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Did Jesus Exist or Is It All a Myth?

Was Jesus God, Man, or Myth?

Some biblical scholars question whether or not a historical Jesus ever existed. Others are convinced that there was an actual Jesus although he was fully human and did not perform miracles. And, of course, most Christians believe that the entire Jesus story as told in the Bible is completely true.

Did Jesus exist or is it all a myth?
Did Jesus exist or is it all a myth? | Source

Biblical scholarship is a very complex field of study. One area of research delves into the question of whether or not Jesus ever existed as man or god. I've been researching this question and I'd like to layout the main reasons for skepticism about the existence of Jesus. The arguments and evidence could fill books—and they do—but I will just hit the highlights. I refer you to the books for the details.

We cannot use the Bible as an historical reference since the Bible is what is being examined. Additionally, the Bible shows itself to be an unreliable document because it reports myth as truth, and even when dealing with known facts of history, geography, and science, it gets some of those facts wrong.

Is Jesus “mythologized history” or “historicalized mythology”?

If we wish to know Jesus, the man, we must begin with the assumption that Jesus is not divine, not the son of God, and had no supernatural powers whatsoever. The question then becomes whether he was an actual person or whether his existence is entirely myth.

Did a man named Yeshua ben Yousef live in Bethlehem during the first century of the Common Era? Did he preach, did he have disciples, and was he crucified? Putting aside the stories of the virgin birth, the miracles, and the resurrection, was there an actual historical Jesus?

Some scholars say Yeshua ben Yousef existed, but the stories about him are “mythologized history.” The story of his life was conflated with various mythologies current during his time. The books Zealot by Reza Aslan and How Jesus Became God: by Bart D. Erhman take this approach. They try to strip away the myth and show us the man.

Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth
Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth

A meticulously researched account speculates about the life of Jesus and comes to conclusions that challenge long-held assumptions about the man we know as Jesus of Nazareth.

 
How Jesus Became God: The Exaltation of a Jewish Preacher from Galilee
How Jesus Became God: The Exaltation of a Jewish Preacher from Galilee

Biblical scholar Bart. D. Erhman presents his thesis that the original disciples did not believe that Jesus was God—and it is not what Jesus claimed about himself. This book explains the evolution of a belief that looked very different in the fourth century than it did in the first.

 

Other scholars say the stories of Jesus are “historicalized mythology.” They believe the stories are 100% myth, fiction, and allegory. Myths existed, and then a fictional story of Jesus was added to these myths. This is the central claim of several books such as Nailed: Ten Christian Myths That Show Jesus Never Existed at All, by David Fitzgerald and On the Historicity of Jesus: Why We Might Have Reason for Doubt by Richard Carrier.

Another hypothesis is that there were many Jewish preachers traveling about Bethlehem at that time, and their lives were made into a composite that was called Jesus.

I have even heard the theory that the story of Jesus arose from a play given by a traveling theater troupe. It’s an interesting theory because it would have been a way to spread an anti-Roman message under the guise of harmless entertainment.

On the Historicity of Jesus: Why We Might Have Reason for Doubt
On the Historicity of Jesus: Why We Might Have Reason for Doubt

Carrier re-examines the whole premise that Jesus existed as a real person and concludes that the Jesus story as we know it today is a blending of the historical, mythical, and theological. Carrier finds compelling reasons to suspect that the view of many religious scholars that Jesus actually existed is incorrect.

 
Nailed: Ten Christian Myths That Show Jesus Never Existed at All
Nailed: Ten Christian Myths That Show Jesus Never Existed at All

This book sheds light on ten beloved Christian myths.The author gathers evidence from historians across the theological spectrum, and shows how it points to a Jesus Christ created solely through the allegorical alchemy of hope and imagination; a messiah that is a theological construct-- in short, a Christ that is pure myth.

 

The story of Jesus is markedly similar to the stories of mythical heroes.

I began with the assumption that the Jesus of the Bible-- the virgin birth, the miracles, and the resurrection are all myth. Why did I make this assumption?

The virgin birth is based on a mistranslation--the word for young woman was mistranslated as virgin. Also in Greek and Roman mythology (and the mythology of other cultures), great men were frequently born from the union of a god with a human woman. Hercules, for instance, was the son of Zeus and a mortal woman. At a time when these myths were widely believed to be true, it is not surprising that Jesus would also be the son of a god.

Miracles and amazing feats are part of every hero’s journey. If a religion is to be founded upon the life of a man, he must be larger than life. Something has to separate him and make him superior to all others or else why should he be worshiped and followed. So stories are told about Jesus healing the sick, raising the dead, walking on water, wrestling with demons, etc.

The story of Jesus’ life closely corresponds to the “Mythic Hero Archetype” found in the myths of all cultures. The birth of a divine hero is supernaturally predicted, and he is conceived in a supernatural way. As an infant, he escapes attempts to kill him. As a child, he shows precocious wisdom. As a young man, he is given a mission. He defeats monsters and/or demons and is hailed as a king. His success is short lived--he is betrayed, falls out of favor, and is executed, often on a hilltop. Finally, he is vindicated after his death and taken up to heaven. Countless myths tell this story with slight variations.

The Jewish Bible, the Old Testament, made many prophesies about the Messiah to come. Did Jesus fulfill those prophecies? Of course he did. It is only natural that the people who told the story of Jesus would make the story conform to the prophesies.

Jesus may be just myth that has become historicalized.
Jesus may be just myth that has become historicalized. | Source

There is no contemporaneous evidence of the existence of Jesus.

There are plenty of records available to us from the time of Jesus, but none of these records make any reference to him. There is no record of his birth, no record of his trial, no record of his death—no record of any type. None of the writers and historians of his time wrote even a single word about him. There are no artifacts attesting to his existence—as a carpenter he must have built or made something, and surely this would have been preserved by his followers.

According to the story, during his time on Earth Jesus "was bigger than the Beatles." He had thousands of followers and was alienating the ruling powers among both the Jews and the Romans. Surely someone somewhere for some reason would have written something at the time about a person who had gained that much attention, celebrity, and notoriety. Yet we have nothing.

(I do not cite the brief mention of Christ by Jewish historian Flavius Josephus in 93CE because this reference to Christ is an obvious forgery. And I do not cite the Shroud of Turin because it is another well-proven forgery.)

You can read more about the forgeries of the early church in Jesus Who? The Historical Record Gives No Clue.

The New Testament gospels are a hodge-podge of conflicting stories.

There are no eyewitness accounts. The epistles written by Paul (Saul of Tarsas) were written about 52 CE. Paul explicitly states that he never met Jesus.

Paul apparently had no knowledge of Jesus at all. None of the epistle writers, including Paul, give biographical details of Jesus’ life--no mention of his teachings, no mention of his disciples, no mention of miracles, no mention of anything that happened before his death. All indications are that Paul thought of Jesus as a spiritual sky god, an intermediary between God and man, and not as an actual human being. Paul’s beliefs appear to be a mixture of Jewish Scripture, Zoroastrianism, and Mithraism. (Also, the vision that Paul had on the road to Damascus shows all the indications of being caused by an epileptic fit.)

All the things we think we know about the life of Jesus don’t begin to be written down until about 100 years after the presumed date of Jesus’ death. The details appear in the four gospels, Matthew, Luke, Mark, and John, but they were not written by them. The writers are apostles (messengers) and not disciples. The Gospels show evidence of being revised throughout the next centuries and into the Middle Ages. None of the original documents survive. We have only copies of copies, and the copies often differ from each other.

The gospel of Mark is thought to be the earliest “history” of Jesus. Luke and Matthew reworked Mark and added their own material. John was the last to be written and this Gospel adds more contradictions. They vary so much because they were written at different times for different audiences, and had different objectives.

Did the gospel writers make mistakes, were they attempting to write allegories, or was the whole thing outright fiction. No matter which, they are unreliable as biography. What we do know is that the story of Jesus changed over time, becoming more and more fantastical.

There were many competing versions of Christianity, but once an official version of the Bible was established by King Constantine in the fourth century, all competing scripture was banned and destroyed. The early Church had control of the documents and there is no way of knowing what they might have added, removed, or destroyed.

To make matters worse, the gospels contradict each other telling different versions of the same story and including and excluding different details. For example, Matthew says Jesus was born in Bethlehem, home of Joseph, during the reign of Herod the Great (who died in 5 or 4 BCE). Luke thinks Jesus was born in a stable during the census conducted by Quirinius in 6 CE. (They differ by nine years on the date of Jesus’ birth.)

The Gospels are a hodgepodge of conflicting stories which argues against their authenticity.
The Gospels are a hodgepodge of conflicting stories which argues against their authenticity. | Source

Modern scholars have widely different views of the historical Jesus.

The Jesus Seminar was a group of Biblical scholars with the mission to discover the “real” Jesus. Their conclusions run the gamut from alpha to omega. Different scholars described him differently: he is a cynic philosopher, a charismatic Hasid, a progressive Pharisee, a conservative rabbi, a zealous revolutionary, a non-violent pacifist, a messianic king, a Galilean sage, a Hellenistic shaman, and more. These contradictory interpretations can’t all be correct.

If there is so much disagreement, perhaps it is because they are all wrong. Perhaps they cannot agree because there is no historical Jesus. Each scholar cherry picks the part of the story that fits his ideas about Jesus.

Is Christianity a mix of Jewish scripture and myth?

Whether or not there was a Jewish rabbi or itinerant preacher by the name of Joshua ben Joseph roaming around Bethlehem in the first century CE is immaterial. It is highly likely that he is not the man who came to be known as “Jesus Christ” precisely because Jesus Christ is only a myth.

One hypothesis about the origins of Christianity is based on the belief that Jewish scripture melded with the Hellenistic and pagan myths and philosphies common to that era. The Jews around the beginning of the first century believed that they were living in the end-times—scripture had prophesized that a Messiah would lead them to the Promised Land. Many men were trying to fulfill the prophecy by claiming to be the Messiah. The Roman Empire was known to keep meticulous records, but we have no records of the trial and crucifixion of Jesus. (Perhaps the records did not survive, but that raises the question of why the church did not preserve them.) The politics of the era also probably helped to shape the myth.

We may never know the true reasons for, and origins of, Christianity. Myths arise and take hold, and thus it has ever been since the earliest times of humanity.

References

In addition to the books cited above, you might want to read these articles that provided some of my source material. You will find a more detailed explaination of the points I have made along with additional recommendations for further reading.

5 Reasons to Suspect that Jesus Never Existed by Valerie Tarico

Did Jesus Really Exist? by Mark Thomas

Did a Historical Jesus Exist? By Jim Walker

You might also want to take a look at The Jesus Birther Movement for an extensive list of resources--articles and videos--about the existence of Jesus Christ.

For Further Reading

Many books have been written about mythicism--the idea that Jesus Christ never existed as a real person and that his story is based on earlier myths. For a reading list with brief book reviews, CLICK HERE.

You may also like two of my other articles on this topic.

Jesus Who? The Historical Record Gives No Clue

The Mythic Origins of Christianity: True or False?

What is your opinion about Jesus Christ?

Which statement best reflects your views about Jesus Christ?

See results

© 2015 Catherine Giordano

More by this Author


I welcome your comments on this topic. 323 comments

Buildreps profile image

Buildreps 18 months ago from Europe

Nice Hub about this widely discussed topic, CatherineGiordano. I believe that HP is the place to be when it comes to this. It seems that you show in a very simple and clear way that Jesus is not more than a mythical figure, who pops up in many other shapes. There is though a side in this figure that seems to be also very enlightened, and might be a good example for many people, if they're able to drop all dogmatic nonsense.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 18 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

Buildreps: Thank you for your comment. You make a very good point. The Jesus story can be useful if people drop all the dogmatic nonsense. You are also right about HubPages being a good platform for sharing views on this subject. I see by the Related Hubs on this hub that many others have gone before me in tackling this topic.


word55 profile image

word55 18 months ago from Chicago

Hi Catherine, yes, it is me again. You've presented another great hub here. I've thought about the question that you asked in the title. I even like that it rhymes :-). Long ago, I said to myself, if Jesus Christ is a myth then someone told one heck of a story that works in real life. So, whether the Bible displayed absolute truth of JC or not, the idea works because at this point it is all about belief. If you believe that this Jesus died for you then you can apply the story to your life, go through the baptism process of asking God for forgiveness for living a wretched pass, die to sin and be born again to living a life that you didn't think you could live. If people just use their uninfluenced intelligence and try to believe in God's Word then they would see and feel the evidence of His truth. Now, the Bible is the only source of presenting this as truth. Jesus is quoted in the book of John, read the entire chapter of 14 especially, verse number 6 saying, I am the truth, the life and etc... Thanks again for such a great presentation. You are definatlely working for God when you work this hard to present something like this. Thank you!


Titen-Sxull profile image

Titen-Sxull 18 months ago from back in the lab again

The Mythicist position regarding Jesus is very much still a fringe position but it is slowly gaining credibility as more and more serious scholars add their research to the discussion of whether Jesus existed.

I've been following Richard Carrier's work for only a few months now and he makes a persuasive case but then so do scholars like Bart Ehrman who disagree with the Mythicists.

We may never know whether Jesus existed or was a pre-existent celestial being that was euhemerized. It's hard to say for sure one way or another. I have no issue conceding the idea that Yeshua the man probably existed, the existence of an apocalyptic Jewish teacher attracting a small following in that time and place is not an extraordinary claim.

We will see whether the Mythicist case gets any stronger but for now I am interested but unconvinced. My skepticism is due to the fact that, as an anti-theist and someone who argues against Christian doctrine often its almost too tempting to take the Jesus never existed tact when the honest answer is we don't know for sure.

Your hub is an excellent portrayal of the evidence we do and don't have for Jesus and the idea that he might be an amalgamation of man and myth, or myth become man.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 18 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

words 55: The title is a near rhyme and I wasn't going for a rhyme. I didn't realize it until you pointed it out. The Biblical scholars that I have used in my research say that the Gospels do not show the existence of an actual Jesus, quite the opposite--they are evidence against his existence. Reread the section on the Gospels. As to your point that a belief in the existence of God and of Jesus helps many people, I do not argue with that. But I am talking about facts and evidence. Thank you for your comment.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 18 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

Titen Sxull: You make excellent points. The existence of Jesus can not be proven one way or the other until someone invents time travel. I am discussing what the scholars are saying--not one bit of evidence to show that he existed. I was somewhat surprised myself. I agree it is going out on a limb for an anti-theist and that it is better to stick to less shocking claims when discussing religion with theists. But still, serious scholars are making this claim and I wanted people to consider it, study it, and come to their own conclusions. I see by the related hubs section that others on HubPages have gone before me on this. Nice to know I am not alone.


word55 profile image

word55 18 months ago from Chicago

Ok Catherine :-), I know, I know, you are talking about facts and evidence but no, no one is going to find the clothing, evidence or the tomb of where he laid and rose again because the only basis to know any of it is simply via belief, belief of what the books of the Bible say.


billybuc profile image

billybuc 18 months ago from Olympia, WA

As always, Catherine, an interesting discussion. I think an equally important question would be: is it even important that he did or did not exist? His message is timeless...his influence on the world legendary and needed....even if he is a myth it is an important myth that this world needs.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 18 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

billybuc: You are right, billybuc. This is just a debate among scholars and has little meaning for the average person. You say, "His message is timeless." But if the scholars who dispute his existence are correct, we should say "The message is timeless." A distinction without meaning. Perhaps.

I am writing a lot on hubs related to atheism not because I am some kind of crusade, but because I may have found my niche. These hubs are proving to be very successful for me, and since it is a subject I am interested in and know something about, I shall probably keep on writing on the topic. But my next hub is going to be about honey bees, another topic that has worked well for me.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 18 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

word55: The point of the article is that if Jesus did exist there would be evidence of it. For instance, I state that there is evidence for other executions, but none for someone called Jesus. I also state that Jesus was a person of great fame so people would have written about him as they wrote about others during his time. The fact that they did not suggests that maybe he did not exist.


Barbara Kay profile image

Barbara Kay 18 months ago from USA

You gave me an idea for a hub about proving that he did exist. I checked and there are records of his existence. Thanks for the idea.

I enjoyed your hub never-the-less. It is well written and interesting.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 18 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

Thanks for your comment, Barbara Kay .Scholars are not in agreement on the existence of Jesus--I mention two of them in my article. I look forward to reading your hub.


Dan Vaughn profile image

Dan Vaughn 18 months ago

Yes, the lack of any contemporaneous notation really takes a lot of wind out of the "traditional" argument.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 18 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

Dan Vaughn: Thank you for your comment. The earliest mentions are usually at least 100 years after the presumed death of Jesus. Nobody who was around at the same time as Jesus had a word to say about him. And welcome to HubPages.


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 18 months ago

"There are plenty of records available to us from the time of Jesus, but none of these records make any reference to him."

This is a classic argumentum ex silentio fallacy. Fischer's "Historians' Fallacies" categorically asserts, "Evidence must always be affirmative. Negative evidence is a contradiction in terms--it is no evidence at all. The nonexistence of an object is established not by nonexistent evidence but by affirmative evidence of the fact that it did not, or could not exist."

"There are no eyewitness accounts."

This is simply a gross prevarication. Both the gospels of Matthew and John were written by two apostles who were daily companions of Christ in his ministry.


Say Yes To Life profile image

Say Yes To Life 18 months ago from Big Island of Hawaii

Interesting article! With all the magnificent claims made about Jesus, backed with dire threats to those who dare question Him, you'd think His background would be more clear. We know about Confucius, in spite of his humble beginnings. He never claimed to be any more than an exceptionally enlightened human being, and he didn't need to use threats, cosmic or otherwise, to gain followers. The fact that Christianity has to resort to such tactics is reason enough to question it.


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 18 months ago

"All the things we think we know about the life of Jesus don’t begin to be written down until about 100 years after the presumed date of Jesus’ death."

Actually, subscriptions , showing right at the end of Matthew’s Gospel in many different manuscripts , stipulate that the account was penned around the eighth year after Christ’s ascension ( c . 41 C .E . ).


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 18 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

Joseph O Polanco: You need to start reading more widely--read something that is not a religious tract. Do a little research. You have commented here several times and made a half dozen claims. Check Wikipedia for a start. Nothing you have said here is true.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 18 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

Say Yes to Life: Your example of Confucius is excellent. Confucius lived 500 years before the presumed birth of Christ, yet we have records of him, but none for Christ. Thanks so much for bringing that to my attention.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 18 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

Joseph O. Polanco: Any comments you make that include a link will be deleted. You will not be allowed to use my hub to spam. You are welcome to repost your comment without the link.


Mark 18 months ago

Joseph, you do know that the gospels were not written by the names given to them? You do know any so called evidence is decades and centuries afterwards. Clerics have been altering and "correcting" the bible gospels. The so called evidence of a Jesus by non christian sources is ZERO. His enemies wrote nothing about him, his walks around the place were impossible and illogical. The miracles never noticed as was Jesus. There were plenty of writers who wrote about other claimed loser prophets but not one on this Jesus. The ones cited by apologists have been proven to be forgeries or other people named Jesus or too far after the dates and are repeated stories. Josephus is mentioned but this is a forgery, the paragraph inserted does not make sense where it is and the owner of his works protested at the time that Josephus has not mentioned jesus. It strangely was added after this. Christians lie to keep their religion going, they take it as their duty to protect and lie for their religion.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 18 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

Sorry, Mark, Joseph does not know any of these things. I said all of those things in my essay, but if he even read it, not one bit of it got past his defenses. What does the proverb say? "None are so blind as those who refuse to see."


David Orlins 18 months ago

He very well could have been a real person but not so notable that he was even noticed except for a few followers. I believe the followers may have paraphrased his teachings to others but then it became a "telephone game" to which myth and legend was attached until it climaxed to the point of the creation of the Council of Nicea. The rest is history.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 18 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

David Orlins: Thank you for your comment. I think the Bible story of Jesus describes his as very notable. He got enough notice to get crucified. You are probably right about "the telephone game."


Geoffrey Sea profile image

Geoffrey Sea 18 months ago

Your idea that the Jesus myth comes out of Judaism is itself mythological and based on wrong information. There is no prophecy of a divine savior in the Torah -- that is a Christian fiction. The Hebrew word "messiach" does NOT mean messiah -- it means national hero, specifically a war hero.

It is NOT true that the Jesus myth started in Judea or came from Jews. It did not. In fact there is no evidence of any early Christian movement in Judea whatsoever. Christianity was invented by Constantine and his scribes in Rome in the 4th century. All the earlier claimed history was invention. Constantine set the drama in Judea specifically to blame the Jews for the death of the god-king, and to quell rebellion against Rome then being fomented by Jews. Constantine was explicit in defining Christianity as anti-Jewish and he labeled Jews evil.

Nothing in the Jesus myth reflects Jewish religion. It is entirely Egyptian, Syriac, Greek and Roman in character and the myth was cobbled together from stories told in those locales -- NOT Judea. To the extent that the New Testament describes Jewish life in Judea, that description is infamously erroneous. The authors obviously had very little first-hand knowledge about Jews or Judea. They only recite some place names.

Stop pawning this fable off on Jews.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 18 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

Geoffrey Sea: Thank you for your comment. I am not familiar with the ideas that you mention about Jesus and Christianity. I will have to look into it.


Martin 18 months ago

I voted "other" as none of the options fits my view, which is that the balance of probability is there was a person the stories were based on, but that it is far from conclusive that they are not based on an amalgam of multiple people, or even just a fiction. The reason for not opting for "option 2", is the phrase "great teacher".

Any person or persons the stories are based on seem likely not to have been great thinkers in the sense people like Aristotle or Einstein were, but rather repackagers of ideas from Jewish and Hellenic traditions common at the time, and then most of the ideas were reworked again by the later chroniclers and letter writers.


Charles Richmond 18 months ago

There is an interesting novel written by Sean Curley that posits a Christ figure as an amalgamation of the social and philosophical trends of the time with the ideas handed down through verbal history from the Teacher of Righteousness. The link to the website is

http://curley.me/propositum/#.VWWj189Viko

You can get more details about the book from the website, so I won't post them here. Although it is fiction, it does give a very plausible theory on how Christianity could have begun without a real "Jesus" figure.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 18 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

Charles Richmond: I read a novel back in the 60's called The Passover Plot. It was about how a young Jesus set out to fulfill the prophecies. It was all going well until the Roman soldier stabbed him while he was on the cross. He hadn't planned on actually dying. Thanks for your comment.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 18 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

Startibartfast: Thanks for your comment. I agree we can't know anything for sure, but historians can make pretty good conjectures.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 18 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

Martin: Yu make very good points. I too think it is very possible that Jesus is a composite figure since it is very hard to believe that the whole thing was invented out of thin air. I also take your point about the use of the word "teacher." I used that word because there are many Christians who say they don't believe in Christ's divinity or miracles but they are Christian because they believe in his teachings. Thanks for your comment.


The jesus Birther Movement (jBM) 18 months ago

Cathrine, great article. It is important to note that the oldest near complete manuscript copy of the NT is from around 360 CE. Everything earlier, has not been Scientifically carbon dated. It is all based on claims of church employees and a hypothetical and wishful thinking Q document. There is no evidence of 1st century NT writings and all papyrus earlier than the 4th century has no Scientific evidence for their claims. The entire Bible is anonymous. The gospels are in third person and the authors never claim to know a jesus personally. Out of over 3,200 different bible characters, supposedly only around 50 have have any recorded history to confirm their historicity. Out of those 50, none are main characters. Ironically, Mark, Luke, Matthew, John and Paul, have zero evidence that they existed. Fictional characters cannot be used to vouch for fictional jesus. Robin is not evidence for Batman. Out of the top 50 most important bible characters, where are their tombs? Where is the christian fossil record?

Church leaders have altered and added to the NT over 1000 times since the 4th century.

Also, people go on and on about what a "teacher" fictional jesus was. Really? Have they read the NT? Most of his followers were illiterate. What did he teach? Why not begin with the ABCs? In the story, he was a Rabbi. This is a preacher. A preacher is not a teacher. He preached the OT of his judaism religion. The NT claims he proposed 2 "new" commandments...no. Those 2 are listed right in the OT. What new concept or philosophy did he invent? Nothing. He said a handful of good things. Wow. His positive preachings were common sense ever day things. Big Bird, Mr. Rogers and even Barney the purple dinosaur, are better. The praise for his preachings are so sensationalized, exaggerated, and overrated; it makes me want to hurl.

The vast portion of this totalitarian dictator's preachings consisted of judgment, punishment, eternal torture, hell, brimstone, and ending the World in another gruesome and violent human genocide.

Many of his preachings were pure evil and crazy too. There is an entire page of dozens of commands that a christian or modern human wouldn't follow if their lives depended on it.

This is what happens when billions follow a religion because of indoctrination, without reading their contract (scriptures), questioning or researching.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 18 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

jBM: Your points about the historical records are well taken and are consistent with what I said in my article. You added some additional facts. However, I made no reference to the character of Jesus or of his teachings. Those opinions are entirely your own.


klypto 18 months ago

There is no god so Jesus so Jesus certainly was not a god.


emge profile image

emge 18 months ago from Abu Dhabi

It's a nice post, but there is historical evidence that Jesus existed. What is not true are the miracles attributed to him and his tale of coming back once dead and crucified is all a silly myth


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 18 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

emge: Thank you for your comment. Some scholars of religion who do not believe that Jesus is God, do believe that Jesus was an actual person. Others believe that he did not exist as man or god. My research led me to the latter conclusion. I could not find any evidence that proved he existed. Of course, this doesn't prove that he didn't exist. It is just surprising that for a person as important as Jesus (according to accounts in the Bible he had tens of thousands of followers and was a revolutionary so dangerous to the ruling powers that be had to be killed), we kind find no evidence that anyone wrote about him or kept any record of him during his lifetime. We have such records for many others of his time and even for centuries before his time.


The jesus Birther Movement ( jBM ) 18 months ago

Emge: if you think you have evidence, take "The Official jesus Challenge." It is easy to find.


Herb Borteck 18 months ago

There may or may not have been a real Jesus. What we do know is that the biblical Jesus, the Jesus as he is described in the bible, never existed.


ginger A 18 months ago

Jesus was simply. AMan. a messenger like Ghandi Martin Luther King and others who talked peace among all


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 18 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

Thanks ginger A for reading and commenting. Ghandi and King left behind evidence of their existence. There is no such evidence for Jesus so we can only speculate.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 18 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

This is another very interesting hub, Catherine. I enjoy exploring myths and their meaning in our lives. Myths can be very important, even if they're not literally true. I'm familiar with a lot of the information in your hub because I've investigated the evidence for a historical Jesus as well. You've introduced some new ideas for me to explore, though. Thank you for that.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 18 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

AlicaC: Thanks for your comment. I'm glad I was able to provide you with some new information on a topic of interest to you. I found the results of my research to be quite surprising.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 18 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

How exciting. This article got picked up by another website. You may be reading it because of the link they provided. It was a Christian website, and as you might expect, they viciously ripped me to pieces.

My feelings would be hurt, but for the fact that so many others, including academics with degrees in relevant fields, have praised me for this article. (A lot of people have shared this article on facebook.) Anyway, its nice to know I'm important enough for them to care about.


Seroled 18 months ago

Hi Catherine

This is taken in part from an article is read, in which the author speaks of the writings of Josephus.

In the temporary absence of a Roman governor between Festus’s death and governor Albinus’s arrival in 62 C.E., the high priest Ananus instigated James’s execution.

(Antiquities of the Jews~book 20 chapter 9)

Being therefore this kind of person [i.e., a heartless Sadducee], Ananus, thinking that he had a favorable opportunity because Festus had died and Albinus was still on his way, called a meeting [literally, “sanhedrin”] of judges and brought into it the brother of Jesus-who-is-called-Messiah … James by name, and some others. He made the accusation that they had transgressed the law, and he handed them over to be stoned.13

James is otherwise a barely noticed, minor figure in Josephus’s lengthy tome. The sole reason for referring to James at all was that his death resulted in Ananus losing his position as high priest. James (Jacob) was a common Jewish name at this time. Many men named James are mentioned in Josephus’s works, so Josephus needed to specify which one he meant. The common custom of simply giving the father’s name (James, son of Joseph) would not work here, because James’s father’s name was also very common. Therefore Josephus identified this James by reference to his famous brother Jesus. But James’s brother Jesus (Yehoshua) also had a very common name. Josephus mentions at least 12 other men named Jesus.1

Since Josephus has somewhat verified the existence of James the brother Jesus~ does this verify Jesus as an historical person?


GerryR 18 months ago

Great article! Glad I stumbled upon it. You have certainly clarified a lot of things for me. I also like the way you handle your detractors. I'm a fan!


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 18 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

Seroled: I'm sorry to have to say that Josephus does not prove the existence of Jesus. There are two references to Jesus in the writings of Josephus, and one of them is definitely a forgery, an interpolation into the text; the other, the brother mention, is also suspect.

Putting that aside, just consider the convoluted logic. Every man is identified as "son of," even if they have common names, but in this one case, a man is identified as "brother of" because his brother is famous. Just a bit too convenient. There is also some confusion about the identity of James. Was it Jesus' literal brother or someone who was a follower of Jesus? Also lots of fathers and sons must have had common names, why in only this one case, would a man be identified as a brother of someone. Josephus could have added James' hometown to his father's name--after all Jesus was called "Jesus of Nazareth" (a town that did not exist during the lifetime of Jesus).

Even if we accept the mentions of Jesus by Josephus, for someone as famous as Jesus was supposed to be, there should have been hundreds of mentions of him by his contemporaries. And why would Josephus give this passing mention of Jesus, but never say a word about him elsewhere in his writings of the history of the times. No one can say for sure, but it seems very inconclusive to me and more likely to be a forgery than not.


Mark Rossnagel profile image

Mark Rossnagel 18 months ago

Catherine, read 'Homeric Epics and the Gospel of Mark' by Dennis MacDonald. It is an in depth comparison to the stories contained in Mark's gospel to Homer's stories, especially Odysseus. The similarities are deep and compelling. It will greatly enhance your understanding of the entire 'historicity' question. I enjoyed your article.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 18 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

Gerry R: thank you. It's so nice to meet a fan.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 18 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

Mark Rossnagel: Thanks for commenting. It sounds like a book worth reading. The Jesus story is similar to many stories that we call myths. They all conform to the to the "mythic hero archetype." The basic plot is found over and over in myths from many cutltures.


Seroled 18 months ago

Thanks for your response Catherine.

Agreed, the reference to James "the brother of " is suspect and convient.

I guess we may never know if there was an historical Jesus


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 18 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

Thanks Seroled for revisiting the issue.


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 18 months ago from The English Midlands

Hi Catherine. :)

Very interesting. I voted 'don't know' because I don't think that it is possible to know for definite. I agree that there is no absolute proof of Jesus's existence and the evidence that we do have is biased and unreliable.

Having read Bart Ehrman's book on the historical Jesus, and also another historian whose name I forget, I think that the best evidence for Jesus having been real is St Paul - his references to James the brother of Jesus - and also the fact that the Jesus story fits so well with the politics of the time.

Have you read James Tabor's books 'The Jesus Dynasty' & 'Paul and Jesus'? I found the former very interesting and am currently enjoying the latter. What surprised me was that the earliest Jesus 'stories' that we have are not from the gospels but from the letters of St Paul - and that the gospels may, in part, have been based upon those letters.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 18 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

True, we can not know for sure. We can only say what we think is most likely. Thanks for the book suggestions. I'll put them on my list. From my research, the epistles of Paul are the very first mention of Jesus . The date is 52 CE. He writes about Jesus as a sky god. He does not tell any of the details of the story that is found in the Gospels that are written much later. Thank you for your comment.


KnowYourSelf 18 months ago

If you want answers, go to Israel and see for yourself.

Nobody cares of good.

When something stupid, bad or evil happens, it will be most talk about.

About Jesus, he is real, he was already written but spreads widely 30 to 60 years later, not 100.

You said Paul never met Jesus. No wonder who made Paul blind then told him what to do to see again.

Why would any men, women die for a myth?

You technically don't know the bible. You're point of view is strong for the weak minds.

The bible state that the Jews tried to destroy anything that will remind people about Jesus in their time. I believe the Jews destroyed enough and worse than that some part of the bible was burnt, stolen and rewritten and exchange for money...all this to destroy the evidence of not just of Jesus but of peace, God and natural cures.

@CatherineGiordano I think you're having a laugh because there are plenty hard evidence, or should I say proof of Jesus in Israel. Till this day the Jew do not agree Jesus being the son of God. They say Jesus is a very special person. They're saying that, obviously Jesus is real, Jesus was killed by them (Jews) for telling them "I am the son of God" countless time. One time they wanted to hear it from himself. They did not care about the help, cured, love and teaching Jesus did, worse than that they did not care when Jesus said you can do more than I...etc Jews only wanted one thing "blasphemy" to ride off Jesus and continue with their lifestyle, business and profiting.

I don't know what makes you (technically) doubt about Jesus.

Jesus said my words will live but many will deny me. Only few will receive.

You technically written this because you know it a true but still deny.


Bonnie 18 months ago

I believe that Jesus Christ is the only way to Heaven, no matter what the stories from the man-written Bible might say. Jesus is Lord. Praise God.


Say Yes To Life profile image

Say Yes To Life 18 months ago from Big Island of Hawaii

@ know yourself - "Why would any man / woman die for a myth?"

Because they don't know better. Here's a question for you; what kind of parent would subject his children to torture, merely to prove a point?

CG - a book called "Behold the Man" might interestyou. It's about a man who travels by time machine to Jesus' time and place - and gets a RUDE awakening!


John 18 months ago

The time of the Jesus story is the most significant to my thinking. These myths had been in existence for some time and Mystics of the age would have been well aware, even Jewishomks and Mystics. I believe the story or more poignantly the gospel of Jesus is a narrative crafted in response to the oppression and suffering that the Hebrews indored. Hundreds of Jews were being crucified under ran occupation and the zealots cause any to suffer by their armed struggle which though noble was futile. Jesus represent a savior from the full spectrum of suffering and corruption. In the telling of this story though, he is not a king of this earth and there are very specific and original aspect o the narrative. It may well be that Jews monks preached the salvation narrative as a manifest truth. This round also explain way a Pharisee med Saul would seek toake his version known. The story lends itself to competing interests.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 18 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

jBM Just google the Epistles of Paul and you will see the date 52CE. Also we try to keep the discussion here to the facts and don't get personal. I had to delete your comment. I put a link to your webpage in the article. You have collected a lot of useful websites for anyone who wants more information.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 18 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

Say Yes to Life: Thanks for your comment. We are drifting a little off topic. Since the topic of religion is really huge, it is easy to get off topic. Thanks for the book recommendation.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 18 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

John: Thanks for your comment. If Jesus was an actual man, he very well could have been acting against the oppression of Rome towards the Hebrews. If he was totally a myth, the stories could have arisen from the desire for a savior from the Roman oppression. We can't be certain which of those two competing ideas is true.


jBM 18 months ago

Catherine, I know all about the 52 CE claim. I am telling you that it is fraud, as much as the jesus story. Try to find how they came up with 52 CE. Try to research and find the process. There is so much fraud in religion, it is mind boggling. I have written hundreds of articles and barely scratched the surface of Abrahamic fraud.


jBM 18 months ago

Catherine, thank you offering our research to your readers. I have shared your article several places.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 18 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

jBM: thanks for the shares. There is so much disagreement with Biblical research it is hard to know what to believe. I wasn't aware that the date of the epistles of Paul was in dispute. it is something I should look into.


jBM 18 months ago

All the dates are in dispute but not by many. Almost all bible "scholars" are christians paid by the church. They are just theologians/apologists who are usually more educated. The oldest Scientifically confirmed NT writing is from 360 CE. To get the 52 CE, they conclude that Paul was real and that he wrote all the work attributed; the originals are just lost. Both assumptions are based on wishful thinking. You would be lucky to find a church employee that would admit this. Bible "scholars" (BSers) are not historians. It is a separate field. Apologists and scholars always try to skew this fact. BSers, study one book of proven historical fiction, in church schools and go on to get jobs that the church funds. The historicity of jesus and the 1st century dating of the NT are lines that BSers, cannot cross. Luckily I never went on the payroll. The church is a trillion dollar industry. If Bart Ehrman taught his christian class that jesus was fictional and the NT was completed in the 4th century, he would be instantly fired. Then, according to him, he wouldn't be credible to discuss christian theology. He has said that only university professors are credible in his field. In another words, you have to be on the church payroll.


jBM 18 months ago

Do a search for: "Exposing the Fictional Character of St. Paul the Apostle AKA Saul of Tarsus:


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 18 months ago

@JBM

You don't honestly expect an Atheist persuaded by the evidence for the historicity of Christ Jesus - as portrayed in the Bible - to actually remain Atheist, do you?


KnowYourSelf 18 months ago

@JBM are you an atheist?

Why do you think Jesus and Ibrahim are fraud? You can't compare the 2.

Just because the history of Greece are well knew for an example math. Do you have any evidence of time they knew math and not to say the African knew it first? You can say am getting off the point. I'm trying to understand why does Jesus time means so much to you while plenty of Jesus evidence is looking at you.

Stop reading other Atheist work and look for evidence. Once you understand it all. You can say it really did not happen


jBM 18 months ago

Joseph, I have no idea what you are trying to communicate.

KnowYourSelf, there is absolutely ZERO real evidence. You cannot offer evidence for your blind beliefs. The evidence for the facts that I have stated, are easily available. Catherine even posted my link at the end of her article. My case is airtight. I have had hundreds of jesus debates. None of them were even challenging. The online jesus apologists have to lie and conceal many facts to appear to have evidence. They are frauds, easy to expose.


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 18 months ago

@JBM

Do you expect an Atheist convinced by the historical evidence for the biblical Christ to remain Atheist?


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 18 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

Yes, if verified historical evidence is found, I think atheists will be convinced that the man called Jesus existed. It is a much bigger stretch to provide evidence that God exists, but if proof is provided, then yes, atheists will change their mind.


FlourishAnyway profile image

FlourishAnyway 18 months ago from USA

Look at these comments and the number of votes you have! Although it seems you stirred up a hornet's nest, it certainly works for you, and I enjoyed the hub quite a bit. You obviously have a lot of knowledge and passion about this subject and that is what made this hub so compelling to read.


Brian from Reality 18 months ago

The more I read this, the more I wanted to quibble over so many pieces of what I believe to be misinformation and twisted logic. I'm not a believer in fairy tales and an infallible bible that isn't full of mythology. So, you'll get no bible thumping or blind faith rhetoric out of me. But I couldn't disagree more with a lot of what you've said here. And some of the source material that you've cited here as the origins of your information would strongly disagree as well. I don't have the time to break down your entire article OR to argue back and forth with conclusions that a lot of people are probably unwilling to budge on no matter what. So if I can pick one major criticism to raise here, I'd have to go with the backbone of the argument here.

The argument here is that Jesus the man didn't exist based on lack of evidence. First of all, Reza Aslan does a fantastic job of dismantling this claim in the book that you're recommending here. He also does a great job of dismantling the logical fallacy that you have used to reach such a conclusion. The fallacy that since the bible is what's being discussed, we can't derive any historical knowledge from biblical text. Not many biblical scholars would agree with that, and Reza Aslan does a great job of explaining why, so I'm sure you're aware of this since you're recommending his book. Not only is this flawed logic from a researcher's point of view, it's also the logical fallacy that allows a person to take the stance that there is no evidence in existence to support the existence of Jesus. Any surviving written evidence regarding Jesus will almost definitely be in the form of religious text. So, yes, ruling out the only sources of information that COULD support the existence of Jesus, there is no evidence.

But as Reza points out, plenty of other historical figures are assumed to have existed with far less evidence, and religious text is often used to support the historicity of all kinds of people, places, and events. No, biblical text isn't an adequate historical documentation. But this concept itself of adequate historical documentation didn't even exist at the time. Even so-called historians simply made stuff up. But conclusions about historical facts can and are derived even from known works of fiction. The standard of proof that some people insist needs to exist to support Jesus' historical existence is unrealistic, and no other figure of ancient history is held to the same standard of proof.

S/N: I'm unsure why you've cited sources here that clearly disagree with most of what you have to say, but you don't include the findings or stances of those authors. You seem to cite a balance of viewpoints on the subject but don't follow thru with that balance in your own words. It seems that you've posed a question, presented the question as having a balance between multiple theories, but only present the one side that I'm guessing is what you actually agree with, but that's not actually clear. And even in presenting the discussion as if there is any kind of a balanced split between scholars on this issue, you've presented a skewed perspective. The idea that Jesus is completely a mythical creation is by far a fringe theory amongst scholars.

Just some of my initial thoughts without getting too involved in all out debate over everything here. Thanks for sharing. I always appreciate mind-stimulating discussion, especially when I completely disagree. It's always best to challenge your assumptions!


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 18 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

Brian from Reality: I appreciate your thoughtful comments. I am not actually recommending the books that I mention in the article; I'm listing them to give the full spectrum of belief on the topic of Jesus. I didn't have an opinion on the existence of Jesus the man when I began. I assumed as most do that he existed as an historical figure (although not a god.)After doing my research I became persuaded that there was a very high probability that Jesus did not exist, or at best he was a composite figure. Since my thesis disputes the Bible story, it's a tautology to try to use the Bible to prove otherwise. Further nothing in the Bible was written contemporaneously or by anyone claiming to be an eyewitness. The Bible requires independent sources to corroborate the Bible. No scholars have found these sources although there is plenty of writings about other people from this time period.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 18 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

FlourishAnyway: Thanks for your comment. I feel that I am dispassionate, not passionate. All I did was report on some Biblical research. It doesn't much matter to me if Jesus existed or didn't exist. As I researched the issue I was actually surprised to find that there is virtually no evidence that he existed.

You are right about this being a popular hub. It went a little bit viral and I got almost 16,000 views in less than a week. I have had to develop a thick skin to wade through the reaction to the facts I present. It seems a lot of people are very passionate on the subject. To put this in context, I was on HP for 10 months before one of my other hubs reached 1,000 views.

Not all of the comments are negative. I also got a lot of really positive comments. I got of a lot of shares and presumably most of the people sharing liked what I had to say on this topic.


jBM 18 months ago

Brian From "Reality" you claim that the bible recorded historical events. There are hundreds of events claimed by the bible. Name 10 bible events confirmed by non-bible sources. Several big bible stories have been debunked by real recorded history. There were over 120 historians and writers living in the areas of the NT stories, in the 1st and 2nd centuries. The handful of claimed NT writers would have been the minority. The bible has over 3,200 different characters in its historical fiction. Only around 50 turn out to be historical.


jBM 18 months ago

Brian, Mr. Aslan, not to be confused with the lion, is a muslim. He is a good writer and even better speaker. He took all the secular and historical knowledge, as well as customs and laws of the 1st century and he wove fictional jesus into a rewritten story. Unfortunately, the anonymous NT Greek writers didn't have the knowledge of Reza. Reza uses a historical fiction to write a fiction based on extremely researched history.

As an intelligent muslim, he knows that he must be an apologist for the bible, in which the quran is based. Fictional jesus is part of the foundation of islam. Islam takes a massive blow if people find out jesus was fictional. Reza has a bias with a motive.

If you think Reza has evidence for jesus, present it here and I will expose it.


jBM 18 months ago

Catherine, they have no rebuttals. I welcome Reza, Bart or any other jesus apologist to come to the jBM to be exposed as an apologist employee of religion.


rjbatty profile image

rjbatty 18 months ago from Irvine

Excellent Hub. Yes, there is basically no hard historical evidence for Jesus. I consider myself to be agnostic. But, there are a few things your Hub does not consider -- and as a science-based thinker, this is difficult to illustrate. The foremost point I would raise is that even if Jesus is pure myth -- a creation of man's imagination. The invention is still extremely significant.

I don't know if you've read the works of Carl Jung, but he suggests that the creation of Christianity was a quantum leap from the Old Testament. For Jung, the invention of Christianity exposed an evolutionary thinking for mankind.

Whether real or imagined, the New Testament demonstrates the need for God to present himself as a human subject -- capable of all our fears, pains and subjugation. The human race was ready for something more than was available in the Old Testament. People had a hard time identifying with a fire-and-brimstone type of God. People needed down-to-earth instruction about how to live a good and unselfish existence, among many other things.

Whether Jesus existed or not is almost irrelevant. What is remarkable is the advancement psychologically in how our species regarded itself and dealt with others. The "historical" Jesus is not just something we might prove/disprove with actual evidence. The historical Jesus is in the advancement of homo sapiens to become more self-analyzing and mentally sophisticated. Morality is not a mere black and white issue. As our society grew, so did our dire need for meaning and direction.

Finally, if you study quantum physics, you will know that scientists are studying the possibility of muli-verses and extra dimensions. If our best minds leave the window open for almost any kind of reality, no one can say with absolute authority whether or not a supernatural being could have existed centuries ago. If scientists can keep an open mind about our limited knowledge of the entire micro/macro universe, we can't dismiss anything as being impossible. I'm keeping all my bets wide open because the universe may just prove to be unimaginably strange -- perhaps even incomprehensible. Given this wide landscape, why rule anything out?

Some atheists argue that religion has been nothing but a bane to civilization. The conflicts are undeniable. But, I regard the conflicts to be an evolutionary process of the mind. Something is learned even through the most horrible conflict. People with closed minds, who die in the cause of their dogma are eliminated, allowing something more evolutionary to evolve in the minds of those who survive and hopefully learn something about such terrible conflicts. I see it as an ongoing process -- whether it is based on one religion casting itself against another or atheists having to make their case against those of faith. These clashes of minds and spirits may just be an evolutionary step toward another psychological improvement. Too optimistic? Perhaps, but I like to think that evolution is not just a physical dimension to our reality. I prefer to think that evolution also occurs on a psychological level.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 18 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

rjbatty: Thank you so much for your comment. You have had added a significant dimension to what I wrote. It reminds me of Voltaire, who said if God does not exist it would be necessary to invent him. Why was it necessary to invent Jesus and what does it say about the humans of that time who invented him.

As you point out, Jesus is a giant leap in the thinking of mankind. The pagan gods and goddesses animate the universe but have little to do with humans. They set the world in motion and control nature. The Roman/Greek/Norse, etc. gods and goddesses sound like a bunch of trouble-makers--not too involved with mankind except when they wanted to interfere. The God of the old testament was like a tribal leader telling everyone what to do or else and protecting his people from those other people. Christ becomes a new kind of god who preaches love for humans from God and amongst humans to each other.

You are right: The question of the existence of gods/goddesses/divine entities does not really matter. What is important is the effect belief in them has on mankind. Some use Jesus to help them be loving and kind and that is a good thing. However, others use this same belief to control people, enrich themselves, and set people against one another.

I think the next evolutionary step is away from traditional religions based on superstition (and too often on fear and hate) to one based on science and moral philosophy. This is why I have been drawn to do some hubs on Buddhism (the philosophy, not the religion), secular humanism, and even Neil deGrasse Tyson.

I wish I could paint giant arrows pointing to your comment with the words READ THIS on them.


cam8510 profile image

cam8510 18 months ago from Columbus, Georgia until the end of November 2016.

Catherine, Very good article. I've actually done this study myself, using as many primary sources as I could find. The surprise is the a lack of primary sources. I do have a list of the sources along with quotes. I'd be happy to get that to you if you are interested. My own study agrees with what you have found, which is that outside the New Testament, there are no eye witnesses, only people who reference the person named Jesus. The references go all the way back to the first century, so my conclusion is that someone did exist who became the Jesus of today.

You mentioned that the word, virgin, was a mistranslation of the word for young woman. I studied koine greek for two years. That is just enough study to make me think I know something, when I really don't. But, The word for virgin and young woman were the same. Context is what determines which way the translator goes. In this case, I must admit that the context is speaking of a virgin, otherwise the story makes no sense. It claims a miracle, but if Mary was not a virgin (not in fact but in the story) there would have been no miracle.

Thanks for all the food for thought. Well done.


rjbatty profile image

rjbatty 18 months ago from Irvine

You deserve the big arrows, not me. You took on a really tough, controversial subject and handled it with finesse. I was just really delighted to find a Hub writer who really dug into her subject in a fearless manner. I'm a follower now and I'll be checking out your other writings. This whole Hub thing is a hit-and-miss experience. So, I'm really elated that I chanced upon one of your postings.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 18 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

Thanks rjbatty: I appreciate your praise. I'm getting enough brickbats and people who e sing my comments space to have endless arguments with each other. I start to dread looking at my comments and then I get a happy surprise from someone like you. If you like my writing and want more people to stumble upon it. there is a place above the comments section to click to show your approval and , of course, there is sharing on HP and on social media. Some new people may not know this is how they can help a writer (or a hub) they admire. "Ask and you shall receive."


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 18 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

cam8510: I enjoyed reading your thoughtful comment. You may send me you list of sources using email. I'd be happy to have it. My study shows the earliest source at 52CE and then nothing until after 100CE. many of the early writings talk about "Christians," but give no facts about the life of Jesus. Even if they gave accounts of his life, they would be 2-3 or more generations removed from an eyewitness. So I concluded there is no historical evidence.

You are right about the translation about the Greek word "virgin." It could mean just young woman or a young woman who has not had sexual intercourse. Why was one definition chosen over the other--it is as you say to make a better story and as I say to make the story fit the earlier myths about sun gods born of virgins. I have also read that other early texts in other languages show that the translation should be "young woman" I don't have the citations handy.


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 18 months ago from The English Midlands

It's a fascinating subject, Catherine, but one which always results in lots of negativity because it threatens beliefs :)


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 18 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

Thanks Trish M for your comment. Controversial subjects are a double edged sword. They get a lot of attention, but also elicit negativity. So while I like to get praise, I have had to learn not to let the negative comments get to me. And, it just happens that some of the subjects I want to write about are controversial. I do the topic in an honest and fair way, and let the chips fall where they may. I write some fun pieces, but sometimes I want to be serious and advocate for something I believe in.


cam8510 profile image

cam8510 18 months ago from Columbus, Georgia until the end of November 2016.

I'll get those sources to you. My conclusion was that there was far too little evidence of the existence of a man named Jesus, even without him being the Son of God, to merit the historical response that actually occurred. Something very political was going on behind the scenes.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 18 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

cam8510: We are on the same page. It is the conclusion I came to. I did not have an opinion on it before I did the research. Thanks for sending the info.


John A Bartram 18 months ago

Great article, thanks.

I have studied the same question, from an archaeological point of view. My website details some of the result.

As you say, there is no direct evidence for a Jesus Christ in the early-first century; I go further, in that there is no mention of him until the medieval, perhaps the 8th century. There is, however, reliable archaeology for a new cult appearing in the early-first century, which I term Chrestianity.

Chrestians are opposed to messianic Jews and messianic Judaism; they brought about the three Jewish-Roman wars. The original New Testament is an imperial, Chrestian construct parodying Messianic Jews and their faith.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 18 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

Thank you, John A Bartram: You go even further than I do placing the first historical record of Jesus in the 8th century. But what about King Constatine and the Council of Nicene in 325. I always thought the story of Jesus was codified at that time.

I've come across the term Chrestius in my research, but I need to study it more before commenting. My understand is that Chrestius and Jesus Christ were not one and the same.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 18 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

OK jBM and KnowYourSelf: Take it outside. I don't want to be in the middle of this anymore.


John A Bartram 18 months ago

@CatherineGiordano thanks for responding. What stops people learning this history is what has been termed '"the glittering web" of false assumptions - placing late artefacts into earlier times (a practice disallowed in archaeology, but common to historians of Classical Antiquity). Basically, the history and even the theology of this period has been composed by those who collected and rewrote the source material (for Charlemage, by Alquin across the new monasteries).

There is no mention of "Jesus Christ" until very late. The early texts - including those of the New Testament - use the term "IS Chrest". Later, monks erased part of the "E" in "Chrest" to make it read "I", "Christ". How "IS" became "Jesus" I do not understand - the argument offered is irrational.

So, we have a new religion appearing with the foundation of the Roman Empire: Chrestianity. It emerges from the many Ptolemaic syncretisms, brought to a head by Cleopatra VII, as she became the resurrected Isis.

As for Constantine I, there is no record of his conversion to anything and no record of either the Council of Nicea, or the Edict of Milan. What we see is later records inserted into the timeline, with no evidence to justify this.

My website (and blog) provide the archaeological evidence (artefacts, sites and interpretations).


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 18 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

Thank you John A Bartram: This is such fascinating material. I will have to study it. There does appear to have been a lot of tampering with history, some deliberate and some perhaps just honest confusion.


The jesus Birther Movement (jBM) Facebook 18 months ago

Mr. Bartram, I would love to read your stuff. Come to my page. If it is good, I will pass it along to thousands.

Look at the record of the Popes. The first one and more are fictional characters. Christians have destroyed and rewritten so much history.

KnowYourSelf, I am no longer responding to you. You want a fight while I am a debater, and this isn't the place for either.


Nate 18 months ago

For a while I also thought Jesus was fully mythological based on all of the points in your article and many more. But as the more I read in to it I changed my outlook and I think he did exist and he was an apprentice of John the Baptist. After Johns death Jesus took over the mystery cult. Then after Jesus' death his brother james took over the cult and then finally Jesus' cousin took over after james' death.

Jesus was just a cult leader and was not the demi-god portrayed in the Bible. The Romans probably knew of him and we're able to use his status for their political gain.

I take josephus' works into account for my conclusion even though there were later interpolations. The fact that he did mention a Jesus twice makes me consider this. Even though he wasn't an eyewitness.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 18 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

Thanks Nate for you informed comment. I'm not sure when you mentioned the interpolations into Jospehus account if you thought they were done by Josephus or not. Josephus himself did not write those mentions. They were added much later by the Church trying to prove the existence of Jesus. I started out with your view that Jesus was a cult leader, but the more I researched the more I felt that it is highly likely he did not exist at all. There is no definitive proof as to which theory is right, the vast majority of scholars do not accept Jesus as divine.


Don Gordon profile image

Don Gordon 18 months ago

Nice try Catherine. This is, and it's just a guess, the 9,871st article written in the last ten years that calls Jesus a myth, or says that He is just a regular guy, or that He did exist but not in the Christian context. People like you have been trying for about 2,000 years to call Christianity in to question or destroy it all together. And, to date, you have failed miserably. I could debate you on the various points that you brought up but what would be the point? You have your opinion and I respect it.

I do find it curious that people would spend so much time and effort to debunk something that they consider a myth. I know a lot of people who believe in ghosts but I don't try to write articles to destroy their beliefs. Why should I try and destroy someone's beliefs when those beliefs don't affect me or society as a whole? Yes, you can argue about the supposed deleterious affects that Christianity has had on society and I could argue right back about all of the positive aspects as well. The fact is that your article was written to elicit an emotional response on a subject that is near and dear to many people's hearts. Why you would go out of your way to antagonize so many people is beyond me.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 18 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

At least 10,000 people have written articles about the Jesus of the Bible not being a true story? That's a pretty big group of people who agree with me.

I didn't write this for devout Christians--I wrote it for people who are "beyond belief" or getting there. I'm not trying to destroy anyone's belief. I couldn't if I wanted to. Belief is based on faith and faith is impervious to fact.

Finally, I can say, you chose to read this even tho you have read it 10,000 times before. You could have quit after the first paragraph. I expect that is what many people who are religious do. So if I did antagonize them, it is only a very little bit. They antagonize me all the time so if I did antagonize anyone, well turnabout is fair play.


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 18 months ago from The English Midlands

I am often surprised at the number of experts who claim that there is absolute proof for the existence of Jesus. But, then, most of these experts belong to Christian establishments and are believers. This clearly means that they must be biased.

The thing is, there are also a number of very knowledgeable people - experts - who have their doubts.

Faith should not be the deciding factor when considering whether or not there was a historical Jesus; objective research has to be. Of course, the two are linked in the minds of Christians - but once one embarks on historical research certain rules come into play.

I think that there is some evidence for the existence of Jesus, but not proof. Bart Ehrman, the agnostic lapsed Christian, has written a book assuring us that Jesus did exist; no question. I find one of his points more compelling than any others - the references of Paul to James the brother of the Lord. On the other hand, I am extremely wary of using the Bible as evidence for anything else in the Bible - even though I know that this is not one book but a collection of individual items. We must remember that these 'sacred books' have been accepted and rejected, amended and edited, a lot over the years and most very early copies have been lost.

I read somewhere that the best evidence for the existence of Jesus is how well his story fitted into the politics of the day. I agree with this. It does. And the more I look into the history, alongside the story, the more believable I find it. However, the Jesus story that I have discovered is quite different, in many ways, from the Jesus story I heard in Sunday School.

It concerns a man with revolutionary ideas - ideas shared by many at the time - who believed that God would very soon be ruling his earthly kingdom directly. He may have thought that he was the Messiah, especially chosen by God. That fits.

What concerns me, though, is that this story is similar to that of Robin Hood. He fits with his time. He may have existed. We don't know for sure.

It's also similar to the Superman stories. Are people going to believe that he was real in a couple of thousand years? There are lots of books about him. But selling books doesn't make him real.

I don't know if we have a soul or an afterlife. I think that it is possible. But, even if we do, that does not mean that Jesus Christ was real or, if he was real, that he was divine.


jBM 18 months ago

Nate, not only were forgeries interjected into the the works attributed to Josephus', but all of his original books were destroyed and rewritten by anonymous christian monks, after the 11th century. Additional forgeries were made to those copies that were stored in christian monasteries.


jBM 18 months ago

Don, less than 100 articles have been written about fictional jesus. This is only the 2nd year that mainstream online news sites have published articles concerning the fraud of the jesus story. It has never been allowed to be said on National TV. It has been less than 200 years that it was discovered that jesus was fictional. For over 1600 years, christian leaders have had over 700,000 people killed, who were not jesus believers or refused to be. It was the christians who spread the jesus lies by the sword and without any merits. You act like those victims of christianity were the persecuters of the Supreme christian majority. I only got through your first paragraph of your comment and I can tell that you are lacking substantial historical knowledge of your religion.


melpor profile image

melpor 18 months ago from New Jersey, USA

Very informative and well-written hub on a controversial subject. The voting results tells me where most people stand on this issue today.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 18 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

Trish M: I thoroughly enjoyed reading your comment. You have an open mind about the historicity of Jesus as do I. Of course, the Jesus story meshes with the history of the times, and as you point out so do the Robin Hood and Superman stories. The people who created the story put myth and history together. This article is about the research of biblical followers. It has nothing to do with faith or attacking faith. Some scholars say Jesus existed and some have concluded that he did not. I reported on this research fairly and objectively. Thank you for commenting.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 18 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

melpor: Keep in mind that the poll is not a scientific poll. It only shows the opinion of people who chose to vote and who chose to read this in the first place. I think it gives a rough idea of the opinions of the readers of this post. Thank you for reading and posting and I hope you voted in the poll.


rjbatty profile image

rjbatty 18 months ago from Irvine

Catherine, having read over these many comments, I have to wonder at your stamina. I wouldn't have the patience you have exhibited. I've written some pieces that deal with religion -- one even suggesting that there is no God. Thankfully, I wasn't bombarded with the reprisals you are now facing. Why? I don't know. Your responses are always courteous and respectful. Mine wouldn't be. I do not possess your level of tolerance. I really admire your self-control and matter-of-fact manner in dealing with some really dim wits. Although the subject itself may draw a lot of attention to your Hub, I don't fully understand why you take this burden upon yourself. I don't need to understand. But, I find it remarkable.


Zalkin 18 months ago from WV

I'm sorry to say that I know for a fact that Jesus is the Son of the Living God. How do I know this, He lives in my heart.

Some day at the resurrection or when the church is caught up, so many will realize their mistake about who Jesus really is, but it will be too late! Why is it easier to believe a lie than the truth.


John A Bartram 18 months ago

Zalkin: "Why is it easier to believe a lie than the truth." Ignoring reason and relying on faith is that easy route.


jBM 18 months ago

Lawrence, the oldest NT manuscript, Scientifically confirmed with carbon dating, is 4th century. Christians claim it must have been written by Paul, when the story took place. Problem, no evidence for Paul. They have no evidence that suggests that it was written in the 1st century. They make the claim. You will have to prove there were earlier and identical copies. Then prove the existence of Paul. You will have to carbon date all those papyrus scrap.


cam8510 profile image

cam8510 18 months ago from Columbus, Georgia until the end of November 2016.

Zalkin, ok, I will take the challenge. Let Jesus begin proving. I will be here waiting for the evidence. You said, "If their [sic] is doubt, Jesus will prove that He is the way, the truth and the life." Question. What exactly would be the proof of those three things?


JuliaStar profile image

JuliaStar 18 months ago from Russia

I thank the author for great question to rise. Even if idon`t accept Your point of view, dear Catherine. Believe or not to believe is our personal choice. I do believe in Jesus, even if I have no evidence, but i would never put up with dominant, prechy way of presenting the faith. It shouldn`t be like :You should believe, otherwise You will go to the hell. It sounds hypocritical.Everyone comes to belief in his own way, gradually, or doesn`t come at all.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 18 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

Zalkin, YourMight, Summit Mountain: It seems like many of the other commentators have responded to your questions so I don't need to do anything more than say "What they said." Thank you Stephen, John A. Bartram, Trish M, jBM and cam8510.

Those who questioned the accuracy of what I reported in the article can use the links provided to get more detail (and also read the links that these author's provide), you can read Carrier's book (mentioned in the article with a link), and/or do your own research.

My article just barely scratches the surface. I hit the main points, enough to show the validity of the thesis. Anyone who wants more information, please do research the topic. If you still question my findings, you can do your own hub, blogpost, or research paper. Let me know if you do, and I will read it.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 18 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

Thank you JuliaStar 8 for commenting. I appreciate your tone of tolerance. It is up to each individual to decide whether to believe in religion or not. I wrote about history. I am not trying to change anyone's faith. I wrote about fact. Faith does not require fact.


Yeshua 18 months ago

It's amazing how it looks like the majority of people who read this voted the evidence in the hub as the "gospel" and that Jesus is a Myth.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 18 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

Yeshua: Yes, the poll results are amazing, but bear in mind this is not a scientific poll because the sample is not a random sample. The only people who vote are readers who want to vote. I urge everyone to vote.


cam8510 profile image

cam8510 18 months ago from Columbus, Georgia until the end of November 2016.

Catherine, you already know on which side I fall on this debate, but I am going to slightly challenge you on the section of your article, "There is no contemporaneous evidence of the existence of Jesus." I agree that there are no extra biblical references to Christ by people living during his lifetime, but there are a couple that were made not long after he was supposed to have lived.

1. Tacitus (AD 56 to 116) Wrote the following: "Christus, from whom the name [Christian] had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of . . . Pontius Pilatus."

2. Lucian (AD 125-180) wrote this: "The Christians . . . worship a man to this day--the distinguished personage who introduced their novel rites, and was crucified on that account. . . . [It] was impressed on them by their original lawgiver that they are all brothers, from the moment that they are converted, and deny the gods of Greece, and worship the crucified sage, and live after his laws."

These are two of the very few direct and early references to Christ I could find. Christians who write on this subject, routinely include references to Christians as being of equal authority to references to Christ, himself. I disagree. A reference to a follower is not proof that the original leader existed. After all, there are people today who believe in aliens, bigfoot, Santa Clause and the Easter Bunny.

In addition, these references were both originally made after Jesus was off the scene. They are not proof, but to say that no early source mentions Christ is not accurate either.I agree that the words of Josephus can not be counted. They were manufactured. But Tacitus lived predominately in the first century and Lucian in the early second century. Their words hold some authority. They sound like the words of men who believed the person, Christ, actually existed. This does not mean Christ was everything that was ever attributed to him, but the words of Tacitus and Lucian seem to indicate that a man named Jesus Christ did exist.

What I am saying is that those of us who question the Jesus described in the Bible, should not ignore direct, early, extra biblical references to him. There are a few, but only a few. The lack of abundant references to Christ during the time he was supposed to have lived is striking. The references that do exist are not compelling, precisely because there are so few.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 18 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

cam8510: The references you cite are not from contemporaries of Jesus. Some even doubt the date of these citations as well as the accuracy. What I would find persuasive is a record of his trial and execution or someone writing about him while he was alive. Also, as you say, some comments attest to Christianity as a movement, but not actually to Christ as a person.


cam8510 profile image

cam8510 18 months ago from Columbus, Georgia until the end of November 2016.

Catherine, I agree that something from the precise time of Jesus would be much more persuasive. It is a striking vacuum. And those who choose to believe the biblical account should feel a discomfort in the fact that there is nothing said outside the Bible from the first half of the first century and very little in the second half and later.


lawrence01 profile image

lawrence01 18 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

JBM

Sorry but you are wrong. The earliest part we have is in John Rylands library at Manchester University and has been reliably dated to 125 AD. Its part of the gospel of john but a few years ago part of Matthews gospel in papyrus was found in a clergyman's collection (his father spent time in Egypt in the early 20th century) that has been reliably dated to around 90 AD.

As for the earliest gospel you will find all four gospels in a document called the Didache put together around 110AD and all four are listed in the Marcionite cannon (circa 150AD) and is in the vatican library.

The British museum has two complete Bibles (called codexes. Siniaticus and Alexandrius) both dating from 310 and 325 AD respectively.shall we continue. Clearly your information is way off!

Lawrence


annart profile image

annart 18 months ago from SW England

Wow, Catherine, what a response! You've certainly created a conversation here!

I do not know enough to comment one way or the other. I was brought up as an Anglican Christian so was taught that Jesus existed. However, I've always thought that the stories of the New Testament were just that - useful and wise but not necessarily true. I found the Old Testament so violent that it was disturbing.

I believe in God but, having read this, I'm not so sure about Jesus any more. The evidence is quite compelling.

However, you've done a great job in presenting the arguments and this is a superb hub. It's a shame that some cannot argue their point without being (presumably) abusive. That's not very Christian.

Congratulations on having the courage to create a hub which opens up debate.

I agree with bill; the teachings of Jesus, whether or not he actually existed, set us up with a good approach to life, to compassion and to love. That's what influences me most.

Like you, I was surprised at the lack of documentation during his supposed lifetime; I was not aware of that.

Well done, Catherine. You have a keen mind and a great command of words and argument. I salute you!

Ann


John A Bartram 18 months ago

Excuse my not mentioning each commentator individually; my brief comment will have to suffice.

This argument keeps drifting away from reliable, relevant facts. Here are some:

- "Jesus Christ" does not appear in any document dated before the medieval period. When this does appear, it is by scratching the Greek H, which is the Latin E, into an I, so "Chrest" reads as "Christ". There is, therefore, no Jesus Christ in the early centuries of the modern era - my best interpretation of the data is in the 8th century, under the supervision of Alquin and the authority of Charlemagne.

- None of the historical references provided by the Vatican in support of the historical Jesus Christ withstand scrutiny.

- The divine man of the early texts, including the original New Testament, use either abbreviations or "IS Chrest". As Codex Sinaiticus uses both, we may assume the abbreviations used elsewhere are this character - whatever he is - and not "Jesus Christ".

Google Analytics informs me of three visits to my site, which details such evidences, from here, so although I try to make these points, the message is not getting through at all well. I will thus leave this site and wish everyone well in their endeavours. These sort of "debates" are common enough across the web and never end well simply because nearly all people look for confirmation of their position - and this has no attraction to me.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 18 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

cam8510: I agree with you that the omission is striking.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 18 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

annart: Thank you so much for your comment. I agree with you that Jesus does not have to be a true historical figure for Christianity to have meaning in people's lives. However, understanding the history helps put everything in perspective. It definitely takes a lot of courage to write on something as controversial as this. A lot of stamina too.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 18 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

John A. Bartman: thank you so much for all you have added to the discussion. I am glad to have made your acquaintance. Yes the conversation does drift off-topic and go round in circles sometimes deteriorating to the level of a school yard fight (Does not! Does so! Does not!) . I appreciate that you help to bring it back to the topic and raise the intellectual level of the discussion.


lawrence01 profile image

lawrence01 18 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

Catherine

Theres a very good reason that Jesus seems not to appear in Roman documents before the second century. He is mentioned by Seutonius, by Thallus and by Tacitus, as well as Josephus (though Josephus is disputed and may be just an overeager Christian scribe in medieval times).

The Romans were amazing administrators but Jesus was just a carpenter from a small town in a backwater of the Empire. Why would they write about him?

Seutonius tells us (and its been confirmed by Archeology not the vatican) that they first came to be noticed in Rome in AD 50 as a result of riots in the Jewish quarter over Chrestus (incidentally Christ is a title not a name and it means MESSIAH) and Claudius threw all the Jews out of Rome as a result!

I'm going to be putting a hub out as a reply as theres so much to reply to but meanwhile look those thungs up and take a look at the two other comments I've put out as you'll realize the idea is ludicrous

Lawrence


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 18 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

lawrenc01: I look forward to reading your response hub.


lyoness913 profile image

lyoness913 18 months ago from Overland Park, KS

This is such a great hub- and what I like best about it is that it describes your theory without being condescending. I personally always thought Jesus was the first great hippie.. Make sense.

-Wendi


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 18 months ago from The English Midlands

Catherine your thought-provoking article has resulted in a very interesting conversation and, in the circumstances, it is not surprising that the conversation drifts this way and that.

I think that we have established that there seems to be no really reliable evidence for the existence of an historical Jesus, yet most of the experts - even the agnostics like Bart Ehrman - claim that the argument against his existence is a ridiculous one. This is something that bewilders me because these experts are the most educated on the subject; the most knowledgeable; the most highly qualified. And they almost all claim that Jesus definitely did exist. But is this because he definitely existed or because even they, with all their expertise, are biased? One Roman expert historian I contacted, though, found their arguments less than reliable.

If we look at the 'mythicists', even the experts amongst them claim that some of the 'mythical Jesus' arguments are nonsensical.

It is a multi-layered debate:

Did Jesus ever exist as a historical figure?

If he did, was he as described in the Bible?

If he did, was he the Messiah or even God incarnate / Son of God?

Was he an amalgam of various Messiahs / messiah-types?

Was he based on pre-existing myths?

Was he purely a made-up character in a story?

Is he simply the invisible friend of Christians regardless of historical facts?

Whatever one 'believes' affects the ability and willingness to get to grips with historical 'facts' - and those 'facts' are often really difficult to ascertain, anyway. It is difficult to find out, even from experts, just which historical documents are reliable. We have nothing from the time. Items have been copied, edited, altered.

It's true that we often cannot be certain about many facts of history and that, usually, the further back we go the more difficult it is to be certain of anything. But when an expert like Ehrman claims that there is at least as much evidence for Jesus as for Julius Caesar - possibly more - then that leaves me baffled.

I doubt that we shall ever know the full truth. However, it seems that in 'the Holy Land' there were several men around at that time who behaved as if they were magicians or believed that they were messiahs, and there were men around called Yeshua. It is not impossible that one of these Yeshuas was one of these messiahs and that, consequently, he was executed in the expected way - by crucifixion. I think that we can be pretty sure that this sort of thing happened. How important is it to know whether or not one of these executed men was actually named Yeshua / Joshua / Jesus? Surely it can only be important if he really were son of God. And historical evidence, or lack thereof, will never prove that, one way or the other, because this is a faith thing and not a fact thing.

There are some fascinating books, based on what little evidence we have about 'Jesus', suggesting that he was a stone-mason, a guerilla fighter, a zealot, a hippie as someone mentioned above, an early equal-rights activist, an apocalyptic preacher, a wandering magician, a member of the ousted royal family. You can take your choice. There are so many experts with so many fascinating ideas, based on so little evidence.

Most wandering miracle men / messiahs from the time have been forgotten but, somehow, we have been left with the divine 'Jesus Christ' of Christianity. But why? This must surely be the important question. Why is he the one who is still remembered 2000 years on? Why has history given us this particular story which so many people believe? Why do these people still believe? I don't know. But, once such strong beliefs exist, based on faith alone, often believed by people who do not know any of the history of the times and often don't even know the origins of the Bible, even if they have read it, their arguments are always going to be emotional rather than logical. And a logic versus faith argument won't get anywhere and usually descends into chaos and hurt feelings. We see it all the time on this site and others.

Yet it is such a fascinating subject I find it hard to ignore, so I continue to debate and to enjoy articles like yours, Catherine, and I try to find out what evidence is or isn't reliable. Will we ever get to the truth? Maybe. But probably not :)


Jim Clyde 18 months ago

The Roman historian Tacitus mentioned Jesus and his followers.


jBM 18 months ago

Lawrence, the Rylands is the size of a stamp. You consider that a manuscript? How many words does it have? Post the words and then post the 4th century verses in John's gospel. Now, you claim that the JR and other scraps of papyrus have been "dated?" Explain how. What Science was used? I will tell you. Church employees eyeballed them.


jBM 18 months ago

Lawrence, how can you date a book that does not even exist. Dishonesty of apologists is evidence against their claims.

The Marcionite Bible was assembled by Marcion of Sinope, sometime in the early/mid second century; a full 200 years before the compilation of the Bible we now have. The Marcionite Bible was not divided into "Old" and "New" testaments like the modern Bible, and was dramatically shorter. It was divided into two parts, the gospel (or Evangelion) and the epistles of Paul (or Apostolicon). The Marcionites only recognized one gospel as legitimate; it was called The Gospel of the Lord, and it was similar to Luke but significantly shorter. The Marcionite version of the Epistles of Paul was also significantly shorter than the version found in conventional Bibles.

The documents that make up the Marcionite Bible have not physically survived to modern times; all known copies were destroyed by the religious authorities when the Catholics gained political power in the fourth century.


jBM 18 months ago

Lawrence, did you know that the only evidence that Marcion of Sinope even existed, come from 3rd and 4th century church fathers quoting 2nd century church fathers? Lol


jBM 18 months ago

The Codexes that you mentioned have a date range. The 4th century, around 360 CE is the most agreed upon date.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 18 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

lyonesse: Thank you for your comment. If Jesus did exist, he certainly could accept the title of World's Greatest Hippie. Thanks for praising my writing. I always try to take an objective tone and stick with the facts as I have discovered them when I write on something controversial.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 18 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

Tricia C: Another very thoughtful comment from you. One reason most scholarship about the historical Jesus says that he existed is the because of the way society, religion and academe works. Who will fund research that attempts to prove that the subject of the research does not exist? The personal as well as business bias has always been to assume that Jesus did exist and go from there. The ones who began to claim that there was no evidence for his existence--not that he did not exist, just that the evidence was scant and unreliable--really went out on a limb. Let's see what happens with this type of research over the next 5 to 10 years. If real evidence is produced, then the mythicists will be disproven. Right now this theory deserves respect.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 18 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

clyde: Thanks for your comment. I think Tacitus has been shown not to be a reliable source. Read the comments of jBM and others in this thread.


jBM 18 months ago

You said "Seutonius tells us (and its been confirmed by Archeology not the vatican)"

Ahh, the church funds the digs and the archeologists are christians.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 18 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

jBM: Thank you for sharing your research with us. I recommend that people don't just look at one source (even if I am the source), but check many sources and come to their own conclusion about which is most credible.


jBM 18 months ago

Trish, you said "most of the experts - even the agnostics like Bart Ehrman - claim that the argument against his existence is a ridiculous one. This is something that bewilders me because these experts are the most educated on the subject; the most knowledgeable; the most highly qualified. And they almost all claim that Jesus definitely did exist. But is this because he definitely existed or because even they, with all their expertise, are biased?

The majority of the "experts" are christians who went to church schools to become "experts." After they become "experts" they become church employees. The church pays their salaries. Any "expert" who publicly admits jesus is fictional, loses their job/income, their reputations are destroyed, their work is rejected, and they are cast out. They probably lose their families too. These are compelling reasons to stay in line.


jBM 18 months ago

Trish, you asked: "This must surely be the important question. Why is he the one who is still remembered 2000 years on? Why has history given us this particular story which so many people believe? Why do these people still believe? I don't know."

Very easy to answer. Look at history. For 1600 years christianity was mandated by legislation. In that time, they genocided, raped, tortured, and enslaved over 700 million people. Then they brainwashed the surviving children. The lie of jesus spread by the sword and it will die by education.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 18 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

I myself don't really care whether or not a man who came to be called Jesus walked this earth or not. The only time I care is when other people try to force me to participate in their belief. I don't go around knocking on the doors of strangers to tell them what I think they should believe. I don't try to change the laws of my country to insert religious belief. I am happy to have people believe whatever they want; just don't get in my face about it. Since religion and belief in the supernatural is so omnipresent that it threatens my right to live according to my own beliefs, I feel like I have to push back one in a while with fact.


ExposingReligion.HQ - Facebook 18 months ago

I just shared this article with our almost 100,000 members. Our post will reach 2-3x more people than our membership. The jesus Birther Movement (jBM) admin is really good. The jesus apologists look really desperate and uninformed.


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CatherineGiordano 18 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

ExposingReligion.HQ Thank you so very much. There is no more sincere compliment than a share. I'm off now to check out your facebook page.


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 18 months ago from The English Midlands

Hi Catherine, I'm not bothered what other people believe, either. I think that people should be free to believe whatever they wish. But sometimes this freedom of belief can be dangerous. People have done terrible things in the name of religion and children might be be scared even to doubt. Families can be split apart by disagreements on this subject. So I suppose this is why it bothers me so much. :)


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 18 months ago from The English Midlands

Hi jBM :)

Yes, I know that people were forced / scared into believing - and that they would probably believe, anyway, owing to ignorance on so many matters.

But it is still interesting that, out of all the magical messiahs, 'Jesus' is the one whose story is remembered.

It is also interesting that so many people still believe this, today, in spite of the improvement in scientific knowledge, etc, and the lack of burning at the stake, etc. :)


jBM 18 months ago

Today, it is mostly a cycle of indoctrination. Religion is barely ever a choice. Children are aggressively brainwashed. This exploitation has become tradition.


jBM 18 months ago

Trish, jesus isn't the only surviving religious character that is worshiped. It is one of many. Although the cult of jesus industry is the most successful and profitable. Fictional jesus is a trillion dollar industry.


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 18 months ago from The English Midlands

Hi jBM

I can't think of another 1st century 'Holy Land' messiah who was followed beyond his time as 'Jesus' was - and who is still worshipped today.

Indeed, I'm guessing that many people don't even realise that there were other such holy men / 'miracle-workers' at the time. They only know about Jesus.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 18 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

Trish M: Yu make good points about religious belief encouraging terrible acts. So let me amend what I said to "people should be free to believe as they wish, but they are not free to act as they wish if those acts break the law." Many terrible things are within the law, but I don't know how I can prevent that because one person's terrible is another persons moral.


lawrence01 profile image

lawrence01 18 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

JBM and other interested parties

Thank you for your reply. I'm going to be writing a hub in response to much of what this hub lays out (by the way I do think this is a well written if somewhat provocative hub) and I'll try to remember to post the link here when I do but meanwhile please feel free to look at some of my other hubs as I'm sure that there are a few that will challenge your worldview.

As for your comment about archaeology it shows your bias. Archaeologists are men and women of science first! Many if yhem have little or no fait, they come from all religious backgrounds but 'let the evidence do the talking' and as for who funds it most are funded by non religious organizations and Museums who have no religious agenda to push, not all of what they find goes down well with the religious establishment but the truth is the truth and they report what they find not what we might want to hear.

It might take me a few days to write the hub but I look forward to discussing things there.

Lawrence


geoff 18 months ago

thank you so much Catherine for your article. I wish I had your patience, tolerance and clarity of mind. I look forward to reading more of your work. Cheers.


jBM 18 months ago

I don't know any dig sites in or around Isreal that are not religiously funded. The entire area runs on fraudulent tourist sites. There has never been one piece of archaeological evidence for jesus. Never.


peter565 18 months ago

There are a lot of question about whether Jesus exist in the historical community. One thing we do know for certain the Jesus in the bible is a legion, not history. But whether there really is a guy call Jesus in history or purely mythological like the Hercules...who know


geoff 18 months ago

Thanks also to the various other commenters on this remarkable thread. On matters of belief, including religion, I have a few good teachers from my childhood to thank for a healthy disrespect for dogma. I use my BS detector daily. I still remember my primary school headmaster with his bushy moustache telling us in 1960 "if it sounds unbelievable, it probably is ".


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 18 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

Geoff: Thanks for your comment. I agrees, a BS detector should be applied frequently.


anders 18 months ago

I find it quite interesting and puzzling that there are still people who claim to be historians and intellectuals, who have not researched the mounds of evidence for the historical Jesus, and the reliability of the old and new testament records as they stand today. I refer the readers to several seminal works that have compiled much of this evidence. I would encourage the true intellectuals, scientists and historians to examine the evidence for themselves and not take someones elses word for the so called lack of evidence. I would think this is especially critical given the claims of Jesus of Nazareth. I would suggest starting with these 3 scholarly works: 1. Evidence That Demands Verdict and 2. More Evidence that Demands a Verdict by Josh McDowell, 3. The New Testament Documents:Are they Reliable? by F.F.Bruce, and to address the more timely cultural and philosophical issues so obviously at hand, may I recommend the work by Berkeley professor Phillip Johnson called the Reason in the Balance. Please examine the evidence before being swayed by those who promote ideology over evidence.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 18 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

anders 5: You refer to Jesus of Nazareth. There was no Nazareth at that time. Just for starters.

Some scholars are on one side of this debate; others are on the other side. I think it is an interesting question for sociologists. How does a belief system take hold?


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 18 months ago from The English Midlands

I've had a quick 'look inside' 'Evidence That Demands a Verdict' on Amazon but that part appears to be just a series of announcements of faith.

I cannot imagine that it contains anything additional to the evidence provided by the likes of Bart Ehrman so I find it hard to believe that there are '[un]researched ... mounds of evidence for the historical Jesus ...'. Any examples, please?


lawrence01 profile image

lawrence01 18 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

Catherine

There was a town called Nazareth at the time of Jesus. It was a few miles from where the Roman legion for the area was garrisoned (hence one of the early accusations that Jesus was the illegitimate son of a Roman soldier that's found in some books).

Trish. Amazon would have that as its more a book for christians. Maybe a better book woyld have been Lee Strobels book "who moved the stone" Lee was an atheist (so he says) who set out to prove there was no Jesus.

Hope this helps

Lawrence


Jodah profile image

Jodah 18 months ago from Queensland Australia

Wow Catherine, I can see why you have settled on this as your niche subject. This hub has an amazing number of comments and very in depth ones at that. Much food for thought for both sides of the fence. Whether or not Jesus existed or not, or was just a man and not the son of God...the teachings attributed to him especially the proverbs are wonderful lessons to everyone. Like King Arthur, Robin Hood, Noah's Ark, the Arc of the Covenant etc there will always be conjecture as to whether they were mythical or real.. Evidence can be found both ways depending where you look. Now I am off to read Lawrence's hub on the subject. Voted up.


compugraphd profile image

compugraphd 18 months ago

ב"ה

Hi -- I read a large portion of your hub, though not all of it and I apologize to all the other comment writers, I haven't read most of the comments.

I'm Jewish, so I don't believe anything in the NT -- much (if not all) of what I've read in Matthew, the gospel written to convert Jews, that quotes the Jewish Bible (the ONLY Testament) is inaccurate either by mistranslation, taking it out of context, or just making it up out of whole cloth.

Catherine, most of what I read I agree with, but that you said that he fulfilled the Messianic prophesies, on that you are mistaken. After reading parts of Matthew and listening to talks about what the NT says, I said that I was amazed that these people who created J, who had the Messianic prophesies easily at hand (since they are written in the Prophets and Writings of the Jewish Bible) wrote his life to conform to the WRONG PROPHESIES! Most of the prophesies he supposedly fulfilled WEREN'T EVEN MESSIANIC PROPHESIES!!!!

The Virgin Birth thing, for example, is a prophesy offering the king of Judea a sign that the king of Assyria wouldn't attack Judea as he had conquered the 10 northern tribes of Ephraim. It has nothing to do with a moshiakh (messiah) or even the distant (600 years later, at that point) future. That specific prophesy came true later in Isaiah.

I actually never understood why they didn't attribute to him the actual Messianic prophesies.

As to what I believe about J? (I'm one of the "other" checkers, hence the explanation) I believe he is a conglemeration of at least 4 different people, one of whom was named Yeshua but lived about 3-400 years before the common era.


Randy Godwin profile image

Randy Godwin 18 months ago from Southern Georgia

Lee Strobel stinks as an author and researcher. I suppose he made a living with his crummy books anyway. The works of Josephus were corrupted by the church long after they were written. Fortunately, we have copies written before the church added Jesus to his writings.

A very controversial hub, Catherine. :)


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 18 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

lawrence01: I guess that is another point of fact up for debate. I have seen quite a few sources that say there was no place called Nazareth at that time. Once the Christina church was established, the renamed another town Nazareth. It doesn't appear on earlier maps.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 18 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

Jodah: Thanks I am glad you liked the hub. I never expected this to blow up the way it did. My other hubs on religion have done well, but nothing like this. Thanks for your comment and vote.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 18 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

Randy Godwin: Thanks for your comment. I'm not familiar with Lee Strobel. Pretty much every scholar who takes an objective look at Josephus thinks the mentions of Christ are forgeries. I just tried to take a fair and objective look at the evidence.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 18 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

Conpugraphd: Perhaps I should have said IF Jesus fulfilled Messianic prophecies it is because the church arranged the facts of the stories to fit the prophecies. I will have to study this topic more, but a lot of Christian apologists say Jesus fulfilled the prophecies and it seemed to me that the facts would be altered to fulfill the prophecies. Thanks for your comment.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 18 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

lawrence01: Again it seems that your sources disagree with my sources. There. was. no. Nazarth. It is not on the maps of the period. The early church changed the name of another town to Nazareth. Have you researched this?

Let me revisit your claim that there is no record of Jesus because he wasn't important enough at the time. As I recall the bible story, the powers that be made a great effort to capture Jesus. They bribed Judas to betray him. I don't know what 30 pieces of silver was worth, but it sounds like a lot of money. The kind of money that would be paid for someone important. The kind of money that would be paid for someone worth keeping a record of. It is just not reasonable to say that there is no record of Jesus because he wasn't important enough to write anything about him. Or maybe the whole Judas story is false, but that is a whole 'nother can of worms.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 18 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

Randy Godwin: I mentioned this in another comment, but I will repeat it for you. Why would Josephus who wrote volumes of history mention Jesus once or twice in passing, but never give one detail about his life, about his life--his teachings, his followings, his trial and execution? He either knew of Jesus or he didn't. I don't think he did.


lawrence01 profile image

lawrence01 18 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

Catherine

I'll have to check out the thing about Nazareth. There was a small town on the site in the first century BC but I'm not sure if that was the name.

Scholars also used to deny Capernaum existed but archaeology has confirmef it did so I'll need to check it out.

As for the "powers that be" if you read the account it was the Jewish religious authorities that did all that. It was only when they wanted Jesus executed they took him to Pilate.

The Romans were actually pretty tolerant of the Jews and allowed them a lot of freedom they didn't give to others but since the death of Herod the Great they took away from Judea the right of capital punishment and thats what the Jews were after at that point. Thet wanted Jesus dead!

Lawrence


lyoness913 profile image

lyoness913 18 months ago from Overland Park, KS

I have a really difficult time, and I am not trying to sound condescending or crabby or any of those things- but I have a very difficult time with people who take the bible as the 'Word of God.'

Jesus may or may not have existed. However- I don't understand why people just don't seem to realize that MEN created Christianity. Let's just say what the council of Nicaea was- it was a bunch of men who wanted to set rules for how to control the general public by fear, and using Jesus, God and 'The Bible' helped them established rules which later leads to numerous deaths, wars, and making sure women were not given any sort of power and reverence. It was affluent men trying to control the world and make the beautiful pagan rituals 'evil' so all the focus would be on women having to be virgins and pure. I know this is in layman's terms to a fault... but come ON. I am not a fan of sheeple. I wish that people would do the research instead of following things blindly. The power is not in religion- Religion is powerful BECAUSE it does not promote research and education. I felt guilty for years when I questioned anything in the bible- but I really wish more people would just look at religion with a bit of common sense- and do some research. OK rant over. :)


lawrence01 profile image

lawrence01 18 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

Lyoness913

Everyone is entitled to their opinion. As for this hub, the debate here is whether Jesus really existed. I think its obvious who takes which view but on whether its the word of God (the Bible) thats not being debated here.

By the way I agree about doing the research

Catherine

I did a little checking about Nazareth and it was obliterated by the Assyrians in 700BC but could have been a village (my sources say it was a tiny hamlet) of around 2-400 but not any bigger.

Lawrence


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 18 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

lawrence01: Did you use church sources?Because my sources say the early church doctored the map and took a town with a similar name and changed it to Nazareth. .


Hazel Abee profile image

Hazel Abee 18 months ago from Malaysia

This is an interesting topic .. even though I am not a Christian I was raised to believe in him and Virgin Mary, thanks to my mother.

Another thing that she thought me was 'whatever', stop wasting time in analyzing the existence of any 'religious' related figures. As a born Hindu we have many such 'characters'. Raised in a Muslim country, we are daily exposed to Muslim religious aspects of life. Friends with Chinese we are exposed to Taoism and Buddhism.

She just said, take all the good of all this beautiful characters, Krishna, Jesus, Mary, Mohamad, Buddha .... and live a beautiful moral rich life


Rachel Ann 18 months ago

Basically I'm of the opinion that the myth was created from earlier myths, from a few people who lived in about the time of his supposed birth(though they may have been separated by decades) from twice-told tales.

That's how most myths are made.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 18 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

Hazel Abee: I appreciate your comment. I think you have a healthy approach too religion. Don't take it too seriously, but put the good you get from it to use in your daily life. Rituals, customs, culture, and community help us to live a rich full life. I was looking at the Bible stories as a historian, trying to learn which parts are history and which parts are myth.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 18 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

Rachel Ann: It's like the old saying "There's nothing new under the sun." Each era build on the era that preceded it. Some things are retained, some things are dropped, some things are added. Then the whole batch is stirred up to serve the needs of the current era. Religion is being reinvented right now I think--away from the worship of gods and towards a moral philosophy based on a scientific understanding of the universe.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 18 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

Compugraphd: Thanks for explaining the male/female aspect of G-D. I always appreciate learning something from my readers.


Raymond Moon 18 months ago

I notice you quote Reza Aslan, not a noted scholar on this subject. If you want good references to the historicity of Jesus, may I suggest A Marginal Jew, by John P Meier, S.J. or Who Is Jesus, by Robert Rousch, S.J. (yeah, I know, two Jesuits, but top in their field of Biblical Scholarship and History.)


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 18 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

Raymond Moore: Thank you for commenting and for the book recommendations. I did not quote Reza Aslan--I only mentioned his book in passing to show the diversity of opinion concerning the historical Jesus. I advise people to read widely including the works of people who come to conclusions they might not agree with and then decide for themselves.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 18 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

rjbatty: Comments shouldn't be longer than the hub they are commenting on. You have enough material here to write a hub. Let me know when you are ready to post your hub and I will delete this comment so as to avoid duplication problems for you.


lorddanielossy profile image

lorddanielossy 18 months ago

JESUS existed and has always been.You should read the lost book of enki by Zechariah sitchin,if you know the past life that he has pre- existed then you can have more knowledge.


jan 18 months ago

jesus existed I you will never be able to prove it because it a matter of faith blessed are the ones who can not see but belivee


jBM 18 months ago

lorddanielossy, is this really your evidence for jesus? I have to say, it is actually worse than lawrence01's claims in his hub, that he refuses to defend.

The Lost Book of Enki: Memoirs and Prophecies of an Extraterrestrial god, Bear & Company, 2001, ISBN 1-59143-037-2

Zecharia Sitchin (Russian: Заха́рия Си́тчин) (July 11, 1920 – October 9, 2010)[1] was a Soviet-born American author of books proposing an explanation for human origins involving ancient astronauts. Sitchin attributes the creation of the ancient Sumerian culture to the Anunnaki, which he states was a race of extraterrestrials from a planet beyond Neptune called Nibiru. He believed this hypothetical planet of Nibiru to be in an elongated, elliptical orbit in the Earth's own Solar System, asserting that Sumerian mythology reflects this view.

Sitchin's ideas have been rejected by scientists and academics, who dismiss his work as pseudoscience and pseudohistory. His work has been criticized for flawed methodology and mistranslations of ancient texts as well as for incorrect astronomical and scientific claims.


jBM 18 months ago

CatherineGiordano, I added your article in our research:

Research Articles, Evidence and Videos that Prove a Historical jesus, NEVER Existed http://tmblr.co/ZkpfQtmSTwHN


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 18 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

jBM Alien astronauts were a big fad in the 60's or maybe the 70's.The evidence for these aliens is about on par with the evidence for the existence of Jesus. This is the first time I have heard the two stories connected. Thanks for linking to me and for helping me debunk those who want to prove me wrong.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 18 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

Lawrence and jBM: Maybe the debate has just run its course. Sometimes you just have to walk away.


rjbatty profile image

rjbatty 18 months ago from Irvine

Suggested reading:

The Power of Myth by Joseph Campbell

The Undiscovered Self by Carl Jung.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 18 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

batty: Thanks for the book recommendations. Those are two classic books that everyone should read.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 17 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

I can explain both evolution and the big bang theory as can most educated people. Perhaps not as well as an evolutionary biologist or an astrophysicist, but I understand the basic concepts. What I don't understand is what you are talking about. I also don't understand what this has to do with the topic we are supposedly discussing which is the historical evidence concerning Jesus Christ.


Randy Godwin profile image

Randy Godwin 17 months ago from Southern Georgia

I don't know any atheist leaders, Lawrence. And like Catherine, I can understand basic evolution and the Big Bang theory. One merely has to want to enough.


lawrence01 profile image

lawrence01 17 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

Catherine

You're right that I am 'off topic' but it was to make the point that the atheist will ignore the evidence when it suits them. I used those topics as to believe them is to deny all known laws of science just the same way that to deny Jesus existed is to deny all the wealth of historical evidence!

I can understand someone who has doubts about who he was and can appreciate the person who accepts he may have been just a man (a miracle working faith healer as Bart Eherman says) but to deny evidence because it doesn't fit is what I see many atheistd doing with all three and thats why I linked them!

Hope this helps to explain the strange way my brain works .

Lawrence


lawrence01 profile image

lawrence01 17 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

By the way if you don't agree with me about the laws of science that they break then visit my hubs called 'Creation Myths?' They are in three parts but I list the sciences that the big bang and evolution trash. So far no scientist has disagreed with me even though quite a few have read them!


alexadry profile image

alexadry 17 months ago from USA

This was a very interesting read, I have been questioning this for quite some time, and this Hub helped me better understand some things I was wondering about. Voted up , interesting and helpful.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 17 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

alexadry: Thank you so much for your comment. it is immensely gratifying when someone tells me that my hub has helped them and/or answered their questions. If you haven't already read them, you might want to check out some of my other hubs about religion.


AsphaltCowboy 17 months ago

happy fathers day to all who are fathers! response

I thank you Catherine for your response. So my question to you is Can you back up your statement with any facts or evidence? I will stand by statement that there has been no one to this day who has ever shown the bible to be contradictory in nature. What is it about God that so offends you? Is it the fact that there is a creator of all things that has created you and your life? I would like to see your response.

Randy- To say we as believers don't think through is ingenious on your part. His word is an obvious dislike on your part. becaise you don't believe in something randy,does not make it not true. Exodus 33:18 says I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy to whom I will show mercy."--- Who are we to question the Creator of all things who knows all things? How would you randy,respond to your 2-yr old (an example) if they questioned you constantly on the rules you set for them- I mean constantly- woiuld you not in a moment finally say "I am your father,it is not for you to question me,but to do what


AsphaltCowboy 17 months ago

I'm sorry my last post was posted before I corrected my typos for example the word ingenuous should really be disingenuous. the five major religions recognize Jesus as a historical figure not in the same way as Christians do but nevertheless as walking on this earth. Can either one of you, give any factual evidence as to why you think Jesus was a myth.I am signing off for now as I see my comments are being moderated by the author, but I leave you with this: the beautiful thing about the doctrine of election - this basically says it is entirely God bring salvation to a person and no one person has any part of that - it is available to the most wicked of men!I must pick up my father as we are going to spend the day together I'm going to take him to a baseball game you know my father knows Jesus and his head but my father refuses to give his heart over to the Lord, you know something Satan knows the word of God better than anyone here on earth, but yet he is not a believer. God bless you all and may the spirit of the most high come upon each one of you


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 17 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

Asphalt Cowboy: I gave one example of a biblical contradiction right in the hub. Did you read the hub before commenting? I said two of the gospels give different dates for the birth of Christ. They differ by 10 years. As for the others, just google it. I know that there are thousands of contradictions. You ask for evidence about my claims. I wrote 2000+ words of evidence. Did you read any of it? What specifically do you find to be factually wrong? (Key word: factually.)

I am not offended by God. I don't know why you think I am. I simply reported facts as best as they can be known. I actually think an all-loving God would be wonderful. There just isn't any evidence that it is true. This essay didn't say anything about God. It was about whether or not a certain man, referred to as Jesus Christ, ever lived on Earth.


lawrence01 profile image

lawrence01 17 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

Catherine

Coming back to the 'contradiction' you mention its clear your source hasn't done their homework as the one in the hub deals with the difference in Matthew and Luke's birth narrative.

Qurinius was consul for 'Syria' from 12 BCE and as such was Herod's superior! Herod was out of favor with Augustus and its quite likely he was told what to do and TOLD TO LIKE IT!!

According to Philo of Alexandria he even had his youngest son murdered five days before his own death in 4BCE because of a prophecy that he was about to be deposed by him!

After Herod Archaelus (another son) took over Judea but was so unpopular Rome had to step in around 6 AD.

There are those who disagree with the timeline but you can't call the fact they disagree a contradiction!

By the way you can Google this info and you'll find it.

Lawrence


AsphaltCowboy 17 months ago

Wanted to share this snippet from a book review the title is: No meek messiah, author claiming Jesus didn't exist, articles goes on to say " most historians dismiss it.

Biblical scholars Gary Habermas and Michael Licona have collated and analysed over 3,400 scholarly works and articles that have been written on the historical claims surrounding Jesus' life since 1975, so as to determine what are the minimal facts of history which all serious historians agree on," Edwards explains.

"Their work demonstrates that virtually every serious historian, whether Christian, atheist, agnostic or otherwise acknowledges the following three minimal facts about Jesus Christ: (1) that he died by crucifixion, (2) that his disciples genuinely believed that Jesus rose from the dead and appeared to them on a number of occasions; and (3) that the early church exploded in numbers soon after Jesus death."

While Paulkovich dismisses Christianity as "a very minor and inconsequential cult founded late in the first century," and Jesus himself as "nothing more than oral legend", Edwards maintains that modern scholarship is concerned not with Jesus' existence, but rather his resurrection.

He points to the "absence of any compelling naturalistic explanation for these agreed minimal facts of history," that is, the life, death and ministry of Jesus, that has led many academics to "seriously consider the evidence for the resurrection".

"For example, Oxford Professor Richard Swinburne in his book 'The Resurrection of God Incarnate' writes that it is 97 per cent probable, based on a Bayes Theorem probability analysis of the agreed facts of history, that Jesus Christ really did rise from the dead," Edwards says.

"Even Time Magazine, in an article published last year, acknowledged that this Jewish carpenter from Nazareth has left a bigger historical footprint in the world than any person who has ever existed."


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 17 months ago from England

Hi, just had to read this, it was 'right up my street' as they say over here in England! lol! I know where you are coming from on this, but we have to take into consideration the Nag Hamadi scrolls that really go into detail about Jesus and Mary, Peter and Thomas, in fact they more or less admit Jesus and Mary were married, but to be honest that to me, is obvious anyway, lets face it all Jewish people got married early, Jesus is no exception, the church know this its just easier to say he wasn't! but yes I do believe he existed, died on the cross? no, unconscious, survived for a few years after, but definitely real, great read!


lawrence01 profile image

lawrence01 17 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

Nell

The Nag Hammadi texts you talk about are fourth century and the two that claim Jesus was married are literally no bigger than a mobile phone. They do exist but the stuff they indicate is really flimsy. You can find the details about them by googling "The gospel of Jesus wife"

Hope this helps

Lawrence


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 17 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

lawrence01: I shouldn't be surprised at your response, but I am. Nell Rose says Jesus existed. However she added he was married. Because of that second statement you reject her evidence as flimsy; yet when you are making a case for your beliefs you cite even flimsier evidence. So in order to reject Nell's evidence about the marriage of Jesus; you have to reject her evidence for the existence of Jesus also. What's the big deal if Jesus was married or not? According to the Bible, Jesus was supposed to live like a man on earth and getting married is part of that.


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 17 months ago from England

Thanks lawrence, I have them all printed off in my office, I think I just presumed about the marriage, but it does make sense, I don't trust the Catholic church to tell the truth, not back then anyway, but thanks, nell

Thanks Catherine :)


lawrence01 profile image

lawrence01 17 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

Catherine

What I meant was of the 5,600 Greek manuscripts and fragments (plus 9,000 Latin ones dating from the late first century onwards for the Greek and fouth century for the Latin) only two mention Jesus being married!

Maybe using the word "flimsy" was a bit strong as we just don't know.

Lawrence


Hastrup 17 months ago

The claim that Jesus did not exist is not convincingly demonstrated in this article. If he did not exist, and Paul had no real knowledge of him, where did the all the early Christians come from? Why were they willing to give up their lives for their beliefs, which many of them historically did?

You claim that Paul knew no one who had met Jesus, but Paul in his letters mentions meeting with some of the disciples who had traveled with Jesus, in particular Peter, one of the 12 disciples of Jesus. He also had a long and somewhat contentious relationship with the Jerusalem Christians, who were led by James, a brother of Jesus, and he records meeting with them. He even records sending money to the church in Jerusalem.

There was a real effort to collect the teachings of Jesus, and these resulted in the Gospels of the New Testament, as well as others that did not get offically sanctioned. Yes, they are collections of oral tradition, and the details vary as oral traditions tend to do. The emphasis of the stories may vary depending on the intended audience, but that does not make them a hoax, it's just the difference between oral story telling and modern journalism. Although sometimes it's not all that different.

Why is it easier to believe that it was all a hoax, rather than accept the existence of Jesus, a Jewish Rabbi who spread a positive message about the Kingdom of God, much of which was remembered by his followers and later recorded. In today's culture where everything is recorded to the extreme, it's easy to dismiss oral traditions, but these were largely illiterate people and there were no cell phones to record actual events as they happened.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 17 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

Hasrup: Thanks for your thoughtful comments. The problem with oral traditions is that they quickly become tall tales. When the epistles and the gospels, all of which were written from 100 to 400 years after the time when supposedly Jesus lived, are put in chronological order according to when they were written, there are more details of his life in the later ones than the earlier ones, suggesting that "facts" were being added. When you put that together with all the similarities in the story of Jesus and the stories of earlier mythic heroes, it very strongly suggests that the oral traditions of Jesus are just the same myths retold. Why was Jesus added to these myths? There is no record to tell us.


AsphaltCowboy 17 months ago

Catherine I haveto strongly disagree with your last comment there is historical evidence that the first gospel was written 30 years after Jesus was on this earth. Jesus is a myth? how do you account that the five major religions all recognize Jesus as walking on this earth? Are they all wrong? what evidence can you producethat shows us that Jesus was notwalking this earth?and one of your earlier post geared towards my response a couple of weeks ago you said you had no problem with God. by denying Jesus Christ his son, His only begotten Son?, you are in fact telling us that God is a liar the central theme of the Bible is the resurrection of Jesus Christ.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 17 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

AsphaltCowboy: You will have to show me your evidence for the first gospel being written only 30 years after Jesus' death. I did a lot of research and I never saw that even from Christian sites. God is not a liar; people are liars or in some cases untruth tellers because they don't know the truth. (Also since God does not exist, he can't tell lies.) Once nearly everyone on Earth thought the Earth was flat and that turned out not to be true. Once most doctors thought blood-letting would cure disease and that turned out not to be true. Popularity does not equal truth. Yes, all the religions could be wrong. I won't say they are wrong because I can't prove that a person by the name of Jesus never lived. I just say it is unlikely and I provide the reasons to back up that conclusion.


lawrence01 profile image

lawrence01 17 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

Catherine

I can see the debate rages on. As for your point about the gospels being written more than thirty years after Jesus' death I suggest you look for John Robinson's "Redating the New Testament" its an old book (1970s) and he's pretty liberal but he argues that the fact the entire New Testament doesn't make one reference to the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem (as a past event) indicates the entire NT wad written before 70AD

Check his stuff out and see.

Lawrence


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 17 months ago from The English Midlands

One could argue that these items indicate that the NT was written after the destruction of the temple:

Matthew 24:2

And He said to them, "Do you not see all these things? Truly I say to you, not one stone here will be left upon another, which will not be torn down."

Mark 13:2

And Jesus said to him, "Do you see these great buildings? Not one stone will be left upon another which will not be torn down."

Luke 19:44

... and they will level you to the ground and your children within you, and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not recognize the time of your visitation."

Luke 21:6

"As for these things which you are looking at, the days will come in which there will not be left one stone upon another which will not be torn down."

http://bible.knowing-jesus.com/topics/Destruction-...


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 17 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

Trish: Thanks for jumping in. lawrence01 says there are no mentions of the destruction of the temple. You find the mentions and then he says there are mentions of the destruction of the temple, but the are prophesies of future events. maybe they were written as if they were about futures events so that there would be a prophecy that was fulfilled. maybe the statements are vague enough to fit any event.

I try to avoid getting into these arguments because they are a game of whack-a-mole. Slap it down and another pops up. It's exhausting.


RM 17 months ago

The name Jesus, in the 1st century CE, in Roman dominated Judea, is a linguistic impossibility. The letter J did not exist until the 15th Century of the Common Era. Aramaic, the language of the Jews in Iron Age Judea has NO VOWELS AT ALL. It would be just as improbable as finding the words "Hyundai Sonata" in any of the Sephardic Torah scrolls, or Dead Sea Scrolls. Never happened, never will. So NO. NO ONE was named 'jesus christ' during the Bronze or Iron Ages of the middle, near or far east, nor in europa. The name is a complete and total ficttion, a fraud, a put up, a spoof, a l i e.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 17 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

RM: Thanks for your comment. I haven't studied linguistics or Aramaic or Hebrew or Greek so I can't confirm or deny your comment, but I have heard others make this same claim. Perhaps a different letter was used for the same sound as in Yeshua for Joseph and it later came to be spelled with the "J."


lawrence01 profile image

lawrence01 17 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

RM

Right there. The name "Jesus" us the Greek version of "Yeshua". They didn't write the vowel sounds on the letters as you say (same practice as classical Arabic which also didn't have them written until about the 1400's but don't tell the Muslims that as they get really upset at the idea the Qur'an might have changed!)

The consequence of this is the name translated LORD (YHWH) we actually have no idea how it was pronounced (the rabbis considered it too holy to be spoken by man).

"Christ" was also a title not a name! Its jewish equal is "Ha meshiach" "The Messiah (title not a name!!)

Hope this helps


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 17 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

Thanks lawrence01. As I suspected the "J" argument was just someone on the other side of the debate being over zealous in his search for proof. I didn't use his argument so no need to revise anything on my part.


Nelson Muhirwa 17 months ago

I don't want to engage into a discussion whose motives remain unclear to me but all I know and strongly stand by is that :

1) Nobody on this planet can understand the matter of religious beliefs without being inspired by the same diety portrayed in those beliefs.

2) Whatever I don't know I cannot say that it doesn't exist or it didn't exist because I'm not omniscient.


Observer 17 months ago

Catherine: Both in your article and responses, I applaud the fact that you seem to be conscious of inconclusiveness of your conclusions. Do you and many others in this discussion realize that the philosophical presuppositions underlying the researcher's investigation and methodology matter much as do historical facts being looked for? Lacking in most contemporary historical investigations is a consideration of the researcher's own narrow conception of the nature of the evidence and, with that, methodology appropriate to that kind of investigation. This same cognitive fault has blinded many researchers like you from seeing manifold evidence for the historical existence of Jesus of Nazareth. You are right, "None are so blind as those who refuse to see."


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 17 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

Observer: There is always researcher bias in any attempt to learn the truth of things. I started this essay without a conclusion in mind, and then I read widely trying to find objective sources that represented a wide range of viewpoints, including religious viewpoints. Then I formed my own conclusions. Thank you for your comment.


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 17 months ago

Subscriptions , showing right at the end of Matthew’s Gospel in many different manuscripts , stipulate that the account was penned around the eighth year after Christ’s ascension ( c . 41 C .E . ) . This is certainly not at variance with internal attestation . That simply no acknowledgment was made to the fulfillment of Jesus’ prediction regarding Jerusalem’s devastation would undoubtedly alludes to a time of writing earlier than 70 C .E . ( Mt 5 :35 ; 24 :16 )

The testimony of the primitive Church Fathers , such as that of third-century theologian Origen , furthermore implies that the apostle along with other eyewitness attest that Matthew was the very first to compose a Gospel . Origen outlined : “The first is written according to Matthew , the same that was once a publican , but afterwards an apostle of Jesus Christ , who having published it for the Jewish converts , wrote it in the Hebrew .”


Kalamaikai 17 months ago

Jesus exists because many have a fixation of him in their mind. Many have been told repeatedly to have faith in Jesus. Many attend church to instill that faith. Many folks use that faith in ways that are beneficial to their fellow man. Others use that faith to take advantage of/control their fellow man. Whether or not a man called Jesus of the bible exists can be debated forever. Enough evidence exists to show that it is the intent of the writers of the New Testament to mold a better world than what existed at the time. If they had to make up a messiah, they did.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 17 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

Kalamailai: People could still Jesus even if he is made up. They should still know whether or not there is any truth to the story. Santa Claus does good. People give and get presents. He makes people feel happy. but no one but little children believe that he really exists. Thank you for your comment.


jonnycomelately profile image

jonnycomelately 17 months ago from Tasmania

Catherine, this is one hell of a hub! Great thinking and it's getting plenty of attention. Much of the arguments are new to me but fit my perceptions well. Thank you.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 17 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

jonnycomelately: Thank you for your praise. This piece is definitely getting a lot of attention. I did work really hard on it.


Ta-Iset profile image

Ta-Iset 17 months ago from Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Hi Catherine, thank you for this article. It is wonderful and refreshing to read real hard facts.

To the Christians that are mad at her for facts that can't be proven wrong. How about you YouTube some documentaries about Christians who went to Isreal to find the tomb where Jesus apparently rose from. They followed real accounts from the Bible itself of where he was supposed to of been. They found nothing. Sorry to say but if he was so loved his followers would of left flowers offerings pottery, something and there would be a huge shrine where his tomb was.

In other religions, like Osiris for example they have an actual tomb, it's empty but it's a living place where his followers go to see his coffin. Also there are emerald tablets written by Thoth the God of writing and wisdom. Where are the stone tablets of the ten commandments?

Sorry to rearoff topic Catherine but iI had to ask that to the ones denying what you provided. You're right there would be SOMETHING to prove he was real. And might I add that even when Alexandria was destroyed by Christians those emerald tablets survived, the tomb of Osiris survived, along with the pyramids, and most of the Egyptian culture religion, customs, and beliefs.

Christians get so defensive because they know there's nothing but one book. It's sad, and yet i feel they have the strongest faith I've ever seen. Who could follow even with all the evidence against it? Good job Christians.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 17 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

Thank you so much for yur lovely comment and thank you for letting me know you liked my hub and providing additional support for my thesis. I did not know about the things you mentioned. Talk about refreshing. It is refreshing for me to have someone praise my work. It gets exhausting having to deal with so much negativity.

Stay tuned. I hope to publish a follow up to this essay tomorrow. It will deal with some of the so-called evidence from early historians.


lawrence01 profile image

lawrence01 17 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

Ta-iset

I suggest you keep reading up on this as the doco you mention has been extensively refuted (it was a James Cameron piece of sensationalism).

My hubs "Jesus, fact or fiction", " The gospels, can we trust them?" And in tge footsteps of the Apostles deal with different aspects of this hub and put the other side.

Lawrence

By tge way why would there be a shrine? He's risen!


Ta-Iset profile image

Ta-Iset 17 months ago from Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

I doubt that you know what I'm talking about, because if you did, you would know that if they refuted it, than your bible must not have true accounts. They followed everything the bible stated about where he grew up, which wasn't a real town in his time, and where he supposed to of died. Where the tombs were, and they couldn't find anything from him, nothing with his name, nothing with his followers coming to visit where he was. I have to add also didn't Mary Mangdalin (I think I misspelled her name) Visit his tomb 3 days after his death? so there was a shrine, but no one can seem to find it, or reference to it, or anything.

I think you have a small case of ignorance.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 17 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

lawrence01: Thanks for your input.


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 17 months ago from The English Midlands

'Nazareth' is such a problem, isn't it? Is this really where he supposedly came from? Did such a place exist in any form at all in those days?

The reference to Al Nasaraya is very interesting but I wonder why, in my reading, I haven't come across it before in this connection??? Intriguing.

What I keep reading is that Jesus was not 'of Nazareth' but 'the Nazarene'. I don't know, because I cannot read the earliest examples of the Bible that are available - and no-one has the earliest versions there ever were, anyway.

I'd like to know what all the experts really think about this.


ErlendM profile image

ErlendM 16 months ago

Just a quick comment. I enjoyed your article (though disagree with a lot of what you say, but, well , that is life), but I think you are misleading your readers in saying "some Biblical scholars say Jesus existed, others do not". To my knowledge, out of the thousands of qualified Biblical and Ancient historians who have a University position none, yes zero, argue this. Barth Ehrman gives a good introduction to this at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o4q3WlM9rCI . Fitzgerald is, I doubt by anyone's reckoning, a scholar. I am responsible leading a tutorial for first year University students on how to evaluate sources. When talking about pseudo-scholarship I get them to work through and critique two books- one is McDowell's "Evidence that Demands a Verdict" and the other is Fitzgerald's self-published "Nailed". Actually on your point on their being lots of contemporary records, but none regarding Jesus you might like to read my brief critique of Fitzgerald: http://classicaltimeline.co.uk/?page_id=3723


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 16 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

ErlendM: Thanks for your comment. I began this research with an open mind and went where the evidence led me.

There are several reasons why no professors at major universities hold thse views. It is a relatively new hypothesis since in the past research was funded by the church. You won't get a job at a university or you will be let go if you espouse this unpopular view. If you have tenure, you won't get research grants, or get published, or get asked to speak, etc. if you hold this unpopular view. Many probably prefer to keep their head down for the good of their career.

I have heard criticisms of Fitzgerald. I do not quote him and I have not read him. I included him to show the range of opinions on the subject. I will read your critique.

I think scholars should continue to debate this issues.

In any event I don't say Jesus existed or did not exist. I just say there is no evidence that he existed.


jonnycomelately profile image

jonnycomelately 16 months ago from Tasmania

@ErlendM: When you are associated with a "School of Divinity, History and Philosophy," how would you dare to say anything that is not biased towards what your peers and your Dons expect you to say?

I am not qualified to enter the discussion "Did he or did he not exist," in regards to that person Jesus. My bias is against the supposition we need to heed the words of an ancient man, who it is claimed lived so long ago in circumstances so different from ours today.

But, of course, there is the religious mind that tries to put itself over as scientific. And there is the atheist mind that tries to address reality. "Never the two shall meet?"


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 16 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

jonnycomelately: Thanks for your support. I know the "absence of evidence is not evidence of absence" theory but it works in reverse too. If someone says Jesus existed, shouldn't they have some evidence to support that claim?

We have more evidence for the flying spaghetti monster.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 16 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

I don't know why everyone says the goddess Athena is a myth. There are temples with her name on them. And statues. and she got a lot of press in her day.

The above is said tongue in cheek, but also to point out we have more evidence for Athena than for Jesus Christ.


ErlendM profile image

ErlendM 16 months ago

jonnycomelately:

I am in a history department at one of the leading secular Universities in the United Kingdom, so I do not understand your question at all. The "Divinity" part of the department indicates that we also study Christian history- which is not surprising given the huge influence it has had over the West. If you must know one of our scholars is Steve Mason, who mythicists like to cite because he argues that the book of Acts was made in the second century, and plagarized Josephus (again the idea that scholars are constrained to only say palatable things to the church is wrong). In our first year course on the historical Jesus the assigned text (because it is extremely useful) is Carrier's "Proving History". As far as I know we are the first University to have the course text book for a course by a proponent of mythicism. So I have a knowledge and appreciation of this position. So what do you mean "how would you dare to say anything..." ? That is really far too strong a tone, let alone one that has no bearing on reality! Otherwise thank you for the welcome.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 16 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

Thanks once again for your comment. I don't think jonnycomelately meant to be insulting; he just made some generalized observations. I'm glad to hear your university encourages thinking "outside the box" and uses Carrier's text. (Carrier has a few Phd's, but he is not a professor at any college. maybe they will next want to use his other book, "On the Historicity of Jesus.")

You don't have to be particularly brave to say the Josephus passage is a forgery. Based on my research, that is a widely accepted idea going back for centuries.


Jean Bakula profile image

Jean Bakula 16 months ago from New Jersey

Hi Catherine,

You were brave to write these pieces on what I used to call Jesuspages when I first began writing here. People used to copy whole groups of scriptures from the Bible, and I thought it broke the "duplicate content" rule. I don't know your taste in reading (although I read The Passover Plot a long time ago). But if you like fiction, The Maeve Chronicles are hysterical.

Maeve is a young Celtic maiden who meets Yeshua in Bard school near the British Isles, during his years unaccounted for in the Bible. She gets to know him as a real person, and her observations, and their life long love affair, are very interesting. I think he was the most psychic man who ever lived, and a revolutionary for his message of love, but just a man.

He felt he had a mission, but was haunted by that almost until his death, and so she was parted from him most of the time. A lot of research went into the books, there are four, so it's not like a Da Vinci code. Anyway, best of luck to you.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 16 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

Jean Bakula: How exciting to see your mention of The Passover Plot. I read it decades ago shortly after graduating from college. It may have shaped my thing about religion. It was fiction but a very plausible account of how things might have happened. I read a similar book about Moses and the Exodus, but I can't recall the name.

The Maeve book sounds like a historical romance novel. I assume Yeshua was portrayed as psychic revolutionary in the book. sounds like a fun read.

I kind of stumbled into writing about religion. I think it is like a fascinating puzzle to try to figure out what really happened.

The JesusPages is a itty and funny way to describe people who lacked the ability to produce original content and so just copied out the Bible. .


Charito1962 profile image

Charito1962 16 months ago from Manila, Philippines

Hello, Ms. Catherine. Thank you, first of all, for presenting such interesting insights here.

But no matter what the scholars say, I firmly believe that Jesus Christ did exist, that He performed miracles, and that He died on the cross to save us from sin.

If not, Christianity would not have spread, and the Catholic Church would not exist today.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 16 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

Charitot1962: Thanks for your comment. If the message is appealing, it will spread. If the state puts its force behind the message, it will spread. People believe lots of things that aren't true. Islam will soon be the largest religion in the world. When Islam has more followers than Christians, do you think all the Christians must convert? If not, you have just understood the logical fallacy of "argumentum ad populum"--saying something is true because large numbers of people believe it.


Giuseppe 16 months ago

Hi Catherine, hello from Italy,

I read:

I have even heard the theory that the story of Jesus arose from a play given by a traveling theater troupe. It’s an interesting theory because it would have been a way to spread an anti-Roman message under the guise of harmless entertainment.

Can you give more info about who is the proponent of this particular version of Jesus myth theory? I am very curious.

Very thanks.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 16 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

Giuseppe: It was a theory told to me by Jay Raskin, someone I used to know slightly. He gave a presentation to a secular humanist group that I used to run. (I went through my old files from that group dating back to 2006 to find his name for you.) He wrote a book, "The Evolution of Christs and Christianities." The theory may be in there. It struck me as such a fun idea--Christianity beginning as a play. I don't know that I would put too much credence in it. His amazon bio says he moderates a Yahoo discussion group JesusMysteries and teaches at the University of Phoenix. You can probably track him down and ask him for more information.


Giuseppe 16 months ago

Thanks!

To be honest, I have thought about this:

http://www.nazarenus.com/

Did Seneca invent Jesus?


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 16 months ago from The English Midlands

I, too, read that it all might have been based on a Seneca play. Certainly an interesting idea.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 16 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

Trish M: The theory that the details of the passion of Jesus come from a play by Seneca is intriguing. There are a few mentions of this play but no extant copies. If true, it would explain a lot. Specifically, the gospel writers got their knowledge of Jesus from this play. Which leads to the next question: Was the play based on the actual person of Jesus or on Paul's vision of Jesus.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 16 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

Giuseppe: Thanks for the link to Nazarenus, a play written by Seneca. There are no extant copies, but there are some mentions of it in the works of others. This may be the play that I was referencing.


Giuseppe 16 months ago

It's intriguing but I see that prof Klinghardt (university of Dresda) argues now that the Gospel used by Marcion and marcionites (but not written by him, meaning it didn't reflect originally his 'heretic' theology) was the unique primary and independent source of ALL the other Gospels (canonical and heretical). The source Q didn't exist. Unfortunately, Klinghardt's book is published only in German (at moment).


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 16 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

Guiseppe: Thank you for providing this interesting theory. Perhaps other scholars will comment on it.


Jean Bakula profile image

Jean Bakula 15 months ago from New Jersey

Hello Catherine,

I am just getting ready to read Zealot, and wondered if anyone had reviewed it here at HP. You seem to have done a great job. Although I believe a man named Yeshua Ben Joseph existed, I don't believe in virgin births (as you said, the word has been mistranslated) and find it ridiculous he was the son of God. I don't know if you like historical fiction, but the Maeve Chronicles are a 4 book set who take place during the time Jesus is not mentioned in the Bible. He was in Bard School, near Britain/Ireland, where Joseph of Arimathea planted the bush near the first church. He was only a teen then, and a regular, but very smart and psychic person, who had relationships with women, in particular, Maeve, who grows up to be Mary Magdalene. The author, Elizabeth Cunningham, cites many research sources, and the books give what I believe to be a more accurate picture of who Jesus, the man, really was.

I saw in the thread that there was no "J" sound. Early in the Chronicles, he goes by the name, "Esus."


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 15 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

Jean Bakula: I am vaguely aware of the Maeve Chronicles. It sounds like a fun read. I'm writing fact, not fiction. This was the first article I wrote on the topic and as I do more and more research, I have become firmly convinced that Jesus story is a myth. I read Bart Ehrman's' book "Misquoting Jesus" and even tho Erhman believes Jesus was a real man, he shows how the Bible was deliberately changed over and over to suit whatever belief the forger wanted to promote. From there it is only a small step to say it is all made up. It was written as metaphor.

I think those who argue that there was no J in the alphabet are making a weak argument. That is how his name has come to be spelled in English in modern times.


suzettenaples profile image

suzettenaples 12 months ago from Taos, NM

Very interesting and fascinating write. The Bible is of course a book of faith not a book of fact even though there are many that take it as fact. You make some strong arguments for the myth scenario. But, then we are suppose to believe through faith in these stories. You are correct there are no birth records and no burial because conveniently Jesus rose from the dead. We will never know for certain, but your myth argument is a strong one.


Erlend 12 months ago

"Many biblical scholars question whether or not a historical Jesus ever existed"

Unless you have a very loose definition of "scholar" that is quite evidently not true.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 12 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

Erlend: Unless you have a very lose definition of "true," you would not accept the existence of Jesus on evidence available (which is mostly no evidence.)


ErlendM profile image

ErlendM 12 months ago

Catherine,

I think your reply to me is a bit snarky, but anyway =)

Well you could be right that my, and all other historians who have looked at this issue, are wrong, but that still doesn't alter that, unless your definition of scholar is so loose to be almost meaningless, you are misrepresenting the field.

I do think it should cause you to pause whether your arguments and sources (which looking at them again I find need to be so heavily qualified that they almost entirely loose their force) are misleading you. I am sure you have convinced yourself that you are wrong. But in this regard the company you are keeping is most accurately paralleled with creationists, global-warming deniers, 9/11 conspiracy theorists etc... etc.. that profilerate around the internet. Actually I think most of those aforementioned fields get more scholarly, secular support than the theory you are arguing for!


ErlendM profile image

ErlendM 12 months ago

Apologies to be posting twice in quick succession, and if my previous remarks came across as abrasive as I think they might have unfortunately done. There is so much that intrigues and excites me in what you have written Catherine. Details about gospel origins, textual criticism, Pauline influences, all of which (despite 11 years of academic research) find no mention in the reams of academic, secular scholarship that is produced every year.

One claim you made was this: " Indeed, Roman records show that several would-be messiahs were executed," This is remarkable. It, of course, ties in with the premise of your arguments surrounding the apparent lack of contemporary references to Jesus, that there are, well, contemporary sources from Palestine that we can look at! I have occasionally critiqued Jesus mythicists for showing a woeful understanding of the provision of ancient sources from the the times of Jesus (thereby essentially undercutting the assumption of their argument). This though is a fascinating claim you are making and offering to your audience. What Roman records about Jewish executions are you alluding to? Where can they be found?


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 12 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

ErlendM: If I was snarky, I apologize. I don't see a recent comment from you that I replied to and I can't do a search to find you comment. There are almost 500 comments.

Right now there are only a small number of scholars researching and writing about mythicism. I think this segment will grow rapidly in the next few yews because the case is so compelling. I gave some of my sources in the article itself, but since this was not written to be an academic paper, I didn't do footnotes. This is just an essay discussing ideas.

I have been doing a lot of additional research since I first wrote and this and everything that I learn convinces me even more that I got it right. I think there is not much on this topic because no one was even willing to ask the question. They always started with the assumption that Jesus existed. Try starting with no assumptions and then see where the evidence takes you. Try reading the books and writings of the scholars making these claims--they will have footnotes that you can check.

People always get upset when treasured long-held ideas are challenged. No one liked it very much when Copernicus said the Earth revolved around the sun.


ErlendM profile image

ErlendM 12 months ago

To my knowledge only Carrier would reasonably meet the criteria of scholar. Given there are hundreds of atheist, secular historians of early Christianity that is notable, and not the reality that you introduce this article with by saying "many scholars" are mythicists. (Also, if one wanted to be very strict in what is a Biblical scholar then actually Carrier would't qualify- his job is to work for an atheist advocacy group, not a University.)

I think I have tried my best to look at this topic dispassionately. Is there some merit in mythicism? Yes there is. But it is far from convincing me or many other people with an academic interest in the topic that it is the best hypothesis. Anyway, keep up the research and interest. Don't let the "hit and run" objectors get you down.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 12 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

ErleanM: This is where I most likely got the information about Roman records of crucifixions. http://www.nobeliefs.com/exist.htm There is no footnote so I don't know where the author got his information. I tried researching this further. There appears to be some who say there are records, and some who say there are no records. Some say there were records because we have references to these records, but the records themselves have not survived. (This brings us to the question of why the church did not preserve the records of Jesus' trial and execution.)

However, there is a lot of detail about how crucifixion was done. http://www.bible.ca/d-history-archeology-crucifixi...

I doubt that I have substantiated this point to your satisfaction. However, I made my case on the preponderance of the evidence, not on this one factoid. However, since I can not substantiate it, I will remove it.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 12 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

ErlandM: Carrier has degrees in ancient history. He approached the question as a historian. He began as a doubter of the mythicism theory, but his research led him to accept that it as much more probable that Jesus did not exist than that he did. I give his research more credence because he approaches it as a historian and without the biases of Christian scholars. Most Biblical scholars who research Christianity are Christian and most likely are biased.


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 12 months ago from The English Midlands

The subject of who can be considered an expert is interesting. I certainly accept that Bart Ehrmann is one (and I like his work), but I am not convinced by his definition of who can be considered one. I have written to an English expert in Roman history and archaeology and used his responses to help me with my hub about Jesus Christ / Julius Caesar but by Ehrman's narrow definition this man would not be accepted as an expert.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 12 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

Trish M: I think Erhman is very arrogant. I'm basing this on two interviews I saw him do. He is very demeaning to anyone who disagrees with him. If you have studied a subject extensively and have demonstrated mastery of the subject, I think you can be considered a scholar. P.S.: In those interviews I heard Erhman say things I knew to be untrue, and then just shout down anyone who tried to question his assertions.


tirelesstraveler profile image

tirelesstraveler 12 months ago from California

The cool thing about Jesus is what you believe about him is your choice. I am most curious about the books you cite.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 12 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

tirelesstraveler: I didn't exactly choose what to believe about Jesus. I researched the issue and went where the evidence led me. Thanks for reading and commenting.


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 12 months ago from The English Midlands

I know what you mean about Ehrman. I think that he can be a bit arrogant. Actually, I felt that he seemed rather uncomfortable discussing his book which asserted that Jesus was real. And he seemed to chang his mind on some points.

It was Ehrman's assertion that there was more evidence for Jesus than for Caesar that made me contact the English expert on Tome - and then write my hub on the subject.

I invited Ehrman to respond, but he won't consider the views of 'non-experts' - even highly-qualified ones - so he certainly wouldn't be interested in my thoughts on the subject. So, yes, I think that this might be considered arrogance :)


Mark Zima 12 months ago

What you wrote about Paul making no mention of Jesus's disciples, nor referring to Jesus as a historical man, is not true. Not only does Paul mention spending time with Peter (referred to as Cephus, both Cephus and Peter are different language renditions of "rock"), but Paul also speaks of Jesus having a brother, James:

Galatians 1: 18-20

"18 Then after three years, I went up to Jerusalem to get acquainted with Cephas and stayed with him fifteen days. 19 I saw none of the other apostles—only James, the Lord’s brother. 20 I assure you before God that what I am writing you is no lie."


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 12 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

Mark Zima: He doesn't say anything about what they told him about Jesus. Apostles means the ones who teach Christ's message. Paul was an apostle, but not a disciple (someone who literally followed Christ. In the passage you cited he refers to them as apostles. Brother may refer to a person who is part of your in-group, not necessarily a biological brother. Or it may be an interpolation added by someone at a later date. Just as a similar interpolation was made in the writings of Josephus. The passage is consistent with the conclusion that Christ was a sky-god, an angel, who this new sect was worshipping. If Paul had met people who actually walked with Jesus Christ surely they would have had stories to tell about Christ and Paul surely would have written those stories down.


Mark Zima 12 months ago

Catherine, it sounds like you are following Richard Carrier's bad arguments without questioning them. There is a good reason why Carrier hasn't swayed academic New Testament scholars.

First, the word "apostle" does not exclude disciple.

Second, context clearly rules out "brother" being used as a mere indicator of being part of an in-group. James is not called "a brother of Christ" he is called "the brother of Christ". If this was about "brothers in Christ", then he would be "a brother of Christ" not "the brother of Christ". And if this was a term about being part of an in-group, why then isn't Peter ever called the brother of Christ, or why isn't anybody else ever called the brother of Christ in any of the epistles? It is a very special indicator being "the" brother of Christ, and this is supported by the fact that, in Galatians, Peter is depicted as being intimidated by James, and reversing his stance, because James disapproves, about non-Jewish Christians being allowed to eat with Jewish Christians as Paul wants to do.

And you can't just claim an interpolation exists just because something is evidence against your thesis. That is a desperate way for one to interpret a text to come out the way one wants it to, not a compelling way.

And if you (and this also applies to Carrier whose argument you are giving) actually understood what the first chapter of Galatians is actually about, you would see that it actually explains why Paul absolutely would NOT have written down stories about Christ that he had heard from others. This takes longer to explain. I'll put something about it in my next comment (I've been losing material to Shockwave Flash crashing, so I'm going to post this much while I can).

(And, by the way, I'm an atheist not a Christian apologist. It is no skin off of my nose either way whether there was a historical Jesus or not.)


Mark Zima 12 months ago

Galatians is a hard letter to understand because it is half of an ongoing conversation. The original intended reader would know the whole conversation, but the modern reader has to try to reconstruct both sides of the conversation from the one side that we have.

Fortunately, it is possible to make a very coherent reconstruction of the full conversation, but this isn't the place for me to give a step-by-step essay explaining how to do this in a convincing manner. I'll just give my off-of-the-top-of-my-head summary of what the first chapter is about.

Paul is in a power struggle with those Christian authority figures that came before him. He wants there to be nobody that can contradict him, therefore he absolutely must not be second in rank to anybody. This is extremely important to Paul. He justifies such a rank for himself by claiming that his teaching came directly from Christ (after his death, but nonetheless directly). Because there was no intermediate person transmitting Jesus's teaching to Paul, nobody ranks above Paul (in his eyes). If Paul had any other teacher than Jesus, Paul would rank below that teacher. That's how it worked, apparently. It was a hierarchy of transmission.

In Galatians, Paul seems to be defending himself against a claim that he received teachings from some Apostle in Jerusalem who was neither Peter nor James. Paul is making his case that this claim is not true. As I said, this is important to Paul because if it was true that he received teachings from Apostles in Jerusalem, then he would rank below those Apostles, because he was their student. Paul has to admit that he met Peter and James when he was in Jerusalem, but he makes a big point that they were the only ones he met (and thus not the Apostle or Apostles that are claimed by somebody to have taught him). This is why Paul writes: "19 I saw none of the other apostles—only James, the Lord’s brother. 20 I assure you before God that what I am writing you is no lie." He is swearing a serious oath that he saw none of the other apostles. Why should that be so important that he would swear such an oath? Because--as he writes shortly before--none of his teaching come from anywhere besides Christ directly.

And, if you understand this, then you understand why Paul absolutely would NOT be expected to have acknowledged ANY transmission to him of information about the historical Jesus. That would open Paul up to claims that those who knew the historical Jesus ranked above Paul. Paul will have none of it. In his view, what he teaches are the only teachings that matter, and anyone who teaches anything to the contrary is damnable. Paul acknowledges that he did not know Christ before he died, and rather than let that make him lower in rank than those who did, he diminishes those who did and raises himself as the one whom Christ came to from after his death to teach directly, the last and therefore first-in-rank Apostle.


Kiss andTales profile image

Kiss andTales 12 months ago

The key to the list of this genealogy is the names of King David , and his son Solomon,

Did they exist is their historical proof Yes !

Notice.

Discovery of official clay seals support existence of biblical kings David and Solomon, archaeologists say

Date:

December 16, 2014

Source:

Mississippi State University

Summary:

Six official clay seals found by an archaeological team at a small site in Israel offer evidence that supports the existence of biblical kings David and Solomon. Many modern scholars dismiss David and Solomon as mythological figures and believe no kingdom could have existed in the region at the time the Bible recounted their activities. The new finds provide evidence that some type of government activity was conducted there in that period.

So what is written has been proven with no bible connection,

But what is valid is Mt 1:6 Jesʹse became father to David the king. David became father to Solʹo·mon by the wife of U·riʹah;

No reason to think that Jesus was not a descendent.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 12 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

Kiss nTales: Did you ever think that the genealogy was just made up (;ole everything else in the Bible) in order to give Jesus a lineage going back to King David. This genealogy appears no where but in the Bible.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 12 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

Mark Zima: It sounds like a reasonable explanation. So you are saying that Paul did learn about Jesus from others, but didn't want to admit it because it would lower his prestige. So you are saying he is actually lying when he swears that his words are not a lie. If he is such a blatant liar, why should we believe anything that he says.

You can't have it both ways. Either Paul knows nothing about Jesus' life or he does know but does not want to tell anyone what he knows because it would discredit his claim to have direct contact with God through revelation.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 12 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

Kiss nTales: Did you ever think that the genealogy was just made up (like most everything else in the Bible) in order to give Jesus a lineage going back to Kings David and Solomon? This genealogy appears nowhere but in the Bible.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 12 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

Mark Zima: I can't prove my interpretation of "brother of Christ" any more than you can prove yours. I have read Bart Erhman's book, "Misquoting Jesus" and he says there are more errors in the Bible than there are words in the Bible. Copying errors, mistranslations, deliberate additions and deletions, forgeries, etc. Who knows whether the word "the" was in there or not. No one can say for sure. The very earliest copies of the books of the Bible are not extant. We only have copies of copies of copies according to Erhman.

As for disciples and apostles, disciples can be apostles but not all apostles are disciples. If Paul meant the very few men who could claim the honor of having been disciples, why did he not use that term instead of apostles. Or maybe he did and it is just another one of those errors.

I think Ehrman and Carrier had very similar views until recently when Erhman seems to have reversed himself and is returning to his fundamentalist roots somewhat.


tsadjatko profile image

tsadjatko 12 months ago from maybe (the guy or girl) next door

If Jesus did not exist, it makes Christianity a much more incredible phenomena than if he did.

One day you and all those who promote doubt that he did exist will discover to your terrible dismay that he did exist, that he lives still, and that you will spend an eternity without him. Heed what he said:

"Therefore everyone who confesses Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven."

It's your choice, don't believe the lies.


jonnycomelately profile image

jonnycomelately 12 months ago from Tasmania

Now we are all shivering in fear as tsad declares his judgement!

Concerning use of the Definite Article, you will be aware that, when speaking the English language, people of the Indian subcontinent frequently omit "the" in their manner of speech.

Could it be that in translation of the bible by English scribes, they have used English English in which we are apt to use Definite Article sometimes too profusely?

Are there other languages which also imply the Definite or Indefinite article by other means within a sentence?


Kiss andTales profile image

Kiss andTales 12 months ago

Catherine if your name exist , then Jesus also exist.

I never seen you a day in my life and I never seen Jesus a day in my life .but as I witness your writtings here on Hp

It is proof of you.

The bible is also wriitings of devine origin

No man could preserve this knowledge of history on their own , human life is not long enough.

You have the choice to believe as you wish.


jonnycomelately profile image

jonnycomelately 12 months ago from Tasmania

K&T, Catherine has put up some interesting and sensible questions about what is found written in the bible. She has clearly shown where her thinking has come from and how it is influenced. The Hub is mainly a collection of questions, not so much statements of fact.

So, why do you need to bring in "beliefs" at this point? Can you not do some research of your own, then come up with references and discussions which keep to the subject matter?

If you want to hang on to your beliefs, that's fair enough. If those beliefs are strongly held, you should not be worried that they will be dislodged because, as you have so rightly stated, "You have the choice to believe as you wish."

So surely there is no need for you to worry about what others might think. We all have our choices.

It seems to me most, if not all, the arguments brought in above about "a brother" or "the brother" only come from individuals who, like yourself, have beliefs and want to simply protect those beliefs. They have no useful input to the discussion, only a perpetuation of argument.

I might be mistaken, but that's how it appears to me.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 12 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

jonnycomelately: Thank you for your comment. I wonder why K&T comes back over and over with Bible verses. Does the phrase "she doth protest too much" spring to mind?


ErlendM profile image

ErlendM 12 months ago

Catherine,

Thanks for removing that. A word of caution if I can be so bold. I could tell from some of your arguments (some now modified such as that one, and others that remain in your article) that you have been reading and trusting amateur/biased, actually often spurious, sources such as that website, or self-published atheist apologetics. Again does that mean these sources are wrong? Not necessarily, but they should be trusted just as much as Christian apologetics on science or history.

I am aware of Carrier's journey and I do not discredit it or his work- or you raising it to your readers. But there is a vast number of Biblical historians who are secular atheists. None of them have proclaimed support for Carrier. Again it doesn't mean he is wrong, but this is the fringe, the extreme fringe, of historical theories that has almost invisible support. If you still want to claim to your readers that "many" Biblical or ancient historian scholars support mythicism well that is okay I wont labour the point.

Regarding Paul, I think you might want to qualify your statement that αδελφός (brother) is used in the New Testament in a way that can mean non-biological brother. I think this is clear from a simple reading of the verses where it is utilized, i.e. it is eisegesis, not exegesis to suggest this. The expert of kinship address in ancient Greek is Eleanor Dickey, a Classical and not Biblical historian. Her doctoral thesis is "Greek Forms of Address: From Herodotus to Lucian" (Oxford: Clarendon, 1996), and she has also published KYRIE, ΔΕΣΠΟΤΑ, DOMINE: Greek Politeness in the Roman Empire,” Journal of Hellenic Studies 121 (2001): 1-11, “Literal and Extended Use of Kinship Terms in Documentary Papyri,” Mnemosyne 57 (2004): 131-76, and “The Greek Address System of the Roman Period and Its Relationship to Latin,” Classical Quarterly 54, no. 2 (2004): 494-527. Despite being the leading authorities on this topic I have never seen these works being mention in mythicist works, which is a shame for they would prevent them for making this argument. This is just one example of why professional historians who look at mythicist arguments find them, despite their bluster and energy, unsophisticated, lacking in depth, and knowledge.

Also, are you certain Paul really doesn't talk about Jesus' life?

Gal 3:16 -- Jesus was born a Jew

Gal 4:4 -- Jesus lived under Jewish Law

Rom 1:3 -- Jesus was from the house of David

1 Cor 9:5 -- Jesus had brothers

1 Cor 15:7 -- One of his brothers was James

1 Cor 15:7 -- Jesus had twelve disciples

1 Cor 15:7 -- Some of Jesus' disciples had wives

2 Cor 8:9 -- Jesus was poor

Phil 2:5 -- Jesus was a servant who acted with humility

2 Cor 10:1 -- Jesus acted with meekness and gentleness

Rom 15:3 -- Jesus didn't act on his own behalf, but was accused by others

1 Cor 5:7 -- Paul alludes to the Passion week

Rom 6:6 -- Jesus was crucified

1 Thes 2:14-15 -- Jesus crucifixion was brought on by Jewish instigation

Rom 4:25 -- Paul speaks of Jesus' death

Rom 6:4, 8:29; Col. 2:12 -- Paul talks about the nature of the resurrection.

Paul's knowledge of Jesus’s teachings:

1 Cor 7:10-11 -- About divorce and remarriage

1 Cor 9:14 -- Ministers being paid wages

Rom 13:6-7 -- Paying taxes

Rom 13:9 -- We are to love our neighbors as ourselves

Rom 14:14 -- Ceremonial cleanliness

1 Thes 4:15 -- Paul said to be vigilant in light of Jesus' second coming

1 Thes 5:2-11 -- The second coming would be like the thief in the night

1 Cor 7: 10;9:14;11:23-25 -- Paul refers to Jesus' words.


Kiss andTales profile image

Kiss andTales 12 months ago

The question was open to anyone as a posted hub.

And I contributed to an answer. Which I think is a very valid answer, what I consider and many others consider is proof is way enough, yet if you feel different as said that is respected.

But if you open a hub and ask questions about the subject of Jesus then why would you not expect and answer ? Or is it that you want to convence people to think like you, if you want people to respect your beliefs, then why mock people for their own by asking these kind of questions you do not believe in.


jonnycomelately profile image

jonnycomelately 12 months ago from Tasmania

There is no mocking from me, K&T. Only an enlightening discussion.

I am not discussing beliefs, only looking for new possibilities.

If your beliefs shield your mind from new possibilities, then why even enter the room for discussion?

In fact I believe (that word in a different context) you have put your opinions numerous times before and they don't ever change.....so we learn nothing new from you.


lawrence01 profile image

lawrence01 12 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

Interesting

I haven't been on this hub for a while so it's interesting for me to come back as see where the discussion is going!

One thing I'll pick up on though is Jonnycomelately's comment about the use of the definite article. You're right that the Englaish translations do make much more use of it than the Greek, that's simply to help make sense of the Greek as often the definite article isn't written but is implied as it is sometimes actually absorbed into the Greek word (I think the phrase is called a 'possesive participle')


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 12 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

lawrence01: Thanks for adding useful information about the use of 'the" in the Greek language.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 12 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

ErlendM: Thank you for your comments. Should I have said many scholars--it depends on your definition of many. But since it is currently a minority of scholars, I will change the word to "some."

I have read, and I don't think this claim is disputed by objective scholars, that Paul only wrote about half of the letters attributed to him. I don't know if any of your citations come from those letters that were not written by him. The letters attribute to Paul were written over a period of years. The story had started to be embellished. If Paul wrote those things, perhaps he was influenced by these embellishments. And, of course, we have to consider the massive number of forgeries, interpolations, copying errors, and deliberate, as well as accidental, insertions and deletions. I learned about this from Bart Erhman. Knowing this, even after the fantastical elements of the Bible stories are dismissed, can I trust even mundane claims made in the Bible?

I strive for accuracy in my essays. I read what atheist, apologist, and objective sources say and try to come up with the truth. It is , of course, my opinion of what the truth is. The point is I don't rely only on Carrier or other atheist sources. (By the way Carrier's book has extensive footnotes to document his case.) Now that Carrier has broken the ice, so to speak, perhaps other scholars will feel free to direct their research in the same vein. Carrier challenges people to refute him with objective evidence; I don't think anyone has.

Let's start with the null hypothesis. Christ did not exist. Can anyone prove he did? No fair using the Bible unless you have other documentation for anything in it.

I don't think we can have 100% certainty until we have time travel and perhaps not even then. We all know even eye-witnesses can get things wrong. Still maybe the time travelers could get a look at the documents that we know existed, but which have not survived. I think once the Church came to power, they destroyed anything (as much as they could) that did not agree with the official view.

I appreciate your comments.


Kiss andTales profile image

Kiss andTales 12 months ago

Jonny thank you for verifying this fact, example of a gold bar, it is solid gold with no change posible to silver, aluminum , brass, there is no other possibilities of it reality . You can call it what you want , but does the truth change , no it is solid gold. The story here is if some one gave you the gold bar , you would be in so disbelief because you could not believe that some could hand you this kind of value with no strings attached. And out of disbelief you mock the giver and say he gave me this gold bar and even calls it gold, he should have enough sense to think of another name to call it.

Well that person even shows disrepect for the gold bar how he handles it.

Does it change the gold bars reality that it is solid gold no,

Will the value change even though the one

See it different no!

The real value of the truth is worth more then gold, because its values is to keep us alive throughout eternity.

There is no greater value in anything else that is only temporary.

The gift giver of this wants others to recieve and appreciate the sacrifice it took to make this possible, surely no human could accomplish love to this degree.


lawrence01 profile image

lawrence01 12 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

Catherine

Thank you for your reply. I just want to take up a couple of points you make in the reply.

You'd be right to say Paul didn't 'write' most of his letters as the evidence suggests that his 'thorn in the flesh' was something to do with his eyes (I think its the letter to the Galatians he says "See what large letters I'm using" and he also says "you were so good to me that if you could have plucked your own eyes out and given them to me you would have") so I doubt he was up to much writing and usually dictated the letters.

This would explain some of the subtle differences in the letters.

As for the 'mistakes' and large amount of copying errors, there are quite a few, but let's remember this was 1,400 years before the printing press and 1,800 years before any kind of photocopier so there would naturally be errors, many of the scribes would have been working in their second language (not everyone spoke Greek or Latin as their 'mother tongue') but the key is that 99% of scholars are agreed that the gospels are 99% accurate (the 1% they are not sure about is the end of Mark's gospel and 100% of scholars say no major teaching of the NT is affected). The tomb is left empty and the disciples are left wondering " What just happened?"

Hope this explains a few things

Lawrence


jonnycomelately profile image

jonnycomelately 12 months ago from Tasmania

Kiss and tales, can't you take no for an answer? You are representing the worst of JW salesmanship tactics, trying to keep your foot in the door so people can't close it on you.

If you wish to engage in those sort of arguments, you are free to do so, of course. But please take them elsewhere, they are not appropriate here in Catherine's hub, in my opinion.

You know full well that I am not interested in your "message," so go away, stop bothering people, please!


Kiss andTales profile image

Kiss andTales 12 months ago

Jonny are you forgetting this is hp website.

You are in control of your computer, you do not have to read or respond to my answer

That is clear. But as an example you do not set it right telling people what to do , where to go, does that make you correct in your choice of words. I never address you in this untasteful manor . Nor do I argue but I will speak to you say to say that you are out of line telling me what to do.

What my belief is has not been mention in this subject , yet you are the one making it an issue, what example are you showing in a negative way.

If you do not want to hear what another has to say mock their words , tell them to go away. The words I share existed before my birth and yours and so far they still exist .

It is not personal with me but the true owner of the message.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 12 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

larwrence01: Once the printing press came into usage, it was much harder fr errors, deliberate or accidental, to get into the texts. I understand that the errors probably cold not be helped for the very reasons you state, but this does not change the fact that there are many many errors. What scholars are you talking about who say the Bible in 99% percent stone-cold truth? All the miracle stuff is 100% truth? Or do you mean that the Bible we have to day is 99% the way it was first written? Both of those conclusions would be totally wrong and I don't think serious scholars would make them.

Have you read my hub "Atheists in the Pulpit." many people, Bart Erhman for one, go into the seminary as true believers Then they for the first time study the Bible and the History of the Church and learn the truth. So many people have told me they were one of those disillusioned ones or their pastors have admitted to them that they don't believe it.


lawrence01 profile image

lawrence01 12 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

Catherine

Bart Eherman for one! Donald A Carson is another (Carson is evangelical). My statement was that the gospels are (scholars are sure) 99% what the original writers wrote!

If I was to include 20th century Theologians no longer alive the list would include FF Bruce, Donald Guthrie, Karl Barth.

By the way I've read some of Eherman's writing on the net and while I may not agree totally I have a new appreciatoin for him.

Yes I have read your hub Atheists in the pulpit and we did swap comments when it first came out, I basically liked and still like what it says.

Regards

Lawrence

By the way it was Bart Eherman said the Bible is 99% accurate to what was written!


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 12 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

lawrence01: We definitely muct have read different Erhman books. I read "Misquoting Jesus" and he said we have no idea what the original gospels said, and that there were more errors in the Bible than words. That sentence was such a shocker that I had to read it three time to be sure it really said that. He did.


tirelesstraveler profile image

tirelesstraveler 12 months ago from California

I've been thinking a lot about this hub. I have been studying this subject for some time. You site a rather limited number of resources on a subject that been under scrutiny for thousands of years. All your references were entirely new to me. I must examine some of them.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 12 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

tirelesstraveler: Thank you for your comment. I find the topic fascinating as I try to unravel the origins of Christianity. I'm glad to hear that you also have an interest in this topic and that the resources I cited are useful to you as you do your own investigation.


lawrence01 profile image

lawrence01 12 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

Catherine

I've been reading more of the articles he's written online, I wouldn't agree with everything he says but I do like a lot of it.

For example he says that of the 25,000 manuscripts and fragments there are 400,000 'mistakes' and mistranslations (an average of 16 per copy) I thought there were only 16,000 manuscripts and fragments!

He goes on to say that of those 'mistakes: only about .001% are serious enough to get a mention in a study Bible's footnotes and none of them affect the message of the Bible!

I got this from a site criticising him but went on to his blogsite and what I read I found fascinating as it agrees with what I just illustrated here!

He does say that there are many stories of divine beings being 'incarnated' but only one of a virgin birth-that of Jesus!

That was his latest blog

Lawrence


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 12 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

lawrence01: Only one of a virgin birth!!! That is the one of the most common elements of the myths. See my hub: "The Mythic Origin of Christianity."

Also if the "incarnations" stories are myths, why isn't the virgin birth also a myth.

I've only read one book by Erhman and he makes it clear that the Bible was willfully altered in order to conform to whatever message the current generation of Churchmen wanted it to conform to. His titles also give his thesis away. For instance "Forgeries." It seems to me Erhman is back-tracking on the claims he made in his earlier books. Maybe he has edited his websites accordingly.


ErlendM profile image

ErlendM 12 months ago

"I've only read one book by Erhman and he makes it clear that the Bible was willfully altered in order to conform to whatever message the current generation of Churchmen wanted it to conform to. His titles also give his thesis away. For instance "Forgeries." It seems to me Erhman is back-tracking on the claims he made in his earlier books. Maybe he has edited his websites accordingly."

I think you might have misread Ehrman, or taken some of his more bold statements that he then went on to significantly qualify. I know some atheists have claimed and proof-texted him to make him sound like this was his stance, but he never had this view of the transmission being so uncontrolled or fluid as has just been characteristized. No textual critic would- the evidence for that is just not there. If you google you can listen to a discussion between Ehrman and my one time teacher (and very well known textual scholar) Dr Peter Williams of Cambridge on this topic from a few years back when his "Misquoting" came out, from memory, will highlight this. Incidentally, before his book on Jesus mythcism Ehrman was proof-texted and referenced regularly by online atheists as if he was a mythicist!

If you have a genuine interest on textual criticism (aside from that radio discussion I just mentioned) there are lots of introductory books on this topic e.g. 1) Comfort "Encountering the Manuscripts: An Introduction to New Testament Paleography & Textual Criticism ", 2005, 2) Ehrman and Metzger "The Text of the New Testament: Its Transmission, Corruption, and Restoration" 2005, (by the way the use of "restoration" there is important indication of Ehrman and Metzger's views...), 3) Parker "An Introduction to the New Testament Manuscripts and their Texts". Elliot's "New Testament Textual Criticism The Application of Thoroughgoing Principles " might also be of interest to you.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 12 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

ErlendM: I don't think I misread Erhman. I think he was quite clear. I don't have time now to go and find quotes from the book so I can cite them here. I remember being shocked to read them so they have stayed in my mind. Maybe Erhman is trying to walk back his statements.


Skeletor 12 months ago

"All indications are that Paul thought of Jesus as a spiritual sky god, an intermediary between God and man, and not as an actual human being."

Totally false. I wish mythicists would stop saying this. Either they haven't actually read the writings of Paul or they have read them but they have a selective memory. Paul, most certainly, assumes Jesus the man existed.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 12 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

Skeletor: Interestingly, you deny my interpretation, but offer nothing to support your own interpretation. Paul does not tell us anything in his epistles about the life of Jesus while he was on Earth. Paul never tells any of the stories that we find in the Gospels and other parts of the Bible. Paul tells us that he founded Christianity based on a vision he had, and he specifically states that it was not based on anything he was told about Jesus. Additionally, Paul never states that he met Jesus as a live human being. Also, as you probably know, only about half of the writings that we have that are attributed to Paul are believed by scholars to actually have been written by him. So before you call my research false, please cite at least one sentence written by Paul that describes Jesus as a human being on Earth.


jonnycomelately profile image

jonnycomelately 12 months ago from Tasmania

I reason that, in the context of this discussion, what Catherine has said in opening the discussion is very relevant here.

"We cannot use the Bible as an historical reference since the Bible is what is being examined. Additionally, the Bible shows itself to be an unreliable document because it reports myth as truth, and even when dealing with known facts of history, geography, and science, it gets some of those facts wrong."

Prior to that, "....I'd like to layout the main reasons for skepticism about the existence of Jesus."

Therefore, I contend this is an objective discussion. It is not appropriate to bring in the subjective beliefs about Jesus's existence. The subjective gets more than adequate expression elsewhere in other discussions and hubs.

As a person with atheist ways of thinking, I am not against anyone having those subject views, even when I don't agree with them. But when there seems to be a fear associated with the those subjective views, the proponents tend to fight to be heard and put their views in a very forceful, argumentative manner.

It appears as a sort of philosophical bullying, in my opinion, as if no other view is going to be acceptable.

Anyway, I hope the objective assessment of Catherine's questions can continue.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 12 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

Thanks, jonnycomelately: I am also in favor of keeping the debate fact-based. Some here have made comments about a different understanding of some facts, and these comments have spurred me to do more research. I have even made some minor edits based on things I have learned in the comments. I enjoy and welcome a fact-based debate.


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CatherineGiordano 12 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

ErlendM: I have been thinking about the things you said that Paul said about Jesus Christ. Most of them refer to Jesus' character and could be as true for a celestial being as a mortal man. As for the rest, very few give concrete details. And even the vague things that are mentioned-- how did he learn these things? Paul says everything I know I know through revelation. If he wasn't an eye-witness himself and no one told him, where did these details come from? According to you he knows minutiae, like some disciples were married, but no mention of the major stories that could be true like interfering with the stoning of a woman accused of adultery. Also, are all the references you gave me from the letters that are attributed to Paul and not the ones that are generally considered to have been written by someone else?


dan 11 months ago

You could say the same thing for just about anyone of historical significance without physical proof of their existence. Our historical evidence is predicated on written, eyewitness accounts of the time. That applies to EVERYONE from history prior to the invention of photography... " Gospel accounts are very accurately transmitted from then to now. Let me illustrate something. When a Gospel was written, it was copied very carefully by scribes. Their living depended on their accuracy and competency in making copies. These copies would be disseminated throughout the Mediterranean area. So, for example, one copy of the Gospel of Matthew was sent to one area, and another copy was sent somewhere else hundreds and hundreds of miles away. Then copies of those copies would be made with the same meticulous precision. Archaeologists have uncovered thousands of such copies, and they have compared them. The New Testament documents are better than 99.5% textually pure. That means less than one-half of 1% of the copies, 5,000 of them, have any textual variation in their copying. That is incredible and far more accurate than anything dealing with Plato, Socrates, etc." [sic] Matt Slick "Is there proof Jesus existed?" So I suppose as far as believing in Jesus goes, that also goes for believing in everyone else in history as well. I personally believe Jesus was a real person, however I have my doubts about all of the accounts of his life. I hate to say it, but this article sounds a bit like revisionist history to me.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 11 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

dan: Thanks for commenting. First, the gospels wee not eyewitness reports and they are not even reports of eyewitness reports. No one knows who actually wrote them, but they appear to have been written no earlier than about 70 CE and some say later.

Second, the scribes often made mistakes, some deliberate and some accidental. Bart Erhman, a famous Biblical scholar who has written several books on the lack of accuracy in the Bible, said that there are more errors in the Bible than there are words in the Bible. (This statement astounded me--I'm not sure how he counted.) Where did you get your figure of "99.5% pure." I want to check that out to see if the source is reliable.

Also, not all copies were made by professional scribes--some were made by "volunteers."

Finally, this is not revisionist history. This is taking the null hypothesis and taking a fresh objective look at the evidence and concluding that there is nothing to prove that Jesus existed. The reasons for my conclusion are given in the essay and in the links included in the essay.

Therefore, the null hypothesis stands, Jesus did not exist. If there is new evidence, the conclusion might change.


matsterp 11 months ago

are people out there actually not knowing that christ is alive and out there i met the guy he looks like hes in his thirthies 6 foot 2 to 6 foot 5 skinny and lights act really strange and flash like crazy i met him 2 years ago and some one lady called out his name not jesus not christ but brian and this guy wasnt there from the start of where we were he came over started shaking everyones hand even came over to me saying that he loves the energy which was my mania and i was scaring alot people but any way later on i went right to him for some strange reason and he asked me do you know who i am im like nope then he said are you here to kill me im like no then he told me... bro im christ he said bro alot i said the f word in front him like alot but i wasnt my self so basically he told me i was scaring the people around me and that i shouldnt mess with free will and he would appreciate that i would go to church the next day got to talk to him for an hour very busy person handy guy cooler than any celebrity alive but the chances of meeting him are like winning the lottery but that day was filmed at school wont say which its impossible to get the film and no would post such a video of the dude


jonnycomelately profile image

jonnycomelately 11 months ago from Tasmania

Catherine, you set a good example here, by keeping an open mind to the propositions of others.

Alas, there are individuals who cannot keep such an open mind.


lawrence01 profile image

lawrence01 11 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

Catherine

Its interesting that you use Bart Ehrman like this but when you actually read what he says its quite different to what you portray!

Yes he does say 400,000 errors, but spread across 25,000 documents! That makes an average (so Erhman says) of 16 per document.

Naturally there will be more in the bigger ones but answer this, how many grammar mistakes are there in this hub and comments? and this hub is nowhere near as long as the New Testament (I know there were at least five that I corrected in this comment alone!).

If you take that into account (average of 16 per document) then dan's figures would be pretty conservative and it would be more like 99.999%

Merry Christmas

Lawrence


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CatherineGiordano 11 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

lawrence01: You say people make mistakes. I say the exact same thing. Mistakes are made all the time and the Bible is not exempt. To err is human... but the Bible is divine. You say Erhman is talking about all the mistakes made in every copy of the Bible that is extant? I'll have to find the sentence from his book I am referencing and see if that is what he meant. And I don't think that includes deliberate additions and deletions of whole passages. Also neither you nor anyone else has given me a source for your numbers so I can check them. (Objective sources only.)


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CatherineGiordano 11 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

lawrence01: I found Ehrman's quote in Wikiquotes (and many other places.) "There are more differences among our manuscripts than there are words in the New Testament." You are correct. He is referring to how many variations that are found when all extant copies of the NT are considered. The estimate is 400,000. If the same passage (or sentence, or word) has 100 variations, does that count as 1 error or 100 errors. (I don't know how he counted.) Most of the variations are minor and insignificant, but often they are major and have great significance, changing the whole understanding of the text. (Especially when whole passages are added or deleted.) In any event, no one knows what the original NT said, and going back even further, what the original manuscripts that eventually made it into the NT said when they were first written.

Every time one of these 400,000 variations is found the translator, (editor, publisher) must decide which one to accept. That's a lot of guess work.


rfm77 3 months ago

I am an atheist, and do not harbor the least belief that Jesus was divine / performed miracles / was resurrected / etc.

However, I have read Simcha Jacobovici's book and find his arguments compelling, especially the computation of probabilities of coincidence.

If he is right, we have found Jesus' tomb and his bones. I know that the archaeological community has avoided his research like a hot potato - but is it because his arguments are flawed or because nobody has the courage to handle such a topic? Is it because his methods are unscientific, or because he did not go through the peer review process?

I am asking honestly: do you know of a proper scientific review / critique / refutation of his work?

If the book is right, there was a man named Jesus, son of Joseph, who was buried in Jerusalem in the first years of the common era - and we have found his family tomb and his bones.

From this, of course, does not follow any claim of divinity, or accuracy of the gospels, etc. It is entirely possible that he was a preacher and that a cult was later built around him, after his death. The book's only claim is that we have found his bones.

What do you know about this?

Book: "The Jesus Family Tomb: The Evidence Behind the Discovery No One Wanted to Find

by Simcha Jacobovici, Charles Pellegrino"


jonnycomelately profile image

jonnycomelately 3 months ago from Tasmania

Welcome to HubPages.

It's good to see a question from an open mind - at least from the historical point of view.

I wonder what that "leader of a cult" would think of the claims made about his life today.


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CatherineGiordano 3 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

rfm77 : I have heard about this "tomb" evidence. It is a discredited claim.


rfm77 3 months ago

@CatherineGiordano Discredited how? Do you have a link to some public documents about this?


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 3 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

rfm77 Google it. I don't have the links at hand. It's a hoax and has no standing among respected Biblical scholars. Think about it. Why would Jesus have a tomb. He ascended to heaven.


rfm77 3 months ago

@CatherineGiordano The facts contradict the myth, therefore must be false. I see.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 3 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

ffm7: I guess you have no interest in actual evidence because you have apparently refused to search for it. So I did it for you. You'd rather write snarky comments than spend five minutes on research. http://www.cnn.com/2015/04/09/living/jesus-tomb-ta...


rfm77 3 months ago

My interest is precisely in actual evidence. I had searched for serious discussions of the book's claims, and I had found superficial articles like the one you posted, which jump all over the place without addressing the points raised in the book in any depth.

I was looking for at this intellectual level:

https://smile.amazon.com/gp/review/R1I7S15T66D7ES?...

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/05/world/middleeast...

http://benwitherington.blogspot.com/2007/02/proble...


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 3 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

There are articles on every side of every issue. I worked hard to find an objective source. I guess we can all just pick and choose.


rfm77 3 months ago

In the end, SI cannot prove that he has found Jesus' family tomb; no one can, even if we had the bones - because there is no way to identify the man. What he has found is a family tomb that seems period-appropriate, is certainly authentic, and has ossuaries with interesting names.

The whole argument is this: if Jesus and his extended family were buried together, their tomb would look like the one in Talpiot. I think this part holds pretty well under scrutiny. And if the people buried in Talpiot are not them, it is a remarkable coincidence, given the odds that all these names would end up together. The latter argument is missed by a lot of superficial readers who may not understand how probabilities work. They stop at noticing that each of the names is common on its own, but fail to understand the unlikelihood of finding them in the same family.

But the whole argument hinges on the names, so I wanted a scholarly discussion on how well we have read the names, and their relative frequency in the period, and which ones are recognizable from the gospels.

I got a good read out of the three links I posted. I hope other people do too, and I hope they read the book and form an opinion for themselves.


Randy Godwin 3 months ago

These were common names at the time. But correct me if I'm wrong because wasn't there also a hitherto unknown family member in the tomb as well?


rfm77 3 months ago

Yes, there was. Please read the book or get the DVD for $4 - cannot summarize it all here. They were indeed common names, but think of it this way. Let's say all the names I will mention next are part of your family. I say "I found an article on the internet about Albert - must be your father". You say "It's a very common name". "Yes, but the article also mentions Beatrice - your mother's name". "That's also a common name". "Yes, but there's also mention of Carl, Diana and Elisa, probably your cousins". How many names do you need before you conclude that this article is about YOUR family?


Avinash 3 months ago

Nice one Catherine,

Worth reading once, I have a very small suggestions thought, if possible please try to increase the font size of your website a little bit.

Its little stressful to read full article in one go for person like me. But once again for the informative article.

Thanks -

Avinash - http://iavinash.com


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CatherineGiordano 3 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

@Avinash I do not have control over the font size. You can increase the font size of anything you are reading by using the settings on your device. Thanks for letting me know that you liked the essay.


Rex Jamesson profile image

Rex Jamesson 4 days ago

Thank you, Catherine! I clicked "other" - I'm kind of in between categories. I don't think he's 100% myth, but if an actual Jesus existed who knows whether he'd have even been much of a good teacher. I guess I'm all for the 90% myth camp. The best argument towards there probably being some form of itinerant preacher/rabbi Jeshua at that time is from Bart Ehrman in a lecture. He made the point that the evangelists made such a laughable and contradictory bunch of birth narratives to either get a Bethlehem Jesus to Nazareth, or vice versa, that it speaks of an attempt to tie an actual Nazarene preacher to the legend. After all, if it was 100% made up, why not claim there was a Jesus of Bethlehem - or better yet, name him Emmanuel of Bethlehem. But was the Jesus of the gospels at all real? Again, there, I'd bet 10% at most - with Mark looking so much like Homeric fiction, and the rest borrowing from him, I'd say there's nothing there worth trusting.


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CatherineGiordano 4 days ago from Orlando Florida Author

Rex Jamesson: Thanks for taking the time to comment. I often here that Nazarene -Bethlehem argument. It is easily explained. If the myth placed Jesus in Nazarene and another variation had him in Bethlehem, then someone would have to add a new plot point to the story to get the two stories in sync. Another point: There are no records of a census being done at that time or of people having to travel back to the place of their birth for it. Thanks for making the point about Homer. I too have seen analysis of how closely the store of Jesus resembles the story of Odysseus. This book gives all the details. "The Homeric Epics and the Gospel of Mark" by Dennis McDonald. And here is some objective historical reporting about this census. Long story short. It didn't happen. https://www.webpages.uidaho.edu/ngier/census.htm

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    Catherine Giordano (CatherineGiordano)456 Followers
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    Catherine Giordano is a writer and public speaker who often writes and speaks on topics related to science, philosophy, and religion.



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