Did Jesus really live ?

G.A. Wells(Jesus Myth), Earl Doherty(Jesus Puzzle), Timothy Freke & Peter Gandy(Jesus Mysteries) have recently published books which question whether the Jesus of the gospels ever lived. The books suggest that the gospel stories are more myth than history. Are they right ?

Well the gospels were all written after Jesus died (assuming he existed) and they are likely very exagerated. But there is a lot of evidence that a dude named Jesus did exist, but whether he healed the sick and walked on water is yet to be determined.

A Roman historian wrote about him. I can’t remember the name…Flavus? It is just a mention about a supposed revolt.

Of course, it is possible thar some of the miracles in the NT are “myths”. But if we are talking about a purely historical evidence, there is as much evidence He existed, as nearly anyone else short of the Ceasar. No reputable historian disagrees that JC existed as an “historical person”, altho there is much scepticism re the miracles. Isaac Asimov, an atheist, secular humanist, sceptic, of jewish heritage, had no problem with the actual existance of Jesus. Neither do the Oxford histories of that area/period, and they are well known to be very authoritive and sceptical. Neither does “The idiots guide to the Bible…”, and “Don’t Know Much About the Bible” by Kenneth C Davis, who has made a living debunking popular history.

Every source & book you list has an anti-religion/anti- Christian bias, which makes them extremely suspect, at least.

Altho, there is no Roman record of Jesus, per se, there are some of His apostles, and one of His brother, James, which does list JC by name, ie “James the brother of the one called Jesus Christ…”. The Romans themselves, who had the records available to them of His cruxifiction, never postulated or claimed JC did not exist, even during the time of the oppression of Nero. If he had never existed as a real historical person, who they executed, they could simply have said “He never existed”, or “there are no records of His execution” and that would have been pretty solid, but they did no such thing. The Jewish Historians also had no doubt of His actual existance, during that time.

So, it is your right if you think JC was not the Messiah, and it is your faith if you think most of the miracles were faked or made up, but saying He never existed is a bit raw.

Flavius Josephus. I can’t find the exact quote but it goes something along the lines of referring to Christians as followers of the man executed during the reign of Tiberius.

What is this evidence? To my knowledge Jesus was a very common name, so we do know that at least a number of Jesuses existed, but as far as I can find there is no hard evidence of THE Jesus. Are there even any contemporary sources who mention him by heritage, character, or any other way? It seems like the vast majority of sources of information on the historical Jesus are removed by dozens if not hundreds of years from his supposed death.

I know there is a strong belief that he existed, and that is fine. Most major Western religious organizations recognize the existence of Jesus, and that is fine. But what actual evidence is there?

Messiah or not, if the ‘historical Jesus’ didn’t exist, some poor bastard got nailed up by mistake.

His face is seen on the side of refrigerators and in coffee stains. Isn’t that enough proof that he existed? :smiley:

Cecil answers: “Did Jesus really exist? And what’s with the Shroud of Turin?”

Aah, but how do we know that all these apparitions are the same guy?

There have been lots of religious guys with beards over the years, Mohammad for example. It could’ve been any one of them.

How do we know that the bearded guy who appears in tortillas is the same bearded guy who appears in sweat stains?

And anyway, early depictions of JC portray him as being clean-shaven. When did he decide to start growing the old face-fungus? :slight_smile:

Dude, everyone had a beard in the Sixties! Jesus couldn’t stand out to much, what with him being a man of the people and all.

Jesus… I like him. But he no help with curveball.

Earl Doherty, et al are living proof that skeptics are no more objective than believers, they just think they are. No reputable historian doubts that Jesus existed. Believing in the miracles is where a little thing called “faith” is required, but it’s also an article of faith to believe that miracles are impossible.

Like I said, there is a historical record that dates from AD 62 which tells of the stoning of James, and it goes something like “…James the brother of one called Jesus Christ…”. There were a few jesuahs, true, but only ONE Jesus Christ. There are also many records, later, which talk of the followers of JC, as if they had no arguement that JC had actually existed. During the Persecutions of Nero, don’t you think the Romans might have mentioned that He was made up and there was no records of Him or His execution? But they did not, in fact they mocked the Christians as “your leader was executed as a common criminal”, and they had the records then of His execution.

Look, even Cece, one of the biggest skeptics in the universe, has not problem with JC as an Historical person. So get real, huh?

Suetonius mentioned Jesus and his peeps in about A.D. 120.

The funny part about it, as I recall, is that the translation is constantly “dressed up” to make the reference not look as bad as it was.

Here’s the closest thing I can find so far:

Writing about A.D. 120, Suetonius, a popular Roman writer, declared that Claudius expelled the Jews from Rome because they “were continually making disturbances at the instigation of Chrestus” (Vita Claudii XXV.4). “Chrestus” is a corrupted form of Christos (Christ). Luke alluded to this situation in Acts 18:2.

But I remember reading somewhere that a more accurate translation would be something like “continually rioting in the name of that agitator Chrestus.” Or something like that. Anyone remember the full story?

Wasn’t “Jesus” the Greek form of his name?

Almost all culturesthat have taken to the Christian faith have portrayed him in their own image. I doubt very much that any common depictions are even close to what he looked like.

If he was born a Jew and other Jews accepted him as a Jew, I would assume that he looked like one. For the most part, Jews were not in the habit of shaving their beards. I think there’s a command not to trim the edges of the beard that they took whole-heartedly to mean not to shave at all.

Also, his hair probably wasn’t that long. It has been offered to me that the reason he is depicted with long(er) hair is because of the similarity between the words Nazareen and Nazarite, one of which refers to a person from the city of Nazareth and the other which refers to a person who is part of the long-hair, no-grape-eating sect of Judiasm.

My arguement is that if he didn’t look like a Jew, he would have been treated in a similar fashion to the Samaritians.

Why are there people named Jesus nowadays (mostly of Hispanic origin), but none named Christ?

Is Christ just off-limits as a last name?

Christ is a not uncommon last name. Check your phone book. Mine has 6, although one person has the first name of “Jesus”.

Think KISS, dude. Even the Knights In Satan’s Service have a Christ on their side.