The Jesus described in the New Testament did not exist


#1

How come the earliest source that claims he existed is written years after his death? This figure was committing miracles all over the place and even in the New Testament it is said that he was widely known in his time and yet no records about Jesus were written during his life. All the evidence we have of Jesus are hearsay accounts of him written in second and third person years after his death which mean nothing. Look at this example per say, Zeus the king of the gods was once thought to be real there were hearsay accounts of his existence and temples build to honor him but Zeus in modern times is regarded as a mythological figure not a real entity. The story of Jesus is nothing new, there were many Pagan myths before his birth of a god man. Hercules for example his mother was human while his father a god, there were also hearsay accounts about him but do we regard Hercules as a historical figure? No, Hercules is nothing more than a mythological character.

"No one has the slightest physical evidence to support a historical Jesus; no artifacts, dwelling, works of carpentry, or self-written manuscripts. All claims about Jesus derive from writings of other people. There occurs no contemporary Roman record that shows Pontius Pilate executing a man named Jesus. Devastating to historians, there occurs not a single contemporary writing that mentions Jesus. All documents about Jesus got written well after the life of the alleged Jesus from either: unknown authors, people who had never met an earthly Jesus, or from fraudulent, mythical or allegorical writings. Although one can argue that many of these writings come from fraud or interpolations, I will use the information and dates to show that even if these sources did not come from interpolations, they could still not serve as reliable evidence for a historical Jesus, simply because all sources derive from hearsay accounts.

Hearsay means information derived from other people rather than on a witness’ own knowledge. Courts of law do not generally allow hearsay as testimony, and nor does honest modern scholarship. Hearsay provides no proof or good evidence, and therefore, we should dismiss it."

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#2

"LYING FOR THE CHURCH

The editing and formation of the Bible came from members of the early Christian Church. Since the fathers of the Church possessed the texts and determined what would appear in the Bible, there occurred plenty of opportunity and motive to change, modify, or create texts that might bolster the position of the Church or the members of the Church themselves.

Take, for example, Eusebius who served as an ecclesiastical church historian and bishop. He had great influence in the early Church and he openly advocated the use of fraud and deception in furthering the interests of the Church [Remsberg]. The first mention of Jesus by Josephus came from Eusebius (none of the earlier church fathers mention Josephus’ Jesus). It comes to no surprise why many scholars think that Eusebius interpolated his writings. In his Ecclesiastical History, he writes, “We shall introduce into this history in general only those events which may be useful first to ourselves and afterwards to posterity.” (Vol. 8, chapter 2). In his Praeparatio Evangelica, he includes a chapter titled, “How it may be Lawful and Fitting to use Falsehood as a Medicine, and for the Benefit of those who Want to be Deceived” (book 12, chapter 32).

The Church had such power over people, that to question the Church could result in death. Regardless of what the Church claimed, people had to take it as “truth.” St. Ignatius Loyola of the 16th century even wrote: “We should always be disposed to believe that which appears to us to be white is really black, if the hierarchy of the church so decides.”

The orthodox Church also fought against competing Christian cults. Irenaeus, who determined the inclusion of the four (now canonical) gospels, wrote his infamous book, “Against the Heresies.” According to Romer, “Irenaeus’ great book not only became the yardstick of major heresies and their refutations, the starting-point of later inquisitions, but simply by saying what Christianity was not it also, in a curious inverted way, became a definition of the orthodox faith.” [Romer] The early Church burned many heretics, along with their sacred texts. If a Jesus did exist, perhaps eyewitness writings got burnt along with them because of their heretical nature. We will never know.

In attempting to salvage the Bible the respected revisionist and scholar, Bruce Metzger has written extensively on the problems of the New Testament. In his book, "The Text of the New Testament-- Its Transmission, Corruption and Restoration, Metzger addresses: Errors arising from faulty eyesight; Errors arising from faulty hearing; Errors of the mind; Errors of judgment; Clearing up historical and geographical difficulties; and Alterations made because of doctrinal considerations. [Metzger]

With such intransigence from the Church and the admitting to lying for its cause, the burning of heretical texts, Bible errors and alterations, how could any honest scholar take any book from the New Testament as absolute, much less using extraneous texts that support a Church’s intolerant and biased position, as reliable evidence?"

In conclusion, the Jesus portrayed in the New Testament did not exist. There could have been a Rabbi, fake Messiah, or a preacher named Jesus at the time but the Jesus we know did not exist.


#3

And your point would be … ? :slight_smile:

Have fun with your belief in conspiracy theories. I’m sure that someone has dealt with this nonsense that you’ve obviously dredged up to support your paranoia, so I’ll leave it to you to do your own research to “scientifically” test your own thesis.

I’d bet that the supporters of “the Grand Conspiracy” are all angry anti-religionists with personal bones to pick with authority in general, and The Church in particular, as it’s the biggest target for which to make their name like that of the gods they think they are.


#4

rumi << In conclusion, the Jesus portrayed in the New Testament did not exist. There could have been a Rabbi, fake Messiah, or a preacher named Jesus at the time but the Jesus we know did not exist. >>

Counter Points:

– The style of the Gospels is radically and clearly different from the style of all myths; there are no overblown, spectacular, exaggerated events; nothing is arbitrary, everything is meaningful;

– There was not enough time for myth to develop; several generations have to pass before the added mythological elements can be mistakenly believed to be facts; eyewitnesses would be around before that to discredit the new, mythic versions;

– The first witnesses of the Resurrection were women; in first-century Judaism, women had low social status and no legal right to serve as witnesses; if the empty tomb were an invented legend, its inventors surely would not have had it discovered by women, whose testimony was considered worthless; if the writers were simply reporting what they saw, they would have to tell the truth;

– The New Testament could not be myth misinterpreted and confused with fact because it specifically distinguishes the two and repudiates the mythic interpretation (2 Peter 1:16);

– The Gospels were written by eyewitnesses from internal evidence: the style of writing in the Gospels is simple and alive; the Gospels show an intimate knowledge of Jerusalem prior to its destruction in AD 70; the Gospels are full of proper names, dates, cultural details, historical events, and customs and opinions of that time;

– The stories of Jesus’ human weaknesses and of the disciples’ faults also bespeak the Gospels’ accuracy: the Gospels do not try to suppress apparent discrepancies, which indicates their originality; the Gospels do not contain anachronisms; the authors appear to have been first-century Jews who were witnesses of the events;

– The disciples must have left some writings, engaged as they were in giving lessons to and counseling believers who were geographically distant; what could these writings be if not the Gospels and epistles themselves;

– There were many eyewitnesses who were still alive when the books were written who could testify whether they came from their purported authors or not;

– The external evidence: extra-biblical testimony unanimously attributes the Gospels to their traditional authors; with a single exception, no apocryphal gospel is ever quoted by any known author during the first three hundred years after Christ; there is no evidence that any inauthentic gospel whatever existed in the first century in which all four Gospels and Acts were written;

– No other ancient work is available in so many copies and languages, and yet all these various versions agree in content;

– The text has remained unmarred by heretical additions; the abundance of manuscripts over a wide geographical distribution demonstrates that the text has been transmitted with only trifling discrepancies; the quotations of the New Testament books in the early Church Fathers all coincide; no one could have corrupted all the manuscripts;

– The text of the New Testament is every bit as good as the text of the classical works of antiquity; to repudiate the textual purity of the Gospels would be to reject all the works of antiquity, since the text of those works is less certain than that of the Gospels.

Summary of points from Handbook of Christian Apologetics (Intervarsity, 1994) by Peter Kreeft / Ronald Tacelli.

Especially Recommended Books:

On the New Testament and Gospels –

The New Testament Documents: Are They Reliable? by F. F. Bruce (Intervarsity/Eerdmans, 1981 sixth edition)
The Historical Reliability of the Gospels by Craig Blomberg (Intervarsity, 1987)
What are the Gospels? A Comparison with Graeco-Roman Biography by Richard Burridge (Cambridge / Eerdmans, 1992, 2004)
Can We Trust the Gospels? by Mark D. Roberts (Crossway Books, 2007)

On the historical Jesus –

The Real Jesus: The Misguided Quest for the Historical Jesus and the Truth of the Traditional Gospels by Luke Timothy Johnson (HarperSanFrancisco, 1996)
Jesus Under Fire: Modern Scholarship Reinvents the Historical Jesus edited by Wilkins / Moreland (Zondervan, 1995)
The Historical Jesus: Ancient Evidence for the Life of Christ by Gary Habermas (College Press, 1996)
Jesus Outside the New Testament: An Introduction to the Ancient Evidence by Robert van Voorst (Eerdmans, 2000)
Fabricating Jesus: How Modern Scholars Distort the Gospels by Craig Evans (Intervarsity, 2006)

Two debate books –

Will the Real Jesus Please Stand Up? : A Debate between William Lane Craig and John Dominic Crossan (Baker Academic, 1998)
The Resurrection of Jesus : John Dominic Crossan and N. T. Wright in Dialogue (Fortress, 2006)

:thumbsup: :thumbsup:

Phil P


#5

rumi << The story of Jesus is nothing new, there were many Pagan myths before his birth of a god man. >>

Annihilated, obliterated, demolished here:

Evidence for Jesus and Parallel Pagan “Crucified Saviors” Examined

Someday I’ll finish Part 2 as well, but for now the info from Kreeft/Tacelli will do. :stuck_out_tongue:

Phil P


#6

[SIGN]:thumbsup: Phil![/SIGN]


#7

rumi << In fact historians are unsure about the Existence of the Apostles themselves. >>

Which historians? Name them.

Jeffery Jay Lowder of Internet Infidels: “There is simply nothing intrinsically improbable about a historical Jesus; the New Testament alone (or at least portions of it) are reliable enough to provide evidence of a historical Jesus. On this point, it is important to note that even G.A. Wells, who until recently was the champion of the christ-myth hypothesis, now accepts the historicity of Jesus on the basis of ‘Q’.” (“Josh McDowell’s ‘Evidence’ for Jesus,” also Wells The Jesus Myth [Open Court, 1999])

Secular historian Will Durant: “The Christian evidence for Christ begins with the letters ascribed to Saint Paul…No one has questioned the existence of Paul, or his repeated meetings with Peter, James, and John; and Paul enviously admits that these men had known Christ in his flesh. The accepted epistles frequently refer to the Last Supper and the Crucifixion…in essentials the synoptic gospels agree remarkably well, and form a consistent portrait of Christ…no one reading these scenes can doubt the reality of the figure behind them. That a few simple men should in one generation have invented so powerful and appealing a personality, so loft an ethic and so inspiring a vision of human brotherhood, would be a miracle far more incredible than any recorded in the Gospel.” (Ceasar and Christ, volume 3 of Story of Civilization)

Graham Stanton of Cambridge: “Today, nearly all historians, whether Christians or not, accept that Jesus existed and that the gospels contain plenty of valuable evidence which has to be weighed and assessed critically. There is general agreement that, with the possible exception of Paul, we know far more about Jesus of Nazareth than about any first or second century Jewish or pagan religious teacher.” (The Gospels and Jesus)

Robert van Voorst: “Contemporary New Testament scholars have typically viewed their * arguments as so weak or bizarre that they relegate them to footnotes, or often ignore them completely…The theory of Jesus’ nonexistence is now effectively dead as a scholarly question…Biblical scholars and classical historians now regard it as effectively refuted.” (Jesus Outside the New Testament, pages 6, 14, 16)

Bishop N.T. Wright: “It is quite difficult to know where to start, because actually the evidence for Jesus is so massive that, as a historian, I want to say we have got almost as much good evidence for Jesus as for anyone in the ancient world…the evidence fits so well with what we know of the Judaism of the period…that I think there are hardly any historians today, in fact I don’t know of any historians today [aside from G.A. Wells, etc], who doubt the existence of Jesus…No Jewish, Christian, atheist, or agnostic scholars have ever taken that [proposition] seriously since. It is quite clear that in fact Jesus is a very, very well documented character of real history. So I think that question can be put to rest.” (“The Self-Revelation of God in Human History” from There Is A God by Antony Flew and Roy Abraham Varghese [HarperOne, 2007])

Phil P*


#8

Hey what’s up Church Militant. I don’t post often, but when I do, I “let them have it.” :smiley: Plus I only need to copy/paste from my own site (to save time).

Rumi may be a hit and run post, I don’t know.

Phil P


#9

Phil just because the Gospels described real events, people and customs does not make it real. Homer’s epic poem The Odyssey
described real life settings in great deals does that make the Odyssey real ? What about fake stories about a soldier in a war per say, the story is in a real setting and with real life figures but it’s still a product of fiction. The story about the soldier would labeled as HISTORICAL FICTION.

“The stories of Jesus’ human weaknesses and of the disciples’ faults also bespeak the Gospels’ accuracy: the Gospels do not try to suppress apparent discrepancies, which indicates their originality; the Gospels do not contain anachronisms; the authors appear to have been first-century Jews who were witnesses of the events”

Then why were the original Gospels first written in Greek. The authors obviously had a scholar like knowledge on the Greek language.

“The style of the Gospels is radically and clearly different from the style of all myths; there are no overblown, spectacular, exaggerated events; nothing is arbitrary, everything is meaningful”

A myth does not have to include overblown events to be considered a myth. Would you not consider the cleansing of lepers, the healing of the mute, blind, paralytic, walking on water.overly exaggerated and overblown.
On another note I compared the New Testament to mythological stories but never claimed that the story of Jesus was a myth.

“The first witnesses of the Resurrection were women; in first-century Judaism, women had low social status and no legal right to serve as witnesses; if the empty tomb were an invented legend, its inventors surely would not have had it discovered by women, whose testimony was considered worthless; if the writers were simply reporting what they saw, they would have to tell the truth;”

There is no evidence that these women ever existed.

“There were many eyewitnesses who were still alive when the books were written who could testify whether they came from their purported authors or not;”

What eyewitnesses?

Something else that is also interesting is that when a person is crucified the nails would not be put in the palms.

“The hands could not support the full body weight, because there are no structures in the hands to prevent the nails from ripping through the flesh due to the weight of the body.An experiment that was the subject of a documentary on the National Geographic Channel’s Quest For Truth: The Crucifixion, and of a brief news article, showed that a person can be suspended by the wrists. Nailing the feet to the side of the cross relieves strain on the wrists by placing most of the weight on the lower body.”


#10

Yeah…could be.

Regardless it’s always good to see you roll in because you have more resources on a bad day than most of us have in a lifetime. :smiley:


#11

rumi << Phil just because the Gospels described real events, people and customs does not make it real. >>

Change the second real to infallible and I’ll agree. It does not make them them infallible records, but it does suggest they were real. They are writing about real events, real people, real customs (e.g. of Judaism), and real history. Burridge in his book (mentioned above) notes the genre of the four Gospels are -bioi- or ancient biography. They are not myth or allegory; they are biography or real history.

On Richard Burridge What are the Gospels? (Cambridge/Eerdmans, 1992, 2004) – Burridge is a classicist who set out to disprove the thesis first proposed by Talbert and a few other American scholars that the Gospels belong to the genre of ancient biography. During the course of his research, he reversed his opinion. Graham Stanton of Cambridge University writes in the foreword to Burridge’s book that “very few books on the Gospels…have influenced scholarly opinion more strongly” and that it “has played a key role in establishing that the Gospels were read in the early centuries primarily as biographies.” He adds, “I do not think it is now possible to deny that the Gospels are a sub-set of the broad ancient literary genre of ‘lives,’ that is, biographies.” Of Burridge’s book, Talbert writes, “This volume ought to end any legitimate denials of the canonical Gospels’ biographical character.” (see Mike Licona’s Review of The God Who Wasn’t There)

rumi << Then why were the original Gospels first written in Greek. The authors obviously had a scholar like knowledge on the Greek language. >>

The Gospels were written in koine or “common Greek” because this was the “lingua franca” of the ancient world. It was the common language of the people (Gentiles and Jews) the time the Gospels and letters were written (latter half of the 1st century). Later that language became Latin because that was the common tongue in the western Church. Jesus probably spoke Hebrew or Aramaic with his disciples, and the Gospel of Matthew gives indication of semitisms (or traces of Aramaic behind the Greek), thus its primitive character:

“…many scholars have concluded that Matthew was first written in Aramaic or Hebrew. This includes extensive evidence and argumentation set forth by Zahn, Jameson, Torrey, [Dom John] Chapman, ** Butler, and [Matthew] Black…Following Black [in An Aramaic Approach to the Gospels and Acts (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1967)] it is acknowledged even by those who dismiss the external evidence (of Matthew having been written in Aramaic or Hebrew) that at least the sayings or discourses within the Gospels do give evidence of an Aramaic substratum. These are very numerous and require intervening narration before most of them would make much sense. Hence the sayings must have existed initially embedded within, and interspersed with, narration that supplied their context. It would be virtually out of the question for the sayings to have existed in Aramaic in isolated form and for a later gospel writer to have invented all the narration and settings, etc., in Greek, to accompany his translations of the sayings. Therefore the discourses, dialogues and narration must have once existed as a single literary unit, all written in the same language – Aramaic.” (from Implications of Semitic Matthew’s Translation into Greek)

rumi << Would you not consider the cleansing of lepers, the healing of the mute, blind, paralytic, walking on water. Overly exaggerated and overblown. >>

Not necessarily. They would be considered such by folks who think miracles are impossible. If God exists, then miracles are possible. In the Gospels, Jesus claims to be God, and those miracles would demonstrate his deity. If those miracles are multiply attested in the Gospels, they happened, in my opinion.

rumi << On another note I compared the New Testament to mythological stories but never claimed that the story of Jesus was a myth. >>

You implied in your original post that Jesus did not exist (like Hercules or Zeus), and said “historians” doubt the existence of his apostles. I countered with historians who believe there is more information about Jesus than for any figure from the ancient world (Will Durant, Graham Stanton, N.T. Wright, etc). Which historians are you talking about that doubt the existence of Jesus or his apostles?

Phil P**


#12

rumi << There is no evidence that these women ever existed. >>

I’m sorry, the evidence is the four Gospels. All four Gospels mention the women at the tomb, some of them by name. Now why would these be mentioned if women were considered unreliable as witnesses in that culture? They were mentioned because the accounts are honest and true, they were the first witnesses to the resurrection.

rumi << What eyewitnesses? >>

The ones that Paul mentions in 1 Corinthians 15:1-8, the ones mentioned throughout Acts: “We are witnesses of these things.” The thousands of witnesses that existed in the first century who could disprove the Christian claims, if they had left documents.

Where are the first century documents that tell us Jesus did not exist, that he was a legend, or that he did not die on the cross, that he did not rise from the dead, that he did not claim to be God? Where are the first century documents that suggest his body rotted in the tomb, or the Romans left his body on the cross to be eaten by wild dogs? We don’t have such first century documents. What we do have are the Gospels, the earliest documents we have. We also have Josephus on the crucifixion of Jesus, and other non-Christian documents that corroborate various facts about Jesus and early Christianity. See the book above by Van Voorst for all sources outside the New Testament.

rumi << Something else that is also interesting is that when a person is crucified the nails would not be put in the palms. >>

Not a problem, he was probably crucified through the wrists, as your quote noted.

Phil P


#13

I missed you, Phil! :smiley: Super glad to see you up and rolling along. You are most definately one of our greatest assets on Catholic.com. :wink: God bless you. :slight_smile: And I just love it when you talk about JESUS. :thumbsup:


#14

First I did a Google search. Zip. Then I did a Lexis/Nexis. Zero. I went to Dogpile. Nada. Not a word about him by any eminent historian, whether modern, Medieval or ancient. No record even in the Mormon archives.

Therefore, I must conclude that rumi1 does not exist.


#15

Nothing new in saying that, my ancestors haven’t believed a word of it for a couple of millennia.

Did he exist? Very probably.
As portrayed in the New Testament (Messiah, God etc)? Nope.


#16

The Apostles Creed

I believe in God, the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.
and in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord.
who was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit
born of the Virgin Mary.
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried.
He descended into hell.
On the third day he rose again from the dead.
He ascended into heaven
and is seated at the right hand
of God the Father Almighty.
From thence he shall come again to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting.
Amen.

Some of us believe, some of us don’t, I do believe in Him, some of us have the gift of faith, it’s just too bad you don’t.

Pray for the gift of faith, if you so desire it.:highprayer:


#17

And, how they have suffered for their disobedience. He was sent to them, but suffered rejection, as did all of God’s prophets. Lord, have mercy.


#18

My goodness!


#19

thousands of historical figures have left no written records in their lifetimes, and are known only through accounts of their actions by eyewitnesses, handed down for generations, before the accounts were written down, by redacters who collected all the available testimony. the entire argument is based on the fallacious assumption that because a person does not write anything or have his actions documented in writing during his lifetime, he did not exist, and did not perform those actions.

OP would be well advised to pursue an MA in history for an understanding of original source material and what constitutes historical evidence, as his view of Jesus Christ is a minority among serious historians.


#20

Annie has expressed my thoughts as well.

Also, when rumi1 declares that there is no record of Jesus being crucified by Pilate my first question is:
Where are the court documents from Pilate’s time in Isreal? Have these survived intact?
If there were “hundreds” of messiahs being crucified please supply their names obtained from the complete record of the Roman courts and the complete records of the Sanhedrin.
You base your argument for Jesus “non-existance” on the lack of first hand contemporary written evidence, but you cannot produce actual sufficiently complete documents from the courts of the time to either confirm OR refute Jesus exixtance.

In general rumi1, your post is well written and well reasoned out and I enjoyed reading it. The problem is that it is based on a false assumption. That is the lack of physical - written evidence from the time. There is so little documentation from that time that survives that it would be impossible to make a completely codified argument either way. That is why we refer to our beliefs as Faith.

As for the development of the written accounts and the codification of the canon of the Bible I will leave that to others to discuss.

Thanks for the interesting post.

James


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