Talk:Historicity of Jesus/Archive 5

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"Historians have affirmed the ressurection"

The article contains the statement: "Some notable historians have affirmed the resurrection of Jesus such as A. N. Sherwin-White, Thomas Arnold, and Michael Grant." I think one has to make a distinction between a Historian making a statement of his/her personal faith and a Historian asserting a Historical argument based on evidence. The proper question is not whether or not these Historians personally believed in the Ressurection, rather the question is: did they write articles in peer-reviewed Historical journals making this claim, or in academic books targeted at other Historians? I strongly doubt it, and if so we need a citation. As written I find this passage highly misleading. Imagine an article on "Scientific Proofs for God", in which it is pointed out that Scientists A, B, and C believe in God (or worse, that Scientists A B and C "have affirmed the existance of God" ). It may be true, but it has nothing to do with whether or not that belief is based in any way on Science. (posted by User:

I agree; there's not much any historian worth his/her salt can definitively say about Jesus''s a faith decision. I'd say that unless someone comes up with one heck of a strong citation, we eliminate the passage. Historians almost unanimously affirm Jesus' existence, but can't say much about the Resurrection. KHM03 18:06, 11 January 2006 (UTC)
I agree. A historian cannot comment in anyway meaningful way on the Resurrection. Of course he can comment, but then it's his own personal opinion based on his philosophical-metaphysical-religious views and not part of his scholarship. If these scholars have affirmed these (and I don't think they have - at least MGrant, from what I know, is not a Christian) they have done so as believers and not as scholars. And vice versa: if a historian denies the Resurrection he has done so as a non-Christian and not as scholars. What a historian can scholarly affirm is the empty tomb, as that can be verified from sources, but the Resurrection is beyond verifiability through historical research. That doesn't mean that it did or didn't happen but you cannot get there merely by historical research. Faith is required. Hence, I am in favour of deleting the passage (or changing it to what these guys actually said) as well. Str1977 09:39, 12 January 2006 (UTC)
I'd actually be extremely surprised if any modern historian (as opposed to classics/religious studies scholor) would even make any affirmative claims about the empty tomb story as verifiable history either...but I see that the Wikipedia article on Empty Tomb also makes this claim, so I'll take it up there.Bdrasin 19:49, 12 January 2006 (UTC)


The article on Philo does not mention him mentioning Jesus, but this article says he does. Does anyone actually have references? Or should the link to Philo be removed from this article? 11:34, 15 Feb 2005 (UTC)

it references archived talk - that says IF "Jesus" was real - Philo would have mentioned him - Sparky 14:06, 21 Apr 2005 (UTC)


Once CheeseDreams gets back from her block, I'm going to ask what pages of the books that she has added to references section that she used for this article. Otherwise, I'm getting rid of most of the references she's given. It's just not possible that she used so many references. I think that she just listed her bookcase, without referring to half the books as a reference. - Ta bu shi da yu 06:31, 2 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Nazarene or Nazirite?

"Against this theory is the fact that all four Gospels specifically speak of a place named Nazareth (see Matthew 2:23, Mark 1:9, Luke 1:26, John 1:46) in contexts where it cannot possibly be a confusion with "the Nazirite". In addition, the Gospels frequently give examples of Jesus drinking wine, most notably at the Last Supper, which was forbidden for Nazirites."

Are there any scholars who argue against "Nazirite" using these reasons? If so, it would be better that they be cited. If not, this is probably original research. Jayjg (talk) 04:34, 6 Feb 2005 (UTC)

I admit I put it in based on my personal familiarity with the scriptures, thinking it was too obvious to cite further. A quick google search confirms that I wasn't too original in drawing these conclusions. See [1], [2]. The second source is by Dr. Ray Pritz, whose bio can be found here: [3]. Incidentally, who are the "some scholars" who think Jesus was a Nazirite? Wesley 04:52, 6 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Are the dates right in that section? I had thought that the gospels were all pretty well stabilized and compiled c. 100 CE, not 3 or 400 CE like the section claims. --Maru (talk) 17:42, 3 October 2005 (UTC)


The possessive of Jesus should be Jesus's not Jesus' as the s at the end doesn't make it plural....

Actually, this is wrong. The apostrophe goes onto the end of the s when someone's name ends in an s. - Ta bu shi da yu 13:31, 12 Feb 2005 (UTC)
I don't agree (and I should know -- my name ends in an S). My belief (and I haven't looked at the Anglo-Saxon for a long time, so please correct me) is that the 's, while now a free moving particle, was once a genitive form. Plurals in -s did not mutate by adding what has now become an apostrophe s. Is that not correct? The rule (as I learnt it) is -- plurals ending in -s have a ' rather than 's, but I have seen your rule quoted too. Your rule MUST be wrong because I would be quite offended if you didn't say Francis's, so why not write it?

Francis Davey 00:06, 26 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Out of interest, who are you talking to? Me, or the original poster? - Ta bu shi da yu 05:09, 26 Feb 2005 (UTC)

They are pronounced the same anyway. the way i learnt it is that you use the apostrophe on its' own in every case. in fact when i learnt this in school -Jesus'- was the example used.--Bakutaro 16:00, 10 Mar 2005 (UTC)

The style guide I last read (I think it was Strunk and White, and will provide a reference if it's needed) indicated that most names ending in s should have 's added to the end, but that names from ancient history used only the apostrophe. Sophocles, Socrates, and Jesus were the provided examples -- all are supposed to use only the '. This was a matter of exceptional importance to me as a James -- I personally prefer that my possessions be called James' but have reluctantly accepted that they are James's. I do, however, have a high level of confidence that I'm recalling the "classical exception" correctly. Jwrosenzweig 22:14, 10 Mar 2005 (UTC)

The problem with this discussion is that there is no correct answer. Style manuals differ, because they either (1) reflect what people say, and different people say different things, or (2) reflect what the grammarian believes English should be, and gammarians differ as well. Historically (back in the days of Old English, when we had nominal declensions), the possessive plural had no s at all, as if the two esses cancelled each other out ("one dog's bone; two dog bone"). But we lost nominal case, and the system leveled out to its current ambiguity. What we now have are a competing plural s suffix for nouns and a possessive s clitic for noun phrases. Whether you treat nouns ending in s as if they were plurals is an almost philosophical issue. James' is a stylistic choice backed up by grammarian tradition (which is why this is more important with historicl figures, where there is a longer literary precedent), but Francis's is backed up by popular usage. I don't think I personally know anyone who would say Jesus', and I've even heard triple s sequences like the Joneses's house. Few people would actually write that, but it illustrates how compatible the two endings have become: in the spoken language, people would hear the Jones' house as an attributive rather than a possessive, like saying the Miller house. The spoken language has moved beyond this conflict, and the written language is slowly catching up, but meanwhile both Jesus' and Jesus's are generally acceptable. --kwami 07:37, 29 Mar 2005 (UTC)

How Do We Get This Page Out Of "Dispute"?

At time of writing, I see no reason to describe this article as either non-neutral or factually inaccurate. As far as I can see, the article is written in a meticulously neutral way - and in every case in which some information is used, the sources are given. It may not be perfect - but its as good as most other articles in these respects.

What is the procedure for removing the notice to say that the neutrality and factual accuracy of the page is in dispute? I suppose I could just edit the page and remove it - but I think it would be better if whoever believes that this notice should be there would come forward and say why - otherwise they will just restore a previous version of the page or start an edit war. Gordon Lallis.

I dispute the assertion that most Jews consider "Jesus" real - perhaps only in this century we won't be killed for expressing that there is no human framework to the myth of "Jesus" - which should quiet the otherworldy claims. - Sparky 14:13, 21 Apr 2005 (UTC)
Even Albert Schweitzer couldn't conclude that Jesus was "real", and he wrote a book on The Historical Jesus that is still highly regarded. As a Christian, he was highly motivated to take the question seriously and try to get a defensible positive answer. So how much difference does it make that some number of Jews affirm his reality? If we are comparing numbers of scholars to numbers of scholars it might well be relevant. But in this case, forgive me if I'm wrong, we do not even have real statistics, just somebody's "feeling" that most Jews believe that a historically important man named Jesus existed. So what? (By the way, Schweitzer didn't get killed but he did get restricted from preaching by the Lutheran Church for a while, and that was during the first half of the 20th century). P0M 15:26, 21 Apr 2005 (UTC)

First mention of "Christ"

It appears to me that our anonymous editor makes a good point; the first references are not to "Christ", but to "Christians". Also, where does the argument at the end of the paragraph come from? Jayjg (talk) 22:16, 19 Apr 2005 (UTC)

I would assume, since the final argument is formatted as part of the quotation, that it's Durant's. Its validity can of course be questioned, and should be, but simply deleting a crucial part of the argument reduces it to nonsensicality. Better to find someone who disagrees, and summarize both views. —Charles P. (Mirv) 22:45, 19 Apr 2005 (UTC)
D'oh! I kept missing the fact that it was quoting Durant; I thought it was simply something some Wikipedia editor had authored. That's what you get for looking at diffs, not the actual text. Jayjg (talk) 22:50, 19 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Why Revert?

Do you just randomly revert things for no reason Jayjig? Or is there a reason you like having an extremely POV inaccurate article? The Rev of Bru

I'll give you one example; you twice state that most historians think Josephus is forgery, when this is clearly false. Most historians think the parts of Josephus are forgeries, but parts are real. The rest of your edits suffer from the same issues; unsourced and inaccurate claims. If you can't NPOV or source your edits, they'll end up getting reverted. Jayjg (talk) 22:40, 21 Apr 2005 (UTC)
I 'll give you the benefit of the doubt and assume that you misread what the edit said. The point is that the passage is josephus(which is what was mentioned) is generally regarded as a forgery. It doesnt fit with the surrounding text, it reads completely differently, and NOONE mentions it until Eusebius (who himself repeatedly said things like 'Its ok to make things up for a good cause') 'edited' the book centuries later. Most honest scholars do indeed regard the passage as a forgery. The Rev of Bru
I read the edit, and it was simply wrong. I don't know how you define "honest scholars", but most respected scholars in the field view is as emended, not entirely forged, and most also view the other reference as authentic. Jayjg (talk) 18:51, 22 Apr 2005 (UTC)
Oh, and you keep deleting the end of a direct quote, simply because you don't like the argument made. That alone is reason enough. Jayjg (talk) 23:17, 21 Apr 2005 (UTC)
I kept deleting that nonsense because it is not NPOV. Admittedly it was not clear that it was a direct quote, not being in quotation marks. I take it its fine to point out the utter garbage that this 'argument' is in the spirit of NPOV? Or provide a competing quote from a secular scholar?The Rev of Bru
You have misunderstood the NPOV policy; the policy states that you must present differing POVs, including ones you disagree with. If you want to counter that view, quote some respected scholar who disagrees with Durant on the subject. Jayjg (talk) 18:51, 22 Apr 2005 (UTC)

I don't have the Durant book, but I did just check out the disappearance of the end of the direct quotation mentioned above. If a supposed quotation needs to be emended then that should be the subject of a discussion on the talk page before the change is made. P0M 02:18, 22 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Will Durant

Will Durant was an only-decent writer who produced, with his wife's assistance, what is in effect an encyclopedia itself -- so that by citing him as an authority here we are, in effect, one reference work citing another. --Christofurio 00:26, Mar 22, 2005 (UTC)

Will Durant

Is not a historian. He has no training in any discipline relevant to rational enquiry into history. I think having such an unqualified layman as a supposed authority in an article is severely POV. A philosophical approach to history may be pleasant to read, but it definitely is NOT valid scholarship. Removing nonsense by Will Durant. The Rev of Bru

Well, surely you agree we need a consistent standard. The Columbia Encyclopedia and the American Heritage Dictionary both identify Durant as an historian. If we "remove nonsense" by Durant (and to be clear, I agree with you, he was not an expert on Biblical critical history), we also should delete the "nonsense" by Freke, Gandy, Messori and Wells. Surely, if Durant does not have the appropriate credentials for inclusion in this article, these four do not either. Slrubenstein | Talk 22:06, 28 Apr 2005 (UTC)
I've reverted both of your edits to the last version by KHM03. I don't think that deleting references to named scholars (whether or not they're "experts on Biblical critical history") is at all helpful for this article. Obviously it would be better if we can find suitable quotes from experts, but surely the purpose of this article is to discuss what people believe about the historicity of Jeus? Therefore, if people have published books discussing this we should include what they believe- as well as other people's critiques on their theories and academic credentials if necessary. Deleting stuff because we don't think they're suitably qualified is getting dangerously close to original research in my opinion- especially as we haven't got an agreement on who counts as suitably qualified. For example, Rev of Bru would probably argue that the only suitably qualified people are "secular" scholars. Therefore lets reach agreement here first on who should be quoted in the article before deleting them. My vote- they should all stay. --G Rutter 08:33, 29 Apr 2005 (UTC)
The problem is not that certain povs are presented; the problem is that the section on Durant was presented as if it were historical fact, not opinionated nonsense. As I have tried in the past to counter this with other POVs and had that removed, the only course that seemed available was removing it.
Since you agree that all POVs should be presented, I will add some contrary POVs on Pliny and Suetonius. I'd like to know also of any way you can think of that non-secular scholars can possibly write in a NPOV way on issues they believe in. I do not think it is possible. The Rev of Bru
I am content to wait to let Rev of Bru chime in, but in principle I think you are wrong about original research; people writing an encyclopedia have to make choices about appropriate sources all the time, and no encyclopedia accepts anyone and everyone as an "expert." I also suspect you are wrong about Rev of Bru arguing that the only acceptable scholars are "secular." Durant was secular, so it is evident to me that RoB thinks that being "secular" is insufficient to qualify someone (look, Betty Crocker is secular, but however much an expert she may be on angel's food cake, that is not sufficient to make her an expert on the Bible or Jesus). Slrubenstein | Talk 14:19, 29 Apr 2005 (UTC)
Yes, I agree. The issue is with people who have strongly held beliefs and cannot write about issues close to those beliefs. They are able to write perfectly well on issues seperate from their beliefs in most cases. The issue is that Durant simply wrote his opinion on the issue. He did not research anything (apart from his years training for the priesthood as a young man, which would be the opposite of unbiased research)on the subject. It is not his lack of formal acedemic qualifications that is the issue, it is his lack of the correct research methodology, approach and evidence.The Rev of Bru
I'm not sure why you think that training for the priesthood would be the opposite of unbiased research. Hypothetically speaking, would someone who is personally convinced that atheism and naturalism are the correct views be qualified to research a history that includes claims of miracles? Personally I would think not, because their personal opinions would predispose them to assume that any and all claims of anything supernatural would have to have some sort of naturalistic explanation. Surely that's at least as POV as a religious person's approach to history, and I would say more so, because most religious historians will give various levels of credibility to various accounts of the supernatural, and not just depending on whether the account aligns with their religious views. Wesley 02:22, 30 Apr 2005 (UTC)
Its called reality. Being honest and rational is the opposite of being irrational and dishonest, not another form of it. You misunderstand what NPOV is. The Rev of Bru
See my comments, below. --G Rutter 16:36, 30 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Perhaps there is another citation to be made in a similar vein to the one by Will Durant from a less controversial source. Any suggestions? KHM03 21:55, 29 Apr 2005 (UTC)

I agree with Wesley. I think the problem here seems to be a misunderstanding of the NPOV policy. The introduction says:
"[The policy] doesn't assume that it's possible to write an article from a single, unbiased, objective point of view. The policy says that we should fairly represent all sides of a dispute, and not make an article state, imply, or insinuate that any one side is correct."
In other words, scholars don't have to write in a NPOV way (as people are arguing) to be included- we merely need to balance the varying POV's to make an article which is overall NPOV. --G Rutter 13:04, 30 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Rev of Bru is above expressing his own POV blindness. There is no reason to think that people like Gandy and Freke do not have strong feelings about Jesus, or that their work is any more objective than Durian's or anyone else. In any event, Durant's knowledge concerning the historicity of Jesus comes not from his early training for the priesthood, which he broke with, it comes from his research for his multi-volume history of Western Civilization. Slrubenstein | Talk 18:25, 30 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Grutter is above expressing his own POV blindness. I ask simply what research Durant has done on the issue, and where it is. What evidence IS there for a historical Jesus? Surely there is some? Plenty of evidence against - none for. The Rev of Bru

The research Durant has done is laid out in the endnotes and bibliography of his book, Ceaser and Christ. Your opinion concerning the amount of evidence for or against the existence of Jesus is irrelevant. Your opinion does not belong in articles. What belongs is an account of the views of different scholars. Slrubenstein | Talk 18:47, 30 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Exactly, Slrubenstein. By including a variety of sources we can get an NPOV article. I think that Bru shows his fundamental problems with Wikipedia by accusing me of "POV blindness" after I had simply quoted the NPOV policy and previously argued that all the published sources should be included. --G Rutter 21:04, 30 Apr 2005 (UTC)
Its not my opinion! There ISNT any evidence! Thats what this whole article is about! TO be an NPOV article this should not be simply a statement of what christians believe, despite mountains of evidence to the contrary. I have added alternate POVs, and they are removed. How exactly is this NPOV? Surely if there is evidence mentioned in Durant's book, it could be mentioned here. Since apparently there isn't any....
"By including a variety of sources, we can get a NPOV article. Yes! SO STOP REMOVING SOURCES YOU DONT LIKE, AND ONLY SHOWING ONE POV! Please. The Rev of Bru

You write "this should not be simply a statement of what christians believe" and I agree with you. I believe this article should provide an account of what academic historians believe. What makes you a POV warrior is that you believe that anyone who disagrees with you is a Christian. Slrubenstein | Talk 18:23, 1 May 2005 (UTC)

Will Durant is not a scholar. If we are to include the writings of non-scholars - especially non-qualified ones - I take it it will be OK to add G.A. Wells writings? The Rev of Bru

Bull. Will Durant is most definitely a "scholar." He had a PhD. in Philosophy from Columbia University, which is one of the best Universities in the USA. He also wrote a well-received multi-volume history of Western Civilization which won a Pulitzer Prize. Why do you assert he is not a "scholar?" Do you know what the word "scholar" means? Slrubenstein | Talk 18:23, 1 May 2005 (UTC)

The issue may be Will Durant's specific expertise. Simply writing a book on a topic does not make one a recognized "expert". There are people in the field of "Jesus research" who are considered experts...perhaps they could be cited instead of questionable "experts" such as Durant or Wells. I'm thinking of scholars such as Marcus Borg, John Dominic Crossan, or Tom Wright (and many others). One may not agree with all of their conclusions, but few would seriously question their credentials in this field of research. Durant and Wells, with all due respect, are hardly the best sources we could cite. KHM03 21:22, 1 May 2005 (UTC)

I do agree with this. Slrubenstein | Talk 14:29, 2 May 2005 (UTC)


A request: whenever one edits this article, adding a quote from an "expert" or an "authority" (those may be different, I suppose), could we please cite the work quoted, page number, maybe ISBN as well? That would certainly help with the NPOV issues. Thanks for the consideration. KHM03 00:11, 1 May 2005 (UTC)


I know this article has a troubled history, so I'll propose this here: Could we not refer to C. S. Lewis' conciliatory positon (in "Myth became fact") that Jesus is mythic and historical at the same time (this is of course a Christian position, but one that accepts that Jesus is also mythological). dab () 17:19, 7 May 2005 (UTC)

I don't see why not. I don't agree with it, but I have a great deal of respect for C.S. Lewis. His opinion, while I believe it to be wrong, should be included. However, specific reference to what he actually wrote should be added. - Ta bu shi da yu 06:08, 9 May 2005 (UTC)

G.A. Wells

Exactly who is he? It states that:

Author G.A. Wells says regarding the New Testament: "it is not just that the early documents are silent about so much of Jesus that came to be recorded in the gospels, but that they view him in a substantially different way -- as a basically supernatural personage only obscurely on Earth as a man at some unspecified period in the past, 'emptied' then of all his supernatural attributes (Phil.2:7), and certainly not a worker of prodigious miracles which made him famous throughout 'all Syria' (Mt.4:24). 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."

Could we at least get a stub on who this gentleman is, and why his opinion is significant to this discussion? and can we get a reference to the work that is being refered to? - Ta bu shi da yu 07:21, 9 May 2005 (UTC)

Made Redirect to George Albert Wells. The quote above is from the first link there ([4], 3rd para). Rd232 11:16, 9 May 2005 (UTC)

"Neutral historical record" in the lead section?

Aren't we reading our own NPOV policy into ancient history recorders? I thought that neutrality was only a recent occurence in historical recording and that ancient historians rarely (if ever) attempted to write from a neutral point of view!!! - Ta bu shi da yu 07:37, 9 May 2005 (UTC)

There's no such thing as a neutral historian - only those that try to be neutral (rare until the Enlightenment), and/or who are clear about how they're not neutral. Rd232 11:18, 9 May 2005 (UTC)

More issues

  • "Some also claim that evidence for a historical Jesus is provided by the Epistles, especially those by Paul." - who claim this? Can we cite sources please.
  • "Some historians claim that at least some of the sources on which Gospels are based were written within living memory of Jesus' lifetime. They therefore accept that the accounts of the life of Jesus in the Gospels provide evidence for the historical existence of Jesus and the basic account of his life and death" - which historians?
  • "The Gospel of Mark is considered by historians to be the earliest of the four. These scholars date it between 55 and 80; so they conclude that it was fairly close to the early oral preaching about Jesus' life." - is that so? well, let's have some sources then! What scholars date it between 55 and 80? This is a very confident statement, so it should not be a problem to say which scholars say this.
  • I've noted this already, but who is G.A. Wells, and why is he significant to this article?
  • "However, there were no mention of these passages by early Christian writers, in the case of Tacitus nothing being noted about Christianity until the 'translation' by Sulpicius Severus." Why is the word "translation" in scare quotes? Can we have some clarification of this point?
  • "However, John Dominic Crossan and K. H. Rengstorff have noted that the passage has many internal indicators that seem to be inconsistent with the rest of Josephus' writing and with what is known about Josephus, leading them to think that part or all of the passage may have been forged." I have also heard this, but I would like to know what internal indicators these might be... though maybe we should be referring the reader to Josephus on Jesus?
  • "Some Christians proclaim that the lack of references, and the difficulty in associating Yeshu with Jesus, is due to Christianity being negligible when the Talmud was predominantly created, in addition to the Talmud being more concerned with teachings, than recording history." - can we please have a source for which Christians claims this?
  • In the "Jesus as a Myth" section, I see that this has been well written and (I must say) is very neutral. However, I don't see any sources in the references section. Could we have these? Using Template:Ref and Template:Note, it would be easy to make footnotes.
  • There is a reference to a Professor James Dunn. Who is he? What are his qualifications? Professor of what exactly?
  • "Some scholars have argued that the (largely Greek) Pauline Christians were unfamiliar with Jewish culture and that the term "Nazarene" was unfamiliar to those transcribing Aramaic oral tradition into Greek: a more appropriate translation, this school suggests, of the historical rabbi Jesus, who came to be so thoroughly mythologized, was "Jesus the Nazirite." Some scholars argue that there is no evidence Nazareth existed before the 4th century AD." - some scholars. Some scholars. Argh! Who?!?

Overall, however, this article has improved out of sight. Everyone should be congratulated on their great efforts at presenting facts and opinions in a balanced and neutral fashion. The article still needs a lot of tightening up, however :-) Ta bu shi da yu 07:57, 9 May 2005 (UTC)

In reference to the date of the Gospel of Mark: I studied religion in college (not theology, comparative religion) and this is general knowledge in the field of religion, but probably not outside which could explain the lack of a citation. I can't find it off-hand, but the introduction to the Gospel in the Oxford Annotated Bible gives a date "prior to 70AD". I will add this citation to the article. Rt66lt 01:04, 29 September 2005 (UTC)

... Many if not most Jews also acknowledge the existence of Jesus ...

I find this statement questionable. "Many if not most Jews also acknowledge the existence of Jesus, although whether the Talmud itself contains references to him is in dispute. " I feel it is only under coercion Jews think about “Jesus” at all. Might as well say many more Jews consider Santa Claus and Hannukah Harry more 'real' than "Baby J." - Sparky 20:22, 11 May 2005 (UTC)

How would one even know if "most Jews" acknowledge the existence of Jesus. It would take quite a wide-reaching and sophisticated statistical survey to find out, and then the relevance of the information to the topic of the article would still be highly quesitonable. P0M 01:39, 12 May 2005 (UTC)
Absolutely right. Jayjg (talk) 02:00, 12 May 2005 (UTC)

My recommendation then re: “...Many if not most Jews also acknowledge the existence of Jesus, although whether the Talmud itself contains references to him is in dispute. ...” is that it be removed as POV. It is POV and hearsay. - Sparky 21:08, 1 Jun 2005 (UTC)

announcing a new policy proposal

This is just to inform people that I want Wikipedia to accept a general policy that BC and AD represent a Christian Point of View and should be used only when they are appropriate, that is, in the context of expressing or providing an account of a Christian point of view. In other contexts, I argue that they violate our NPOV policy and we should use BCE and CE instead. See Wikipedia:Neutral point of view/BCE-CE Debate for the detailed proposal. Slrubenstein | Talk 14:29, 16 May 2005 (UTC)

A recently reverted passage

One person added, and another person reverted, the following sentence:

Hindus such as Gandhi saw Jesus as God in human form.(see Avatar)

The person who deleted the sentence offered to support its inclusion in this article if substantiation could be provided, but (IMHO) it does not belong in an article on what Schweitzer called "the quest for the historical Jesus." Whether Gandi is a true example of this interpretation of what Jesus was, or what number of people with similar religious and/or cultural backgrounds hold this interpretation, are both irrelevant to the question of the historicity of Jesus unless those individuals have credentials as competent judges of issues of historicity.

Perhaps the information that has been offered would fit better in another article that discusses how people over the ages have interpreted the stories (historical or not) that are a very significant part of history. One question that may already come up in that article (if it exists) is how mystics of later times have reported their contacts with the spirit of Jesus. P0M 18:52, 1 Jun 2005 (UTC)

The article needs a rewrite

The body of the article is wishful thinking. Someone with an agenda has mangled the con position to bolster the pro position. I think that is poor form. - Sparky 21:30, 1 Jun 2005 (UTC)

I have expanded the article, as requested, it being a listed stub. Is that enough? I could quote a lot more, but I don't know to what extent a writing published in 1880 is (still?) under copyright. QUITTNER 7 July 2005 19:09 (UTC)

Jews deny Jesus's existence??

"Few Jews will acknowledge the existence of Jesus save under extreme coercion." This statement is ridiculous. Surely most Jews, like most people, accept that he existed. Of course they would not accept as the Messiah, except perhaps under 'extreme coersion'. User:Paul Barlow 11:04, 5 June, 2005 (UTC)

I agree. If nothing else, it would need to be sourced, and I doubt you could find a source for it. Jayjg (talk) 16:48, 6 Jun 2005 (UTC)
I agree too. Furthermore, it makes a great deal of difference whether a person believes something in a tepid way or a fervent way. Assent that is easily given is easily withdrawn. P0M 03:18, 7 Jun 2005 (UTC)

There is no historical proof there was a 'Jesus' - and there is no reason for any Jew to acknowledge existence of such. The only time Christians want Jews to accept 'Jesus' as real is when they're trying to convert them. Hence the above statement. - Sparky 16:18, 8 August 2005 (UTC)

Ah, I see. Your gnomic utterences below relate to this issue. No, there is no proof that Jesus existed, but most scholars, including Jewish ones, accept that he did. Since he, or his followers, claimed he was the predicted Jewish Messiah, it seems appropriate to include a reference to mainstream Jewish opinion in the intro. You seem to be the only poster who thinks that this is somehow "offensive". After all this who article is about questioning the evidence for his existence and the accuracy of the gospel accounts of it. Paul B 01:52, 4 Sept 2005 (UTC)
I agree, though there is no need for Paul's personal attacks. I would consider myself a Jew who knows quite a bit about our history and I know of no serious movement which tried to deny Jesus's existence. I would guess that whoever posted the passage in question misinterpreted somthing that was describing what Jews did find disagreeable about him.

My experience is that most Jews believe that Jesus existed, but they reject Christian claims regarding his divine and messianic status. A typical position among contemporary Jews is that Jesus was a teacher of sorts, but that he died ca. 33 CE, I'm unaware of any serious Jewish scholars of the period who deny Jesus' existence. Jacob Neusner, Shaye Cohen, Lawrence Schiffman, David Flusser, Shemaryahu Talmon, Jon Levenson, Louis Feldman, et al. all accept Jesus as historical at some level. Even the extremely skeptical Hyam Maccoby accepted Jesus as an historical figure. So clearly the weight of Jewish scholarship on the period strongly comes down on the side of historicity. (Most of these scholars, save for Flusser and Neusner, have not researched Jesus per se, however the fact that they regard him as an historical figure is still significant in the present context.) - Rashbam

This article needs rewriting

I'm sure the contributors are doing their best here. But I think the whole thing needs to be done again. As it stands, it contains various errors of fact, such as all the statements about Justus of Tiberias. It also is riddled with a POV -- the Jesus Myth idea of Freke and Gandy. But these people are (without being rude) cranks. As it stands, anyone who read this article and didn't know better would come away with the idea that there is real debate among the educated about whether Jesus existed. There is not, today. But wouldn't a history of the times when it was seriously proposed be useful?

Would it not be a better idea to consider what this article *should* contain, and then work towards it?

Roger Pearse 12th July 2005

My guess is that "what an article on this subject SHOULD contain" would depend on the membership of the writer in a given religion/belief system, or none of them. That this article is so very long is an indication of the importance to many people of this subject. QUITTNER 20:09, 12 July 2005 (UTC)

No and no. Religious views should not enter into a discussion of history. Where is the proof? There is none. The article as it exists should be retitled Mythology of Jesus and then be a-ok; It is very wrong as it is. The opening paragraph is POV and should be struck. - Sparky 16:51, 24 August 2005 (UTC)

And just how is the opening para POV? Paul B 16:55, 24 August 2005 (UTC)
You don't see it? Read it aloud? I find it offensive. - Sparky 22:46, 2 September 2005 (UTC)
I can't be bothered with such silliness. Say what's offensive, and who it's supposed to offend. Don't play games. As far as I can see it simply describes the opinions regarding Jesus in the three faiths to which his life is connected. Paul B 11:41, 3 September 2005 (UTC)

To say there is no proof for the existence of Jesus is just plain wrong. There is proof, but not to the point of being indisputable. There is at least as much proof for the existence of Jesus as there is for Atilla the Hun or other ancient figures, though. The real debate is more likely about his diety. This article, to read from a neutral point of view, does leave the impression that Jesus most likely did not exist, and the handful of those who think he not only existed but was God are nutcases. Look at the placement and use of descriptors like "most", as in "most scholars..." 20:36, 21 Sept 2005 (UTC)

Let's avoid mixing up terminology; there's evidence for the existence of all those figures, but there's no proof in any but the loosest definition of the word ("evidence" rather than "definitive, certain evidence"). If you dispute any instance of "most" as misleading or inaccurate, feel free to tell us which sentences you feel are biased and we can work together on revising them.
Also, I disagree with the statement "the real debate is more likely about his diety", especially in an article about the Historicity of Jesus. The "real debate" here should not be about his divinity—it can be mentioned in passing, but as long as there's no reliable evidence for it there's no point wasting multiple paragraphs going back and forth on it in a historical analysis, any more than an article on the Historicity of the Buddha would spend a long time trying to determine whether or not Siddartha truly ascended to Nirvana; it's spirituality, not history. No, the "real debate" should be chiefly concerned with two things: (1) Did Jesus ever exist? (Majority opinion: Yes.) (2) If Jesus did exist, what did his life probably consist of? The latter question is more fully explored in Historical Jesus; this article deals with the evidence itself, rather than with guesses at the details of the life of the man, except where they are especially significant.
Reading the article myself, I disagree with your interpretation of the article that it leaves the impression that "Jesus most likely did not exist"; if any passages give that impression, please tell us so we can change them (or change them yourself, if you prefer). I also disagree that the article says, either explicitly or implicitly, that any of the opinions mentioned are those of "nutjobs"; it simply points out when opinions are unpopular or in the fringes of academic thought. That an idea is unpopular does not, on its own, at all make it any less or more true. And Wikipedia's NPOV policy is to include both sides of a dispute; it is not to say that both sides are equally common, equally accepted, or even equally valid. But, again, if there are any specific parts of the article you take issue with, I'll gladly try to work on them. I certainly agree that parts of the article could use a lot of work. -Silence 20:32, 21 September 2005 (UTC)


I'll suggest starting to merge with Jesus and textual evidence, see [5]. There is just too much overlap. --Pjacobi 20:00, August 28, 2005 (UTC)

At the same time, it should be merged with Jesus-Myth. I suggest merging them all into Historicity of Jesus. --Peter Kirby 20:02, 28 August 2005 (UTC)

I fleshed out Jesus-Myth because it had only a stub and I was unaware of the Historicity of Jesus site. That being said, I think it definitely adds something the HOJ page does not: a balanced presentation of the pro and con arguments. Layman 00:09, 29 August 2005 (UTC)

Yes, merge. Jayjg (talk) 17:51, 15 September 2005 (UTC)

I merged the two. However, I had to leave out a few large chunks of text from Jesus and textual evidence because they struck me as unsalvagably bad or deeply off-topic (like the part that spent multiple lengthy paragraphs discussing that canonicity of various Biblical texts). If anyone has any problems with how I did it, feel free to make as many changes as you want; you can still find all the text from the last version of Jesus and textual evidence here. -Silence 20:32, 21 September 2005 (UTC)

Does "Nazareth or Nazirite?" really belong here?

This section seems out of place in the context of everything else in the article. It's the only part that discusses a specific aspect of Jesus' life rather than addressing the subject as a whole, and it could probably easily be merged into other articles, like Nazareth and Nazirite and Historical Jesus. It just doesn't seem to fit at all. -Silence 09:50, 10 September 2005 (UTC)

Since no one has any suggestions, I'll move the text here until someone finds a good article to put it in: