. ^ Brodie, Thomas L. (2012). Beyond the quest for the historical Jesus: memoir of a discovery. Sheffield: Sheffield Phoenix Press. ISBN 978-1907534584. 
  109. ^ a b Brodie, Thomas L. (2000). The crucial bridge: the Elijah-Elisha narrative as an interpretive synthesis of Genesis-Kings and a literary model of the Gospels. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press. pp. 1–3. ISBN 9780814659427. 
  110. ^ Dwayne, Mike (January 25, 2013). "Priest was not 'forced to quit' teaching job over controversial book on Christ". limerickleader.ie. The Limerick Reader. Archived from the original on 2014-03-15. 
  111. ^ Treacy, Bernard (2013-01-21). "Statement from the Dominican Order on the book Beyond the quest for the historical Jesus: memoir of a discovery, by Thomas L. Brodie, O.P." (Press release). Limerick, IE: Dominican Biblical Institute. Archived from the original on 2014-12-19. Retrieved March 15, 2014. 
  112. ^ Clifford, Brendan; Norton, Gerard (2015-09-03). "The Dominican Biblical Institute will cease from September 2015" (Press release). Limerick, IE: Dominican Biblical Institute. Archived from the original on 2016-01-10. Retrieved 2016-04-10. 
  113. ^ Barry, Cathal (2014-04-10). "Cleric faces dismissal over claim that Jesus Christ 'did not exist'". irishcatholic.ie. Dublin: Irish Catholic. Archived from the original on 2016-04-12. Retrieved 2016-04-12. 
  114. ^ Jesus: Neither God Nor Man, by Earl Doherty, pp. vii-viii).
  115. ^ Did Jesus Exist? Earl Doherty and the Argument to Ahistoricity
  116. ^ http://www.sheffieldphoenix.com/showbook.asp?bkid=264
  117. ^ Van Biema, David; Ostling, Richard N.; and Towle, Lisa H. "The Gospel Truth?". Time magazine. April 8, 1996.
  118. ^ Price, Robert M. "Jesus at the Vanishing Point" in James K. Beilby & Paul Rhodes Eddy (eds.) The Historical Jesus: Five Views. InterVarsity, 2009, p. 55ff.
  119. ^ Price, Robert M. "Jesus at the Vanishing Point" in James K. Beilby & Paul Rhodes Eddy (eds.) The Historical Jesus: Five Views. InterVarsity, 2009, p. 61ff.
  120. ^ Price, Robert M. (2003). The Incredible Shrinking Son of Man: How Reliable Is the Gospel Tradition?. Prometheus Books, Publishers. p. 351. ISBN 978-1-61592-028-0. One wonders if all these scholars came to a certain point and stopped, their assumption being. “If Jesus was a historical figure, he must have done and said something!" But their own criteria and critical tools. which we have sought to apply here with ruthless consistency, ought to have left them with complete agnosticism. 
    • Price writes: "Is it ... possible that beneath and behind the stained-glass curtain of Christian legend stands the dim figure of a historical founder of Christianity? Yes, it is possible, perhaps just a tad more likely than that there was a historical Moses, about as likely as there having been a historical Apollonius of Tyana. But it becomes almost arbitrary to think so."
  121. ^ Jacoby, Douglas (2010). Compelling Evidence for God and the Bible: Finding Truth in an Age of Doubt. Harvest House Publishers. p. 97. ISBN 978-0-7369-3759-7. 
  122. ^ Price, Robert M. (2000). Deconstructing Jesus, pp. 15–16.
  123. ^ Price, Robert M. (2000). Deconstructing Jesus, p. 86.
  124. ^ Price, Robert. Deconstructing Jesus. Prometheus Books. p. 250. ISBN 1-57392-758-9. 
  125. ^ Price, Robert. Deconstructing Jesus. Prometheus Books. p. 261. ISBN 1-57392-758-9. 
  126. ^ Irenaeus (c. 180 CE). Demonstration (74).
  127. ^ See Robert M. Price. "Jesus at the Vanishing Point", in James K. Beilby & Paul Rhodes Eddy (eds.) The Historical Jesus: Five Views. InterVarsity, 2009, pp. 80–81.
  128. ^ See Robert M. Price. "Jesus at the Vanishing Point", in James K. Beilby & Paul Rhodes Eddy (eds.) The Historical Jesus: Five Views. InterVarsity, 2009.
    1. There is no mention of a miracle working Jesus in secular sources. (p. 62)
    2. The epistles, which were written before the gospels, do not evidence a recent historical Jesus. (p. 63)
    3. The Jesus story shows strong parallels to other Mediterranean religions that were also based on gods that died and rose again. (p. 75)
  129. ^ a b Price, Robert M. "Jesus at the Vanishing Point" in James K. Beilby & Paul Rhodes Eddy (eds.) The Historical Jesus: Five Views. InterVarsity, 2009. See p. 55 for his argument that it is quite likely Jesus did not exist. See pp. 62–64, 75 for the three pillars.
  130. ^ Darrell L. Bock (4 February 2010). "Response to Robert M. Price". In James K. Beilby. The Historical Jesus: Five Views. Paul Rhodes Eddy. InterVarsity Press. pp. 99–103. ISBN 978-0-8308-7853-6. 
  131. ^ Maurice Casey (16 January 2014). Jesus: Evidence and Argument or Mythicist Myths?. A&C Black. pp. 10, 24. ISBN 978-0-567-59224-8. [Per Scholars] I introduce here the most influential mythicists who claim to be ‘scholars’, though I would question their competence and qualifications. [...] Thomas L. Thompson was an American Catholic born in 1939 in Detroit. He was awarded a B.A. at Duquesne University, a Catholic university in Pittsburgh, USA, in 1962, and a Ph.D. at Temple University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1976. After several appointments, mostly in the USA, including the post of associate professor at Marquette University, a Jesuit, Roman Catholic university in Milwaukee, Wisconsin (1989-93), he was Professor of Theology at the University of Copenhagen from 1993-2009. His early work, which is thought to have successfully refuted the attempts of Albright and others to defend the historicity of the most ancient parts of biblical literature history, is said to have negatively affected his future job prospects. 
  132. ^ http://www.randomhouse.com.au/books/thomas-l-thompson/the-messiah-myth-the-near-eastern-roots-of-jesus-and-david-9780712668439.aspx
  133. ^ Bart D. Ehrman (20 March 2012). Did Jesus Exist?: The Historical Argument for Jesus of Nazareth. HarperCollins. pp. 11, 15. ISBN 978-0-06-208994-6. [Per "A Brief History of Mythicism"] ...some of the more influential contemporary representatives who have revitalized the [Mythicism] view in recent years. [...] A different sort of support for a mythicist position comes in the work of Thomas L. Thompson, The Messiah Myth: The Near Eastern Roots of Jesus and David. Thompson is trained in biblical studies, but he does not have degrees in New Testament or early Christianity. He is, instead, a Hebrew Bible scholar who teaches at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark. In his own field of expertise he is convinced that figures from the Hebrew Bible such as Abraham, Moses, and David never existed. He transfers these views to the New Testament and argues that Jesus too did not exist but was invented by Christians who wanted to create a savior figure out of stories found in the Jewish scriptures. 
  134. ^ Thompson, Thomas L. (20 April 2009). The Messiah Myth: The Near Eastern Roots of Jesus and David. Basic Books. p. 3. ISBN 978-0-7867-3911-0. Whether the gospels in fact are biographies—narratives about the life of a historical person—is doubtful. Their pedagogical and legendary character reduces their value for historical reconstruction. New Testament scholars commonly hold the opinion that a historical person would be something very different from the Christ (or messiah), with whom, for example, the author of the Gospel of Mark identifies his Jesus (Hebrew: Joshua = savior), opening his book with the statement: “The beginning of the good news about Jesus Christ, God’s son.” 
  135. ^ Thomas L. Thompson (July 10, 2012). "The Bible and Interpretation - Is This Not the Carpenter's Son?". www.bibleinterp.com. Comments section. Retrieved 19 September 2016. [Per clarification by Thompson] In an article ('The Historiography of the Pentateuch: 25 Years after Historicity' Scandinavian Journal of the Old Testament 13, 1999, 258-283) I have discussed why I think it is very difficult to establish the historicity of figures in biblical narrative, as the issue rather relates to the quality of texts one is dealing with. I work further on this issue in my Messiah Myth of 2005. Here I argue that the synoptic gospels can hardly be used to establish the historicity of the figure of Jesus; for both the episodes and sayings with which the figure of Jesus is presented are stereotypical and have a history that reaches centuries earlier. I have hardly shown that Jesus did not exist and did not claim to. Rather, I compared our knowledge about Jesus to our knowledge of figures like Homer. As soon as we try to identify such an historical figure, we find ourselves talking about the thematic elements of stories. I do not distance myself from 'mythicists' as I do not see this term as referring to any scholars I know. 
  136. ^ Table of Contents
  137. ^ Thompson, Thomas L.; Verenna, Thomas S. (2012). "Is this Not the Carpenter?": The Question of the Historicity of the Figure of Jesus. Equinox. ISBN 978-1-84553-986-3. 
  138. ^ Thomas L. Thompson; Thomas S. Verenna. "'Is This Not the Carpenter?' — Introduction". The Bible and Interpretation. Retrieved 29 March 2016. 
  139. ^ Thompson, Thomas L. (July 2012). "Is This Not the Carpenter's Son? A Response to Bart Ehrman". The Bible and Interpretation. Mark Elliott, Patricia Landy. Retrieved 1 April 2016. Ehrman pompously ignores my considerable analytical discussion, which was rooted in a wide-ranging, comparative literary classification and analysis of the Old Testament and ancient Near Eastern inscriptions. Apparently to him, the more than 40 years I have devoted to research in my study of the primary fields of Old Testament exegesis, ancient Near Eastern literature and ancient history—not least in regards to questions of historicity−leaves me unqualified. 
  140. ^ John Allegro, The Sacred Mushroom and the Cross 1970 ISBN 978-0-9825562-7-6
  141. ^ John Allegro The Dead Sea Scrolls and the Christian Myth 1979 ISBN 978-0-879-75757-1
  142. ^ a b The Meaning of the Dead Sea Scrolls by Peter Flint and James VanderKam (Jul 10, 2005) ISBN 056708468X T&T Clark pages 323-325
  143. ^ The Essenes, the Scrolls, and the Dead Sea by Joan E. Taylor (Dec 14, 2012) ISBN 019955448X Oxford University Press p. 305
  144. ^ Robert E. Van Voorst Jesus Outside the New Testament: An Introduction to the Ancient Evidence Eerdmans Publishing, 2000. ISBN 0-8028-4368-9 page 77
  145. ^ Hall, Mark. "Foreword," in Allegro, John M. The Dead Sea Scrolls & the Christian Myth. Prometheus 1992, first published 1979, p. ix.
  146. ^ Ellegård, Alvar. "Theologians as historians", Scandia, 2008, p. 171–172, 175ff.
  147. ^ Jesus: One Hundred Years Before Christ by Alvar Ellegård 1999 ISBN 0879517204 pages 108-111
  148. ^ Jenkins, Philip. Hidden Gospels. Oxford University Press, 2002, p. 180.
  149. ^ A History of the Middle East by Saul S. Friedman (Mar 15, 2006) ISBN 0786423560 page 82
  150. ^ Alvin Boyd Kuhn, Ph.D. A Biographical Sketch of his life and work, by Richard Alvin Sattelberg, B.A., M.S.., 2005
  151. ^ "The Pagan Christ: Recovering the Lost Light" by Tom Harpur, Thomas Allen Publishers, Toronto, 2004, ISBN 0-88762-145-7
  152. ^ Tom Harpur, The Pagan Christ (Toronto: Thomas Allen Publishers, 2004)
  153. ^ Porter, Stanley E.; Bedard, Stephen J. (2006). Unmasking the Pagan Christ: An Evangelical Response to the Cosmic Christ Idea. Clements Publishing Group. ISBN 9781894667715. 
  154. ^ Robert M. Price (2009). "Review - Tom Harpur, The Pagan Christ: Recovering the Lost Light reviewed by Robert M. Price". www.robertmprice.mindvendor.com. Retrieved 3 September 2016. 
  155. ^ Harpur, Tom (2008-11-06). Water Into Wine: An Empowering Vision of the Gospels. Dundurn.com. ISBN 9780887628276. 
  156. ^ А. В. Андреев (2015). "Дискуссия об историчности Иисуса Христа в советском религиоведении" (PDF). Вестник ПСТГУ (in Russian). Retrieved 12 June 2015. 
  157. ^ Гололоб Г. "Богословие и национальный вопрос" (in Russian). Библиотека Гумер. Retrieved 12 June 2015. 
  158. ^ Burridge, R. A. (2006). Gospels. In J. W. Rogerson & Judith M. Lieu (Eds) The Oxford Handbook of Biblical Studies. Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 433
  159. ^ Bultmann, R. (1921). Die Geschichte der synoptischen Tradition. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck und Ruprecht.
  160. ^ Stanton, G. N. (1974). Jesus of Nazareth in New Testament Preaching Society of New Testament Studies Monograph Series 27. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 117ff., 124 ff., & 135
  161. ^ Talbert, C. H. (1977). What is a Gospel? The Genre of the Canonical Gospels. Philadelphia: Fortress Press.
  162. ^ Wills, L. M. (1997). The Quest of the Historical Gospel: Mark, John and the Origins of the Gospel Genre. London: Routledge. p. 10.
  163. ^ Frickenschmidt, D. (1997). Evangelium als Biographie: Die vier Evanelien im Rahmen antiker Erzählkunst. Tübingen: Francke Verlag.
  164. ^ Burridge, R. A. (2004). What are the Gospels? A Comparison with Graeco-Roman Biography. rev. updated edn. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Eerdmans.
  165. ^ Hägerland, T. (2003). John’s Gospel: A Two-Level Drama?. Journal for the Study of the New Testament, 25(3), 309-322.
  166. ^ e.g. Vines, M. E. (2002). The Problem of the Markan Genre: The Gospel of Mark and the Jewish Novel. Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature. pp. 161-162.
  167. ^ Stanton, G. H. (2004). Jesus and Gospel. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 192.
  168. ^ Burridge, R. A. (2006). Gospels. In J. W. Rogerson & Judith M. Lieu (Eds) The Oxford Handbook of Biblical Studies. Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 437
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  171. ^ "Articles: Do Oral Traditions 'Lie' Behind the Written Gospels?". www.americanthinker.com. Retrieved 24 September 2016. 
  172. ^ Dunn 2013, pp. 55 & 223 & 309, 279–280.
  173. ^ Ehrman 2012, pp. 117.
  174. ^ Dunn 2013, pp. 359–60 – "One of the most striking features to emerge from this study is the amazing consistency of the history of the NT tradition, the tradition which gave birth to the NT."
  175. ^ Ehrman, Bart D. (1 March 2016). Jesus Before the Gospels: How the Earliest Christians Remembered, Changed, and Invented Their Stories of the Savior. HarperCollins. ISBN 978-0-06-228523-2. 
  176. ^ Bethune, Brian (March 23, 2016). "Did Jesus really exist?". macleans.ca. Maclean's. Retrieved 16 April 2016. Memory research has cast doubt on the few things we knew about Jesus, raising an even bigger question. 
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  178. ^ Lataster, Raphael (2015). "Questioning the Plausibility of Jesus Ahistoricity Theories — A Brief Pseudo-Bayesian Metacritique of the Sources". The Intermountain West Journal of Religious Studies. 6:1: 65–66. Primary sources are vital to historians, not only as they provide direct evidence, but also serve as the benchmark by which secondary sources are measured.[Leopold von Ranke, Sarah Austin, and Robert Arthur Johnson, History of the Reformation in Germany (London: George Routledge and Sons, 1905), pxi.; Louis Reichenthal Gottschalk, Understanding History: A Primer of Historical Method (New York: Knopf, 1950), p. 165.] 
  179. ^ Howell, Martha C.; Prevenier, Walter (2001). From Reliable Sources: An Introduction to Historical Methods. Cornell University Press. p. 19. ISBN 0-8014-8560-6. Historians must thus always consider the conditions under which a source was produced—the intentions that motivated it—but they must not assume that such knowledge tells them all they need to know about its “reliability.” They must also consider the historical context in which it was produced—the events that preceded it, and those that followed. 
  180. ^ Richard Carrier. "The Formation of the New Testament Canon". www.academia.edu. Retrieved 24 September 2016. 
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  182. ^ C.E. Hill, p.170
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  184. ^ Paul's Letter to the Romans by Colin G. Kruse (Jul 1, 2012) ISBN 0802837433 pages 41-42
  185. ^ a b The Blackwell Companion to The New Testament edited by David E. Aune 2010 ISBN 1405108258 page 424
  186. ^ a b Worship in the Early Church by Ralph P. Martin 1975 ISBN 0802816134 pages 57-58
  187. ^ a b Creeds of the Churches, Third Edition by John H. Leith (Jan 1, 1982) ISBN 0804205264 page 12
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  189. ^ Eddy, Paul Rhodes; Boyd, Gregory A. (1 August 2007). The Jesus Legend: A Case for the Historical Reliability of the Synoptic Jesus Tradition. Baker Academic. pp. 46–47. ISBN 978-0-8010-3114-4. 
  190. ^ a b Christopher M. Tuckett In The Cambridge Companion to Jesus edited by Markus N. A. Bockmuehl 2001 ISBN 0521796784 pages 122-126
  191. ^ a b Jesus Remembered: Christianity in the Making by James D. G. Dunn (Jul 29, 2003) ISBN 0802839312 page 143
  192. ^ a b Jesus Christ in History and Scripture by Edgar V. McKnight 1999 ISBN 0865546770 page 38
  193. ^ Jesus according to Paul by Victor Paul Furnish 1994 ISBN 0521458242 pages 19-20
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  197. ^ Victor Furnish in Paul and Jesus edited by Alexander J. M. Wedderburn 2004 (Academic Paperback) ISBN 0567083969 pages 43-44
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  200. ^ Martin, Michael. The Case Against Christianity. Temple University Press, 1993, p. 38.
  201. ^ Carrier, Richard (2014). On the Historicity of Jesus (Kindle ed.). Sheffield Phoenix Press. p. location 34725. ISBN 978-1-909697-70-6. 
  202. ^ Carrier, On the Historicity of Jesus, p. 570.
  203. ^ Price, Robert M. (2012). The Amazing Colossal Apostle: The Search for the Historical Paul. Signature Books. p. viii, 534. ISBN 978-1-56085-216-2. The Pauline epistles began, most of them, as fragments by Simon (part of Romans), Marcion (the third through sixth chapter of Galatians and the basic draft of Ephesians), and Valentinian Gnostics (Colossians, parts of 1 Corinthians, at least). Some few began as Catholic documents, while nearly all were interpolated by Polycarp, the ecclesiastical redactor who domesticated John (as Bultmann saw it), Luke (as per John Knox), and 1 Peter, then composed Titus and 2 Timothy. 
  204. ^ Price, Richard M. (2012). The Amazing Colossal Apostle. Salt Lake City: Signature Books. pp. 360–61,415,426,491. ISBN 978-1-56085-216-2. 
  205. ^ Blomberg, Craig L. (2007). The Historical Reliability of the Gospels. InterVarsity Press. ISBN 9780830828074. 
  206. ^ Carrier, Richard Lane (2014). On the Historicity of Jesus: Why we might Have Reason for Doubt. Sheffield Phoenix Press. ISBN 9781909697355. 
  207. ^ Fox, Robin Lane (2005). The Classical World: An Epic History from Homer to Hadrian. Basic Books. p. 48. ISBN 978-0465024971. 
  208. ^ Dickson, John. "Best of 2012: The irreligious assault on the historicity of Jesus". Abc.net.au. Retrieved 17 June 2014. 
  209. ^ Bart D. Ehrman (22 March 2011). Forged: Writing in the Name of God--Why the Bible's Authors Are Not Who We Think They Are. HarperCollins. p. 285. ISBN 978-0-06-207863-6. 
  210. ^ James Douglas Grant Dunn (1 February 2010). The Historical Jesus: Five Views. SPCK Publishing. p. 61. ISBN 978-0-281-06329-1. 
  211. ^ Michael Grant (January 2004). Jesus. Orion. p. 200. ISBN 978-1-898799-88-7. 
  212. ^ Richard A. Burridge; Graham Gould (2004). Jesus Now and Then. William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company. p. 34. ISBN 978-0-8028-0977-3. 
  213. ^ James D. G. Dunn (2003). Jesus Remembered. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing. p. 339. ISBN 978-0-8028-3931-2. 
  214. ^ John Dominic Crossan (1994). Jesus: A Revolutionary Biography. HarperCollins. p. 45. ISBN 978-0-06-061662-5. 
  215. ^ Mark Allan Powell (1998). Jesus as a Figure in History: How Modern Historians View the Man from Galilee. Westminster John Knox Press. pp. 168–173. ISBN 978-0-664-25703-3. 
  216. ^ Donald H. Akenson (29 September 2001). Surpassing Wonder: The Invention of the Bible and the Talmuds. University of Chicago Press. ISBN 978-0-226-01073-1. 
  217. ^ Markus Bockmuehl (8 November 2001). The Cambridge Companion to Jesus. Cambridge University Press. pp. 123–124. ISBN 978-0-521-79678-1. 
  218. ^ Mark Allan Powell (1998). Jesus as a Figure in History: How Modern Historians View the Man from Galilee. Westminster John Knox Press. p. 168. ISBN 978-0-664-25703-3. 
  219. ^ James L. Houlden (2003). Jesus in History, Thought, and Culture: Entries A - J. ABC-CLIO. ISBN 978-1-57607-856-3. 
  220. ^ Robert E. Van Voorst (2000). Jesus Outside the New Testament: An Introduction to the Ancient Evidence. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing. p. 14. ISBN 978-0-8028-4368-5. 
  221. ^ Levine, Amy-Jill; Allison, Dale C.; Crossan, John Dominic (10 January 2009). The Historical Jesus in Context. Princeton University Press. p. 4. ISBN 1-4008-2737-X. There is a consensus of sorts on a basic outline of Jesus’ life. 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 (26-36 CE). 
  222. ^ The New Testament: A Historical Introduction to the Early Christian Writings by Bart D. Ehrman 1999 ISBN 0-19-512639-4-page 248
  223. ^ Crossan, John Dominic (1995). Jesus: A Revolutionary Biography. HarperOne. ISBN 0-06-061662-8 page 145
  224. ^ The Cambridge Companion to Jesus by Markus N. A. Bockmuehl 2001 ISBN 0521796784 pp. 121–125
  225. ^ Bruce David Chilton; Craig Alan Evans (1998). Studying the Historical Jesus: Evaluations of the State of Current Research. BRILL. pp. 460–470. ISBN 90-04-11142-5. 
  226. ^ a b Jesus and the Gospels: An Introduction and Survey by Craig L. Blomberg 2009 ISBN 0-8054-4482-3 pp. 431–436
  227. ^ Van Voorst (2000) pp. 39–53
  228. ^ Vermes, Geza (2010). The Real Jesus: Then and Now. Augsburg Fortress, Publishers. pp. 54–55. ISBN 978-1-4514-0882-9. The historical Jesus can be retrieved only within the context of first-century Galilean Judaism. The Gospel image must therefore be inserted into the historical canvas of Palestine in the first century CE, with the help of the works of Flavius Josephus, the Dead Sea Scrolls and early rabbinic literature. Against this background, what kind of picture of Jesus emerges from the Gospels? That of a rural holy man, initially a follower of the movement of repentance launched by another holy man, John the Baptist. In the hamlets and villages of Lower Galilee and the lakeside, Jesus set out to preach the coming of the Kingdom of God within the lifetime of his generation and outlined the religious duties his simple listeners were to perform to prepare themselves for the great event. [...] The reliability of Josephus’s notice about Jesus was rejected by many in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, but it has been judged partly genuine and partly falsified by the majority of more recent critics. The Jesus portrait of Josephus, drawn by an uninvolved witness, stands halfway between the fully sympathetic picture of early Christianity and the wholly antipathetic image of the magician of Talmudic and post-Talmudic Jewish literature. 
  229. ^ Schreckenberg, Heinz; Kurt Schubert (1992). Jewish Traditions in Early Christian Literature. ISBN 90-232-2653-4. 
  230. ^ 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. 
  231. ^ The new complete works of Josephus by Flavius Josephus, William Whiston, Paul L. Maier ISBN 0-8254-2924-2 pp. 662–663
  232. ^ Josephus XX by Louis H. Feldman 1965, ISBN 0674995023 p. 496
  233. ^ Van Voorst, Robert E. (2000). Jesus Outside the New Testament: An Introduction to the Ancient Evidence ISBN 0-8028-4368-9. p. 83
  234. ^ 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 pp. 284–285
  235. ^ P.E. Easterling, E. J. Kenney (general editors), The Cambridge History of Latin Literature, p. 892 (Cambridge University Press, 1982, reprinted 1996). ISBN 0-521-21043-7
  236. ^ a b Robert E. Van Voorst, Jesus Outside the New Testament: An Introduction to the Ancient Evidence, Wm. B. Eerdmans, 2000. p 39- 53
  237. ^ 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 p. 127
  238. ^ F.F. Bruce,Jesus and Christian Origins Outside the New Testament, (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1974) p. 23
  239. ^ Theissen, Gerd; Merz, Annette (1998). The historical Jesus: a comprehensive guide. Minneapolis: Fortress Press. p. 83. ISBN 978-0-8006-3122-2. 
  240. ^ Martin, Michael. The Case Against Christianity. pp. 50–51. 
  241. ^ The Historical Jesus in the Twentieth Century: 1900–1950, By Walter P. Weaver, pg 53, pg 57, at https://books.google.com/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
  242. ^ Secret of Regeneration, By Hilton Hotema, pg 100, at https://books.google.com/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
  243. ^ Jesus, University Books, New York, 1956, p.13
  244. ^ France, RT (1986). Evidence for Jesus (Jesus Library). Trafalgar Square Publishing. pp. 19–20. ISBN 0-340-38172-8. 
  245. ^ Ehrman, Bart D. (2012). Did Jesus Exist?. New York: HarperOne. p. 44. 
  246. ^ a b Michael Grant (1977), Jesus: An Historian's Review of the Gospels
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  248. ^ Gregory A. Boyd and Paul Rhodes Eddy Lord or Legend? Grand Rapids: Baker Books 2007 pp.45-47
  249. ^ Bart Ehrman, Did Jesus Exist? Harper Collins, 2012, p. 4
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  255. ^ Casey, Maurice, Jesus of Nazareth: An Independent Historian's Account of His Life and Teaching (T&T Clark, 2010), pp.33, 104 & 499.
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  257. ^ Dunkerley, Roderic, Beyond the Gospels (Penguin Books, 1957) p. 12.
  258. ^ Betz, Otto, What Do We Know About Jesus? (SCM-Canterbury Press, 1968) p. 9.
  259. ^ Crossan, John Dominic (1995). Jesus: A Revolutionary Biography. HarperOne. ISBN 0-06-061662-8 page 145
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Notes[edit]

  1. ^ 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."[209]
  2. ^ 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 his perspective runs against the views of the majority of scholars.[210]
  3. ^ 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."[211]
  4. ^ "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."[212]
  5. ^ Of "baptism and crucifixion", these "two facts in the life of Jesus command almost universal assent".[213]
  6. ^ "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."[214]
  7. ^ ..."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".[216]
  8. ^ "[F]arfetched theories that Jesus' existence was a Christian invention are highly implausible."[217]

Sources[edit]

Habermas, Gary; Licona, Michael (2004). The Case for the Resurrection of Jesus. Kregel Publications. ISBN 9780825494109. 
Wells, G. A. (1969). "Stages of New Testament Criticism". Journal of the History of Ideas. JSTOR. 30 (2). JSTOR 2708429. 

Further reading[edit]

Books and papers

External links[edit]

  • Religious Tolerance General outline of range of views on Jesus from classical Christian to Jesus a mere man and Jesus entirely mythical