BIBLE HISTORY DAILY

Did Jesus Exist? Searching for Evidence Beyond the Bible

Lawrence Mykytiuk’s feature article from the January/February 2015 issue of BAR with voluminous endnotes

Read Lawrence Mykytiuk’s article “Did Jesus Exist? Searching for Evidence Beyond the Bible” as it originally appeared in Biblical Archaeology Review, January/February 2015. The article was first republished in Bible History Daily in 2014.—Ed.


ravenna-jesus

THE MAN CHRIST JESUS. Did Jesus of Nazareth exist as a real human being? Outside of the New Testament, what is the evidence for his existence? In this article, author Lawrence Mykytiuk examines the extra-Biblical textual and archaeological evidence associated with the man who would become the central figure in Christianity. Here Jesus is depicted in a vibrant sixth-century C.E. mosaic from the Basilica of Sant’Apollinare Nuovo in Ravenna, Italy. Photo: Sant’Apollinare Nuovo Ravenna, Italy/Bridgeman Images.

After two decades toiling in the quiet groves of academe, I published an article in BAR titled “Archaeology Confirms 50 Real People in the Bible.”a The enormous interest this article generated was a complete surprise to me. Nearly 40 websites in six languages, reflecting a wide spectrum of secular and religious orientations, linked to BAR’s supplementary web page.b Some even posted translations.
I thought about following up with a similar article on people in the New Testament, but I soon realized that this would be so dominated by the question of Jesus’ existence that I needed to consider this question separately. This is that article:1

Did Jesus of Nazareth, who was called Christ, exist as a real human being, “the man Christ Jesus” according to 1 Timothy 2:5?

The sources normally discussed fall into three main categories: (1) classical (that is, Greco-Roman), (2) Jewish and (3) Christian. But when people ask whether it is possible to prove that Jesus of Nazareth actually existed, as John P. Meier pointed out decades ago, “The implication is that the Biblical evidence for Jesus is biased because it is encased in a theological text written by committed believers.2 What they really want to know is: Is there extra-Biblical evidence … for Jesus’ existence?”c

Therefore, this article will cover classical and Jewish writings almost exclusively.3


In the free ebook Who Was Jesus? Exploring the History of Jesus’ Life, examine fundamental questions about Jesus of Nazareth. Where was he really born—Bethlehem or Nazareth? Did he marry? Is there evidence outside of the Bible that proves he actually walked the earth?


Tacitus—or more formally, Caius/Gaius (or Publius) Cornelius Tacitus (55/56–c. 118 C.E.)—was a Roman senator, orator and ethnographer, and arguably the best of Roman historians. His name is based on the Latin word tacitus, “silent,” from which we get the English word tacit. Interestingly, his compact prose uses silence and implications in a masterful way. One argument for the authenticity of the quotation below is that it is written in true Tacitean Latin.4 But first a short introduction.

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Roman historian Tacitus. Photo: Bibliotheque nationale, Paris, France / Giraudon / Bridgeman Images.

Tacitus’s last major work, titled Annals, written c. 116–117 C.E., includes a biography of Nero. In 64 C.E., during a fire in Rome, Nero was suspected of secretly ordering the burning of a part of town where he wanted to carry out a building project, so he tried to shift the blame to Christians. This was the occasion for Tacitus to mention Christians, whom he despised. This is what he wrote—the following excerpt is translated from Latin by Robert Van Voorst:

tacitus-annals

TACIT CONFIRMATION. Roman historian Tacitus’s last major work, Annals, mentions a “Christus” who was executed by Pontius Pilate and from whom the Christians derived their name. Tacitus’s brief reference corroborates historical details of Jesus’ death from the New Testament. The pictured volume of Tacitus’s works is from the turn of the 17th century. The volume’s title page features Plantin Press’s printing mark depicting angels, a compass and the motto Labore et Constantia (“By Labor and Constancy”). Photo: Tacitus, Opera Quae Exstant, trans. by Justus Lipsius (Antwerp, Belgium: Ex officina Plantiniana, apud Joannem Moretum, 1600). Courtesy of the Philadelphia Rare Books & Manuscripts Co. (PRB&M).

[N]either human effort nor the emperor’s generosity nor the placating of the gods ended the scandalous belief that the fire had been ordered [by Nero]. Therefore, to put down the rumor, Nero substituted as culprits and punished in the most unusual ways those hated for their shameful acts … whom the crowd called “Chrestians.” The founder of this name, Christ [Christus in Latin], had been executed in the reign of Tiberius by the procurator Pontius Pilate … Suppressed for a time, the deadly superstition erupted again not only in Judea, the origin of this evil, but also in the city [Rome], where all things horrible and shameful from everywhere come together and become popular.5

Tacitus’s terse statement about “Christus” clearly corroborates the New Testament on certain historical details of Jesus’ death. Tacitus presents four pieces of accurate knowledge about Jesus: (1) Christus, used by Tacitus to refer to Jesus, was one distinctive way by which some referred to him, even though Tacitus mistakenly took it for a personal name rather than an epithet or title; (2) this Christus was associated with the beginning of the movement of Christians, whose name originated from his; (3) he was executed by the Roman governor of Judea; and (4) the time of his death was during Pontius Pilate’s governorship of Judea, during the reign of Tiberius. (Many New Testament scholars date Jesus’ death to c. 29 C.E.; Pilate governed Judea in 26–36 C.E., while Tiberius was emperor 14–37 C.E.6)

Tacitus, like classical authors in general, does not reveal the source(s) he used. But this should not detract from our confidence in Tacitus’s assertions. Scholars generally disagree about what his sources were. Tacitus was certainly among Rome’s best historians—arguably the best of all—at the top of his game as a historian and never given to careless writing.

Earlier in his career, when Tacitus was Proconsul of Asia,7 he likely supervised trials, questioned people accused of being Christians and judged and punished those whom he found guilty, as his friend Pliny the Younger had done when he too was a provincial governor. Thus Tacitus stood a very good chance of becoming aware of information that he characteristically would have wanted to verify before accepting it as true.8

codex-mediceus

CHRESTIANS OF CHRIST. Book XV of Tacitus’s Annals is preserved in the 11th–12th-century Codex Mediceus II, a collection of medieval manuscripts now housed in the Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana in Florence, Italy, along with other manuscripts and books that belonged to the Medici family. Highlighted above is the Latin text reading “… whom the crowd called ‘Chrestians.’ The founder of this name, Christ, had been executed in the reign of Tiberius by the procurator Pontius Pilate …” Photo: Codex Mediceus 68 II, fol. 38r, the Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana, Florence, Italy.

The other strong evidence that speaks directly about Jesus as a real person comes from Josephus, a Jewish priest who grew up as an aristocrat in first-century Palestine and ended up living in Rome, supported by the patronage of three successive emperors. In the early days of the first Jewish Revolt against Rome (66–70 C.E.), Josephus was a commander in Galilee but soon surrendered and became a prisoner of war. He then prophesied that his conqueror, the Roman commander Vespasian, would become emperor, and when this actually happened, Vespasian freed him. “From then on Josephus lived in Rome under the protection of the Flavians and there composed his historical and apologetic writings” (Gerd Theissen and Annette Merz).9 He even took the name Flavius, after the family name of his patron, the emperor Vespasian, and set it before his birth name, becoming, in true Roman style, Flavius Josephus. Most Jews viewed him as a despicable traitor. It was by command of Vespasian’s son Titus that a Roman army in 70 C.E. destroyed Jerusalem and burned the Temple, stealing its contents as spoils of war, which are partly portrayed in the imagery of their gloating triumph on the Arch of Titus in Rome.10 After Titus succeeded his father as emperor, Josephus accepted the son’s imperial patronage, as he did of Titus’s brother and successor, Domitian.

Yet in his own mind, Josephus remained a Jew both in his outlook and in his writings that extol Judaism. At the same time, by aligning himself with Roman emperors who were at that time the worst enemies of the Jewish people, he chose to ignore Jewish popular opinion.

Josephus stood in a unique position as a Jew who was secure in Roman imperial patronage and protection, eager to express pride in his Jewish heritage and yet personally independent of the Jewish community at large. Thus, in introducing Romans to Judaism, he felt free to write historical views for Roman consumption that were strongly at variance with rabbinic views.

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Jewish historian Josephus is pictured in the ninth-century medieval manuscript Burgerbibliothek Bern Codex under the Greek caption “Josippos Historiographer.” Photo: Burgerbibliothek Bern Cod. 50, f.2r.

In his two great works, The Jewish War and Jewish Antiquities, both written in Greek for educated people, Josephus tried to appeal to aristocrats in the Roman world, presenting Judaism as a religion to be admired for its moral and philosophical depth. The Jewish War doesn’t mention Jesus except in some versions in likely later additions by others, but Jewish Antiquities does mention Jesus—twice.

The shorter of these two references to Jesus (in Book 20)11 is incidental to identifying Jesus’ brother James,12 the leader of the church in Jerusalem. In the temporary absence of a Roman governor between Festus’s death and governor Albinus’s arrival in 62 C.E., the high priest Ananus instigated James’s execution. Josephus described it:

Being therefore this kind of person [i.e., a heartless Sadducee], Ananus, thinking that he had a favorable opportunity because Festus had died and Albinus was still on his way, called a meeting [literally, “sanhedrin”] of judges and brought into it the brother of Jesus-who-is-called-Messiah … James by name, and some others. He made the accusation that they had transgressed the law, and he handed them over to be stoned.13

James is otherwise a barely noticed, minor figure in Josephus’s lengthy tome. The sole reason for referring to James at all was that his death resulted in Ananus losing his position as high priest. James (Jacob) was a common Jewish name at this time. Many men named James are mentioned in Josephus’s works, so Josephus needed to specify which one he meant. The common custom of simply giving the father’s name (James, son of Joseph) would not work here, because James’s father’s name was also very common. Therefore Josephus identified this James by reference to his famous brother Jesus. But James’s brother Jesus (Yehoshua) also had a very common name. Josephus mentions at least 12 other men named Jesus.14 Therefore Josephus specified which Jesus he was referring to by adding the phrase “who is called Messiah,” or, since he was writing in Greek, Christos.15 This phrase was necessary to identify clearly first Jesus and, via Jesus, James, the subject of the discussion. This extraneous reference to Jesus would have made no sense if Jesus had not been a real person.


Visit the historical Jesus study page in Bible History Daily to read more free articles on Jesus.


josephus-lodge

JAMES, BROTHER OF JESUS. In Jewish Antiquities, parts of which are included in this mid-17th-century book of translations, Josephus refers to a James, who is described as “the brother of Jesus-who-is-called-Messiah.” Josephus’s mention of Jesus to specify which James was being executed by the high priest Ananus in 62 C.E. affirms the existence of the historical Jesus. Photo: Josephus, Famovs and Memorable Works of Josephvs, trans. by Thomas Lodge (London: J. L. for Andrew Hebb, 1640).

Few scholars have ever doubted the authenticity of this short account. On the contrary, the huge majority accepts it as genuine.16 The phrase intended to specify which Jesus, translated “who is called Christ,” signifies either that he was mentioned earlier in the book or that readers knew him well enough to grasp the reference to him in identifying James. The latter is unlikely. First-century Romans generally had little or no idea who Christus was. It is much more likely that he was mentioned earlier in Jewish Antiquities. Also, the fact that the term “Messiah”/“Christ” is not defined here suggests that an earlier passage in Jewish Antiquities has already mentioned something of its significance.17 This phrase is also appropriate for a Jewish historian like Josephus because the reference to Jesus is a noncommittal, neutral statement about what some people called Jesus and not a confession of faith that actually asserts that he was Christ.

This phrase—“who is called Christ”—is very unlikely to have been added by a Christian for two reasons. First, in the New Testament and in the early Church Fathers of the first two centuries C.E., Christians consistently refer to James as “the brother of the Lord” or “of the Savior” and similar terms, not “the brother of Jesus,” presumably because the name Jesus was very common and did not necessarily refer to their Lord. Second, Josephus’s description in Jewish Antiquities of how and when James was executed disagrees with Christian tradition, likewise implying a non-Christian author.18

This short identification of James by the title that some people used in order to specify his brother gains credibility as an affirmation of Jesus’ existence because the passage is not about Jesus. Rather, his name appears in a functional phrase that is called for by the sense of the passage. It can only be useful for the identification of James if it is a reference to a real person, namely, “Jesus who is called Christ.”

This clear reference to Jesus is sometimes overlooked in debates about Josephus’s other, longer reference to Jesus (to be treated next). Quite a few people are aware of the questions and doubts regarding the longer mention of Jesus, but often this other clear, simple reference and its strength as evidence for Jesus’ existence does not receive due attention.

The longer passage in Josephus’s Jewish Antiquities (Book 18)19 that refers to Jesus is known as the Testimonium Flavianum.

If it has any value in relation to the question of Jesus’ existence, it counts as additional evidence for Jesus’ existence. The Testimonium Flavianum reads as follows; the parts that are especially suspicious because they sound Christian are in italics:20

Around this time there lived Jesus, a wise man, if indeed one ought to call him a man.21 For he was one who did surprising deeds, and a teacher of such people as accept the truth gladly. He won over many Jews and many of the Greeks. He was the Messiah. When Pilate, upon hearing him accused by men of the highest standing among us, had condemned him to be crucified, those who in the first place came to love him did not give up their affection for him, for on the third day, he appeared to them restored to life. The prophets of God had prophesied this and countless other marvelous things about him. And the tribe of Christians, so called after him, have still to this day not died out.22

All surviving manuscripts of the Testimonium Flavianum that are in Greek, like the original, contain the same version of this passage, with no significant differences.

The main question is: Did Flavius Josephus write this entire report about Jesus and his followers, or did a forger or forgers alter it or possibly insert the whole report?23 There are three ways to answer this question:24

Alternative 1: The whole passage is authentic, written by Josephus.

Alternative 2: The whole passage is a forgery, inserted into Jewish Antiquities.

Alternative 3: It is only partly authentic, containing some material from Josephus, but also some later additions by another hand(s).

Regarding Alternative 1, today almost no scholar accepts the authenticity of the entire standard Greek Testimonium Flavianum. In contrast to the obviously Christian statement “He was the Messiah” in the Testimonium, Josephus elsewhere “writes as a passionate advocate of Judaism,” says Josephus expert Steve Mason. “Everywhere Josephus praises the excellent constitution of the Jews, codified by Moses, and declares its peerless, comprehensive qualities … Josephus rejoices over converts to Judaism. In all this, there is not the slightest hint of any belief in Jesus”25 as seems to be reflected in the Testimonium.

The bold affirmation of Jesus as Messiah reads as a resounding Christian confession that echoes St. Peter himself!26 It cannot be Josephus. Alternative 1 is clearly out.

Regarding Alternative 2—the whole Testimonium Flavianum is a forgery—this is very unlikely. What is said, and the expressions in Greek that are used to say it, despite a few words that don’t seem characteristic of Josephus, generally fit much better with Josephus’s writings than with Christian writings.27 It is hypothetically possible that a forger could have learned to imitate Josephus’s style or that a reviser adjusted the passage to that style, but such a deep level of attention, based on an extensive, detailed reading of Josephus’s works and such a meticulous adoption of his vocabulary and style, goes far beyond what a forger or a reviser would need to do.

Even more important, the short passage (treated above) that mentions Jesus in order to identify James appears in a later section of the book (Book 20) and implies that Jesus was mentioned previously.


The BAS DVD Uncovering Early Christianity offers four exclusive full-length lectures by Bart Ehrman on topics ranging from forgeries and counter-forgeries in the New Testament to how and when Jesus became divine. Learn more >>


codex-parisinus

THE TESTIMONY OF JOSEPHUS. This 15th-century manuscript, now in the Bibliothèque Nationale de France, contains the portion of Josephus’s Testimonium Flavianum that refers to Jesus (highlighted in blue). The first sentence of the manuscript, highlighted in green, reads, from the Greek, “Around this time there lived Jesus, a wise man, if indeed one ought to call him a man.” The majority of scholars believe this passage of the Testimonium is based on the original writings of Josephus but contains later additions, likely made by Christian scribes. Photo: Codex Parisinus gr. 2075, 45v. Courtesy Bibliothèque Nationale de France.

The best-informed among the Romans understood Christus to be nothing more than a man’s personal name, on the level of Publius and Marcus. First-century Romans generally had no idea that calling someone “Christus” was an exalted reference, implying belief that he was the chosen one, God’s anointed. The Testimonium, in Book 18, appropriately found in the section that deals with Pilate’s time as governor of Judea,28 is apparently one of Josephus’s characteristic digressions, this time occasioned by mention of Pilate. It provides background for Josephus’s only other written mention of Jesus (in Book 20), and it connects the name Jesus with his Christian followers. The short reference to Jesus in the later book depends on the longer one in the earlier (Book 18). If the longer one is not genuine, this passage lacks its essential background. Alternative 2 should be rejected.

Alternative 3—that the Testimonium Flavianum is based on an original report by Josephus29 that has been modified by others, probably Christian scribes, seems most likely. After extracting what appear to be Christian additions, the remaining text appears to be pure Josephus. As a Romanized Jew, Josephus would not have presented these beliefs as his own. Interestingly, in three openly Christian, non-Greek versions of the Testimonium Flavianum analyzed by Steve Mason, variations indicate changes were made by others besides Josephus.30 The Latin version says Jesus “was believed to be the Messiah.” The Syriac version is best translated, “He was thought to be the Messiah.” And the Arabic version with open coyness suggests, “He was perhaps the Messiah concerning whom the prophets have recounted wonders.” Alternative 3 has the support of the overwhelming majority of scholars.

We can learn quite a bit about Jesus from Tacitus and Josephus, two famous historians who were not Christian. Almost all the following statements about Jesus, which are asserted in the New Testament, are corroborated or confirmed by the relevant passages in Tacitus and Josephus. These independent historical sources—one a non-Christian Roman and the other Jewish—confirm what we are told in the Gospels:31

1. He existed as a man. The historian Josephus grew up in a priestly family in first-century Palestine and wrote only decades after Jesus’ death. Jesus’ known associates, such as Jesus’ brother James, were his contemporaries. The historical and cultural context was second nature to Josephus. “If any Jewish writer were ever in a position to know about the non-existence of Jesus, it would have been Josephus. His implicit affirmation of the existence of Jesus has been, and still is, the most significant obstacle for those who argue that the extra-Biblical evidence is not probative on this point,” Robert Van Voorst observes.32 And Tacitus was careful enough not to report real executions of nonexistent people.

2. His personal name was Jesus, as Josephus informs us.

3. He was called Christos in Greek, which is a translation of the Hebrew word Messiah, both of which mean “anointed” or “(the) anointed one,” as Josephus states and Tacitus implies, unaware, by reporting, as Romans thought, that his name was Christus.

4. He had a brother named James (Jacob), as Josephus reports.

5. He won over both Jews and “Greeks” (i.e., Gentiles of Hellenistic culture), according to Josephus, although it is anachronistic to say that they were “many” at the end of his life. Large growth in the number of Jesus’ actual followers came only after his death.

6. Jewish leaders of the day expressed unfavorable opinions about him, at least according to some versions of the Testimonium Flavianum.

7. Pilate rendered the decision that he should be executed, as both Tacitus and Josephus state.

8. His execution was specifically by crucifixion, according to Josephus.

9. He was executed during Pontius Pilate’s governorship over Judea (26–36 C.E.), as Josephus implies and Tacitus states, adding that it was during Tiberius’s reign.

Some of Jesus’ followers did not abandon their personal loyalty to him even after his crucifixion but submitted to his teaching. They believed that Jesus later appeared to them alive in accordance with prophecies, most likely those found in the Hebrew Bible. A well-attested link between Jesus and Christians is that Christ, as a term used to identify Jesus, became the basis of the term used to identify his followers: Christians. The Christian movement began in Judea, according to Tacitus. Josephus observes that it continued during the first century. Tacitus deplores the fact that during the second century it had spread as far as Rome.

As far as we know, no ancient person ever seriously argued that Jesus did not exist.33 Referring to the first several centuries C.E., even a scholar as cautious and thorough as Robert Van Voorst freely observes, “… [N]o pagans and Jews who opposed Christianity denied Jesus’ historicity or even questioned it.”34

Nondenial of Jesus’ existence is particularly notable in rabbinic writings of those first several centuries C.E.: “… [I]f anyone in the ancient world had a reason to dislike the Christian faith, it was the rabbis. To argue successfully that Jesus never existed but was a creation of early Christians would have been the most effective polemic against Christianity … [Yet] all Jewish sources treated Jesus as a fully historical person … [T]he rabbis … used the real events of Jesus’ life against him” (Van Voorst).35

Thus his birth, ministry and death occasioned claims that his birth was illegitimate and that he performed miracles by evil magic, encouraged apostasy and was justly executed for his own sins. But they do not deny his existence.36


Want more on Biblical figures? Read “53 People in the Bible Confirmed Archaeologically,” “New Testament Political Figures: The Evidence” and “Herod the Great and the Herodian Family Tree” by Lawrence Mykytiuk.


Lucian of Samosata (c. 115–200 C.E.) was a Greek satirist who wrote The Passing of Peregrinus, about a former Christian who later became a famous Cynic and revolutionary and died in 165 C.E. In two sections of Peregrinus—here translated by Craig A. Evans—Lucian, while discussing Peregrinus’s career, without naming Jesus, clearly refers to him, albeit with contempt in the midst of satire:

It was then that he learned the marvelous wisdom of the Christians, by associating with their priests and scribes in Palestine. And—what else?—in short order he made them look like children, for he was a prophet, cult leader, head of the congregation and everything, all by himself. He interpreted and explained some of their books, and wrote many himself. They revered him as a god, used him as a lawgiver, and set him down as a protector—to be sure, after that other whom they still worship, the man who was crucified in Palestine because he introduced this new cult into the world.37

For having convinced themselves that they are going to be immortal and live forever, the poor wretches despise death and most even willingly give themselves up. Furthermore, their first lawgiver persuaded them that they are all brothers of one another after they have transgressed once for all by denying the Greek gods and by worshiping that crucified sophist himself and living according to his laws.38

Although Lucian was aware of the Christians’ “books” (some of which might have been parts of the New Testament), his many bits of misinformation make it seem very likely that he did not read them. The compound term “priests and scribes,” for example, seems to have been borrowed from Judaism, and indeed, Christianity and Judaism were sometimes confused among classical authors.

Lucian seems to have gathered all of his information from sources independent of the New Testament and other Christian writings. For this reason, this writing of his is usually valued as independent evidence for the existence of Jesus.

This is true despite his ridicule and contempt for Christians and their “crucified sophist.” “Sophist” was a derisive term used for cheats or for teachers who only taught for money. Lucian despised Christians for worshiping someone thought to be a criminal worthy of death and especially despised “the man who was crucified.”

▸ Celsus, the Platonist philosopher, considered Jesus to be a magician who made exorbitant claims.39

▸ Pliny the Younger, a Roman governor and friend of Tacitus, wrote about early Christian worship of Christ “as to a god.”40

▸ Suetonius, a Roman writer, lawyer and historian, wrote of riots in 49 C.E. among Jews in Rome which might have been about Christus but which he thought were incited by “the instigator Chrestus,” whose identification with Jesus is not completely certain.41

▸ Mara bar Serapion, a prisoner of war held by the Romans, wrote a letter to his son that described “the wise Jewish king” in a way that seems to indicate Jesus but does not specify his identity.42

Other documentary sources are doubtful or irrelevant.43

One can label the evidence treated above as documentary (sometimes called literary) or as archaeological. Almost all sources covered above exist in the form of documents that have been copied and preserved over the course of many centuries, rather than excavated in archaeological digs. Therefore, although some writers call them archaeological evidence, I prefer to say that these truly ancient texts are ancient documentary sources, rather than archaeological discoveries.

Some ossuaries (bone boxes) have come to light that are inscribed simply with the name Jesus (Yeshu or Yeshua‘ in Hebrew), but no one suggests that this was Jesus of Nazareth. The name Jesus was very common at this time, as was Joseph. So as far as we know, these ordinary ossuaries have nothing to do with the New Testament Jesus. Even the ossuary from the East Talpiot district of Jerusalem, whose inscription is translated “Yeshua‘, son of Joseph,” does not refer to him.44

As for the famous James ossuary first published in 2002,d whose inscription is translated “Jacob, son of Joseph, brother of Yeshua‘,” more smoothly rendered, “James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus,” it is unprovenanced, and it will likely take decades to settle the matter of whether it is authentic. Following well established, sound methodology, I do not base conclusions on materials whose authenticity is uncertain, because they might be forged.45 Therefore the James ossuary, which is treated in many other publications, is not included here.46

As a final observation: In New Testament scholarship generally, a number of specialists consider the question of whether Jesus existed to have been finally and conclusively settled in the affirmative. A few vocal scholars, however, still deny that he ever lived.47


“Did Jesus Exist? Searching for Evidence Beyond the Bible” by Lawrence Mykytiuk originally appeared in the January/February 2015 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review. The article was first republished in Bible History Daily on December 8, 2014.


lawrence-mykytiukLawrence Mykytiuk is associate professor of library science and the history librarian at Purdue University. He holds a Ph.D. in Hebrew and Semitic Studies and is the author of the book Identifying Biblical Persons in Northwest Semitic Inscriptions of 1200–539 B.C.E. (Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2004).


Notes:

a. Lawrence Mykytiuk, “Archaeology Confirms 50 Real People in the Bible,” BAR, March/April 2014.

b. See biblicalarchaeology.org/50.

c. John P. Meier, “The Testimonium,” Bible Review, June 1991.

d. See André Lemaire, “Burial Box of James the Brother of Jesus,” BAR, November/December 2002; Hershel Shanks, “‘Brother of Jesus’ Inscription Is Authentic!” BAR, July/August 2012.

1. I gratefully dedicate this article to my brother, Thomas S. Mykytiuk, to the memory of his wife, Nancy E. Mykytiuk, and to their growing tribe of descendants. I wish to thank Dr. Stuart D. Robertson of Purdue University, a Josephus scholar who studied under the great Louis H. Feldman, for kindly offering his comments on an early draft of this article. As the sole author, I alone am responsible for all of this article’s errors and shortcomings.

The previous BAR article is supplemented by two more persons, officials of Nebuchadnezzar II, mentioned in the “Queries and Comments” section, BAR, July/August 2014, bringing the actual total to 52. That previous article is based on my own research, because few other researchers had worked toward the twin goals I sought: first, developing the necessary methodology, and second, applying that methodology comprehensively to archaeological materials that relate to the Hebrew Bible. In contrast, this article treats an area that has already been thoroughly researched, so I have gleaned material from the best results previously obtained (may the reader pardon the many quotations).

Another contrast is that the challenge in the research that led to the previous article was to determine whether the inscriptions (down to 400 B.C.E.) actually referred to the Biblical figure. In the present article, most of the documents very clearly refer to the Jesus of the New Testament. Only in relatively few instances, such as some rabbinic texts, is the reference very unclear. The challenge in this article has been to evaluate the relative strength of the documents about Jesus as evidence, while keeping in mind whether they are independent of the New Testament.

2. Of course, the New Testament is actually a small library of texts, as is the Hebrew Bible.

3. Because Meier only covered writings of the Jewish historian Flavius Josephus, his article stays within the first century. This article covers writings that originated in the first several centuries C.E. These non-Christian sources deserve to be welcomed and examined by anyone interested in the historical aspect of Scripture. At the same time, Christian sources found in the New Testament and outside of it have great value as historical evidence and are not to be discounted or dismissed.

The Gospels, for example, are loosely parallel to writings by members of a Prime Minister’s or President’s cabinet, in that they are valuable for the firsthand information they provide from inner circles (F. F. Bruce, Jesus and Christian Origins Outside the New Testament, Knowing Christianity [London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1974], pp. 14–15). While allowance must be made for human limitations (at least lack of omniscience) and bias (such as loyalty to a particular person or deity), no good historian would completely discard them.

An example that is more to the point is Bart D. Ehrman’s strong affirmation of Jesus’ existence in his Did Jesus Exist? (New York: HarperOne, 2012), pp. 142–174. It is based on New Testament data and is noteworthy for its down-to-earth perception. Ehrman bases his conclusion that Jesus existed on two facts: first, that the apostle Paul was personally acquainted with Jesus’ brother James and with the apostle Peter; and second, that, contrary to Jewish messianic expectation of the day, Jesus was crucified (Did Jesus Exist?, p. 173).

In the last analysis, all evidence from all sources must be considered. Both Biblical and non-Biblical sources “are in principle of equal value in the study of Jesus” (Gerd Theissen and Annette Merz, The Historical Jesus: A Comprehensive Guide [Minneapolis: Fortress, 1998], p. 23). An excellent, up-to-date resource on both Christian and non-Christian sources is Craig A. Evans, ed., Encyclopedia of the Historical Jesus (New York: Routledge, 2008).

4. “As Norma Miller delightfully remarks, ‘The well-intentioned pagan glossers of ancient texts do not normally express themselves in Tacitean Latin,’ and the same could be said of Christian interpolators” (Norma P. Miller, Tacitus: Annals XV [London: Macmillan, 1971], p. xxviii, quoted in Robert E. Van Voorst, Jesus Outside the New Testament: An Introduction to the Ancient Evidence [Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2000], p. 43).

5. Annals XV.44, as translated in Van Voorst, Jesus Outside, pp. 42–43. Instead of the better-documented reading, “Chrestians,” the word “Christians” appears in a more traditional translation by Alfred J. Church and William J. Brodribb, Annals of Tacitus (London: Macmillan, 1882), pp. 304–305, and in an even earlier edition, which appears at www.princeton.edu/~achaney/tmve/wiki100k/docs/Tacitus_on_Christ.html.

6. Along with these corroborations, Tacitus’s statement also contains difficulties that might cause concern. Three that I consider the most important are treated in this note. Although debates will continue, proper use of historical background offers reasonable, tenable solutions that we may hold with confidence while remaining open to new evidence and new interpretations if they are better. Every approach has difficulties to explain. I prefer those that come with this article’s approach, because I consider them smaller and more easily resolved than the problems of other approaches.

First, it is common for scholars to observe that Pontius Pilate’s official title when he governed Judaea (26/27–36 C.E.) was not procurator, as in the quotation from Tacitus above, but praefectus (in Latin, literally, “placed in charge”; in English, prefect), as stated on the “Pilate stone” discovered in 1961. This stone was lying in the ruins of the theater in the ancient city of Caesarea Maritima, on Israel’s northern seacoast. The stone had been trimmed down to be re-used twice, so the first part of the title is broken off, but the title is not in doubt. With square brackets marking missing letters that scholars have filled in, two of its four lines read “[Po]ntius Pilate . . . [Pref]ect of Juda[ea]”:

line 2 […PO]NTIUS PILATUS
line 3 […PRAEF]ECTUS IUDA[EA]E

The inscription could potentially be dated to any time in Pilate’s career, but a date between 31 and 36 C.E. seems most likely. See Clayton Miles Lehmann and Kenneth G. Holum, The Greek and Latin Inscriptions of Caesarea Maritima, Joint Expedition to Caesarea Excavation Reports V (Boston: American Schools of Oriental Research, 2000), pp. 67–70, no. 43, p. 249 Pl. XXVI.

The family name Pontius was common in some parts of Italy during that era, but the name Pilatus was “extremely rare” (A. N. Sherwin-White, “Pilate, Pontius,” in International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, vol. 3 [Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1986], p. 867). Because of the rarity of the name Pilatus and because only one Pontius Pilatus was ever the Roman governor of Judea, this identification should be regarded as completely certain.

It is possible that “procurator” in the quotation above is a simple error, but the historical background reveals that it is not so much an error as it is an anachronism—something placed out of its proper time, whether intentionally or by accident. As emperor until 14 C.E., Augustus gave governors of western and southern Judea the title praefectus. But later, Claudius (r. 41–54 C.E.) began conferring the title procurator pro legato, “procurator acting as legate” on new provincial governors. A procurator, literally, “caretaker,” was a steward who managed financial affairs on behalf of the owner. Roman governmental procurators managed taxes and estates on behalf of the emperor and had administrative duties. The English verb to procure is derived from the same root.

From then on, the title procurator replaced praefectus in many Roman provinces, including Judea. “So the early governors of western and southern Judea, after it became a Roman province in A.D. 6, were officially entitled praefecti. Later writers, however, usually referred to them anachronistically as procurators or the Greek equivalent …” (A. N. Sherwin-White, “Procurator,” in International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, p. 979.)

Writing in 116 or 117 C.E., Tacitus, who was above all a careful writer, might have intentionally chosen to use the then-current title procurator in keeping with the anachronistic way of speaking that was common in his day. Even today, we accept titles used anachronistically. One might read comparable statements about “U.S. Secretaries of Defense from Henry Stimson during World War II to Chuck Hagel,” even though Stimson’s actual title was Secretary of War, and the current title is Secretary of Defense. Readers who are unfamiliar with Stimson’s title would nevertheless understand which position he held in the government.

Whether procurator was used intentionally or not, in effect this anachronistic term helped readers quickly understand Pilate’s official position and avoided confusing people who were not familiar with the older title.

The second difficulty is that Tacitus’s word for “Christians” is spelled two different ways in existing Latin manuscripts of Annals: both Christianoi and Chrestianoi. The name Chrestus, meaning “good, kind, useful, beneficent,” was commonly given to slaves who served Roman masters. In spoken conversation, people in Rome could easily have mistakenly heard the Latinized foreign word Christus as the familiar name Chrestus. Chrestianoi, “good, kind, useful ones,” is found in the oldest surviving manuscript of this passage in Tacitus.

[T]he original hand of the oldest surviving manuscript, the Second Medicean (eleventh century), which is almost certainly the source of all other surviving manuscripts, reads Chrestianoi, “Chrestians.” A marginal gloss “corrects” it to Christianoi. Chrestianoi is to be preferred as the earliest and most difficult reading and is adopted by the three current critical editions and the recent scholarship utilizing them. It also makes better sense in context. Tacitus is correcting, in a way typical of his style of economy, the misunderstanding of the “crowd” (vulgus) by stating that the founder of this name (auctor nominis eius) is Christus, not the name implicitly given by the crowd, Chrestus. Tacitus could have written auctor superstitionis, “the founder of this superstition,” or something similar, but he calls attention by his somewhat unusual phrase to the nomen [name] of the movement in order to link it directly—and correctly—to the name of Christ (Van Voorst, Jesus Outside, pp. 43–44. See also John P. Meier, A Marginal Jew: Rethinking the Historical Jesus, vol. 1: The Roots of the Problem and the Person, Anchor Bible Reference Library [New York: Doubleday, 1991], p. 100, note 7.).

It is very common for ancient classical writings to be represented by manuscripts that were copied many centuries later. For example, the earliest manuscript of the Odyssey is from the 900s C.E., yet it is traditionally ascribed to the blind Greek poet Homer, who is dated variously from about the 800s to the 500s B.C.E., roughly 1,400 to 1,700 years earlier. Similarly, it is not unusual for the earliest surviving manuscripts of various works of the Greek philosopher Plato to date from over 1,000 years after he wrote.

For a technical, critical discussion of Christus and Chrestus in English, see Robert Renahan, “Christus or Chrestus in Tacitus?” Past and Present 23 (1968), pp. 368–370.

The third difficulty is more apparent than real: Why did it take about 85 years for a classical author such as Tacitus to write about Jesus, whose crucifixion occurred c. 29 C.E.? (The A.D. system, devised by the Christian Scythian monk Dionysius Exiguus [“Dennis the Small”] in the 525 C.E. and used in our present-day calendar, was not perfectly set on the exact year of Jesus’ birth, though it was close. As a result, Jesus was born within the years we now refer to as 6 to 4 B.C.E. That would put the beginning of his ministry, around age 30 (Luke 3:23), at c. 25 C.E. In the widely held view that Jesus’ ministry lasted 3.5 years before his death, a reasonable date for the crucifixion is c. 29 C.E.)

The following two observations made by F. F. Bruce are relevant to works by Tacitus and by several other classical writers who mention Jesus:

1. Surprisingly few classical writings, comparatively speaking, survive from the period of about the first 50 years of the Christian church (c. 29 to 80 C.E.). (Bruce, Jesus and Christian Origins, p. 17.)

2. Roman civilization paid almost no attention to obscure religious leaders in faraway places, such as Jesus in Judea—just as today’s Western nations pay almost no attention to religious leaders in remote parts of the world, unless the national interest is involved. Rome became concerned only when Christians grew numerous. (Bruce, Jesus and Christian Origins, pp. 17–18. For thorough discussion, see Van Voorst, Jesus Outside, pp. 68–71.)

A time factor that affects Tacitus in particular is:

3. In the Annals, the reference to Jesus appears only in connection with the cruel treatment of Christians in Rome by Nero, as part of a biography of Nero (d. 68 C.E.). By happenstance, Tacitus did not get around to composing Nero’s biography until the last group of narratives he wrote before he died. A writer for most of his life, Tacitus began with works on oratory, ethnography of German tribes and other subjects. His book Histories, written c. 100–110, which covers the reigns of later Roman emperors after Nero, was actually written before his book Annals, which covers the earlier reigns of Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius and Nero. Thus Tacitus wrote his biography of Nero at the end of his career.

7. Asia was the name of a Roman province in what is now western Turkey (Asia Minor).

8. Perhaps he compared it to Roman records, whether in general governmental archives or in records concerning various religions. I have read one analysis by an author who arbitrarily assumes that Tacitus got his information only from Christians—no other source. Then, on the sole basis of the author’s own assumption, the analysis completely dismisses Tacitus’s clear historical statement about “Christus.” This evaluation is based on opinion, not evidence. It also undervalues Tacitus’s very careful writing and his discernment as a historian. He likely had access to some archives through his status, either as Proconsul of Asia, as a senator—or, as is often overlooked, from his connections as a high-ranking priest of Roman religion. In 88 C.E., he became “a member of the Quindecimviri Sacris Faciundis [“The Board of Fifteen for Performing Sacrifices”], the priestly organization charged, among other things, with … supervising the practice of officially tolerated foreign cults in the city … [and facing] the growing necessity to distinguish illicit Christianity from licit Judaism” (Van Voorst, Jesus Outside, p. 52), or, given Jewish resistance to oppressive measures taken by Rome, at least to keep a close watch on developments within Judaism. Indeed, “a Roman archive … is particularly suggested by the note of the temporary suppression of the superstition, which indicates an official perspective” (Theissen and Merz, Historical Jesus, p. 83). Membership in this priestly regulatory group very likely gave Tacitus access to at least some of the accurate knowledge he possessed about Christus. With characteristic brevity, he reported the facts as he understood them, quickly dismissing the despised, executed Christus from the Annals (see Meier, Marginal Jew, vol. 1, p. 90).

Tacitus himself tells us … that in 88 [C.E.] both in his capacity as priest of the college of quindecimviri sacris faciundis and as a praetor he had been present at and had paid close attention to the ludi saeculares [“secular games”] celebrated by Domitian in that year… [Annals, XI.11, 3–4]. It rather sounds as if he took his religious office seriously …

Tacitus presents himself as a man concerned to preserve traditional Roman religious practice, convinced that when religious matters are allowed to slide or are completely disregarded, the gods will vent their anger on the Roman people to correct their error. What on his view angers the gods is not so much failure to observe the niceties of ritual practice, as disdain for the moral order that the gods uphold” (Matthew W. Dickie, “Magic in the Roman Historians,” in Richard Lindsay Gordon and Francisco Marco Simón, eds., Magical Practice in the Latin West: Papers from the International Conference Held at the University of Zaragoza, 30 Sept. – 1st Oct. 2005, Religions in the Greco-Roman World, vol. 168 [Leiden: Brill, 2010], pp. 82, 83).

Tacitus was in his twenties in 79 C.E., when an eruption of Mt. Vesuvius annihilated the city of Pompeii. One can reasonably suppose how he might have interpreted this disaster in relation to the Roman gods.

9. Quoted from Theissen and Merz, Historical Jesus, p. 64.

10. Titus’s troops captured and treated as war booty the sacred menorah that had stood in the holy place inside the Temple. See articles on the menorah as depicted on the Arch of Titus, in Yeshiva University’s Arch of Titus Digital Restoration Project, etc., at yeshiva.academia.edu/StevenFine/Menorah-Arch-of-Titus-Digital-Restoration-Project.

11. Jewish Antiquities, XX.200 (or, in Whiston’s translation of Jewish Antiquities, XX.9.1).

12. James’s name was actually Jacob. Odd as it may seem, the English name James is ultimately derived from the Hebrew name Jacob.

13. Jewish Antiquities, XX.9.1 in Whiston’s translation (§200 in scholarly editions), as translated by Meier, Marginal Jew, vol. 1, p. 57. Meier’s original passage includes the phrases in square brackets [ ]. The omitted words indicated by the ellipsis (…) are in Greek, to let scholars know what words are translated into English.

14. Winter asserts that Josephus mentions about twelve others named Jesus. Feldman puts that number at 21. See Paul Winter, “Excursus II: Josephus on Jesus and James: Ant. xviii 3, 3 (63–64) and xx 9,1 (200–203),” in Emil Schürer, The History of the Jewish People in the Age of Jesus Christ, 3 vols., rev. and ed. by Geza Vermes, Fergus Millar, Matthew Black and Martin Goodman (Edinburgh: Clark, 1973–1987), vol. 1, p. 431; Louis H. Feldman, “Introduction,” in Louis H. Feldman and Gohei Hata, eds., Josephus, Judaism, and Christianity (Detroit: Wayne State Univ. Press, 1987), p. 56.

15. See Meier, Marginal Jew, vol. 1, pp. 57–58. Messiah, the Hebrew term for “anointed (one),” came through Greek translation (Christos) into English as Christ.

16. See Meier, Marginal Jew, vol. 1, p. 59, note 12; pp. 72–73, note 12.

17. Richard T. France, The Evidence for Jesus, The Jesus Library (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1986), p. 26.

18. Josephus says James was executed by stoning before the Jewish War began, but Christian tradition says he was executed during the Jewish War by being thrown from a height of the Temple, then, after an attempt to stone him was prevented, finally being clubbed to death. See Meier, Marginal Jew, vol. 1, p. 58.

19. XVIII.63–64 (in Whiston’s translation: XVIII.3.3).

20. It was modern scholar John P. Meier who put these passages in italics.

21. Christians believe that Jesus was fully human, but also fully Divine, having two natures in one person. To refer to him as “a wise man,” as the earlier part of the sentence does, would seem incomplete to a Christian. This clause seems intended to lead toward the two boldly Christian statements that come later.

22. This straightforward translation from Greek, in which I have italicized three phrases, is by Theissen and Merz, Historical Jesus, pp. 65–66.

In his Bible Review article (Meier, “The Testimonium,” Bible Review, June 1991, p. 23), John P. Meier subtracts these three apparently Christian portions from the Testimonium. What remains is a very plausible suggestion, possibly the authentic, smoothly flowing report written by Flavius Josephus—or very close to it. Here is the remainder:

Around this time there lived Jesus, a wise man. For he was one who did surprising deeds, and a teacher of such people as accept the truth gladly. He won over many Jews and many of the Greeks. When Pilate, upon hearing him accused by men of the highest standing among us, had condemned him to be crucified, those who in the first place came to love him did not give up their affection for him. And the tribe of Christians, so called after him, have still to this day not died out (Theissen and Merz, Historical Jesus, pp. 65–66, after deleting the apparent Christian additions as Meier would).

23. Regarding differing religious convictions of readers that have generated disagreements about this passage at least since medieval times, see Alice Whealey, Josephus on Jesus: The Testimonium Flavianum Controversy from Late Antiquity to Modern Times, Studies in Biblical Literature, vol. 36 (New York: Peter Lang, 2003). Whealey’s observations in her conclusion, pp. 203–207, may be summarized as follows:

In the High Middle Ages (c. 1050–1350), Jewish scholars claimed it was a Christian forgery that was inserted into Josephus’s text, and Christians simply claimed it was entirely authentic. The problem was that with few exceptions, both sides argued from a priori assumptions with no critical examination of evidence. In the late 1500s and the 1600s, some Protestant scholars made the public charge of forgery. By the mid-1700s, based on textual evidence, scholarly opinion had rejected the authenticity of the Testimonium Flavianum and the controversy largely ended for over two centuries.

Twentieth-century scholars, however, revived the controversy on the basis of “new” variations of the text and whole works from ancient times that had been overlooked. Instead of the generally Protestant character of the earlier controversy, the controversy that began in the twentieth century is “more academic and less sectarian … marked by the presence of Jewish scholars for the first time as prominent participants on both sides of the question, and in general the attitudes of Protestant, Roman Catholic, Jewish, and secular scholars towards the text have drawn closer together” (p. 206).

24. Theissen and Merz, Historical Jesus, p. 65–69. Meier, “The Testimonium,” Bible Review, June 1991, gives the third answer.

25. Steve Mason, Josephus and the New Testament, 2nd ed. (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 2003), p. 229.

26. Matthew 16:16; Mark 8:29; Luke 9:20.

27. According to Theissen and Merz, Historical Jesus, pp. 66–67, unless otherwise noted, these phrases that are characteristic of Josephus include: 1) Calling Jesus “a wise man” and calling his miracles “surprising deeds”; 2) Use of one of Josephus’s favorite phrases, “accept the truth gladly,” that in the “gladly” part includes the Greek word for “pleasure” which for Christian writers of this era, as a rule, had a bad connotation; 3) The reference to attracting “many of the Greeks” (meaning Hellenistic Gentiles), which fits better with Rome in Josephus’s time than with the references to Gentiles in the Gospels, which are few (such as John 12:20–22). On the style being that of Josephus, see also Van Voorst, Jesus Outside, pp. 89–91; 4) “The execution of Jesus by Pilate on the denunciation of the Jewish authorities shows acquaintance with legal conditions in Judaea and contradicts the tendency of the Christian reports of the trial of Jesus, which incriminate the Jews but play down Pilate’s responsibility” (Theissen and Merz, Historical Jesus, p. 67); 5) Calling Christians a “tribe” tends to show a Jewish perspective.

28. On whether the Testimonium Flavianum interrupts the structure of its literary context, see Theissen and Merz, Historical Jesus, pp. 67–68, under “The interpolation hypothesis.” They describe E. Norden’s analysis (in German) of the context in Jewish Antiquities. Also see France, Evidence for Jesus, pp. 27–28, which mentions that Josephus’s typical sequencing includes digressions. Josephus’s key vocabulary regarding revolts is absent from the section on Jesus, perhaps removed by a Christian copyist who refused to perpetuate Josephus’s portrayal of Jesus as a real or potential rebel political leader.

29. Various scholars have suggested that Josephus’s original text took a hostile view of Jesus, but others, that it took a neutral to slightly positive view of him. See Theissen and Merz, Historical Jesus, pp. 68–71 (hostile views) and pp. 71–74 (neutral to slightly positive views).

30. Josephus scholar Steve Mason observes, “Long after Eusebius, in fact, the text of the testimonium remained fluid. Jerome (342–420), the great scholar who translated the Bible and some of Eusebius into Latin, gives a version that agrees closely with standard text, except that the crucial phrase says of Jesus, ‘He was believed to be the Messiah’” (Mason, Josephus and the New Testament, p. 230, italics his. A decades-long, simmering debate continues about whether Jerome’s translation accurately represents what Josephus wrote.).

Besides Jerome’s Latin version, other examples of variation in manuscripts that are mentioned by Mason include an Arabic rendering and a version in Syriac. The Syriac language developed from Aramaic and is the (or an) official language of some branches of Orthodox Christianity.

A passage in a tenth-century Arabic Christian manuscript written by a man named Agapius appears to be a version of the Testimonium Flavianum. Shlomo Pines gives the following translation from the Arabic:

Similarly Josephus [Yūsīfūs] the Hebrew. For he says that in the treatises that he has written on the governance [?] of the Jews: ‘At this time there was a wise man who was called Jesus. His conduct was good, and [he] was known to be virtuous. And many people from among the Jews and the other nations became his disciples. Pilate condemned him to be crucified and to die. But those who had become his disciples did not abandon his discipleship. They reported that he had appeared to them three days after his crucifixion and that he was alive; accordingly, he was perhaps the Messiah concerning whom the prophets have recounted wonders.

This is what is said by Josephus and his companions of our Lord the Messiah, may he be glorified (Shlomo Pines, An Arabic Version of the Testimonium Flavianum and Its Implications [Jerusalem: The Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities, 1971), pp. 8–10).

Feldman thinks that Agapius mixed in source material from writers besides Josephus and provided “a paraphrase, rather than a translation” (Louis H. Feldman, Josephus and Modern Scholarship, 1937–1980 [New York: Walter de Gruyter, 1984], p. 701). John P. Meier tends not to attribute much significance to Agapius’s description of the Testimonium Flavianum; see Meier, Marginal Jew, vol. 1, pp. 78–79, note 37.

Of the three apparently Christian portions that are italicized in the translation of the Greek text above, the first is missing, and the other two are phrased as neutral statements (“they reported” he was alive, “he was perhaps” the Messiah), rather than as affirmations of Christian faith, such as, “He was” the Messiah, “He appeared” alive again.

Mason also refers to Pines’s translation of a version in Syriac found in the writings of Michael, the Patriarch of Antioch:

The writer Josephus also says in his work on the institutions of the Jews: In these times there was a wise man named Jesus, if it is fitting for us to call him a man. For he was a worker of glorious deeds and a teacher of truth. Many from among the Jews and the nations became his disciples. He was thought to be the Messiah. But not according to the testimony of the principal [men] of [our] nation. Because of this, Pilate condemned him to the cross, and he died. For those who had loved him did not cease to love him. He appeared to them alive after three days. For the prophets of God had spoken with regard to him of such marvelous [as these]. And the people of the Christians, named after him, has not disappeared till [this] day” (Pines, Arabic Version, pp. 26–27).

Pines adds a note about the Syriac text of the sentence “He was thought to be the Messiah”: “This sentence may also be translated Perhaps he was the Messiah.”

These Latin, Arabic and Syriac versions most likely represent genuine, alternative textual traditions. “The Christian dignitaries who innocently report these versions as if they came from Josephus had no motive, it seems, to weaken their testimony to Jesus” (Mason, Josephus and the New Testament, p. 231). Actually, Christians tended to make references to Jesus more glorious. Nor is there any indication that anti-Christian scribes reduced the references to Jesus from glorious to mundane, which would likely have been accompanied by disparagement. “It seems probable, therefore, that the versions of Josephus’s statement given by Jerome, Agapius and Michael reflect alternative textual traditions of Josephus which did not contain” the bold Christian confessions that appear in the standard Greek version (Mason, Josephus and the New Testament, p. 231). They contain variations that exhibit a degree of the fluidity that Mason emphasizes (Mason, Josephus and the New Testament, pp. 230–231). But these versions are not so different that they are unrecognizable as different versions of the Testimonium Flavianum. They use several similar phrases and refer to the same events, presenting phrases and events in a closely similar order, with few exceptions. Thus, along with enough agreement among the standard Greek text and the non-Greek versions to reveal a noteworthy degree of stability, their differences clearly exhibit the work of other hands after Josephus. (It is by this stability that we may recognize many lengthy additions and disagreements with the manuscript texts of the Testimonium Flavianum that are found in a passage sometimes called the Testimonium Slavianum that was apparently inserted into the Old Russian translation, called the Slavonic version, of Josephus’s other major work, The Jewish War.)

In the process of finding the similarities of phrases and references in extant manuscripts, one can come to recognize that the standard Greek form of the Testimonium Flavianum is simply one textual tradition among several. On balance, the Greek version is not necessarily supreme over all other textual traditions (Mason, Josephus and the New Testament, pp. 234–236). Despite a degree of stability in the text, the fluidity that is evident in various textual traditions is plain evidence that what Josephus wrote was later altered. When viewed from the standpoint of the Latin, Arabic and Syriac versions, the Greek text looks deliberately altered to make Josephus seem to claim that Jesus was the Messiah, possibly by omitting words that indicated that people called him Christos or thought, said, reported or believed that he was. Also, although of course the evidence is the crucial factor, alternative 3 also happens to have the support of the overwhelming majority of scholars, far more than any other view.

31. Almost all of the following points are listed and elaborated in Van Voorst, Jesus Outside, pp. 99–102.

32. Van Voorst, Jesus Outside, p. 99.

33. “The non-Christian testimonies to Jesus … show that contemporaries in the first and second century saw no reason to doubt Jesus’ existence” (Theissen and Merz, Historical Jesus, p. 63).

34. Van Voorst, Jesus Outside, p. 15. His footnote attached to this sentence states, with reference to Justin Martyr:

The only possible attempt at this argument known to me is in Justin’s Dialogue with Trypho, written in the middle of the second century. At the end of chapter 8, Trypho, Justin’s Jewish interlocutor, states, “But [the] Christ—if indeed he has been born and exists anywhere—is unknown, and does not even know himself, and has no power until Elijah comes to anoint him and make him known to all. Accepting a groundless report, you have invented a Christ for yourselves, and for his sake you are unknowingly perishing.” This may be a faint statement of a nonexistence hypothesis, but it is not developed or even mentioned again in the rest of the Dialogue, in which Trypho assumes the existence of Jesus (Van Voorst, Jesus Outside, p. 15, note 35).

Even in this statement, in which Trypho tries to imply that an existing report of Jesus as the Christ is erroneous, his reason is not necessarily that Jesus did not exist. Rather, he might well have wanted to plant the doubt that—although Jesus existed, as Trypho consistently assumes throughout the rest of the dialogue— the “report” that Jesus was the Christ was “groundless,” and that later on, someone else might arise who would prove to be the true Christ. Trypho was attempting to raise hypothetical doubt without here stating any actual grounds for doubt. These suggestions, more likely taunts, from Trypho, which he immediately abandons, cannot be regarded as an argument, let alone a serious argument. They are simply an unsupported doubt, apparently regarding Jesus’ being the Messiah.

35. Van Voorst, Jesus Outside, pp. 133–134.

36. The chief difficulty in working with rabbinic writings that might be about Jesus is that

it is not always clear if Jesus (variously called Yeshua or Yeshu, with or without the further designation ha-Noṣri [meaning “the Nazarene”]) is in fact the person to whom reference is being made, especially when certain epithets are employed (e.g. Balaam, Ben Pandira, Ben Stada, etc. … Another serious problem in making use of these traditions is that it is likely that none of it is independent of Christian sources (Craig A. Evans, “Jesus in Non-Christian Sources,” in Bruce Chilton and Craig A. Evans, eds., Studying the Historical Jesus: Evaluations of the State of Current Research, 2nd impression, New Testament Tools and Studies, vol. 6 (Boston: Brill, 1998, 1994), pp. 443–444).

Thus Van Voorst finds that “most passages alleged to speak about him in code do not in fact do so, or are so late as to have no value” (Van Voorst, Jesus Outside, p. 129).

From among the numerous rabbinic traditions, many of which seem puzzling in their potential references to Jesus, a fairly clear example is as follows:

And it is tradition: On the eve of the Passover they hanged Yeshu ha-Noṣri. And the herald went forth before him for forty days, “Yeshu ha-Noṣri is to be stoned, because he has practiced magic and enticed and led Israel astray. Anyone who knows anything in his favor, let him come and speak concerning him.” And they found nothing in his favor. And they hanged him on the eve of the Passover. Ulla says, “Would it be supposed that Yeshu ha-Noṣri was one for whom anything in his favor might be said? Was he not a deceiver? And the Merciful has said, ‘Thou shalt not spare, neither shalt thou conceal him’ [Deuteronomy 13:8]. But it was different with Yeshu ha-Noṣri, for he was near to the kingdom’” (Babylonian Talmud, Sanhedrin 43a; compare Sanhedrin 67a).

The following paragraph summarizes Craig A. Evans’s comments on the above quotation from the Babylonian Talmud, Sanhedrin 43a:

According to John 18:28 and 19:14, Jesus’ execution occurred during Passover. The phrase “near to the kingdom” might refer to the Christian tradition that Jesus was a descendant of King David (Matthew 1:1; Mark 10:47, 48), or it could refer to Jesus’ proclamation that the kingdom of God was at hand (Mark 1:15). Deuteronomy 13:1–11 prescribes death by stoning for leading other Israelites astray to serve other gods, giving a sign or wonder, and Deuteronomy 21:21–22 requires that “when a man has committed a sin worthy of death, and he is put to death, you shall hang him on a tree” (compare the Mishnah, Sanhedrin 6:4, “All who have been stoned must be hanged”). When Judea came under Roman rule, which instituted crucifixion as a legal punishment, apart from the question of whether it was just or unjust, Jews roughly equated it with hanging on a tree. (Evans, “Jesus in Non-Christian Sources,” p. 448)

The passage above simultaneously implies the rabbis’ view that Jesus really existed and encapsulates the rabbis’ uniformly negative view of his miracles as magic and his teachings as deceit (Van Voorst, Jesus Outside, p. 120).

37. Passing of Peregrinus, §11, as translated in Evans, “Jesus in Non-Christian Sources,” p. 462.

38. This paragraph is a separate quotation from Passing of Peregrinus, §11, again as translated in Evans, “Jesus in Non-Christian Sources,” p. 462.

39. On Celsus: in c. 176 C.E., Celsus, a Platonist philosopher in Alexandria, wrote The True Word (this title is also translated as The True Doctrine, or The True Discourse, or The True Account, etc.) to lodge his severe criticisms of Judaism and Christianity. Although that work has not survived, it is quoted and paraphrased in Origen’s reply in defense of Christianity, Against Celsus (c. 248 C.E.). Prominent among his many accusations to which Origen replies is as follows:

Next he makes the charge of the savior that it was by magic that he was able to do the miracles which he appeared to have done, and foreseeing that others also, having learned the same lessons and being haughty to act with the power of God, are about to do the same thing, such persons Jesus would drive away from his own society.

For he says, “He was brought up in secret and hired himself out as a workman in Egypt, and having tried his hand at certain magical powers he returned from there, and on account of those powers gave himself the title of God” (Origen, Against Celsus, 1.6, 38, as translated in Evans, “Jesus in Non-Christian Sources,” p. 460).

It is unknown whether Celsus became aware of information about Jesus, including reports of his miracles, from the Gospel tradition(s) or independently of them. Thus it cannot be said that Celsus adds any new historical material about Jesus, though it is clear that in accusing Jesus of using magic for personal gain, Celsus assumed his existence.

Charges that Jesus was a magician are common in ancient writings, and Christian replies have been published even very recently. Evans refers readers to “an assessment of the polemic that charges Jesus with sorcery”: Graham N. Stanton, “Jesus of Nazareth: A Magician and a False Prophet Who Deceived God’s People?” in Joel B. Green and Max Turner, eds., Jesus of Nazareth: Lord and Christ: Essays on the Historical Jesus and New Testament Christology, I. Howard Marshall Festschrift (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1994), pp. 166–182 (Evans, “Jesus in Non-Christian Sources,” p. 460, note 45).

40. On Pliny the Younger: A friend of Tacitus, and like him the governor of a Roman province (in 110 C.E.), Gaius Plinius Caecilius Secundus (c. 61–113 C.E.), known as Pliny, seems to have been excessively dependent on the Emperor Trajan for directions on how to govern. In his lengthy correspondence with Trajan, titled Epistles, X.96, along with his inquiries about how to treat people accused of being Christians, Pliny wrote:

They [the Christians] assured me that the sum total of their error consisted in the fact that that they regularly assembled on a certain day before daybreak. They recited a hymn antiphonally to Christus as to a god and bound themselves with an oath not to commit any crime, but to abstain from theft, robbery, adultery, breach of faith, and embezzlement of property entrusted to them. After this, it was their custom to separate, and then to come together again to partake of a meal, but an ordinary and innocent one (Evans, “Jesus in Non-Christian Sources,” p. 459)

The things that Pliny wrote about Christians can be found in or deduced from the New Testament. He reveals nothing new about Jesus himself, nor can his letters be considered evidence for Jesus’ existence, only for Christian belief in his existence. One may note what seems to have been early second century Christian belief in Jesus as deity, as well as the sizable population of Christians worshiping him in Pliny’s province, Bithynia, in Asia Minor, despite Roman prohibition and punishments.

41. On Suetonius: In c. 120 C.E., the Roman writer, lawyer and historian Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus (c. 70–140 C.E.), a friend of Pliny, wrote the following in his history, On the Lives of the Caesars, speaking of an event in 49 C.E.: “He [Claudius] expelled the Jews from Rome, because they were always making disturbances because of the instigator Chrestus” (Van Voorst, Jesus Outside, p. 30).

In the first place, the term “the Jews” could refer to Christians, whom Romans viewed as members of a Jewish sect. So the “disturbances” could be understood as riots among Jews, among Christians viewed as Jews, or, most likely, between those whom we would call Jews and Christians.

The use of the name “Chrestus” creates more ambiguity in this passage than the term “Chrestians” did in the passage in Tacitus treated above. Tacitus implicitly corrected the crowd. Here, with Suetonius speaking of events in 49 C.E., we have two options to choose from. The first option is that it’s a spelling of a mispronunciation of Christus, which Romans thought was Jesus’ name. If so, then Suetonius misunderstood Christus, whom he called “Chrestus,” to be an instigator. Suetonius’s key appositive phrase, “impulsore Chresto,” is much more accurately translated “the instigator Chrestus” (Van Voorst, Jesus Outside, p. 31) than the usual “at the instigation of Chrestus” (Van Voorst, Jesus Outside, p. 29). Another logical result would be that the uproarious disputes in 49 C.E. were actually disturbances sparked by disagreement about who Jesus was and/or what he said and did. Considering the two sides, namely, the rabbinic view that he was a magician and deceitful teacher, versus early Christians whose worship was directed to him “as to a god” (as described from the Roman perspective of Pliny the Younger), one can see how synagogues could become deeply divided.

The second option is that it refers to an otherwise unknown “instigator” of disturbances who bore the common name of slaves and freedmen, Chrestus. Actually, among hundreds of Jewish names in the catacombs of Rome, there is not one instance of Chrestus being the name of a Jew (Van Voorst, Jesus Outside, p. 33). For this and other reasons, it seems more likely that Suetonius, who often uncritically repeated errors in his sources, was referring to Christus, that is, Jesus, but misunderstood him to be an agitator who lived in Rome in 49 C.E. (Van Voorst, Jesus Outside, pp. 29–39).

42. On Mara bar Serapion: In the last quarter of the first century C.E., a prisoner of war following the Roman conquest of Samosata (see under Lucian), Mara bar Serapion wrote a letter to his son, Serapion. In Stoic fashion, he wanted his son to seek wisdom in order to handle life’s misfortunes with virtue and composure.

For what advantage did the Athenians gain by the murder of Socrates, the recompense of which they received in famine and pestilence? Or the people of Samos by the burning of Pythagoras, because in one hour their country was entirely covered in sand? Or the Jews by the death of their wise king, because from that same time their kingdom was taken away? God justly avenged these three wise men: the Athenians died of hunger; the Samians were overwhelmed by the sea; the Jews, ruined and driven from their land, live in complete dispersion. But Socrates did not die for good; he lived on in the teaching of Plato. Pythagoras did not die for good; he lived on in the statue of Hera. Nor did the wise king die for good; he lived on in the teaching which he had given (Evans, “Jesus in Non-Christian Sources,” pp. 455–456)

All we know of the author comes from this letter. Mara does not seem to have been a Christian, because he does not refer to a resurrection of Jesus and because his terminology, such as “wise king,” is not the usual Christian way of referring to Jesus. It is entirely possible that Mara received some knowledge of Jesus from Christians but did not name him for fear of displeasing his own Roman captors. His nameless reference makes the identification of “the wise king” as Jesus, though reasonable, still somewhat uncertain.

43. Doubtful sources contain “second- and third-hand traditions that reflect for the most part vague acquaintance with the Gospel story and controversies with Christians. These sources offer nothing independent” (Evans, “Jesus in Non-Christian Sources,” p. 443). Doubtful sources include the following:

Many rabbinic sources, including the Sepher Toledot Yeshu, “The Book of the Generations of Jesus” (meaning his ancestry or history; compare Matthew 1:1). It might be generally datable to as early as the eighth century C.E. but “may well contain a few oral traditions that go back to the third century.” It is “nothing more than a late collection of traditions, from Christian as well as from Jewish sources … full of fictions assembled for the primary purpose of anti-Christian polemic and propaganda,” and has no historical value regarding the question of Jesus’ existence (Evans, “Jesus in Non-Christian Sources,” p. 450).

The Slavonic (or Old Russian) Version of Josephus’s Jewish War “contains numerous passages … [which] tell of Jesus’ amazing deeds, of the jealousy of the Jewish leaders, of bribing Pilate,” etc. (Evans, “Jesus in Non-Christian Sources,” p. 451). These additions have no demonstrated historical value. The Yosippon (or Josippon) is a medieval source which appears in many versions, often with many additions. Its core is a Hebrew version of portions of Josephus’s writings that offers nothing from before the fourth century C.E. The Dead Sea Scrolls contain no contemporary references to Jesus or his followers. Islamic traditions either depend on the New Testament or are not clearly traceable to the early centuries C.E.

44. Regarding archaeological discoveries, along with many other scholars, I do not find that the group of ossuaries (bone boxes) discovered in the East Talpiot district of Jerusalem can be used as a basis for any conclusions about Jesus of Nazareth or his family. See the variety of views presented in James H. Charlesworth, ed., The Tomb of Jesus and His Family? Exploring Ancient Jewish Tombs Near Jerusalem’s Walls (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2008), especially the essay by Rachel Hachlili, “What’s in a Name?” pp. 125–149. She concludes, “In light of all the above the East Talpiot tomb is a Jewish family tomb with no connection to the historical Jesus family; it is not the family tomb of Jesus and most of the presented facts for the identification are speculation and guesswork” (p. 143).

45. See Nili S. Fox, In the Service of the King: Officialdom in Ancient Israel and Judah, Monographs of the Hebrew Union College (Cincinnati: Hebrew Union College, 2000), pp. 23–32; Christopher A. Rollston, “Non-Provenanced Epigraphs I: Pillaged Antiquities, Northwest Semitic Forgeries, and Protocols for Laboratory Tests,” Maarav 10 (2003), pp. 135–193, and his “Non-Provenanced Epigraphs II: The Status of Non-Provenanced Epigraphs within the Broader Corpus of Northwest Semitic,” Maarav 11 (2004), pp. 57–79.

46. See Craig A. Evans, Jesus and the Ossuaries (Waco, TX: Baylor Univ. Press, Markham Press Fund, 2003), pp. 112–115. Regarding identification of the people named in the James ossuary inscription, even if it is authentic, the question as to whether it refers to Jesus of Nazareth has not been clearly settled. It is worth observing that its last phrase, “the brother of Jesus,” whose authenticity is disputed, is not the characteristic Christian way of referring to Jesus, which would be “the brother of the Lord,” but this observation hardly settles the question.

47. On G. A. Wells and Michael Martin, see Gary R. Habermas, The Historical Jesus: Ancient Evidence for the Life of Christ (Joplin, MO: College Press, 1996), pp. 27–46. On others who deny Jesus’ existence, see Ehrman, Did Jesus Exist? , especially pp. 61–64, 177–264.

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619 Responses

  1. […] from Roman authorities on the Via Appia leading out of the city. Rather unexpectedly, Peter meets Jesus, who is traveling in the opposite direction. He asks Jesus, “Where are you going?” Jesus tells […]

  2. […] more … “It will be something rare, strange, to have archaeological proof for [a …Did Jesus Exist? Searching for Evidence Beyond the Bible – Biblical …Dec 8, 2014 … THE MAN CHRIST JESUS. Did Jesus of Nazareth exist as a real human being? Outside […]

  3. […] Mykytiuk, an associate professor of library science at Purdue University and author of a 2015 Biblical Archaeology Review article vouches for the historical passages written by Tacitus, saying, “there is no such indication […]

  4. […] he was guilty of blasphemy, and from the Romans’ perspective he was leading an insurrection. (The writings of Roman historian Tacitus and Jewish historian Josephus, both non-Christians, are more than […]

  5. […] was guilty of blasphemy, and from the Romans’ perspective he was leading an insurrection. (The writings of Roman historian Tacitus and Jewish historian Josephus, both non-Christians, are more than […]

  6. […] Peterson’s gnosticized Christianity seems to develop from one figure in particular, one who dominates his thinking when it comes to Christianity and to biblical interpretation. That is Carl Gustav Jung. Jung’s depth psychological interpretation of Christianity and his use of archetypes of meaning as kinds of universal categories of human existence can seem amenable to Christian thought. The problem is, however, they make absolutely no claim to the truth value of Christian beliefs or the actuality of the historical events that ground them. Archetypes may be historical in the sense that they are expressed throughout history in various cultures, and by various communities in various times and places, but whether they are purely projections of the mind, or whether they have actual referents in the external world, is nebulous at best. On a Jungian view of religious belief it is almost irrelevant as to whether or not Jesus even existed.  […]

  7. […] The Biblical Archaeology Review featured an important article with a title that asked the question, “Did Jesus Exist: Searching for Evidence Beyond the Bible?”[i] In the article, Lawrence Mykytiuk summarizes the evidence about Jesus from sources outside the […]

  8. Mr K says:

    As far as a know the shroud has been proven a fake and does not come from jesus time!

  9. Mr K says:

    As far as a know the shroud has been proven a fake and does not come from jesus time!

  10. jeffrey says:

    The best evidence for the existence of Jesus is not even mentioned in this article:
    His miraculous image on His burial Shroud. This cloth has now been proven to be 2000 years old, and the British Museum’s interpretation of its 1988 C-14 evidence has been debunked. See:
    THE SHROUD OF TURIN, FIRST CENTURY AFTER CHRIST, Malfi, 2015
    TEST THE SHROUD, Antonacci, 2015

  11. jeffrey says:

    The best evidence for the existence of Jesus is not even mentioned in this article:
    His miraculous image on His burial Shroud. This cloth has now been proven to be 2000 years old, and the British Museum’s interpretation of its 1988 C-14 evidence has been debunked. See:
    THE SHROUD OF TURIN, FIRST CENTURY AFTER CHRIST, Malfi, 2015
    TEST THE SHROUD, Antonacci, 2015

  12. bob says:

    im making peas im making pounds

  13. JeezyChristizee says:

    Grasping at straws!

    Funny thing is that 99% of the Christians these days think there that are “Roman Scriptures” that convincingly establishes Jesus’s existence. These people have never heard of Tacitus or Josephus.

    On Tacitus. Any possibility that the bible copied the Annals? Perhaps the Romans, in writing or re-writing the bible decided to borrow historical accounts from Tacitus and other historians? “Christus” can refer to pretty much any Jew-rebel leader during those times.

    On Josephus. Isn’t it that out of 8000 passages, only a few words concern Jesus? Overly subtle cross references between Jesus, John the Baptist and James (plus the possibility to a later Christian interpolation)… I don’t know if this thing is authentic.

    Anyway, okay fine. Jesus the man existed. Now go fetch evidence on the miracles!

  14. JeezyChristizee says:

    Grasping at straws!
    Funny thing is that 99% of the Christians these days think there that are “Roman Scriptures” that convincingly establishes Jesus’s existence. These people have never heard of Tacitus or Josephus.
    On Tacitus. Any possibility that the bible copied the Annals? Perhaps the Romans, in writing or re-writing the bible decided to borrow historical accounts from Tacitus and other historians? “Christus” can refer to pretty much any Jew-rebel leader during those times.
    On Josephus. Isn’t it that out of 8000 passages, only a few words concern Jesus? Overly subtle cross references between Jesus, John the Baptist and James (plus the possibility to a later Christian interpolation)… I don’t know if this thing is authentic.
    Anyway, okay fine. Jesus the man existed. Now go fetch evidence on the miracles!

  15. Michael Fera says:

    I stopped reading after the second section. Here’s why:

    The author states that Tacitus’ Annals “corroborates” the New Testament. Given that Annals was written 50 years AFTER the manuscripts that would eventually become the canonical Gospels, it is clear that he is “citing” them…not corroborating them.

    And then he talks about Josephus’ Antiquities of the Jews, and makes the ridiculous assertion that the vast majority of scholars accept the Jesus passage in Antiquities as legit. In fact, exactly the opposite is true, and it takes very little effort to discover this fact.

  16. Michael Fera says:

    I stopped reading after the second section. Here’s why:
    The author states that Tacitus’ Annals “corroborates” the New Testament. Given that Annals was written 50 years AFTER the manuscripts that would eventually become the canonical Gospels, it is clear that he is “citing” them…not corroborating them.
    And then he talks about Josephus’ Antiquities of the Jews, and makes the ridiculous assertion that the vast majority of scholars accept the Jesus passage in Antiquities as legit. In fact, exactly the opposite is true, and it takes very little effort to discover this fact.

    1. Chavoux Luyt says:

      The thing is, Tacitus was not a Christian, so why would he even have one of the gospels to cite? There is nothing in his text showing any familiarity with the gospels at all. And there are 2 passages referring to Jesus in Josephus… the second of which is undisputed by all scholars and for which a strong case is made here that it refers back to the disputed passage; the logic stands on its own.

    2. Simon says:

      The fact that Tacitus is known as one of the best Roman historian, it is likely that Tacitus only wrote what he verified as true; thus if Tacitus cited the Gospels, he must have taken the Gospel to be true, perhaps only the part where he cited. Tacitus mentions Jesus Christ midst of recording a huge incident that affected Rome. The fact that Tacitus specifies who were in charge of Roman empire when Christ was executed implies that Jesus Christ was not a fictional character.
      PS. The article is mainly about whether Jesus really exited or not, not about the resurrection yet. People who were contemporaries of Tacitus was not questioning whether Jesus Christ was real or not, but whether he was resurrected from the dead.

    3. Jacob says:

      Michael please don’t just go into the dark, these two people have pointed out that the evidence suggests all of tacitus writing about jesus is believed by the vast majority of scholars to be real historic documentation, and josephus’ second section on jesus also. Please respond 🙂

  17. Sparkle says:

    I believe that Jesus existed and that the bible is true!

  18. Sparkle says:

    I believe that Jesus existed and that the bible is true!

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  21. Mario Cepeda says:

    Jesus most certainly walked the Earth as reported by various writers. I believe He is the Son of God. Amen!

  22. Mario Cepeda says:

    Jesus most certainly walked the Earth as reported by various writers. I believe He is the Son of God. Amen!

  23. Randy Reneau says:

    I have read the works of Josephus, one paragraph about Jesus probably put in by someone not Josephus. And James the Great, probably the same reason. Allot of Christianity is based on Paul, where is he? Josephus doesn’t say anything. There were Messiahs before Jesus, Rome hated the Jews, they were always rebelling. How true is the Gospels, when they wrote after the descontrution of Judith, the temple. Why would anyone have a good word for anybody destroying your people? But theNT has blame of Rome. If you read Josephus there’s no Christian view. Like the Dead Sea Trolls, it all about the Jew. And who wrote the NT? In these times very few educated people. At the most only 3% could read allot less could write. Far As I know there were no New Testament until Constantine commission fifty around the middle of the 4th century. I think after the destruction of Judith it was just something to hold the Jew together. I hate to say this, but the Bible is like a fairy tale. Tartius he told Nero burning Christians, this doesn’t mean that Jesus was real, just certain people believing in a God like the Roman Gods

  24. Randy Reneau says:

    I have read the works of Josephus, one paragraph about Jesus probably put in by someone not Josephus. And James the Great, probably the same reason. Allot of Christianity is based on Paul, where is he? Josephus doesn’t say anything. There were Messiahs before Jesus, Rome hated the Jews, they were always rebelling. How true is the Gospels, when they wrote after the descontrution of Judith, the temple. Why would anyone have a good word for anybody destroying your people? But theNT has blame of Rome. If you read Josephus there’s no Christian view. Like the Dead Sea Trolls, it all about the Jew. And who wrote the NT? In these times very few educated people. At the most only 3% could read allot less could write. Far As I know there were no New Testament until Constantine commission fifty around the middle of the 4th century. I think after the destruction of Judith it was just something to hold the Jew together. I hate to say this, but the Bible is like a fairy tale. Tartius he told Nero burning Christians, this doesn’t mean that Jesus was real, just certain people believing in a God like the Roman Gods

  25. Absolute Truth says:

    The graven images of Jesus as a white man continue to be used by Christians when Jesus is black as were Adam and Eve. All colors originate in black and white is the absence of color. Two white people can not produce a black child but two black people can produce every color of child. Israel and Egypt were all black at the time of Jesus. Did Jesus exist? Yes and no. Yes in the world of Satan and no in the world of God. In a world of Satan all is duality and in a world of God, only righteousness is found. Thus Satanists can argue either way in duality and people of God can say Jesus existed in the light and as son of God. The argument is moot due to whether one lives in the world of Satan or that of God. The Tree of Good and Evil and the Tree of Knowledge are both in Satan’s World which is the current Earth.

  26. Absolute Truth says:

    The graven images of Jesus as a white man continue to be used by Christians when Jesus is black as were Adam and Eve. All colors originate in black and white is the absence of color. Two white people can not produce a black child but two black people can produce every color of child. Israel and Egypt were all black at the time of Jesus. Did Jesus exist? Yes and no. Yes in the world of Satan and no in the world of God. In a world of Satan all is duality and in a world of God, only righteousness is found. Thus Satanists can argue either way in duality and people of God can say Jesus existed in the light and as son of God. The argument is moot due to whether one lives in the world of Satan or that of God. The Tree of Good and Evil and the Tree of Knowledge are both in Satan’s World which is the current Earth.

    1. John says:

      Relevance?
      Also, Jesus & most Egyptians were brown, just look at how they depict themselves in their own art.
      FYI, Alexander spread white Greeks all over the ancient world.
      Brown people can make colored folks, too.

    2. Tom_M says:

      Please get the Eden tree correct. It’s not as you’ve stated. The single tree referred to in the Bible text is the “Tree of the knowledge of Good and Evil” – and only this one was denied to Adam and Eve for nourishment. They were given only ONE command to follow, and they messed up (at Satan’s prodding).

  27. Gary says:

    Can some one tell me what this means because I don’t want to read it

  28. Gary says:

    Can some one tell me what this means because I don’t want to read it

    1. Tom M says:

      Knowledge does not come by osmosis… You have to be engaged in the reading/conversation.

    2. Yoyo says:

      The book is God’s word and teach that the earth Is flat? “four angels standing upon the four corners of the earth”, and only the flat earth have four corners. “Jesus went to a mountain so high he could see all the kingdoms of the earth”, and only the flat earth can see all the kingdoms of the earth. I dont believe that book that write from the mankind.

      1. Simon says:

        Where does the bible say that the earth is flat? The angels… it means that they stand in the north, east, south and west. Its symbolic language. Yes the devil went on a mountain with Jesus, where he could see the kingdoms of the earth. It doesnt have a a literal meaning. The devil more likely showed him the kingdoms in a vision

        1. Stefan says:

          That’s PIDOOMA, Simon, or, in other words, just your interpretation.

  29. Matthew Coffey says:

    I have never read a more fair, comprehensive and meticulously researched work which should satisfy even the harshest skeptic that Jesus in fact walked this earth. Thank you Dr Mykytuik.

  30. Matthew Coffey says:

    I have never read a more fair, comprehensive and meticulously researched work which should satisfy even the harshest skeptic that Jesus in fact walked this earth. Thank you Dr Mykytuik.

  31. Dave says:

    Enjoyed the read, but please stop using the term “CE.” It has been A.D. (Ano Domini) since the 6th century, and shouldn’t be replaced because of political correctness. Thank you.

  32. Dave says:

    Enjoyed the read, but please stop using the term “CE.” It has been A.D. (Ano Domini) since the 6th century, and shouldn’t be replaced because of political correctness. Thank you.

    1. Stefan says:

      CE means Common Era or Current Era. It has first been used in 1708. It’s a secular abbreviation and shouldn’t be replaced because of Christians’ superiority complex. The majority of the human world population (around 67 %) is non-Christian.

  33. sid says:

    lol it aint real

  34. sid says:

    lol it aint real

  35. MemyselfandI says:

    And please, do not even begin to claim the bible tells us the earth is flat. That theory relies on the incorrect translations made by Romans applying Roman belief of the cosmos of the time. The reference to being able to see all the kingdoms of the earth likely refers to the kingdoms of that area which could be looked upon at the highest mountain point (use the context of the culture at the time to understand from their point of view). In order to understand what was written down you must first know the beliefs and cultural constructs of the people doing the writing. Without that background information, we apply our own beliefs/knowledge and constructs of the current time which knows considerably more than our ancestors from 2k years ago. Also, Hebrew words often had several different meanings based on the context of the sentence. Without extensive and personal knowledge of the ancient Hebrew language one would essentially be guessing at the true meaning of such words based on the knowledge at that time, and Romans at the time of translation believed the earth to be flat as well as a solid shield covering the earth. They literally believed the stars to be fixed into this globe-like shield and the earth to be the center of the solar system. Therefore, using their translation to mean the authors of the biblical text were referring to an actual flat Earth or an earth with a solid ‘firmament’ would result in error. Use your brain and research before spreading these ridiculous false claims.

  36. MemyselfandI says:

    And please, do not even begin to claim the bible tells us the earth is flat. That theory relies on the incorrect translations made by Romans applying Roman belief of the cosmos of the time. The reference to being able to see all the kingdoms of the earth likely refers to the kingdoms of that area which could be looked upon at the highest mountain point (use the context of the culture at the time to understand from their point of view). In order to understand what was written down you must first know the beliefs and cultural constructs of the people doing the writing. Without that background information, we apply our own beliefs/knowledge and constructs of the current time which knows considerably more than our ancestors from 2k years ago. Also, Hebrew words often had several different meanings based on the context of the sentence. Without extensive and personal knowledge of the ancient Hebrew language one would essentially be guessing at the true meaning of such words based on the knowledge at that time, and Romans at the time of translation believed the earth to be flat as well as a solid shield covering the earth. They literally believed the stars to be fixed into this globe-like shield and the earth to be the center of the solar system. Therefore, using their translation to mean the authors of the biblical text were referring to an actual flat Earth or an earth with a solid ‘firmament’ would result in error. Use your brain and research before spreading these ridiculous false claims.

  37. Aaron says:

    I agree with jiko and Ral. The claimant needs to provide the evidence that their claim is indeed true and correct. We don’t just start believing things until it’s proven false. That’s not the nature of a rational mind or how science works. You actually need to demonstrate that your god exists. It’s not my duty to prove that he doesn’t exist. This is kindergarten theology. Prove it or shut up.

  38. Aaron says:

    I agree with jiko and Ral. The claimant needs to provide the evidence that their claim is indeed true and correct. We don’t just start believing things until it’s proven false. That’s not the nature of a rational mind or how science works. You actually need to demonstrate that your god exists. It’s not my duty to prove that he doesn’t exist. This is kindergarten theology. Prove it or shut up.

    1. Tom M says:

      How about this, first… Scientists (who use logic principles based upon Plato/Aristotle for deductive reasoning) should admit that they are ignoring 7/8 of the problem, because they examine only the remaining 1/8 which holds only positively-measured positional values (i.e., astronomy, physics, & related studies). Instead of declaring “there is no God” (when their five senses operate only in this 4-dimensional universe, and only a “projection of God” will appear here), they should admit that “with our available tools, we cannot rule out God”.

  39. jiko says:

    “The studio and filmmakers behind the “Conjuring” franchise are being sued by an author seeking $900 million. Warner Bros. might have to pay $900 million if it can’t prove ghosts are real.” How about if religions can’t prove god are real?

  40. jiko says:

    “The studio and filmmakers behind the “Conjuring” franchise are being sued by an author seeking $900 million. Warner Bros. might have to pay $900 million if it can’t prove ghosts are real.” How about if religions can’t prove god are real?

    1. Pops says:

      How about if atheists can’t prove G_D does NOT exist?

      1. Ral Donner says:

        Religious people make the claim. It is up to them to prove their claims. That’s all any god is, a claim. You say your god exists, I say prove it. Why should I try to prove what hasn’t been proven to exist in the first place?
        The author of the article above says most scholars think Josephus’ references to Jesus are real? Maybe Christian scholars. Objective scholars think they are interpolations. And the second reference to Jesus, and James, is also a forgery and s not even talking about the James of Christian Jesus fame.

        1. John says:

          If God did not create the heavens and the earth and it it is apparent by your comments, all I ask of you is to explain how life on earth got started.- assuming of course that it was always here.

          1. Stive says:

            God create our earth but think our earth is flat. “Jesus went to a mountain so high he could see all the kingdoms of the earth, four angels standing at the four corners of the earth”. According to Christian mythology the earth must be flat.

        2. MemyselfandI says:

          I am a sceptical Christian. Meaning, I seek to find proof behind claims of the bible. The information listed above is not proving God exists, merely that Jesus (Yeshua) was a man who existed and some called Christus (or Christ/holy one/messiah). It does not in any way attempt to prove the existence of God. That proof, to me, comes from the existence of life itself. Even if all theories surrounding the beginning of time prove to be true: where did that first molecule/proton/electron/atom come from? Did it suddenly appear? What science is there to show the possibility of something appearing from absolute nothing? To me, that is the proof there must be an outside source. Let that be your idea of God. You can then apply the text of the bible to literally mean ‘God’ is everywhere and always was there and is everything and created (made possible) everything. Whether that God-source gives a damn about us in any capacity remains up for debate ????

  41. James says:

    The Book of Mormon is another testament of Jesus Christ. It provides evidence that many at the time of Jeremiah believed in His future birth. It also provides evidence that after Christ’s resurrection, He visited people in the Americas, thus fulfilling John 10:16 – “And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.”

    1. James says:

      The crowning event recorded in the Book of Mormon is the personal ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ among the indigenous American people soon after His resurrection. It puts forth the doctrines of the gospel of Jesus Christ, bears witness of His divinity, outlines the plan of salvation, and tells men what they must do to gain peace in this life and eternal salvation in the life to come.

  42. James says:

    The Book of Mormon is another testament of Jesus Christ. It provides evidence that many at the time of Jeremiah believed in His future birth. It also provides evidence that after Christ’s resurrection, He visited people in the Americas, thus fulfilling John 10:16 – “And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.”

    1. James says:

      The crowning event recorded in the Book of Mormon is the personal ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ among the indigenous American people soon after His resurrection. It puts forth the doctrines of the gospel of Jesus Christ, bears witness of His divinity, outlines the plan of salvation, and tells men what they must do to gain peace in this life and eternal salvation in the life to come.

  43. Ashleen says:

    This was great, I enjoyed reading the article.

    I’m personally Christian myself and it was a pleasent documentation to read.

  44. Ashleen says:

    This was great, I enjoyed reading the article.
    I’m personally Christian myself and it was a pleasent documentation to read.

  45. Suki says:

    It’s impossible that the author of the Bible know they great great great great great great grandfather name and records few thousand years ago. There’s no history proof Jesus exist from outside the Bible.

  46. Suki says:

    It’s impossible that the author of the Bible know they great great great great great great grandfather name and records few thousand years ago. There’s no history proof Jesus exist from outside the Bible.

    1. John says:

      Although men were used to pen the words of the Bible, the author of it is God, and you obviously do not read very much and obviously do not believe in other historical figures, e.g. Julius Caesar, Constantine the Great, the historian Josephus, or maybe Hitler or Winston Churchill, etc.

  47. Colin Johnson says:

    Good scholarly work. Dr. Mytytiuk seems to be well informed as it pertains to his subject.

  48. Colin Johnson says:

    Good scholarly work. Dr. Mytytiuk seems to be well informed as it pertains to his subject.

    1. John says:

      However, Al, the Bible is far more reliable than imperfect man. It is always wise to opt for the Bible if there is any disagreement between ‘scholars’ and God’s Word.

  49. John says:

    BAS says: “That would put the beginning of his ministry, around age 30 (Luke 3:23), at c. 25 C.E. In the widely held view that Jesus’ ministry lasted 3.5 years before his death, a reasonable date for the crucifixion is c. 29 C.E.)”
    Yes the Bible clearly states that Jesus was about 30 years of age when he started his 3,5 year ministry.
    However Luke 2:1, 2 says: 15th year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, (He began his reign in 14 CE)
    Pontius Pilate was governor in Judea,
    Herod Antipas was the ruler in Galilee
    Philip, Herod’s brother was district ruler of the country of Ituraea and Trachonitis,
    Lysanias was district ruler of Abilene
    Chief priests Annas and Caiaphas
    This is a year when secular historians and the Bible agree
    This was the same year Jesus was baptised………which was 29 CE

  50. John says:

    BAS says: “That would put the beginning of his ministry, around age 30 (Luke 3:23), at c. 25 C.E. In the widely held view that Jesus’ ministry lasted 3.5 years before his death, a reasonable date for the crucifixion is c. 29 C.E.)”
    Yes the Bible clearly states that Jesus was about 30 years of age when he started his 3,5 year ministry.
    However Luke 2:1, 2 says: 15th year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, (He began his reign in 14 CE)
    Pontius Pilate was governor in Judea,
    Herod Antipas was the ruler in Galilee
    Philip, Herod’s brother was district ruler of the country of Ituraea and Trachonitis,
    Lysanias was district ruler of Abilene
    Chief priests Annas and Caiaphas
    This is a year when secular historians and the Bible agree
    This was the same year Jesus was baptised………which was 29 CE

  51. Marie Gerhart says:

    I enjoyed reading this article. It as well written and well documented. Thank you for your work.

  52. Marie Gerhart says:

    I enjoyed reading this article. It as well written and well documented. Thank you for your work.

  53. Barbara Warren says:

    A bit like asking the question, “Is Buddha, or Gilgamesh, or Hercules, or Perseus a real person ?” In a sense, it really doesn’t matter if there was an actual, concrete human body, the story is the important thing. The stories are meant to teach and give a common point of reference.

    For the record, although a high school text book of my daughter’s says that Gilgamesh was a real person, he was a version of Hercules, and was the constellation Hercules. Gilgamesh walks through the signs of the zodiac, just like Hercules does, slaying the Bull of Heaven, slaying the Lion, meeting the Scorpion-man, and meeting with Utnapashtim who was called Deucalion by the Greeks. The Greeks tell us Deucalion was constellation Aquarius.

    St. Martin’s Press “Field Guide to Astronomy” is a very good source for ancient names of constellations, and names Gilgamesh as one of the ancient names of constellation Hercules.

    You will notice that Hercules performs his Twelve Labours as he walks through the twelve signs of the zodiac. Gilgamesh also walks through the twelve signs of the zodiac, although the Akkadian story does not explicitly number them.

    Jupiter, the planet, marks out the sky into twelve parts, and the twelve divisions of the zodiac are derived from the motion of Jupiter. Jupiter was called the ruler of the gods in many theological systems. Jupiter, called Zeus by the Greeks, ruled the twelve great gods in Roman and Greek religion and appointed their place in the heavens. There were twelve great gods in the Norse religion each with a great house, although the Norse chose Odin, a version of Mercury, as the later king of the gods, and Thor, a version of Jupiter, became his son. Marduke, a version of Jupiter, was king of the gods in Babylon. Indra, a version of Jupiter, is king of the gods according to the Vedas.

    In a lot of religions, since religion is based on visions of heaven, there is a god who is very important or even the ruler of the gods, who divides things into twelve parts, who lays out twelve ‘houses’, or assigns twelve gods to their territories, or assigns twelve tribes to their territories, or walks through twelve territories, or performs twelve tasks, or has twelve followers.

    Were Buddha or Perseus real ? Buddha was originally a version of planet Mercury, and still is a version of planet Mercury in Hinduism, which was the origin of Buddhism. Perseus is constellation Perseus. Where they based on real people ? The ideas they represented were based on human ideas, just like the ideas behind any character ultimately derive from human thought. Buddha represents the idea of a good, human, wise teacher interested in our well being, as does Jesus. The words attributed to them are words derived from centuries of thought and emotion. In that respect, they are real.

    1. Marie Gerhart says:

      So interesting. You should write articles, that is if youdon’t Already. I really think this is interesting. So life repeats itself perhaps to remind humanity of our origins.

  54. Barbara Warren says:

    A bit like asking the question, “Is Buddha, or Gilgamesh, or Hercules, or Perseus a real person ?” In a sense, it really doesn’t matter if there was an actual, concrete human body, the story is the important thing. The stories are meant to teach and give a common point of reference.
    For the record, although a high school text book of my daughter’s says that Gilgamesh was a real person, he was a version of Hercules, and was the constellation Hercules. Gilgamesh walks through the signs of the zodiac, just like Hercules does, slaying the Bull of Heaven, slaying the Lion, meeting the Scorpion-man, and meeting with Utnapashtim who was called Deucalion by the Greeks. The Greeks tell us Deucalion was constellation Aquarius.
    St. Martin’s Press “Field Guide to Astronomy” is a very good source for ancient names of constellations, and names Gilgamesh as one of the ancient names of constellation Hercules.
    You will notice that Hercules performs his Twelve Labours as he walks through the twelve signs of the zodiac. Gilgamesh also walks through the twelve signs of the zodiac, although the Akkadian story does not explicitly number them.
    Jupiter, the planet, marks out the sky into twelve parts, and the twelve divisions of the zodiac are derived from the motion of Jupiter. Jupiter was called the ruler of the gods in many theological systems. Jupiter, called Zeus by the Greeks, ruled the twelve great gods in Roman and Greek religion and appointed their place in the heavens. There were twelve great gods in the Norse religion each with a great house, although the Norse chose Odin, a version of Mercury, as the later king of the gods, and Thor, a version of Jupiter, became his son. Marduke, a version of Jupiter, was king of the gods in Babylon. Indra, a version of Jupiter, is king of the gods according to the Vedas.
    In a lot of religions, since religion is based on visions of heaven, there is a god who is very important or even the ruler of the gods, who divides things into twelve parts, who lays out twelve ‘houses’, or assigns twelve gods to their territories, or assigns twelve tribes to their territories, or walks through twelve territories, or performs twelve tasks, or has twelve followers.
    Were Buddha or Perseus real ? Buddha was originally a version of planet Mercury, and still is a version of planet Mercury in Hinduism, which was the origin of Buddhism. Perseus is constellation Perseus. Where they based on real people ? The ideas they represented were based on human ideas, just like the ideas behind any character ultimately derive from human thought. Buddha represents the idea of a good, human, wise teacher interested in our well being, as does Jesus. The words attributed to them are words derived from centuries of thought and emotion. In that respect, they are real.

    1. Marie Gerhart says:

      So interesting. You should write articles, that is if youdon’t Already. I really think this is interesting. So life repeats itself perhaps to remind humanity of our origins.

  55. John says:

    As the Bible clearly states Adam and Eve were the the progenitors of the human race.
    However, after the global flood of Noah’s day, the human race descended from Noah’s three sons, Shem, Ham and Japheth. (Genesis 9:18, 19)

    Ham’ sons – Cush, Mizraim, Put, and Canaan and the darker races of today could have descended from Put and Cush

    Shem’s children – Arpachshad, Elam, Asshur, Lud, and Aram – Semitic nations

    Japheth’s sons – Gomer, Magog, Madai, Javan, Tubal, Meshech, and Tiras –
    Historically, Japheth was the progenitor of the Aryan or Indo-European (Indo-Germanic) branch of the human family, and probably Asian families of mankind.

    1. John says:

      This was supposed to be in answer to a question raised by Wa on 2/5/2017 concerning the origins of the human family – my apologies for messing it up.

  56. John says:

    As the Bible clearly states Adam and Eve were the the progenitors of the human race.
    However, after the global flood of Noah’s day, the human race descended from Noah’s three sons, Shem, Ham and Japheth. (Genesis 9:18, 19)
    Ham’ sons – Cush, Mizraim, Put, and Canaan and the darker races of today could have descended from Put and Cush
    Shem’s children – Arpachshad, Elam, Asshur, Lud, and Aram – Semitic nations
    Japheth’s sons – Gomer, Magog, Madai, Javan, Tubal, Meshech, and Tiras –
    Historically, Japheth was the progenitor of the Aryan or Indo-European (Indo-Germanic) branch of the human family, and probably Asian families of mankind.

    1. John says:

      This was supposed to be in answer to a question raised by Wa on 2/5/2017 concerning the origins of the human family – my apologies for messing it up.

  57. Gary Parker says:

    Google “GARY PARKER MIDNIGHT in the DESERT” and u will see and hear the TRUTH about GOD and everything in between. Please take a look. Thank u.

  58. Gary Parker says:

    Google “GARY PARKER MIDNIGHT in the DESERT” and u will see and hear the TRUTH about GOD and everything in between. Please take a look. Thank u.

  59. JESUSISREAL says:

    JESUS IS REAL AND I WILL DIE AT ANYTIME AT ALL FOR HIM I LOVE HIM DEARLY HE IS THE ONE THAT MADE THIS WORLD A BETTER PLACE SO SHUT UP NON BELIEVERS!

  60. JESUSISREAL says:

    JESUS IS REAL AND I WILL DIE AT ANYTIME AT ALL FOR HIM I LOVE HIM DEARLY HE IS THE ONE THAT MADE THIS WORLD A BETTER PLACE SO SHUT UP NON BELIEVERS!

    1. Tom M says:

      And Jesus’ method… ” a bent reed He will not break”. Your enthusiasm being laudable, the delivery needs to match the audience (tenor, content, research). He I after all say, “…love your neighbor a yourself”.

  61. wiki says:

    Why the Bible claim God created earth 6000 years ago but history records human life existed on earth few hundred thousand years ago?

  62. wiki says:

    Why the Bible claim God created earth 6000 years ago but history records human life existed on earth few hundred thousand years ago?

    1. Eli says:

      Where does it say 6000 years ago? I never read that.

    2. Kurt says:

      I can see the contradiction you’re thinking about, but consider that it would not have been impossible to create the earth to appear as if it had already lived for some time. Hell, he made Adam that way as no indication is given that he wasn’t fully functional right off the bat.

    3. John says:

      Genesis 1:1 states that in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
      We certainly do not know when that was; it may well be that the earth is billions of years old, as some scientist claim.
      The creative days were NOT 24 hours as “creationists” would have one believe, each creative day would have been thousands of years in length. Genesis 2:2, 3 says that on the seventh day God rested, and Hebrews 3:7-11 and Hebrews 4:3-9 points out that we are still in that day of rest…………..some 6 000 years after the creation of Adam and Eve.

  63. jamesb470 says:

    Being a self educated tradesman my command of the English language will not allow me to properly express my gratitude towards you for this well thought out and argued paper. You have changed my mind regarding the existence of Jesus and in doing so proved to me that I’m capable of changing core beliefs when presented a case stronger than mine. Thank you for challenging my ideas and changing my mind.

  64. jamesb470 says:

    Being a self educated tradesman my command of the English language will not allow me to properly express my gratitude towards you for this well thought out and argued paper. You have changed my mind regarding the existence of Jesus and in doing so proved to me that I’m capable of changing core beliefs when presented a case stronger than mine. Thank you for challenging my ideas and changing my mind.

  65. Shc says:

    Jesus is real.
    Jesus is risen.
    Israel isreal.

  66. Shc says:

    Jesus is real.
    Jesus is risen.
    Israel isreal.

  67. Thomas B. Higgins says:

    This is wonderful, clear, measured scholarship. It is refreshing to read such careful and nuanced writing, in which the author places the facts in order with impartiality and careful judgement.

  68. Thomas B. Higgins says:

    This is wonderful, clear, measured scholarship. It is refreshing to read such careful and nuanced writing, in which the author places the facts in order with impartiality and careful judgement.

  69. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

    Reply to Mike (comment 238):

    As I understand your comment, you are interpreting Genesis chapters 1 through 12 as literal history and finding problems with the result.

    The good news is that the words of Genesis are not necessarily to be taken literally. For example, regarding 6 days of creation, Genesis 2:4 refers to “the day that the Lord made the heaven and the earth.” That “day” cannot be just one day, because chapter 1 describes the six-day process. So a day can actually mean a period of time, something like the figurative meaning of “back in the day,” which refers to an unspecified period of time.

    There are at least several theories of creation that try to bring together the biblical account and scientific knowledge. I suggest consulting the Wikipedia article, “Genesis creation narrative” to identify other options besides literal history. Another suggestion would be to compare several commentaries that have different interpretations of the early chapters of the book of Genesis.

    Best wishes,

    Lawrence Mykytiuk
    Purdue University

  70. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

    Reply to Mike (comment 238):
    As I understand your comment, you are interpreting Genesis chapters 1 through 12 as literal history and finding problems with the result.
    The good news is that the words of Genesis are not necessarily to be taken literally. For example, regarding 6 days of creation, Genesis 2:4 refers to “the day that the Lord made the heaven and the earth.” That “day” cannot be just one day, because chapter 1 describes the six-day process. So a day can actually mean a period of time, something like the figurative meaning of “back in the day,” which refers to an unspecified period of time.
    There are at least several theories of creation that try to bring together the biblical account and scientific knowledge. I suggest consulting the Wikipedia article, “Genesis creation narrative” to identify other options besides literal history. Another suggestion would be to compare several commentaries that have different interpretations of the early chapters of the book of Genesis.
    Best wishes,
    Lawrence Mykytiuk
    Purdue University

  71. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

    Reply to Paolo (comment 235):

    Actually, Paolo, I am the author, not the publisher, so I cannot fill that request. The Biblical Archaeology Society has already made most or practically all of the factual content of the article available above on this page, and it is freely accessible by anyone who has Internet access. In fact, this page includes the end-notes which, for lack of space, do not appear in the magazine.

    BAR subscriptions to paper or electronic copies are available for very reasonable prices. See https://w1.buysub.com/pubs/SP/BAR/BAR_Product_Form_US.jsp?cds_page_id=210431&cds_mag_code=BAR&id=1505280630406&lsid=72560030303045543&vid=1&cds_misc_3=E3907952&cds_response_key=ZE7A9GZ00 .

    As an academic librarian, I can tell you that some of the authors who write BAR articles also write articles in scholarly journals that cost several hundred dollars for a one year subscription. Not only is BAR far less expensive, but its articles contain high-quality content made easily comprehensible for non-specialists.

    Best wishes,

    Lawrence Mykytiuk
    Purdue University

  72. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

    Reply to Paolo (comment 235):
    Actually, Paolo, I am the author, not the publisher, so I cannot fill that request. The Biblical Archaeology Society has already made most or practically all of the factual content of the article available above on this page, and it is freely accessible by anyone who has Internet access. In fact, this page includes the end-notes which, for lack of space, do not appear in the magazine.
    BAR subscriptions to paper or electronic copies are available for very reasonable prices. See https://w1.buysub.com/pubs/SP/BAR/BAR_Product_Form_US.jsp?cds_page_id=210431&cds_mag_code=BAR&id=1505280630406&lsid=72560030303045543&vid=1&cds_misc_3=E3907952&cds_response_key=ZE7A9GZ00 .
    As an academic librarian, I can tell you that some of the authors who write BAR articles also write articles in scholarly journals that cost several hundred dollars for a one year subscription. Not only is BAR far less expensive, but its articles contain high-quality content made easily comprehensible for non-specialists.
    Best wishes,
    Lawrence Mykytiuk
    Purdue University

  73. Mike says:

    How to know if God in the Bible is the creator of the universe? I’m confused. The Bible say lord created earth 6000 years ago but the dinosaur was existed on earth millions years ago. How to say that? The age of the earth can be estimated by taking the first five days of creation (from earth’s creation to Adam), then following the genealogies from Adam to Abraham in Genesis 5 and 11, then adding in the time from Abraham to today. Adam was created on day 6, so there were five days before him. If we add up the dates from Adam to Abraham, we get about 2,000 years, using the Masoretic Hebrew text of Genesis 5 and 11.3 Whether Christian or secular, most scholars would agree that Abraham lived about 2,000 B.C. (4,000 years ago). Historians date Abraham’s biblical story around 2000 B.C., based on clues in Genesis Chapters 11 through 25. So a simple calculation is: 5 days 2000 years 4000 years = 6000 years.

  74. Mike says:

    How to know if God in the Bible is the creator of the universe? I’m confused. The Bible say lord created earth 6000 years ago but the dinosaur was existed on earth millions years ago. How to say that? The age of the earth can be estimated by taking the first five days of creation (from earth’s creation to Adam), then following the genealogies from Adam to Abraham in Genesis 5 and 11, then adding in the time from Abraham to today. Adam was created on day 6, so there were five days before him. If we add up the dates from Adam to Abraham, we get about 2,000 years, using the Masoretic Hebrew text of Genesis 5 and 11.3 Whether Christian or secular, most scholars would agree that Abraham lived about 2,000 B.C. (4,000 years ago). Historians date Abraham’s biblical story around 2000 B.C., based on clues in Genesis Chapters 11 through 25. So a simple calculation is: 5 days 2000 years 4000 years = 6000 years.

    1. John says:

      Genesis 1:1 states that in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
      We certainly do not know when that was; it may well be that the earth is billions of years old, as some scientist claim.
      The creative days were NOT 24 hours as “creationists” would have one believe, each creative day would have been thousands of years in length. Genesis 2:2, 3 says that on the seventh day God rested, and Hebrews 3:7-11 and Hebrews 4:3-9 points out that we are still in that day of rest…………..some 6 000 years after the creation of Adam and Eve.

  75. Paulo Pinto says:

    That’s a powerful article…
    May I have the article in PDF? Please

  76. Paulo Pinto says:

    That’s a powerful article…
    May I have the article in PDF? Please

  77. Sir Kevin Parr, Baronet Kendal says:

    Pliny the younger was army historian at time and place. He says a man called Jesus Barabus was tried today by Pilot in the prefects palace rooms. I have stood on the self same platform in the outer wall of Pilots room. It faces Herods palace and is part of the Western wall or wailing wall. It would be hard for two men never mind Pauls 3 men so I think Paul was really something like Billy Graham. No place other in works of those born later than the said date wrote anything.Even the so called apostles are those of pauls own department not those who as fishermen in the story. Paul was a liar and as I believe God exists Paul sinned by putting a token image before him as a God

  78. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

    Reply to dand (comment 49):
    Yes, to be be honest, dand, there is some historical evidence that supports the resurrection of Jesus. To call this evidence _proof_ can be slippery. It may seem like proof to those who accept it, but of course, people who don’t accept it don’t consider it proof—so let’s just call it evidence.

    Please keep in mind that not everyone will accept every kind of evidence. Although Christians who accept the resurrection are not a neutral source, they can be gentle and respectful, personally honest, and considerate.

    o The most dramatic evidence is the conversion of Saul of Tarsus, who abandoned the gentle wisdom and impressive example of his Jewish teacher, Gamaliel, and of Gamaliel’s grandfather, the great Hillel the elder—and instead breathed out continual threats and slaughter against Jesus’ followers. But later, on the road to Damascus, he had a vision and a conversation—described in Acts chapter 22—that completely reversed his attitudes and actions. Afterwards, Christians said, ““The man who formerly persecuted us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy” (Galatians 1:23).
    In 2 Corinthians 11, Paul listed some of the things he went through in order to spread faith in Jesus, including: imprisonments: frequent, described as more than the usual,
    severe floggings: 5,
    beatings with rods: 3,
    stoning: one, after which he was left for dead,
    shipwrecks: 3,
    time in the open sea: a day and a night,
    exposure to death: repeated, in many places,
    grave danger: many kinds, including betrayal,
    plus sleep deprivation, hunger and thirst, and exposure to cold without adequate clothing,
    plus: the pressure he felt to care for “all the churches.” Go figure.

    o The very earliest piece of evidence is the fact that the women who went to Jesus’ tomb returned with news of his resurrection. The apostles didn’t believe them, seeming to look down on them as women. But still, they persisted.

    o Another piece of evidence is that after apostles initially rejected the news about Jesus being risen, they ended up believing in him as their risen Lord. They also testified boldly when on trial and preached openly despite the prospect of painful punishment, which in fact they received, reportedly without regret.

    These three pieces of evidence are a start, but other evidence is available on various web sites. Yours was a good question.

    Best wishes,

    Lawrence Mykytiuk

  79. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

    Reply to dand (comment 49):
    Yes, to be be honest, dand, there is some historical evidence that supports the resurrection of Jesus. To call this evidence _proof_ can be slippery. It may seem like proof to those who accept it, but of course, people who don’t accept it don’t consider it proof—so let’s just call it evidence.
    Please keep in mind that not everyone will accept every kind of evidence. Although Christians who accept the resurrection are not a neutral source, they can be gentle and respectful, personally honest, and considerate.
    o The most dramatic evidence is the conversion of Saul of Tarsus, who abandoned the gentle wisdom and impressive example of his Jewish teacher, Gamaliel, and of Gamaliel’s grandfather, the great Hillel the elder—and instead breathed out continual threats and slaughter against Jesus’ followers. But later, on the road to Damascus, he had a vision and a conversation—described in Acts chapter 22—that completely reversed his attitudes and actions. Afterwards, Christians said, ““The man who formerly persecuted us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy” (Galatians 1:23).
    In 2 Corinthians 11, Paul listed some of the things he went through in order to spread faith in Jesus, including: imprisonments: frequent, described as more than the usual,
    severe floggings: 5,
    beatings with rods: 3,
    stoning: one, after which he was left for dead,
    shipwrecks: 3,
    time in the open sea: a day and a night,
    exposure to death: repeated, in many places,
    grave danger: many kinds, including betrayal,
    plus sleep deprivation, hunger and thirst, and exposure to cold without adequate clothing,
    plus: the pressure he felt to care for “all the churches.” Go figure.
    o The very earliest piece of evidence is the fact that the women who went to Jesus’ tomb returned with news of his resurrection. The apostles didn’t believe them, seeming to look down on them as women. But still, they persisted.
    o Another piece of evidence is that after apostles initially rejected the news about Jesus being risen, they ended up believing in him as their risen Lord. They also testified boldly when on trial and preached openly despite the prospect of painful punishment, which in fact they received, reportedly without regret.
    These three pieces of evidence are a start, but other evidence is available on various web sites. Yours was a good question.
    Best wishes,
    Lawrence Mykytiuk

  80. dand says:

    Great article, thank you for all your hard work. Is there any proof for the resurrection of jesus.

  81. dand says:

    Great article, thank you for all your hard work. Is there any proof for the resurrection of jesus.

  82. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

    Reply to Wa (comment 46 above):
    Your two questions are not relevant to the article, nor do they pass the test of ordinary observation. On the streets of many cities in the world, it is easy to see that children born to the very same parents do not always have the same hair color, the same skin color, etc.

    On the web site of the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, you can read for yourself what it says about the percent of genetic variation in humans: “A wide-ranging study published in 2004 found that 87.6% percent of the total modern human genetic diversity isaccounted for by the differences between individuals, and only 9.2% between continents” (http://humanorigins.si.edu/evidence/genetics/human-skin-color-variation/modern-human-diversity-genetics ).

    Lawrence Mykytiuk
    Purdue University

  83. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

    Reply to Wa (comment 46 above):
    Your two questions are not relevant to the article, nor do they pass the test of ordinary observation. On the streets of many cities in the world, it is easy to see that children born to the very same parents do not always have the same hair color, the same skin color, etc.
    On the web site of the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, you can read for yourself what it says about the percent of genetic variation in humans: “A wide-ranging study published in 2004 found that 87.6% percent of the total modern human genetic diversity isaccounted for by the differences between individuals, and only 9.2% between continents” (http://humanorigins.si.edu/evidence/genetics/human-skin-color-variation/modern-human-diversity-genetics ).
    Lawrence Mykytiuk
    Purdue University

  84. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

    Reply to Silver (comment 45):
    Your comment implies that Jesus existed, therefore it does not disagree with the article and implicitly affirms the main point that is supported by ancient writings, even from non-Christian writers.

    As for the miracles of Jesus, in particular the resurrection, because these things are not treated in the article, I suggest you consult the many, many web sites that discuss this topic, gather whatever evidence you may find, and decide for yourself.

    Best wishes,

    Lawrence Mykytiuk
    Purdue University

  85. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

    Reply to Silver (comment 45):
    Your comment implies that Jesus existed, therefore it does not disagree with the article and implicitly affirms the main point that is supported by ancient writings, even from non-Christian writers.
    As for the miracles of Jesus, in particular the resurrection, because these things are not treated in the article, I suggest you consult the many, many web sites that discuss this topic, gather whatever evidence you may find, and decide for yourself.
    Best wishes,
    Lawrence Mykytiuk
    Purdue University

  86. Wa Phui says:

    Did We All Come from Adam and Eve? Why do people of India, China or black people in america look so different of skin and hair?

  87. Wa Phui says:

    Did We All Come from Adam and Eve? Why do people of India, China or black people in america look so different of skin and hair?

    1. Tom M says:

      God created “types”, the fundamental versions of land & sea creatures which can procreate… Exposure to different conditions (temperature, solar radiation, etc.) will bring out different characteristics buried in your DNA. Those who live in hotter, sunny climates will survive better with darker skin pigmentation (an enhancement, not an evolutionary step). Those in the same conditions will foster darker-colored iris in the eye (protection from brighter solar light). Those in more wintery climates will experience severe glint from snow/ice (enhancement takes the form of differently shaped eye-lids). The differences which we see, now, are reflective of Noah’s children (more than Adam & Eve themselves, because they hadn’t begun enhancing climactic characteristics).

  88. Silver says:

    If he is famous people. Is there any HISTORY PROOF the miracles that jesus performed including him coming back from the dead?

  89. Silver says:

    If he is famous people. Is there any HISTORY PROOF the miracles that jesus performed including him coming back from the dead?

  90. Brandon says:

    Reply at Juju
    Actually, there are people who honestly believe that the global Flood of Noah’s day happened. There is also more evidence for it than against in actuality. You bring out that Noah was not a shipwrights of sorts and that would be something to be noted but reading the Genesis account of the Flood shows Noah received instructions on how to build the ark, seeing as he may have never have built a seaworthy vessel before. Also, if you carefully pay attention to the dimensions of the ark as laid out in the Bible (which are specific), they are “box-shaped” and there are no instructions for a rudder or a keel. Which makes since, seeing how all the ark was meant for was to float and the dimensions for the ark were perfect to maintain buoyancy and prevent capsizing. Besides, in a global Flood with no dry land for nearly a year, what use would a rudder and a keel have been? Where would they have gone? The answer seems obvious.
    As has been brought out, many civilizations that span years apart and thousands of miles apart all have their Flood legends. Interestingly, if you do some research and comparisons, while the details of each Flood tale may be different they all have a common thread with the Bible…
    Flood Legends

    Samples from six continents and the islands of the sea; hundreds of such legends are known:

    Australia – Kurnai
    Destruction by Water
    Humans Spared
    Animals Spared
    Preserved in a Vessel

    Babylon – Berossus’ account
    Destruction by Water
    Warning Given
    Humans Spared
    Animals Spared
    Preserved in a Vessel

    Babylon – Gilgamesh epic
    Destruction by Water
    Divine Cause
    Warning Given
    Humans Spared
    Animals Spared
    Preserved in a Vessel

    Bolivia – Chiriguano
    Destruction by Water
    Divine Cause
    Warning Given
    Humans Spared
    Preserved in a Vessel

    Borneo – Sea Dayak
    Destruction by Water
    Humans Spared
    Animals Spared
    Preserved in a Vessel

    Burma – Singpho
    Destruction by Water
    Humans Spared
    Animals Spared
    Preserved in a Vessel

    Canada – Cree
    Destruction by Water
    Divine Cause
    Humans Spared
    Animals Spared
    Preserved in a Vessel

    Canada – Montagnais
    Destruction by Water
    Divine Cause
    Warning Given
    Humans Spared
    Animals Spared
    Preserved in a Vessel

    China – Lolo
    Destruction by Water
    Divine Cause
    Humans Spared
    Animals Spared
    Preserved in a Vessel

    Cuba – original natives
    Destruction by Water
    Warning Given
    Humans Spared
    Animals Spared
    Preserved in a Vessel

    East Africa – Masai
    Destruction by Water
    Divine Cause
    Warning Given
    Humans Spared
    Animals Spared
    Preserved in a Vessel

    Egypt – Book of the Dead
    Destruction by Water
    Divine Clause
    Warning Given
    Humans Spared
    Preserved in a Vessel

    Fiji – Walavu-levu tradition
    Destruction by Water
    Divine Cause
    Humans Spared
    Preserved in a Vessel

    French Polynesia – Raïatéa
    Destruction by Water
    Divine Cause
    Warning Given
    Humans Spared
    Animals Spared

    Greece – Lucian’s account
    Destruction by Water
    Humans Spared
    Animals Spared
    Preserved in a Vessel

    Guyana – Macushi
    Destruction by Water
    Divine Cause
    Humans Spared
    Animals Spared
    Preserved in a Vessel

    Iceland – Eddas
    Destruction by Water
    Divine Cause
    Humans Spared
    Preserved in a Vessel

    India – Andaman Islands
    Destruction by Water
    Divine Cause
    Humans Spared
    Preserved in a Vessel

    India – Bhil
    Destruction by Water
    Warning Given
    Humans Spared
    Animals Spared
    Preserved in a Vessel

    India – Kamar
    Destruction by Water
    Divine Cause
    Warning Given
    Humans Spared
    Preserved in a Vessel

    Iran – Zend-Avesta
    Destruction by Water
    Warning Given
    Humans Spared
    Animals Spared

    Italy – Ovid’s poetry
    Destruction by Water
    Divine Cause
    Humans Spared
    Preserved in a Vessel

    Malay Peninsula – Jakun
    Destruction by Water
    Divine Cause
    Humans Spared
    Preserved in a Vessel

    Mexico – Codex Chimalpopoca
    Destruction by Water
    Warning Given
    Humans Spared
    Preserved in a Vessel

    Mexico – Huichol
    Destruction by Water
    Warning Given
    Humans Spared
    Animals Spared
    Preserved in a Vessel

    New Zealand – Maori
    Destruction by Water
    Divine Cause
    Humans Spared
    Preserved in a Vessel

    Peru – Indians of Huarochirí
    Destruction by Water
    Warning Given
    Humans Spared
    Animals Spared

    Russia – Vogul
    Destruction by Water
    Warning Given
    Humans Spared
    Preserved in a Vessel

    U.S.A. (Alaska) – Kolusches
    Destruction by Water
    Warning Given
    Humans Spared
    Animals Spared
    Preserved in a Vessel

    U.S.A. (Alaska) – Tlingit
    Destruction by Water
    Divine Cause
    Humans Spared
    Animals Spared
    Preserved in a Vessel

    U.S.A. (Arizona) – Papago
    Destruction by Water
    Warning Given
    Humans Spared
    Animals Spared
    Preserved in a Vessel

    U.S.A. (Hawaii) – legend of Nu-u
    Destruction by Water
    Divine Cause
    Humans Spared
    Animals Spared
    Preserved in a Vessel

    Vanuatu – Melanesians
    Destruction by Water
    Humans Spared
    Animals Spared
    Preserved in a Vessel

    Vietnam – Bahnar
    Destruction by Water
    Humans Spared
    Animals Spared
    Preserved in a Vessel

    Wales – Dwyfan/Dwyfach legend
    Destruction by Water
    Humans Spared
    Animals Spared
    Preserved in a Vessel

    Something that may also be of note is that out of all the known Flood legends around the world, the Bible presents the Flood in a much more practical and realistic way when compared to the other legends. It’s certainly not as embellished or fanciful as some other Flood legends in other cultures. It’s presented with a much more realistic history feel to it.
    Seeing how this is an article of Jesus’ existence it should be noted that Jesus himself believed the Flood of Noah’s day was a real event in earth’s past. He referred to the event in his teachings and used it as a warning such as that found in Luke 17:26, 27 and Matthew 24:37-39.
    Also, it’s widely known and acknowledged that there have been ancient seabeds containing seashells and the like discovered way up in mountain ranges indicating they were once covered in water. It is also widely known and acknowledged that there was a drastic change in the earth’s climate at some point that caused animals to be found frozen with food still in there mouths – another indication that some devastating large-scale event took place in earth’s past. Such a catastrophic event as a global flood would definitely change the earth’s climate and topography in drastic ways. But of course, the only way to get an answer to your question is to look at the evidence and make up you own mind based upon that evidence.

  91. Brandon says:

    Reply at Juju
    Actually, there are people who honestly believe that the global Flood of Noah’s day happened. There is also more evidence for it than against in actuality. You bring out that Noah was not a shipwrights of sorts and that would be something to be noted but reading the Genesis account of the Flood shows Noah received instructions on how to build the ark, seeing as he may have never have built a seaworthy vessel before. Also, if you carefully pay attention to the dimensions of the ark as laid out in the Bible (which are specific), they are “box-shaped” and there are no instructions for a rudder or a keel. Which makes since, seeing how all the ark was meant for was to float and the dimensions for the ark were perfect to maintain buoyancy and prevent capsizing. Besides, in a global Flood with no dry land for nearly a year, what use would a rudder and a keel have been? Where would they have gone? The answer seems obvious.
    As has been brought out, many civilizations that span years apart and thousands of miles apart all have their Flood legends. Interestingly, if you do some research and comparisons, while the details of each Flood tale may be different they all have a common thread with the Bible…
    Flood Legends
    Samples from six continents and the islands of the sea; hundreds of such legends are known:
    Australia – Kurnai
    Destruction by Water
    Humans Spared
    Animals Spared
    Preserved in a Vessel
    Babylon – Berossus’ account
    Destruction by Water
    Warning Given
    Humans Spared
    Animals Spared
    Preserved in a Vessel
    Babylon – Gilgamesh epic
    Destruction by Water
    Divine Cause
    Warning Given
    Humans Spared
    Animals Spared
    Preserved in a Vessel
    Bolivia – Chiriguano
    Destruction by Water
    Divine Cause
    Warning Given
    Humans Spared
    Preserved in a Vessel
    Borneo – Sea Dayak
    Destruction by Water
    Humans Spared
    Animals Spared
    Preserved in a Vessel
    Burma – Singpho
    Destruction by Water
    Humans Spared
    Animals Spared
    Preserved in a Vessel
    Canada – Cree
    Destruction by Water
    Divine Cause
    Humans Spared
    Animals Spared
    Preserved in a Vessel
    Canada – Montagnais
    Destruction by Water
    Divine Cause
    Warning Given
    Humans Spared
    Animals Spared
    Preserved in a Vessel
    China – Lolo
    Destruction by Water
    Divine Cause
    Humans Spared
    Animals Spared
    Preserved in a Vessel
    Cuba – original natives
    Destruction by Water
    Warning Given
    Humans Spared
    Animals Spared
    Preserved in a Vessel
    East Africa – Masai
    Destruction by Water
    Divine Cause
    Warning Given
    Humans Spared
    Animals Spared
    Preserved in a Vessel
    Egypt – Book of the Dead
    Destruction by Water
    Divine Clause
    Warning Given
    Humans Spared
    Preserved in a Vessel
    Fiji – Walavu-levu tradition
    Destruction by Water
    Divine Cause
    Humans Spared
    Preserved in a Vessel
    French Polynesia – Raïatéa
    Destruction by Water
    Divine Cause
    Warning Given
    Humans Spared
    Animals Spared
    Greece – Lucian’s account
    Destruction by Water
    Humans Spared
    Animals Spared
    Preserved in a Vessel
    Guyana – Macushi
    Destruction by Water
    Divine Cause
    Humans Spared
    Animals Spared
    Preserved in a Vessel
    Iceland – Eddas
    Destruction by Water
    Divine Cause
    Humans Spared
    Preserved in a Vessel
    India – Andaman Islands
    Destruction by Water
    Divine Cause
    Humans Spared
    Preserved in a Vessel
    India – Bhil
    Destruction by Water
    Warning Given
    Humans Spared
    Animals Spared
    Preserved in a Vessel
    India – Kamar
    Destruction by Water
    Divine Cause
    Warning Given
    Humans Spared
    Preserved in a Vessel
    Iran – Zend-Avesta
    Destruction by Water
    Warning Given
    Humans Spared
    Animals Spared
    Italy – Ovid’s poetry
    Destruction by Water
    Divine Cause
    Humans Spared
    Preserved in a Vessel
    Malay Peninsula – Jakun
    Destruction by Water
    Divine Cause
    Humans Spared
    Preserved in a Vessel
    Mexico – Codex Chimalpopoca
    Destruction by Water
    Warning Given
    Humans Spared
    Preserved in a Vessel
    Mexico – Huichol
    Destruction by Water
    Warning Given
    Humans Spared
    Animals Spared
    Preserved in a Vessel
    New Zealand – Maori
    Destruction by Water
    Divine Cause
    Humans Spared
    Preserved in a Vessel
    Peru – Indians of Huarochirí
    Destruction by Water
    Warning Given
    Humans Spared
    Animals Spared
    Russia – Vogul
    Destruction by Water
    Warning Given
    Humans Spared
    Preserved in a Vessel
    U.S.A. (Alaska) – Kolusches
    Destruction by Water
    Warning Given
    Humans Spared
    Animals Spared
    Preserved in a Vessel
    U.S.A. (Alaska) – Tlingit
    Destruction by Water
    Divine Cause
    Humans Spared
    Animals Spared
    Preserved in a Vessel
    U.S.A. (Arizona) – Papago
    Destruction by Water
    Warning Given
    Humans Spared
    Animals Spared
    Preserved in a Vessel
    U.S.A. (Hawaii) – legend of Nu-u
    Destruction by Water
    Divine Cause
    Humans Spared
    Animals Spared
    Preserved in a Vessel
    Vanuatu – Melanesians
    Destruction by Water
    Humans Spared
    Animals Spared
    Preserved in a Vessel
    Vietnam – Bahnar
    Destruction by Water
    Humans Spared
    Animals Spared
    Preserved in a Vessel
    Wales – Dwyfan/Dwyfach legend
    Destruction by Water
    Humans Spared
    Animals Spared
    Preserved in a Vessel
    Something that may also be of note is that out of all the known Flood legends around the world, the Bible presents the Flood in a much more practical and realistic way when compared to the other legends. It’s certainly not as embellished or fanciful as some other Flood legends in other cultures. It’s presented with a much more realistic history feel to it.
    Seeing how this is an article of Jesus’ existence it should be noted that Jesus himself believed the Flood of Noah’s day was a real event in earth’s past. He referred to the event in his teachings and used it as a warning such as that found in Luke 17:26, 27 and Matthew 24:37-39.
    Also, it’s widely known and acknowledged that there have been ancient seabeds containing seashells and the like discovered way up in mountain ranges indicating they were once covered in water. It is also widely known and acknowledged that there was a drastic change in the earth’s climate at some point that caused animals to be found frozen with food still in there mouths – another indication that some devastating large-scale event took place in earth’s past. Such a catastrophic event as a global flood would definitely change the earth’s climate and topography in drastic ways. But of course, the only way to get an answer to your question is to look at the evidence and make up you own mind based upon that evidence.

  92. Brandon says:

    Thank you, Lawrence, for such a well-written article. I much like the objectivity and the abcense of any religious partisanship or other bias that tends to color the presuppositions of some. The facts are presented and are clearly seen and logically reasoned upon. I’ve never doubted the existence or historicity of Jesus as the Bible presents him and having such supplemental materials to show that what the Bible says about Jesus being a real person isn’t myth is faith strengthening. I find it especially interesting that these classical historians and the like did not question his existence or promote the idea he didn’t exist and what’s more is that these confirmations came from non-Christians and those who were by no means fans of Jesus themselves – when there are those that profess to be Christian today that doubt his existence or even promote the idea that he was fable. The other interesting thing that I find in some of these extra-Biblical sources is the mention of his performance of “magic” or “sorcery.” It seems obvious to me this is how some characterized Jesus’ miracles. Which, to me, seems to lend credence that Jesus actually did perform feats of some sort as the Bible brings out even though these are not specified in these secular sources as to what they were and are also attributed to “magic” or “sorcery.” They always tried to undermine his miracles as sorcery, magic, trickery or even going so far as to say that Jesus himself was demon-possessed such as in Matthew 12:22-27 or in John 10:20. Either way, it’s beyond doubt that the Jesus in the Bible was a real person and was significant.

  93. Brandon says:

    Thank you, Lawrence, for such a well-written article. I much like the objectivity and the abcense of any religious partisanship or other bias that tends to color the presuppositions of some. The facts are presented and are clearly seen and logically reasoned upon. I’ve never doubted the existence or historicity of Jesus as the Bible presents him and having such supplemental materials to show that what the Bible says about Jesus being a real person isn’t myth is faith strengthening. I find it especially interesting that these classical historians and the like did not question his existence or promote the idea he didn’t exist and what’s more is that these confirmations came from non-Christians and those who were by no means fans of Jesus themselves – when there are those that profess to be Christian today that doubt his existence or even promote the idea that he was fable. The other interesting thing that I find in some of these extra-Biblical sources is the mention of his performance of “magic” or “sorcery.” It seems obvious to me this is how some characterized Jesus’ miracles. Which, to me, seems to lend credence that Jesus actually did perform feats of some sort as the Bible brings out even though these are not specified in these secular sources as to what they were and are also attributed to “magic” or “sorcery.” They always tried to undermine his miracles as sorcery, magic, trickery or even going so far as to say that Jesus himself was demon-possessed such as in Matthew 12:22-27 or in John 10:20. Either way, it’s beyond doubt that the Jesus in the Bible was a real person and was significant.

  94. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

    Reply to Juju (comment 44):

    On the contrary, a large percentage of the world’s population—many Christians, Orthodox Jews, Muslims, and others—accept that there is some historical basis for the biblical narrative of the flood.

    Further, there are folk stories—with considerable similarities to each other—in many societies around the world of a great flood that killed all but a few people. How did those stories come into existence in so many societies in places so distant from each other during ancient times, if there is nothing historical about the great flood?

    The rest of comment 44 is pure speculation.

    Lawrence Mykytiuk
    Purdue University

  95. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

    Reply to Juju (comment 44):
    On the contrary, a large percentage of the world’s population—many Christians, Orthodox Jews, Muslims, and others—accept that there is some historical basis for the biblical narrative of the flood.
    Further, there are folk stories—with considerable similarities to each other—in many societies around the world of a great flood that killed all but a few people. How did those stories come into existence in so many societies in places so distant from each other during ancient times, if there is nothing historical about the great flood?
    The rest of comment 44 is pure speculation.
    Lawrence Mykytiuk
    Purdue University

  96. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

    Reply to Wa (comment 39 above):
    The first sentence of your comment is simply an empty accusation, because it does not present any basis.

    Your second sentence is not related to the article, but a reply is possible. It is a principle of historical research that it is not valid history to judge earlier societies according to ethical standards that did not exist during earlier periods of time. The laws of Moses regarding incest did not exist until the second millennium B.C.E., and thus cannot be applied to the period immediately following creation.

    The Bible does not say or suggest anything that even remotely hints that God created any other humans besides Adam and Eve. Speculation about this does not establish any fact.

    Lawrence Mykytiuk
    Purdue University

  97. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

    Reply to Wa (comment 39 above):
    The first sentence of your comment is simply an empty accusation, because it does not present any basis.
    Your second sentence is not related to the article, but a reply is possible. It is a principle of historical research that it is not valid history to judge earlier societies according to ethical standards that did not exist during earlier periods of time. The laws of Moses regarding incest did not exist until the second millennium B.C.E., and thus cannot be applied to the period immediately following creation.
    The Bible does not say or suggest anything that even remotely hints that God created any other humans besides Adam and Eve. Speculation about this does not establish any fact.
    Lawrence Mykytiuk
    Purdue University

  98. Juju says:

    I wonder how anyone can honestly believe god had a farmer build a boat …..then killed a whole planet except just 7 people? and 20,000 or so animals?…didn’t noah wonder if it was actualy satan..im mean did his own daughter have incest with him in the end while he got stupid drunk?….yeah that makes sense.

  99. Juju says:

    I wonder how anyone can honestly believe god had a farmer build a boat …..then killed a whole planet except just 7 people? and 20,000 or so animals?…didn’t noah wonder if it was actualy satan..im mean did his own daughter have incest with him in the end while he got stupid drunk?….yeah that makes sense.

  100. Wa Phui says:

    The bible is simply written by men some in the bible are false and not logical. Was the world populated through incest or did God create others besides Adam and Eve?

  101. Wa Phui says:

    The bible is simply written by men some in the bible are false and not logical. Was the world populated through incest or did God create others besides Adam and Eve?

    1. John says:

      The Bible states that the only humans created were Adam and Eve; three of their sons were Cain, Abel and Seth, but, note in Genesis 5:4 is says that Adam and Eve had other sons and daughters………so yes brothers and sisters did marry one another in the beginning.
      However, when Adam and Eve were created, they were perfect, but, were disobedient and lost that perfection……….to illustrate this if we look at the ages of men before the flood of Noah’s day they were living 700-900 years. After the the flood mans lifetime gradually reduced in years to average three score and ten (70) or as Psalm 90:10 says to 70 or 80 years.
      Being close to perfection Adam and Eve’s sons and daughters could have married without any problems, that would occur nowadays, in an incestuous relationship.

  102. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

    Reply to Paul (comment 34 above):

    Paul, you can relax. The Gospels uniformly use Christos (in Greek letters: chi, ‘ro, ‘iota, sigma, tau, ‘omicron, sigma) with no alternative such as Chrestos.

    Chrestos, a common name given to slaves by their Roman masters, appears in early manuscripts of the Annals, by the Roman historian Tacitus—not in the New Testament. Tacitus presents the mispronunciation, “Chrestians” that the crowd (vulgus) mistakenly called Christians, but he immediately corrects that by pointing that “the founder of this name” was not Chrestus but Christus. This is not spelled out, because Tacitus repeatedly makes his point by implication; classicists point out that implication is the essence of his writing style. He is implying that the crowd got the name wrong when he supplies the correct name of the one whom Christians followed. (Actually, Christus is a title, but neither Tacitus nor the crowd knew that. They assumed it was his name.)

    Lawrence Mykytiuk
    Purdue University

  103. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

    Reply to Paul (comment 34 above):
    Paul, you can relax. The Gospels uniformly use Christos (in Greek letters: chi, ‘ro, ‘iota, sigma, tau, ‘omicron, sigma) with no alternative such as Chrestos.
    Chrestos, a common name given to slaves by their Roman masters, appears in early manuscripts of the Annals, by the Roman historian Tacitus—not in the New Testament. Tacitus presents the mispronunciation, “Chrestians” that the crowd (vulgus) mistakenly called Christians, but he immediately corrects that by pointing that “the founder of this name” was not Chrestus but Christus. This is not spelled out, because Tacitus repeatedly makes his point by implication; classicists point out that implication is the essence of his writing style. He is implying that the crowd got the name wrong when he supplies the correct name of the one whom Christians followed. (Actually, Christus is a title, but neither Tacitus nor the crowd knew that. They assumed it was his name.)
    Lawrence Mykytiuk
    Purdue University

  104. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

    Repy to Luxorion (comment 33 above):
    The sensationalist claims of James D. Tabor and Simcha Jacobovici regarding the Talpiot tombs (tomb A supposedly of Jesus’s family and tomb B supposedly a related Christian tomb ) have been thoroughly discredited by Christopher A. Rollston, an internationally acknowledged expert in ancient inscriptions (see his blog post at http://www.rollstonepigraphy.com/?p=497), as well as senior archaeologist Eric M. Meyers, New Testament scholar Mark Goodacre, and others.

    It is entirely possible to identify people mentioned in the Bible in ancient inscriptions that give information about them, as shown in the 2014 article, “50 People in the Bible Confirmed Archaeologically” which is also found here in Bible History Daily (http://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/people-cultures-in-the-bible/people-in-the-bible/50-people-in-the-bible-confirmed-archaeologically/ ). To claim that DNA evidence is necessary might sound sophisticated but is unnecessary and, as your comment seems to acknowledge, unrealistic.

    Lawrence Mykytiuk
    Purdue University

  105. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

    Repy to Luxorion (comment 33 above):
    The sensationalist claims of James D. Tabor and Simcha Jacobovici regarding the Talpiot tombs (tomb A supposedly of Jesus’s family and tomb B supposedly a related Christian tomb ) have been thoroughly discredited by Christopher A. Rollston, an internationally acknowledged expert in ancient inscriptions (see his blog post at http://www.rollstonepigraphy.com/?p=497), as well as senior archaeologist Eric M. Meyers, New Testament scholar Mark Goodacre, and others.
    It is entirely possible to identify people mentioned in the Bible in ancient inscriptions that give information about them, as shown in the 2014 article, “50 People in the Bible Confirmed Archaeologically” which is also found here in Bible History Daily (http://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/people-cultures-in-the-bible/people-in-the-bible/50-people-in-the-bible-confirmed-archaeologically/ ). To claim that DNA evidence is necessary might sound sophisticated but is unnecessary and, as your comment seems to acknowledge, unrealistic.
    Lawrence Mykytiuk
    Purdue University

  106. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

    Reply to Moody (comment 31 above):

    To assert, as you do, that some sort of “chasm” exists between early manuscripts of the Gospels and the King James Version is a strange way to characterize the strong tradition of continuous transmission of the Gospels from then until now. Not only is the Bible we have today a reliable rendering of the ancient writings; it is by far the best documented collection of ancient texts in existence! I suggest you go to a good Bible dictionary or Bible dictionary and look up such topics as “Text of the Old Testament,” “Text of the New Testament” or “English Bible” versions.

    By the way, there are many excellent modern versions of the Bible out there. The newer versions that the Gideons distribute are well grounded in the ancient texts of Scripture.

  107. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

    Reply to Moody (comment 31 above):
    To assert, as you do, that some sort of “chasm” exists between early manuscripts of the Gospels and the King James Version is a strange way to characterize the strong tradition of continuous transmission of the Gospels from then until now. Not only is the Bible we have today a reliable rendering of the ancient writings; it is by far the best documented collection of ancient texts in existence! I suggest you go to a good Bible dictionary or Bible dictionary and look up such topics as “Text of the Old Testament,” “Text of the New Testament” or “English Bible” versions.
    By the way, there are many excellent modern versions of the Bible out there. The newer versions that the Gideons distribute are well grounded in the ancient texts of Scripture.

  108. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

    Reply to Moody (comment 30 above):

    The relevant point about my personal beliefs is that whether they happen to rule out or to affirm the existence of “the man Christ Jesus” before any inquiry begins, personal bias for or against the conclusion does not result in distorted or unfair handling of the evidence. The article goes to considerable lengths to approach the question of the real existence of people in the Bible as objectively as possible. It is a detailed, reasonable treatment of ancient texts by three ancient writers whose backgrounds are very different from each other: Tacitus the historian who believed in the gods of Rome, Josephus the Jewish historian, and Lucian of Samosata, the Greek satirist. All three agree that Jesus existed.

    I am open to differing interpretations of the evidence, provided they are well grounded. To say, however, that the background of any author “somehow” taints her or his best efforts to handle evidence fairly is nothing more than an easy smear. In making this smear, you offer no basis in the article, and, indeed, no rationale at all. This treatment of the evidence in the article deserves a better response than the facile implication that all efforts at fair handling of the evidence it treats are useless.

    Lawrence Mykytiuk
    Purdue University

  109. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

    Reply to Moody (comment 30 above):
    The relevant point about my personal beliefs is that whether they happen to rule out or to affirm the existence of “the man Christ Jesus” before any inquiry begins, personal bias for or against the conclusion does not result in distorted or unfair handling of the evidence. The article goes to considerable lengths to approach the question of the real existence of people in the Bible as objectively as possible. It is a detailed, reasonable treatment of ancient texts by three ancient writers whose backgrounds are very different from each other: Tacitus the historian who believed in the gods of Rome, Josephus the Jewish historian, and Lucian of Samosata, the Greek satirist. All three agree that Jesus existed.
    I am open to differing interpretations of the evidence, provided they are well grounded. To say, however, that the background of any author “somehow” taints her or his best efforts to handle evidence fairly is nothing more than an easy smear. In making this smear, you offer no basis in the article, and, indeed, no rationale at all. This treatment of the evidence in the article deserves a better response than the facile implication that all efforts at fair handling of the evidence it treats are useless.
    Lawrence Mykytiuk
    Purdue University

  110. Paul H says:

    I’m trying to get my arms around the whole discussion of “Christus” and “Chrestus.” As I understand from reading, the older manuscripts all say “Chrestian” and not “Christian”, and that doesn’t change until around the 5th century. Does that also apply to references in the Gospel accounts – when Jesus is asked if he is the “Christ,” which word is used?

  111. Paul H says:

    I’m trying to get my arms around the whole discussion of “Christus” and “Chrestus.” As I understand from reading, the older manuscripts all say “Chrestian” and not “Christian”, and that doesn’t change until around the 5th century. Does that also apply to references in the Gospel accounts – when Jesus is asked if he is the “Christ,” which word is used?

  112. Luxorion says:

    Very nice review. What a job you did. Thanks for sharing it. Globally we have enough evidence in Tacite, the function of Pilatus, Flavious Josephus papers and Mara’s letter to confirm with a good level of confidence that a man named Jesus, “king of Judes” existed well and was crucified. We can even complete their comments with additional evidence, like Golgotha named in scriptures and the discovery of Talpiot tomb by Tabor’s team that add sufficient indices to support the hypothesis that Jesus oif Nazareth, son of Joseph and Mary existed. However, without DNA traces of all his family, we will never be able to confirm it at 100%.

  113. Luxorion says:

    Very nice review. What a job you did. Thanks for sharing it. Globally we have enough evidence in Tacite, the function of Pilatus, Flavious Josephus papers and Mara’s letter to confirm with a good level of confidence that a man named Jesus, “king of Judes” existed well and was crucified. We can even complete their comments with additional evidence, like Golgotha named in scriptures and the discovery of Talpiot tomb by Tabor’s team that add sufficient indices to support the hypothesis that Jesus oif Nazareth, son of Joseph and Mary existed. However, without DNA traces of all his family, we will never be able to confirm it at 100%.

  114. Paul Ballotta says:

    Awwww, somebody’s feelings were just hurt so they left a disclaimer over my previous comment. Apparently they’re confused over whether it’s ethical to steal my comments and chop it into pieces to repackage them as sub-prime mortage shares to be traded on the stock market. They obviously feel they can get away with it because I’m just a nobody who crawled out of the woodwork, even though I know that this is magazine is supposed to be a non-profit organization.

  115. Paul Ballotta says:

    It wasn’t lost on me, David, that the author of this article, who not only offered for free two of the largest databases in BAR’s collection of Daily Articles while consistently moderating both of them for years now, has exhibited a rare quality that seems to be lacking in contemporary academia; faith.

  116. David Lane says:

    Wouldn’t it have saved a lot of writing to say “”I got nothing.”?

  117. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

    Reply to Moody (comment 30 above):
    Thank you for your well articulated questions. Having been raised in a mainline Protestant denomination, I knew what I was supposed to believe and simply assumed the historical existence of “the man Christ Jesus,” but for a long time I had no personal trust in him. When that trust / confidence / reliance on him came, accepting his existence simply continued.
    I happen to be a Christian. On the basis of evidences and experiences besides those in the article—not simply my own opinion—I happen to accept the historical reliability of the New Testament and its explanation of the reason for Jesus’ death. I think the evidences are worth examining. At the same time, my dear friends of many faiths are entirely free to believe otherwise.
    Not surprisingly, the basic conceptual content of _what_ I believe is spelled out in the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed of the year 381 C.E. (it’s usually called the Nicene Creed, but is actually a further development of the Nicene Creed of 325 C.E.). But that’s just the conceptual content. It’s even called “the symbol” of faith, because it is not the living, human reliance on a Divine person. So how did my subjective experience come to engage with it?
    My comment 45 on page 2 of these comments and replies (you are now looking at page 4) might reveal what you would like to know. Moody, in the next paragraph, I partly quote and partly paraphrase what I said to Rene in that comment.
    Some years ago I was intensely doubting my doubts and searching a bit, when I stumbled on some evidence that I found to be very convincing: Psalm 22, which was definitely written in Hebrew and translated into Greek in the centuries before Jesus lived, when compared with Matthew chapter 27, seemed to me (and still seems, after considerable study) to present not an airtight case, but one that I find very persuasive.
    I realized that there is “something about this book” that certainly seems to go beyond human explanation. I realize that not everyone will see things the way I do, and that’s okay. I just wish people would not dismiss it out of hand.
    On to the crucial question: Does revealing my beliefs taint the objectivity of the article? I’ll let you decide. Is everything written by Christians about Christian subjects automatically not valid? Or everything written by Jews about Jewish subjects? Or by Muslims about Islamic subjects? Your call. Please keep in mind that many or most people who write articles in any field of study that purport to be objective have some kind of belief–even if it is that God does not exist, or, indeed, really thinking that a particular scientific hunch (hypothesis) is correct. If we were to throw out all publications written by people of faith–any faith, or hope, or hunch, we would lose a vast amount of knowledge.
    To me, having a particular belief, even if it’s just starting to form as a possibility or a live option, creates _openness_ to the possibility of particular conclusions that might otherwise be ignored or even ruled out. Because it’s a big world, I think we need to be open to many possibilities, locate evidence, examine it, and draw reasonable conclusions.

  118. Moody says:

    I also understand there is probably a historical chasm between the New Testament King James transcript and the person named Jesus to whom Josephus and Tacitus refer. This article seems like a logical starting point for bridging that chasm. I would substitute my question above with this: What is the next step in linking the Josephus’ and Tacitus’ Jesus you have confirmed with the one in a Gideon’s Bible at the Motel 6? Or do you stop here?

  119. Moody says:

    I also understand there is probably a historical chasm between the New Testament King James transcript and the person named Jesus to whom Josephus and Tacitus refer. This article seems like a logical starting point for bridging that chasm. I would substitute my question above with this: What is the next step in linking the Josephus’ and Tacitus’ Jesus you have confirmed with the one in a Gideon’s Bible at the Motel 6? Or do you stop here?

  120. Moody says:

    Great read Dr. Mykytiuk. I appreciate your professional, academic objectivity. As with most subject matter experts whose findings I’ve had the pleasure to hear or read, I am always left intensely curious as to how their findings or domain expertise influence their personal beliefs. As much as we would love to hear yours, the catch-22 is that as soon as you reveal your personal take on Christianity (namely the extent to which Jesus’ proven existence informs your personal belief in his teachings) the objectivity of your article is perceived as somehow tainted. That said, I assume those people who like me are searching for answers to the faith question (as opposed to those looking for confirmation of what they already believe) are left stumped.

    Without asking for your personal beliefs, what conclusions can one can draw from this information regarding the objective truth in Christian teaching? I already know the answer is “none”, but hopefully you understand the question. What do you do now? Fingers crossed that you’ll ignore the catch-22 and let us know your beliefs.

  121. Moody says:

    Great read Dr. Mykytiuk. I appreciate your professional, academic objectivity. As with most subject matter experts whose findings I’ve had the pleasure to hear or read, I am always left intensely curious as to how their findings or domain expertise influence their personal beliefs. As much as we would love to hear yours, the catch-22 is that as soon as you reveal your personal take on Christianity (namely the extent to which Jesus’ proven existence informs your personal belief in his teachings) the objectivity of your article is perceived as somehow tainted. That said, I assume those people who like me are searching for answers to the faith question (as opposed to those looking for confirmation of what they already believe) are left stumped.
    Without asking for your personal beliefs, what conclusions can one can draw from this information regarding the objective truth in Christian teaching? I already know the answer is “none”, but hopefully you understand the question. What do you do now? Fingers crossed that you’ll ignore the catch-22 and let us know your beliefs.

  122. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

    Second reply to Kit (comment 27 above):

    The notion that anyone could survive crucifixion does not stand up to common-sense scrutiny. Could wounded, stripped victims, nailed and/or tied to a heavy cross—some having previously been flogged within an inch of their life by a cat-o-nine-tails with bits of glass or metal on the ends of the whips—and weakened by severe pain and exposure to the elements, not to mention the effects of public mockery, ever escape from the standard team of four armed Roman soldiers surrounding them?

    Lawrence Mykytiuk

  123. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

    Second reply to Kit (comment 27 above):
    The notion that anyone could survive crucifixion does not stand up to common-sense scrutiny. Could wounded, stripped victims, nailed and/or tied to a heavy cross—some having previously been flogged within an inch of their life by a cat-o-nine-tails with bits of glass or metal on the ends of the whips—and weakened by severe pain and exposure to the elements, not to mention the effects of public mockery, ever escape from the standard team of four armed Roman soldiers surrounding them?
    Lawrence Mykytiuk

  124. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

    Reply to Kit (comment 27 above):

    In this comment, I hear claims but no evidence. The four Gospels in the New Testament are from the first century, show clear evidence of eyewitness accounts (see Richard Bauckhams book, _Jesus and the Eyewitnesses : the Gospels as Eyewitness Testimony (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2006). They show that during Jesus’s ministry, his disciples rejected his predictions about his coming crucifixion and resurrection. Both came as shocking surprises to them, and although some of Jesus’ disciples (John and several women at the foot of the cross) actually saw him being crucified, none eof the apostles initially accepted the testimony of the women about the resurrection. These facts do not sound like church propaganda, as some may imagine, but are in fact a bit embarrasing for his apostles.

  125. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

    Reply to Kit (comment 27 above):
    In this comment, I hear claims but no evidence. The four Gospels in the New Testament are from the first century, show clear evidence of eyewitness accounts (see Richard Bauckhams book, _Jesus and the Eyewitnesses : the Gospels as Eyewitness Testimony (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2006). They show that during Jesus’s ministry, his disciples rejected his predictions about his coming crucifixion and resurrection. Both came as shocking surprises to them, and although some of Jesus’ disciples (John and several women at the foot of the cross) actually saw him being crucified, none eof the apostles initially accepted the testimony of the women about the resurrection. These facts do not sound like church propaganda, as some may imagine, but are in fact a bit embarrasing for his apostles.

  126. Kit Walker says:

    Of course he did exist. He was a great teacher. He however didn’t die the way the church propaganda machine would have us believe. He survived the crucifixion and lived out his days as preacher in Kashmir. There is a belief that His real tomb is in Rozabal.

  127. Kit Walker says:

    Of course he did exist. He was a great teacher. He however didn’t die the way the church propaganda machine would have us believe. He survived the crucifixion and lived out his days as preacher in Kashmir. There is a belief that His real tomb is in Rozabal.

  128. Paul Ballotta says:

    Correction: That’s “The Da Vinci Code.” The document featured in the film, “National Treasure,” is the Declaration of Independance, which any patriotic American knows, was approved on July 4, 1776 (and celebrated with barbeques and fireworks displays).
    Another founding document was of a religious nature known as the Damascus Document, fragments of which were found among the Dead Sea Scrolls, though the bulk of this text was already discovered in the Cairo Geniza and published in 1910. It offers insight into the possible thinking of the zealot movements in the time of Jesus. The interpretation of the verse from Isaiah 24:17 is given; “Fear and pit and snare are upon you, dweller in the land.”
    This, according to the document, refers to three traps set by Belial, or Satan:
    “The first is fornication; the second is wealth; the third is defiling the sanctuary. ‘Who escapes from one is caught in the next; and whoever escapes from that is caught in the other’ (Isaiah 24:18).”

  129. Paul Ballotta says:

    Correction: That’s “The Da Vinci Code.” The document featured in the film, “National Treasure,” is the Declaration of Independance, which any patriotic American knows, was approved on July 4, 1776 (and celebrated with barbeques and fireworks displays).
    Another founding document was of a religious nature known as the Damascus Document, fragments of which were found among the Dead Sea Scrolls, though the bulk of this text was already discovered in the Cairo Geniza and published in 1910. It offers insight into the possible thinking of the zealot movements in the time of Jesus. The interpretation of the verse from Isaiah 24:17 is given; “Fear and pit and snare are upon you, dweller in the land.”
    This, according to the document, refers to three traps set by Belial, or Satan:
    “The first is fornication; the second is wealth; the third is defiling the sanctuary. ‘Who escapes from one is caught in the next; and whoever escapes from that is caught in the other’ (Isaiah 24:18).”

  130. Paul Ballotta says:

    That’s a good point, Lawrence, that we don’t know what the beliefs of the penitent “thief” that was crucified with Jesus were. In his book, “The Historical Jesus; The Life of a Mediterranean Jewish Peasan,” John Crossan suggests that the two “thieves” in Luke 23:33-43 were bandits (p. 171), possibly of the type exemplified when David was persecuted by King Saul and was forced to retreat into the wilderness as a leader-in-exile (1 Samuel 22:1-2), not unlike the mythical Robin Hood figure.
    “So David, the ideal King, was nondynastic, was popularly acclaimed, and had used a base in bandrity from which to achieve the kingship. Bandit and king were closely aligned in the Davidic model” (“The Historical Jesus” p. 198).
    Perhaps these men assisted Jesus in the “cleansing” of the temple by driving out the merchants. As for my own conviction in the belief in Gnosticism, or at least some aspects of it, it’s the way that the verses of scripture become highlighted like the pages of the Bible shown on the television show,”Day of Discovery.” This is live streaming of revelation that like “rivers in the desert” in Isaiah 43:19 and mentioned as “radiant waters in ” The Trimorpgic Protennoia” from the Nag Hammadi Library. I would even go as far to say that it’s also like the film, “National Treasure,” in the way that the U. S. Constitution is shown with certain sentences highlighted (and since we’re the subject, how ’bout those powers of separation between church and state that enables us to have this debate?). It’s fascinating how the founding fathers of the Constitution are portrayed as Masons in the film, like something out of Dan Brown’s “The Davinchi Code.” In describing the Gnostic movement in France, Stephan Hoeller writes in his book, “Gnosticism; A New Light on the Ancient Tradition of Inner Knowledge,” p. 176:
    “From the eighteenth century on, the Masonic and other initiatic fraternities, many of which were devoted to esoteric and even Gnostic teachings, played an important role in the country.”

  131. Paul Ballotta says:

    That’s a good point, Lawrence, that we don’t know what the beliefs of the penitent “thief” that was crucified with Jesus were. In his book, “The Historical Jesus; The Life of a Mediterranean Jewish Peasan,” John Crossan suggests that the two “thieves” in Luke 23:33-43 were bandits (p. 171), possibly of the type exemplified when David was persecuted by King Saul and was forced to retreat into the wilderness as a leader-in-exile (1 Samuel 22:1-2), not unlike the mythical Robin Hood figure.
    “So David, the ideal King, was nondynastic, was popularly acclaimed, and had used a base in bandrity from which to achieve the kingship. Bandit and king were closely aligned in the Davidic model” (“The Historical Jesus” p. 198).
    Perhaps these men assisted Jesus in the “cleansing” of the temple by driving out the merchants. As for my own conviction in the belief in Gnosticism, or at least some aspects of it, it’s the way that the verses of scripture become highlighted like the pages of the Bible shown on the television show,”Day of Discovery.” This is live streaming of revelation that like “rivers in the desert” in Isaiah 43:19 and mentioned as “radiant waters in ” The Trimorpgic Protennoia” from the Nag Hammadi Library. I would even go as far to say that it’s also like the film, “National Treasure,” in the way that the U. S. Constitution is shown with certain sentences highlighted (and since we’re the subject, how ’bout those powers of separation between church and state that enables us to have this debate?). It’s fascinating how the founding fathers of the Constitution are portrayed as Masons in the film, like something out of Dan Brown’s “The Davinchi Code.” In describing the Gnostic movement in France, Stephan Hoeller writes in his book, “Gnosticism; A New Light on the Ancient Tradition of Inner Knowledge,” p. 176:
    “From the eighteenth century on, the Masonic and other initiatic fraternities, many of which were devoted to esoteric and even Gnostic teachings, played an important role in the country.”

  132. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

    Reply to Paul (comment 23 above):
    Thank you, Paul, for your comment. It is interesting to see such articles as the Washington Post ran, which bring certain tenets of faith into doubt. I suppose that casting doubt on basic religious teachings pays off in getting people on both sides of a given question to read the publication and perhaps respond to it. Hats off to BAR for willingness to present the historical evidence, or lack of evidence, provided by archaeology. Of course, there is no lack of controversy in archaeology, and that makes it interesting!

    You bring up a good point from the Gospel of Thomas. It is my understanding that the Gospel of Thomas is a gnostic writing, and that the gnostics believed that attaining hidden knowledge would bring salvation to the one who came to know it.

    (Gnostic presentations of Jesus tend to make him a “talking head,” spouting gnostic beliefs, rather than giving the much fuller narratives about Jesus’ actions as well as his words, as found the four Gospels. Those four are the only ones we have from the first century, and they are the ones in the New Testament).

    The gnostic view is different from mainstream Christian faith as found in many denominations and confessions of faith. As I understand it, not knowledge by itself, but personal trust in Jesus as Lord brings salvation from sin and death. For example, in the account of the thief on the cross in Luke 23:40-43, we have little idea how much the thief crucified next to Jesus knew about him or his teachings, but it seems clear that he had some degree of personal reliance on him. Luke presents that reliance as saving faith.

    Thanks again.

    Lawrence Mykytiuk

  133. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

    Reply to Paul (comment 23 above):
    Thank you, Paul, for your comment. It is interesting to see such articles as the Washington Post ran, which bring certain tenets of faith into doubt. I suppose that casting doubt on basic religious teachings pays off in getting people on both sides of a given question to read the publication and perhaps respond to it. Hats off to BAR for willingness to present the historical evidence, or lack of evidence, provided by archaeology. Of course, there is no lack of controversy in archaeology, and that makes it interesting!
    You bring up a good point from the Gospel of Thomas. It is my understanding that the Gospel of Thomas is a gnostic writing, and that the gnostics believed that attaining hidden knowledge would bring salvation to the one who came to know it.
    (Gnostic presentations of Jesus tend to make him a “talking head,” spouting gnostic beliefs, rather than giving the much fuller narratives about Jesus’ actions as well as his words, as found the four Gospels. Those four are the only ones we have from the first century, and they are the ones in the New Testament).
    The gnostic view is different from mainstream Christian faith as found in many denominations and confessions of faith. As I understand it, not knowledge by itself, but personal trust in Jesus as Lord brings salvation from sin and death. For example, in the account of the thief on the cross in Luke 23:40-43, we have little idea how much the thief crucified next to Jesus knew about him or his teachings, but it seems clear that he had some degree of personal reliance on him. Luke presents that reliance as saving faith.
    Thanks again.
    Lawrence Mykytiuk

  134. Paul Ballotta says:

    Interesting indeed, how a comment was snuck in with the intent to promote literature that easily dismisses the faith and it reminded me of that Washington Post article entitled “Did Historical Jesus Exist? The Evidence Just Doesn’t Add Up” that reappeared around Christmas, in an apparent attempt to snuff out the lamp of faith. The gloomy pessimistic view of death portrayed in ancient Mesopotamian literature still thrives, but there are still some who believe this fate is reserved for the wicked (Jude 1:6) and still there are some who are not content unless they understand the transcendental meditations of the Gospel of Thomas which opens with the statement, “Whoever finds the interpretation of these sayings will not experience death.”
    http://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/biblical-topics/bible-versions-and-translations/the-gospel-of-thomas-114-sayings-of-jesus/

  135. Paul Ballotta says:

    Interesting indeed, how a comment was snuck in with the intent to promote literature that easily dismisses the faith and it reminded me of that Washington Post article entitled “Did Historical Jesus Exist? The Evidence Just Doesn’t Add Up” that reappeared around Christmas, in an apparent attempt to snuff out the lamp of faith. The gloomy pessimistic view of death portrayed in ancient Mesopotamian literature still thrives, but there are still some who believe this fate is reserved for the wicked (Jude 1:6) and still there are some who are not content unless they understand the transcendental meditations of the Gospel of Thomas which opens with the statement, “Whoever finds the interpretation of these sayings will not experience death.”
    http://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/biblical-topics/bible-versions-and-translations/the-gospel-of-thomas-114-sayings-of-jesus/

  136. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

    Reply to Mark (comment 21 above):

    Thank you, Mark, for your kind remarks. Actually, my intent was simply to make the case for Jesus’ existence on the basis of ancient non-Christian writings. I’m pleased to hear that this case ended up somehow refuting Carrier’s opposing claims.

    On the previous page (above, see “Previous 1 2 3 4” at the end of comments section), that is, page 3, comment 22 by “Markus” appears to be actually from Richard Carrier. The comment raises 4 objections and seems to slip into Carrier’s own voice: “(2) I mention and rebut your attempt . . . .” My comments 23 and 27 on page 3 reply to his objections. Objections (3) and (4) sound as if they wish to extol the supremacy of the writings of Richard Carrier, so there is little point in going beyond my reply in comment 23.

    His objection (1) contends that Tacitus did not fact-check what he said about Jesus. My reply in comment 27 mentions that, as classicists point out, when Tacitus felt unsure of his sources for what he wrote, he indicated that, but there is no such indication in his comments on Jesus. Although this is not proof, it is an ancient indication, which deserves more weight than modern preferences.

    “Markus” (probably Carrier) in objection (2) claims that Tacitus did not use any sources except what Christians said. As I point out in comment 27, since no one knows what sources he used, there is no evidence for this claim. Further, his official positions, particularly as a member of the Council of Fifteen who regulated foreign religions in Rome, likely gave him access to oral communications and/or written records about Jesus, as his official tone suggests when he remarks that the superstition was suppressed for a time. “Markus”/Carrier appears to have not attempted to reply to this response.

    Thanks again for your encouragement.

    Lawrence Mykytiuk

  137. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

    Reply to Mark (comment 21 above):
    Thank you, Mark, for your kind remarks. Actually, my intent was simply to make the case for Jesus’ existence on the basis of ancient non-Christian writings. I’m pleased to hear that this case ended up somehow refuting Carrier’s opposing claims.
    On the previous page (above, see “Previous 1 2 3 4” at the end of comments section), that is, page 3, comment 22 by “Markus” appears to be actually from Richard Carrier. The comment raises 4 objections and seems to slip into Carrier’s own voice: “(2) I mention and rebut your attempt . . . .” My comments 23 and 27 on page 3 reply to his objections. Objections (3) and (4) sound as if they wish to extol the supremacy of the writings of Richard Carrier, so there is little point in going beyond my reply in comment 23.
    His objection (1) contends that Tacitus did not fact-check what he said about Jesus. My reply in comment 27 mentions that, as classicists point out, when Tacitus felt unsure of his sources for what he wrote, he indicated that, but there is no such indication in his comments on Jesus. Although this is not proof, it is an ancient indication, which deserves more weight than modern preferences.
    “Markus” (probably Carrier) in objection (2) claims that Tacitus did not use any sources except what Christians said. As I point out in comment 27, since no one knows what sources he used, there is no evidence for this claim. Further, his official positions, particularly as a member of the Council of Fifteen who regulated foreign religions in Rome, likely gave him access to oral communications and/or written records about Jesus, as his official tone suggests when he remarks that the superstition was suppressed for a time. “Markus”/Carrier appears to have not attempted to reply to this response.
    Thanks again for your encouragement.
    Lawrence Mykytiuk

  138. Mark Daniels says:

    Thank you for such a well written and scholarly article. I have read a number of attacks on the historicity of Jesus and especially those by Mr. Richard Carrier. It is refreshing to see an apologetical article to refute many of his arguments and support a real Jesus. Mr. Carrier is very convincing and I suspect that many folks not searching for the truth fall prey to his arguments. I sincerely appreciate your work.

  139. Mark Daniels says:

    Thank you for such a well written and scholarly article. I have read a number of attacks on the historicity of Jesus and especially those by Mr. Richard Carrier. It is refreshing to see an apologetical article to refute many of his arguments and support a real Jesus. Mr. Carrier is very convincing and I suspect that many folks not searching for the truth fall prey to his arguments. I sincerely appreciate your work.

  140. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

    Correction to the article as it affects my reply to Johnny (comment 6 above on this page:

    A confusing typographical error in the article (just below the sketch of Josephus) refers to “James’s brother Jesus (Yehoshua).” That should be corrected to “James’s brother Jesus (Yeshua).” Yehoshua would be the Hebrew name for Joshua, not Jesus.

    Fortunately, in third paragraph before the end of the article, the correct Hebrew form of the name appears twice: Yeshua‘.

  141. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

    Correction to the article as it affects my reply to Johnny (comment 6 above on this page:
    A confusing typographical error in the article (just below the sketch of Josephus) refers to “James’s brother Jesus (Yehoshua).” That should be corrected to “James’s brother Jesus (Yeshua).” Yehoshua would be the Hebrew name for Joshua, not Jesus.
    Fortunately, in third paragraph before the end of the article, the correct Hebrew form of the name appears twice: Yeshua‘.

  142. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

    Reply to Johnny (comment 6 above on this page):
    Thank you for your concern for getting personal names right. You are quite correct that Jesus’ name in Hebrew is Yeshu‘ah, accented on the second syllable. (As commonly spoken in modern Israeli Hebrew, it is Yeshu‘, accented on the first syllable.) You are also correct that the English version of Jesus’ name originates from the Greek name Iesous (accented on the second syllable and pronounced yey-SOUS), though I would add that the English version is a transliteration of the Latin version (of the name in Greek). The Latin is Iēsūs (or Iēsus or Jēsūs, in which the J, a lengthened form of the Latin letter I, carries the same sound as the English letter y). This Latin form would be pronounced YEY-sūs, just as German speakers pronounce it today.

    Whether it is correct to translate Jesus’ name, Yeshua, into English as Joshua, however, is a very different matter. In fact, I am convinced it is incorrect to do so.

    The Hebrew common noun yeshu’ah means “salvation,” “deliverance,” or “victory.” By the time of Jesus of Nazareth, it had become a frequently used Hebrew personal name. (According to the Gospels, he was to receive this name by divine command, to Mary in Luke 1:31, then to Joseph in Matthew 1:21).

    The Hebrew name translated into English as Joshua, however, is not Yeshu’ah, a noun meaning “salvation, deliverance, victory,” but rather Yehoshu’ah, which is not a noun but a sentence. The first part, Yeho-, represents God’s name. This name can mean either “the LORD (or Yahweh) is salvation” or “the LORD (or Yahweh) has saved.” If it is the latter, a sentence with the action verb for “save” (or rescue or give victory), then the subject, which normally comes after an action verb, is in emphatic first position to stress that _God_ is the one who saved, delivered, or gave victory. Occasionally, translators have confused the two names, supposing that Yeshu’ah is a shortened form of Jehoshu’ah, but that would be, in theory, Yoshu’ah, or, as in Nehemiah 8:17, Yēshua’, pronounced yeyshua’. It seems clear to me that the two names Yeshua’ (Jesus) and Yehoshua’ (Joshua) are actually are quite distinct from each other.

    Regarding your statement, “Jesus’ real name would have been Aramaic,” this is not the case, because of the multilingual environment in Roman-era Palestine. Jesus’ real name is thoroughly Hebrew, having come from the Hebrew common noun meaning “salvation, deliverance, victory.” Yes, to be sure, when Jesus changed Simon’s name to Kepha’, meaning “(a) rock,” (which appears as Cephas in the New Testament), he gave him an Aramaic name which we know in its English form derived from the Greek translation: Peter. Of course, many Jews in Roman-era Palestine had Aramaic names, but many certainly had Hebrew names, such as Mary (Mariam), Elizabeth, Zechariah, and Joseph, and some, for example Andrew, had Greek names, which began appearing sometime after Alexander the Great’s conquest of the Levant in 332 B.C.E.

    Lawrence Mykytiuk

  143. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

    Reply to Johnny (comment 6 above on this page):
    Thank you for your concern for getting personal names right. You are quite correct that Jesus’ name in Hebrew is Yeshu‘ah, accented on the second syllable. (As commonly spoken in modern Israeli Hebrew, it is Yeshu‘, accented on the first syllable.) You are also correct that the English version of Jesus’ name originates from the Greek name Iesous (accented on the second syllable and pronounced yey-SOUS), though I would add that the English version is a transliteration of the Latin version (of the name in Greek). The Latin is Iēsūs (or Iēsus or Jēsūs, in which the J, a lengthened form of the Latin letter I, carries the same sound as the English letter y). This Latin form would be pronounced YEY-sūs, just as German speakers pronounce it today.
    Whether it is correct to translate Jesus’ name, Yeshua, into English as Joshua, however, is a very different matter. In fact, I am convinced it is incorrect to do so.
    The Hebrew common noun yeshu’ah means “salvation,” “deliverance,” or “victory.” By the time of Jesus of Nazareth, it had become a frequently used Hebrew personal name. (According to the Gospels, he was to receive this name by divine command, to Mary in Luke 1:31, then to Joseph in Matthew 1:21).
    The Hebrew name translated into English as Joshua, however, is not Yeshu’ah, a noun meaning “salvation, deliverance, victory,” but rather Yehoshu’ah, which is not a noun but a sentence. The first part, Yeho-, represents God’s name. This name can mean either “the LORD (or Yahweh) is salvation” or “the LORD (or Yahweh) has saved.” If it is the latter, a sentence with the action verb for “save” (or rescue or give victory), then the subject, which normally comes after an action verb, is in emphatic first position to stress that _God_ is the one who saved, delivered, or gave victory. Occasionally, translators have confused the two names, supposing that Yeshu’ah is a shortened form of Jehoshu’ah, but that would be, in theory, Yoshu’ah, or, as in Nehemiah 8:17, Yēshua’, pronounced yeyshua’. It seems clear to me that the two names Yeshua’ (Jesus) and Yehoshua’ (Joshua) are actually are quite distinct from each other.
    Regarding your statement, “Jesus’ real name would have been Aramaic,” this is not the case, because of the multilingual environment in Roman-era Palestine. Jesus’ real name is thoroughly Hebrew, having come from the Hebrew common noun meaning “salvation, deliverance, victory.” Yes, to be sure, when Jesus changed Simon’s name to Kepha’, meaning “(a) rock,” (which appears as Cephas in the New Testament), he gave him an Aramaic name which we know in its English form derived from the Greek translation: Peter. Of course, many Jews in Roman-era Palestine had Aramaic names, but many certainly had Hebrew names, such as Mary (Mariam), Elizabeth, Zechariah, and Joseph, and some, for example Andrew, had Greek names, which began appearing sometime after Alexander the Great’s conquest of the Levant in 332 B.C.E.
    Lawrence Mykytiuk

  144. Wa Phui says:

    Jesus is shit and the lord is mother fucker. Wa Phui!

  145. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

    Reply to Robin (comment 5 above on this page):
    Thank you so much for mentioning Durant’s point, of which I was not aware, that Christianity grew up too quickly for there not to have been a real Person behind it somewhere. (I assume you mean Will Durant or Will and Ariel Durant, the married couple who wrote the eleven-volume work, _The Story of Civilization_.)

  146. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

    Reply to Robin (comment 5 above on this page):
    Thank you so much for mentioning Durant’s point, of which I was not aware, that Christianity grew up too quickly for there not to have been a real Person behind it somewhere. (I assume you mean Will Durant or Will and Ariel Durant, the married couple who wrote the eleven-volume work, _The Story of Civilization_.)

  147. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

    Reply to A (comment 1 above on this page):
    Of course, basing one’s faith on Scripture has been the practice of countless people for millennia. The article simply sets forth the evidence outside of Scripture for those who wish to read it. If, however, you meet someone who challenges the historical references and assertions of Scripture, then inscriptions and ancient writings besides the Bible can in some instances be useful evidence.

  148. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

    Reply to A (comment 1 above on this page):
    Of course, basing one’s faith on Scripture has been the practice of countless people for millennia. The article simply sets forth the evidence outside of Scripture for those who wish to read it. If, however, you meet someone who challenges the historical references and assertions of Scripture, then inscriptions and ancient writings besides the Bible can in some instances be useful evidence.

  149. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

    Reply to Robin (comment 45 on page 3, the previous page):

    Thank you, Robin, for your kind remarks.

  150. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

    Reply to Robin (comment 45 on page 3, the previous page):
    Thank you, Robin, for your kind remarks.

  151. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

    Reply to Pierre (comment 44 on page 3, the previous page):
    44 Pierre says
    “Jesus was not crucified. Thousands of Jesus or man who called themselves ‘Christ son of God’, died on a “torture stake. It was very comon during that time. As you point out, it’s a MYTH ? According to Paul Diel, the last ‘real’ one created by humans.”

    My reply to Pierre regarding his statement, “Jesus was not crucified” is: On the contrary, Joseph clearly states that Jesus was crucified, and Tacitus’ phrase stating that Jesus “suffered the extreme penalty” is understood by classicists to imply crucifixion. You are entirely free to your own opinion, but not your own facts. Your claim is made without any evidence at all to support it, let alone ancient evidence that is relatively close in time to Jesus of Nazareth.

    Also, I agree that many Jews were crucified under Roman rule, and since Jesus was a common name in Palestine during that period, it is plausible that other men named Jesus were crucified. Your claim that “thousands . . . called themselves ‘Christ son of God’” is made without evidence.

    And the article points out the ancient historical evidence that the life and death of Jesus were real events.

  152. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

    Reply to Pierre (comment 44 on page 3, the previous page):
    44 Pierre says
    “Jesus was not crucified. Thousands of Jesus or man who called themselves ‘Christ son of God’, died on a “torture stake. It was very comon during that time. As you point out, it’s a MYTH ? According to Paul Diel, the last ‘real’ one created by humans.”
    My reply to Pierre regarding his statement, “Jesus was not crucified” is: On the contrary, Joseph clearly states that Jesus was crucified, and Tacitus’ phrase stating that Jesus “suffered the extreme penalty” is understood by classicists to imply crucifixion. You are entirely free to your own opinion, but not your own facts. Your claim is made without any evidence at all to support it, let alone ancient evidence that is relatively close in time to Jesus of Nazareth.
    Also, I agree that many Jews were crucified under Roman rule, and since Jesus was a common name in Palestine during that period, it is plausible that other men named Jesus were crucified. Your claim that “thousands . . . called themselves ‘Christ son of God’” is made without evidence.
    And the article points out the ancient historical evidence that the life and death of Jesus were real events.

  153. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

    Reply to Dennis (comment 42 on page 3, the previous page):

    42 DENNIS says
    ‘Regarding your example of using “Secretary of Defense” anachronistically for the previous cabinet position of “Secretary of War”, it is in error. The latter position was ONLY in charge of the US ARMY (which then included the US Air Force) and was an equal to the Secretary of the Navy cabinet position. With the reorganization in 1947, the Air Force became independent and put under a non-cabinet Secretary of the Air Force, while the Secretary of War position was renamed Secretary of the Army and along with the Navy Secretary, demoted to non-cabinet status. All three service secretaries were made subservient to a NEW cabinet position of Secretary of Defense and the services were placed in what is now called the Department of Defense (originally named “National Military Establishment”). So Secretary Stimson in World War II was equivalent to today’s Army Secretary, albeit at a cabinet-level position.’

    Dennis I take your point and accept your correction with sincere thanks. I will have to find a better analogy.

    Best wishes,

    Lawrence Mykytiuk

  154. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

    Reply to Dennis (comment 42 on page 3, the previous page):
    42 DENNIS says
    ‘Regarding your example of using “Secretary of Defense” anachronistically for the previous cabinet position of “Secretary of War”, it is in error. The latter position was ONLY in charge of the US ARMY (which then included the US Air Force) and was an equal to the Secretary of the Navy cabinet position. With the reorganization in 1947, the Air Force became independent and put under a non-cabinet Secretary of the Air Force, while the Secretary of War position was renamed Secretary of the Army and along with the Navy Secretary, demoted to non-cabinet status. All three service secretaries were made subservient to a NEW cabinet position of Secretary of Defense and the services were placed in what is now called the Department of Defense (originally named “National Military Establishment”). So Secretary Stimson in World War II was equivalent to today’s Army Secretary, albeit at a cabinet-level position.’
    Dennis I take your point and accept your correction with sincere thanks. I will have to find a better analogy.
    Best wishes,
    Lawrence Mykytiuk

  155. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

    Reply to Gregory’ s post 39 (on the previous page, page 3):

    39 Gregory says [beginning with a quotation from the article:]
    “This phrase is also appropriate for a Jewish historian like Josephus because the reference to Jesus is a noncommittal, neutral statement about what some people called Jesus and not a confession of faith that actually asserts that he was Christ.” – That’s not really true. If Josephus had become a Christian, then we might expect him to use an appellation like Chrestus, Christ, etc., or a title like Messiah. But Josephus was a non-Christian Jew. It’s barely conceivable he would have used these terms in reference to a man that he, himself, did not believe was A) Christ (A Greek term, anyway, and not a Hebrew one), or Messiah (from the Hebrew, but a term traditionally meant to connote one who would deliver the Jewish nation from the Romans. Arguably, Jesus did not do.

    The phrase to which Gregory is referring appears in the article as Josephus’ description of Jesus: “who is called Christ.” The verb “is called” is passive, and Josephus, who wrote in Greek, does not tell us who called him Christ (the Greek word for “messiah”). Therefore, the argument–that Josephus would not have called him that—does not apply to this phrase, which clearly makes no reference to Josephus himself calling him Messiah or Christ. The meaning of this phrase in this context is no different from saying “whom some people called Christ.”

    Lawrence Mykytiuk

  156. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

    Reply to Gregory’ s post 39 (on the previous page, page 3):
    39 Gregory says [beginning with a quotation from the article:]
    “This phrase is also appropriate for a Jewish historian like Josephus because the reference to Jesus is a noncommittal, neutral statement about what some people called Jesus and not a confession of faith that actually asserts that he was Christ.” – That’s not really true. If Josephus had become a Christian, then we might expect him to use an appellation like Chrestus, Christ, etc., or a title like Messiah. But Josephus was a non-Christian Jew. It’s barely conceivable he would have used these terms in reference to a man that he, himself, did not believe was A) Christ (A Greek term, anyway, and not a Hebrew one), or Messiah (from the Hebrew, but a term traditionally meant to connote one who would deliver the Jewish nation from the Romans. Arguably, Jesus did not do.
    The phrase to which Gregory is referring appears in the article as Josephus’ description of Jesus: “who is called Christ.” The verb “is called” is passive, and Josephus, who wrote in Greek, does not tell us who called him Christ (the Greek word for “messiah”). Therefore, the argument–that Josephus would not have called him that—does not apply to this phrase, which clearly makes no reference to Josephus himself calling him Messiah or Christ. The meaning of this phrase in this context is no different from saying “whom some people called Christ.”
    Lawrence Mykytiuk

  157. Paul Ballotta says:

    “Stoned Soul Picnic” by The Fifth Dimension.

  158. Paul Ballotta says:

    “Stoned Soul Picnic” by The Fifth Dimension.

  159. Paul Ballotta says:

    “What an excellent day for an exorcism.”
    A good reference reader for exorcism texts from the Dead Sea Scrolls can be found here:
    http://orion.mscc.hujl.ac.il/symposiums/9th/papers/LitchenbergerAbstract.html
    One text in particular is an incantation exorcism (4Q560) in which the reciter says, “You are forbidden to disturb by night using dreams or by day during sleep. O male Shrine-spirit and female Shrine-spirit, O you demons who breach [walls…w[icked […]” (“Dead Sea Scrolls” by Michael Wise, Martin Abegg, J R., & Edward Cook, p.443).
    It’s interesting that the text mentions “Shrine-spirit” in connection with dreams and since this type of incantation exorcism originates from Mesopotamia, it’s a possibility that there was a tradition
    that dates back to the founding of the Davidic monarchy since it was at that time the updated version of the Epic of Gilgamesh was composed in Babylon. A fragment of a cuneiform tablet was found at the site of Megiddo testifying to the presence of an Akkadian language scribal network existing in the land of Cannan that comprised the international diplomatic correspondence of the mid-14th century B.C.E. The latter half of the 7th tablet of Gilgamesh was deciphered describing Enkidu’s dream foretelling his imminent death in which he is dragged down into the realm of the dead by the demon Anzu who resembled a man with the face and hands of a lion and eagle’s wings, not unlike the first beast described in Daniel 7:4.
    In the updated version of Gilgamesh, composed between the 12th and 10th century B.C.E., an elaborate description of the underworld is provided that describes the fate of kings not unlike the send off directed at the Assyrian emporer in Isaiah 14:9-11:
    “In the house of ashes, where I entered, I saw [the mighty], their crowns fallen to the dirt.”
    After portraying the former rulers waiting on tables like servants, the text mentions five classes of priests:
    “In the house of ashes, where I entered, there lives the ‘enu’-priest (high priest) who brings together gods and men, the ‘lagaru’-priest (funeral wailing priest);
    there lives the ‘issipu’-priest (purification priest) and the ‘lumahhu’-priest (ecstatic shaman priest);
    there live the ‘pashishu,’ priests of the great gods…” (“Gilgamesh” by John Gardner and John Maier, p.178).
    For years I had wondered why this description of the netherworld did not include the traditional mention of the bolted door that bars the way to the land of the living as we find in the book of Jonah 2:6. Surely, I thought, because this version of Gilgamesh was written by the Babylonian scribe Sin Leqi Unninni who was himself a ‘mashmashshu,’ or an incantion/exorcist priest, the case could be made that there existed no such barrier between the living and the dead.
    BAS recently posted a daily article entitled “Rejected; Qeiyafa’s Unlikely Second Gate” that confirms the site of Khirbet Qeiyafa as being the Biblical Sha’arayim, Hebrew for “Two Gates,” (Joshua 15:36, 1 Samuel 17:52, 1 Chronicles 4:31). But the real prize is the model of a shrine that appeared in the July/August 2015 issue of BAR, which features a doorway with recessed frames that were erroneously interpreted as doorposts in 1 Kings 6:31. They are five layers like the five orders of priests that separate the temple’s Holy Place from the Holy of Holies where the Ark of the Covenant resides.

  160. Paul Ballotta says:

    “What an excellent day for an exorcism.”
    A good reference reader for exorcism texts from the Dead Sea Scrolls can be found here:
    http://orion.mscc.hujl.ac.il/symposiums/9th/papers/LitchenbergerAbstract.html
    One text in particular is an incantation exorcism (4Q560) in which the reciter says, “You are forbidden to disturb by night using dreams or by day during sleep. O male Shrine-spirit and female Shrine-spirit, O you demons who breach [walls…w[icked […]” (“Dead Sea Scrolls” by Michael Wise, Martin Abegg, J R., & Edward Cook, p.443).
    It’s interesting that the text mentions “Shrine-spirit” in connection with dreams and since this type of incantation exorcism originates from Mesopotamia, it’s a possibility that there was a tradition
    that dates back to the founding of the Davidic monarchy since it was at that time the updated version of the Epic of Gilgamesh was composed in Babylon. A fragment of a cuneiform tablet was found at the site of Megiddo testifying to the presence of an Akkadian language scribal network existing in the land of Cannan that comprised the international diplomatic correspondence of the mid-14th century B.C.E. The latter half of the 7th tablet of Gilgamesh was deciphered describing Enkidu’s dream foretelling his imminent death in which he is dragged down into the realm of the dead by the demon Anzu who resembled a man with the face and hands of a lion and eagle’s wings, not unlike the first beast described in Daniel 7:4.
    In the updated version of Gilgamesh, composed between the 12th and 10th century B.C.E., an elaborate description of the underworld is provided that describes the fate of kings not unlike the send off directed at the Assyrian emporer in Isaiah 14:9-11:
    “In the house of ashes, where I entered, I saw [the mighty], their crowns fallen to the dirt.”
    After portraying the former rulers waiting on tables like servants, the text mentions five classes of priests:
    “In the house of ashes, where I entered, there lives the ‘enu’-priest (high priest) who brings together gods and men, the ‘lagaru’-priest (funeral wailing priest);
    there lives the ‘issipu’-priest (purification priest) and the ‘lumahhu’-priest (ecstatic shaman priest);
    there live the ‘pashishu,’ priests of the great gods…” (“Gilgamesh” by John Gardner and John Maier, p.178).
    For years I had wondered why this description of the netherworld did not include the traditional mention of the bolted door that bars the way to the land of the living as we find in the book of Jonah 2:6. Surely, I thought, because this version of Gilgamesh was written by the Babylonian scribe Sin Leqi Unninni who was himself a ‘mashmashshu,’ or an incantion/exorcist priest, the case could be made that there existed no such barrier between the living and the dead.
    BAS recently posted a daily article entitled “Rejected; Qeiyafa’s Unlikely Second Gate” that confirms the site of Khirbet Qeiyafa as being the Biblical Sha’arayim, Hebrew for “Two Gates,” (Joshua 15:36, 1 Samuel 17:52, 1 Chronicles 4:31). But the real prize is the model of a shrine that appeared in the July/August 2015 issue of BAR, which features a doorway with recessed frames that were erroneously interpreted as doorposts in 1 Kings 6:31. They are five layers like the five orders of priests that separate the temple’s Holy Place from the Holy of Holies where the Ark of the Covenant resides.

  161. Paul Ballotta says:

    Siau, have you considered trying an excorcist?

  162. Paul Ballotta says:

    Siau, have you considered trying an excorcist?

  163. Siau says:

    I was a christian before but I’m different than other christian, my eyes can see the jesus come talking to me when I closing my eyes, why I can see him that is maybe because I really was the angel that throw from the heaven as he said to me, somethimes I can feel pain on my back and my cat always see my back just look like he can see something on my back. For all christian jesus well punish who don’t follow her words by give him a bad luck, disease or accident and this is true. Jesus is really existed and I know him, he is not as good as you thought. If you want to believe in him than think twice, I was try to run away from him beacuse of what he did to me. Not all christian well go to heaven after die, if you not go to heaven than your soul just see the darkness and there is no hell, what the bible say is not one hundred per cent true.

  164. Siau says:

    I was a christian before but I’m different than other christian, my eyes can see the jesus come talking to me when I closing my eyes, why I can see him that is maybe because I really was the angel that throw from the heaven as he said to me, somethimes I can feel pain on my back and my cat always see my back just look like he can see something on my back. For all christian jesus well punish who don’t follow her words by give him a bad luck, disease or accident and this is true. Jesus is really existed and I know him, he is not as good as you thought. If you want to believe in him than think twice, I was try to run away from him beacuse of what he did to me. Not all christian well go to heaven after die, if you not go to heaven than your soul just see the darkness and there is no hell, what the bible say is not one hundred per cent true.

  165. Johnny Martinez says:

    Hello. Great article. Much appreciated read. However, i noted the corrections to some of the names, e.g., James is Jacob, etc., and you mentioned Yeshua as the Jewish name for Jesus, but failed to point out the English translation of Yeshua would be Joshua. (Jesus is a transliteration of a Greek name Iseous), which is not applicable bc Jesus’ real name would have been Aramaic. Please explain why no correction is made to his name…

    Thank you,

    Johnny

  166. Johnny Martinez says:

    Hello. Great article. Much appreciated read. However, i noted the corrections to some of the names, e.g., James is Jacob, etc., and you mentioned Yeshua as the Jewish name for Jesus, but failed to point out the English translation of Yeshua would be Joshua. (Jesus is a transliteration of a Greek name Iseous), which is not applicable bc Jesus’ real name would have been Aramaic. Please explain why no correction is made to his name…
    Thank you,
    Johnny

  167. robis says:

    I have read much of this sort of argument elsewhere. It is good that many are putting it out there for public consumption. It may be more than some need — who get their faith from the biblical text. But it is not going to be enough for the determined skeptic. I think, however, that the skeptic who denies the existence of Jesus of Nazareth is going too far in their thinking. As Durant said, Christianity grew up too quickly for there not to have been a real Person behind it somewhere.

  168. robis says:

    I have read much of this sort of argument elsewhere. It is good that many are putting it out there for public consumption. It may be more than some need — who get their faith from the biblical text. But it is not going to be enough for the determined skeptic. I think, however, that the skeptic who denies the existence of Jesus of Nazareth is going too far in their thinking. As Durant said, Christianity grew up too quickly for there not to have been a real Person behind it somewhere.

  169. Paul Ballotta says:

    I erred, it was June 11, 1965, when a gathering of poets ay the Royal Albert Hall led by the Beatnik Alan Ginsberg gave birth to the psychedelic movement. But I’m not too far off the mark, just as my post on the first comment page (#28) was not accurate when I stated that author Gershom Scholem knew about the Essenes and their mystical chariot beliefs before the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls when in actuality the book that I cited was a later edition that appeared when the first Scrolls to be interpreted were published in 1952. He did state in another book prior to the Dead Sea Scroll publication that Jewish mystical beliefs centered on the ritual immersion baths in Palestine during the 1st century C.E., which was also a practice observed by the Essene movement according to Josephus. Along with the account of the baptism of Jesus in the 1st chapter of John is the mention of light along with the water and the same combination of light and water is mentioned in the lost Gnostic Christian writings.

  170. Paul Ballotta says:

    I erred, it was June 11, 1965, when a gathering of poets ay the Royal Albert Hall led by the Beatnik Alan Ginsberg gave birth to the psychedelic movement. But I’m not too far off the mark, just as my post on the first comment page (#28) was not accurate when I stated that author Gershom Scholem knew about the Essenes and their mystical chariot beliefs before the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls when in actuality the book that I cited was a later edition that appeared when the first Scrolls to be interpreted were published in 1952. He did state in another book prior to the Dead Sea Scroll publication that Jewish mystical beliefs centered on the ritual immersion baths in Palestine during the 1st century C.E., which was also a practice observed by the Essene movement according to Josephus. Along with the account of the baptism of Jesus in the 1st chapter of John is the mention of light along with the water and the same combination of light and water is mentioned in the lost Gnostic Christian writings.

  171. Paul Ballotta says:

    In response to commentor Robert (#46) who’s suggestion that the Sumerians may have had a monotheistic belief which was spurned by the academics: it makes total sense to me.
    The description of the Sumerian term ‘me’ (pronounced ‘may’), “expresses a very basic concept,” according to “God’s, Demons and Symbols of Ancient Mesopotamians,” by Jeremy Black and Anthony Green, p.130. “The ‘me’ are properties or powers of the gods which enable a whole host of activities central to civilized human life, especially religion, to take place.”
    Robert mentions rabbinical sources that employ the Hebrew word ‘mi,’ meaning who. The Book of Zohar comments on Genesis 1:1 by referring to Isaiah 40:26; “Lift your eyes on high and see: Who created these?” The word ‘me’ is explained as “the one called End of Heaven above, whose domain extends over everything” (The Zohar, vol. 1, by Daniel Matt, p. 5). The footnote to the term “end of heaven” makes the connection to Deuteronomy 4:32; “For ask now of primal days, which were before you; from the day that God created humankind on earth, and from one end of heaven to the other.”
    Robert also notes the only time Jesus is described reading from a scroll and it is noteworthy that Jesus reference to “Jehovah’s acceptable year” (Luke 4:19) is an allusion to the 50th cyclic year known as the Jubilee (Leviticus 25:10) when debts are annulled and slaves set free. Naturally the people then start scrutinizing the lowly status of a carpenter’s son, questioning the validity of his claim that he was sent by God (Luke 4:22).
    I can only give a logical explanation as to how someone could accomplish this; with assistance from God. There was one instance in particular when I make reference to an event that occurred on June 12, 1965, not realizing that the day this comment was posted occured on the same date, June 12, 2014, exactly 49 years later. It’s like that Moody Blues song,”In the Beginning,” when the first human was told to “keep on thinking free.”
    http://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/ancient-cultures/ancient-near-eastern-world/epilepsy-tutankamun-and-monotheism/

  172. Paul Ballotta says:

    In response to commentor Robert (#46) who’s suggestion that the Sumerians may have had a monotheistic belief which was spurned by the academics: it makes total sense to me.
    The description of the Sumerian term ‘me’ (pronounced ‘may’), “expresses a very basic concept,” according to “God’s, Demons and Symbols of Ancient Mesopotamians,” by Jeremy Black and Anthony Green, p.130. “The ‘me’ are properties or powers of the gods which enable a whole host of activities central to civilized human life, especially religion, to take place.”
    Robert mentions rabbinical sources that employ the Hebrew word ‘mi,’ meaning who. The Book of Zohar comments on Genesis 1:1 by referring to Isaiah 40:26; “Lift your eyes on high and see: Who created these?” The word ‘me’ is explained as “the one called End of Heaven above, whose domain extends over everything” (The Zohar, vol. 1, by Daniel Matt, p. 5). The footnote to the term “end of heaven” makes the connection to Deuteronomy 4:32; “For ask now of primal days, which were before you; from the day that God created humankind on earth, and from one end of heaven to the other.”
    Robert also notes the only time Jesus is described reading from a scroll and it is noteworthy that Jesus reference to “Jehovah’s acceptable year” (Luke 4:19) is an allusion to the 50th cyclic year known as the Jubilee (Leviticus 25:10) when debts are annulled and slaves set free. Naturally the people then start scrutinizing the lowly status of a carpenter’s son, questioning the validity of his claim that he was sent by God (Luke 4:22).
    I can only give a logical explanation as to how someone could accomplish this; with assistance from God. There was one instance in particular when I make reference to an event that occurred on June 12, 1965, not realizing that the day this comment was posted occured on the same date, June 12, 2014, exactly 49 years later. It’s like that Moody Blues song,”In the Beginning,” when the first human was told to “keep on thinking free.”
    http://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/ancient-cultures/ancient-near-eastern-world/epilepsy-tutankamun-and-monotheism/

  173. A Kiefir says:

    Much to read and digest. My own faith does not depend on such “proof”. It’s interesting to read of Josephus, Tacitus and many others confirming our Lords existence, but my faith isn’t dependent on archeological evidence. Our Lord chooses those whom He wishes. Historical “proof” is interesting…..but that’s all… Interesting.

  174. A Kiefir says:

    Much to read and digest. My own faith does not depend on such “proof”. It’s interesting to read of Josephus, Tacitus and many others confirming our Lords existence, but my faith isn’t dependent on archeological evidence. Our Lord chooses those whom He wishes. Historical “proof” is interesting…..but that’s all… Interesting.

  175. Bill W Williams says:

    To say the least, a thorough thesis. The points are well delineated and well taken. An excellent representation of the historical argument for the existence of Jesus, without the religious hype so common in such representations. Thank-you.

  176. Bill W Williams says:

    To say the least, a thorough thesis. The points are well delineated and well taken. An excellent representation of the historical argument for the existence of Jesus, without the religious hype so common in such representations. Thank-you.

  177. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

    Reply to Gregory (comment 38 above; I will also reply to comment 39):
    You are certainly correct in stating that Josephus was a non-Christian Jew who “would not have called Jesus “Meshiach” or Messiah.” Further, I agree that, as you have stated, “This is a key criticism of the reliability and validity of the Testimonium Flavianum.” You have given precisely the reason why the overwhelming majority of scholars regard the Testimonium Flavianum, as it is best known, namely, in Greek, as having been altered by a Christian. But that is not the only alternative.

    The article above spells out the three alternatives as follows:

    Alternative 1 is that the whole passage is authentic, written by Josephus.
    Today almost no scholar accepts the authenticity of the entire standard Greek Testimonium Flavianum, because of obviously Christian statements, such as: “He was the Messiah.” Your objection clearly applies against Alternative 1.

    Alternative 2 is that the whole passage is a forgery, inserted into Jewish Antiquities.
    Translations of what Josephus wrote include some early versions that were apparently made from a Greek version that did not contain the Christian alteration. These translations all actually include quite a bit of the Testimonium Flavianum, but not Christian statements, such as, “He was the Messiah.” The fact that translations into at least three languages don’t sound particularly Christian, but sound much more like the non-Christian Josephus, is evidence in support of the view that what Josephus actually wrote is much like what is available in these translations:
    The Latin translation says Jesus “was believed to be the Messiah.”
    The Syriac translation is best translated, “He was thought to be the Messiah.”
    (Syriac is a dialect of Aramaic, the language Jesus spoke, that developed from earlier Aramaic and came to be used extensively by the early church in the East.)
    And the Arabic translation, which appears in the writings of an Arab Christian bishop, suggests with open coyness, “He was perhaps the Messiah concerning whom the prophets have recounted wonders.”

    Alternative 3: It is only partly authentic, containing some material from Josephus, but also
    some later additions by another hand(s).
    Alternative 3, which is based largely on the evidence of the three translations mentioned under Alternative 2, has the support of the overwhelming majority of scholars. The translations clearly reveal that some Christian(s) altered the Testimonium Flavianum as it is most widely known, in Greek.

  178. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

    Reply to Gregory (comment 38 above; I will also reply to comment 39):
    You are certainly correct in stating that Josephus was a non-Christian Jew who “would not have called Jesus “Meshiach” or Messiah.” Further, I agree that, as you have stated, “This is a key criticism of the reliability and validity of the Testimonium Flavianum.” You have given precisely the reason why the overwhelming majority of scholars regard the Testimonium Flavianum, as it is best known, namely, in Greek, as having been altered by a Christian. But that is not the only alternative.
    The article above spells out the three alternatives as follows:
    Alternative 1 is that the whole passage is authentic, written by Josephus.
    Today almost no scholar accepts the authenticity of the entire standard Greek Testimonium Flavianum, because of obviously Christian statements, such as: “He was the Messiah.” Your objection clearly applies against Alternative 1.
    Alternative 2 is that the whole passage is a forgery, inserted into Jewish Antiquities.
    Translations of what Josephus wrote include some early versions that were apparently made from a Greek version that did not contain the Christian alteration. These translations all actually include quite a bit of the Testimonium Flavianum, but not Christian statements, such as, “He was the Messiah.” The fact that translations into at least three languages don’t sound particularly Christian, but sound much more like the non-Christian Josephus, is evidence in support of the view that what Josephus actually wrote is much like what is available in these translations:
    The Latin translation says Jesus “was believed to be the Messiah.”
    The Syriac translation is best translated, “He was thought to be the Messiah.”
    (Syriac is a dialect of Aramaic, the language Jesus spoke, that developed from earlier Aramaic and came to be used extensively by the early church in the East.)
    And the Arabic translation, which appears in the writings of an Arab Christian bishop, suggests with open coyness, “He was perhaps the Messiah concerning whom the prophets have recounted wonders.”
    Alternative 3: It is only partly authentic, containing some material from Josephus, but also
    some later additions by another hand(s).
    Alternative 3, which is based largely on the evidence of the three translations mentioned under Alternative 2, has the support of the overwhelming majority of scholars. The translations clearly reveal that some Christian(s) altered the Testimonium Flavianum as it is most widely known, in Greek.

  179. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

    Reply to Joe (comment 37 above):
    Thank you for your very helpful observations. Yes, Jesus certainly disappointed the first-century messianic expectations of Jews in Palestine who were cruelly oppressed by Roman conquerors. He did not crush Rome, but rather, in his crucifixion, he was crushed _by_ Rome. This is the scandal of the crucifixion. Oddly enough, the fact that Jesus not only died, but suffered such an extremely disgraceful death, stands verified not only by the writings of Tacitus and Josephus—but even in the writings of his own followers.

    The extreme irony is that, from the very different point of view held by Jesus’ followers, his death provided precisely the way to a life-giving relationship with God. Even they, however, did not understand or accept this right away. When the fact of the crucifixion is given serious consideration, it is most remarkable that any Jews at all, let alone thousands (according to the book of Acts, chapters 2, 3, and 4), came to believe in him not long afterward.

  180. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

    Reply to Joe (comment 37 above):
    Thank you for your very helpful observations. Yes, Jesus certainly disappointed the first-century messianic expectations of Jews in Palestine who were cruelly oppressed by Roman conquerors. He did not crush Rome, but rather, in his crucifixion, he was crushed _by_ Rome. This is the scandal of the crucifixion. Oddly enough, the fact that Jesus not only died, but suffered such an extremely disgraceful death, stands verified not only by the writings of Tacitus and Josephus—but even in the writings of his own followers.
    The extreme irony is that, from the very different point of view held by Jesus’ followers, his death provided precisely the way to a life-giving relationship with God. Even they, however, did not understand or accept this right away. When the fact of the crucifixion is given serious consideration, it is most remarkable that any Jews at all, let alone thousands (according to the book of Acts, chapters 2, 3, and 4), came to believe in him not long afterward.

  181. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

    Reply to Warren (comment 36 above):
    Thank you for the link. Though I differ from Jehovah’s Witnesses on the question of Jesus in relation to God, we can heartily agree on the human existence of “the man Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 2:5)! Yes!

  182. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

    Reply to Warren (comment 36 above):
    Thank you for the link. Though I differ from Jehovah’s Witnesses on the question of Jesus in relation to God, we can heartily agree on the human existence of “the man Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 2:5)! Yes!

  183. Robert says:

    I appreciate your patient defense of your work; of course there are always different approaches to any endeavor. It seems odd that folk choose to ‘attack’ rather than just discuss. Also, I have noticed for a long time that moderns – including many scholars – make the mistake of ‘projecting’ current systems of thought and practice backwards into ancient times; not only were thinking patterns different anon, but social circumstances could differ to extremes.

    Some long time back I got into a bit of a dust-up with the Univ. Pa. Museum Sumerian section about Samuel Noah Kramer’s book, ‘History Begins at Sumer’. Overlooking Kramer’s statement that the ancients could not think ‘linearly’ because they lacked knowledge of the obvious modern scientific priniciple of EVOLUTION [yikes!], he outlined a broad understanding of the Sumerian pantheon, but admitted that they had not been able to translate one cosmological term – Mi, or Me – which seemed central to their cosmological theology… but given the total picture as analysed, it seemed irrelevant. I disagreed vehemently, and pointed out that anyone who thought that a concept of ‘evolution’ was essential to understanding the milieu in which the Sumerians lived would be unlikely to ever understand ‘Mi’.

    Jewish Rabbinical writings [admittedly from a later period] reveal the term adequately, which translates as ‘Who?’ Their essential text was Isaiah, 40:26 – Who hath created these? – mi bara eleh? They took Mi – Who? – as the Most High God and eleh as the material world; the material world being a refection of the Divine world, they reversed the words to ‘eleh-im’ or Elohim – the God of Genesis 1. Mi, WHO?, the vast unknowable Divine being, was the MOST HIGH GOD of creation.

    Projecting backwards [more logical in ancient times], what that -could- imply is that, at the root of the Sumerian pantheon, there was a belief in an overall Supreme Being – and THAT is what the untranslatable term ‘Mi’ might indicate. Not surprisingly, my suggestion made not the least impact on their thinking.

    The tragedy, to me, is that their thinking is so rooted in modern thought that I don’t think they could even consider such an idea as any other than radical nonsense. I suppose ‘Mi’ will remain a mystery to Sumerian scholars, because they cannot consider a belief in monotheism prior to the accepted norms.
    —–
    I point out to Christian friends that there was a reason that the Synagog was amazed when Jesus read from Isaiah; the Scriptures were not divided into words and verses; the lines could run on, and there were no ‘pointings’ to indicate vowel pronunications. For the ‘son of a carpenter’ – who did not have all those years of study on how to read Scripture – to pick up a scroll and start reading was astounding. Today, we can pick up a book and start reading, even if it is about nuclear physics. If that book had no separated words or sentences, no vowels, who could just pick it up and start reading?

    Today we presume universal education, but that is a very modern concept. It is catastrophic to interpret ancient thought in a modern context… and it is not easy to shed that bias.

  184. Robert says:

    I appreciate your patient defense of your work; of course there are always different approaches to any endeavor. It seems odd that folk choose to ‘attack’ rather than just discuss. Also, I have noticed for a long time that moderns – including many scholars – make the mistake of ‘projecting’ current systems of thought and practice backwards into ancient times; not only were thinking patterns different anon, but social circumstances could differ to extremes.
    Some long time back I got into a bit of a dust-up with the Univ. Pa. Museum Sumerian section about Samuel Noah Kramer’s book, ‘History Begins at Sumer’. Overlooking Kramer’s statement that the ancients could not think ‘linearly’ because they lacked knowledge of the obvious modern scientific priniciple of EVOLUTION [yikes!], he outlined a broad understanding of the Sumerian pantheon, but admitted that they had not been able to translate one cosmological term – Mi, or Me – which seemed central to their cosmological theology… but given the total picture as analysed, it seemed irrelevant. I disagreed vehemently, and pointed out that anyone who thought that a concept of ‘evolution’ was essential to understanding the milieu in which the Sumerians lived would be unlikely to ever understand ‘Mi’.
    Jewish Rabbinical writings [admittedly from a later period] reveal the term adequately, which translates as ‘Who?’ Their essential text was Isaiah, 40:26 – Who hath created these? – mi bara eleh? They took Mi – Who? – as the Most High God and eleh as the material world; the material world being a refection of the Divine world, they reversed the words to ‘eleh-im’ or Elohim – the God of Genesis 1. Mi, WHO?, the vast unknowable Divine being, was the MOST HIGH GOD of creation.
    Projecting backwards [more logical in ancient times], what that -could- imply is that, at the root of the Sumerian pantheon, there was a belief in an overall Supreme Being – and THAT is what the untranslatable term ‘Mi’ might indicate. Not surprisingly, my suggestion made not the least impact on their thinking.
    The tragedy, to me, is that their thinking is so rooted in modern thought that I don’t think they could even consider such an idea as any other than radical nonsense. I suppose ‘Mi’ will remain a mystery to Sumerian scholars, because they cannot consider a belief in monotheism prior to the accepted norms.
    —–
    I point out to Christian friends that there was a reason that the Synagog was amazed when Jesus read from Isaiah; the Scriptures were not divided into words and verses; the lines could run on, and there were no ‘pointings’ to indicate vowel pronunications. For the ‘son of a carpenter’ – who did not have all those years of study on how to read Scripture – to pick up a scroll and start reading was astounding. Today, we can pick up a book and start reading, even if it is about nuclear physics. If that book had no separated words or sentences, no vowels, who could just pick it up and start reading?
    Today we presume universal education, but that is a very modern concept. It is catastrophic to interpret ancient thought in a modern context… and it is not easy to shed that bias.

  185. Robin says:

    This was a very well-composed and thorough article. I am familiar with the names cited in the process of unpacking the subject. However, I still learned something in his discussion of the Testimonium Flavianum (sp). I appreciated also his footnotes and additionally the author’s response to Paul’s question above. Never really thought about the passage in 1 Samuel. Live and learn!!!.

  186. Robin says:

    This was a very well-composed and thorough article. I am familiar with the names cited in the process of unpacking the subject. However, I still learned something in his discussion of the Testimonium Flavianum (sp). I appreciated also his footnotes and additionally the author’s response to Paul’s question above. Never really thought about the passage in 1 Samuel. Live and learn!!!.

  187. Pierre Gaudette says:

    Jesus was not crucified. Thousands of Jesus or man who called themselves ‘Christ son of God’, died on a “torture stake. It was very comon during that time. As you point out, it’s a MYTH ? According to Paul Diel, the last ‘real’ one created by humans.

  188. Pierre Gaudette says:

    Jesus was not crucified. Thousands of Jesus or man who called themselves ‘Christ son of God’, died on a “torture stake. It was very comon during that time. As you point out, it’s a MYTH ? According to Paul Diel, the last ‘real’ one created by humans.

  189. James Wilson says:

    Excellent article. I have mentioned some to these men to others but have been by certain people that is not proof. And they consider them selves intelligent. Humph!!

  190. James Wilson says:

    Excellent article. I have mentioned some to these men to others but have been by certain people that is not proof. And they consider them selves intelligent. Humph!!

  191. Dennis B. Swaney says:

    Regarding your example of using “Secretary of Defense” anachronistically for the previous cabinet position of “Secretary of War”, it is in error. The latter position was ONLY in charge of the US ARMY (which then included the US Air Force) and was an equal to the Secretary of the Navy cabinet position. With the reorganization in 1947, the Air Force became independent and put under a non-cabinet Secretary of the Air Force, while the Secretary of War position was renamed Secretary of the Army and along with the Navy Secretary, demoted to non-cabinet status. All three service secretaries were made subservient to a NEW cabinet position of Secretary of Defense and the services were placed in what is now called the Department of Defense (originally named “National Military Establishment”). So Secretary Stimson in World War II was equivalent to today’s Army Secretary, albeit at a cabinet-level position.

  192. Dennis B. Swaney says:

    Regarding your example of using “Secretary of Defense” anachronistically for the previous cabinet position of “Secretary of War”, it is in error. The latter position was ONLY in charge of the US ARMY (which then included the US Air Force) and was an equal to the Secretary of the Navy cabinet position. With the reorganization in 1947, the Air Force became independent and put under a non-cabinet Secretary of the Air Force, while the Secretary of War position was renamed Secretary of the Army and along with the Navy Secretary, demoted to non-cabinet status. All three service secretaries were made subservient to a NEW cabinet position of Secretary of Defense and the services were placed in what is now called the Department of Defense (originally named “National Military Establishment”). So Secretary Stimson in World War II was equivalent to today’s Army Secretary, albeit at a cabinet-level position.

  193. Stephen Ray Hale says:

    People seem to denigrate the Bible, or the Hebrew and Christian writings, as not a book of SCIENCE. But SCIENCE is an Anglicized Latin word for KNOWLEDGE, or the GNOSIS in Greek. Paul talks of something called EPIGNOSIS in its various forms or KNOWLEDGE UPON KNOWLEDGE, which can also be used as acknowledge or recognize…and don’t seem to recognize a great clue that magnifies the fact that this set of writings is based upon a rigorous principle akin to what we call the scientific method today. It is called for lack of any theological term I am aware of, THE TORAH LAW OF TWO OR THREE WITNESSES THAT ESTABLISHES A MATTER. It is a generic name introduced by MOSES in the Torah, of establishing a truth, a judgment (in the three forms Moses uses) and Doctrine as used by Paul in 1 Corinthians 14 concerning two or three tongues with one translator or two or three prophets with one or the assembly judging. This reference is given an amen by Peter who appears to be giving commentary on Paul’s writings in his three books in emphasizing a point found in what I call the first corollary of two corollaries that depicts this Law of multiple witnesses in 2 Peter 1:20 where a more proper translation not effected by the Latin Vulgate in the Greek would be, “this first knowing that EVERY (one) prophecy of scripture is NOT OF ITS OWN INTERPRETATION,” answering Moses’ “in the mouth of ONE WITNESS shall no man be put to death,” or where Jesus says, “If I bear witness of myself my witness is not true.” In fact if you look at verse 21 of 2 Peter 1 you might even be able to see the entire Torah law of multiple witnesses where the first phrase emphasizes Corollary one, indicating a single witness (MAN) and a negative outlook, and the next phrase indicating Corollary two where a plural witness (men) gives a positive outlook with Peter identifying who the author of that would be in the God Head. That the Bible as an archive of eyewitness testimony governed by a schema of interpretation that seems to carry from the first to the last lawgiver where it is recorded internally at least that witnesses were intensely scrutinized before being allowed to present their positive testimony seems to put the Bible way above many of the ancient writings as concerning confidence in acceptation of these testimonies. The DIFFICULT part is in the wisdom of the judges to bring out the intended doctrine, judgment, truth or matter, and I believe the still extant (I’m a believer) gift of interpretation is called the discernment of spirits by Paul where spirits are the words produced by the prophets and witnesses that John says would have Holy Spirit enhanced memories, and where Peter says such “holy men” were carried along by in 2 Peter 1:21. As far as any other credibility, Paul in 1 Corinthians 13 clears away the path for only one to be extant today by predicting the stopping of the marvelous sign gifts to the Jews (Micah 7:15 compared to John 5:19-20) in a generation of 40 years (of 360 day years used at the time of the Exodus) and the gift of prophecy being done away with (consider 1Cor. 13:8-13) at the death of or the penning of the last archivable testimony (1 Cor. 13:10 where the ellipsis is given in 1 Cor. 1:6 and 2:1 as TO MARTURION and TO EK MEROUS identifies according to the law of two or three witnesses the single WITNESS giving testimony among the two or three or more recognized by the Schema of interpretation as being a Holy spirit enhanced member of the assembly as seen in 1 Cor.12:27 EK MEROUS and 1 Cor. 14:27 ANA MEROS) by the last eyewitness having this enhanced gift of Holy Spirit remembrance as promised by Jesus in John, who no doubt WAS John the apostle concerning his EYEWITNESS (or gospel of John) or his last PROPHECY (Revelation), perhaps sometime near or after 90-95 AD. What exists NOW as a credibility giving gift is the AGAPE or unconditional love that Paul says is to remain, which John the last eyewitness bubbles over in his epistles concerning as evidence for salvation, and John has Jesus saying in his John 13 chapter where Jesus says, “in THIS shall ALL KNOW that YE ARE MY DISCIPLES in that YE HAVE LOVE (agape) ONE TO ANOTHER.” Look closely at 1 Cor. 13:13 and when you consider looking into a mirror at the enigma of one’s self plastered in the background compared to looking into a mirror with TWO EYES seeing the stereoscopic image swimming normally between a background and possible foreground, which others see as well and which Paul coins a term EPIGNOSIS which form used in other places indicate in Paul’s and Luke’s and even Peter’s writings as KNOWLEDGE UPON KNOWLEDGE or established truth of eyewitness for which Paul is using as an analogy of how to consider the incomplete testimony and then that of the complete testimony when the scriptures are completed and doctrine established. Of course this is only a viewpoint of this geologist who uses the stereoscopic microscope that compares pairs of overlapping aerial photos that isolates each eye to focus on a common point and allows the brain to interpret from differing details of each point of focus even to the point of contradiction that gives us this stereoscopic or three dimensional perspective. It is amusing to see how what could be interpreted as a valley when comparing single photos actually a mountain peak when the two or laid side by side and observed by the geological (or forestry) instrument.

  194. Stephen Ray Hale says:

    People seem to denigrate the Bible, or the Hebrew and Christian writings, as not a book of SCIENCE. But SCIENCE is an Anglicized Latin word for KNOWLEDGE, or the GNOSIS in Greek. Paul talks of something called EPIGNOSIS in its various forms or KNOWLEDGE UPON KNOWLEDGE, which can also be used as acknowledge or recognize…and don’t seem to recognize a great clue that magnifies the fact that this set of writings is based upon a rigorous principle akin to what we call the scientific method today. It is called for lack of any theological term I am aware of, THE TORAH LAW OF TWO OR THREE WITNESSES THAT ESTABLISHES A MATTER. It is a generic name introduced by MOSES in the Torah, of establishing a truth, a judgment (in the three forms Moses uses) and Doctrine as used by Paul in 1 Corinthians 14 concerning two or three tongues with one translator or two or three prophets with one or the assembly judging. This reference is given an amen by Peter who appears to be giving commentary on Paul’s writings in his three books in emphasizing a point found in what I call the first corollary of two corollaries that depicts this Law of multiple witnesses in 2 Peter 1:20 where a more proper translation not effected by the Latin Vulgate in the Greek would be, “this first knowing that EVERY (one) prophecy of scripture is NOT OF ITS OWN INTERPRETATION,” answering Moses’ “in the mouth of ONE WITNESS shall no man be put to death,” or where Jesus says, “If I bear witness of myself my witness is not true.” In fact if you look at verse 21 of 2 Peter 1 you might even be able to see the entire Torah law of multiple witnesses where the first phrase emphasizes Corollary one, indicating a single witness (MAN) and a negative outlook, and the next phrase indicating Corollary two where a plural witness (men) gives a positive outlook with Peter identifying who the author of that would be in the God Head. That the Bible as an archive of eyewitness testimony governed by a schema of interpretation that seems to carry from the first to the last lawgiver where it is recorded internally at least that witnesses were intensely scrutinized before being allowed to present their positive testimony seems to put the Bible way above many of the ancient writings as concerning confidence in acceptation of these testimonies. The DIFFICULT part is in the wisdom of the judges to bring out the intended doctrine, judgment, truth or matter, and I believe the still extant (I’m a believer) gift of interpretation is called the discernment of spirits by Paul where spirits are the words produced by the prophets and witnesses that John says would have Holy Spirit enhanced memories, and where Peter says such “holy men” were carried along by in 2 Peter 1:21. As far as any other credibility, Paul in 1 Corinthians 13 clears away the path for only one to be extant today by predicting the stopping of the marvelous sign gifts to the Jews (Micah 7:15 compared to John 5:19-20) in a generation of 40 years (of 360 day years used at the time of the Exodus) and the gift of prophecy being done away with (consider 1Cor. 13:8-13) at the death of or the penning of the last archivable testimony (1 Cor. 13:10 where the ellipsis is given in 1 Cor. 1:6 and 2:1 as TO MARTURION and TO EK MEROUS identifies according to the law of two or three witnesses the single WITNESS giving testimony among the two or three or more recognized by the Schema of interpretation as being a Holy spirit enhanced member of the assembly as seen in 1 Cor.12:27 EK MEROUS and 1 Cor. 14:27 ANA MEROS) by the last eyewitness having this enhanced gift of Holy Spirit remembrance as promised by Jesus in John, who no doubt WAS John the apostle concerning his EYEWITNESS (or gospel of John) or his last PROPHECY (Revelation), perhaps sometime near or after 90-95 AD. What exists NOW as a credibility giving gift is the AGAPE or unconditional love that Paul says is to remain, which John the last eyewitness bubbles over in his epistles concerning as evidence for salvation, and John has Jesus saying in his John 13 chapter where Jesus says, “in THIS shall ALL KNOW that YE ARE MY DISCIPLES in that YE HAVE LOVE (agape) ONE TO ANOTHER.” Look closely at 1 Cor. 13:13 and when you consider looking into a mirror at the enigma of one’s self plastered in the background compared to looking into a mirror with TWO EYES seeing the stereoscopic image swimming normally between a background and possible foreground, which others see as well and which Paul coins a term EPIGNOSIS which form used in other places indicate in Paul’s and Luke’s and even Peter’s writings as KNOWLEDGE UPON KNOWLEDGE or established truth of eyewitness for which Paul is using as an analogy of how to consider the incomplete testimony and then that of the complete testimony when the scriptures are completed and doctrine established. Of course this is only a viewpoint of this geologist who uses the stereoscopic microscope that compares pairs of overlapping aerial photos that isolates each eye to focus on a common point and allows the brain to interpret from differing details of each point of focus even to the point of contradiction that gives us this stereoscopic or three dimensional perspective. It is amusing to see how what could be interpreted as a valley when comparing single photos actually a mountain peak when the two or laid side by side and observed by the geological (or forestry) instrument.

  195. Brenda Filyer says:

    Thank you Lawrence. Your statements are concise and understandable. I find it interesting that so many commented that there are no Hellenistic writings that confirm the historical Jesus (Christ) yet they refuse to admit any Christian writings, most of which were Hellenistic. Most of our modern history has been written by people of faith (Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Hindi, etc – including the Pilgrims, The Spanish Catholics, Anglican Priests even Atheists and Agnostics who believe with great faith in their position). Do we reject their ability to report history on the basis of their faith, politics, bias, or lack of tolerance? We would have no history at all.

  196. Brenda Filyer says:

    Thank you Lawrence. Your statements are concise and understandable. I find it interesting that so many commented that there are no Hellenistic writings that confirm the historical Jesus (Christ) yet they refuse to admit any Christian writings, most of which were Hellenistic. Most of our modern history has been written by people of faith (Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Hindi, etc – including the Pilgrims, The Spanish Catholics, Anglican Priests even Atheists and Agnostics who believe with great faith in their position). Do we reject their ability to report history on the basis of their faith, politics, bias, or lack of tolerance? We would have no history at all.

  197. Gregory says:

    “This phrase is also appropriate for a Jewish historian like Josephus because the reference to Jesus is a noncommittal, neutral statement about what some people called Jesus and not a confession of faith that actually asserts that he was Christ.” – That’s not really true. If Josephus had become a Christian, then we might expect him to use an appellation like Chrestus, Christ, etc., or a title like Messiah. But Josephus was a non-Christian Jew. It’s barely conceivable he would have used these terms in reference to a man that he, himself, did not believe was A) Christ (A Greek term, anyway, and not a Hebrew one), or Messiah (from the Hebrew, but a term traditionally meant to connote one who would deliver the Jewish nation from the Romans. Arguably, Jesus did not do that).

  198. Gregory says:

    “This phrase is also appropriate for a Jewish historian like Josephus because the reference to Jesus is a noncommittal, neutral statement about what some people called Jesus and not a confession of faith that actually asserts that he was Christ.” – That’s not really true. If Josephus had become a Christian, then we might expect him to use an appellation like Chrestus, Christ, etc., or a title like Messiah. But Josephus was a non-Christian Jew. It’s barely conceivable he would have used these terms in reference to a man that he, himself, did not believe was A) Christ (A Greek term, anyway, and not a Hebrew one), or Messiah (from the Hebrew, but a term traditionally meant to connote one who would deliver the Jewish nation from the Romans. Arguably, Jesus did not do that).

  199. Gregory says:

    Josephus, a Jew, would not have called Jesus “Meshiach” or Messiah. This is a key criticism of the reliability and validity of the Testimonium Flavianum.

  200. Gregory says:

    Josephus, a Jew, would not have called Jesus “Meshiach” or Messiah. This is a key criticism of the reliability and validity of the Testimonium Flavianum.

  201. Joe Cantello says:

    How do we know that anyone existed–by the impact we have on the lives of others (remember that was the ‘message’ of the movie It’s A Wonderful Life). Since Jesus did not ‘fit’ the Messianic expectations of first century Jews (a conquering Messiah who would lead Israel to overthrow Rome)–we have to assume that He was a real person that existed in history. Whether you accept Him as Savior of the world is a matter of faith but it is unlikely that a group would ‘follow’ Him and die for some myth that never existed.

  202. Joe Cantello says:

    How do we know that anyone existed–by the impact we have on the lives of others (remember that was the ‘message’ of the movie It’s A Wonderful Life). Since Jesus did not ‘fit’ the Messianic expectations of first century Jews (a conquering Messiah who would lead Israel to overthrow Rome)–we have to assume that He was a real person that existed in history. Whether you accept Him as Savior of the world is a matter of faith but it is unlikely that a group would ‘follow’ Him and die for some myth that never existed.

  203. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

    Reply to Dawson (comment 34 above):
    The ancient writings from outside the New Testament treated in this article, mainly those of Tacitus, Josephus, Lucian of Samosata, are evidence that the man Jesus, who was called Messiah (Christos in Greek) existed as a real man. In addition, these three all refer to his having been crucified. This is plainly stated by Josephus and Lucian, and classicists explain that Tacitus’ phrase, which is normally translated “suffered the extreme penalty,” also refers to crucifixion,

    Whether Jesus was in a unique sense the “son of God, born of a virgin who died for our sins” are articles of religious faith that are affirmed in the New Testament (unique, “only begotten” sonship in John 1:14 and 3:16, the virgin birth in Matthew 1:18-25 and Luke 1:26-38, crucifixion for our sins in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4). These beliefs are thus beyond the scope of the non-Christian writings treated in the article.

    Of course, not everyone believes the New Testament, but on the basis of evidences besides what is presented in the article—not simply my own opinion—I happen to accept the historical reliability of the New Testament and its explanation of the reason for Jesus’ death. I think the evidences are worth examining. At the same time, my dear Unitarian friends are entirely free to believe otherwise.

  204. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

    Reply to Dawson (comment 34 above):
    The ancient writings from outside the New Testament treated in this article, mainly those of Tacitus, Josephus, Lucian of Samosata, are evidence that the man Jesus, who was called Messiah (Christos in Greek) existed as a real man. In addition, these three all refer to his having been crucified. This is plainly stated by Josephus and Lucian, and classicists explain that Tacitus’ phrase, which is normally translated “suffered the extreme penalty,” also refers to crucifixion,
    Whether Jesus was in a unique sense the “son of God, born of a virgin who died for our sins” are articles of religious faith that are affirmed in the New Testament (unique, “only begotten” sonship in John 1:14 and 3:16, the virgin birth in Matthew 1:18-25 and Luke 1:26-38, crucifixion for our sins in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4). These beliefs are thus beyond the scope of the non-Christian writings treated in the article.
    Of course, not everyone believes the New Testament, but on the basis of evidences besides what is presented in the article—not simply my own opinion—I happen to accept the historical reliability of the New Testament and its explanation of the reason for Jesus’ death. I think the evidences are worth examining. At the same time, my dear Unitarian friends are entirely free to believe otherwise.

  205. Dawson Milley says:

    It is my understanding that Unitarian Christians have examined the evidence and concluded there was no Jesus, son of God, born of a virgin who died for our sins at the hands of the Romans to appease the Jews. Is it reasonable of me to conclude that you would opine there is no strength in their case? May I have your opinion in your own words please?

  206. Dawson Milley says:

    It is my understanding that Unitarian Christians have examined the evidence and concluded there was no Jesus, son of God, born of a virgin who died for our sins at the hands of the Romans to appease the Jews. Is it reasonable of me to conclude that you would opine there is no strength in their case? May I have your opinion in your own words please?

  207. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

    Reply to Wayne (comment 31 above):
    I agree with quite a bit of what you wrote, I would like to just mention two ways in which discussions of the historical aspect of the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament arise. For whatever reason, sometimes a person just wants to argue against sacred writings, and the discussion becomes a field of battle, not a mine in which one can search for reliable history.

    In other instances, a person is sincerely facing difficult issues regarding the facts of history and wants to hear, learn, and test what is said in order to arrive at their own view. In the latter instances, historical discussions can be extremely useful. And, if you will, God can use just about anything to accomplish what he wants, for our good.

    In a few instances, a person can shift in either direction. There may also be other alternatives that I have not thought of, but I wanted to mention these two. I started out in the opposite direction from the one I now take, and I am grateful to God and to certain people along the way whom he used.

    Lawrence Mykytiuk

  208. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

    Reply to Wayne (comment 31 above):
    I agree with quite a bit of what you wrote, I would like to just mention two ways in which discussions of the historical aspect of the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament arise. For whatever reason, sometimes a person just wants to argue against sacred writings, and the discussion becomes a field of battle, not a mine in which one can search for reliable history.
    In other instances, a person is sincerely facing difficult issues regarding the facts of history and wants to hear, learn, and test what is said in order to arrive at their own view. In the latter instances, historical discussions can be extremely useful. And, if you will, God can use just about anything to accomplish what he wants, for our good.
    In a few instances, a person can shift in either direction. There may also be other alternatives that I have not thought of, but I wanted to mention these two. I started out in the opposite direction from the one I now take, and I am grateful to God and to certain people along the way whom he used.
    Lawrence Mykytiuk

  209. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

    Reply to Dennis (comment 30 above):
    Your basic problem seems to be more with ancient history than with Jesus. And if I may suggest it, perhaps you might read (or re-read?) some of the Gospels in the New Testament.

    I will admit that there were no newspaper accounts, but there were no newspapers about 14 centuries before Gutenberg and the invention of moveable type, let alone modern paper instead of papyrus. Word of mouth was supreme, and that is precisely how belief in Jesus spread.

    Romans were not eager to learn about foreign religions, unless they posed a threat to their Roman culture, just as most Americans cared little about central Asia before 9/11/01. It is to be expected that Roman historians like Tacitus and the Romanized Jewish historian Josephus had little to say about Jesus, and even then, they wrote about him only in passing. Tacitus wanted to revive the Roman civic spirit with his acerbic condemnation of unworthy leaders, and Josephus wanted to tell of the glories of Judaism. Jesus, as they understood him, did not suit their agendas. Perhaps you should give him credit for having his own agenda (generated by his profound love for others), and for following through personally, in the costliest way possible.

    True, you will not find busts and carvings made by Jews in Israel during the earliest days of the Christian church, because of the way they observed the prohibition against graven images—and it appears that the earliest believers from among the Gentiles followed the lead of the Jewish majority of believers in Jesus. Even pagan Roman governors over Jewish populations refrained from depicting human beings on the coins they issued in Palestine, because of the people’s sensitivity on this issue. You seem to suggest that there were lots of Jewish-made images of their first-century human heroes, and somehow Jesus got left out. Well, in that culture, everyone got left out.

    You also assert that we know more about Tacitus than we do about Jesus. Really? We have four first-century Gospels which recount a large store of information about the things you mention regarding Jesus, including much written by eyewitnesses—or Luke, who interviewed eyewitnesses—or, in the case of Peter, by his secretary Mark who wrote what Peter preached. Have you found four biographies of Tacitus? I know some classicists who would love to read them–if they exist, as you imply. I await your reply giving publication information.

    Josephus wrote an autobiography (did you know?) whose English translation appears in 26 pages, so we have one account of his life, compared with four about Jesus (which, by the way, _were_ written on papyrus). I will let you find and read Josephus’ autobiography, if you are willing, and compare it with the Gospels, if you are willing to read them. I know of no biographies of Josephus, as you seem to suggest. Again, if you can find a few, there are lots of classicists who would love to read them.

    Do you actually know that no one wrote poems about Jesus during his lifetime? I suggest you read Luke chapter 1 for its songs about Jesus, chanted by Elizabeth, Mary, and my personal favorite, Simeon. They are poems in the Hebrew style, without rhyme, but with truly beautiful—even thrilling—content. But you “know” that no such poems ever existed. In this way, you deprive yourself of their beauty.

    Best wishes, Dennis.

    Lawrence Mykytiuk
    History Librarian, Associate Professor of Library Science
    Associate Professor of History (courtesy appointment)
    Purdue University

  210. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

    Reply to Dennis (comment 30 above):
    Your basic problem seems to be more with ancient history than with Jesus. And if I may suggest it, perhaps you might read (or re-read?) some of the Gospels in the New Testament.
    I will admit that there were no newspaper accounts, but there were no newspapers about 14 centuries before Gutenberg and the invention of moveable type, let alone modern paper instead of papyrus. Word of mouth was supreme, and that is precisely how belief in Jesus spread.
    Romans were not eager to learn about foreign religions, unless they posed a threat to their Roman culture, just as most Americans cared little about central Asia before 9/11/01. It is to be expected that Roman historians like Tacitus and the Romanized Jewish historian Josephus had little to say about Jesus, and even then, they wrote about him only in passing. Tacitus wanted to revive the Roman civic spirit with his acerbic condemnation of unworthy leaders, and Josephus wanted to tell of the glories of Judaism. Jesus, as they understood him, did not suit their agendas. Perhaps you should give him credit for having his own agenda (generated by his profound love for others), and for following through personally, in the costliest way possible.
    True, you will not find busts and carvings made by Jews in Israel during the earliest days of the Christian church, because of the way they observed the prohibition against graven images—and it appears that the earliest believers from among the Gentiles followed the lead of the Jewish majority of believers in Jesus. Even pagan Roman governors over Jewish populations refrained from depicting human beings on the coins they issued in Palestine, because of the people’s sensitivity on this issue. You seem to suggest that there were lots of Jewish-made images of their first-century human heroes, and somehow Jesus got left out. Well, in that culture, everyone got left out.
    You also assert that we know more about Tacitus than we do about Jesus. Really? We have four first-century Gospels which recount a large store of information about the things you mention regarding Jesus, including much written by eyewitnesses—or Luke, who interviewed eyewitnesses—or, in the case of Peter, by his secretary Mark who wrote what Peter preached. Have you found four biographies of Tacitus? I know some classicists who would love to read them–if they exist, as you imply. I await your reply giving publication information.
    Josephus wrote an autobiography (did you know?) whose English translation appears in 26 pages, so we have one account of his life, compared with four about Jesus (which, by the way, _were_ written on papyrus). I will let you find and read Josephus’ autobiography, if you are willing, and compare it with the Gospels, if you are willing to read them. I know of no biographies of Josephus, as you seem to suggest. Again, if you can find a few, there are lots of classicists who would love to read them.
    Do you actually know that no one wrote poems about Jesus during his lifetime? I suggest you read Luke chapter 1 for its songs about Jesus, chanted by Elizabeth, Mary, and my personal favorite, Simeon. They are poems in the Hebrew style, without rhyme, but with truly beautiful—even thrilling—content. But you “know” that no such poems ever existed. In this way, you deprive yourself of their beauty.
    Best wishes, Dennis.
    Lawrence Mykytiuk
    History Librarian, Associate Professor of Library Science
    Associate Professor of History (courtesy appointment)
    Purdue University

  211. Wayne Bent says:

    While with great care it is true that some reference to Christ can be found. But the references are much less than are found for Jim Jones or some other historical character. From the vast amount of information on historical events, the references to Jesus are almost inconsequential. I think this is good because people would have Jesus proven to them. The followers of Jesus were followers because of the Spirit. Jesus becomes huge because of the Spirit and the historical Jesus is proven because of the Spirit. Otherwise Jesus is meaningless. This is because if one does not have his life, the life he brought, one might as well have never heard of him.

  212. Wayne Bent says:

    While with great care it is true that some reference to Christ can be found. But the references are much less than are found for Jim Jones or some other historical character. From the vast amount of information on historical events, the references to Jesus are almost inconsequential. I think this is good because people would have Jesus proven to them. The followers of Jesus were followers because of the Spirit. Jesus becomes huge because of the Spirit and the historical Jesus is proven because of the Spirit. Otherwise Jesus is meaningless. This is because if one does not have his life, the life he brought, one might as well have never heard of him.

  213. Dennis Lurvey says:

    funny we know so much about Tacitus and Josephus’s lives, birth, families, who they worked for, what they did their whole lives, so many mentions and people so firm in their convictions about them, just two historians of little consequence. There are busts and statues of both of them, but?

    yet nothing from the time of jesus about the new savior and messiah who did miracles so fantastic everyone would be talking about them. nothing about Jesus outside the NT rising from the dead in view of all those people, silence, nothing. Maybe because real people knew Josephus and Tacitus, just silence about Jesus. No newspaper accounts, no poems about him during his life, nothing written on walls or papyrus? No busts, no carvings?

    I can’t get past both josephus and tacitus were not yet born when Jesus died, and after they were born waited most of their lives to write anything at all about that time and those people. were they pressured to write something, anything, about jesus?

    Whether jesus lived or not is of no consequence, it’s not the jesus people pray through. The jesus the NT writers crafted the stories around to make him the messiah from the past, the redeemer is the one that is the legend, the myth. The text above says jesus was crucified for his own sins (not ours) or for preaching an unapproved message from an illegal religion. There were many preachers of unapproved religions who got crucified at the time, and we know more about them than Jesus.

  214. Dennis Lurvey says:

    funny we know so much about Tacitus and Josephus’s lives, birth, families, who they worked for, what they did their whole lives, so many mentions and people so firm in their convictions about them, just two historians of little consequence. There are busts and statues of both of them, but?
    yet nothing from the time of jesus about the new savior and messiah who did miracles so fantastic everyone would be talking about them. nothing about Jesus outside the NT rising from the dead in view of all those people, silence, nothing. Maybe because real people knew Josephus and Tacitus, just silence about Jesus. No newspaper accounts, no poems about him during his life, nothing written on walls or papyrus? No busts, no carvings?
    I can’t get past both josephus and tacitus were not yet born when Jesus died, and after they were born waited most of their lives to write anything at all about that time and those people. were they pressured to write something, anything, about jesus?
    Whether jesus lived or not is of no consequence, it’s not the jesus people pray through. The jesus the NT writers crafted the stories around to make him the messiah from the past, the redeemer is the one that is the legend, the myth. The text above says jesus was crucified for his own sins (not ours) or for preaching an unapproved message from an illegal religion. There were many preachers of unapproved religions who got crucified at the time, and we know more about them than Jesus.

  215. Linda says:

    Also, Bar definition means son in Arbica

  216. Linda says:

    “Yes,” Jesus Christ exists, right along with John the Baptist who is Prophet Muhammad.
    What have you Christians been doing all these generations?
    No wonder why Jesus informed me to search the Qur’an.
    Check out Egyptian in the Grand Canyon you fools.
    Also get on the ball because Christians will be defeated from your poor research
    What in the world is wrong with you people, here in America with little teaching’s toward Christians to enter the upper universe.
    Jesus Christ is buried in America, and as you know Jesus Christ is a title name not the real name of our savior.
    Same with Prophet Muhammad is a title name, not the real name of the prophet.
    “No” wonder why scholars never found Prophet Muhammad!
    The Book of Revelation happen even before Christ and John was born.

  217. glenn jedlicka says:

    on a web site I came across the man says there is no Jesus outside of the bible …..I know in my heart this is incorrect but can you explain to him and to his site that that is not true?……sincerely glenn jedlicka
    https://thechurchoftruth.org/

  218. james wiliams says:

    The question is not “did Jesus live” ? but does Jesus live?
    This is what Lord Jesus (God Logos) told St. Symeon upon making himself worthy to Gods presence.
    “It is me, God, Who became man for you; and behold that I have made you, as you see, and shall make you god”.

    St. Symeon the New Theologian Greek Orthodox Church
    The vision of Divine Light
    http://www.monachos.net/content/patristics/studies-fathers/67

    lets talk!

  219. james wiliams says:

    The question is not “did Jesus live” ? but does Jesus live?
    This is what Lord Jesus (God Logos) told St. Symeon upon making himself worthy to Gods presence.
    “It is me, God, Who became man for you; and behold that I have made you, as you see, and shall make you god”.
    St. Symeon the New Theologian Greek Orthodox Church
    The vision of Divine Light
    http://www.monachos.net/content/patristics/studies-fathers/67
    lets talk!

  220. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

    A second reply to Shumaila (comment 25 above):
    Ms. Shumaila, I beg your pardon for not understanding that your name is a woman’s name, and I am sorry that I misspelled it. Please accept this correction.
    As I just now learned from a Google search on your name, it is a lovely name of a woman, meaning “beautiful face.”

  221. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

    A second reply to Shumaila (comment 25 above):
    Ms. Shumaila, I beg your pardon for not understanding that your name is a woman’s name, and I am sorry that I misspelled it. Please accept this correction.
    As I just now learned from a Google search on your name, it is a lovely name of a woman, meaning “beautiful face.”

  222. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

    This is the second of two replies to Markus (comment 22 above):
    I also wish to respond to your first two points:
    !) Classicists are familiar with the fact that most ancient Roman historians, including Tacitus, did not reveal their sources. More to the point, elsewhere in his writings, as some classicists have observed, Tacitus notes when a particular historical assertion is in doubt. In reference to “Christus,” however, he does not do that. The absence of such a note does not prove, but does suggest, that he has verified what he wrote about “Christus” from sources that he considered reliable This suggestion, based on the ancient text, is stronger than present-day theorizing, whether yours or mine.
    2) Despite your assertion, I did not “attempt to invent as a fact that Tacitus used other sources,” since, as I have plainly acknowledged, his sources remain unknown to modern researchers. I did, however, make a case for his having had access to what the Romans might have recorded, or knew and spoke to each other, about “Christus,” as follows:

    As stated in note 8 above, Tacitus “likely had access to some archives through his status, either as Proconsul of Asia, as a senator—or, as is often overlooked, from his connections as a high-ranking priest of Roman religion. In 88 C.E., [as Tacitus himself informs us,] he became ‘a member of the Quindecimviri Sacris Faciundis [“The Board of Fifteen for Performing Sacrifices”], the priestly organization charged, among other things, with … supervising the practice of officially tolerated foreign cults in the city … [and facing] the growing necessity to distinguish illicit Christianity from licit Judaism’ (Van Voorst, Jesus Outside, p. 52), or, given Jewish resistance to oppressive measures taken by Rome, at least to keep a close watch on developments within Judaism.
    Indeed, ‘a Roman archive … is particularly suggested by the note of the temporary suppression of the superstition, which indicates an official perspective’ (Theissen and Merz, Historical Jesus, p. 83). Membership in this priestly regulatory group very likely gave Tacitus access to at least some of the accurate knowledge he possessed about Christus. With characteristic brevity, he reported the facts as he understood them, quickly dismissing the despised, executed Christus from the Annals (see Meier, Marginal Jew, vol. 1, p. 90).
    Tacitus was in his early twenties when the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius destroyed Pompeii and Herculaneum. Because he believed in the Roman gods, it would have been logical for him to think this mass annihilation occurred because the gods were angry. He would then have been very careful to keep a close watch on foreign religions, such as Judaism, Christianity, Mithraism, etc., which might irritate the gods. Tacitus might easily have learned about “Christus” while serving on the Board of Fifteen that oversaw foreign religions.

  223. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

    This is the second of two replies to Markus (comment 22 above):
    I also wish to respond to your first two points:
    !) Classicists are familiar with the fact that most ancient Roman historians, including Tacitus, did not reveal their sources. More to the point, elsewhere in his writings, as some classicists have observed, Tacitus notes when a particular historical assertion is in doubt. In reference to “Christus,” however, he does not do that. The absence of such a note does not prove, but does suggest, that he has verified what he wrote about “Christus” from sources that he considered reliable This suggestion, based on the ancient text, is stronger than present-day theorizing, whether yours or mine.
    2) Despite your assertion, I did not “attempt to invent as a fact that Tacitus used other sources,” since, as I have plainly acknowledged, his sources remain unknown to modern researchers. I did, however, make a case for his having had access to what the Romans might have recorded, or knew and spoke to each other, about “Christus,” as follows:
    As stated in note 8 above, Tacitus “likely had access to some archives through his status, either as Proconsul of Asia, as a senator—or, as is often overlooked, from his connections as a high-ranking priest of Roman religion. In 88 C.E., [as Tacitus himself informs us,] he became ‘a member of the Quindecimviri Sacris Faciundis [“The Board of Fifteen for Performing Sacrifices”], the priestly organization charged, among other things, with … supervising the practice of officially tolerated foreign cults in the city … [and facing] the growing necessity to distinguish illicit Christianity from licit Judaism’ (Van Voorst, Jesus Outside, p. 52), or, given Jewish resistance to oppressive measures taken by Rome, at least to keep a close watch on developments within Judaism.
    Indeed, ‘a Roman archive … is particularly suggested by the note of the temporary suppression of the superstition, which indicates an official perspective’ (Theissen and Merz, Historical Jesus, p. 83). Membership in this priestly regulatory group very likely gave Tacitus access to at least some of the accurate knowledge he possessed about Christus. With characteristic brevity, he reported the facts as he understood them, quickly dismissing the despised, executed Christus from the Annals (see Meier, Marginal Jew, vol. 1, p. 90).
    Tacitus was in his early twenties when the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius destroyed Pompeii and Herculaneum. Because he believed in the Roman gods, it would have been logical for him to think this mass annihilation occurred because the gods were angry. He would then have been very careful to keep a close watch on foreign religions, such as Judaism, Christianity, Mithraism, etc., which might irritate the gods. Tacitus might easily have learned about “Christus” while serving on the Board of Fifteen that oversaw foreign religions.

  224. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

    Reply to Shumila (comment 25 above):
    Thank you sir, for your sincere comment. The article asks and answers only one question: “Did Jesus Exist?” I am pleased that we agree on the answer, that he did exist as a man who was born on earth and lived well into his adulthood on earth. The fact that he was a real man on earth is shown to be true by the Roman, Jewish, and Greek sources treated in this article, as well as by the New Testament, which is sacred to Christians, and finally by the Qur’an, which is sacred to Muslims.

    I am pleased to stand together with you, sir, in opposition to those who deny that he was a real man and that he lived on earth. Despite their denials, the historical evidence for his human life on earth, in all the writings that I have mentioned, has never been refuted, and is, I believe, irrefutable.

  225. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

    Reply to Shumila (comment 25 above):
    Thank you sir, for your sincere comment. The article asks and answers only one question: “Did Jesus Exist?” I am pleased that we agree on the answer, that he did exist as a man who was born on earth and lived well into his adulthood on earth. The fact that he was a real man on earth is shown to be true by the Roman, Jewish, and Greek sources treated in this article, as well as by the New Testament, which is sacred to Christians, and finally by the Qur’an, which is sacred to Muslims.
    I am pleased to stand together with you, sir, in opposition to those who deny that he was a real man and that he lived on earth. Despite their denials, the historical evidence for his human life on earth, in all the writings that I have mentioned, has never been refuted, and is, I believe, irrefutable.

  226. shumaila says:

    Sir,you went in to that detail regarding Jesus(peace be upon him) exist or not.But its not fair that You forgot to mention Holy Book of Muslims which proves the existence of Jesus Christ(peace be upon him) too.We all Muslims believe him to be Messiah and we believe he is coming back.Glorious Quran says this about Jesus(peace be upon him):

    O People of the Scripture, do not commit excess in your religion or say about Allah except the truth. The Messiah, Jesus, the son of Mary, was but a messenger of Allah and His word which He directed to Mary and a soul [created at a command] from Him. So believe in Allah and His messengers. And do not say, “Three”; desist – it is better for you. Indeed, Allah is but one God. Exalted is He above having a son. To Him belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on the earth. And sufficient is Allah as Disposer of affairs

    The Messiah son of Mary was not but a Messenger, many Messengers passed away before him. And his mother is a truthful woman. Both used to take food. See how clear signs We explain for them, then see how they are turned away

    And [for] their saying, “Indeed, we have killed the Messiah, Jesus, the son of Mary, the messenger of Allah .” And they did not kill him, nor did they crucify him; but [another] was made to resemble him to them. And indeed, those who differ over it are in doubt about it. They have no knowledge of it except the following of assumption. And they did not kill him, for certain

    Undoubtedly, those are infidels, who say, “Masih son of Maryam is the very Allah’. And whereas Masih had said ‘O children of lsrail worship Allah, my Lord and your Lord Undoubtedly, whoso. Associates anyone with Allah,then Allah has forbidden paradise to him and his abode is Hell. And there is no helper of unjust.

    Sir the name of Jesus(peace be upon him) came 25 times in Holy Quran.The name of Mary(peace be upon her) came 32 times in Quran.There is a full chapter with the name ‘Mary’ and it was revealed in Quran in the honor of Mary(peace be upon her).

    Sir,for Muslims this prove is enough that Jesus(peace be upon him) existed and he is the Messiah and he is coming back.

  227. shumaila says:

    Sir,you went in to that detail regarding Jesus(peace be upon him) exist or not.But its not fair that You forgot to mention Holy Book of Muslims which proves the existence of Jesus Christ(peace be upon him) too.We all Muslims believe him to be Messiah and we believe he is coming back.Glorious Quran says this about Jesus(peace be upon him):
    O People of the Scripture, do not commit excess in your religion or say about Allah except the truth. The Messiah, Jesus, the son of Mary, was but a messenger of Allah and His word which He directed to Mary and a soul [created at a command] from Him. So believe in Allah and His messengers. And do not say, “Three”; desist – it is better for you. Indeed, Allah is but one God. Exalted is He above having a son. To Him belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on the earth. And sufficient is Allah as Disposer of affairs
    The Messiah son of Mary was not but a Messenger, many Messengers passed away before him. And his mother is a truthful woman. Both used to take food. See how clear signs We explain for them, then see how they are turned away
    And [for] their saying, “Indeed, we have killed the Messiah, Jesus, the son of Mary, the messenger of Allah .” And they did not kill him, nor did they crucify him; but [another] was made to resemble him to them. And indeed, those who differ over it are in doubt about it. They have no knowledge of it except the following of assumption. And they did not kill him, for certain
    Undoubtedly, those are infidels, who say, “Masih son of Maryam is the very Allah’. And whereas Masih had said ‘O children of lsrail worship Allah, my Lord and your Lord Undoubtedly, whoso. Associates anyone with Allah,then Allah has forbidden paradise to him and his abode is Hell. And there is no helper of unjust.
    Sir the name of Jesus(peace be upon him) came 25 times in Holy Quran.The name of Mary(peace be upon her) came 32 times in Quran.There is a full chapter with the name ‘Mary’ and it was revealed in Quran in the honor of Mary(peace be upon her).
    Sir,for Muslims this prove is enough that Jesus(peace be upon him) existed and he is the Messiah and he is coming back.

  228. luisv11 says:

    Obviously that Jesus Christ exist for me in my heart

  229. luisv11 says:

    Obviously that Jesus Christ exist for me in my heart

  230. luke james crew says:

    I don’t get It

  231. luke james crew says:

    I don’t get It

  232. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

    A first reply (of two) to Markus (comment 22 above):

    Regarding your points 3 and 4, no doubt you would like to have me produce a list of recommended atheist writers and herald the glories of their writings which deny the human existence of Jesus. I simply find other writers to be more important than Carrier, and of course you are free to disagree. The fact that his books are more recent than others by his fellow deniers has nothing to do with their quality.

    This site, however, despite your apparent wishes, is not about the comparative virtues of atheist writers, but about evidence for the existence of Jesus. Later this week, I plan to reply to your points 1 and 2, which are germane to the topic.

    Lawrence Mykytiuk

  233. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

    A first reply (of two) to Markus (comment 22 above):
    Regarding your points 3 and 4, no doubt you would like to have me produce a list of recommended atheist writers and herald the glories of their writings which deny the human existence of Jesus. I simply find other writers to be more important than Carrier, and of course you are free to disagree. The fact that his books are more recent than others by his fellow deniers has nothing to do with their quality.
    This site, however, despite your apparent wishes, is not about the comparative virtues of atheist writers, but about evidence for the existence of Jesus. Later this week, I plan to reply to your points 1 and 2, which are germane to the topic.
    Lawrence Mykytiuk

  234. Markus says:

    What do you have to say about Carriers response to your criticism, “(1) “Tacitus so despised Christians that he would have instinctively distrusted practically anything they said.” This is not how Tacitus operated. What he reports he considers so embarrassing, he wouldn’t need to fact-check it. It is precisely because he finds this story so ridiculous yet the Christians were admitting to it (if they were his source) that he would report it just as they relayed it. Meanwhile, there is no evidence Tacitus did any fact checking of it, or that he even could have done so, much less would have wasted the countless hours needed to do so, to verify an embarrassing story that was already being conceded as true by the Christians themselves.
    (2) I mention and already rebut your attempt to invent as a fact that Tacitus used other sources. I explained why there is no evidence for that nor any reason to believe it likely or even possible. Whereas I referenced the considerable evidence supporting Pliny as his source, which means, Christians Pliny interrogated—and didn’t fact check. You haven’t provided any counter to any of this. You just repeated the same claims my argument refuted.
    (3) Claiming you were writing a popular article does not excuse you from ignoring and failing to cite or include in your article the results of the most recent scholarship. You had plenty of space for a lot of citations and even lengthy comments in notes. Yet you didn’t have space to mention the latest research and keep the text of your article up to date with it? There is no excuse for that. Popular articles should get the audience up to date on the latest research. Not decades old research that has been superseded or even overthrown since.
    (4) You “find other works that deny the existence of Jesus to be more important” — Like what? Name a single book written by an expert in ancient history under peer review at an academic press that presents a case that Jesus didn’t exist.”?

  235. Markus says:

    What do you have to say about Carriers response to your criticism, “(1) “Tacitus so despised Christians that he would have instinctively distrusted practically anything they said.” This is not how Tacitus operated. What he reports he considers so embarrassing, he wouldn’t need to fact-check it. It is precisely because he finds this story so ridiculous yet the Christians were admitting to it (if they were his source) that he would report it just as they relayed it. Meanwhile, there is no evidence Tacitus did any fact checking of it, or that he even could have done so, much less would have wasted the countless hours needed to do so, to verify an embarrassing story that was already being conceded as true by the Christians themselves.
    (2) I mention and already rebut your attempt to invent as a fact that Tacitus used other sources. I explained why there is no evidence for that nor any reason to believe it likely or even possible. Whereas I referenced the considerable evidence supporting Pliny as his source, which means, Christians Pliny interrogated—and didn’t fact check. You haven’t provided any counter to any of this. You just repeated the same claims my argument refuted.
    (3) Claiming you were writing a popular article does not excuse you from ignoring and failing to cite or include in your article the results of the most recent scholarship. You had plenty of space for a lot of citations and even lengthy comments in notes. Yet you didn’t have space to mention the latest research and keep the text of your article up to date with it? There is no excuse for that. Popular articles should get the audience up to date on the latest research. Not decades old research that has been superseded or even overthrown since.
    (4) You “find other works that deny the existence of Jesus to be more important” — Like what? Name a single book written by an expert in ancient history under peer review at an academic press that presents a case that Jesus didn’t exist.”?

  236. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

    Reply to Kirk (comment 20 above):
    Thanks, Kirk, I’m glad you find the article useful. As you note, it’s important to distinguish the real state of affairs, which is that scholars across the board accept the historicity of Jesus with extremely few exceptions, as opposed to false claims that “many experts” question the historical existence of Jesus.
    If your path to faith was not via the Bible, no problem! I myself came to faith by the more conventional route of Scripture (Psalm 22, “of David,” written centuries before the crucifixion, compared with the Gospel accounts of Jesus’ crucifixion).

  237. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

    Reply to Kirk (comment 20 above):
    Thanks, Kirk, I’m glad you find the article useful. As you note, it’s important to distinguish the real state of affairs, which is that scholars across the board accept the historicity of Jesus with extremely few exceptions, as opposed to false claims that “many experts” question the historical existence of Jesus.
    If your path to faith was not via the Bible, no problem! I myself came to faith by the more conventional route of Scripture (Psalm 22, “of David,” written centuries before the crucifixion, compared with the Gospel accounts of Jesus’ crucifixion).

  238. Kirk Symons says:

    @Lawrence Thank you for a clearly informative article about the extra-Biblical evidence for the existence of Jesus Christ. This information is very useful for Christian Apologetics.
    It was only a week or two ago, that I noticed a national publication claiming that “many experts” were again questioning the historicity of the existence of a real Jesus Christ. ( What rubbish )
    I don’t believe in Him because of the Bible; I believe the Bible because I have heard His voice. He is real; He is Risen; He is LORD. Hallelujah !!

  239. Kirk Symons says:

    @Lawrence Thank you for a clearly informative article about the extra-Biblical evidence for the existence of Jesus Christ. This information is very useful for Christian Apologetics.
    It was only a week or two ago, that I noticed a national publication claiming that “many experts” were again questioning the historicity of the existence of a real Jesus Christ. ( What rubbish )
    I don’t believe in Him because of the Bible; I believe the Bible because I have heard His voice. He is real; He is Risen; He is LORD. Hallelujah !!

  240. Liang says:

    I was saw Jesus come to me, talking to me and helping me. I saw it from my own eyes. The Jesus is really exist.

  241. Liang says:

    I was saw Jesus come to me, talking to me and helping me. I saw it from my own eyes. The Jesus is really exist.

  242. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

    Reply to Basil (comment 17 above):

    Basil, in your comment, is there a desire to contend that overpowers a desire to learn the facts of the case? Only you really know.

    I would be very interested to learn what makes you say that “comprehensive records were kept” by Greek and Roman historians of the time. Classics scholars are very much aware of the limits of the writings they have studied, and I have not heard or read any of them make any such claim of “comprehensive records.”

    Further, scholars of the classics are painfully aware that only a portion of the Greek and Roman classical writings that once existed have survived the ravages of time, partly because some ancient writings that we have mention other writings that we don’t have. Of course, if not all classical writings survived, and if they were not comprehensive in the first place, one cannot use any lack of mention in the extant writings to make a case for a supposed non-existence of _anyone_.

    Experienced historians of the ancient world are normally delighted when they find any records, even if they were written centuries after the events—on the possibility or perhaps the likelihood that intervening writings which were later destroyed or lost carried the information to the centuries-later writings. Perhaps you have heard of scribes and monks copying old manuscripts to create new ones,and then throwing away the old ones? It is not unusual for a leather scroll to be legible and useful one or even two centuries after it was created. The fact that we have writings that originated only decades after the death of Jesus makes these writings actually very, very close to the events they mention—the historian’s equivalent of the next day’s morning news!

    I for one would be excited to read the memoires of an old Civil War soldier, even if it were written decades after the events recorded. Why should the writings of the New Testament authors who endured so much for the sake of Jesus—or the writings of Josephus (who really _was_ an old soldier) be any different?

    The apostle Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians was written in about 55 C.E., only about 25 years after the crucifixion of Jesus. In chapter 15 he presents the facts of the gospel. Verses 3 and 4 report:

    “I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures.”

    Interestingly, Paul wrote this letter from Ephesus on his _third_ missionary journey. During those 25 years, he had been transformed from a persecutor of Christians to a Christian evangelist, and he had already made two previous missionary journeys. That puts his adoption of faith in Jesus quite a few years earlier, very close indeed to the crucifixion. Perhaps this very early, years-long series of events might make you reconsider.

    But about how many followers Jesus had when he died, I am willing to entertain other views, because the definition of “follower” can be different. It is not surprising that actual disciples (in Greek, “learners”) were fewer than the people who followed him in order to be healed or to take their chances on getting a free lunch.

    Best wishes, Basil,

    Lawrence Mykytiuk

  243. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

    Reply to Basil (comment 17 above):
    Basil, in your comment, is there a desire to contend that overpowers a desire to learn the facts of the case? Only you really know.
    I would be very interested to learn what makes you say that “comprehensive records were kept” by Greek and Roman historians of the time. Classics scholars are very much aware of the limits of the writings they have studied, and I have not heard or read any of them make any such claim of “comprehensive records.”
    Further, scholars of the classics are painfully aware that only a portion of the Greek and Roman classical writings that once existed have survived the ravages of time, partly because some ancient writings that we have mention other writings that we don’t have. Of course, if not all classical writings survived, and if they were not comprehensive in the first place, one cannot use any lack of mention in the extant writings to make a case for a supposed non-existence of _anyone_.
    Experienced historians of the ancient world are normally delighted when they find any records, even if they were written centuries after the events—on the possibility or perhaps the likelihood that intervening writings which were later destroyed or lost carried the information to the centuries-later writings. Perhaps you have heard of scribes and monks copying old manuscripts to create new ones,and then throwing away the old ones? It is not unusual for a leather scroll to be legible and useful one or even two centuries after it was created. The fact that we have writings that originated only decades after the death of Jesus makes these writings actually very, very close to the events they mention—the historian’s equivalent of the next day’s morning news!
    I for one would be excited to read the memoires of an old Civil War soldier, even if it were written decades after the events recorded. Why should the writings of the New Testament authors who endured so much for the sake of Jesus—or the writings of Josephus (who really _was_ an old soldier) be any different?
    The apostle Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians was written in about 55 C.E., only about 25 years after the crucifixion of Jesus. In chapter 15 he presents the facts of the gospel. Verses 3 and 4 report:
    “I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures.”
    Interestingly, Paul wrote this letter from Ephesus on his _third_ missionary journey. During those 25 years, he had been transformed from a persecutor of Christians to a Christian evangelist, and he had already made two previous missionary journeys. That puts his adoption of faith in Jesus quite a few years earlier, very close indeed to the crucifixion. Perhaps this very early, years-long series of events might make you reconsider.
    But about how many followers Jesus had when he died, I am willing to entertain other views, because the definition of “follower” can be different. It is not surprising that actual disciples (in Greek, “learners”) were fewer than the people who followed him in order to be healed or to take their chances on getting a free lunch.
    Best wishes, Basil,
    Lawrence Mykytiuk

  244. basil says:

    as always in these cases, any “evidence” of a historical jesus comes from examples from writings completed decades after the supposed execution of jesus. no contemporary writings exist, even though comprehensive records were kept by greek and roman historians of the time. the observation in this article that jesus didn’t have many followers during his life is not supported in the bible. luke 24 states that everyone mourned the death of jesus, and expressed surprise that someone did not know of it. jesus supposedly had multitudes of followers, but there are no contemporary writings about him in historical texts. even the first new testament writings were written well after the supposed time of jesus.

  245. basil says:

    as always in these cases, any “evidence” of a historical jesus comes from examples from writings completed decades after the supposed execution of jesus. no contemporary writings exist, even though comprehensive records were kept by greek and roman historians of the time. the observation in this article that jesus didn’t have many followers during his life is not supported in the bible. luke 24 states that everyone mourned the death of jesus, and expressed surprise that someone did not know of it. jesus supposedly had multitudes of followers, but there are no contemporary writings about him in historical texts. even the first new testament writings were written well after the supposed time of jesus.

  246. Noel Benjamin Duncan says:

    Deez nutz exist

  247. Ian says:

    I believe Jesus was a great teacher, who came to help humanity and lift their minds, but he was also murdered by the reptilian evil.
    What we know now, is that absolute evil has been ruling this planet for thousands of years, keeping the souls of humanity trapped and recycled, in this dimension, the leaders of this world do not serve humanity, they serve the beast, the Devil and how this is done is through, the evil power elite who want everything, not only own all the land, all the food, all the water and everything they desire total power. God gave us everything for free, they want it for themselves. Over the decades we have seen how most of the worlds wealth has been sucked out by these evil people. That is why the 1% have more than 55% of the worlds wealth in their greedy claws. I and most of humanity hope Jesus will come soon, and help git ride of this evil. If Jesus was set up like most religions by a powerful elite, who wanted to keep us under control, then what hope does humanity have, It means this evil will continue, it means they will get their wicked way, Have their Leader the Devil as head of the New World Order as this is what this is, it means many people will be killed for not receiving the mark of the beast 666 which is the electronic microchip, and people r already being chipped, because they are silly enough to think it is cool technology. Any technology that is used against humanity must be destroyed. If there is no one to save us, then we need to wake up and take back our planet from these evil parasites. Humanity has been so trapped that is why it has been so hard to unravel this mystery. But what we know now and increasing numbers of people around the world are waking up to the fact that this planet is really in control of an evil sickening war mongering race of aliens known as the reptilians and history reveals, that they altered our DNA shortened our lives, from hundreds of years to what we are now, shut down most of our DNA so that we are no longer in touch with the creator, and for thousands of years, we have been trapped, in an never ending recycled to this planet life after life and we do not remember our past lives because they have set up a system where our souls are trapped and all our memories are erased, The need us to suck the energy. Now when one does real research we can understand what has really happened. So how do we get free? Yes, we can have faith but we are going to have to fight for our freedom. I ask this question? Why would a loving God whose wishes is that humanity evolve on a spiritual level, allow us to have our minds shut down, and we never knowing the truth for thousands of years, it is only because of a higher energy coming to this world, and that amazing people are risking their lives to find the real truth, that we are able to uncover the true history. I believe God and the gardeners of this world have taken leave and have done for a very long time, so the evil beings re the ones who have had control, we are now in the end times, which mean there are only a few years left if we are lucky, before everything is wiped out.

  248. Ian says:

    I believe Jesus was a great teacher, who came to help humanity and lift their minds, but he was also murdered by the reptilian evil.
    What we know now, is that absolute evil has been ruling this planet for thousands of years, keeping the souls of humanity trapped and recycled, in this dimension, the leaders of this world do not serve humanity, they serve the beast, the Devil and how this is done is through, the evil power elite who want everything, not only own all the land, all the food, all the water and everything they desire total power. God gave us everything for free, they want it for themselves. Over the decades we have seen how most of the worlds wealth has been sucked out by these evil people. That is why the 1% have more than 55% of the worlds wealth in their greedy claws. I and most of humanity hope Jesus will come soon, and help git ride of this evil. If Jesus was set up like most religions by a powerful elite, who wanted to keep us under control, then what hope does humanity have, It means this evil will continue, it means they will get their wicked way, Have their Leader the Devil as head of the New World Order as this is what this is, it means many people will be killed for not receiving the mark of the beast 666 which is the electronic microchip, and people r already being chipped, because they are silly enough to think it is cool technology. Any technology that is used against humanity must be destroyed. If there is no one to save us, then we need to wake up and take back our planet from these evil parasites. Humanity has been so trapped that is why it has been so hard to unravel this mystery. But what we know now and increasing numbers of people around the world are waking up to the fact that this planet is really in control of an evil sickening war mongering race of aliens known as the reptilians and history reveals, that they altered our DNA shortened our lives, from hundreds of years to what we are now, shut down most of our DNA so that we are no longer in touch with the creator, and for thousands of years, we have been trapped, in an never ending recycled to this planet life after life and we do not remember our past lives because they have set up a system where our souls are trapped and all our memories are erased, The need us to suck the energy. Now when one does real research we can understand what has really happened. So how do we get free? Yes, we can have faith but we are going to have to fight for our freedom. I ask this question? Why would a loving God whose wishes is that humanity evolve on a spiritual level, allow us to have our minds shut down, and we never knowing the truth for thousands of years, it is only because of a higher energy coming to this world, and that amazing people are risking their lives to find the real truth, that we are able to uncover the true history. I believe God and the gardeners of this world have taken leave and have done for a very long time, so the evil beings re the ones who have had control, we are now in the end times, which mean there are only a few years left if we are lucky, before everything is wiped out.

  249. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

    Second reply to Franck (comment 13 above):
    Josephus, who grew up in first-century Palestine (and went to Rome as a grown man and a former army general) identifies James as the brother of “Jesus-who-is-called-Christ,” He presents Jesus’ brother James as a leader of the earliest church in Jerusalem and gives a description of how James was martyred. (Josephus’ description of the way in which James was murdered is different from the Christian version, so it is evidently independent of Christian sources).

    Of course, there might have been other men named Jesus who—in a way different from Jesus’s redemption of his people (see Matthew 1:21)—tried to be messiahs and deliver the Jewish nation from Roman rule. But any other Jesuses who might have existed did not have a brother named James who was a leader of the early church in Jerusalem and was martyred. Only the one whom Josephus referred to as Jesus-who-is-called-Christ had this brother.

    Josephus also wrote about other people mentioned in the New Testament, including John the Baptist and Pontius Pilate. These were some of the historical figures, including Jesus, whom he identifies very specifically. It is clear that Josephus grew up in the same culture in which Jesus and the apostles lived. If anyone was qualified to deny the existence of the Jesus whom the Christians followed, it was Josephus. But instead, he mentions this Jesus as a historical person.
    Best wishes,
    Lawrence Mykytiuk

  250. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

    Second reply to Franck (comment 13 above):
    Josephus, who grew up in first-century Palestine (and went to Rome as a grown man and a former army general) identifies James as the brother of “Jesus-who-is-called-Christ,” He presents Jesus’ brother James as a leader of the earliest church in Jerusalem and gives a description of how James was martyred. (Josephus’ description of the way in which James was murdered is different from the Christian version, so it is evidently independent of Christian sources).
    Of course, there might have been other men named Jesus who—in a way different from Jesus’s redemption of his people (see Matthew 1:21)—tried to be messiahs and deliver the Jewish nation from Roman rule. But any other Jesuses who might have existed did not have a brother named James who was a leader of the early church in Jerusalem and was martyred. Only the one whom Josephus referred to as Jesus-who-is-called-Christ had this brother.
    Josephus also wrote about other people mentioned in the New Testament, including John the Baptist and Pontius Pilate. These were some of the historical figures, including Jesus, whom he identifies very specifically. It is clear that Josephus grew up in the same culture in which Jesus and the apostles lived. If anyone was qualified to deny the existence of the Jesus whom the Christians followed, it was Josephus. But instead, he mentions this Jesus as a historical person.
    Best wishes,
    Lawrence Mykytiuk

  251. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

    Reply to Franck (comment 13 above):
    I would like to respond to your last question first. You have said:

    “And if he won so many Greeks over (even stating that the conversions were after his death, why don t we see any greek comment on jesus life?)”

    There is no lack of “Greeks” (a first-century term used to describe people of Hellenistic culture) writing about Jesus within the first century or so after his crucifixion. Consider the writings of the apostolic fathers of the church, who of course were believers in Jesus, but also leaders of many other Christians to whom they wrote and whom they pastored. The main apostolic fathers include Clement of Rome, Ignatius of Antioch, Polycarp of Smyrna (who was follower of the apostle John and was later martyred for his faith), and Justin Martyr. Of course, as the church grew, many more “Greeks” who were Christians wrote about Jesus. For the major leaders, besides many pastors and others whom they led, see the timeline at:
    https://www.preceden.com/timelines/10328-church-fathers-50—750-a-d- .
    “We” can see them there. I hope you take a look. The writings of these and other “Greek” Christians form a whole field of study, called patristics. Their writings provide fascinating views of the early and developing church.
    I plan to reply to your other remarks separately.
    Best wishes,
    Lawrence Mykytiuk

  252. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

    Reply to Franck (comment 13 above):
    I would like to respond to your last question first. You have said:
    “And if he won so many Greeks over (even stating that the conversions were after his death, why don t we see any greek comment on jesus life?)”
    There is no lack of “Greeks” (a first-century term used to describe people of Hellenistic culture) writing about Jesus within the first century or so after his crucifixion. Consider the writings of the apostolic fathers of the church, who of course were believers in Jesus, but also leaders of many other Christians to whom they wrote and whom they pastored. The main apostolic fathers include Clement of Rome, Ignatius of Antioch, Polycarp of Smyrna (who was follower of the apostle John and was later martyred for his faith), and Justin Martyr. Of course, as the church grew, many more “Greeks” who were Christians wrote about Jesus. For the major leaders, besides many pastors and others whom they led, see the timeline at:
    https://www.preceden.com/timelines/10328-church-fathers-50—750-a-d- .
    “We” can see them there. I hope you take a look. The writings of these and other “Greek” Christians form a whole field of study, called patristics. Their writings provide fascinating views of the early and developing church.
    I plan to reply to your other remarks separately.
    Best wishes,
    Lawrence Mykytiuk

  253. Franck says:

    Let me understand that…So jesus existed because:
    He was a “Jhon Smith”, knowing that “Smith”, in this case, is a religious honorific title that had been given before to others jews that would represent a leadership or would be leadership in some way.

    Well thats pretty slim isn t it, it is a clear base upon myth are created.
    Isn t there anything more convincing ?
    I mean, if jesus was a common name, wouldn t we have many Jesus (real or invented) doing diferent things and not being the same person?
    Especially as the jewish were seeking new leadership that would free them of the domination of Rome.

    It wouldn t be the first or last case in history.

    And if he won so many Greeks over (even stating that the conversions were after his death, why don t we see any greek comment on jesus life?)

  254. Franck says:

    Let me understand that…So jesus existed because:
    He was a “Jhon Smith”, knowing that “Smith”, in this case, is a religious honorific title that had been given before to others jews that would represent a leadership or would be leadership in some way.
    Well thats pretty slim isn t it, it is a clear base upon myth are created.
    Isn t there anything more convincing ?
    I mean, if jesus was a common name, wouldn t we have many Jesus (real or invented) doing diferent things and not being the same person?
    Especially as the jewish were seeking new leadership that would free them of the domination of Rome.
    It wouldn t be the first or last case in history.
    And if he won so many Greeks over (even stating that the conversions were after his death, why don t we see any greek comment on jesus life?)

  255. asswipe says:

    so he didn’t exist? why does it matter about stupid private schools then

  256. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

    Reply to Sidney (comment 11 above):
    I hear your claims of inconclusiveness, but not a refutation of the evidence, particularly in Josephus, which the article presents.

  257. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

    Reply to Sidney (comment 11 above):
    I hear your claims of inconclusiveness, but not a refutation of the evidence, particularly in Josephus, which the article presents.

  258. Sid Martin says:

    The non-Christian witness is inconclusive. It neither proves that Jesus existed nor that he did not. The earliest account of the life of Jesus is contained in the Gospel of Mark. As I demonstrate in my book Secret of the Savior: The Myth of the Messiah in Mark, the life of Jesus recapitulates the history of salvation. Jesus is a symbol of salvation, which is what the name Jesus means. He stands for whomever or whatever Mark sees as the instrument or embodiment of salvation at any given point in time. He is Joshua, or David, or the Teacher of Righteousness, or later figures in the history of Israel. Mark does not appear to know of a particular person he lived at the time and place the Gospel is set. There is not one historical Jesus, there are many.

  259. Sid Martin says:

    The non-Christian witness is inconclusive. It neither proves that Jesus existed nor that he did not. The earliest account of the life of Jesus is contained in the Gospel of Mark. As I demonstrate in my book Secret of the Savior: The Myth of the Messiah in Mark, the life of Jesus recapitulates the history of salvation. Jesus is a symbol of salvation, which is what the name Jesus means. He stands for whomever or whatever Mark sees as the instrument or embodiment of salvation at any given point in time. He is Joshua, or David, or the Teacher of Righteousness, or later figures in the history of Israel. Mark does not appear to know of a particular person he lived at the time and place the Gospel is set. There is not one historical Jesus, there are many.

  260. Lerman says:

    Did the arabs live in Land of The Jews (Roman Palestine)?
    Michael Lerman, PhD, MD.

  261. Christopher Rea says:

    Gaius Plautius (see: Frontinius 5, Tac.Hist. 1:37, Annals 15: 47) etc

  262. Christopher Rea says:

    Gaius Plautius (see: Frontinius 5, Tac.Hist. 1:37, Annals 15: 47) etc

  263. Christopher Rea says:

    Gaius Plautius!

  264. Christopher Rea says:

    Gaius Plautius!

  265. Alper Seroğllu says:

    I am a 19 years old ex-muslim Computer Science student from Turkey who have found Christ 1 years before. This just made me even more sure of the existance of our Lord. God bless you. This also debunks muslim claims of Jesus not being called “christ” and God or him never getting crucified and that Bible was corrupted in a way to make people believe in such things. Here is the proof. Even Roman historians recorded it.

  266. Davon Lewis says:

    Yes Jesus is on the right hand side of God his father and the hour is near when all creation will see him. God bless

  267. Davon Lewis says:

    Yes Jesus is on the right hand side of God his father and the hour is near when all creation will see him. God bless

  268. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

    Reply to Nadav (comment 6 above):

    Nadav, your perceptive comment really made me think. I completely accept your view that a person can be Jewish and a believer in Jesus. In fact, every last one of the twelve whom Jesus chose and called to follow him was Jewish. The earliest church, at the moment when it began in Acts chapter 2, was initially composed entirely of Jewish men and Jewish women. The Jewishness of the early church was so predominant that a major question that had to be settled in the early church—at the council of Jerusalem (Acts chapter 15)— was whether Gentiles should be required to convert to Judaism before they could become Christians. That was expressed as being “circumcised and required to obey the law of Moses” (Acts 15:5). The Jerusalem Council affirmed that only faith in Jesus was necessary for salvation. This Council did tell them to avoid certain things, but in a way that makes their message seem more like advice.

    In the article above, Alternative 1 is rejected primarily because Josephus shows not the slightest sign of being a believer in Jesus anywhere else in his voluminous writings (see Steve Mason, Josephus and the New Testament, 2nd ed. [Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 2003], p. 229). In fact, Josephus mentions Jesus only twice—in his work titled Jewish Antiquities, books 18 and 20. The above article and its notes take pains to describe several translations which reflect other versions of exactly what Josephus said in book 18. In these, it seems very likely that Josephus was not confessing any personal faith of his own that Jesus was the Messiah, but rather that _others_ thought or believed that Jesus was the Messiah. Also, the Christian scholar Origen, who was well acquainted with Josephus’ writings, lamented that Josephus “did not believe in Jesus as Christ” (Origen, Commentary on Matthew, book 10, section 17, available online at http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/101610.htm ).

    Thank you, Nadav, for making me clarify this important question.

    Lawrence Mykytiuk

  269. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

    Reply to Nadav (comment 6 above):
    Nadav, your perceptive comment really made me think. I completely accept your view that a person can be Jewish and a believer in Jesus. In fact, every last one of the twelve whom Jesus chose and called to follow him was Jewish. The earliest church, at the moment when it began in Acts chapter 2, was initially composed entirely of Jewish men and Jewish women. The Jewishness of the early church was so predominant that a major question that had to be settled in the early church—at the council of Jerusalem (Acts chapter 15)— was whether Gentiles should be required to convert to Judaism before they could become Christians. That was expressed as being “circumcised and required to obey the law of Moses” (Acts 15:5). The Jerusalem Council affirmed that only faith in Jesus was necessary for salvation. This Council did tell them to avoid certain things, but in a way that makes their message seem more like advice.
    In the article above, Alternative 1 is rejected primarily because Josephus shows not the slightest sign of being a believer in Jesus anywhere else in his voluminous writings (see Steve Mason, Josephus and the New Testament, 2nd ed. [Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 2003], p. 229). In fact, Josephus mentions Jesus only twice—in his work titled Jewish Antiquities, books 18 and 20. The above article and its notes take pains to describe several translations which reflect other versions of exactly what Josephus said in book 18. In these, it seems very likely that Josephus was not confessing any personal faith of his own that Jesus was the Messiah, but rather that _others_ thought or believed that Jesus was the Messiah. Also, the Christian scholar Origen, who was well acquainted with Josephus’ writings, lamented that Josephus “did not believe in Jesus as Christ” (Origen, Commentary on Matthew, book 10, section 17, available online at http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/101610.htm ).
    Thank you, Nadav, for making me clarify this important question.
    Lawrence Mykytiuk

  270. Nadav says:

    Throwing out option 1 and saying that his entire testimony is not true is based on a very wrong assumption that you can’t be Jewish and Christian.
    Allow me to demonstrate :
    Jesus is the messiah, he was crucified and rose on the third day. If I truly believe this with all my heart – what does that make me? A believer in Jesus! I am also Jewish. I will not forsake the rich jewish heritage and testimony of the old testament (although I strongly reject modern day rabbinical Judaism). And I will not reject the rich jewish heritage and testimony of the new testament!

    What more does someone have to believe to be saved. Should Josephus throw out Passover and celebrate Easter and call Sunday his holy day as well? Where in the new testament does it tell us to do these things to be saved

    This argument is swallowed by most Christians because of their own flawed theology and because of the leven that has crept in.

  271. Nadav says:

    Throwing out option 1 and saying that his entire testimony is not true is based on a very wrong assumption that you can’t be Jewish and Christian.
    Allow me to demonstrate :
    Jesus is the messiah, he was crucified and rose on the third day. If I truly believe this with all my heart – what does that make me? A believer in Jesus! I am also Jewish. I will not forsake the rich jewish heritage and testimony of the old testament (although I strongly reject modern day rabbinical Judaism). And I will not reject the rich jewish heritage and testimony of the new testament!
    What more does someone have to believe to be saved. Should Josephus throw out Passover and celebrate Easter and call Sunday his holy day as well? Where in the new testament does it tell us to do these things to be saved
    This argument is swallowed by most Christians because of their own flawed theology and because of the leven that has crept in.

  272. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

    Reply to Paul (comment 2 above):

    You are correct that Christ (in English), Christus (in Latin), and Messiah (an English rendering of the Hebrew) all mean “anointed.” (Chrestus, a common Roman name for slaves, means neither “anointed” nor “chosen,” but rather “good, kind, useful/”)

    Your own views regarding anointing, however, which you are certainly free to hold in your own context, are entirely different from the view presented in 1 Samuel chapter 16, where divine choice of the person to be anointed is explicit.

    In the first verse of that chapter, God tells the prophet Samuel:

    “Fill your horn with oil and be on your way. I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem. I have chosen one of his sons to be king.”

    Samuel’s oil was to be used to anoint a future king of Israel, precisely because, as the text says, God had chosen him. In the ancient Hebrew practice of anointing, the choice of the anointed person to be anointed in order to assume office was always implicit and sometimes explicit.

    According to verse 10 of 1 Samuel chapter 16, “Jesse had seven of his sons pass before Samuel, but Samuel said to him, ‘The Lord has not chosen these.” So he asked Jesse, ‘Are these all the sons you have?’ ”

    In the following verses, Jesse sent for the youngest, who was named David. When David arrived, “then the LORD said, ‘Rise and anoint him; he is the one.’ So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers” (chapter 16, verse 12).

    It is explicit and clear in this passage in the Hebrew Bible that those whom God had not chosen to be king were not to be anointed, but the one son whom God had chosen to be king was to be anointed.

    Of course, there were quite a few ancient Hebrew kings and priests, and these were anointed as an initiation rite, to assume office. So yes, there was a plurality of messiahs, or anointed ones, who preceded Jesus.

    In Jesus’ day, the Jewish people were fervently awaiting the descendant of David to deliver them from subjugation to Rome (several of Jesus’ parables were intended to change this expectation of what he would accomplish). The Jewish people referred to this coming descendant of David as the Messiah. Thus the pre-eminent Messiah came to be viewed as one and only one person, and the Scriptural implication, taken directly from the Hebrew Bible, was that God has chosen the coming Messiah. Jews believe that he is yet to come, whereas Christians believe that he has come and will come again.

    Lawrence Mykytiuk

  273. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

    Reply to Paul (comment 2 above):
    You are correct that Christ (in English), Christus (in Latin), and Messiah (an English rendering of the Hebrew) all mean “anointed.” (Chrestus, a common Roman name for slaves, means neither “anointed” nor “chosen,” but rather “good, kind, useful/”)
    Your own views regarding anointing, however, which you are certainly free to hold in your own context, are entirely different from the view presented in 1 Samuel chapter 16, where divine choice of the person to be anointed is explicit.
    In the first verse of that chapter, God tells the prophet Samuel:
    “Fill your horn with oil and be on your way. I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem. I have chosen one of his sons to be king.”
    Samuel’s oil was to be used to anoint a future king of Israel, precisely because, as the text says, God had chosen him. In the ancient Hebrew practice of anointing, the choice of the anointed person to be anointed in order to assume office was always implicit and sometimes explicit.
    According to verse 10 of 1 Samuel chapter 16, “Jesse had seven of his sons pass before Samuel, but Samuel said to him, ‘The Lord has not chosen these.” So he asked Jesse, ‘Are these all the sons you have?’ ”
    In the following verses, Jesse sent for the youngest, who was named David. When David arrived, “then the LORD said, ‘Rise and anoint him; he is the one.’ So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers” (chapter 16, verse 12).
    It is explicit and clear in this passage in the Hebrew Bible that those whom God had not chosen to be king were not to be anointed, but the one son whom God had chosen to be king was to be anointed.
    Of course, there were quite a few ancient Hebrew kings and priests, and these were anointed as an initiation rite, to assume office. So yes, there was a plurality of messiahs, or anointed ones, who preceded Jesus.
    In Jesus’ day, the Jewish people were fervently awaiting the descendant of David to deliver them from subjugation to Rome (several of Jesus’ parables were intended to change this expectation of what he would accomplish). The Jewish people referred to this coming descendant of David as the Messiah. Thus the pre-eminent Messiah came to be viewed as one and only one person, and the Scriptural implication, taken directly from the Hebrew Bible, was that God has chosen the coming Messiah. Jews believe that he is yet to come, whereas Christians believe that he has come and will come again.
    Lawrence Mykytiuk

  274. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

    A second reply to Daniel (comment 1 above):

    The information in my first reply came from endnotes 4 and 5 above. For other books on particular subtopics or sources, see the other endnotes.

    Among the best of these specialized books mentioned in the endnotes is:

    Steve Mason, Josephus and the New Testament, 2nd ed. (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 2003). Mason’s book is a thorough, scholarly examination of his topic. Some parts are fairly easy reading, and other parts require the reader’s close concentration, but it is an excellent way to get acquainted with several important sources outside of the New Testament.

  275. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

    A second reply to Daniel (comment 1 above):
    The information in my first reply came from endnotes 4 and 5 above. For other books on particular subtopics or sources, see the other endnotes.
    Among the best of these specialized books mentioned in the endnotes is:
    Steve Mason, Josephus and the New Testament, 2nd ed. (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 2003). Mason’s book is a thorough, scholarly examination of his topic. Some parts are fairly easy reading, and other parts require the reader’s close concentration, but it is an excellent way to get acquainted with several important sources outside of the New Testament.

  276. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

    Reply to Daniel (comment 1 above):
    Thank you for asking, Daniel.
    Almost all of the following books are available new or used (less expensive) from Internet booksellers. Your local public or academic library might also have some or all of these, and typically libraries appreciate suggestions for what books to add to their collections.

    a. On the specific topic of evidence outside of the Bible regarding Jesus’s existence, in my view, the best book is:
    Robert E. Van Voorst, Jesus Outside the New Testament: An Introduction to the Ancient Evidence (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2000).

    b. For more general coverage of both Christian and non-Christian sources, both of the following books are excellent and up to date:
    Craig A. Evans, ed., Encyclopedia of the Historical Jesus (New York: Routledge, 2008)
    Gerd Theissen and Annette Merz, The Historical Jesus: A Comprehensive Guide (Minneapolis: Fortress, 1998).
    Note: Thiessen and Merz make the important point that all evidence from all sources must be considered. Both Biblical and non-Biblical sources “are in principle of equal value in the study of Jesus” (p. 23).

    (My article above is intended to cover the non-Christian sources, so it actually presents only a relatively small part of the whole picture. But it is the part that seems to attract more interest these days, especially from people who read Biblical Archaeology Review or visit the Biblical Archaeology Society’s web site.)

    c. A somewhat older book that is still excellent—and on certain points actually providing a better perspective—is F. F. Bruce, Jesus and Christian Origins Outside the New Testament [London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1974], pp. 14–15).

    Another important book is Bart D. Ehrman’s strong affirmation of Jesus’ existence in his Did Jesus Exist? (New York: HarperOne, 2012). It is largely based on New Testament data. Ehrman bases his conclusion that Jesus existed on two facts: first, that the apostle Paul was personally acquainted with Jesus’ brother James and with the apostle Peter; and second, that, contrary to Jewish messianic expectation of the day, Jesus was crucified (p. 173). Ehrman presents his case as a scholar of the New Testament. His book is interesting, because he considers himself an agnostic, but he finds the historical case for Jesus’ existence to be solid.

    Best wishes, Daniel, as you explore this fascinating subject.

    Lawrence Mykytiuk

  277. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

    Reply to Daniel (comment 1 above):
    Thank you for asking, Daniel.
    Almost all of the following books are available new or used (less expensive) from Internet booksellers. Your local public or academic library might also have some or all of these, and typically libraries appreciate suggestions for what books to add to their collections.
    a. On the specific topic of evidence outside of the Bible regarding Jesus’s existence, in my view, the best book is:
    Robert E. Van Voorst, Jesus Outside the New Testament: An Introduction to the Ancient Evidence (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2000).
    b. For more general coverage of both Christian and non-Christian sources, both of the following books are excellent and up to date:
    Craig A. Evans, ed., Encyclopedia of the Historical Jesus (New York: Routledge, 2008)
    Gerd Theissen and Annette Merz, The Historical Jesus: A Comprehensive Guide (Minneapolis: Fortress, 1998).
    Note: Thiessen and Merz make the important point that all evidence from all sources must be considered. Both Biblical and non-Biblical sources “are in principle of equal value in the study of Jesus” (p. 23).
    (My article above is intended to cover the non-Christian sources, so it actually presents only a relatively small part of the whole picture. But it is the part that seems to attract more interest these days, especially from people who read Biblical Archaeology Review or visit the Biblical Archaeology Society’s web site.)
    c. A somewhat older book that is still excellent—and on certain points actually providing a better perspective—is F. F. Bruce, Jesus and Christian Origins Outside the New Testament [London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1974], pp. 14–15).
    Another important book is Bart D. Ehrman’s strong affirmation of Jesus’ existence in his Did Jesus Exist? (New York: HarperOne, 2012). It is largely based on New Testament data. Ehrman bases his conclusion that Jesus existed on two facts: first, that the apostle Paul was personally acquainted with Jesus’ brother James and with the apostle Peter; and second, that, contrary to Jewish messianic expectation of the day, Jesus was crucified (p. 173). Ehrman presents his case as a scholar of the New Testament. His book is interesting, because he considers himself an agnostic, but he finds the historical case for Jesus’ existence to be solid.
    Best wishes, Daniel, as you explore this fascinating subject.
    Lawrence Mykytiuk

  278. Paul Bedson says:

    The entire argument is based on the completely false assumption that Christ, Christus, Chrestus and Messiah mean “chosen one”. This terrible, wrong assumption has led to thousands of years of political incorrectness, in as much as we have completely misunderstood the correct way to govern the planet! It does NOT mean “chosen one” it means “anointed one”. And if you check your facts, that means someone who has been anointed with an oil primarily consisting of “ancient myrrh” (Exodus 30:23) described by Dioscordes as the “Egyptian Thorn” which is NOT the myrrh of today. This anointing is a purely physical and mental process intended to remove greed from the human psyche, nothing to do with being chosen by God, or elected by men. As such, there were many, many historical Christs and we governed this planet a lot better than the Romans or our present governments.

  279. Paul Bedson says:

    The entire argument is based on the completely false assumption that Christ, Christus, Chrestus and Messiah mean “chosen one”. This terrible, wrong assumption has led to thousands of years of political incorrectness, in as much as we have completely misunderstood the correct way to govern the planet! It does NOT mean “chosen one” it means “anointed one”. And if you check your facts, that means someone who has been anointed with an oil primarily consisting of “ancient myrrh” (Exodus 30:23) described by Dioscordes as the “Egyptian Thorn” which is NOT the myrrh of today. This anointing is a purely physical and mental process intended to remove greed from the human psyche, nothing to do with being chosen by God, or elected by men. As such, there were many, many historical Christs and we governed this planet a lot better than the Romans or our present governments.

  280. Daniel says:

    Is there a book that contains all the info, explained above
    And there is such book where can I get one

  281. Daniel says:

    Is there a book that contains all the info, explained above
    And there is such book where can I get one

  282. sergeyl says:

    If you can read Russian – check out this book – “Jesus Christ in the Documents of History” (Iisus Hristos v dokumentah istorii). There collected vast corpus of information about Jesus in different sources of the Ancient world (including Jewish sources), but author of this book comes to the conclusion that the main and nearly the only source of this information were early Christians http://www.lib.ru/HRISTIAN/DEREWENSKIJ/derewenskij.pdf

  283. sergeyl says:

    If you can read Russian – check out this book – “Jesus Christ in the Documents of History” (Iisus Hristos v dokumentah istorii). There collected vast corpus of information about Jesus in different sources of the Ancient world (including Jewish sources), but author of this book comes to the conclusion that the main and nearly the only source of this information were early Christians http://www.lib.ru/HRISTIAN/DEREWENSKIJ/derewenskij.pdf

  284. Dan says:

    This is a great article and is easy to follow. I’ve tried reading other writings on the subject and they are just too heady. I appreciate that you left out pieces of evidence that, although would support your point, you could not be certain were authentic. Thank you for your work on this subject.

  285. Dan says:

    This is a great article and is easy to follow. I’ve tried reading other writings on the subject and they are just too heady. I appreciate that you left out pieces of evidence that, although would support your point, you could not be certain were authentic. Thank you for your work on this subject.

  286. david w.bruner says:

    I believe there are a multitude of reasons to doubt Jesus Christ …. However if you have ever had a personal relationship with Him and watched Him change your DNA from the inside out then you cannot doubt …. Jesus changed the DNA of all the dinosaurs on Earth so they crawl upon their bellies Just as He said they would in Geneses ….. He can and does change the DNA of all those who seek Him into new Creations in Christ ! You read it but then you can not believe the Truth in what you read !! HOHOHO ! MERRY CHRISTMAS !

  287. david w.bruner says:

    I believe there are a multitude of reasons to doubt Jesus Christ …. However if you have ever had a personal relationship with Him and watched Him change your DNA from the inside out then you cannot doubt …. Jesus changed the DNA of all the dinosaurs on Earth so they crawl upon their bellies Just as He said they would in Geneses ….. He can and does change the DNA of all those who seek Him into new Creations in Christ ! You read it but then you can not believe the Truth in what you read !! HOHOHO ! MERRY CHRISTMAS !

  288. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

    Reply to 46, Ms. or Mr. not:
    This is a strange reply to an article that explains documentation of Jesus’ existence outside of the Bible.

  289. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

    Reply to 46, Ms. or Mr. not:
    This is a strange reply to an article that explains documentation of Jesus’ existence outside of the Bible.

  290. not needed says:

    I stopped reading when the first answer quoted a sentence out of the bible… some people are looking for REAL answers. Physical evidence. If all every Christian can do is to provide an answer out of the bible. Then there is no REAL answer to me. An answer outside of the bible would have a more interest to me.

  291. not needed says:

    I stopped reading when the first answer quoted a sentence out of the bible… some people are looking for REAL answers. Physical evidence. If all every Christian can do is to provide an answer out of the bible. Then there is no REAL answer to me. An answer outside of the bible would have a more interest to me.

  292. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

    Reply to Rene (44 above):
    Thank you, Rene, for your kind message. It’s fine to doubt your doubts, but only if you also do a good job of finding, understanding, and evaluating the most important evidence—otherwise, mere scepticism amounts to needlessly depriving oneself of the benefit of good answers.

    Good guides, perhaps librarians or fair-minded scholars, can help in locating evidence. Without such a guide, it can take quite a while to find out what that most important evidence is. But even then, to experience long-term hunger for the evidence and for solid conclusions can ultimately be good for the mind and spirit.

    Some years ago I was intensely doubting my doubts and searching a bit, when by apparently dumb luck I stumbled on some evidence that I found to be very convincing: Psalm 22, which was definitely written in Hebrew and translated into Greek well before Jesus lived, when compared with Matthew chapter 27, seemed to me (and still seems, after considerable study) to present not an airtight case, but a very persuasive one. I recognize that not everyone will agree, and that is simply the way it is. In the last analysis, you choose what to believe or reject, hopefully in a reasonable, fair process of investigation.

    The evidence for the real existence of Jesus who was called Messiah/Christ is well presented in several scholarly books, most conveniently in those cited in the article above.

    My sincere best wishes to you, Rene.

    Lawrence Mykytiuk

  293. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

    Reply to Rene (44 above):
    Thank you, Rene, for your kind message. It’s fine to doubt your doubts, but only if you also do a good job of finding, understanding, and evaluating the most important evidence—otherwise, mere scepticism amounts to needlessly depriving oneself of the benefit of good answers.
    Good guides, perhaps librarians or fair-minded scholars, can help in locating evidence. Without such a guide, it can take quite a while to find out what that most important evidence is. But even then, to experience long-term hunger for the evidence and for solid conclusions can ultimately be good for the mind and spirit.
    Some years ago I was intensely doubting my doubts and searching a bit, when by apparently dumb luck I stumbled on some evidence that I found to be very convincing: Psalm 22, which was definitely written in Hebrew and translated into Greek well before Jesus lived, when compared with Matthew chapter 27, seemed to me (and still seems, after considerable study) to present not an airtight case, but a very persuasive one. I recognize that not everyone will agree, and that is simply the way it is. In the last analysis, you choose what to believe or reject, hopefully in a reasonable, fair process of investigation.
    The evidence for the real existence of Jesus who was called Messiah/Christ is well presented in several scholarly books, most conveniently in those cited in the article above.
    My sincere best wishes to you, Rene.
    Lawrence Mykytiuk

  294. Rene says:

    Thank you. This article is very timely. I am on the road to Non believing in God anymore, but it is articles like this one that keeps me away from crossing that bridge.

  295. Rene says:

    Thank you. This article is very timely. I am on the road to Non believing in God anymore, but it is articles like this one that keeps me away from crossing that bridge.

  296. Aric says:

    You are a deliberate liar. Christianity is a fraud and it is now in the rubbish heap of history, Good riddance to mankinds most revolting episode.

  297. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

    Reply to Aldemir from Brazil (comment 42 above):
    In very bad Portuguese from Google Translator (forgive me!):
    Sim, de fato, Aldemir Eu acredito que Jesus viveu e agora vive novamente! Quando ele foi crucificado, Jesus deu a sua vida como o sacrifício perfeito para todos os nossos pecados, sofrendo morte em nosso lugar. Depois de ser enterrado, ele fisicamente ressuscitou dentre os mortos. O fato de que Deus o ressuscitou dentre os mortos mostrou claramente que Deus aprovava tudo o que ele fez e disse. Na sua ascensão, ele foi levado para o céu, onde agora está sentado à direita de Deus Pai, orando por nós! Para este dom de misericórdia imerecida Estou impressionado e eternamente grato.
    Mas uma vez que nem todo mundo acredita, como você e eu, quando se trata de mostrar que Jesus era um homem na história, temos de confiar em apenas uma evidência histórica antiga. Devemos tratar a questão da existência de Jesus o mais objetivamente possível, na qualidade de críticos do que poderíamos dizer antes de dizer qualquer coisa. Nossas demonstrações de fé em Jesus são subjetivos e são feitas no presente, para que eles não podem contar como evidência da existência de Jesus quando ele viveu na terra.
    Grandes Abraços volta para você. .
    Lawrence Mykytiuk

    In English:
    Yes indeed, Aldemir I believe that Jesus lived and now lives again! When he was crucified, Jesus gave up his life as the perfect sacrifice for all our sins, suffering death in our place. After being buried, he physically rose from the dead. The fact that God raised him from the dead clearly showed that God approved of everything he did and said. At his ascension, he was taken up into heaven, where he now sits at the right hand of God the Father, praying for us! For this gift of undeserved mercy I am amazed and forever grateful.
    But since not everyone believes as you and I do, when it comes to showing that Jesus was a man in history, we must rely on ancient historical evidence only. We must treat the question of Jesus’ existence as objectively as possible, acting as critics of what we might say before we say anything. Our statements of faith in Jesus are subjective and are made in the present, so they cannot count as evidence of existence of Jesus when he lived on earth.
    Big Hugs back to you. .
    Lawrence Mykytiuk

  298. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

    Reply to Aldemir from Brazil (comment 42 above):
    In very bad Portuguese from Google Translator (forgive me!):
    Sim, de fato, Aldemir Eu acredito que Jesus viveu e agora vive novamente! Quando ele foi crucificado, Jesus deu a sua vida como o sacrifício perfeito para todos os nossos pecados, sofrendo morte em nosso lugar. Depois de ser enterrado, ele fisicamente ressuscitou dentre os mortos. O fato de que Deus o ressuscitou dentre os mortos mostrou claramente que Deus aprovava tudo o que ele fez e disse. Na sua ascensão, ele foi levado para o céu, onde agora está sentado à direita de Deus Pai, orando por nós! Para este dom de misericórdia imerecida Estou impressionado e eternamente grato.
    Mas uma vez que nem todo mundo acredita, como você e eu, quando se trata de mostrar que Jesus era um homem na história, temos de confiar em apenas uma evidência histórica antiga. Devemos tratar a questão da existência de Jesus o mais objetivamente possível, na qualidade de críticos do que poderíamos dizer antes de dizer qualquer coisa. Nossas demonstrações de fé em Jesus são subjetivos e são feitas no presente, para que eles não podem contar como evidência da existência de Jesus quando ele viveu na terra.
    Grandes Abraços volta para você. .
    Lawrence Mykytiuk
    In English:
    Yes indeed, Aldemir I believe that Jesus lived and now lives again! When he was crucified, Jesus gave up his life as the perfect sacrifice for all our sins, suffering death in our place. After being buried, he physically rose from the dead. The fact that God raised him from the dead clearly showed that God approved of everything he did and said. At his ascension, he was taken up into heaven, where he now sits at the right hand of God the Father, praying for us! For this gift of undeserved mercy I am amazed and forever grateful.
    But since not everyone believes as you and I do, when it comes to showing that Jesus was a man in history, we must rely on ancient historical evidence only. We must treat the question of Jesus’ existence as objectively as possible, acting as critics of what we might say before we say anything. Our statements of faith in Jesus are subjective and are made in the present, so they cannot count as evidence of existence of Jesus when he lived on earth.
    Big Hugs back to you. .
    Lawrence Mykytiuk

  299. Aldemir Andrade_Brazil says:

    So, In summary sir , Which your opinion about Jesus, do you believes that Jesus lived and lives too, ? I apologize my poor english, i`m brazilian man.
    A Big hug

  300. Aldemir Andrade_Brazil says:

    So, In summary sir , Which your opinion about Jesus, do you believes that Jesus lived and lives too, ? I apologize my poor english, i`m brazilian man.
    A Big hug

  301. Aldemir Andrade_Brazil says:

    So, In summary sir , Which your opinion about Jesus, do you believes that Jesus lived, and lives too ? I apologize my poor english, i`m brazilian man..

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  308. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

    A fourth reply (if I may) to Luke (37 above) and to interested readers:
    Luke’s last question is less guarded that the previous three: “Better yet give me one example of something written by anyone who was even alive when Jesus Lived.”

    The author of the letter of James was very much alive during Jesus’ lifetime on earth. Commentaries on this letter sometimes observe that it has several of the same wise insights also found in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew chapters 5 through 7). John R. W. Stott observed that the James who wrote the letter might well have been physically present when Jesus first preached that sermon.

    Matthew, also called Levi, who earlier collected taxes for the Roman rulers, was alive during Jesus’ lifetime, eventually became a follower of Jesus, and wrote one of only four first-century Gospels, which are the ones in the New Testament.

    Simon, the big fisherman whom Jesus re-named Peter, became his follower. His junior companion Mark heard Peter’s preaching and apparently rendered it, some would say as recognizably Peter’s message, in the Gospel of Mark.

    John, the beloved disciple, is arguably the author of the Gospel like no other. And as mentioned in the P.S. of comment 38, the first-century Luke, who apparently did not know Jesus in person, conducted painstaking historical research, very likely including interviews, for example, of Mary the mother of Jesus.

    Because Jesus won the hearts of the Gospel writers, today some amateurs, not realizing that all sources carry bias, completely dismiss them as “biased sources,” as if bias always made it impossible to tease out facts. At the same time, however, regardless of how one might feel about Jesus—teacher and healer versus deceiver and magician—they all ended up as his followers. Their discipleship is an indication that they came into contact with a strong personality who elicited their voluntary loyalty. This fact in turn points with considerable force to his existence.

  309. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

    A fourth reply (if I may) to Luke (37 above) and to interested readers:
    Luke’s last question is less guarded that the previous three: “Better yet give me one example of something written by anyone who was even alive when Jesus Lived.”
    The author of the letter of James was very much alive during Jesus’ lifetime on earth. Commentaries on this letter sometimes observe that it has several of the same wise insights also found in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew chapters 5 through 7). John R. W. Stott observed that the James who wrote the letter might well have been physically present when Jesus first preached that sermon.
    Matthew, also called Levi, who earlier collected taxes for the Roman rulers, was alive during Jesus’ lifetime, eventually became a follower of Jesus, and wrote one of only four first-century Gospels, which are the ones in the New Testament.
    Simon, the big fisherman whom Jesus re-named Peter, became his follower. His junior companion Mark heard Peter’s preaching and apparently rendered it, some would say as recognizably Peter’s message, in the Gospel of Mark.
    John, the beloved disciple, is arguably the author of the Gospel like no other. And as mentioned in the P.S. of comment 38, the first-century Luke, who apparently did not know Jesus in person, conducted painstaking historical research, very likely including interviews, for example, of Mary the mother of Jesus.
    Because Jesus won the hearts of the Gospel writers, today some amateurs, not realizing that all sources carry bias, completely dismiss them as “biased sources,” as if bias always made it impossible to tease out facts. At the same time, however, regardless of how one might feel about Jesus—teacher and healer versus deceiver and magician—they all ended up as his followers. Their discipleship is an indication that they came into contact with a strong personality who elicited their voluntary loyalty. This fact in turn points with considerable force to his existence.

  310. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

    A third reply to Luke (37 above) and to interested readers:
    Luke’s next three questions all carefully—and artificially—limit the evidence to what was written _during_ Jesus’ earthly lifetime:
    “written anytime whatsoever during the life of Jesus,”
    “one writing by Jesus, or anyone at all from the time he lived,” and
    “anyone at all that wrote about him during his life.”
    Luke seems to want very much to avoid all written evidence that appeared _after_ the crucifixion. Of course, the mere fact that something was written after a person’s death does not at all, by itself, invalidate its content. Moreover, the best histories are often written long after the event, and the best biographies are often written long after the person died. For example, even with time-travel, could James M. McPherson have written his great book, _Battle Cry of Freedom: the Civil War Era_ (1988), before General Robert E. Lee of the Confederate States of America surrendered at Appomattox courthouse in 1865? Impossible. It takes time and sustained effort to gather evidence, analyze it, and develop a good historical perspective. The same could be said for many excellent biographies of presidents and of first ladies.

    The cutoff point that Luke wants to impose is not neutral. It represents an attempt to eliminate consideration of all surviving Christian, Jewish, and pagan evidence for the existence of Jesus. Of course, once one shuts one’s eyes to all the evidence, it is easy to deny any historically supported fact.

  311. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

    A third reply to Luke (37 above) and to interested readers:
    Luke’s next three questions all carefully—and artificially—limit the evidence to what was written _during_ Jesus’ earthly lifetime:
    “written anytime whatsoever during the life of Jesus,”
    “one writing by Jesus, or anyone at all from the time he lived,” and
    “anyone at all that wrote about him during his life.”
    Luke seems to want very much to avoid all written evidence that appeared _after_ the crucifixion. Of course, the mere fact that something was written after a person’s death does not at all, by itself, invalidate its content. Moreover, the best histories are often written long after the event, and the best biographies are often written long after the person died. For example, even with time-travel, could James M. McPherson have written his great book, _Battle Cry of Freedom: the Civil War Era_ (1988), before General Robert E. Lee of the Confederate States of America surrendered at Appomattox courthouse in 1865? Impossible. It takes time and sustained effort to gather evidence, analyze it, and develop a good historical perspective. The same could be said for many excellent biographies of presidents and of first ladies.
    The cutoff point that Luke wants to impose is not neutral. It represents an attempt to eliminate consideration of all surviving Christian, Jewish, and pagan evidence for the existence of Jesus. Of course, once one shuts one’s eyes to all the evidence, it is easy to deny any historically supported fact.

  312. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

    A second reply to Luke (37 above):
    Oh yes indeed, Luke, I think the Bible is evidence of many things, because the Bible itself consists of ancient books. The Dead Sea Scrolls, copied between 225 B.C.E. and 68 C.E., include every book of the Hebrew Bible except Esther. For instance, they bring us back more than 2/3 of the chronological distance back to David, and about 3/4 of the way back to Jeremiah.

    Before the Dead Sea Scrolls began to be discovered in 1947 (scroll discoveries continued for two decades), the oldest known copies of the complete Hebrew Bible were from the tenth century C.E. (that is, the 900s). Suddenly, the Dead Sea Scrolls provided a great leap back to copies of the Bible that were about 1,000 years earlier. And when the two were compared, along with interesting differences, they showed that in general, the text had been copied with remarkable faithfulness. The same depth of history, the same great promises, and the same inspiring vision of future healing and joy were found in texts from both time periods.

    And the Hebrew Bible is certainly not lacking in external verification, as archaeology has shown. See, for example, two books by Mordechai Cogan, _The Raging Torrent: Historical Inscriptions from Assyria and Babylonia Relating to Ancient Israel_ (Carta, 2008) and _Bound for Exile: Israelites and Judeans under Imperial Yoke: Documents from Assyria and Babylonia_ (Carta: 2013).

  313. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

    A second reply to Luke (37 above):
    Oh yes indeed, Luke, I think the Bible is evidence of many things, because the Bible itself consists of ancient books. The Dead Sea Scrolls, copied between 225 B.C.E. and 68 C.E., include every book of the Hebrew Bible except Esther. For instance, they bring us back more than 2/3 of the chronological distance back to David, and about 3/4 of the way back to Jeremiah.
    Before the Dead Sea Scrolls began to be discovered in 1947 (scroll discoveries continued for two decades), the oldest known copies of the complete Hebrew Bible were from the tenth century C.E. (that is, the 900s). Suddenly, the Dead Sea Scrolls provided a great leap back to copies of the Bible that were about 1,000 years earlier. And when the two were compared, along with interesting differences, they showed that in general, the text had been copied with remarkable faithfulness. The same depth of history, the same great promises, and the same inspiring vision of future healing and joy were found in texts from both time periods.
    And the Hebrew Bible is certainly not lacking in external verification, as archaeology has shown. See, for example, two books by Mordechai Cogan, _The Raging Torrent: Historical Inscriptions from Assyria and Babylonia Relating to Ancient Israel_ (Carta, 2008) and _Bound for Exile: Israelites and Judeans under Imperial Yoke: Documents from Assyria and Babylonia_ (Carta: 2013).

  314. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

    Reply to Luke (37 above):
    Your comment involves hard-driving rhetoric: “I’d like to know one . . . source . . .. Please tell me one writing . . . . Give me one single source from anyone at all . . . . Better yet give me one example of something written by anyone . . . .” These are simply rhetorical questions, which create the impression that you assume that in every single case, no such sources exist. Rhetorical questions do not expect an answer. They do not express any interest in listening. They only attempt to convey an implicit opinion.

    As I understand this barrage, it amounts to: 1) an implicit claim that there is no such evidence, coupled with 2) a demand that the person you are talking to must surrender, or you will heap scorn on him or her.

    This kind of comment certainly seems to be long on confrontation and short on homework.

    I hope that the impression I have received is mistaken. I would love to carry on an honest discussion. If you are willing to drop the bluster and indignant facade and actually give a reasonably open, somewhat unbiased hearing to the evidence, please let me know.

    P.S. It is ironic that you give your name as Luke, whose writings provide what amounts to the historical backbone of much of the New Testament. The first few verses of his Gospel include his statement, “. . . I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning . . . . to write an orderly account for you . . . , so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.”

  315. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

    Reply to Luke (37 above):
    Your comment involves hard-driving rhetoric: “I’d like to know one . . . source . . .. Please tell me one writing . . . . Give me one single source from anyone at all . . . . Better yet give me one example of something written by anyone . . . .” These are simply rhetorical questions, which create the impression that you assume that in every single case, no such sources exist. Rhetorical questions do not expect an answer. They do not express any interest in listening. They only attempt to convey an implicit opinion.
    As I understand this barrage, it amounts to: 1) an implicit claim that there is no such evidence, coupled with 2) a demand that the person you are talking to must surrender, or you will heap scorn on him or her.
    This kind of comment certainly seems to be long on confrontation and short on homework.
    I hope that the impression I have received is mistaken. I would love to carry on an honest discussion. If you are willing to drop the bluster and indignant facade and actually give a reasonably open, somewhat unbiased hearing to the evidence, please let me know.
    P.S. It is ironic that you give your name as Luke, whose writings provide what amounts to the historical backbone of much of the New Testament. The first few verses of his Gospel include his statement, “. . . I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning . . . . to write an orderly account for you . . . , so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.”

  316. Luke says:

    you really think the bible is evidence of anything? I’d like to know one non biblical source written anytime whatsoever during the life of Jesus. Please give me one writing by Jesus, or anyone at all from the time he lived. Give me one single source from anyone at all that wrote about him during his life. Better yet give me one example of something written by anyone who was even alive when Jesus Lived.

  317. Luke says:

    you really think the bible is evidence of anything? I’d like to know one non biblical source written anytime whatsoever during the life of Jesus. Please give me one writing by Jesus, or anyone at all from the time he lived. Give me one single source from anyone at all that wrote about him during his life. Better yet give me one example of something written by anyone who was even alive when Jesus Lived.

  318. -Was Jesus a Real Person? Historical Evidence Beyond the Bible | ANSWERS For The Faith says:

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  322. The Quotable Josephus » Peter Kirby says:

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  324. regina says:

    Jesus exists! I saw him in the flesh in 2007. I love you Jesus

  325. regina says:

    Jesus exists! I saw him in the flesh in 2007. I love you Jesus

  326. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

    Reply to Billy (30 above) and to correct my post 34 above:

    I apologize to Dr. Richard Carrier for my error in post 34 above when I mistakenly said he had deleted my comment of March 8. I simply could not see it and thought it was gone forever. On about April 19, I learned that, following his latest trip(s), Richard Carrier has a huge backlog of comments to review and reply to,

    I certainly understand what it is to go through many comments coming from different directions and do one’s best to provide a good reply to each one, so I am actually grateful for Richard’s current efforts.

    Today, April 26, I learned from his blog that, if I understand correctly, on April 9 he did not delete my March 8 comment on his blog. Rather, he reports that he is diligently working through the comments he has received. I am content to wait my turn. As of April 9, I was unaware that he had received so many comments on his blog that he needed to set new rules and “dig out” of the backlog of comments. I did not mean to give any impression that I expect to receive preferential treatment.

  327. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

    Reply to Billy (30 above) and to correct my post 34 above:
    I apologize to Dr. Richard Carrier for my error in post 34 above when I mistakenly said he had deleted my comment of March 8. I simply could not see it and thought it was gone forever. On about April 19, I learned that, following his latest trip(s), Richard Carrier has a huge backlog of comments to review and reply to,
    I certainly understand what it is to go through many comments coming from different directions and do one’s best to provide a good reply to each one, so I am actually grateful for Richard’s current efforts.
    Today, April 26, I learned from his blog that, if I understand correctly, on April 9 he did not delete my March 8 comment on his blog. Rather, he reports that he is diligently working through the comments he has received. I am content to wait my turn. As of April 9, I was unaware that he had received so many comments on his blog that he needed to set new rules and “dig out” of the backlog of comments. I did not mean to give any impression that I expect to receive preferential treatment.

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  330. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

    Reply to Billy (30 above):
    Unfortunately for the progress of scholarly dialogue, today Dr. Carrier has “moderated” my brief comment on his blog by deleting it.

  331. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

    Reply to Billy (30 above):
    Unfortunately for the progress of scholarly dialogue, today Dr. Carrier has “moderated” my brief comment on his blog by deleting it.

  332. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

    Reply to James (comment 32 above):
    Thank you for commenting, Could you please clarify who is the David you are responding to and where his remarks about the Jesus Seminar appear?

  333. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

    Reply to James (comment 32 above):
    Thank you for commenting, Could you please clarify who is the David you are responding to and where his remarks about the Jesus Seminar appear?

  334. Jim Oppenheimer says:

    @1 David: You say “liberal” as if it were a bad thing! The Jesus Seminar is in fact Bible scholars; check out their credentials. How silly, to say, because you don’t care for their thoughtfully developed conclusions, that they are not what they so obviously are.

  335. Jim Oppenheimer says:

    @1 David: You say “liberal” as if it were a bad thing! The Jesus Seminar is in fact Bible scholars; check out their credentials. How silly, to say, because you don’t care for their thoughtfully developed conclusions, that they are not what they so obviously are.

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  340. Sylvia Commerford says:

    Jesus Christ is alive as I have heard His voice, there is no other voice like it It was during the time when Pope John Paul instituted the ecumenical movement and my church fell in with it, I was distressed about this as it seemed that the pope was trying to gather all the people under his wing. That night I had a dream Where the Lord appeared and spoke these Words “Truly, truly, I say unto thee, one of you shal betray me” I asked “is it I Lord” and the answer came “The hand that feeds my bread” I woke up in the morning still very much in dazed manner, and I asked another question “Does the church believe it is the saviour of the world?” and the answer came again.”So Eve believed and ate the apple” We are not to put our trust in churches but in the Living God, creator of heaven and earth whom send Christ to reconcile us to Him and make Him known to us. God bless

  341. Sylvia Commerford says:

    Jesus Christ is alive as I have heard His voice, there is no other voice like it It was during the time when Pope John Paul instituted the ecumenical movement and my church fell in with it, I was distressed about this as it seemed that the pope was trying to gather all the people under his wing. That night I had a dream Where the Lord appeared and spoke these Words “Truly, truly, I say unto thee, one of you shal betray me” I asked “is it I Lord” and the answer came “The hand that feeds my bread” I woke up in the morning still very much in dazed manner, and I asked another question “Does the church believe it is the saviour of the world?” and the answer came again.”So Eve believed and ate the apple” We are not to put our trust in churches but in the Living God, creator of heaven and earth whom send Christ to reconcile us to Him and make Him known to us. God bless

  342. Was History Invited to the Party? | Sam Matteson says:

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  346. Billy says:

    I see. Thanks Dr. Mykytiuk. I believe Dr. Carrier has his blog in moderation since he is on a speaking trip. I assume he will address it there in the comments section at some point. I’ll be on the lookout. This is such a fascinating issue. Cheers.

  347. Billy says:

    I see. Thanks Dr. Mykytiuk. I believe Dr. Carrier has his blog in moderation since he is on a speaking trip. I assume he will address it there in the comments section at some point. I’ll be on the lookout. This is such a fascinating issue. Cheers.

  348. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

    Reply to Billy (comment 27 above):
    Richard Carrier attempts to use Michael Grant’s book, Greek and Roman Historians: Information and Misinformation, to invalidate Tacitus’ reference to Christus. Although Grant makes the point that Greek and Roman historians, including Tacitus, are sometimes unreliable, this general point cannot be used to simply throw away everything they wrote, as Grant points out.
    Further, Grant’s general observation does not specifically nullify what Tacitus said about Jesus, about whom he possessed particular information that coincides with Josephus and the Gospels.

  349. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

    Reply to Billy (comment 27 above):
    Richard Carrier attempts to use Michael Grant’s book, Greek and Roman Historians: Information and Misinformation, to invalidate Tacitus’ reference to Christus. Although Grant makes the point that Greek and Roman historians, including Tacitus, are sometimes unreliable, this general point cannot be used to simply throw away everything they wrote, as Grant points out.
    Further, Grant’s general observation does not specifically nullify what Tacitus said about Jesus, about whom he possessed particular information that coincides with Josephus and the Gospels.

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  354. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

    Reply to Billy (27 above):
    I just posted a brief comment on Dr. Carrier’s blog, with a link to this page. I, too, will be interested to see how he responds.

  355. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

    Reply to Billy (27 above):
    I just posted a brief comment on Dr. Carrier’s blog, with a link to this page. I, too, will be interested to see how he responds.

  356. Billy says:

    Lawrence… in the interest of hashing out these differences would you submit the above criticism to Carrier for a reply on his blog post? I make no pretenses to expertise in these matters, yet I would love to see how he would respond to your points. Thanks

  357. Billy says:

    Lawrence… in the interest of hashing out these differences would you submit the above criticism to Carrier for a reply on his blog post? I make no pretenses to expertise in these matters, yet I would love to see how he would respond to your points. Thanks

  358. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

    Reply to Billy (25 above):
    In the blog post you refer to, Dr. Carrier states that “Notably, Mykytiuk even concedes Tacitus’s source was Gospel-using Christians.” The article, however, merely observes that Tacitus likely encountered Christians, whom he questioned and judged. It does not at all state that he used Christians as a “source,” as Dr Carrier claims, let alone “Tacitus’s source.” Carrier’s use of the singular amounts to a claim that Tacitus used only one source, a claim for which no conclusive evidence currently exists.
    In fact, Tacitus so despised Christians that he would have instinctively distrusted practically anything they said.
    For instance, it is remarkable that Tacitus never refers to the man he calls Christus by his actual name, Jesus, which Christians would certainly have known and mentioned.
    As Dr Carrier himself would be acutely aware, because of his disagreements with many scholars, there is a world of difference between becoming aware of the statements, references, and claims of others and actually giving credence to them. I am aware of statements made by followers of other religions and scholars of “no religion,” but I certainly do not concede accuracy to the data they affirm unless I verify it using reliable sources that I trust.

    To make myself entirely clear—Dr. Carrier misreads the following paragraph in the article, which makes no such claim as he imagines:

    “Earlier in his career, when Tacitus was Proconsul of Asia,7 he likely supervised trials, questioned people accused of being Christians and judged and punished those whom he found guilty, as his friend Pliny the Younger had done when he too was a provincial governor. Thus Tacitus stood a very good chance of becoming aware of information that he characteristically would have wanted to verify before accepting it as true.8”

    The above paragraph is clarified by the attached footnote 8, quoted below, which Dr. Carrier seems not to have read. The second through fifth sentences: “I have read . . . . ” through “. . . his discernment as a historian” take away his claim regarding the article’s view of Tacitus’ sources.

    “8 Perhaps he compared it to Roman records, whether in general governmental archives or in records concerning various religions. I have read one analysis by an author who arbitrarily assumes that Tacitus got his information only from Christians—no other source. Then, on the sole basis of the author’s own assumption, the analysis completely dismisses Tacitus’s clear historical statement about “Christus.” This evaluation is based on opinion, not evidence. It also undervalues Tacitus’s very careful writing and his discernment as a historian. He likely had access to some archives through his status, either as Proconsul of Asia, as a senator—or, as is often overlooked, from his connections as a high-ranking priest of Roman religion. In 88 C.E., he became “a member of the Quindecimviri Sacris Faciundis [“The Board of Fifteen for Performing Sacrifices”], the priestly organization charged, among other things, with … supervising the practice of officially tolerated foreign cults in the city … [and facing] the growing necessity to distinguish illicit Christianity from licit Judaism” (Van Voorst, Jesus Outside, p. 52), or, given Jewish resistance to oppressive measures taken by Rome, at least to keep a close watch on developments within Judaism. Indeed, “a Roman archive … is particularly suggested by the note of the temporary suppression of the superstition, which indicates an official perspective” (Theissen and Merz, Historical Jesus, p. 83). Membership in this priestly regulatory group very likely gave Tacitus access to at least some of the accurate knowledge he possessed about Christus. With characteristic brevity, he reported the facts as he understood them, quickly dismissing the despised, executed Christus from the Annals (see Meier, Marginal Jew, vol. 1, p. 90).”

    It is a pity that Dr. Carrier, who presents himself on his blog as a “renowned author,” has not bothered to read fully and carefully what he criticizes (and attempts to vilify) so freely.

    One other observation about Dr. Carrier’s blog post is that he does not distinguish between scholarly publications—written for experts who have gone far beyond the basics and are familiar with the details of controversies discussed in books that are hundreds of pages long—and popular-level publications, such as BAR, which are written for the general public, and whose articles are of limited length. To go into the details of scholarly controversies in a popular-level article would be to lose or confuse one’s audience.
    Dr. Carrier must surely be aware of the difference, but he makes no attempt to be scrupulously fair by taking into account the difference in writing for two widely varying audiences. This intentional overlooking of a glaring difference gives him a pseudo-justification for underscoring a cardinal sin of the article: “Most notably, this article takes no notice of, nor responds in any way, to my book . . . .” that was published a year ago.
    In point of fact, while not attempting to denigrate or belittle his work in any way, I—and the specialists who are quoted in the article—simply find other works that deny the existence of Jesus to be more important.

    Lawrence Mykytiuk
    Ph.D., Hebrew and Semitic Studies, M.A., Library and Information Studies, M.T.S. Theological Studies, Associate Professor of Library and Information Studies, Purdue University
    Courtesy appointment as Associate Professor of History, Purdue University

  359. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

    Reply to Billy (25 above):
    In the blog post you refer to, Dr. Carrier states that “Notably, Mykytiuk even concedes Tacitus’s source was Gospel-using Christians.” The article, however, merely observes that Tacitus likely encountered Christians, whom he questioned and judged. It does not at all state that he used Christians as a “source,” as Dr Carrier claims, let alone “Tacitus’s source.” Carrier’s use of the singular amounts to a claim that Tacitus used only one source, a claim for which no conclusive evidence currently exists.
    In fact, Tacitus so despised Christians that he would have instinctively distrusted practically anything they said.
    For instance, it is remarkable that Tacitus never refers to the man he calls Christus by his actual name, Jesus, which Christians would certainly have known and mentioned.
    As Dr Carrier himself would be acutely aware, because of his disagreements with many scholars, there is a world of difference between becoming aware of the statements, references, and claims of others and actually giving credence to them. I am aware of statements made by followers of other religions and scholars of “no religion,” but I certainly do not concede accuracy to the data they affirm unless I verify it using reliable sources that I trust.
    To make myself entirely clear—Dr. Carrier misreads the following paragraph in the article, which makes no such claim as he imagines:
    “Earlier in his career, when Tacitus was Proconsul of Asia,7 he likely supervised trials, questioned people accused of being Christians and judged and punished those whom he found guilty, as his friend Pliny the Younger had done when he too was a provincial governor. Thus Tacitus stood a very good chance of becoming aware of information that he characteristically would have wanted to verify before accepting it as true.8”
    The above paragraph is clarified by the attached footnote 8, quoted below, which Dr. Carrier seems not to have read. The second through fifth sentences: “I have read . . . . ” through “. . . his discernment as a historian” take away his claim regarding the article’s view of Tacitus’ sources.
    “8 Perhaps he compared it to Roman records, whether in general governmental archives or in records concerning various religions. I have read one analysis by an author who arbitrarily assumes that Tacitus got his information only from Christians—no other source. Then, on the sole basis of the author’s own assumption, the analysis completely dismisses Tacitus’s clear historical statement about “Christus.” This evaluation is based on opinion, not evidence. It also undervalues Tacitus’s very careful writing and his discernment as a historian. He likely had access to some archives through his status, either as Proconsul of Asia, as a senator—or, as is often overlooked, from his connections as a high-ranking priest of Roman religion. In 88 C.E., he became “a member of the Quindecimviri Sacris Faciundis [“The Board of Fifteen for Performing Sacrifices”], the priestly organization charged, among other things, with … supervising the practice of officially tolerated foreign cults in the city … [and facing] the growing necessity to distinguish illicit Christianity from licit Judaism” (Van Voorst, Jesus Outside, p. 52), or, given Jewish resistance to oppressive measures taken by Rome, at least to keep a close watch on developments within Judaism. Indeed, “a Roman archive … is particularly suggested by the note of the temporary suppression of the superstition, which indicates an official perspective” (Theissen and Merz, Historical Jesus, p. 83). Membership in this priestly regulatory group very likely gave Tacitus access to at least some of the accurate knowledge he possessed about Christus. With characteristic brevity, he reported the facts as he understood them, quickly dismissing the despised, executed Christus from the Annals (see Meier, Marginal Jew, vol. 1, p. 90).”
    It is a pity that Dr. Carrier, who presents himself on his blog as a “renowned author,” has not bothered to read fully and carefully what he criticizes (and attempts to vilify) so freely.
    One other observation about Dr. Carrier’s blog post is that he does not distinguish between scholarly publications—written for experts who have gone far beyond the basics and are familiar with the details of controversies discussed in books that are hundreds of pages long—and popular-level publications, such as BAR, which are written for the general public, and whose articles are of limited length. To go into the details of scholarly controversies in a popular-level article would be to lose or confuse one’s audience.
    Dr. Carrier must surely be aware of the difference, but he makes no attempt to be scrupulously fair by taking into account the difference in writing for two widely varying audiences. This intentional overlooking of a glaring difference gives him a pseudo-justification for underscoring a cardinal sin of the article: “Most notably, this article takes no notice of, nor responds in any way, to my book . . . .” that was published a year ago.
    In point of fact, while not attempting to denigrate or belittle his work in any way, I—and the specialists who are quoted in the article—simply find other works that deny the existence of Jesus to be more important.
    Lawrence Mykytiuk
    Ph.D., Hebrew and Semitic Studies, M.A., Library and Information Studies, M.T.S. Theological Studies, Associate Professor of Library and Information Studies, Purdue University
    Courtesy appointment as Associate Professor of History, Purdue University

  360. Billy says:

    Dr. Richard Carrier has issued a substantive critical response to this piece by Mykytiuk. His blog posts are written in casual and often irreverent language, but don’t let that cloud the merits of his scholarly acumen and rigor. Carrier has a PhD in ancient history and has done extensive research on the question of Jesus’ historicity, so his opinion is highly relevant. He has also gone to the trouble of working out a sound methodology for analyzing these kinds of questions. Here is the link if anyone is interested in what he has to say: http://freethoughtblogs.com/carrier/archives/6862

  361. Billy says:

    Dr. Richard Carrier has issued a substantive critical response to this piece by Mykytiuk. His blog posts are written in casual and often irreverent language, but don’t let that cloud the merits of his scholarly acumen and rigor. Carrier has a PhD in ancient history and has done extensive research on the question of Jesus’ historicity, so his opinion is highly relevant. He has also gone to the trouble of working out a sound methodology for analyzing these kinds of questions. Here is the link if anyone is interested in what he has to say: http://freethoughtblogs.com/carrier/archives/6862

  362. What do ancient non-Christian sources tell us about the historical Jesus? | Wintery Knight says:

    […] article from Biblical Archaeology covers all the non-Christian historical sources that discuss […]

  363. What do ancient non-Christian sources tell us about the historical Jesus? | Wintery Knight says:

    […] article from Biblical Archaeology covers all the non-Christian historical sources that discuss […]

  364. Was Jesus A Myth? | Are You Ready… says:

    […] Here is a link to an article at biblicalarchaeology.org, also known as Bible History Daily. Here Lawrence Mykytiuk lays out historical text of other writings at the time of Jesus in order to investigate to see if this type of evidence does in fact exist: http://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/people-cultures-in-the-bible/jesus-historical-jesus/did-jes… […]

  365. Was Jesus A Myth? | Are You Ready… says:

    […] Here is a link to an article at biblicalarchaeology.org, also known as Bible History Daily. Here Lawrence Mykytiuk lays out historical text of other writings at the time of Jesus in order to investigate to see if this type of evidence does in fact exist: http://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/people-cultures-in-the-bible/jesus-historical-jesus/did-jes… […]

  366. David says:

    Even more embarrassing for the author is his dishonest approach in responding to criticisms lest he have to answer a question directly, and the constant attempts to validate the bible as a source for Jesus as factual in his roundabout replies. Ugh.

  367. Has the Childhood Home of Jesus Been Found? | Laodicean Report says:

    […] childhood home of Jesus may have been found underneath the Sisters of Nazareth Convent in Nazareth, Israel, according to […]

  368. Has the Childhood Home of Jesus Been Found? | Laodicean Report says:

    […] childhood home of Jesus may have been found underneath the Sisters of Nazareth Convent in Nazareth, Israel, according to […]

  369. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

    Reply to Darrell (23 above):
    Thank you for your kind remarks, gentle response, and good observations. .

  370. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

    Reply to Darrell (23 above):
    Thank you for your kind remarks, gentle response, and good observations. .

  371. Darrell Nepia says:

    Excellent article.

    Cooper, I do believe you are being a “dog in a manger” with your comments. The article and footnotes, not to mention the authors replies in this comments section, provide compelling answers to your queries……many of them referenced even!

    There doesn’t seem to be any biblical connection to Tacitus’s remarks due to the rather obvious error he makes linking the name Chrestus with the Christians.

    There was also the mention that there are surprisingly few original writings in existence of anything from that time! I wonder if this very early first century period was a time when writing materials were in a period of change……possibly papyrus was in use more than vellum, whatever!

    It pays to read a little closer Cooper

  372. Darrell Nepia says:

    Excellent article.
    Cooper, I do believe you are being a “dog in a manger” with your comments. The article and footnotes, not to mention the authors replies in this comments section, provide compelling answers to your queries……many of them referenced even!
    There doesn’t seem to be any biblical connection to Tacitus’s remarks due to the rather obvious error he makes linking the name Chrestus with the Christians.
    There was also the mention that there are surprisingly few original writings in existence of anything from that time! I wonder if this very early first century period was a time when writing materials were in a period of change……possibly papyrus was in use more than vellum, whatever!
    It pays to read a little closer Cooper

  373. FELIX Jr. says:

    EYES HAVE NOT SEEN WHAT GOD HAS PREPARED FOR THOSE WHO LOVE HIM !, FAITH IS THE EVIDENCE OF THINGS HOPED FOR AND THE BELIEF FOR THAT WE HAVE NOT SEEN !, AMEN !!!

  374. FELIX Jr. says:

    EYES HAVE NOT SEEN WHAT GOD HAS PREPARED FOR THOSE WHO LOVE HIM !, FAITH IS THE EVIDENCE OF THINGS HOPED FOR AND THE BELIEF FOR THAT WE HAVE NOT SEEN !, AMEN !!!

  375. Cooper says:

    How could these writings be confirmation of the existannce of Jesus if none are from the time of Christ , Tacitus most likely used the biblical story wether he heard it by word of mouth or read it ,as a source because there is no record of Pontias pilot executing a man named Jesus other then the bible . There is no reason to believe that any of these works used any source other then the story itself. Wether or not he existed ( I believe he did) is of little importance in the context of wether or not he is who the authors of the gospels claim him to be ( I do not believe them) . We don’t even know who the authors of the four gospels are and there is no artifacts , dwellings , tombs or works of carpentry that confirm that Jesus lived the life that they say he lived.
    If all that happend in his life the people he healed , saved , consoled and pissed off would have written about it when it happens , no one talked about him it seems . No one

  376. Cooper says:

    How could these writings be confirmation of the existannce of Jesus if none are from the time of Christ , Tacitus most likely used the biblical story wether he heard it by word of mouth or read it ,as a source because there is no record of Pontias pilot executing a man named Jesus other then the bible . There is no reason to believe that any of these works used any source other then the story itself. Wether or not he existed ( I believe he did) is of little importance in the context of wether or not he is who the authors of the gospels claim him to be ( I do not believe them) . We don’t even know who the authors of the four gospels are and there is no artifacts , dwellings , tombs or works of carpentry that confirm that Jesus lived the life that they say he lived.
    If all that happend in his life the people he healed , saved , consoled and pissed off would have written about it when it happens , no one talked about him it seems . No one

  377. Did Jesus Exist? Searching for Evidence Beyond the Bible | Max Doubt says:

    […] Permalink: http://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/people-cultures-in-the-bible/jesus-historical-jesus/did-jes… […]

  378. Did Jesus Exist? Searching for Evidence Beyond the Bible | Max Doubt says:

    […] Permalink: http://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/people-cultures-in-the-bible/jesus-historical-jesus/did-jes… […]

  379. Charlemagne Never Existed | VOP Blog says:

    […] this, Ehrman is right.  As Lawrence Mykytiuk points out in the current edition of the Biblical Archeaological Review, the evidence for Jesus is conclusive.  […]

  380. Charlemagne Never Existed | VOP Blog says:

    […] this, Ehrman is right.  As Lawrence Mykytiuk points out in the current edition of the Biblical Archeaological Review, the evidence for Jesus is conclusive.  […]

  381. The Biblical Studies Carnival – December 2014 | Daniel N. Gullotta says:

    […] Given the surge in interest in the existence of Jesus of Nazareth, Dr. Lawrence Mykytiuk (Purdue University) weighs in on the non-Biblical sources about Jesus for Bible History Daily, in his piece “Did Jesus Exist? Searching for Evidence Beyond the Bible.” […]

  382. The Biblical Studies Carnival – December 2014 | Daniel N. Gullotta says:

    […] Given the surge in interest in the existence of Jesus of Nazareth, Dr. Lawrence Mykytiuk (Purdue University) weighs in on the non-Biblical sources about Jesus for Bible History Daily, in his piece “Did Jesus Exist? Searching for Evidence Beyond the Bible.” […]

  383. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

    Reply to Bruce (19. above):
    I stand by my article. It is based on the strongest ancient evidence and the best publications by modern scholars that I could find. The endnotes above which cite these numerous publications are almost as long as the article itself. You have not cited a single scholarly publication in support of your contentions.
    I am also grateful for the evidence, knowledge, insights, and references provided by readers in their helpful comments, especially the following:
    On the previous page (which is linked below, through the words “Previous 1″ on the line before “Continuing the Discussion” that introduce the linked web pages): Bob (comments 3, 9, and 11), Kurt (comment 31), and Gene R. (comments 33 and 34).
    Above on this page: Gene R. again (comment 5 above), Brian (comment 8 above), and John (comment 16 above).
    Thank you, one and all.
    My comments 39, 40, 44, and 45 on the previous page, as well as comment 11 above, were intended to provide helpful light on the subject in response to your comments. To descend to _ad_hominem_ argument by impugning the motives of any author, as your comment 19 does, cannot establish your case.
    My major offense seems to be stating that Jesus was named Jesus.
    And so, Bruce, let me wish you a Happy New Year!

  384. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

    Reply to Bruce (19. above):
    I stand by my article. It is based on the strongest ancient evidence and the best publications by modern scholars that I could find. The endnotes above which cite these numerous publications are almost as long as the article itself. You have not cited a single scholarly publication in support of your contentions.
    I am also grateful for the evidence, knowledge, insights, and references provided by readers in their helpful comments, especially the following:
    On the previous page (which is linked below, through the words “Previous 1″ on the line before “Continuing the Discussion” that introduce the linked web pages): Bob (comments 3, 9, and 11), Kurt (comment 31), and Gene R. (comments 33 and 34).
    Above on this page: Gene R. again (comment 5 above), Brian (comment 8 above), and John (comment 16 above).
    Thank you, one and all.
    My comments 39, 40, 44, and 45 on the previous page, as well as comment 11 above, were intended to provide helpful light on the subject in response to your comments. To descend to _ad_hominem_ argument by impugning the motives of any author, as your comment 19 does, cannot establish your case.
    My major offense seems to be stating that Jesus was named Jesus.
    And so, Bruce, let me wish you a Happy New Year!

  385. Bruce L says:

    Lawrence, Not only were all my questions very unsatisfactorily answered in typical believer-fashion and other questions or issues simply ignored or brushed aside, but I find it clear as day that you are really not interested in the truth first, as a true scientist or archaeologist would be, but that your religious beliefs comes first and all else is only there to confirm these beliefs.

    You suspected I had an agenda here. That would be correct and my agenda would be the true truth above all else and not religious-belief first and truth second.

  386. Bruce L says:

    Lawrence, Not only were all my questions very unsatisfactorily answered in typical believer-fashion and other questions or issues simply ignored or brushed aside, but I find it clear as day that you are really not interested in the truth first, as a true scientist or archaeologist would be, but that your religious beliefs comes first and all else is only there to confirm these beliefs.
    You suspected I had an agenda here. That would be correct and my agenda would be the true truth above all else and not religious-belief first and truth second.

  387. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

    Reply to Bruce (17. above):
    I and others have already replied to your questions regarding the naming of Jesus. Regarding the data in the rest of your comment, I do not find factual material there. But you can spin a good yarn.

  388. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

    Reply to Bruce (17. above):
    I and others have already replied to your questions regarding the naming of Jesus. Regarding the data in the rest of your comment, I do not find factual material there. But you can spin a good yarn.

  389. Bruce L says:

    Lawrence, Matthew 23, which says in no uncertain terms his name shall be Emmanuel, yet this verse is surrounded by his name being Jesus as well; how do you explain away such seeming apparent contradiction and confusing inconsistency?

    Also, how accurate to actual historical events do you think the New Testament could possibly be considering it was commissioned nearly 400 years after the events it was supposed to document for all time? Very few people could read or write back then and the chances for falsifications, alterations, distortions were extremely high. Even in this day and age, such is the case depending on where one gets their news and the bias of such a source.

    For ex., due to a fire, the first Torah or Old Testament was destroyed. Then 400 years later, a 2nd Torah was cobbled together by 12 alleged Prophets in 40 days, which was composed of 240 books or stories that were based on ancient oral acceptances, assertions, traditions and deliberate self-serving distortions, from which arose, the Five Books of Moses or the Pentateuch of Judaism. For ex., it is said that Moses wandered the desert for 40 years after escaping Egyptian slavery with his Jewish followers, however I have also read that it was more likely 40 weeks, which makes a lot more sense considering the geography of the area, of which Moses was surely knowledgeable considering his stint as an Egyptian military leader.

    My point is distortion of actualities was far more likely than a precise and accurate rendering of events thousands of years ago, made even more likely by the very few who could even read or write and then those were on the payroll of those in power who had it in their own special interest to present events and stories to their advantage, to increase & extend their own power and wealth.

  390. Bruce L says:

    Lawrence, Matthew 23, which says in no uncertain terms his name shall be Emmanuel, yet this verse is surrounded by his name being Jesus as well; how do you explain away such seeming apparent contradiction and confusing inconsistency?
    Also, how accurate to actual historical events do you think the New Testament could possibly be considering it was commissioned nearly 400 years after the events it was supposed to document for all time? Very few people could read or write back then and the chances for falsifications, alterations, distortions were extremely high. Even in this day and age, such is the case depending on where one gets their news and the bias of such a source.
    For ex., due to a fire, the first Torah or Old Testament was destroyed. Then 400 years later, a 2nd Torah was cobbled together by 12 alleged Prophets in 40 days, which was composed of 240 books or stories that were based on ancient oral acceptances, assertions, traditions and deliberate self-serving distortions, from which arose, the Five Books of Moses or the Pentateuch of Judaism. For ex., it is said that Moses wandered the desert for 40 years after escaping Egyptian slavery with his Jewish followers, however I have also read that it was more likely 40 weeks, which makes a lot more sense considering the geography of the area, of which Moses was surely knowledgeable considering his stint as an Egyptian military leader.
    My point is distortion of actualities was far more likely than a precise and accurate rendering of events thousands of years ago, made even more likely by the very few who could even read or write and then those were on the payroll of those in power who had it in their own special interest to present events and stories to their advantage, to increase & extend their own power and wealth.

  391. Did Jesus Exist? Searching for Evidence Beyond the Bible : These Christian Times says:

    […] I published an article in BAR titled “Archaeology Confirms 50 Real People in the Bible.”a The enormous interest this article generated was a complete surprise to me. Nearly 40 websites in […]

  392. Did Jesus Exist? Searching for Evidence Beyond the Bible : These Christian Times says:

    […] I published an article in BAR titled “Archaeology Confirms 50 Real People in the Bible.”a The enormous interest this article generated was a complete surprise to me. Nearly 40 websites in […]

  393. John Phillips says:

    On the discussion on names.
    In Scripture name = character and not just a title.
    God is revealed in holy character, creative actions, and divine wisdom.
    God is not a spatial being with a title.
    Jesus revealed God. He was in character God with us.

  394. John Phillips says:

    On the discussion on names.
    In Scripture name = character and not just a title.
    God is revealed in holy character, creative actions, and divine wisdom.
    God is not a spatial being with a title.
    Jesus revealed God. He was in character God with us.

  395. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

    Reply to Erik (on the previous page, post 18. The previous page is linked below, through the words “Previous 1″ on the line before “Continuing the Discussion” that introduce the web pages listed on this page.):

    In response to your comment, “Josephus mentions , , , Jesus, son of Damneus who was anointed [= Chrestos], as high priest.”

    This high priest was anointed with oit at the beginning of his high priestly ministry. The Greek term is not the Roman name of slaves and freedmen,Chrestos, but rather christos, meaning simply “anointed,” just as previous high priests and later ones were anointed with oil, as required by the law of Moses.

    In response to your comments:
    “I have read, that perhaps the most important aspect re. the term “christian” is, that Josephus normally always explains his Roman readers the meanings when he introduces unfamiliar terms, also when he repeats.
    But here there is no explanations of what a “chrestos” are?”

    Again, as the article explains, the term is not the Roman name of slaves and freedmen, which is,Chrestos (meaning “good, kind, useful, helpful”) but rather the Greek term christos, meaning “anointed,” or if referring to the coming Jewish Messiah, Christos, “(the) anointed one.” The significance of Josephus not explaining the significance of the term in book 20 of his Jewish Antiquities is that since he does explain new terms to his Roman readers, the likely implication is that he already explained something of the significance of the term Christos earlier in Jewish Antiquities. This implication tends to strengthen the case for Josephus as the author of the longer reference to Jesus in book 18 of Jewish Antiquities.

  396. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

    Reply to Erik (on the previous page, post 18. The previous page is linked below, through the words “Previous 1″ on the line before “Continuing the Discussion” that introduce the web pages listed on this page.):
    In response to your comment, “Josephus mentions , , , Jesus, son of Damneus who was anointed [= Chrestos], as high priest.”
    This high priest was anointed with oit at the beginning of his high priestly ministry. The Greek term is not the Roman name of slaves and freedmen,Chrestos, but rather christos, meaning simply “anointed,” just as previous high priests and later ones were anointed with oil, as required by the law of Moses.
    In response to your comments:
    “I have read, that perhaps the most important aspect re. the term “christian” is, that Josephus normally always explains his Roman readers the meanings when he introduces unfamiliar terms, also when he repeats.
    But here there is no explanations of what a “chrestos” are?”
    Again, as the article explains, the term is not the Roman name of slaves and freedmen, which is,Chrestos (meaning “good, kind, useful, helpful”) but rather the Greek term christos, meaning “anointed,” or if referring to the coming Jewish Messiah, Christos, “(the) anointed one.” The significance of Josephus not explaining the significance of the term in book 20 of his Jewish Antiquities is that since he does explain new terms to his Roman readers, the likely implication is that he already explained something of the significance of the term Christos earlier in Jewish Antiquities. This implication tends to strengthen the case for Josephus as the author of the longer reference to Jesus in book 18 of Jewish Antiquities.

  397. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

    Reply to Erik (on the previous page, post 18.
    In response to your comments, “I couldn’t find anything about the the chronology re. the term ‘christian’ ” and, “The first time the term Christian was mentioned was in Antioch””

    It is impossible to date the beginning of the use of the term Christian. It might have been used originally against believers in Jesus, as a term of derision, but there is no way to assign an exact year to it, and the New Testament gives us only a general idea of when it was first used: during the first century: perhaps around the time when Barnabas brought Saul/Paul the apostle to Antioch (Acts 11:25-26). By the time Paul had been put on trial before Festus (Acts chapter 25) and appeared before King Agrippa (Acts 26), even King Agrippa used the term “Christian” as a way of referring to a follower of Jesus (Acts 26:28).

  398. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

    Reply to Erik (on the previous page, post 18.
    In response to your comments, “I couldn’t find anything about the the chronology re. the term ‘christian’ ” and, “The first time the term Christian was mentioned was in Antioch””
    It is impossible to date the beginning of the use of the term Christian. It might have been used originally against believers in Jesus, as a term of derision, but there is no way to assign an exact year to it, and the New Testament gives us only a general idea of when it was first used: during the first century: perhaps around the time when Barnabas brought Saul/Paul the apostle to Antioch (Acts 11:25-26). By the time Paul had been put on trial before Festus (Acts chapter 25) and appeared before King Agrippa (Acts 26), even King Agrippa used the term “Christian” as a way of referring to a follower of Jesus (Acts 26:28).

  399. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

    Correction to my two posts 11. and 12. on this page:
    The previous page is linked not above but _below_, through the words “Previous 1″ on the line before “Continuing the Discussion” that introduce the web pages listed on this page:

  400. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

    Correction to my two posts 11. and 12. on this page:
    The previous page is linked not above but _below_, through the words “Previous 1″ on the line before “Continuing the Discussion” that introduce the web pages listed on this page:

  401. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

    Reply to Erik (on the previous page, 18. The previous page is linked above through the words “Previous 1″ on the line before “Continuing the Discussion” that introduce the web pages listed on this page):
    To answer your question, “Christos means anointed – At that time were kings, high priests and judges all anointed”:
    1) The period of the judges ended a few decades before 1000 B.C.E. Judges were not anointed, but rather, God is said to have “raised up” various judges as military leaders from time to time, when the Hebrew people were attacked by enemies.

    2) According to 1 Samuel 10:1, the last of the judges, Samuel, anointed Saul to be the first king over the Hebrew people. In Samuel chapter 16, Samuel anointed David to become king at a later time, and other Hebrew kings were also anointed, such as Solomon, according to 1 Kings 1:34. With the Babylonian destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple in 586 B.C.E., descendants of the Hebrew kings were no longer anointed with oil to become future kings, because the Hebrew people were ruled by other nations.

    3) According to Exodus 28:41, the Hebrew high priest and other priests were to be anointed as part of their initiation ceremony. Since the priesthood continued during Jesus’ day, they were the only ones who were officially anointed with oil to begin their priestly ministry.

    Right after Jesus was baptized, according to Matthew 3:16-17, Mark 1:9-11, and Luke 3:21-22, the Holy Spirit descended from above and rested upon him. Since this occurred just before Jesus was tempted in the wilderness, after which he began his ministry, many Christian theologians consider this event to be analogous to anointing with oil, but vastly more powerful.

  402. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

    Reply to Erik (on the previous page, 18. The previous page is linked above through the words “Previous 1″ on the line before “Continuing the Discussion” that introduce the web pages listed on this page):
    To answer your question, “Christos means anointed – At that time were kings, high priests and judges all anointed”:
    1) The period of the judges ended a few decades before 1000 B.C.E. Judges were not anointed, but rather, God is said to have “raised up” various judges as military leaders from time to time, when the Hebrew people were attacked by enemies.
    2) According to 1 Samuel 10:1, the last of the judges, Samuel, anointed Saul to be the first king over the Hebrew people. In Samuel chapter 16, Samuel anointed David to become king at a later time, and other Hebrew kings were also anointed, such as Solomon, according to 1 Kings 1:34. With the Babylonian destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple in 586 B.C.E., descendants of the Hebrew kings were no longer anointed with oil to become future kings, because the Hebrew people were ruled by other nations.
    3) According to Exodus 28:41, the Hebrew high priest and other priests were to be anointed as part of their initiation ceremony. Since the priesthood continued during Jesus’ day, they were the only ones who were officially anointed with oil to begin their priestly ministry.
    Right after Jesus was baptized, according to Matthew 3:16-17, Mark 1:9-11, and Luke 3:21-22, the Holy Spirit descended from above and rested upon him. Since this occurred just before Jesus was tempted in the wilderness, after which he began his ministry, many Christian theologians consider this event to be analogous to anointing with oil, but vastly more powerful.

  403. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

    Reply to Bruce (4., and 10. above and, on the previous page, 38. The previous page is linked above through the words “Previous 1” on the line before “Continuing the Discussion” that introduce the web pages listed on this page):
    Actually, Bruce, in 10 above, you have simply repeated your words in 4 above, which was posted.
    Since you have argued on the basis of Matthew 1:23 in your post 38 on the previous page, let us quote the whole episode in Matthew 1:18-25. (Since have used the King James version, I will follow your preference).

    “[18] Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.
    [19] Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily.
    [20] But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.
    [21] And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins.
    [22] Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying,
    [23] Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.
    [24] Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife:
    [25] And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name Jesus.” (Matthew 1:18-25)

    Note that in verse 21, God’s message through the angel is a _command_ to Joseph to name the child _Jesus_. Also, verse 25 states that Joseph did in fact call his name Jesus. In between these two verses is a quotation from Isaiah chapter 7.

    In post 38 on the previous page, you presented the following statements about the passages in Matthew chapter 1 and Isaiah chapter 7:

    ” I find it ridiculous that Jesus was his given name at birth.
    Matthew 1:23 – “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
    and they shall call his name Immanuel”
    Isaiah 7:14 – “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.
    I find it much more likely that his birth name was Immanuel . . . .”

    Your statements are nothing more than a denial of two very plain statements found in Matthew’s Gospel that come before and after the passage from Isaiah. Faced with a choice between your denial and Matthew’s account, I find your view to be in error and Matthew’s account to be reliable.
    * * *
    Building on the statement found in Matthew, “thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins, ” it is safe to say that Matthew believed that God knew in advance that Jesus would be the savior of his people, and that is the reason for naming him Jesus. The verses you quote in Philippians chapter 2 present the _logical_ reason that God knew all along, not the _chronological_ order, as if God were waiting to see if Jesus would accomplish his mission:

    “And being found in human form he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name which is above every name.” (Philippians 2:8, 9)

    Further, the passage in Hebrews chapter 1 that you quote is intended to show how much greater Jesus’ name (and character) is than that name (and character) of any angels:

    ” . . . having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.” (Hebrews 1:4)

    Jesus inherited his name not after his death, but upon his birth, as indicated in Matthew’s Gospel.

  404. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

    Reply to Bruce (4., and 10. above and, on the previous page, 38. The previous page is linked above through the words “Previous 1” on the line before “Continuing the Discussion” that introduce the web pages listed on this page):
    Actually, Bruce, in 10 above, you have simply repeated your words in 4 above, which was posted.
    Since you have argued on the basis of Matthew 1:23 in your post 38 on the previous page, let us quote the whole episode in Matthew 1:18-25. (Since have used the King James version, I will follow your preference).
    “[18] Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.
    [19] Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily.
    [20] But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.
    [21] And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins.
    [22] Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying,
    [23] Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.
    [24] Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife:
    [25] And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name Jesus.” (Matthew 1:18-25)
    Note that in verse 21, God’s message through the angel is a _command_ to Joseph to name the child _Jesus_. Also, verse 25 states that Joseph did in fact call his name Jesus. In between these two verses is a quotation from Isaiah chapter 7.
    In post 38 on the previous page, you presented the following statements about the passages in Matthew chapter 1 and Isaiah chapter 7:
    ” I find it ridiculous that Jesus was his given name at birth.
    Matthew 1:23 – “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
    and they shall call his name Immanuel”
    Isaiah 7:14 – “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.
    I find it much more likely that his birth name was Immanuel . . . .”
    Your statements are nothing more than a denial of two very plain statements found in Matthew’s Gospel that come before and after the passage from Isaiah. Faced with a choice between your denial and Matthew’s account, I find your view to be in error and Matthew’s account to be reliable.
    * * *
    Building on the statement found in Matthew, “thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins, ” it is safe to say that Matthew believed that God knew in advance that Jesus would be the savior of his people, and that is the reason for naming him Jesus. The verses you quote in Philippians chapter 2 present the _logical_ reason that God knew all along, not the _chronological_ order, as if God were waiting to see if Jesus would accomplish his mission:
    “And being found in human form he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name which is above every name.” (Philippians 2:8, 9)
    Further, the passage in Hebrews chapter 1 that you quote is intended to show how much greater Jesus’ name (and character) is than that name (and character) of any angels:
    ” . . . having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.” (Hebrews 1:4)
    Jesus inherited his name not after his death, but upon his birth, as indicated in Matthew’s Gospel.

  405. Salon: “No proof that Jesus even existed”; Muhammad’s existence “established beyond the shadow of a doubt” - Dr. Rich Swier says:

    […] think Tayler is somewhat overstating his case, but I welcome investigation of the existence of Christ and the reliability of the New Testament […]

  406. Salon: “No proof that Jesus even existed”; Muhammad’s existence “established beyond the shadow of a doubt” - Dr. Rich Swier says:

    […] think Tayler is somewhat overstating his case, but I welcome investigation of the existence of Christ and the reliability of the New Testament […]

  407. How Do We Know Jesus Was a Real Person? | Teilhard de Chardin says:

    […] far as we know, no ancient person ever seriously argued that Jesus did not exist,” Mykytiuk writes, and he cites pagan and Jewish writers of the time who did affirm Jesus’ […]

  408. How Do We Know Jesus Was a Real Person? | Teilhard de Chardin says:

    […] far as we know, no ancient person ever seriously argued that Jesus did not exist,” Mykytiuk writes, and he cites pagan and Jewish writers of the time who did affirm Jesus’ […]

  409. Bruce L says:

    Since this did not get posted, I will repost this:

    Lawrence, also regarding Jesus’s birth name and name change, only AFTER the crucifixion. From Philippians 2:8-9:
    “And being found in human form he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name which is above every name.”

    https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Philippians 2:8-9&version=KJV

    And then from Hebrews 1:3-4 ” http://biblia.com/bible/esv/Heb1.3-4
    3. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, 4 having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.”

    Both of these passages suggest his name was changed after the crucifixion.

  410. Bruce L says:

    Since this did not get posted, I will repost this:
    Lawrence, also regarding Jesus’s birth name and name change, only AFTER the crucifixion. From Philippians 2:8-9:
    “And being found in human form he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name which is above every name.”
    https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Philippians 2:8-9&version=KJV
    And then from Hebrews 1:3-4 ” http://biblia.com/bible/esv/Heb1.3-4
    3. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, 4 having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.”
    Both of these passages suggest his name was changed after the crucifixion.

  411. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

    Reply to Brian (7. above):
    Regarding the birth date of Jesus, like many who have studied the New Testament, I place great confidence in the skill of Herod the Great as a murderer. In order to keep his power, he killed a sizable number of potential, real and imagined political opponents.
    According to Matthew chapter 2, when the magi arrived in Jerusalem seeking “the one who has been born king of the Jews,” Herod (who thought he himself was king of the Jews) immediately found out where and when he might kill Jesus. First he consulted the chief priests and scribes, and found out where Messiah was predicted to be born: Bethlehem. Then he “called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star has appeared.” On the assumption that the Messiah was born at Bethlehem when the star first appeared, he ordered the murder of all boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were aged two years and younger.
    Herod the Great died in 4 B.C.E. Two years earlier would have been 6 B.C.E. Being persuaded—for whatever reasons—that Herod the Great died not long after giving the order to murder these innocent children, many New Testament scholars think that Jesus was born between 6 and 4 B.C.E.
    Brian, despite your nice invitation, this is probably the closest I will come to writing the article you suggest.

  412. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

    Reply to Brian (7. above):
    Regarding the birth date of Jesus, like many who have studied the New Testament, I place great confidence in the skill of Herod the Great as a murderer. In order to keep his power, he killed a sizable number of potential, real and imagined political opponents.
    According to Matthew chapter 2, when the magi arrived in Jerusalem seeking “the one who has been born king of the Jews,” Herod (who thought he himself was king of the Jews) immediately found out where and when he might kill Jesus. First he consulted the chief priests and scribes, and found out where Messiah was predicted to be born: Bethlehem. Then he “called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star has appeared.” On the assumption that the Messiah was born at Bethlehem when the star first appeared, he ordered the murder of all boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were aged two years and younger.
    Herod the Great died in 4 B.C.E. Two years earlier would have been 6 B.C.E. Being persuaded—for whatever reasons—that Herod the Great died not long after giving the order to murder these innocent children, many New Testament scholars think that Jesus was born between 6 and 4 B.C.E.
    Brian, despite your nice invitation, this is probably the closest I will come to writing the article you suggest.

  413. Brian says:

    Lawrence,

    Thanks again for the discussion. I agree with both of your points. Discussion of when Jesus was born is especially speculative and likely always will be, though a year between 8 and 4 BCE seems relatively secure. The year of his death is less speculative, though still not certain.

    Now that you have presented the evidence of his existence in BAR, maybe you can write an article about the evidence for when he was born and died? Just a thought. 🙂

  414. Brian says:

    Lawrence,
    Thanks again for the discussion. I agree with both of your points. Discussion of when Jesus was born is especially speculative and likely always will be, though a year between 8 and 4 BCE seems relatively secure. The year of his death is less speculative, though still not certain.
    Now that you have presented the evidence of his existence in BAR, maybe you can write an article about the evidence for when he was born and died? Just a thought. 🙂

  415. Forget Santa Claus. Was there a Jesus Christ? | SpokaneFAVS says:

    […] far as we know, no ancient person ever seriously argued that Jesus did not exist,” Mykytiuk writes, and he cites pagan and Jewish writers of the time who did affirm Jesus’ […]

  416. Forget Santa Claus. Was there a Jesus Christ? | SpokaneFAVS says:

    […] far as we know, no ancient person ever seriously argued that Jesus did not exist,” Mykytiuk writes, and he cites pagan and Jewish writers of the time who did affirm Jesus’ […]

  417. The Thoughts of Many Hearts | Navigating by Faith says:

    […] for insurrection.[60]” (Wikipedia) According to the Biblical Archeology Review article, Did Jesus Exist? Searching for Evidence beyond the Bible, we have solid, reliable historical texts that reference Jesus of Nazareth who lived, and died and […]

  418. The Thoughts of Many Hearts | Navigating by Faith says:

    […] for insurrection.[60]” (Wikipedia) According to the Biblical Archeology Review article, Did Jesus Exist? Searching for Evidence beyond the Bible, we have solid, reliable historical texts that reference Jesus of Nazareth who lived, and died and […]

  419. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

    Reply to Gene R. (4. above):
    Many thanks, Gene, for your well-informed, well-balanced reply! I am particularly pleased that you mention both Isaiah 7 & 8’s near reference and also the more distant application of Isaiah 7:14 mentioned in Matthew 1:23. Thanks again!

  420. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

    Reply to Gene R. (4. above):
    Many thanks, Gene, for your well-informed, well-balanced reply! I am particularly pleased that you mention both Isaiah 7 & 8’s near reference and also the more distant application of Isaiah 7:14 mentioned in Matthew 1:23. Thanks again!

  421. Bruce L says:

    Gene R. – While “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace,” etc. are clearly descriptive titles and not given names, Emmanuel is clearly a name and not a descriptive title, despite the fact that all names have meanings.
    .

  422. Bruce L says:

    Gene R. – While “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace,” etc. are clearly descriptive titles and not given names, Emmanuel is clearly a name and not a descriptive title, despite the fact that all names have meanings.
    .

  423. Gene R. Conradi says:

    If there seems to be a conflict between the angel’s instructions to Mary (“you are to call his name Jesus”) and Isaiah’s prophecy (” she will certainly call his name Immanuel”) let it be remembered that Messiah was also to be called by yet other names (Luke 1:31; Isa 7:14) For example, Isaiah 9:6 said concerning this one: “HIS NAME will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.” yet none of these names were given to Mary’s firstborn as personal names, neither when he was a babe nor after he took up his ministry. Rather, they were all prophetic title-names by which Messiah would be identified. Jesus lived up to the meaning of these names in every respect, and that is the sense in which they were prophetically given, to show his qualities and the good offices he would perform toward all those accepting him as Messiah. So also with his title Immanuel. He measured up to and fulfilled its meaning. (Insight on The Scriptures Vol. 1, pg 1187)
    It might be also noted that the prophecy in Isaiah chapter 7 and 8 appears to have had an initial fulfillment( a type) in the days of King Ahaz of the nation of Judah in view of an impending attack from Israel and Syria. Any such attack would fail, “it will not stand, For God is with us (Immanuel)!” (Isa. 8:5-10). Matthew under inspiration from Jehovah made note of the anti-type or greater fulfillment in applying it to Jesus. By sending His Son to earth, God showed he had turned his attention to His people, Those accepting Messiah would benefit greatly by his coming.
    A final point regarding names, The Messiah was also called by the name “Shiloh” at Genesis 49:10 in a prophetic forecast that Messiah would be from the tribe of Judah.

  424. Gene R. Conradi says:

    If there seems to be a conflict between the angel’s instructions to Mary (“you are to call his name Jesus”) and Isaiah’s prophecy (” she will certainly call his name Immanuel”) let it be remembered that Messiah was also to be called by yet other names (Luke 1:31; Isa 7:14) For example, Isaiah 9:6 said concerning this one: “HIS NAME will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.” yet none of these names were given to Mary’s firstborn as personal names, neither when he was a babe nor after he took up his ministry. Rather, they were all prophetic title-names by which Messiah would be identified. Jesus lived up to the meaning of these names in every respect, and that is the sense in which they were prophetically given, to show his qualities and the good offices he would perform toward all those accepting him as Messiah. So also with his title Immanuel. He measured up to and fulfilled its meaning. (Insight on The Scriptures Vol. 1, pg 1187)
    It might be also noted that the prophecy in Isaiah chapter 7 and 8 appears to have had an initial fulfillment( a type) in the days of King Ahaz of the nation of Judah in view of an impending attack from Israel and Syria. Any such attack would fail, “it will not stand, For God is with us (Immanuel)!” (Isa. 8:5-10). Matthew under inspiration from Jehovah made note of the anti-type or greater fulfillment in applying it to Jesus. By sending His Son to earth, God showed he had turned his attention to His people, Those accepting Messiah would benefit greatly by his coming.
    A final point regarding names, The Messiah was also called by the name “Shiloh” at Genesis 49:10 in a prophetic forecast that Messiah would be from the tribe of Judah.

  425. Bruce L says:

    Lawrence, also regarding Jesus’s birth name and name change, only AFTER the crucifixion. From Philippians 2:8-9:
    “And being found in human form he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name which is above every name.”

    https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Philippians 2:8-9&version=KJV

    And then from Hebrews 1:3-4 ” http://biblia.com/bible/esv/Heb1.3-4
    3. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, 4 having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.”

    Both of these passages suggest his name was changed after the crucifixion.

  426. Bruce L says:

    Lawrence, also regarding Jesus’s birth name and name change, only AFTER the crucifixion. From Philippians 2:8-9:
    “And being found in human form he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name which is above every name.”
    https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Philippians 2:8-9&version=KJV
    And then from Hebrews 1:3-4 ” http://biblia.com/bible/esv/Heb1.3-4
    3. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, 4 having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.”
    Both of these passages suggest his name was changed after the crucifixion.

  427. Bruce L says:

    Lawrence, I never said women were among the 12 apostles. Since I must spell it out: in essence, I said; logic dictates that women would most certainly be interested in the truth, spiritual or otherwise, as they are today. Therefore, in addition to the 12 named historical apostles, what happened to the women who were as interested as the males? Are there no women interested in such things today and therefore why would it have been any different 2000 years ago. Surely Jesus would never exclude anyone by gender or by any other divisive superficiality.

    Also, please answer my query regarding just who Isaiah & Matthew were referring to as Immanuel , which translated means “God with us”.

    Matthew 1:23 – “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel”

    and

    Isaiah 7:14 – “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.”

    https://home.comcast.net/~tobiyah/Immanuel_Prophecy.html

    Also, in reference to the translation of the prophecies of a “virgin” giving birth, the Hebrew word “almah” does not mean virgin but ‘young woman’ or ‘maiden’ as the word for virgin is “b’tulah”. Therefore, this translation is tweaked and falsely interpreted. Certainly, a young woman may indeed be a virgin but the word used was “almah” and not “b’tulah”.

  428. Bruce L says:

    Lawrence, I never said women were among the 12 apostles. Since I must spell it out: in essence, I said; logic dictates that women would most certainly be interested in the truth, spiritual or otherwise, as they are today. Therefore, in addition to the 12 named historical apostles, what happened to the women who were as interested as the males? Are there no women interested in such things today and therefore why would it have been any different 2000 years ago. Surely Jesus would never exclude anyone by gender or by any other divisive superficiality.
    Also, please answer my query regarding just who Isaiah & Matthew were referring to as Immanuel , which translated means “God with us”.
    Matthew 1:23 – “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel”
    and
    Isaiah 7:14 – “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.”
    https://home.comcast.net/~tobiyah/Immanuel_Prophecy.html
    Also, in reference to the translation of the prophecies of a “virgin” giving birth, the Hebrew word “almah” does not mean virgin but ‘young woman’ or ‘maiden’ as the word for virgin is “b’tulah”. Therefore, this translation is tweaked and falsely interpreted. Certainly, a young woman may indeed be a virgin but the word used was “almah” and not “b’tulah”.

  429. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

    Reply to Brian (50. above):
    You have provided a very interesting, well-informed chronology of Jesus’ life. I would only observe that 1) the matter of exactly what the star of Bethlehem was and precisely when it appeared can easily become a complicated subject to research, and, more importantly, 2) there are several ways to approach a chronology of Jesus’ life. Although these different approaches tend to produce slightly different results in terms of exact year numbers, the chronology of that unique life is stable, in that there are no large variations in the years assigned to various events.

    I recall discovering and reading Harold W. Hoehner’s book, _Chronological Aspects of the Life of Christ_ (1977) as if it were the rarest of precious treasure. But now I recognize that other approaches may also be quite persuasive.

  430. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

    Reply to Brian (50. above):
    You have provided a very interesting, well-informed chronology of Jesus’ life. I would only observe that 1) the matter of exactly what the star of Bethlehem was and precisely when it appeared can easily become a complicated subject to research, and, more importantly, 2) there are several ways to approach a chronology of Jesus’ life. Although these different approaches tend to produce slightly different results in terms of exact year numbers, the chronology of that unique life is stable, in that there are no large variations in the years assigned to various events.
    I recall discovering and reading Harold W. Hoehner’s book, _Chronological Aspects of the Life of Christ_ (1977) as if it were the rarest of precious treasure. But now I recognize that other approaches may also be quite persuasive.

  431. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

    Reply to Bruce (48. above):
    Bruce, it’s a free country. You are entirely free to assert without evidence and in contradiction of the 4 Gospels that the 12 apostles included women. You are also free to opine that Jesus’ proper name was not Jesus at all but Immanuel, despite the clear evidence of the New Testament and even non-Christian sources, including Josephus, that give his name as Jesus.

    Nevertheless, I stand by my article. I would not have imagined that stating that the 12 apostles were all men and that Jesus was named Jesus should be at all controversial.

  432. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

    Reply to Bruce (48. above):
    Bruce, it’s a free country. You are entirely free to assert without evidence and in contradiction of the 4 Gospels that the 12 apostles included women. You are also free to opine that Jesus’ proper name was not Jesus at all but Immanuel, despite the clear evidence of the New Testament and even non-Christian sources, including Josephus, that give his name as Jesus.
    Nevertheless, I stand by my article. I would not have imagined that stating that the 12 apostles were all men and that Jesus was named Jesus should be at all controversial.

  433. Brian says:

    Lawrence,

    Thanks for your thoughtful reply. I do enjoy chatting with knowledgeable scholars! With regard to Tacitus, I agree that it’s the quality of the sources that matters. However, without knowing his sources, we have to expect that the later the writer, the more likely it is that the sources have been influenced by or are dependent on Christian writings. I think that would reduce our confidence that Tacitus has sources independent of what Christians are saying (which would be biased in favor of existence).

    With regard to the dating of Jesus’ death, the gospel of John provides multiple lines of evidence that are all consistent with each other. For example, the quote early in the gospel in which Jesus claims he can destroy the temple and rebuild it has his listeners respond with incredulity because the temple has been under construction for 46 years. The best date for the start of that construction is shortly after Passover in 18 BCE, so the conversation is dated by John to 28 CE. The two-year ministry laid out by John then brings Jesus’ death to Passover of 30 CE, which agrees with his claim of Passover being on the Sabbath. Given the traditional problems of dating events in ancient times, this agreement seems impossible unless the information is based on an historical reality.

    The dating of Jesus’ birth is much more speculative, other than to say before 4 BCE. However, I would note a peculiar coincidence. The best candidate for the famous star of Bethlehem is likely a triple conjunction between Jupiter and Saturn in 7 – 6 BCE. It’s the same year in which Herod had two of his sons, future potential kings of the Jews, executed for treason (it’s discussed in detail by Josephus). This is the event that prompted Caesar Augustus to quip “I’d rather be Herod’s swine than his son.” In any case, one might see in these two events the claim that when a “star” appeared in the sky, Herod ordered the slaughter of innocents (did his sons really plot against him?) to kill a future king of the Jews. It’s not hard to see how Matthew’s account might be a garbled version of these events, dating Jesus’ birth to 7 – 6 BCE.

    All in all, the dating of Jesus’ life seems to be 6 BCE – 30 BCE with fairly high confidence, making him 34 years old at the start of his ministry (“about 30,” as in not 20 or 40) and 36 at his death.

  434. Brian says:

    Lawrence,
    Thanks for your thoughtful reply. I do enjoy chatting with knowledgeable scholars! With regard to Tacitus, I agree that it’s the quality of the sources that matters. However, without knowing his sources, we have to expect that the later the writer, the more likely it is that the sources have been influenced by or are dependent on Christian writings. I think that would reduce our confidence that Tacitus has sources independent of what Christians are saying (which would be biased in favor of existence).
    With regard to the dating of Jesus’ death, the gospel of John provides multiple lines of evidence that are all consistent with each other. For example, the quote early in the gospel in which Jesus claims he can destroy the temple and rebuild it has his listeners respond with incredulity because the temple has been under construction for 46 years. The best date for the start of that construction is shortly after Passover in 18 BCE, so the conversation is dated by John to 28 CE. The two-year ministry laid out by John then brings Jesus’ death to Passover of 30 CE, which agrees with his claim of Passover being on the Sabbath. Given the traditional problems of dating events in ancient times, this agreement seems impossible unless the information is based on an historical reality.
    The dating of Jesus’ birth is much more speculative, other than to say before 4 BCE. However, I would note a peculiar coincidence. The best candidate for the famous star of Bethlehem is likely a triple conjunction between Jupiter and Saturn in 7 – 6 BCE. It’s the same year in which Herod had two of his sons, future potential kings of the Jews, executed for treason (it’s discussed in detail by Josephus). This is the event that prompted Caesar Augustus to quip “I’d rather be Herod’s swine than his son.” In any case, one might see in these two events the claim that when a “star” appeared in the sky, Herod ordered the slaughter of innocents (did his sons really plot against him?) to kill a future king of the Jews. It’s not hard to see how Matthew’s account might be a garbled version of these events, dating Jesus’ birth to 7 – 6 BCE.
    All in all, the dating of Jesus’ life seems to be 6 BCE – 30 BCE with fairly high confidence, making him 34 years old at the start of his ministry (“about 30,” as in not 20 or 40) and 36 at his death.

  435. Historical Evidence that Jesus Actually Existed | Legacy Academic Consulting says:

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  436. Historical Evidence that Jesus Actually Existed | Legacy Academic Consulting says:

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  437. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

    Reply to Brian (47. above):
    Thank you for your thoughtful responses.
    Regarding Tacitus having access to accurate information about “Christus” in contrast to Tacitus himself being chronologically distant from Jesus, while of course one is free to take a differing view, I cannot agree that his personal distance in time “significantly weakens the value of his reference.” Rather, I take the value of his reference to be entirely dependent on the quality of the information that he gathered, rather than when he gathered it.
    If I may make a comparison, I work with an excellent scholar who recently visited two archives in Spain to access the records of Queen Mariana of Austria, who lived in the 1600s and was also Queen consort of Spain. Although this present-day scholar is now more than 300 years removed from Queen Mariana, her references to Mariana’s statecraft and policies do not suffer any loss of value at all, because this scholar carefully bases her description and analysis on the documents from the inner circles of government during the 1600s.

    Regarding your two observations that strengthen Josephus references to Jesus, on the first observation, I would say that if Josephus were not himself an eyewitness, he very likely had access to eyewitness testimony, and that would indeed strengthen the credibility of his references. Your second observation, on Origen’s comment, is also correct, and it also strengthens “the argument that the Testimonium Flavianum is original to Josephus but without the Christianizing elements.”
    In the Ante-Nicene Fathers, vol. IX, see Origen, Commentary on Matthew, Book X, Chapter 17. (I actually found this chapter online.) Speaking of “Flavius Josephus, who wrote the “Antiquities of the Jews” in twenty books,” Origen speaks of
    “the things which they dared to do against James the brother of Jesus who is called Christ. And the wonderful thing is that, though he [meaning Josephus] did not accept Jesus as Christ, he yet gave testimony that the righteousness of James was so great. . . .”

    Finally, my use of c. 29 C.E. as the date of the crucifixion is entirely the result of my own arithmetic, counting from 1) Jesus’ birth being sometime during 4 to 6 B.C.E., 2) Luke’s mention that he began his ministry at about 30 years of age, and 3) adopting the customary view that his ministry lasted 3 1/2 years (some opt for 2/12 years). (Typically, people who deal with ancient dates are content with approximate years, and I am one of those people.) Nevertheless, I am pleased that you seem to have a more knowledgeable and refined way of settling on the date. Now I have a better Idea why some New Testament scholars always use 30 C.E.. Thank you.

  438. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

    Reply to Brian (47. above):
    Thank you for your thoughtful responses.
    Regarding Tacitus having access to accurate information about “Christus” in contrast to Tacitus himself being chronologically distant from Jesus, while of course one is free to take a differing view, I cannot agree that his personal distance in time “significantly weakens the value of his reference.” Rather, I take the value of his reference to be entirely dependent on the quality of the information that he gathered, rather than when he gathered it.
    If I may make a comparison, I work with an excellent scholar who recently visited two archives in Spain to access the records of Queen Mariana of Austria, who lived in the 1600s and was also Queen consort of Spain. Although this present-day scholar is now more than 300 years removed from Queen Mariana, her references to Mariana’s statecraft and policies do not suffer any loss of value at all, because this scholar carefully bases her description and analysis on the documents from the inner circles of government during the 1600s.
    Regarding your two observations that strengthen Josephus references to Jesus, on the first observation, I would say that if Josephus were not himself an eyewitness, he very likely had access to eyewitness testimony, and that would indeed strengthen the credibility of his references. Your second observation, on Origen’s comment, is also correct, and it also strengthens “the argument that the Testimonium Flavianum is original to Josephus but without the Christianizing elements.”
    In the Ante-Nicene Fathers, vol. IX, see Origen, Commentary on Matthew, Book X, Chapter 17. (I actually found this chapter online.) Speaking of “Flavius Josephus, who wrote the “Antiquities of the Jews” in twenty books,” Origen speaks of
    “the things which they dared to do against James the brother of Jesus who is called Christ. And the wonderful thing is that, though he [meaning Josephus] did not accept Jesus as Christ, he yet gave testimony that the righteousness of James was so great. . . .”
    Finally, my use of c. 29 C.E. as the date of the crucifixion is entirely the result of my own arithmetic, counting from 1) Jesus’ birth being sometime during 4 to 6 B.C.E., 2) Luke’s mention that he began his ministry at about 30 years of age, and 3) adopting the customary view that his ministry lasted 3 1/2 years (some opt for 2/12 years). (Typically, people who deal with ancient dates are content with approximate years, and I am one of those people.) Nevertheless, I am pleased that you seem to have a more knowledgeable and refined way of settling on the date. Now I have a better Idea why some New Testament scholars always use 30 C.E.. Thank you.

  439. Bruce L says:

    Lawrence, there was no contradiction in my words as you yourself wrote – “Jesus’ actions in John chapter 4 and elsewhere disregarded cultural expectations “, which is my point, that Jesus would not follow incorrect male-dominated tradition and would indeed have female apostles. Wasn’t the whole point of Jesus’s mission to bring any falsified teachings of Judaism back to its original spiritual truths and some of that falsification no doubt relegated women to a back-seat in spiritual matters and truths of the equalness of human beings regardless of gender, race, creed, nationality, etc., therefore he would certainly have attracted females to his teaching and in the role of apostles as well, yet they remain stricken from the final revision & version of the New Testament commissioned 400 years after the fact by the Roman King and Christian, King Constantine.

    Also, from your words, I gather that you do not think Jesus’s real & correct birth name was Immanuel per the Isaiah prophecy and reiterated by Matthew. Therefore, just who do you think they were referring when they both wrote ” Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.”?

  440. Bruce L says:

    Lawrence, there was no contradiction in my words as you yourself wrote – “Jesus’ actions in John chapter 4 and elsewhere disregarded cultural expectations “, which is my point, that Jesus would not follow incorrect male-dominated tradition and would indeed have female apostles. Wasn’t the whole point of Jesus’s mission to bring any falsified teachings of Judaism back to its original spiritual truths and some of that falsification no doubt relegated women to a back-seat in spiritual matters and truths of the equalness of human beings regardless of gender, race, creed, nationality, etc., therefore he would certainly have attracted females to his teaching and in the role of apostles as well, yet they remain stricken from the final revision & version of the New Testament commissioned 400 years after the fact by the Roman King and Christian, King Constantine.
    Also, from your words, I gather that you do not think Jesus’s real & correct birth name was Immanuel per the Isaiah prophecy and reiterated by Matthew. Therefore, just who do you think they were referring when they both wrote ” Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.”?

  441. Historical Evidence that Jesus Christ Actually Existed | Legacy Academic Consulting says:

    […] can read Mykytiuk’s whole article here, but based on reading and analysis of non-Christian sources, the following facts about Jesus can be […]

  442. Historical Evidence that Jesus Christ Actually Existed | Legacy Academic Consulting says:

    […] can read Mykytiuk’s whole article here, but based on reading and analysis of non-Christian sources, the following facts about Jesus can be […]

  443. Brian says:

    Lawrence,

    Thank you for a very interesting article.You laid out well the non-Christian evidence for Jesus’ existence. I agree with you that Tacitus probably got his information from non-Christian sources and was sufficiently well-placed to get accurate information. On the other hand, he is fairly far removed from the events themselves, which significantly weakens the value of his reference.

    With regard to Josephus, there are two points that could be mentioned or emphasized more strongly to back up his reference. First, as a priest active in the temple in Jerusalem in the 60’s CE, he likely was an eyewitness to the person of James, brother of Jesus with intimate personal knowledge of the events that led to James’ death. He is not simply reporting on something he has read. Therefore, we can be certain that a James existed who personally identified and was identified by everyone else as the “brother of Jesus who is called the Christ.” This is hardly possible without Jesus actually existing. Of course, Paul also provides eyewitness evidence for “James brother of the Lord,” so Christian and secular sources are equally determinative on this point. The second point is that I recall that Origen made some reference to Josephus not believing in Jesus. Do you know where he made that comment? In any case, this comment by Origen hardly makes sense unless he is referring to some statement made by Josephus in his works, strengthening the argument that the Testimonium Flavianum is original to Josephus but without the Christianizing elements.

    Finally, in an unrelated note, you repeatedly refer to 29 CE as the likely year that Jesus died. What reasons do you have for this claim? I’ve always heard that 30 CE and 33 CE are the only viable candidates, since they are the two years during Pilate’s reign when the Passover occurred on the Sabbath (so I’ve read) in keeping with the claims of John’s gospel. Why do you prefer 29 CE?

  444. Brian says:

    Lawrence,
    Thank you for a very interesting article.You laid out well the non-Christian evidence for Jesus’ existence. I agree with you that Tacitus probably got his information from non-Christian sources and was sufficiently well-placed to get accurate information. On the other hand, he is fairly far removed from the events themselves, which significantly weakens the value of his reference.
    With regard to Josephus, there are two points that could be mentioned or emphasized more strongly to back up his reference. First, as a priest active in the temple in Jerusalem in the 60’s CE, he likely was an eyewitness to the person of James, brother of Jesus with intimate personal knowledge of the events that led to James’ death. He is not simply reporting on something he has read. Therefore, we can be certain that a James existed who personally identified and was identified by everyone else as the “brother of Jesus who is called the Christ.” This is hardly possible without Jesus actually existing. Of course, Paul also provides eyewitness evidence for “James brother of the Lord,” so Christian and secular sources are equally determinative on this point. The second point is that I recall that Origen made some reference to Josephus not believing in Jesus. Do you know where he made that comment? In any case, this comment by Origen hardly makes sense unless he is referring to some statement made by Josephus in his works, strengthening the argument that the Testimonium Flavianum is original to Josephus but without the Christianizing elements.
    Finally, in an unrelated note, you repeatedly refer to 29 CE as the likely year that Jesus died. What reasons do you have for this claim? I’ve always heard that 30 CE and 33 CE are the only viable candidates, since they are the two years during Pilate’s reign when the Passover occurred on the Sabbath (so I’ve read) in keeping with the claims of John’s gospel. Why do you prefer 29 CE?

  445. Joe Cantello says:

    One of the best articles BAR has ever published. I have sent it to several friends and it has made me renew my subscription.

  446. Joe Cantello says:

    One of the best articles BAR has ever published. I have sent it to several friends and it has made me renew my subscription.

  447. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

    Reply to Bruce (43. above):
    In the first paragraph, you correctly state that Jesus’ appointing 12 men as apostles was in accord with his culture, which was patriarchal In the second paragraph, you find that the appointing of 12 men and no women as apostles is “highly unlikely” and shows that the record was tampered with (“historical revisionism”). These two paragraphs appear to contradict each other. I cannot make sense of comment 43 as it is stated.

    It is worth noting that Jesus’ actions in John chapter 4 and elsewhere disregarded cultural expectations (men were not supposed to speak with women in public, especially if they were not related) in order to reach out to women with the gospel.

    Also, the fact that there was no female apostle among the 12 apostles does not mean that no women were ever apostles, See the book by Robin Cohn, titled Junia: The Forgotten Apostle, beautifully described and illustrated at http://robincohn.net/books/junia-the-forgotten-apostle/ .

  448. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

    Reply to Bruce (43. above):
    In the first paragraph, you correctly state that Jesus’ appointing 12 men as apostles was in accord with his culture, which was patriarchal In the second paragraph, you find that the appointing of 12 men and no women as apostles is “highly unlikely” and shows that the record was tampered with (“historical revisionism”). These two paragraphs appear to contradict each other. I cannot make sense of comment 43 as it is stated.
    It is worth noting that Jesus’ actions in John chapter 4 and elsewhere disregarded cultural expectations (men were not supposed to speak with women in public, especially if they were not related) in order to reach out to women with the gospel.
    Also, the fact that there was no female apostle among the 12 apostles does not mean that no women were ever apostles, See the book by Robin Cohn, titled Junia: The Forgotten Apostle, beautifully described and illustrated at http://robincohn.net/books/junia-the-forgotten-apostle/ .

  449. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

    Reply to Bruce (42. and 43. above):
    Regarding 42: The attempted analogy to the children’s game is not really analogous, because that process is secret (you call it a “whisper game”) until the very end, when the very different result is a surprise, a sort of “punch line.” In the case of Scripture, however, we have the written texts in Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek, Latin, and other ancient languages, therefore they can be compared in a very open process—indeed, this process of comparison has been international for many centuries. We also have the benefit of the work of countless scholars who have dedicated many years of their lives to learning the ancient languages and analyzing Scripture texts to give us the best possible translations into modern languages and interpretations according to the historical, cultural, and literary contexts. (It is a pity to see these dedicated men and women rewarded by some with suspicion.) Today the process is all the more open because of Internet access, and even Wikipedia can often be quite helpful to those who consult it.

    Scripture gives several names, titles, and epithets to the person whose name was Jesus–which, according to Luke 1:26-33, was given by God and communicated by the angel Gabriel. Let me assure you, by giving his correct name, as given both by Josephus and by the Gospel writers, scholars are not making any attempt to “sweep” any of these names, titles, or epithets “under the rug,” as comment 42 disparagingly phrases it. His names are to be understood as the New Testament’s open declarations of his character and achievements. To seize on them as points about which to haggle seems to indicate that some other agenda is at work.

    Moving to your statements about the names of Jesus’ siblings (even it the names you have listed were correct) are irrelevant to the question of his name, about which I have already replied in comment 39 above.

    Finally, you are correct that some persons in the Bible are called by only one name, but this did not come about because of any restriction. Others are indeed called by more than one name. In Genesis 32:28, the patriarch Jacob is named Israel (the origin of the name of the nation descended from him), though he is still called Jacob in later chapters. Azariah, king of Judah, whose son Jotham succeeded him as king (2 Kings 15:1-7, 17, 23, 27) is also called Uzziah in the same chapter. verses 13, 30, etc. Verses 30, 32, and 34 make that clear by mentioning that King Jotham was the son of King Uzziah. In the New Testament, Saul the persecutor of Christians becomes the apostle Paul.

  450. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

    Reply to Bruce (42. and 43. above):
    Regarding 42: The attempted analogy to the children’s game is not really analogous, because that process is secret (you call it a “whisper game”) until the very end, when the very different result is a surprise, a sort of “punch line.” In the case of Scripture, however, we have the written texts in Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek, Latin, and other ancient languages, therefore they can be compared in a very open process—indeed, this process of comparison has been international for many centuries. We also have the benefit of the work of countless scholars who have dedicated many years of their lives to learning the ancient languages and analyzing Scripture texts to give us the best possible translations into modern languages and interpretations according to the historical, cultural, and literary contexts. (It is a pity to see these dedicated men and women rewarded by some with suspicion.) Today the process is all the more open because of Internet access, and even Wikipedia can often be quite helpful to those who consult it.
    Scripture gives several names, titles, and epithets to the person whose name was Jesus–which, according to Luke 1:26-33, was given by God and communicated by the angel Gabriel. Let me assure you, by giving his correct name, as given both by Josephus and by the Gospel writers, scholars are not making any attempt to “sweep” any of these names, titles, or epithets “under the rug,” as comment 42 disparagingly phrases it. His names are to be understood as the New Testament’s open declarations of his character and achievements. To seize on them as points about which to haggle seems to indicate that some other agenda is at work.
    Moving to your statements about the names of Jesus’ siblings (even it the names you have listed were correct) are irrelevant to the question of his name, about which I have already replied in comment 39 above.
    Finally, you are correct that some persons in the Bible are called by only one name, but this did not come about because of any restriction. Others are indeed called by more than one name. In Genesis 32:28, the patriarch Jacob is named Israel (the origin of the name of the nation descended from him), though he is still called Jacob in later chapters. Azariah, king of Judah, whose son Jotham succeeded him as king (2 Kings 15:1-7, 17, 23, 27) is also called Uzziah in the same chapter. verses 13, 30, etc. Verses 30, 32, and 34 make that clear by mentioning that King Jotham was the son of King Uzziah. In the New Testament, Saul the persecutor of Christians becomes the apostle Paul.

  451. Bruce L says:

    Lawrence, you also bring up the ’12 apostles’, all of whom were male. We know from Jewish culture as well as Islamic culture that women were given a back seat not only in literature but with regards to power and position and such even remains painfully obvious today in Islamic culture as well as the more orthodox or hasidic areas of Jewish culture.

    I also find it ‘highly unlikely’ and yes, to the point of ridiculousness, that there are zero female apostles or disciples. Talk about historical revisionism. Do women not crave nor seek out the truth in spiritual as well as material matters!?

  452. Bruce L says:

    Lawrence, you also bring up the ’12 apostles’, all of whom were male. We know from Jewish culture as well as Islamic culture that women were given a back seat not only in literature but with regards to power and position and such even remains painfully obvious today in Islamic culture as well as the more orthodox or hasidic areas of Jewish culture.
    I also find it ‘highly unlikely’ and yes, to the point of ridiculousness, that there are zero female apostles or disciples. Talk about historical revisionism. Do women not crave nor seek out the truth in spiritual as well as material matters!?

  453. Bruce L says:

    Lawrence, you agree that the language used 2000 years ago in Palestine was Aramaic? You write that the name Jesus was an “English equivalent of the Latin version of a Greek name ..” That is already 3 language translations removed from the original Aramaic. Which reminds me of the whisper game as a child where a sentence is whispered into the ear of a child by a teacher & that child whispers it into the next child & so on, until the 20th kid repeats what he or she heard & it bears little resemblance to the initial sentence.

    Let me rephrase my wrong opinionated use of the word ‘ridiculous’ to ‘highly unlikely’ and especially in light of Isaiah 7:14 from the old testament which was reiterated in the new testament in Matthew 1:23, and that being Immanuel which is conventionally translated as “God is with us” but if one digs further into scholarly writings, other translations emerge such as “one with the knowledge of God” or “one with Godly wisdom”, “one with knowledge of the gods”, etc. However, they all relate and point to the fact that his birth name was Immanuel or Emmanuel, etc. The motives for whhy this extremely important prophecy is swept under the rug begs questioning. And the name Immanuel is much more in keeping with given names in that part of the world 2000 years ago.

    Consider Jesus or Immanuel’s siblings names: from what I can gather for his brothers, possibly including adopted ones – Judas, Joseph, Simeon, Jakobus, Thomas. And sisters, Maria-Susanne, Esther, Mirjam.

    All these names, while English translations, seem plausible for the times, without literary translational gymnastics, which twist, torture and bend the truth to accommodate belief & assumption.

    Nor can I buy the fact that human beings 2000 years ago went by many names. How many names did the previous prophets go by? I only see Elijah, Jeremiah, Isaiah, Enoch.

    The fact that I raise about what other facts were altered about the man & the events at that time are hardly speculation but only reasonable, ratioinal & logical questions, particularly since the new testament was only finalized and commissioned 400 years after the fact!! That was hardly the digital age back then where recordings & videos could remain for all time. In fact very few humans were able to read or write. To the victors, not only went the spoils but the history books as well.

  454. Bruce L says:

    Lawrence, you agree that the language used 2000 years ago in Palestine was Aramaic? You write that the name Jesus was an “English equivalent of the Latin version of a Greek name ..” That is already 3 language translations removed from the original Aramaic. Which reminds me of the whisper game as a child where a sentence is whispered into the ear of a child by a teacher & that child whispers it into the next child & so on, until the 20th kid repeats what he or she heard & it bears little resemblance to the initial sentence.
    Let me rephrase my wrong opinionated use of the word ‘ridiculous’ to ‘highly unlikely’ and especially in light of Isaiah 7:14 from the old testament which was reiterated in the new testament in Matthew 1:23, and that being Immanuel which is conventionally translated as “God is with us” but if one digs further into scholarly writings, other translations emerge such as “one with the knowledge of God” or “one with Godly wisdom”, “one with knowledge of the gods”, etc. However, they all relate and point to the fact that his birth name was Immanuel or Emmanuel, etc. The motives for whhy this extremely important prophecy is swept under the rug begs questioning. And the name Immanuel is much more in keeping with given names in that part of the world 2000 years ago.
    Consider Jesus or Immanuel’s siblings names: from what I can gather for his brothers, possibly including adopted ones – Judas, Joseph, Simeon, Jakobus, Thomas. And sisters, Maria-Susanne, Esther, Mirjam.
    All these names, while English translations, seem plausible for the times, without literary translational gymnastics, which twist, torture and bend the truth to accommodate belief & assumption.
    Nor can I buy the fact that human beings 2000 years ago went by many names. How many names did the previous prophets go by? I only see Elijah, Jeremiah, Isaiah, Enoch.
    The fact that I raise about what other facts were altered about the man & the events at that time are hardly speculation but only reasonable, ratioinal & logical questions, particularly since the new testament was only finalized and commissioned 400 years after the fact!! That was hardly the digital age back then where recordings & videos could remain for all time. In fact very few humans were able to read or write. To the victors, not only went the spoils but the history books as well.

  455. u says:

    Reply to Peter (37. above):
    Thank you for your thoughtful reply, which helps me think through the evidence yet again.

    Josephus, being a first-century Palestinian Jew before he took up residence in Rome, almost certainly looked for a messiah who would be a Divinely appointed and empowered military leader who would cast off the Roman yoke, set up his throne in Jerusalem, and exercise his rule over all the world. But to most Jews of the day, probably including Josephus, Jesus appeared to have succumbed to the overwhelming might of Rome when he died in disgrace on a Roman cross. To the popular mind, that was scandalous, to say the least. (As a technical detail: Josephus, being monotheistic, had no pantheon.) In the Hellenistic world, the Christian view of Jesus’ execution as an atoning sacrifice for the sins of the world was strictly for utter fools.
    “But we preach Christ crucified, a stumblingblock to Jews, and foolishness to Gentiles.” (1 Corinthians 1:23)

    I can appreciate the questions you raise about the exclusiveness of the identification of “Christus” as Jesus of Nazareth in Tacitus’ reference. I myself usually try to poke holes in my own identifications, in order to test their strength. But in this instance, I find no concrete grounds for doubt that is legitimate in theory. There is no evidence of any competing Messianic movement that began in Judea, spread to Rome, and worshipped and/or obeyed a Christus who was executed by order of Pontius Pilate during the reign of Tiberius. If actual evidence of such a movement should surface, I would have to re-evaluate the reference in Tacitus. Until then, the eviednce indicates that the “Chrestians” whom we know as Christians were the only ones in town.

  456. u says:

    Reply to Peter (37. above):
    Thank you for your thoughtful reply, which helps me think through the evidence yet again.
    Josephus, being a first-century Palestinian Jew before he took up residence in Rome, almost certainly looked for a messiah who would be a Divinely appointed and empowered military leader who would cast off the Roman yoke, set up his throne in Jerusalem, and exercise his rule over all the world. But to most Jews of the day, probably including Josephus, Jesus appeared to have succumbed to the overwhelming might of Rome when he died in disgrace on a Roman cross. To the popular mind, that was scandalous, to say the least. (As a technical detail: Josephus, being monotheistic, had no pantheon.) In the Hellenistic world, the Christian view of Jesus’ execution as an atoning sacrifice for the sins of the world was strictly for utter fools.
    “But we preach Christ crucified, a stumblingblock to Jews, and foolishness to Gentiles.” (1 Corinthians 1:23)
    I can appreciate the questions you raise about the exclusiveness of the identification of “Christus” as Jesus of Nazareth in Tacitus’ reference. I myself usually try to poke holes in my own identifications, in order to test their strength. But in this instance, I find no concrete grounds for doubt that is legitimate in theory. There is no evidence of any competing Messianic movement that began in Judea, spread to Rome, and worshipped and/or obeyed a Christus who was executed by order of Pontius Pilate during the reign of Tiberius. If actual evidence of such a movement should surface, I would have to re-evaluate the reference in Tacitus. Until then, the eviednce indicates that the “Chrestians” whom we know as Christians were the only ones in town.

  457. u says:

    A second reply to Bruce (38. above):
    Of course you are right that people crave power, influence, and riches, and this craving produces evil results in many settings and vocations, whether religious or secular. The New Testament is very forthright about this, not least regarding the 12 apostles. whom Jesus very pointedly corrected In Luke 22:24-27, It is easy to understand why, according to John 13:1-17, Jesus assumed the role of the lowliest servant and washed the filth of the street off the feet of the apostles, in order to give dramatic emphasis to his demand that they were to be servants of others.

    In light of Jesus’ instruction and example, it is interesting to trace the ancient traditions regarding the subsequent experiences of the apostles. In the case of the apostle Paul (who does not appear in the four Gospels) it is difficult to argue that he sought worldly power, wealth, or ease in light of 2 Corinthians 11:23-28, in which he speaks “as a fool” by mentioning how often he was in prison , severely flogged, exposed to death, subjected to 40 lashes minus one, beaten with rods, stoned, shipwrecked, without sleep, hungry, thirsty, cold, without adequate clothing, etc. According to Christian tradition, with some support from the writings of Irenaeus, Paul was ultimately beheaded c. 67 C.E. by the authority of Rome. To suggest that the New Testament was falsified through human greed in the case of Paul, who wrote many of its letters (epistles) not only fails to square with the evidence, but is to slander him.

  458. u says:

    A second reply to Bruce (38. above):
    Of course you are right that people crave power, influence, and riches, and this craving produces evil results in many settings and vocations, whether religious or secular. The New Testament is very forthright about this, not least regarding the 12 apostles. whom Jesus very pointedly corrected In Luke 22:24-27, It is easy to understand why, according to John 13:1-17, Jesus assumed the role of the lowliest servant and washed the filth of the street off the feet of the apostles, in order to give dramatic emphasis to his demand that they were to be servants of others.
    In light of Jesus’ instruction and example, it is interesting to trace the ancient traditions regarding the subsequent experiences of the apostles. In the case of the apostle Paul (who does not appear in the four Gospels) it is difficult to argue that he sought worldly power, wealth, or ease in light of 2 Corinthians 11:23-28, in which he speaks “as a fool” by mentioning how often he was in prison , severely flogged, exposed to death, subjected to 40 lashes minus one, beaten with rods, stoned, shipwrecked, without sleep, hungry, thirsty, cold, without adequate clothing, etc. According to Christian tradition, with some support from the writings of Irenaeus, Paul was ultimately beheaded c. 67 C.E. by the authority of Rome. To suggest that the New Testament was falsified through human greed in the case of Paul, who wrote many of its letters (epistles) not only fails to square with the evidence, but is to slander him.

  459. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

    Reply to Bruce (38, above):
    I have the impression that you might not have had the opportunity to study the original languages in which the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament were written, so my corrections are not intended to be anything more than gentle corrections. Properly speaking, the name Jesus is neither Greek nor Hebrew, but rather the English equivalent of the Latin version of a Greek name which is actually Ἰησοῦς (‘Iesous)—in which the letter I is pronounced as if it were a consonantal English letter y and the letter e represents the Greek letter eta, which is pronounced like the ey in the English exclamation “hey!”
    Further,the name Ἰησοῦς (‘Iesous) is not at all a native Greek name, but a Greek rendition of a Hebrew name given to males. The Greek name Iesous is a close rendition in Greek of the Hebrew name Yeshua’ or Yeshu’. Yeshua’ is also a common noun in Hebrew, meaning “salvation” or “victory.” (There is no such common noun in Greek.) The Greek language has no sh sound, so the simple s sound is the closest one can come in Greek. Also, the final letter s is just a Greek way of ending a man’s name.

    Fortunately, one does not actually have to master the Greek and Hebrew languages to get this information. All that is necessary is to look up “Jesus” in a Bible dictionary or Bible encyclopedia in almost any public or academic library. Even Wikipedia, which is not always a reliable source (and which can completely change an entry overnight), got this one right (for now):

    “The name Jesus is derived from the Latin Iesus, a transliteration of the Greek Ἰησοῦς (Iesous). The Greek form is a rendition of the Hebrew ישוע‎ (Yeshua), a variant of the earlier name יהושע‎ (Yehoshua), or Joshua. The name Yeshua appears to have been in use in Judea at the time of the birth of Jesus. The first-century works of historian Flavius Josephus, who wrote in Koine Greek, the same language as that of the New Testament, refer to at least twenty different people with the name Jesus (i.e. Ἰησοῦς). The etymology of Jesus’ name in the context of the New Testament is generally given as ‘Yahweh is salvation.’ ”

    The reason that Josephus mentions at least 12, and up to 21 other men named Yeshua’ in his writings is precisely that it is a man’s name in Hebrew that was used very commonly in first-century Palestine. Thus it is not at all “ridiculous” that Jesus of Nazareth received this name in that place during that time.

    Without establishing in the first place any linguistic basis for denying that Jesus’ name was Hebrew, the speculative question “What other facts about the man, his teaching and the events surrounding his life were changed?” remains mere speculation. It is fine to challenge accepted knowledge if one is willing to do the homework to get one’s facts right (even by simply looking in Wikipedia),

    Regarding the prophesied name Immanuel, it is entirely possible for one person to receive or be known by several names, and this was true in first-century Palestine. Present-day Christians even glory in the many names and titles given to Jesus in Scripture and sing songs that list them. To set up an either-or situation does not suit the culture of Jesus’ day.

    It is also important to distinguish between a truly critical approach that aims to get at the truth by gathering evidence and making careful, sometimes laborious efforts to interpret it correctly–and an approach that is merely skeptical, characterized by profound mistrust and aiming only to prove accepted knowledge to be unknowable or wrong. Easy believism and easy skepticism are both errors to be avoided.

  460. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

    Reply to Bruce (38, above):
    I have the impression that you might not have had the opportunity to study the original languages in which the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament were written, so my corrections are not intended to be anything more than gentle corrections. Properly speaking, the name Jesus is neither Greek nor Hebrew, but rather the English equivalent of the Latin version of a Greek name which is actually Ἰησοῦς (‘Iesous)—in which the letter I is pronounced as if it were a consonantal English letter y and the letter e represents the Greek letter eta, which is pronounced like the ey in the English exclamation “hey!”
    Further,the name Ἰησοῦς (‘Iesous) is not at all a native Greek name, but a Greek rendition of a Hebrew name given to males. The Greek name Iesous is a close rendition in Greek of the Hebrew name Yeshua’ or Yeshu’. Yeshua’ is also a common noun in Hebrew, meaning “salvation” or “victory.” (There is no such common noun in Greek.) The Greek language has no sh sound, so the simple s sound is the closest one can come in Greek. Also, the final letter s is just a Greek way of ending a man’s name.
    Fortunately, one does not actually have to master the Greek and Hebrew languages to get this information. All that is necessary is to look up “Jesus” in a Bible dictionary or Bible encyclopedia in almost any public or academic library. Even Wikipedia, which is not always a reliable source (and which can completely change an entry overnight), got this one right (for now):
    “The name Jesus is derived from the Latin Iesus, a transliteration of the Greek Ἰησοῦς (Iesous). The Greek form is a rendition of the Hebrew ישוע‎ (Yeshua), a variant of the earlier name יהושע‎ (Yehoshua), or Joshua. The name Yeshua appears to have been in use in Judea at the time of the birth of Jesus. The first-century works of historian Flavius Josephus, who wrote in Koine Greek, the same language as that of the New Testament, refer to at least twenty different people with the name Jesus (i.e. Ἰησοῦς). The etymology of Jesus’ name in the context of the New Testament is generally given as ‘Yahweh is salvation.’ ”
    The reason that Josephus mentions at least 12, and up to 21 other men named Yeshua’ in his writings is precisely that it is a man’s name in Hebrew that was used very commonly in first-century Palestine. Thus it is not at all “ridiculous” that Jesus of Nazareth received this name in that place during that time.
    Without establishing in the first place any linguistic basis for denying that Jesus’ name was Hebrew, the speculative question “What other facts about the man, his teaching and the events surrounding his life were changed?” remains mere speculation. It is fine to challenge accepted knowledge if one is willing to do the homework to get one’s facts right (even by simply looking in Wikipedia),
    Regarding the prophesied name Immanuel, it is entirely possible for one person to receive or be known by several names, and this was true in first-century Palestine. Present-day Christians even glory in the many names and titles given to Jesus in Scripture and sing songs that list them. To set up an either-or situation does not suit the culture of Jesus’ day.
    It is also important to distinguish between a truly critical approach that aims to get at the truth by gathering evidence and making careful, sometimes laborious efforts to interpret it correctly–and an approach that is merely skeptical, characterized by profound mistrust and aiming only to prove accepted knowledge to be unknowable or wrong. Easy believism and easy skepticism are both errors to be avoided.

  461. Bruce L says:

    To think that Jesus was his birth-name is highly illogical if he was indeed born in a Jewish area of Palestine 2000 years ago. Jesus is clearly a Greek name, neither a Jewish name, nor a Palestinian name. Considering his brother received a typical Hebrew name of Jacob, I find it ridiculous that Jesus was his given name at birth.

    Matthew 1:23 – “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
    and they shall call his name Immanuel”

    Isaiah 7:14 – “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.

    I find it much more likely that his birth name was Immanuel and changed somewhere along the line, which begs the question: What other facts about the man, his teaching and the events surrounding his life were changed? And events, names & places are usually changed by those in power, who wish to remain in power or obtain even more power for ever & ever. Or they are changed by those who also are greedy for power, influence, riches, etc. What better was to do this than to instill belief or assumption among the masses through a new religion, as the ancient proverb states – “Knowledge moves mountains, beliefs make slaves.”

  462. Bruce L says:

    To think that Jesus was his birth-name is highly illogical if he was indeed born in a Jewish area of Palestine 2000 years ago. Jesus is clearly a Greek name, neither a Jewish name, nor a Palestinian name. Considering his brother received a typical Hebrew name of Jacob, I find it ridiculous that Jesus was his given name at birth.
    Matthew 1:23 – “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
    and they shall call his name Immanuel”
    Isaiah 7:14 – “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.
    I find it much more likely that his birth name was Immanuel and changed somewhere along the line, which begs the question: What other facts about the man, his teaching and the events surrounding his life were changed? And events, names & places are usually changed by those in power, who wish to remain in power or obtain even more power for ever & ever. Or they are changed by those who also are greedy for power, influence, riches, etc. What better was to do this than to instill belief or assumption among the masses through a new religion, as the ancient proverb states – “Knowledge moves mountains, beliefs make slaves.”

  463. Peter Sullivan says:

    An excellent article and I think Jesus DID exist. However in regard to the evidence from Tacitus he a) does not actually name Jesus b) the term Chrestus = anointed. So other candidates could be this person – I think of Herod or another unrecorded messiah whose followers took his name for example. I find the Josephus material provides more evidence although worried a little by the fact Jesus was probably NOT the Jewish messiah in Jospehus’s pantheon.

  464. Peter Sullivan says:

    An excellent article and I think Jesus DID exist. However in regard to the evidence from Tacitus he a) does not actually name Jesus b) the term Chrestus = anointed. So other candidates could be this person – I think of Herod or another unrecorded messiah whose followers took his name for example. I find the Josephus material provides more evidence although worried a little by the fact Jesus was probably NOT the Jewish messiah in Jospehus’s pantheon.

  465. Rob Palmer says:

    If a man named Christ existed mainly as a marketing concept then his heirs, assigns and descendants (as defined by the late writer Laurence Gardner in Bloodlines of the Holy Grail) deserve a large stipend from the religious organizations which have profitted from using his name. Only fair.

  466. Rob Palmer says:

    If a man named Christ existed mainly as a marketing concept then his heirs, assigns and descendants (as defined by the late writer Laurence Gardner in Bloodlines of the Holy Grail) deserve a large stipend from the religious organizations which have profitted from using his name. Only fair.

  467. Mike Caba says:

    Larry, once again, a home run. Thanks much.

  468. Mike Caba says:

    Larry, once again, a home run. Thanks much.

  469. Gene R. Conradi says:

    Lawrence, I believe you also made note in your comments on your O.T. article about a British scholar confronting her students or associates about a challenge they made about the existence of Jesus. She commented in a similar vein as the two quotes I made above. Thank you for your very convincing article.

  470. Gene R. Conradi says:

    Lawrence, I believe you also made note in your comments on your O.T. article about a British scholar confronting her students or associates about a challenge they made about the existence of Jesus. She commented in a similar vein as the two quotes I made above. Thank you for your very convincing article.

  471. Gene R. Conradi says: