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There Exists No Solid Proof Of Jesus Existence


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There simply doesn't. I've looked. I think this as the final nail in my coffin of faith. Outside of the Bible, the existence of Jesus is very, very sketchy.

 

I'd like to know if others have traveled this path and found the same thing to be true? I've found that there are many writers who wrote during the alleged time of Jesus in Judea but they do not ever mention Jesus... Here's a man doing super-miraculous things and historians of the time don't even mention is... And then you have Flavius Josephus who mentioned him in one paragraph and one sentence in his writings (about 93 CE) but Flavius also wrote about Hercules. Yup, he did. Also, some believe the mention of Jesus by Flavius was forged by the church later down the road. And it seems increasingly likely.

 

What have you found that that makes the existence of Jesus more of a myth than a reality?

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I have found no evidence to corroborate most of the crucial Bible tales. My guess is that there was probably a single person, or perhaps a composite, that some disgruntled Jews presented as a Messiah. Hard to say how the story came about.

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What have you found that that makes the existence of Jesus more of a myth than a reality?

 

Exactly the same things you did. Jesus as myth makes so much more sense than Jesus (or any other god) as reality.

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For you, it was the final strike. For me, it was the first strike. Learning how little evidence there was for Jesus was what made me dig deeper into Christianity as a whole.

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What kind of proof would you need? Also, note that the new testament has several contributors. Idk, I think there is more evidence for Jesus' existence than for Socrates.That would be some hoax, wouldn't it? Not only did people get convinced that some guy was a god, but that guy didn't even exist in the first place! Idk, that seems a little incredible to me at first blush.

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For you, it was the final strike. For me, it was the first strike. Learning how little evidence there was for Jesus was what made me dig deeper into Christianity as a whole.

 

Interesting... For me, the first strike was the unfairness of the belief-based-salvation model. The stacks of cards fell shortly thereafter.

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What kind of proof would you need? Also, note that the new testament has several contributors. Idk, I think there is more evidence for Jesus' existence than for Socrates.That would be some hoax, wouldn't it? Not only did people get convinced that some guy was a god, but that guy didn't even exist in the first place! Idk, that seems a little incredible to me at first blush.

 

I need the same kind of primary evidence that we have for Julius Caesar. Contemporary historical references, inscriptions, and so on. It makes more sense that Jesus is entirely a Myth. How likely is it that a man, who recently lived, was declared to be, and worshiped as, a god? Paul's Jesus was a cosmic being, known to him only through visions, not as an historical figure.

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Ultimately it was the complete lack of evidence that did it for me too. Not the lack of evidence for a historical Jesus, but rather the lack of evidence for a god of any kind.

 

What does it really matter if there was a Jesus? There probably was a rabbi named Yeshua in Capernaum who was popular in the first century...he might have even been executed in Jerusalem after pissing off the wrong people. Hell, he might have even claimed to be the son of Yahweh (which could have gotten you killed back then, makes sense, doesn't it?) and what difference would it make?

 

The same claim was made by Judas of Galilee, his grandson Menahem, Theudas, Vespacian, and John of Gischala...and that's just the first century claims. There were probably others but we know about these because they had followers just like Jesus.

 

We think the first gospel to be written was Mark...sometime around 70AD. That's right, about 40 years after his death. So how reliable is the information (miracle accounts, ressurection claims, etc)? Apologists will tell you that's reliable enough, and that the info came from eyewitnesses so it should be trusted.

 

Well, let's compare to a contemporary example...Barack Obama was born in a society where most people are literate, and detailed records of all births and deaths are kept. Not only is he still alive, he's the fucking president of the United States...yet even after he released his birth certificate, 13% of Americans still believe he was born in Kenya, and multiple books have been written making that claim: http://www.amazon.com/Wheres-Birth-Certificate-Eligible-President/dp/1936488299 -this one by a guy with a PhD.

 

So ultimately I don't care if he existed, because even if he did the extraordinary claims about him cannot be verified.

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History wonk here. LC's got the right of it. I began learning history in part because I wanted to see proof of Jesus. I thought there were dozens and dozens of pieces of evidence for him. I was crushed to discover otherwise.

 

What would I need to say Jesus was historical? Well, anything historical would be a very nice start! I'd need to have a few contemporary historians talking about him as a person-- I don't even require the miracles, but at least that some mentions that he existed. I'd need to see evidence of his trial and execution, too, especially since the Romans were so anal-retentive about court records like that. If the Bible is at all correct, then Jesus was a huge mover and shaker at that time. He existed in a world that is replete with historians and letter-writers, both on the Jewish and Roman sides of society. This was not a silent period of history! And yet not a single one of them mentioned a single word about his existence, much less corroborating any single thing that the Bible says he did. We have only one source that mentions him: the Bible. One group that discusses him: the Bible's various unknown authors. And not a single one of these paltry few sources are contemporary and not a single one of their claims has been verified (in fact many, such as the claim that a "worldwide census" occurred at Jesus' birth, have been resoundingly shown to be impossible).

 

If all we had of Socrates were the works of Plato, one might be correct in doubting Socrates' existence, but not only Plato but other writers like Xenophon and Aristophanes talk about Socrates in their work. The truth is, we have way more evidence of Socrates than of Jesus Christ. Even if those writers were discussing Socrates as a philosophical idea or construct, that's more than Jesus has. But this argument is a red herring because the existence or nonexistence of Socrates in no way proves or disproves the existence or nonexistence of Jesus. "WELLWELLWELL Socrates might not exist so therefore Jesus might!" WTF? Who's talking about someone besides Jesus? He must rise or fall on his own evidence. (Hint: he falls.)

 

Learning history made me realize that Jesus' story is mythic, not meant to be taken literally. His story is wayyyy too similar to those of other risen man-god-messiah of his time for me to take it seriously. Ever heard of a Mary Sue? Jesus had all the earmarks of being the male equivalent, the Gary Stu of messiahs: he claimed a divine lineage that would have sounded really impressive to Jews who didn't think it through carefully enough; he was part god but all god but all man; he did miracles that all the divine messiahs of his day did; he got executed for something that wasn't totally his fault; his death was a blood sacrifice done to appease a hideously bloodthirsty god; he rose from the dead on the right day; he appeared after his death to his believers to explain a few more things before he got zapped into the sky; he did miracles from afar even after he got taken up; "even today" he answers prayers and is coming back ANY DAY NOW. None of this was new to people of his day. And all of it was embellished long after his death. He needed to be in danger from the moment of his birth, so later myths about him expanded on the (purely fictional) census and the (purely fictional) murder of the Innocents. He needed more miracles, so later accounts added more miracles. He needed to be more in line with the Jewish conception of its messiah, so later writers added more and more touches to his story that meshed with the Torah's demands. As the concept of Jesus evolved, so did the mythology around him, getting more and more elaborate and intricate. I'm not just talking out of my ass here. We know that the Gospels evolved to get more complicated and involve more Torah crossovers over time. The evidence points to a purely mythical Jesus.

 

If one wishes to assert the historicity of Jesus Christ, that is a positive claim that demands positive evidence. There simply isn't any. The matter is compounded by the claims around his mythic nature; if anybody at the time took his claims of divinity seriously, I'd expect people to be even more spazzed about writing about him and discussing his various claims. But there's nothing.

 

If anybody was the inspiration for the myth, he is long dissolved to dust. If someone wants to claim Jesus was historical, he's got to do a lot more than "WELL HE MIGHT HAVE EXISTED, SO YOU CAN'T SAY OTHERWISE." No. If he existed, and he was anything close to what the Bible claims about him, then that is something history can and should support. We have letters from that time about everything under the sun; SOMEONE might have put in one single line about this weird Jewish miracle freakshow going on in Jerusalem that one wild weekend; someone might have mentioned the Pentecost infilling; someone might have mentioned the trial. And yet, nothing.

 

I see no more reason to accept his historicity than I do that of Yahweh himself. "Well he MIGHT exist" is not evidence. "Well some other ancient figure might not exist so Jesus might" is not evidence. "Well absence of evidence is not evidence of absence" is not evidence either. EVIDENCE please. If you have none, then you cannot claim he is historical. The best history can do is waft its palms skyward and say "Well, the stories certainly fit in with those of all the other Judean wizards running around at the time...." And that's not at all close to saying that there was a real Jesus. Like LifeCycle, as I learned more and more history, I found nothing at all to support the idea of a historical Jesus.

 

The funny part? I don't think the earliest church really cared much about that. It's the modern age and its polarization of fundamentalism that insists that Jesus had to be a real flesh-and-blood person and ties the entire religion's validity upon him being a real boy.

 

Follow the evidence.

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Ok LC, how about this test of Jesus' existence?

 

Does the spiritual fruit displayed by Christians match up to Jesus' words?

 

15 “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.

16 By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?

17 Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit.

18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit.

19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.

20 Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.

 

Also see the many, many references to spiritual fruit listed here.

http://www.biblegate...n=47&spanend=73

 

As far as I can see, a Christian's spiritual (i.e.,behavioral) fruit is the KEY test of Jesus' existence.

Taking the Bible as authoritative, we read that the following are not the signs that confirm Jesus' existence.

 

* Crying out, "Lord! Lord!"

* Casting out demons in Jesus' name

* The ability to understand all mysteries and all knowledge

* The gift of Prophecy

* Speaking in theTongues of men and angels

* Having a faith that can move mountains

* Giving all possessions to the poor

* Giving up one's body to destruction

 

So, if Christians do not display good spiritual fruit - then Jesus did not exist.

It's that simple.

 

Thanks,

 

BAA.

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What kind of proof would you need? Also, note that the new testament has several contributors. Idk, I think there is more evidence for Jesus' existence than for Socrates.That would be some hoax, wouldn't it? Not only did people get convinced that some guy was a god, but that guy didn't even exist in the first place! Idk, that seems a little incredible to me at first blush.

My view is that each and every religion has a person who is the driving force behind it. Mohammed for Islam. Buddha for buddhism. And so on. And each and everyone of them points to themselves in some way or another as special (prophet, son of God, or whatever). I'm not sure of any religion that started as a collaboration of multiple people at different locations (except perhaps today on Internet). So, my thought is that some kind of "Jesus" did exist. Not like the stories, but a person being the first building block for the idea to grow on.

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He wasn't a world leader or anything, so you shouldn't expect that kind of record. He was the leader of a Jewish sect. We have a pretty good record left by people who followed him and their conflicts with the Roman Paul who made a global religion out of him. Of course many of the stories are myths, but that's the nature of religion. Would we have LDS without a Joseph Smith (and a Brigham Young)?

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There simply doesn't. I've looked. I think this as the final nail in my coffin of faith. Outside of the Bible, the existence of Jesus is very, very sketchy.

 

I'd like to know if others have traveled this path and found the same thing to be true? I've found that there are many writers who wrote during the alleged time of Jesus in Judea but they do not ever mention Jesus... Here's a man doing super-miraculous things and historians of the time don't even mention is... And then you have Flavius Josephus who mentioned him in one paragraph and one sentence in his writings (about 93 CE) but Flavius also wrote about Hercules. Yup, he did. Also, some believe the mention of Jesus by Flavius was forged by the church later down the road. And it seems increasingly likely.

 

What have you found that that makes the existence of Jesus more of a myth than a reality?

Have you tried looking up Moses outside the OT? One myth after another leads all the way to the big super star himself, Jesus. Jesus is the result of the OT myth of the talking snake, the story I won't bore you with since you may already know it, but the whole myth of Jesus is built upon this single story of a talking snake. Christians will tell you he is their sacrifice but that's shot down again by their prophet Jeremiah who claimed the law of sacrifice was never given to Moses, and he also claimed the law was written falsely by scribes. There is then no law, no ten commandments either. See how nicely everything falls apart once one myth collapses?

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History wonk here. LC's got the right of it. I began learning history in part because I wanted to see proof of Jesus. I thought there were dozens and dozens of pieces of evidence for him. I was crushed to discover otherwise.

 

What would I need to say Jesus was historical? Well, anything historical would be a very nice start! I'd need to have a few contemporary historians talking about him as a person-- I don't even require the miracles, but at least that some mentions that he existed. I'd need to see evidence of his trial and execution, too, especially since the Romans were so anal-retentive about court records like that. If the Bible is at all correct, then Jesus was a huge mover and shaker at that time. He existed in a world that is replete with historians and letter-writers, both on the Jewish and Roman sides of society. This was not a silent period of history! And yet not a single one of them mentioned a single word about his existence, much less corroborating any single thing that the Bible says he did. We have only one source that mentions him: the Bible. One group that discusses him: the Bible's various unknown authors. And not a single one of these paltry few sources are contemporary and not a single one of their claims has been verified (in fact many, such as the claim that a "worldwide census" occurred at Jesus' birth, have been resoundingly shown to be impossible).

 

If all we had of Socrates were the works of Plato, one might be correct in doubting Socrates' existence, but not only Plato but other writers like Xenophon and Aristophanes talk about Socrates in their work. The truth is, we have way more evidence of Socrates than of Jesus Christ. Even if those writers were discussing Socrates as a philosophical idea or construct, that's more than Jesus has. But this argument is a red herring because the existence or nonexistence of Socrates in no way proves or disproves the existence or nonexistence of Jesus. "WELLWELLWELL Socrates might not exist so therefore Jesus might!" WTF? Who's talking about someone besides Jesus? He must rise or fall on his own evidence. (Hint: he falls.)

Relax, I'm just talking about the relevant burden of proof when it comes to the existence of historical figures. I thought the two were comparable, at least from a starting point. Plato, Aristophanes and Xenophon did not write about Socrates while he was alive, they wrote about him years after he died. It's comparable to "Q" and the other 3 gospel writers I remember reading about who supposedly knew Jesus and dictated or wrote about him years later (I think Mark is a shorter version of Mathew, or something).

 

I've never even heard of anyone arguing that Jesus didn't actually exist, so the logical place to start is by locating the burden of proof. I think much of your argument makes sense. Then again, it seems somewhat implausible for people to have simply created a Jesus myth for their own purposes and expect everyone to go along with it. It would be simpler to construct a myth around someone who actually existed, don't you think?

 

Honestly, what is with your tone? We are among friends, are we not? I think you owe me an apology, frankly. : /

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There simply doesn't. I've looked. I think this as the final nail in my coffin of faith. Outside of the Bible, the existence of Jesus is very, very sketchy.

 

I'd like to know if others have traveled this path and found the same thing to be true? I've found that there are many writers who wrote during the alleged time of Jesus in Judea but they do not ever mention Jesus... Here's a man doing super-miraculous things and historians of the time don't even mention is... And then you have Flavius Josephus who mentioned him in one paragraph and one sentence in his writings (about 93 CE) but Flavius also wrote about Hercules. Yup, he did. Also, some believe the mention of Jesus by Flavius was forged by the church later down the road. And it seems increasingly likely.

 

What have you found that that makes the existence of Jesus more of a myth than a reality?

Have you tried looking up Moses outside the OT? One myth after another leads all the way to the big super star himself, Jesus. Jesus is the result of the OT myth of the talking snake, the story I won't bore you with since you may already know it, but the whole myth of Jesus is built upon this single story of a talking snake. Christians will tell you he is their sacrifice but that's shot down again by their prophet Jeremiah who claimed the law of sacrifice was never given to Moses, and he also claimed the law was written falsely by scribes. There is then no law, no ten commandments either. See how nicely everything falls apart once one myth collapses?

 

 

I love reading your posts because you have robust knowledge of the Bible and the history of it all. I haven't researched the Moses stuff but that's an interesting point you bring up. Thanks for adding your insight! :)

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I have no doubt that the Jesus as described in the New Testament did not exist. That is, the Son of God who was born to a virgin, who performed various miracles, was a sacrifice for the remission of sins, rose from the dead, and ascended into heaven after making various post-resurrection appearances did not exist. As others have already suggested, an individual perhaps named Jesus around whom the New Testament myths were built may very well have lived. But if such an individual did live, it means nothing because he was just a man and nothing more - not a man/god and no one to be worshipped or to look to for salvation of any type whatsoever.

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For you, it was the final strike. For me, it was the first strike. Learning how little evidence there was for Jesus was what made me dig deeper into Christianity as a whole.

 

Interesting... For me, the first strike was the unfairness of the belief-based-salvation model. The stacks of cards fell shortly thereafter.

 

For me the first strike was trying to imagine how Trinity works and being told by my Bible Study leader that my thoughts are heresy. Oh we are not allowed to think that? Hmmm . . .

 

As for Jesus there were a bunch of them. They all preached different versions of Judaism which were probably nothing at all like what we find in the New Testament. After all the real preachers named Jesus were dead and gone new religions rose up to reshape the memory and grow it into a myth.

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Relax, I'm just talking about the relevant burden of proof when it comes to the existence of historical figures. I thought the two were comparable, at least from a starting point. Plato, Aristophanes and Xenophon did not write about Socrates while he was alive, they wrote about him years after he died. It's comparable to "Q" and the other 3 gospel writers I remember reading about who supposedly knew Jesus and dictated or wrote about him years later (I think Mark is a shorter version of Mathew, or something).

 

I've never even heard of anyone arguing that Jesus didn't actually exist, so the logical place to start is by locating the burden of proof. I think much of your argument makes sense. Then again, it seems somewhat implausible for people to have simply created a Jesus myth for their own purposes and expect everyone to go along with it. It would be simpler to construct a myth around someone who actually existed, don't you think?

 

I'm wondering if you're maybe feeling a bit tender or something. I don't feel like I'm expressing myself differently. But absolutely if you feel an apology is needed, you have it in spades. :) I trust your perception.

 

The idea that Jesus might not be historical is kind of a new one and it isn't entirely 100% accepted in all circles. We're treading uncharted waters here. I think people are just now getting around to the idea of questioning this matter; it's one of those dogmatic ideas that (like all dogmas) is considered absolutely above examination. But I think there's a lot of merit to it. Were there a lot of guys with sort of similar bios running around Judea in the 1st century-ish? Sure. But there's a long leap from "flim-flam artists of 1st century Judea" to "Jesus/Yeshuah/whatever" -- about as long a leap from "orphaned little kids in 1990s England" to "Harry Potter" or "brilliant engineers" to "Tony Stark." Having lots of inspirational figures to draw from doesn't make a mythical character less mythical. And I stand by my assertion that Jesus is different from Socrates: the people talking about him weren't necessarily all totally on Socrates' side and *were* people we know for reasonably sure did the writing, whereas Jesus' biographers are totally anonymous, their identities never having been fully established, not to mention that they were all writing from the perspective of conversion and persuasion. Plus, Socrates sort of never threatened to send people to hell for not believing in him ;) Ficino likely knows a shitload more about Socrates than I ever will, so I'll bow before his superior Romulan wisdom on this matter, and happily be corrected if need be. But I'm not persuaded that it's a valid analogy to claim that since we're not 10000% sure about Socrates being real that this has a thing to do with Jesus being real. Evidence is still evidence, and Jesus has even less than Socrates does.

 

As to someone's motives for making up a messiah out of whole cloth, we might want to go ask Joseph Smith what he thinks of that. I don't think there was a "kernel of truth" around Moroni at all. Or ask the guy who made up Glycon; there was at least a "kernel of truth" around that particular snake-god insofar as snake-gods were kind of fashionable at the time. Or the people who "lie for Jesus" on the altars of just about every evangelical church in existence today. People do all kinds of shit when there's money, prestige, and power on the line. I don't know *why* the Jesus myth might have gotten started. I don't think history should attest to motivations unless it can find 'em in writing or some other evidential way. I just know that this particular myth did indeed get started. If there ever turns up evidence that Jesus was real, sure, go for it, I'm cool with saying he existed. But at the moment, there just is no evidence whatsoever that he did, and no way that the biography offered of him can even be true, much less filled by a real human being.

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As to someone's motives for making up a messiah out of whole cloth, we might want to go ask Joseph Smith what he thinks of that. I don't think there was a "kernel of truth" around Moroni at all.

So Joseph Smith didn't exist? Someone made up Joseph Smith too?

 

If you think about it, Joseph Smith considered himself to be a prophet by God, just like Jesus. Paul pointed to Jesus, just like the followers pointed to Smith. Maroni didn't do miracles and had a story, like Jesus, but Smith did. Jesus claimed to be sent by God (who doesn't exist), just like Smith was sent by Moroni (who doesn't exist). The similarities, to me at least, seems to be more between Jesus and Smith. And Smith existed... or maybe he didn't...?

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So who was the historical Hercules?

 

Who was the historical Sampson?

 

Who was the historical King Author?

 

Who was the historical Paul Bunyan?

 

Who was the historical Zoro?

 

 

I think mythical figures can pop up out of almost nothing. Of course everything got it's inspiration from something else but the two can be very different; as different as old western movies and Star Trek.

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Idk, I think there is more evidence for Jesus' existence than for Socrates.That would be some hoax, wouldn't it?

Hi Pockets, I'm not sure that Jesus is a figure only of myth, but there is good evidence for the existence of Socrates and for elements of the way he did philosophy. There are at least two hostile sources: Aristophanes, who wrote about Socrates during Socrates' lifetime, and Polycrates, who wrote an Accusation of Socrates not long after his death. Then there are at least fourteen pro-socratic writers who lived during his lifetime. Some of them could have written dialogues while Socrates was still alive. Disputes occur among them (e.g. between Plato and Antisthenes), so they were not all working in collusion. Then Isocrates, who did not write Socratic dialogues but who was alive during Socrates' lifetime, speaks matter-of-factly about him in a work written some 8-18 years after his death.

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Idk, I think there is more evidence for Jesus' existence than for Socrates.That would be some hoax, wouldn't it?

Hi Pockets, I'm not sure that Jesus is a figure only of myth, but there is good evidence for the existence of Socrates and for elements of the way he did philosophy. There are at least two hostile sources: Aristophanes, who wrote about Socrates during Socrates' lifetime, and Polycrates, who wrote an Accusation of Socrates not long after his death. Then there are at least fourteen pro-socratic writers who lived during his lifetime. Some of them could have written dialogues while Socrates was still alive. Disputes occur among them (e.g. between Plato and Antisthenes), so they were not all working in collusion. Then Isocrates, who did not write Socratic dialogues but who was alive during Socrates' lifetime, speaks matter-of-factly about him in a work written some 8-18 years after his death.

Well, that is some damn good evidence, heh. Learn something new every day.
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I'm wondering if you're maybe feeling a bit tender or something. I don't feel like I'm expressing myself differently. But absolutely if you feel an apology is needed, you have it in spades. smile.png I trust your perception.
Thanks, I appreciate it. : ]

 

It's definitely an interesting thought, certainly a new one for me. I'm looking forward to seeing where it goes.

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The idea that Jesus might not be historical is kind of a new one and it isn't entirely 100% accepted in all circles.

 

The theory that Jesus never existed is not new. Below are links to some free E-Books.

 

Christianity and mythology (1910) John Mackinnon Robertson

A short history of Christianity (1902) John Mackinnon Robertson

The Jesus problem; a restatement of the myth theory (1917) John Mackinnon Robertson

The Christ myth (1911) Arthur Drews

The witnesses to the historicity of Jesus (1912) Arthur Drews

 

Bible scholars will never admit to a Mythical Jesus. They would lose their careers.

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