Re: historicity of Christ

From: Jonathan Clarke (
Date: Mon Jun 11 2001 - 17:56:15 EDT

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    Hi Charles

    This is a tragic conclusion for your friend to draw and a source of grief for you (and for me also, I too have had friends who have followed this road).

    I must say though that I am bemused by a claim for the non-historcity of Jesus. I am understand some rejecting His teachings, or querying aspects of the gospels, given the limited extra-Biblical information we have. But to reject entirely His historicity? This seems to be a case of willfully choosing to ignore facts. Jesus is spoken of in Josephus, Tactitus and the rabbinical literature, and there is obscene graffiti about people worshipping a crucified God in Pompeii. This is the will to believe in the face of evidence that matches YEC, geocentricism, or moon landing denial.

    Similarly, statements that Early Christianity is rooted in platonic or pagan ideas are so bizarre it is hard to know where to begin. The Jewishness of Jesus is well established and 1st century Judaism was probably the least likely culture on earth for belief in virgin birth or the incarnation to arise.

    This is not my field, but I would suggest that reading the original sources (such as Josephus) and any one of a slew of books on first century Judaism. I don't know how well he is regarded these days, but I have always found Edershem helpful (although difficult to read). So I would not recommend him for starters.

    However seeing the basic premise of any denial of the historicity of Jesus is to deny the validity of the basic sources (especially the gospels), it is hard to know where to begin. Look at the holocaust deniers.

    You have my prayers.


    Charles Carrigan wrote:

    > All,
    > This is probably not the most appropriate forum for this question, but I can't think of a better place. So here goes......
    > A very good friend of mine has recently rejected his Christian faith. He has done this, so he says (and I have no reason to doubt him), because after researching the historicity of Christ and the gospels and Paul, he can no longer believe that the person of Jesus Christ as proclaimed by traditional Christianity was an historical figure. Instead, he now believes that Christianity has its roots in pagan and mythical cultures, combined with neo-Platonism and Judaism of the time. I'm not an apologist, nor am I a scholar of biblical literature or history or whatever else that might be appropriate. He has given me a laundry list of literature on the subject, which I have neither the time nor the energy to pursue. (He has mentioned writings by Robert M. Price, Charles Templeton, and many others). So I'm looking for someone who has seriously researched these issues and can perhaps provide some information for me to pass along.
    > Thanks,
    > C
    > *********************************************************************************************
    > Charles W. Carrigan
    > Univ. of Michigan - Department of Geological Sciences
    > 2534 C.C. Little Bldg.
    > 425 E. University Ave.
    > Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1063
    > "The point of having an open mind, like an open mouth,
    > is to close it on something solid."
    > -G.K. Chesterton

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