Controversial Did Jesus Actually Exist?

Did Jesus Exist?

  • Yes.

    Votes: 7 58.3%
  • No.

    Votes: 5 41.7%

  • Total voters
    12

Doctor Omega

Moderator



Was Jesus an actual historical, flesh and blood, person?

Or a myth?

And what is the evidence either way?




 
Last edited:

Gavin

Member: Rank 6
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There's a fair amount of historical evidence for Jesus' existence. A lot of research has gone into trying to work out what the historical Jesus (as opposed to the theological Jesus) may have been like. In terms of documentary evidence, I once read (and am too lazy to look up for citations) that there is more surviving documentary evidence (from the period within a generation of the timeline) of Jesus' existence than there is for Julius Caesar.
 

Hux

Member: Rank 6
As Life of Brian brilliantly pointed out, you couldn't turn a corner in those days without bumping into someone who claimed to be a prophet of God. I have no doubt that many of them had names that sounded like Jesus and some maybe even had names reminiscent of Brian.
 

Gavin

Member: Rank 6
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I have no doubt that many of them had names that sounded like Jesus
Yeshua, which is the Hebrew name from which Jesus is translated into Greek, (and is commonly utilised today as Joshua) was an extremely common name in that location at the time. It's a bit like bumping into someone named John today.
 

skribb

Member: Rank 1
There's historicial evidence of guys being called Yeshua, but nothing that actually states it's "the" jesus who was the son of a purported monolithic deity.

I have a book called "the fable of christ" which goes into minute detail to examine the data that can be found concerning jesus' existence. From what I remember the book's conclusion was that "the jesus" was actually John the baptist.

But I don't see why it matters if he existed because even if he did, he was not a deity because any deities described thus far by humans do not exist. if god created us, god created our language. We can not use our language to describe actual godhood. Nuff said IMO.
 

McQualude

Member: Rank 3
I haven't examined the evidence first hand so I can't give a strong opinion but what I have learned leads me to believe there was a person behind the myth. Mostly a Roman document that basically verifies the crucifixion of a contentious religious leader called Christ (or Christus) something like that. It's been awhile since I've read it. Apparently there is a lot more evidence for John the Baptist which is odd since he was a relatively minor character in the New Testament.
 

Gavin

Member: Rank 6
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I haven't examined the evidence first hand so I can't give a strong opinion but what I have learned leads me to believe there was a person behind the myth. Mostly a Roman document that basically verifies the crucifixion of a contentious religious leader called Christ (or Christus) something like that. It's been awhile since I've read it. Apparently there is a lot more evidence for John the Baptist which is odd since he was a relatively minor character in the New Testament.
Actually, I have studied it quite a bit and there's actually no contemporary evidence of Jesus. The first writings about Jesus are Paul's letters about 25-39 years after his death. Then the Gospels (between 40 and 65 years after his death). The earliest non-Christian mentions are 2 brief mentions during the 2nd century which mention Jesus as someone worshipped by the Christians and provide details most likely obtained from hearing what Christians claimed.

There wouldn't have been any writing about Jesus during his life. Even the Christian writers acknowledged that Jesus was understood as a simple Jewish rabbi by the people while he was alive. He only gained significance outside his group of followers ones Christians began increasing in numbers and became relevant enough to be noticed.
 

McQualude

Member: Rank 3
You missed the primary and most important evidence, Annals by Tacitus, which is the document I referred to above. FYI, I have no dog in the fight, I'm a true agnostic, or what some would call an agnostic atheist. I am an unbeliever. I have no belief (including disbelief) in something until there is evidence to suggest it exists. I have no belief in a Jesus figure until there is evidence to suggest he existed and in fact that evidence does exist. Be careful of drawing a conclusion and then only accepting evidence to support the conclusion. Tacitus writings are taken seriously by scholars and only seem to come into contention when it interferes with someone's agenda.

This is from wikipedia ...

The Annals passage (15.44), which has been subjected to much scholarly analysis, follows a description of the six-day Great Fire of Rome that burned much of Rome in July 64 AD.[3]

The key part of the passage reads as follows (translation from Latin by A. J. Church and W. J. Brodribb, 1876):

Consequently, to get rid of the report, Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace. Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus, and a most mischievous superstition, thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judæa, the first source of the evil, but even in Rome, where all things hideous and shameful from every part of the world find their centre and become popular. Accordingly, an arrest was first made of all who pleaded guilty; then, upon their information, an immense multitude was convicted, not so much of the crime of firing the city, as of hatred against mankind.

(In Latin: ergo abolendo rumori Nero subdidit reos et quaesitissimis poenis adfecit, quos per flagitia invisos vulgus Chrestianos appellabat. auctor nominis eius Christus Tibero imperitante per procuratorem Pontium Pilatum supplicio adfectus erat; repressaque in praesens exitiablilis superstitio rursum erumpebat, non modo per Iudaeam, originem eius mali, sed per urbem etiam, quo cuncta undique atrocia aut pudenda confluunt celebranturque. igitur primum correpti qui fatebantur, deinde indicio eorum multitudo ingens haud proinde in crimine incendii quam odio humani generis convicti sunt.[12])
Here is another, uncited, interpretation from rationalwiki ...

Nero looked around for a scapegoat, and inflicted the most fiendish tortures on a group of persons already hated for their crimes. This was the sect known as Chrestians. Their founder, one Chrstus had been put to death by the procurator, Pontius Pilate in the reign of Tiberius. This checked the abominable superstition for a while, but it broke out again and spread, not merely through Judea, where it originated, but even to Rome itself, the great reservoir and collecting ground for every kind of depravity and filth. Those who confessed to being Christians were at once arrested, but on their testimony a great crowd of people were convicted, not so much on the charge of arson, but of hatred of the entire human race.
 

Gavin

Member: Rank 6
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You missed the primary and most important evidence, Annals by Tacitus, which is the document I referred to above.
Yeah that's one of the 2nd century documents I referred to. Written around 117CE (almost 90 years after Jesus death) and it doesn't contain anything he couldn't have learned from speaking with Christians. There's no other obvious source for his information given that he was born 20 years after Jesus death so he could only have been relying on information he had heard.

I'm not arguing against the existence of Jesus. I'm a believer myself. But there is no reliable historical source to tell us about him. The Christian writings are based on oral traditions that were handed down and were also not written as histories. They're written as theological arguments that use stories about Jesus to make their point. I'd argue that many of these stories are based on some level of historical fact, but the writers weren't concerned about history. To them the existence of Jesus wasn't in question. The important thing for them was communicating his theology.
 

johnnybear

Member: Rank 6
I did an alpha course a few years back and listened to all the evidence presented there about God and Jesus! The journals of that time written by Roman scribes are preserved to this day and they mention the man called Jesus and his followers going from town to town and gathering disciples! The Romans didn't think that he was a threat to them but were amazed at the gatherings that he could assemble. Something they couldn't get even if they made a public proclamation in the streets!
JB
 

Gavin

Member: Rank 6
VIP
I did an alpha course a few years back and listened to all the evidence presented there about God and Jesus! The journals of that time written by Roman scribes are preserved to this day and they mention the man called Jesus and his followers going from town to town and gathering disciples! The Romans didn't think that he was a threat to them but were amazed at the gatherings that he could assemble. Something they couldn't get even if they made a public proclamation in the streets!
JB
I've not heard of these journals and I work at a theological library. Are you able to provide more information?

As far as I'm aware there's nothing surviving "from that day" only copies of copies of copies. The earliest surviving fragments of the Bible are dated to the 2nd century and they only exist as tiny fragments. The oldest complete New Testament dates to the 4th century.
 

johnnybear

Member: Rank 6
No, not really! This course was at least five or six years ago and the Church bug sort of wore off of me about two or three years ago! I didn't like being shouted at by an Indian guy (not me personally but the whole congregation) about proving our love for God! So I didn't go again and I also found it to be very, very hypocritical! You must love everyone but they turn their backs on the members of the church that looked odd and or could have been poor! Yet they preach something very different!
JB
 

Gavin

Member: Rank 6
VIP
No, not really! This course was at least five or six years ago and the Church bug sort of wore off of me about two or three years ago! I didn't like being shouted at by an Indian guy (not me personally but the whole congregation) about proving our love for God! So I didn't go again and I also found it to be very, very hypocritical! You must love everyone but they turn their backs on the members of the church that looked odd and or could have been poor! Yet they preach something very different!
JB
Churches like that drive me crazy. They behave like that and then wonder why their numbers keep dropping. Maybe if they acted as though they actually believed what they preached more people would buy what they're selling.
 
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