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The Case Against Christianity 2: The Historicity of Jesus

07/11/2011

Martin points out the evidence that the Jesus story is a myth. He says that the historicity of Jesus is based largely on the reliability of the Gospels. If the Gospels are unreliable, then we have much reason to doubt Jesus’ historicity. Is this true? I can’t remember what other sources there are.

Martin relies on the work of G.A. Wells whose case is that even Christian theologians and Biblical scholars admit that the earliest information we get about Jesus comes 40-80 years after his death, written by unknown authors, information that is assumed to be legendary, apparent theological motivations, and finally, all four sources are exclusively Christian.

Also, the writings of Paul that predate the Gospels lack information about the virgin birth, Jesus’ parents, his trial, crucifixion, and ethical teachings. The disputes that Paul wrote about would have benefited directly from teachings that are in the Gospels, but are conspicuously absent.

The first writings that roughly agree with the Gospels are thought to be written from 90-110 C.E. There is a conspicuous lack of detail about Jesus’ life from the earliest of sources, and this occurs systematically. One would expect some details to exist earlier, but none of the sources have that information.

Martin goes over the rest of Wells’ reasons for dismissing outside sources as indicative of an historical Jesus, and responds to criticisms by Habermas and Wilson.

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