Before I begin with the Debate topic... let's set some ground rules:

Mods! Please correct anyone who engages in these things! Thanks a bunch! ^_^

1. Theists are welcome to participate, with one important rule - NO PROSTHELYTIZING!!! - In other words... this debate is to strictly be a debate on the historicity of Jesus as a man, ONLY!! DO NOT use this forum to push your ideas of Jesus as the "son of god" or "god himself" ... please leave that to another debate!

2. BE POLITE!! NO TROLLS ALLOWED!! [Atheist trolls are not allowed as well!]

3. Please be respectful when providing a dissenting opinion to another individual.


Thank you!


Alright... here's the topic.


For many years the historicity of Jesus as a man has remained virtually undisputed among historians. However, I have noticed in recent years a rising number of historians [admittedly still a minority] who have expressed doubt that Jesus ever existed at all.


What do you all think?


[P.S. If you can... please provide evidence and sources for your opinions].

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Never said that I rejected it. I'm just agnostic about it.
Guess now is not the time to point out that Buddha was also a myth, eh?
Funny, I'd say the same thing to you. You are the one who should be doing some research, other than reading apologetics. The vast majority of work on the Gospels is baseless crap first of all.

I do agree with this though:
"The discussion on this topic really goes no where until people read up on the methodology Jesus Historians use and the findings of its application.
to repeat endlessly that the gospels can't be used as evidence (and, indeed, to say this with capitalization and an exclamation point) is just wrong-headed."

Yes this is exactly right, by researching the methodologies used you can see that the methodologies used by mainstream scholars is total crap. And yes its also true that the Gospels can be used as a form of evidence, as a strong form of evidence AGAINST the historical existence of Jesus.

I've done years of my own research on the Gospels and hundreds of other early Christian writings, and I can tell you that its objectively provable that there is no historical core of anything in the Gospels.

Until you can address the types of arguments forward here, then it is a waste of time to just keep bringing up irrelevant facts and baseless statements made by other people.
"Yes this is exactly right, by researching the methodologies used you can see that the methodologies used by mainstream scholars is total crap."

"I've done years of my own research on the Gospels and hundreds of other early Christian writings, and I can tell you that its objectively provable that there is no historical core of anything in the Gospels."

Alrighty then. You've stated this "I've done my own research." over and over again. You admittedly disagree with the way that the scholars have come together as a community and developed methods for establishing accuracy. Peer reviewed methods. But do you submit to peer reviewed journals? Do you ask the community to consider your thoughts or do you simply pat yourself on the back and avoid the criticism?

I can only infer who you are from your site. I am assuming that you have a science background. How would you feel if a Biblical Scholar came out and said "RationalRevolutions" methods in biology are total crap. He doesn't know what he's doing. Do you see how silly that sounds?

You can have your opinion but calling scholars "crap" and saying "I've done my research", as if you are a Ph d in Theology isn't honest or fair. Thousands of years have been spent getting the theological community to where it is. For you to insinuate that you understand each nuance of the communities reasoning is arrogant. You aren't a Biblical Scholar and neither is Dougherty.
"You can have your opinion but calling scholars "crap" and saying "I've done my research", as if you are a Ph d in Theology isn't honest or fair."

Yes, it is, when it is provable to be a fact.

First of all, this isn't an issue of theology, so a theology degree is useless, despite what the apologists try to claim. Secondly almost no-one gets a theology degree unless they are themselves Christians. Even most non-Christians who have theology degrees were Christians when they began their theology studies.

But this isn't an issue of theology, its an issue of history, and thus the most relevant degree would be a history degree of some sort. For example Richard Carrier now has his PhD in ancient studies or something like that, and he is a leading researcher in the field who doubts the historical existence of Jesus and calls into question the methods of the theology mainstream.

But lets get to the methodologies.

One of the main "methodologies" used by mainstream scholars on this subject is to use the number of times that an account appears in the literature as a basis for judging the likelihood that it really happened.

So, for example, you will see scholars say things like "The piercing of the side of Jesus during his crucifixion is in doubt, because it is only attested to by John, but the mocking of Jesus is seen as historically true because it is attested to in all four canonical Gospels, plus in other non-canonical sources."

That is an absolutely standard line to reasoning in mainstream scholarship.

But, its also completely baseless and misleading, because the fact that something is attested to in multiple sources is meaningless if all of those sources are just copied from one another.

Its like saying "I think that Luke Skywalker was real because his life is attested to in the movie Star Wars, and in the Family Guy version of Star Wars, and in Space Balls (but clearly from a slightly different source you see), and in multiple books. And no only that, but we know that his aunt and uncle were really killed because this event happens in each of the versions and is attested to by all of them", etc.

That is what mainstream scholarship is, period.

Mainstream scholarship has so many holes in it that its laughable, and yet the thing is that 99% of the people don't actually look into it enough to understand this.

Don't pay attention to who said what about what, simply look at the facts yourself.

Don't take my word for it, read the articles I've presented, examine the details, and compare those details and arguments to those put forward who others. See for yourself.

The reality is that many of the starting assumptions of mainstream scholars are simply flat wrong, and are actually quite easily provably wrong. I'm not just saying that, I've put together over 500 pages of evidence to back it up. Judge for yourself.
This really isn't much of an answer to any of the questions I posed. Read my site. Read my books. You aren't a scholar on either subject, at least not that you've asserted. I'll be happy to read Carrier's book when it comes out. I've seen plenty of his vids and find him very entertaining, and a scholar.

The mythical acts of Jesus aren't relevant to his potentially having lived. Historians can't address mythology. There simply aren't the tools present to address it. So if you are using the piercing of Jesus' side as a reason for saying that the person didn't live, you've already diverged from historical methods. The piercing is poetic for the time as it's one of the greatest pains we could imagine, and he's doing it for "us".

The criterion of dissimilarity is what has spoken to me for the potential of Jesus having lived. If I wanted to write a story about how great my dog is, I wouldn't tell you the story of how he chewed the fender of my motorcycle when he was a pup. Or make up a story about him pooping in my shoe (didn't happen). There are many stories about Jesus that don't fit the expectation.

If you want to take on the mockery claims and call all the methods crap, I'm suggesting that you should submit to the appropriate publications for consideration. Don't convince me how great you are, convince historians or theologians and I'll accept the credibility. Until then, I have to assume that you don't know some of what they know and are not practicing to their required standards. If it's so provable, there are plenty of publications available and the writings are done already.

As for the belief leading to theology degrees, the theologians whom are not religious openly state that seminary is a tough time. They are honest and the blind belief fades for many. But what do you think would get an 18 year old to decide to dedicate their lives to religion? Ir religiosity?

I like hearing what you have to say, the position of authority over scholars just doesn't sit well with me. Maybe I have to live with it.
I find it laughable that you hold up Carrier as a scholar but not Doherty. Doherty was writing on this topic before Carrier was even in school. And as much as I admire some of the things Carrier has written, I am very reluctant to use him as a reference for anything, since I have first-hand experience with how much he can BS.
Experts don't agree. What does that tell you? Nothing can change the fact that nobody knows whether or not Jesus really existed. Any opinion on the matter, expert or not, is exactly that: an opinion.

To me, the conspicuous lack of evidence is suspicious. After all, Roman records of the same period documented other Christ-like "heretics" who were sentenced to death. Why no record of Jesus?
Hey Nelson,

You keep saying that the methodology of historians reveals a "historical core" of documentation of what Jesus is "likely to have done and said".

Since this discussion began, I 've changed my mind and now think that it is more likely than not that Jesus actually existed as a physical person. However, methodology is not evidence. It speaks only to how one searches . . . NOT what one finds.

And so far, nobody has found anything tangible. It's possible that Jesus is 100% myth but it seems more likely he was an actual person. Whether or not he did ANYTHING mentioned in the bible is up for debate.

As you know, I'm familiar with you at "the other site" and was a supporter of yours there. I think you're misreading Nelson's comments: he's simply stating his argument as best he can. I can detect no ill will toward you or anybody else.
Hi Nelson,

When you say that, "the core story of a Galilean Jew who goes to Jerusalem to teach his conception of Yahweh's plan for the Jews and who is betrayed by one of his followers, arrested for sedition, and crucified is something that could not be toyed with no matter the viewpoint of the author or his motivation", all we need to do is look to Joseph Smith and Mormonism to see that the core story can indeed be toyed with. In fact, there's nothing stopping anybody from fabricating the core story out of whole cloth.
"but they had to express that viewpoint within the context of a story that was already known to at least some of their readers from oral tradition."

This is pure nonsense. If you would just read my article on the Gospel of Mark you would see the very clear evidence that this is provably false. Its absolutely and clearly provable that there was no oral tradition, that the Gospel of Mark was written via the use of literary allusions in a way that would be impossible to be based on oral tradition, and that all of the other Gospels aren't rooted in a common oral tradition, they are directly based on the Gospel of Mark.

That's the thing, is that this stuff is very easy to demonstrate if you would just take the time to look at the facts.


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