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Why the Resurrection Was Not a Conspiracy

WomenTomb

When confronted with the early Christians’ testimony about the Resurrection of Jesus, it is natural to question whether it’s credible. A healthy skepticism demands we test the claims of such an event. One way to do so is by offering alternative explanations, and one such explanation is the conspiracy theory. This theory purports to explain Christ’s empty tomb and postmortem appearances by claiming the early Christians stole the body and made up the Resurrection story. I don’t fault... Read More

Jesus’ Birth and when Herod the Great *Really* Died

Nativity

The Gospel of Matthew tells us that Jesus Christ was born in the final years of the tyrant known as Herod the Great. He tells us that when Jesus was born, Herod panicked and had all the baby boys in Bethlehem killed. Fortunately, the Jesus' family escaped to Egypt and remained there until Herod was dead. They didn't have to stay long, though. Here's when Herod the Great actually died . . .   Setting Aside a Common Mistake   For just over a hundred years, the question of when... Read More

Does Luke Contradict Himself on When Jesus Was Born?

Quirinius

St. Luke begins the second chapter of his Gospel with a chronological note about when Jesus was born, writing: "In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be enrolled. This was the first enrollment, when Quirinius was governor of Syria." (Luke 2:1-2) This passage has been subject to a lot of criticism, because Luke has already linked the birth of Jesus to reign of Herod the Great (Luke 1:5), and Quirinius did not become governor of Syria until years... Read More

An Atheist Historian Examines the Evidence for Jesus (Part 2 of 2)

Jesus2

NOTE: This it the second of a two part series. Before reading this be sure to check out Part 1.     Many Christians accept that a historical Jesus existed because they never thought to question the idea in the first place, or because they are convinced that the gospels can be read as (more or less) historical accounts and so don't need to be seriously doubted on this point.  But why do the overwhelming majority of non-Christian scholars also accept that Jesus existed? The Total... Read More

An Atheist Historian Examines the Evidence for Jesus (Part 1 of 2)

Jesus

Scholars who specialize in the origins of Christianity agree on very little, but they do generally agree that it is most likely that a historical preacher, on whom the Christian figure "Jesus Christ" is based, did exist.  The numbers of professional scholars, out of the many thousands in this and related fields, who don't accept this consensus, can be counted on the fingers of one hand.  Many may be more cautious about using the term "historical fact" about this idea, since as with many... Read More

Is This Mention of Jesus a Forgery?

Josephus

Many skeptics assert that there is no early, non-Christian evidence for a historical Jesus. But Christian apologists point to the writings of the ancient Jewish historian Josephus, who mentions Jesus no less than twice. Yet are those accounts truly trustworthy? Who was Josephus?   Josephus was born to a wealthy family in Judea in the year A.D. 37. In the year 66, a national revolt against Rome broke out and Josephus was appointed commander of the insurgent forces in Galilee. The resistance... Read More

Myths, Lies, or Truth: Can We Really Trust the Gospels?

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Filed under The Bible

Gospels

January 11, 49 B.C. is one of the most famous dates in the history of ancient Rome, even of the ancient world. On that date Julius Caesar crossed the Rubicon River, committing himself and his followers to civil war. Few, if any, historians doubt that the event happened. On the other hand, numerous skeptics claim that the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John are myth and have no basis in historical fact. Yet, as historian Paul Merkley pointed out two decades ago in his article, "The... Read More

Four Reasons I Think Jesus Really Existed

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Filed under Historicity

Did Jesus Exist?

A small handful of scholars today, and a much larger group of Internet commenters, maintain that Jesus never existed. Proponents of this position, known as mythicists, claim that Jesus is a purely mythical figure invented by the writers of the New Testament (or its later copyists.) In this post I’ll offer the top four reasons (from weakest to strongest) that convince me Jesus of Nazareth was a real person without relying on the Gospel accounts of his life. 4. It is the mainstream position... Read More