Did Jesus exist?

An interesting dust-up between Bart Ehrman and Richard Carrier.

I think this is one of those debates that isn’t susceptible of definitive resolution. For what it’s worth, I think the Jesus story is based upon an actual man, but that he was a charismatic, half-mad, small-bore cult leader who lucked into some good publicists after he died.

The takeaway is this: Bart Ehrman and Richard Carrier are both accomplished, serious-minded historians specialized in the Biblical era — and they can’t even agree on whether or not there was such a man as Jesus. Remember this next time some yahoo gets to howling that he knows this and knows that because the Bible tells him so.

No. He doesn’t. It isn’t even certain that Jesus ever lived.


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  • Willie Buck Merle

    BF, hope you are doing well.

    “For what it’s worth, I think the Jesus story is based upon an actual man, but that he was a charismatic, half-mad, small-bore cult leader who lucked into some good publicists after he died.”

    When I reach that border between the historicity Jesus and the REAL Jesus I realize that anything further than man-who-died-on-a-cross probably is just a qualitative statement. I’m not a historican ok, but I can follow a logical case (even some badly presented ones). I would say, by now, if there was anything that wasn’t jello about this case it would ALWAYS be the first thing presented as evidence. Not talking about believers here, I mean just the theologians & professors that can only speak with authority about this (blush).

    Let’s say something that could be construed as establishing a reliable fact for the person’s existence, coming way before page 109 “The Gospels as Historical Sources”. Yeah the way this book is set-up gives a clue about the whole endeavor itself. Would a lawyer ever tell the jury what evidence he would like to have instead? Page 49, The Kinds of Sources Historians Want.