Hi Dojo readers,
While working on a drawing last week, I was listening to “The Fighter and the Kid“, a very popular MMA/comedy podcast, and the hosts were discussing a celebrity who had compared himself in importance to Jesus. Now the podcast is definitely NOT Christian (in fact, the language is exceedingly R-rated at times, so listener be warned!) and neither of the hosts are Christians. So when the topic of Jesus came up, “The Fighter” (one of the hosts’ nickname) asked “The Kid” (the other host’s nickname) whether we even know if Jesus existed or not. “The Kid” is a successful comedian and actor who is also quite well-read on a variety of subjects and was explaining to “The Fighter” that most historians believe that Jesus of Nazareth was indeed a man who existed historically. “The Fighter” did not seem convinced and kept saying things like, “Yeah…but where’s the actual proof.”
Now I had emailed “The Kid” a few weeks before when he mentioned a Biblical topic and asked for listeners to fact-check him on a previous episode. He said to send him things like it in the future, so I shot him a brief email after this episode saying that I’d be happy to send some resources for the next time the question arises about whether or not Jesus actually existed. He emailed me back and said yes, please send them. So I sent the following to him which I thought would also make for a helpful post here on the Dojo blog:
Correct [scholars and historians universally believe Jesus existed historically] In fact, it’s one of the few things nearly all of them agree on. The “Jesus is a Myth” movement pops up periodically in popular thought whenever someone publishes a book and they want to generate sales (and cable news outlets and skeptic blogs want to generate ratings and clicks), or whenever Bill Maher decides to make a documentary on Christianity. 😉 I would say that the Jesus-never-existed crowd are the equivalent of the “Ancient Aliens” guy when it comes to historical 1st century studies…but without the awesome hairdo.
Here are some articles and sources ranging from popular to academic that deal with the question
http://www.is-there-a-god.info/blog/belief/is-there-really-consensus-scholars/ <— this one alone should put the question to rest once and for all.
And here is an interview conducted by an evangelical New Testament scholar (Ben Witherington) with an agnostic New Testament scholar (Bart Ehrman) on the latter’s book “Did Jesus Exist?”:
Keep that knowledge droppin’, my good sir!
So, Dojo readers, take a look at these links and/or bookmark this post in your browser and keep it handy for future discussions you may have with advocates of the “Jesus never existed” theory. It really is one of the few things that practically every qualified and reputable historian/scholar in the field agrees on, regardless of their religious faith or lack thereof.
For fuller treatments, see the following:
The Evidence for Jesus – R.T. France
Fabricating Jesus – Craig Evans
Jesus and the Eyewitnesses – Richard Bauckham
The Historical Jesus: Ancient Evidence for the Life of Christ – Gary Habermas
Blessings from the Dojo,