The Historicity of Jesus
We’ve had several entries on this subject over the course of this blog including:
- Jesus – to be or not to be, that is the question!
- Is Jesus mentioned in the Talmud?
- Were the Gospels eyewitness accounts of the life of Jesus?
However, on a recent comment, evanescent mentioned this subject and I would like highlight it (with some slight edits for flow):
There is good reason to believe there was a man at the centre of the cult that became Christianity. Actually, there was probably many men at the time. The cult that become Christianity retrospectively convoluted stories about its leader.
A fantastic set of articles exploring the historical evidence (or lack thereof) for Jesus can be found here: http://ebonmusings.org/atheism/camel.html
Most of the people the bible mentions were people who actually existed, but the bible is also way off with its events and chronology.
For example, where is the evidence that Herod murdered all baby boys under 2 years old? Where is the evidence that the entire earth went dark in the middle of the day at Jesus’ supposed execution? How about the notion that Caesar Augustus ordered a census for taxation purposes? This is absolute nonsense. The Romans would have ordered no such thing and there is no evidence that they did.
Also, there was a LOCAL census by Governor Quirinius, (not one decreed by the Caesar), but it happened in 6 CE, long after Herod’s death! The account, as provided by Luke, is purely invented and can be historically confirmed as false.
The famous Jewish historian of the time Josephus has not one piece of confirmatory evidence to support the extravagant claims of the bible.
[Arguments that use the fact that the Bible mentions real historical people, places or events to prove the Bible is accurate] boil down to saying “the bible mentions the country Egypt. Look Egypt is a real place, therefore the bible is true!”
This is why I was very careful to say that there is no empirical evidence at all to support the Christian faith. I don’t deny that Christianity existed (!), but I deny the veracity of its claims.
[However,] the choice is not between Christianity being the total and true word of god, and it being a fabricated hoax.
There is at least one other possibility: it started as a small cult and grew and changed, and spread by hearsay and word of mouth. The gospels were written far after the supposed events, and the writers distorted events to fit supposed prophecy. The gospels contradict each other, and known history.
The only historical evidence you have suggests that there was a cult that came to call themselves Christians. Well, yes, I don’t deny this. But raising the dead, walking on water, ascending to heaven? No, I don’t think so.
- The de-Convert