Clement is best known for the letter ascribed to him, written to the church in Corinth, known as 1 Clement. The letter stresses the importance of the Corinth church to humbly interact with each other, in order to remain unified. His teachings could be trusted, he was saying, because he personally learned from the disciples the teachings that Christ had personally given them.
Ignatius , a bishop of Antioch, was condemned to death in Rome in the early 2nd century. In several of his letters, he references the historical Jesus. In one letter to the church in Tralles , he writes:. Jesus Christ who was of the race of David, who was the Son of Mary, who was truly born and ate and drank, was truly persecuted under Pontius Pilate, was truly crucified and died in the sight of those in heaven and on earth and those under the earth; who moreover was truly raised from the dead, His Father having raised Him, who in the like fashion will so raise us also who believe in Him.
Ignatius was clearly attempting to place the events of Jesus in the realm of history, in part because of the growing threat of Gnosticism , which I mentioned earlier. Gnostics refused to believe that Jesus was human, as they viewed physical matter as evil. They deemed the idea of God becoming human to be outrageous. The cross is critical to Christian belief. Not because Jesus hung there, but because He overcame death. But because of it, we can know how far He is willing to go to reconcile us to Him. To be honest, I rejected this gift for many years because I hated the thought of Jesus humiliated and suffering in agony for me.
But if we refuse to accept the cross, we will never fully love Jesus back with our whole heart. Contemplating his own death, Ignatius rightly believed that if Christ had died only in appearance, his own willingness to sacrifice his life for Christ would have no meaning. It would be wasted effort. The early church grew because of this shared commitment to willingly follow in the footsteps of Christ. They were sold out for Jesus. Are we sold out, too? Every major city listed in the Gospels and Acts, for example, has been located and excavated!
Scholars have recovered a number of amazing inscriptions, including one that mentions Pilate, the Roman governor who condemned Jesus to the cross. Think about how important that is! It is exciting that each new discovery helps us to more clearly see the early church and how Jesus changed the lives of those who heard and accepted His message of grace and forgiveness. The bottom line: both Christian and secular scholars from a large cross-section of theological schools have concluded that we can have confidence that Jesus really lived — just as the Bible tells us.
Even the enemies of the Jesus movement thought so; among their many slurs against the religion, His nonexistence is never one of them…. Jesus certainty existed. Scholars tend to see the Jesus they want to see. Too often they see themselves — their own reflection — in the image of Jesus they have constructed. What makes you think so? I invite you to join us in our next post in this series as we begin to examine Jesus in greater detail. He made some lofty claims during His time on earth. Did He live up to them? Is it possible that He really is who He says He is?
Ancient Christian Gospels. Harrisburg, PA: Continuum. Jesus hypotheses. St Paul Publications. Deconstructing Jesus. Amherst, N. Price, Robert M. Wells, George A. The Historical Evidence for Jesus.
Prometheus Books. The Jesus Myth. Can We Trust the New Testament? Jesus: The Evidence 1st ed. Regnery Publishing.
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Part of a series on. Jesus in culture Life in art Depiction Jesuism. Christ myth theorists [T]he view that there was no historical Jesus, that his earthly existence is a fiction of earliest Christianity—a fiction only later made concrete by setting his life in the first century—is today almost totally rejected. Most of their comment such as those quoted by Michael Grant are limited to expressions of contempt.
Jesus existed Today, nearly all historians, whether Christians or not, accept that Jesus existed and that the gospels contain plenty of valuable evidence which has to be weighed and assessed critically.
Did Jesus Exist? | HuffPost
There is general agreement that, with the possible exception of Paul, we know far more about Jesus of Nazareth than about any first or second century Jewish or pagan religious teacher. Graham Stanton , The Gospels and Jesus 2nd ed. Helmut Koester , Introduction to the New Testament , 2 2nd ed.
Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, pp. Graeme Clarke, quoted by John Dickson in "Facts and friction of Easter", The Sydney Morning Herald , March 21, In the academic mind, there can be no more doubt whatsoever that Jesus existed than did Augustus and Tiberius, the emperors of his lifetime. Even if we assume for a moment that the accounts of non-biblical authors who mention him - Flavius Josephus, Tacitus, Suetonius, Pliny the Younger and others - had not survived, the outstanding quality of the Gospels, Paul's letters and other New Testament writings is more than good enough for the historian.
Oxford: Lion, p. Yet fundamentally it is the same. There is the same easy dismissal of all external testimony, the same disdain for the saner conclusions of modern criticism, the same inclination to attach most value to extremes of criticism, the same neglect of all the personal and natural features of the narrative, the same disposition to put skepticism forward in the garb of valid demonstration, and the same ever present predisposition against recognizing any evidence for Jesus' actual existence The New Testament data are perfectly clear in their testimony to the reality of Jesus' earthly career and they come from a time when the possibility that the early framers of tradition should have been deceived upon this point is out of the question.
We must [, according to Christ myth advocates,] perforce suppose that the Gospels were a covert tribute to the worth and value of Pagan mythology and religious dramas, to pagan art and statuary. If we adopt the mythico-symbolical method, they can have been nothing else. Its sponsors might surely condescend to explain the alchemy by which the ascertained rites and beliefs of early Christians were distilled from these antecedents.
The effect and the cause are so entirely disparate, so devoid of any organic connection, that we would fain see the evolution worked out a little more clearly. At one end of it we have a hurly-burly of pagan myths, at the other an army of Christian apologists inveighing against everything pagan and martyred for doing so, all within a space of sixty or seventy years. I only hope the orthodox will be gratified to learn that their Scriptures are a thousandfold more wonderful and unique than they appeared to be when they were merely inspired by the Holy Spirit.
The Bible Says Jesus Was Real. What Other Proof Exists?
For verbal inspiration is not, as regards its miraculous quality, in the same field with mythico-symbolism. Verily we have discovered a new literary genus, unexampled in the history of mankind, you rake together a thousand irrelevant thrums of mythology, picked up at random from every age, race, and clime; you get a "Christist" to throw them into a sack and shake them up; you open it, and out come the Gospels. In all the annals of the Bacon-Shakespeareans we have seen nothing like it. Robertson, A.
Drews and W. It would be just as reasonable to question the historical existence of Alexander the Great and Charlemagne on account of the legends which have gathered round them The attempt to explain history without the influence of great men may flatter the vanity of the vulgar, but it will find no favour with the philosophic historian. London: Macmillan, p. No real scholar regards the work of these men seriously. They lack the most elementary knowledge of historical research. Some of them are eminent scholars in other subjects, such as Assyriology and mathematics, but their writings about the life of Jesus have no more claim to be regarded as historical than Alice in Wonderland or the Adventures of Baron Munchausen.
Those who have not entered far into the laborious inquiry may pretend that the historicity of Jesus is an open question. For me to adopt such a pretence would be sheer intellectual dishonesty. I know I must, as an honest man, reckon with Jesus as a factor in history This dialectic process whereby the Christ-myth theory discredits itself rests on the simple fact that you cannot attempt to prove the theory without mishandling the evidence.
No sane person can doubt that Jesus stands as founder behind the historical movement whose first distinct stage is represented by the oldest Palestinian community.
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Grant New York: Harper Torchbooks, p. This denial of the historicity of Jesus does not commend itself to scholars, moderates or extremists, any more. The "Christ-myth" theories are not accepted or even discussed by scholars today. These claims have long since been exposed as historical nonsense. There can be no reasonable doubt that Jesus of Nazareth lived in Palestine in the first three decades of our era, probably from BC to 30 AD. That is a fact. Evidence for Jesus as a historical personage is incontrovertible. The fact that Jesus existed, that he was crucified under Pontius Pilate for whatever reason and that he had a band of followers who continued to support his cause, seems to be the part of the bedrock of historical tradition.
If nothing else, the non-Christian evidence can provide us with certainty on that score. Christopher M. Wells, a Professor of German who has ventured into New Testament study and presents a case that the origins of Christianity can be explained without assuming that Jesus really lived. Earlier presentations of similar views at the turn of the century failed to make any impression on scholarly opinion, and it is certain that this latest presentation of the case will not fare any better. For of course the evidence is not confined to Tacitus; there are the New Testament documents themselves, nearly all of which must be dated in the first century, and behind which there lies a period of transmission of the story of Jesus which can be traced backwards to a date not far from that when Jesus is supposed to have lived.
To explain the rise of this tradition without the hypothesis of Jesus is impossible. Vancouver: Regent College Publishing, pp. The book claims or so they told me that everything in the Gospels reflects, because it was in fact borrowed from, much older pagan myths; that Jesus never existed; that the early church knew it was propagating a new version of an old myth, and that the developed church covered this up in the interests of its own power and control.
The producer was friendly, and took my point when I said that this was like asking a professional astronomer to debate with the authors of a book claiming the moon was made of green cheese. Leander Keck, Who Is Jesus? The Christ-myth theory, then, won little support from the historical specialists. In their judgement, it sought to demonstrate a perverse thesis, and it preceded by drawing the most far-fetched, even bizarre connection between mythologies of very diverse origin.
How confident can we be that Jesus Christ actually lived?
The importance of the theory lay, not in its persuasiveness to the historians since it had none , but in the fact that it invited theologians to renewed reflection on the questions of faith and history. Brian A. Clark, pp. Granted, some judgments are so probable as to be certain; for example, Jesus really existed and really was crucified, just as Julius Caesar really existed and was assassinated. Wright San Francisco: HarperCollins, p. It has 'again and again been answered and annihilated by first-rank scholars'. In recent years 'no serious scholar has ventured to postulate the non-historicity of Jesus'—or at any rate very few, and they have not succeeded in disposing of the much stronger, indeed very abundant, evidence to the contrary.
So I think that question can be put to rest. Robert J. That a few simple men should in one generation have invented so powerful and appealing a personality, so lofty an ethic and so inspiring a vision of human brotherhood, would be a miracle far more incredible than any recorded in the Gospel. Richard A. The theory of Jesus' nonexistence is now effectively dead as a scholarly question The nonhistoricity thesis has always been controversial, and it has consistently failed to convince scholars of many disciplines and religious creeds Biblical scholars and classical historians now regard it as effectively refuted.
Did Jesus Exist?
James H. Charlesworth , "Preface", in James H. He is even willing to entertain the possibility that there never was a historical Jesus. Is the evidence of Jesus really that thin? Virtually no scholar trained in history will agree with Price's negative conclusions In my view Price's work in the gospels is overpowered by a philosophical mindset that is at odds with historical research—of any kind What we see in Price is what we have seen before: a flight from fundamentalism. Craig A. But no serious ancient historian doubts that Jesus was a real person, really living in Galilee in the first century.
There are a lot of people who want to write sensational books and make a lot of money who say Jesus didn't exist. But I don't know any serious scholar who doubts the existence of Jesus. Bart Ehrman , interview with Reginald V. Finley Sr. This is an old argument, even though it shows up every 10 years or so. This current craze that Christianity was a mystery religion like these other mystery religions-the people who are saying this are almost always people who know nothing about the mystery religions; they've read a few popular books, but they're not scholars of mystery religions.
The reality is, we know very little about mystery religions-the whole point of mystery religions is that they're secret! So I think it's crazy to build on ignorance in order to make a claim like this. I think the evidence is just so overwhelming that Jesus existed, that it's silly to talk about him not existing. I don't know anyone who is a responsible historian, who is actually trained in the historical method, or anybody who is a biblical scholar who does this for a living, who gives any credence at all to any of this.
Bart Ehrman , interview with David V. Barrett, "The Gospel According to Bart", Fortean Times , Richard [Carrier] takes the extremist position that Jesus of Nazareth never even existed, that there was no such person in history. It involves too many complex and speculative hypotheses, in contrast to the much simpler explanation that there was a Jesus who said and did more or less what the first three Gospels attribute to him. James D. Dunn , "Response to Robert M. Join HuffPost Plus. Real Life. Real News. Real Voices. Let us know what you'd like to see as a HuffPost Member.
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