No Jesus?

I’ve never been a religious person. My father was a renegade Roman Catholic. Though we never really discussed it, I think he objected to the hypocrisy. So there was no question of church or Sunday School. My brother and I were baptised Church of England—because that’s what you did back then. Nonetheless, I’d always assumed that Jesus of the Bible was a real person. As a result of my meanderings through the web on the subjects of Creationism and Intelligent Design (and the utter stupidity of these ideas[1]), I stumbled upon the notion that Jesus wasn’t actually any such thing.

The first discussions I hit upon made reference to a recently published book by Richard Carrier, The Historicity of Jesus. As this book is (a) very expensive, (b) very long (712 pages), and (c) not available in an e-book format, I haven’t read it. One Amazon reviewer describes it as “a devastating argument for a mythical Jesus”. Then yesterday, a much more manageable read appeared in my news feed, 5 reasons to suspect that Jesus never existed. It’s quite a short article (though there are links to other stuff), but the headline five reasons are:

  1. No first century secular evidence whatsoever exists to support the actuality of Yeshua ben Yosef (Jesus).
  2. The earliest New Testament writers seem ignorant of the details of Jesus’ life, which become more crystalized in later texts.
  3. Even the New Testament stories don’t claim to be first-hand accounts.
  4. The gospels, our only accounts of a historical Jesus, contradict each other.
  5. Modern scholars who claim to have uncovered the real historical Jesus depict wildly different persons.

I can’t pretend to explore the implications of a mythical Jesus, but it seems to me to be one more nail in the coffin of the idea that the Bible is the inerrant word of God.


  1. By the way, a very interesting resource with respect to Creationist arguments, can be found here.  ↩

Comments

  1. I am an agnostic, and I do not believe the Bible is the inerrant word of God at all, but I would not so readily embrace the Christ Myth theory. I would highly recommend Bart D. Ehrman’s book Did Jesus Exist? plus I am working on my own.

    • Hi Daniel,

      Thanks for your comment. My post was prompted not by an acceptance of the mythical Jesus, but out of surprise that any doubt existed. Humanism/securalism/atheism are areas that I’ve only recently started to explore—wonderful what comes along to fill one’s time in retirement. It’s clear from the limited reading that I have done that I don’t have the background to form my own judgement.

      I had heard of Bart Ehrman’s book, mainly because I’ve come across some pretty scathing criticism of Ehrman’s scholarship—Richard Carrier being one name that comes to mind. Given that to read just Carrier’s and Ehrman’s books will entail wading through in excess of 1000 pages of text just to choose between them I don’t think I’ll bother. At the end of the day, I’m not sure that it matters whether Jesus existed or not. I am quite certain that he is not the Son of God. Good luck with your own endeavours; I will keep an eye on your own blog.

      Roger

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: