I there any real, actual proof of Jesus's existance? ( Please don't say the bible ).
My university degree was in Archaeology and one of my other major subjects was History. I'm a Christian, but have tended to separate my studies from my faith - so that one doesn't bias my understanding of the other too much. Obviously my understanding of the one does influence the other but I'm not interested in using archaeology/history to 'prove' the Bible - it sheds interesting light occasionally but shouldn't be used to try to prove a spiritual point.
So, I'm answering this as a historian who became a Christian, rather than a Christian historian, if you see what I mean.
As students of early history, we sometimes had to question the existence of the key people we studied. You can 'disprove' some figures - King Arthur, for example, is (disappointingly) likely to be an amalgim of various mythical and real leaders. It's possible to trace the development of these King Arthur legends across countries (from Wales to England and then to France) and across many centuries (from pre-Chrstian Celtic Britain via medieval Europe to Victorian England). You can pick out the 'truths' from them by working out which bits of the stories match the original period of 5th Century Britian, and which bits are medieval or Victorian additions.
There are other, less well documented characters whose existence one tends not to doubt. Kings of various countries may only be mentioned once or twice on an engraving or a statute, but why doubt that they existed? My point here is that there is a lot more evidence of Jesus than there is for some of the Egyptian pharaohs, for example. We don't have to doubt and question every piece of writing that we find - other documents which confirmed the person's existence may have been lost over time, or in a less literate society, may never have existed.
I would assume that someone here will point you to the Jewish historian Josephus, who wrote about the Christians and their founder, whilst they were still a new religion.
In my opinion as a history student the Bible is a perfectly valid document to prove that a man called Jesus lived, taught and died, and that some of his contemporaries believed amazing things about him. In my opinion as a Christian the Bible is a lot more than that, but honestly, not many historians doubt the basic facts of Jesus' existence. You'll find a few but to a scholar's point of view they are rather the equivalent of the 'experts' who are rolled out to prove that not all scientists believe in evolution or Climate Change. (I.e. a biased minority who are sometimes willing to put opinion before scholarship).
There's more historical evidence for Jesus than there is for a numer of other historical figures, so why is it Jesus that some people are so frantically trying to disprove? It must be either something to do with His message, which disconcerts them, or to do with their dissatisfaction with Christianity as they have encountered it. If people don't like the message of Jesus, they're not alone - the Establishment of His time hated it too. Is that the company they really want to keep, though? If they don't like what they've seen of Christianity, then I apologise for the times that we Christians do not follow the teaching of our Lord, Jesus.
Yes but he wasn't as holy as some would think. He went out of his way & coaused riots to get people's attention. He could of easily avoided conflicts but went out of his way to confront people. He didn't die on the cross either & was more than likely married to Mary Magdalen. He was Jew & he was considered a holy man, back then in Jewish religion you had to be married to be considered a holy man. He was crucified for only 6 hours; at the very least the Romans would crucify a person for 2 days then take you down, that is if they felt like it. The stab in the side- the romans missed the vital organs, they did that to cause more discomfort & affliction, not to kill. There've been reports of people surviving after 2-3 days crucified, I don't see why it would be so hard to believe Jesus survived. As for the resurrection & such, I don't see ho he would be resurrected if he were never dead. All they found was a white cloth, no body, nothing but a white cloth. There's a theory stating that there was a plan to save Christ. They took him to a borrowed tomb & treated his wounds. Rosemary & rue was taken to his grave, they have extreme healing properties & are still used in modern medicine. Rosemary & rue were anointed to his body, then his body was covered with the white cloth to keep out insects & such, & that would also explain how the image of Christ got on the shroud. Rosemary will make that type of imprint, 48 hours is more than enough time. Christ was put in a coma state when he was taken off the cross. Certain people probably helped take him out of the state & moved him before his tomb was discovered empty.
flossheal, large numbers of people throughout history have died for all kinds of causes, including religious cults. That doesn't make a belief system valid.
The reason I dismiss the Gospels, mainly the four in the Bible, is because they don't stand up to the criteria of being a valid historical account. Do they contain historical truths? Absolutely. We do know that people like Herod and Pontius Pilate did exist, and that a census was taken in Judea at that time. But, the Iliad and Odyssey also contain references to historical events, as does the epic of Gilgamesh. I doubt you would agree that any of those stories are 100% historical truth.
Textual analysis of the Gospels reveals that the authors, whoever they were, had a definate agenda. They were not writing a historical account of Jesus life. They were writing to convince their readers that Jesus ministered, was crucified, and rose from the dead. In order to back up their claim, it would help to have something, anything, from the Romans or the Jews from that time period verifying that a person named Jesus did exist. We have nothing. The earliest Gospels and Pauline epistles were written between 15-20 years after Jesus is said to have been crucified. And, as others have already pointed out, there is overwhelming correlation between early Christian beliefs and teachings, and the pagan cults that existed in the Roman Empire at that time and earlier.
I do thank you for your compliment. It's always a pleasure to debate with you because you are very well educated about your faith and many other issues.
"I would assume that someone here will point you to the Jewish historian Josephus, who wrote about the Christians and their founder, whilst they were still a new religion. "
The consensus on Josephus now seems to be that his Testimonium was clearly altered by Christians to lend credibility to the idea of a historical Jesus.
It's not entirely clear what Josephus said about Jesus, but most scholars agree that it's impossible to tell since the original text was corrupted.
So if you take away the Gospels and Josephus' questionable account, there is no direct reference to Jesus anywhere. Other Roman references are non-specific and also do not refer to Jesus as an actual person, but simply as the focus of worship for the new sect known as the Christians. And many non-Biblical Gospels have questionable authenticity, aside from not being actual historical documents.
The reality is, there is much more evidence for a historical Hercules than a historical Jesus. In fact, since it's now brought up, isn't it interesting how many parallels there are between the story of Hercules and the story of Jesus? Almost makes one wonder if pagan Graeco-Roman cults had some influence over the development of Christianity. Nah...couldn't be.
The Jesus' foot non-controversy above reminds me of the following story (presumably apocryphal):
In a traditional English church, a young vicar preached a very modern sermon (I don't know what he did, used PowerPoint or something). Following the service, a disgusted old lady complained to this vicar, concluding: 'Jesus must be turning in His grave!'
Surely can't be true.
And otherwise, once again I think that the disinterested observer will notice that people who choose not to believe in Jesus will interpret everything as evidence against his existence/divinity, and those who believe we know Him will see the same material as evidence of His existence. Neither will 'win' this conversation and change the minds of the others, because our starting positions overwhelmingly influence our interpretation of the facts.
That's why, despite the fact that I can and have given a discussion of the facts and the evidence, when it comes down to it I totally agree with Silverwing's much simpler post.
flossheal: "And otherwise, once again I think that the disinterested observer will notice that people who choose not to believe in Jesus will interpret everything as evidence against his existence/divinity, and those who believe we know Him will see the same material as evidence of His existence. Neither will 'win' this conversation and change the minds of the others, because our starting positions overwhelmingly influence our interpretation of the facts."
As I have already said, belief to me is not a choice.
The lack of evidence is not the same thing as evidence against his existence. I have never said there is proof that he never existed. But it is a fact there is absolutely no proof the man named jesus described in the NT ever existed. Doesn't mean he didn't.
So I am not sure what you are talking about when you say believers will use the same material as evidence of his existence.
Jesus does exist. everytime soemthing good happens-everytime you expirence a miracle thats GOD thats jesus right beside you, helping you through everyday life. God is sooo good and none of us would have the opportuinty to live with god for eternaty if it wasnt for jesus coming and dying on the cross for eacha and every one of us. Everytime you do something bad and you feel guilty thats jesus pointing you in the right direction. Jesus loves you and thats all you need to know! FAITH is whats its all about. People that beieve in evolution just as much as we need faith to believe in god. Beieving in something SOMEONE makes life so much more living for! Life is so much easier! BELIEV come into the water drink god right in!!
I think that this topic can never have a final answer!
as niave as it all sounds, we just have to believe!! thats the saddest thing about us humans, we just dont have faith anymore!!! its so sad!!
I never used to be a very religeous person, and I have asked myself, the priest, my granny and academics this question millions of times, but it was unfortunately only until I had a very tragic event happen in my life, and after seeing the faith my family had in the Lord to carry on and believe that my mom was with him, I truly felt peace!!!
the only way we can all just have peace is to forgive and have FAITH!!
what are we all so desperatley searching for anyhow...???!!!
As has been said so well already, other than the gospels (written and editied long after the crusifiction) and the questionable Josephus writings, there is zero proof of a man named jesus existed as depicted in the NT. But that should not be that surprising since he would not have been a very significant individual at the time, like Herod or Pilate. I think there was probably a real person the myth was based on, but it is easy to prove it was a myth, because every single christian doctrine, tenet, and ritual was adopted from pagan religions. If the christ story was real, there would be at least one original concept in it, and there is none.
Yes, I do not deny that jesus might have existed. I think the story has to be based on someone, just as most folklore is rooted in real persons or events. I don't think it sprung up out of thin air. And as I said, the fact that there is no other corroborating evidence is not that unusual since such a man would not have been deemed significant at the time.
But you have to admit, the gospels are not real historical records. They are heresay at best. But that does not constitute evidence against their accuracy. But there is no other independent evidence to support it, and without that, it can't be considered reliable, in my opinion.
*** "My university degree was in Archaeology and one of my other major subjects was History... I would assume that someone here will point you to the Jewish historian Josephus, who wrote about the Christians and their founder, whilst they were still a new religion. "
How can you get a minor in history and not know that the blurb regarding Jesus in Josephus is a later fraud?
Sure, look around you at people that have accepted Salvation - He very obviously lives inside them - they've turned from the old tings in their lives immediately - instant change - made a new person - they couldn't have done that on their own - He took up residence in their heart/life - look around, millions are out there - up to you to 'see' or stay 'blind' to truth.
If you apply the proposition that there is a historical root to Jesus to the evidence, you will find that it adds no explanatory power. That doesn't mean there was no historical Jesus, but it does mean it's an unnecessary assumption.
It also means that if there was a historical root to the Jesus myth, we really know nothing about it.
"they actually found a foot, w/ a spike in it, they believe it was Jesus's, theres the proof I have"
I thought the story said the tomb of Jesus was empty, I.e. his body wasn't there because he supposedly rose from the dead? How would they be able to find a foot?
Maybe it's the Yeti foot.
I understand that you aren't categorially denying the existence of the man Jesus, jimahl. I think that's very wise of you (well, I would, but I also think it shows an understanding of the academic arguments too). The 'same material' we use as evidence is: The Gospels.
they actually found a foot, w/ a spike in it, they believe it was Jesus's, theres the proof I have
and I know he lives in my heart and is right beside me right now. :) hes my savior and I love him w/ all my heart
Not did.. but.. does... he exist??
And the answer to that, is YES...
How do I know??
I know, because He lives in my heart !!!
I dont know how to answer your question without accidentally affending some one... but all im going to say is yes
Thats a very good question.You know what, I dont think anybody really knows the true answer to your question.
I have actually been wondering the same thing mjax.. which is why I dont necessarily believe it. but whatever
yes, jesus existed. many religions recognize that he did, christians, muslims, pegans, etc.
No, there is no verified, historical record of Jesus existence.
To all the people who said "yes", PROVE IT.
YES! DID you REALLY THINK that HE DIDNT
the Yeti foot...lol.
YES HE DOES!!!