Eric, Don, et al,
If it hasn't been mentioned, check out Bart Ehrman's book, Did Jesus Exist? It came out last year, I think, with the paperback being issued last month.
--- On Wed, 4/3/13, eric <[address removed]> wrote:
From: eric <[address removed]>
Subject: Re: [skeptics-137] Did the historical Jesus exist
To: [address removed]
Date: Wednesday, April 3, 2013, 12:53 PM
Don Bell and I discussed this issue this morning at the Heathen Breakfast meetup at IHOP. We agreed that there was probably an historical Jesus, but it is impossible to construct an accurate or coherent picture of this person because there is simply too little reliable historical evidence. Many of the stories in the Gospels appear to be either parables or simply myths made up to affirm, as Dave points out below, OT prophecies. (Which Gospel stories are historical is, of course, hotly debated.)
Jesus, if he existed, was most likely born in Nazareth, not Bethlehem (and definitely not of a virgin). He probably had a very small following and he was probably crucified. Why he was crucified remains murky; the Gospel accounts are not consistent.
The strongest evidence for an historical Jesus comes from the letters of Paul, who personally knew some of the followers of
Jesus. It seems unlikely that the followers of Jesus could have cooked up an entirely mythical Jesus for Paul, who believed Jesus to have been an actual historical person. One strange aspect of this, however, is that Paul says almost nothing about the life of Jesus.
On 4/3/[masked]:58 AM, David wrote:
The answer is probably not I.e. It is low probability. I finished Proving History: Bayes's Theorem and the Quest for the historical Jesus by Richard Carrier. I am still reading Nailed: Ten Christian Myths That Show Jesus Never Existed At All by David Fitzgerald.
I hadn't given it much thought in the past, now I don't think that the Jesus of the Bible existed; maybe 10% for. Note that the English name Jesus is a cognate of the Hebrew name Joshua, of which there are and were many. So, I am sure that there were many Joshuas, and some of them probably tried to start a cult. But, most of the Biblical Joshua things, such as born of a virgin are simply myth, made up after the fact to conform with prophecy and to keep up with other myths of the time. Born of a human virgin was very popular for gods of that time.
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