Did Jesus Exist?: The Historical Argument for Jesus of Nazareth by Bart D. EhrmanFor years Bart Ehrman has been routinely bombarded with one question: Did Jesus Exist? As a leading Bible expert, fans and critics alike have sent letters, emails, posted blogs, and questioned Ehrman during interviews wanting his opinion about this nagging question that has become a conspiracy theorist cottage industry the world over. The idea that the character of Jesus was an invention of the early churchs time to put the issue to rest. Yes, the historical Jesus of Nazareth did exist.
Known as a master explainer with deep knowledge of the field, Ehrman methodically demolishes both the scholarly and popular arguments against the existence of Jesus. Marshaling evidence from within the Bible and the wider historical record of the ancient world, Ehrman tackles the key issues that surround the popular mythologies associated with Jesus and the early Christian movement. Throughout Did Jesus Exist? Ehrman establishes the criterion for any genuine historical investigation and provides a robust defense of the methods required to discover the Jesus of history.
Does Historical Evidence Prove that Jesus Lived?
Some critics say that Jesus was a fictional character , nothing more than a myth developed by zealots who wished to start a new religion. Robert Price, for example, an atheist and mythicist, appears to find it far easier to believe in aliens than he does Jesus. Critics like Price view historical documents as having been clearly manipulated for one purpose: to gain the church legitimacy and authority over others. Christianity, they assert, is nothing more than a knock-off religion that stole from other religions and mythical figures such as Hercules. Price goes so far as to equate Jesus to the fictional comic book character, Superman. Both of these skeptics are entrenched in their position, though they do admit that their continued research continues to tweak their thinking. It is critical, however, to evaluate the quality of any source that mentions Jesus; not every ancient mention of Jesus aids an investigation into whether He really lived.
Historical Jesus is the reconstruction of the life and teachings of Jesus by critical historical methods , in contrast to Christological definitions the Christ of Christianity and other Christian accounts of Jesus the Christ of faith. Virtually all scholars of antiquity agree that Jesus existed. Since the 18th century, three separate scholarly quests for the historical Jesus have taken place, each with distinct characteristics and developing new and different research criteria. Scholars differ about the beliefs and teachings of Jesus as well as the accuracy of the biblical accounts, and the only two events subject to "almost universal assent" are that Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist and was crucified by the order of the Roman Prefect Pontius Pilate. The portraits of Jesus that have been constructed in these processes have often differed from each other, and from the image portrayed in the gospel accounts. Most scholars of antiquity agree that Jesus existed. There is no physical or archeological evidence for Jesus, and all the sources we have are documentary.
While billions of people believe Jesus of Nazareth was one of the most important figures in world history, many others reject the idea that he even existed at all. A survey conducted by the Church of England, for instance, found that 22 percent of adults in England did not believe Jesus was a real person. Among scholars of the New Testament of the Christian Bible , though, there is little disagreement that he actually lived. Lawrence Mykytiuk, an associate professor of library science at Purdue University and author of a Biblical Archaeology Review article on the extra-biblical evidence of Jesus, notes that there was no debate about the issue in ancient times either. There is no definitive physical or archaeological evidence of the existence of Jesus. Ehrman , author of Did Jesus Exist?
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