Thursday, February 4, 2016

The Absence Of Convincing Evidence For An Historical Jesus Christ

An excellent discussion on the absence of any unbiased, disinterested, 
contemporary historical evidence for Jesus Christ. Why wouldn't  the 
god of the Bible, if he is the true God, have providentially provided such 
considering the extreme, eternal consequences for unbelief? From the 
Errancyn Discussion list, 7-21-98:

If the historical evidence for the existence of Jesus of Nazareth is so
overwhelming, why can't you produce records and references that were 
left by disinterested contemporary parties?

Obviously Mr. Till, any writing which mentions Jesus Christ you would
consider either a "biased writing" or in error. Luke was a Greek doctor
writing an account of Jesus' life and the early church for a Greek
(Theophilus)... but oops! He mentions Jesus... he's a biased religious
writer. Don't you see the fallacy of your position?

Do you deny that Luke was a proponent of Christianity? After all, he
alleged in the book of Acts that he was a companion of the apostle Paul on
his missionary journeys. That hardly sounds like a disinterested, unbiased
spokesman. So, no, I don't see the fallacy of my position. Why don't you
find records from contemporaries who hated and despised Jesus, just as we
can find contemporary references to Thomas Paine that were made 
by people who disliked him? That kind of evidence would be convincing, 
but, alas, there is no such evidence, and so you can do nothing but cry and 
accuse me of fallacious reasoning.


Jesus interacted for only 1 week that we know of with the Romans... why

would we have a secular account of him?

So all you can do is beg the question of NT accuracy in this matter. 
Where is your disinterested, unbiased evidence from contemporaries 
who corroborate this NT claim? That's what you need, but, alas, you don't 
have it.


He was hated by the Jewish leadership at the time who wanted him

forgotten... why would we have a Jewish account of him? You're asking the

Their hatred is all the more reason why we should expect that his enemies
would have made some kind of reference to him. Josephus disliked Herod 
and Pilate, but he still wrote rather extensively about them in *Antiquities of
the Jews." Why should we think that the Jews who disliked Jesus would 
have reacted any differently toward him? See my comments about Thomas 
Paine above. Would you like for me to point out examples in the Bible of 
people who were disliked by biblical writers who nevertheless wrote about 

So why am I asking the impossible? I'm not even asking for the unlikely.
This really galls you, doesn't it? But you shouldn't blame me; you should
blame yourself for having gullibly accepted very unlikely premises.


Therefore, it is at least extremely unlikely (at the time he lived) for

anyone to write about him other than a Christian and yet any Christian
author we present is viewed as biased and therefore wrong by you. No
matter whether they were a common Galilean fisherman, a Jewish
 Pharisee, a Greek doctor, or myself.

It isn't at all unlikely that someone who was disliked would not have been
mentioned by contemporary writers. The fact is that the opposite would be
more likely, as I explained above. This is an argument from silence, but
the nature of the argument is such that I am going to make it anyway. Have
you ever heard of Justus of Tiberias? He was a Jewish historian who lived
in Galilee at the very time that Jesus allegedly lived there. He wrote a
history of that region, which has not survived, but it was known as recently
as the 9th century, because the Christian apologist Photius was familiar
with Justus's history. In *Bibliotheca, code 33,* Photius made this
statement: "He [Justus] makes not the least mention of the appearance of
Christ, of what things happened to him, or of the wonderful works that he
did." If this statement of Photius is correct, then it means that a
Galilean historian, who was a contemporary of Jesus and wrote a history of
this region, didn't mention someone right in his own back yard who went
about feeding multitudes on just a few scraps of food, changing water into
wine, healing the lame and the blind, walking on water, raising the dead,
etc. That's a bit hard to believe. Apparently it never occurred to Photius
that Justus may not have mentioned Jesus of Nazareth because there 
was no Jesus of Nazareth to mention.

Farrell Till

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