Searching for exclusively the existence of Jesus. Restricted to First century sources.
Four centuries of biblical scholarship Research on the whole person and message of Jesus 1700s: challenged the historical accuracy of the gospels 1900s: the historical Jesus was not accessible Within past 50 years: Jesus is a fraud in his entirety.
Conspiracy of silence Seven Uncontested Letters. Deutero-Pauline letters A spiritual Jesus death in spiritual layers of universe Dying savior myth Attis, Osiris, Isis, Dionysos, Mithras Human Jesus an Invention of Mark Paul’s Dying Savior “Q” document founder Old Testament “Q” and Thomas “Q” was a collection of Jewish Syrian wise sayings. “Q” was attributed by it’s founding community to a person. “Q” does not mention passion, death or resurrection. “Jesus said” are scribal insertions in Thomas. New Testament is not historically trustworthy
New Testament and it’s limitations Over 100 proposed candidates for inclusion were rejected in fourth century. Limited sample of early writings.
Paul’s 21 letters: foundation of Anti-Jesus argument. Disregard 14 Acknowledge 7 Address small communities in Greece and Asia minor Syria, Rome, Egypt: Centers for Christian movement. Problem solving not biographical. Life of a Jewish Jesus was not relevant in communities.
Anti-Jesus Group argues that verses should be interpreted spiritually. Galatians (4:4) : Jesus was born to a woman Galatians (1:19) : Jesus had a brother named James. Corinthians (11:23) : Jesus death was at the hands of “rulers of this age”. Romans (15:8) : Jesus was a servant of the Jews. 1 Thessalonians (2:14-16) : Jews were involved in Jesus’ death.
Paul never met Jesus Information was second hand Self granted authority Divinization Devine Jesus for the Gentiles. Gentiles understood a savior God concept. Paul’s relationship with other Christian leaders Not very friendly. (Galatians 1 & 2)
“Q” is a theoretical document. Impossible to know contents Unwise to assume what was not contained within it.
Anti-Jesus group claims “Jesus said” is scribal insertion without slightest amount of proof. Earliest layer Dated to 30-50 CE.
Mark (6:3) : Why six siblings for Jesus? Mark (8:23-25) : Why fail the first time he attempted to cure the blindness? Mark (16:8) : could they not Invent a better ending to the story than an “empty tomb”?
Anti Jesus arguments have a firm historical basis Paul’s silence First century spiritual layers belief Existence of similar dying savior gods “Q” silence Nature of New Testament Anti-Jesus arguments fail to take into account. It’s not surprising that Paul is not verbose in his letters on the subject of Jesus existence. Never met Jesus Negative Jerusalem relationship Gentile audience, more concerned with mystical aspects Paul mentions aspects of Jesus which are very human in his 7 uncontested letters Can not firmly be disregarded as being entirely spiritual. One can not assume what is missing from “Q” No evidence provided that “Jesus said” is a scribal insertion in Thomas.
While there is no direct evidence to support the existence of a historical Jesus, the indirect evidence is enough to allow one to allow one to claim that his existence is very plausible if not likely.