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Did Jesus Exist or Is It All a Myth?

Science, philosophy, politics, and religion are frequent topics for writer and public speaker Catherine Giordano.

Did Jesus exist or is it all a myth?

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.

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 lay out 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We cannot use the Bible as a historical reference since the Bible is what is being examined. Additionally, the Bible is 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 “Historicized 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 a 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.

Other scholars say the stories of Jesus are “historicized mythology.” They believe the stories are 100% myth, fiction, and allegory. Myths existed, and then a fictional account 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 many Jewish preachers were traveling about Bethlehem then, and their lives were made into a composite 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.

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—is all a myth. Why did I make this assumption?

The virgin birth is based on a mistranslation—the word for young woman was mistranslated as a 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. 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 a man's life, he must be larger than life. Something has to separate him and make him superior to all others, or why should he be worshipped 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 Old Testament Jewish Bible 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 prophecies.

Jesus may be just myth that has become historicalized.

Jesus may be just myth that has become historicalized.

There is No Contemporaneous Evidence of the Existence of Jesus.

Plenty of records are available to us from the time of Jesus, but none of these records reference 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, Jesus "was bigger than the Beatles during his time on Earth." 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 the 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.

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.


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?

© 2015 Catherine Giordano

I welcome your comments on this topic.

Jimmy Gibson on August 20, 2020:

Hey are you still alive you havnt been actie in like 2 years i need to know pls

ps i love jesus he is my bae

Catherine Giordano (author) from Orlando Florida on August 11, 2018:

emmanuel awuku: Thank you for alerting me to the problems in Africa I too believe that Christianity is taking advantage of people in Africa.

emmanuel awuku on August 10, 2018:

I am highly impressed by this article. Christianity has become a money-making machine in third world countries. Anyone who writes or speaks against the myth of jesus Christ is condemned and stigmatized as anti-Christ. Africans need your help. I pray that you will write more articles on the myth of Christ in the African newspapers for people to wake up and acome to grips with reality.

Catherine Giordano (author) from Orlando Florida on August 09, 2018:

Alan: Thanks for the link. It made me laugh.

jonnycomelately on August 08, 2018:

Mr. Gibbons, I also got a big laugh upon discovering an entry about yourself on the Internet.

Thank you. Laughter is a great antidote for excessive seriousness.

Catherine Giordano (author) from Orlando Florida on August 08, 2018:

William J. Gibbons: And I suppose you have no axe to grind? Yes, I am an atheist, but did you ever ask yourself why people become atheist? Most atheists were brought up by parents who were believers. They became unbelievers because they could see no evidence in support of belief. Atheism is the result not the cause. As for Bart Ehrman--he wants to sell books and there are a lot more Christians than atheists. If you read his earlier books, as I did, you will see that he is clearly an atheist, although he doesn't use that word.

William J, Gibbons on August 04, 2018:

I almost wet myself laughing at the article and most of the comments. I will be putting up a new documentary soon that will carefully examine the historical evidence for Jesus, and why most arguments against his existence are flawed. Most of the "Jesus is a myth" arguments are made by atheists with an ideological ax to grind. A careful examination of their arguments reveals some glaring flaws in the logic they employ. Bart Ehrman believed that Jesus existed, even if he rejects the historical character as divine. I will notify you all once the documentary is up.

Catherine Giordano (author) from Orlando Florida on January 17, 2018:

B.Shore: I am not printing your comment because you used vulgarity. However, I would like to respond to your points about Tacitus. I have already refuted those claims in another article.

Catherine Giordano (author) from Orlando Florida on December 19, 2017:

KMW: I agree that the lack of objective evidence supports the idea that Jesus is wholly myth. We will never know for sure one way or another. We don't need religion in order to have morality an values.

KMW on December 19, 2017:

I’ve read all of the books mentioned plus several more, including books trying to argue for a both divine and historical Jesus. The books arguing against divinity are both better argued and have much stronger evidence to back up their claims.

I tend to lean more toward the NT Jesus character being wholly myth because, as pointed out, there are no contemporary records of anyone who could match the description of the NT character, never mind a guy named Jesus/Yeshua.

But ultimately, to me it doesn’t really matter if Jesus is historicalized myth or a mythologized historical person. He’s still not a god. Furthermore, none of the good philosophical bits of Christianity have ever been exclusive to that faith. Those ideas were around long before Christianity came into being. I tried to teach my kids about the good philosophical bits while telling them to avoid organized religion. It’s all man made designed to control people and is filled with all kinds of garbage they don’t need to bog themselves down with.

Catherine Giordano (author) from Orlando Florida on December 16, 2017:

Thank you Alan. It is so nice to have my work complimented. And you spare me the trouble of having to respond to someone who has put his mind into s Strong Box. I loved all your metaphors.

jonnycomelately on December 16, 2017:

Nick Peters, your approach to this topic is consistent with every other Believer: you have the desire to believe what you believe. And once you accumulate enough material that serves the purpose of supporting those beliefs, then you lock everything into the Strong Box of your mind, lest anyone should attempt to rummage there and put doubts in the way of your ongoing belief, then hide the key away and, ultimately forget where you put is.

How inconvenient and bothersome it is when someone as clear-thinking, honest and scholastic as Catherine here should have the audacity to even question the fundamentals of your belief system!

Please, make an extra effort to find that key! Open that Strong Box of your mind. Download an up-to-date version of its search engine. Clean out any viruses and spam-stuff that muddy the waters of intelligence and deprive you of deeper consciousness.

Then read Catherine’s Hub here again. Fully.

There is a life beyond un-belief and it’s really worth having, believe you me!

Catherine Giordano (author) from Orlando Florida on December 15, 2017:

NIck Peters: Carrier uses the Bible, not as history, but to show how old stories were remade to be about Christ. Also as I said, there is some history in the Bible, but because there is an occasional mention of an historical fact does not make everything in the Bible history. Many branches of science have disproven the Bible--no Great Flood, no exodus, etc.

Nick Peters on December 14, 2017:

Catherine: Nick Peters: You say every single scholar uses the Bible. And I say that is why every single scholar gets it wrong. The Bible is not history.

Reply: Then you don't know what you're talking about. The rules of history are applied to the Bible just like every other book. If you want to come out at the start and say it's not history, you need to demonstrate that. Go publish something and get it peer-reviewed and see how far it goes. Even Carrier uses the Bible.

Catherine: It may include some historical facts , but the stories are myths and parables. You need to look for independent reports.

REply: A standard applied to no other book in history. You see, you decry the fundamentalists who say the Bible is not to be questioned and the historical method can't be used on it. Ironically, you have a similar mindset with a different position. The Bible is to be questioned in everything and the historical method can't be used on it.

It's like arguing against evolution and not knowing how to use a Punnett Square.

Catherine Giordano (author) from Orlando Florida on December 14, 2017:

Nick Peters: You say every single scholar uses the Bible. And I say that is why every single scholar gets it wrong. The Bible is not history. It may include some historical facts, but the stories are myths and parables. You need to look for independent reports.

Nick Peters on December 13, 2017:

I've read Carrier's book. Carrier relies on the most esoteric interpretations of the text. He uses the Rank-Raglan hypothesis to determine historicity and yet the inventors of that scale say it cannot be used that way. His work has not even made a splash in Biblical scholarship. The overwhelming majority, including non-Christians, consider the idea that Jesus never existed as nonsense. You might as well go to a biology convention and deny evolution or to a geology convention and claim the Earth is flat. Mythicism is just a conspiracy theory for atheists.

It's also quite invalid to say the Bible can't be used. Every single scholar in the field uses the Bible in his case. This includes Richard Carrier, who does not hold any teaching position at any accredited university.

Catherine Giordano (author) from Orlando Florida on December 12, 2017:

Oscar Corbiere: Thanks for your comment. It is hardto understand why this myth still persists. It is so totally debunked.

Catherine Giordano (author) from Orlando Florida on December 12, 2017:

Donovan Baker: Great comment. Circular reasoning is no reasoning at all. When there is no evidence where one would expect to find evidence, it does not mean that something is definitely not true. But it does mean that it is very unlikely to be true.

Catherine Giordano (author) from Orlando Florida on December 12, 2017:

Sudhakar Rao: I don't think all Christians are fakes; some sincerely believe. However, the think they sincerely believe is fake.

Oscar Corbiere on December 12, 2017:

Excellent overview of the facts that have been fact that nobody presents is the fact that Genesis and the fall of man has been totally debunked and even Jewish scscholars have acknowledged that the stories are myths and Moses never wrote them or existed himself...This becomes important because it removes the reason for the passion and the Christ story as there was no original sin...

I see Christians trying to plug the holes in their dam of theology but education and new perspectives in science is actually making many theologians and Christian scientists to overtly lie or at the very least leave basic facts out to support their arguments...if you have to resort to this than your credibility goes right out the window, and unfortunately so do your colleagues...thanks again for the article

Donovan Baker from Fort Worth, TX USA on December 12, 2017:

Great article! Thank you so much for compiling it the way you did. When the book the you are promoting as the truth is the only source of that time period about an event or person, it creates a unsubstantiated foundation for proving something. Until there is more evidence, I find the biblical Jesus to be so highly unlikely a real person, I'm ok with just saying, "no."

Sudhakar Rao on December 11, 2017:

He is an mythical character created for political gains by letting them believe him as an savior. And even in India if you see the prayers conducted by pasters or so foolish they are....yes Christians are goats as mentioned in bible.they will never ever use their brains....the political leaders and Christian religious leaders are making money by letting them believe all the fake miracles...for reference you can check facebook page fraud Christianity....where you find lot of videos on pasters doing fake miracles...

Catherine Giordano (author) from Orlando Florida on October 30, 2017:

mythbuster: Read the Richard Carrier book. It will make you a believer--or should I say, non-believer. You are right that there is much to much information to fit into one essay. The book is about 600 pages.

mythbuster from Utopia, Oz, You Decide on October 29, 2017:

I think there are a lot of ideas introduced here that are very complex. Thanks for dropping down some reading lists, too, as a hub is far to small to cover these arguments, in full.

Catherine Giordano (author) from Orlando Florida on September 20, 2017:

John Hanna: I'm a reporter; I don't do independent research, so, of course, there is nothing new. I rely on the research of others and then combine info from multiple sources into an article a lay person (as opposed to an academic) can enjoy and learn from.

John Hanna on September 19, 2017:

Nothing new here Catherine, Alvin Boyd Kuhn was saying the same many years ago and the same theme has been repeated many times since. The man of poor circumstances come to save the world .....bah humbug!

Catherine Giordano (author) from Orlando Florida on July 28, 2017:

Rhoda Monihan: You present some interesting theories that I have not heard before. None of these are in Carrier's book "On the Historicity of Jesus." I do agree that other Biblical scholars should delve into the issue of the existence of Jesus.

Rhoda Monihan on July 28, 2017:

I think that in ancient times, around 1BC or 1CE, someone changed the right to medical science, or access to medicine, from being an exclusive entitlement of the rich and government officers and their families, to being available to all people, rich or poor. A doctor one day in Israel or thereabouts entered a poor or middle class family's house, rather than going into the rich area of Nazareth or somewhere else, and caused a kerfuffle and long term problem because cultural norms were denounced.

I have no doubt, even though I've not yet done the research, that medicine was originally only for the wealth, although if I start studying ancient culture I can certainly be otherwise persuaded. When we define Jesus's occupation, it's not joinery, it's medicine and healing people over any time period, dramatically or slowly. So when analysing biblical and extrabiblical texts, we must be open to the possibility that they are a bouyant, full and colourful description of what happened in ancient Israel when this happened, when it's medical profession implemented an equality policy for the first time in any nation regarding any person's access to medical doctors. Even if you were disabled back then, you still couldn't be treated by a doctor if you weren't either rich or a Roman government employee. I presume. And perhaps that disqualified you.

Jesus as god never existed, and Jesus as a man did not exist either if you name him Jesus. But did Ben Stada, a name meaning 'son of the unfaithful' or the son of a woman who committed adultery, maybe did because according to Richard Carrier in On the Historicity of Jesus, there's reports of him being called Jesus. This Ben Stada was also called Ben Pandera, or "panther", for being a bit of a lad and a good liver who had affairs, just as the Jesus who supposedly came later was called as well, the one we discuss between 0CE and 33CE. This person supposedly existed within 1BC. Were the 'Jesuses' just crucifiable around the time of 33CE when they became unwelcome by the Roman government?

Either way you look at it, I agree with Richard Carrier that more research needs to be done on the historical Jesus and into the contextual meanings of the New Testament. Hope so.

Catherine Giordano (author) from Orlando Florida on July 06, 2017:

timothehius: I won't deal with your objections here becau I hae already dealt with them in another essay. Please read my essay: Jesus Who?

The Historical Record Gives No Clue. I will restate one point--a mention of Christians is not a mention of Jesus Christ. No contemporary historian made any mention of anyone whose life resembled that of Jesus Christ. Also, the Bible is not a compilation of eye-witness accounts. Many of the stories in the Bible that are supposed to be about Jesus are just a rehash of pagan and Jewish stories.

Timothius from Jasper, GA on July 05, 2017:

If you are unwilling to except Tacitus in your proof of Jesus's existence, a man that hated Christians by the way and had no reason to mention them, then how do you explain the growth of Christianity? There wasn't a printing machine in those days so there wasn't any way to spread the Bible around, not to mention, the Bible, as we know it, wasn't even put together for another 300 or so years. All they had was a few letters and the testimony of eye witnesses to spread a religion with overwhelming force very quickly. Nobody had any proof then either. Do you not think that the thousands and thousands of converts (quickly) in that ancient era did not ask for proof? I think it's only human nature to want proof but most people want reasoning before converting.

The proof you want is staring you in the face and you don't even know it. The Bible is nothing but the collection of documents from people who say they witnessed the trial and recorded the happenings. They are the recorded oral accounts of the witnesses. When Jesus died, they (the Apostles) didn't even believe he was the Son of God. Saul, a man that hated Christians with a passion, joining the Apostles later, saw Jesus approx 20 years after died and converted. Why would someone who hated Christians so much join those he hated?

The Bible holds more weight than you realize. People that claim to be educated look to Homer, Herodotus, Thucydides and other ancient poets or historians and value them higher when in fact, their writings are just as historical as the documents of the Bible. The only reason for their discredit is the fact that they are related to a religion.

Catherine Giordano (author) from Orlando Florida on May 09, 2017:

Dennis B. Horvitz: It is impossible to say with 100% certainty whether or not the man we now call Jesus Christ existed or not or, if he did he exist, what he actually wanted.

Dennis B Horvitz on May 08, 2017:

I am not 100% convinced that Jesus did not exist. There may be a historical basis for Jesus and if so, I'm sure the last thing he wanted was to start a new religion based on himself.

Catherine Giordano (author) from Orlando Florida on March 27, 2017:

Thank you Betty Briley Fuller for your comment. This essay does not address whether or Jesus lived, but I have written here on that topic. Did Jesus Exist or Is It All A Myth.

Betty Briley Fuller on March 27, 2017:

This is the first time I've ever read anything in my life this. Think Jesus may have lived, but was only known where he lived and travelled. That was a very small area, limited by very slow travel and communication. 100 yrs later people started writing about local heroes. Thanks so much for this writing.

Catherine Giordano (author) from Orlando Florida on December 06, 2016:

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.

Rex Jamesson on December 06, 2016:

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.

Catherine Giordano (author) from Orlando Florida on August 29, 2016:

@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.

rfm77 on August 28, 2016:

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?

Randy Godwin on August 27, 2016:

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 on August 27, 2016:

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.

Catherine Giordano (author) from Orlando Florida on August 27, 2016:

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 on August 27, 2016:

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:

Catherine Giordano (author) from Orlando Florida on August 25, 2016:

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.

rfm77 on August 25, 2016:

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

Catherine Giordano (author) from Orlando Florida on August 24, 2016:

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 on August 24, 2016:

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

Catherine Giordano (author) from Orlando Florida on August 24, 2016:

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

jonnycomelately on August 23, 2016:

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.

rfm77 on August 23, 2016:

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"

Catherine Giordano (author) from Orlando Florida on December 17, 2015:

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.

Catherine Giordano (author) from Orlando Florida on December 17, 2015:

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.)

Lawrence Hebb from Hamilton, New Zealand on December 17, 2015:


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


jonnycomelately on December 17, 2015:

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.

Catherine Giordano (author) from Orlando Florida on December 17, 2015:

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.

dan on December 17, 2015:

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.

Catherine Giordano (author) from Orlando Florida on December 08, 2015:

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?

Catherine Giordano (author) from Orlando Florida on December 08, 2015:

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.

jonnycomelately on December 08, 2015:

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.

Catherine Giordano (author) from Orlando Florida on December 08, 2015:

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.

Skeletor on December 08, 2015:

"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.

Catherine Giordano (author) from Orlando Florida on December 07, 2015:

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.

ErlendM on December 07, 2015:

"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.

Catherine Giordano (author) from Orlando Florida on December 05, 2015:

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.

Lawrence Hebb from Hamilton, New Zealand on December 05, 2015:


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


Catherine Giordano (author) from Orlando Florida on December 05, 2015:

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.

Judy Specht from California on December 04, 2015:

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.

Catherine Giordano (author) from Orlando Florida on December 04, 2015:

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.

Lawrence Hebb from Hamilton, New Zealand on December 04, 2015:


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.



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

Catherine Giordano (author) from Orlando Florida on December 04, 2015:

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.

Kiss andTales on December 04, 2015:

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.

jonnycomelately on December 04, 2015:

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!

Lawrence Hebb from Hamilton, New Zealand on December 04, 2015:


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


Kiss andTales on December 04, 2015:

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.

Catherine Giordano (author) from Orlando Florida on December 04, 2015:

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.

Catherine Giordano (author) from Orlando Florida on December 04, 2015:

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

Lawrence Hebb from Hamilton, New Zealand on December 04, 2015:


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')

jonnycomelately on December 03, 2015:

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 we learn nothing new from you.

Kiss andTales on December 03, 2015:

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.

ErlendM on December 03, 2015:


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.

Catherine Giordano (author) from Orlando Florida on December 03, 2015:

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?

jonnycomelately on December 03, 2015:

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.

Kiss andTales on December 03, 2015:

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 on December 02, 2015:

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?

The Logician from then to now on on December 02, 2015:

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.

Catherine Giordano (author) from Orlando Florida on December 02, 2015:

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.

Catherine Giordano (author) from Orlando Florida on December 02, 2015:

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.

Catherine Giordano (author) from Orlando Florida on December 02, 2015:

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.

Catherine Giordano (author) from Orlando Florida on December 02, 2015:

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.

Kiss andTales on December 02, 2015:

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 !


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


December 16, 2014


Mississippi State University


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.

Mark Zima on December 02, 2015:

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.

Mark Zima on December 02, 2015:

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.)

Catherine Giordano (author) from Orlando Florida on December 02, 2015:

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 on December 02, 2015:

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."

Tricia Mason from The English Midlands on November 30, 2015:

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 :)

Catherine Giordano (author) from Orlando Florida on November 30, 2015:

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.

Judy Specht from California on November 29, 2015:

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

Catherine Giordano (author) from Orlando Florida on November 29, 2015:

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.

Tricia Mason from The English Midlands on November 29, 2015:

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.

Catherine Giordano (author) from Orlando Florida on November 29, 2015:

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.

Catherine Giordano (author) from Orlando Florida on November 29, 2015:

ErleanM: This is where I most likely got the information about Roman records of crucifixions. 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.

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.