Was Jesus a Real Person (Historically)?

The following is adopted from the Video Course: How To Prove The Bible Is Reliable

INTRODUCTION  

I remember just a few years ago, I doubted whether Jesus was even a real man. I believed that, “Of course Jesus was not God, but did he even exist at all? Or was he just some made up fairy tale of the religiously inclined?” Since then I have come to study the issue and arrived at a new conclusion. The short answer: yes, Jesus walked the Earth. But unlike our high school classes where they give us the purported conclusion without explaining the process of arriving at said conclusion or describing the certainty and unanimity of scholars, we also need to know the why behind the conclusion. How is it that we know Jesus really walked the Earth?

1 ) SCHOLARLY CONSENSUS

For starters, very few scholars(probably a literal handful) don’t believe Jesus was a real man. Even the extreme majority of the most anti-theistic academics recognize that Jesus really lived. Of course, popular opinion is often wrong, so let’s not leave the discussion there.

2) NON-CHRISTIAN ACCOUNTS

Several external (non-Christian) historical accounts exist as well- most from those not sympathetic to the emerging Christian movement of the first century. Some of the top names included on the list of external validators for NT historicity include Josephus (the Jewish historian), Tacitus(the Roman Historian), Pliny the Younger(a Roman leader and prosecutor of Christians), and even the Jewish Talmud. 

3) CHRISTIAN ACCOUNTS

People often errantly disregard all Christian accounts as worthless. The argument goes something like, “If they believed, they are unreliable.” Of course this standard is totally biased itself. To discount the testimony of hundreds of individuals just because they followed Jesus is totally unfounded. If historic records were discarded simply for the sake of potential bias, we’d have very little history left at all. To those who would disregard all early Christian accounts, there is a clear double standard being put in place with the preconceived intent of undermining Christianity. That’s dogmatism… not history. There are many accounts of eyewitnesses as well noncanonical writings from Christians that all point to the historical existence of Jesus the man.

CONCLUSION

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LEARN TO DEFEND THE RELIABILITY OF THE BIBLE

Jesus walked the Earth and even from a skeptical perspective was probably quite similar to the man portrayed in the Bible. Even if you want to play the extreme skeptic and deny all early Christian accounts, you cannot avoid the existence of Jesus, the man. If you want to play the extreme skeptic and reject all Christian witness, fine. But ask yourself this, “Will you accept what non-Christians said of Him?” If you do, here is what we know: According to historian, Dr. Edwin Yamauchi, “Even if we discount the Bible and any record from Christians… ‘We would know that first, Jesus was a Jewish teacher; second, many people believed that he performed healings and exorcisms; third, some people believed he was the Messiah; fourth, he was rejected by the Jewish leaders; fifth, he was crucified under Pontius Pilate in the reign of Tiberius; sixth, despite this shameful death, his followers, who believed that he was still alive, spread beyond Palestine so that there were multitudes of them in Rome by AD 64; and seventh, all kinds of people from cities and countryside- men and women, slave and free- worshiped him as God.’”

*Citations in original materials


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