Yeshu: The Historical Jesus

COPYRIGHT WARNING

Jesus As A Matter Of History

No credible Biblical scholar today believes that Jesus was not a real person of history. The evidence for His existence is so overwhelming, that to deny Jesus lived in Galilee at the time depicted by the New Testament would place any writer in a classification of incompetency.[1]

All opposition to the existence of Jesus has now been refuted; and the fact that He lived and conducted Himself in the events described by the four Gospels of the New Testament, is incontrovertible.

A recent publication by Richard Carrier, entitled: “On the Historicity of Jesus,” fabricates a new theory that the Jesus who is alleged to have existed in the New Testament, was a sort of mystical being—not a physical entity.

This is similar to the atheist—theoretical physicists of late, who cannot explain the fine-tuning of our universe by any naturalistic cause. In an attempt to remove any possibility that an intelligent Being is responsible for the Cosmos, the newest hypothesis—described as the, “multiverse,” designates our universe as one of an infinite number of other parallel universes (which no one can see). If we have an unlimited number of universes, then we would certainly expect to find at least one like ours that is finely tuned for life.

Although cosmologists do not have the ability to see beyond our own universe to test this theory, nevertheless, this has become the newest explanation for why the universe appears to be designed for life. This allows the atheist to make the assertion that God is not necessary as the source of our universe, since in their view, it came into existence by itself.[2]

Much like the multiverse, which no one can see, Richard Carrier also creates an ancient mystical Jesus, which no one could see, who was simply a figment of the imagination.

This premise ignores the vast evidence that exists from the Jewish Talmud. The ancient scribes of Israel who chronicled Jesus in their writings, had no interest in preserving any historical information about Him, nor Christianity. The Jews who recorded their commentary about Jesus in the Talmud, regarded Him and His followers as the latest of many cult religions of their day. These leaders of Israel had no desire to document the existence of Jesus, His crucifixion, nor those who followed Him—yet this is precisely what they accomplished by their adversarial comments regarding His arrest and execution. These records were written during the period of history in which Jesus is reported to have been in Israel, as described by the narrative of the New Testament scriptures.[3]

Regardless of how many inferences Richard Carrier makes in his book that the historical Jesus is a fabrication, we must understand that this publication exists—exclusively as a result of a large financial grant from an atheist organization. It should be obvious to those who read Mr. Carrier’s book, that his entire purpose for writing—to deny the historicity of Jesus, was because he was paid to refute the existence of Jesus Christ.[4]

In essence, Richard Carrier is a mercenary for the atheist cause, not a literary or historical scholar who has followed the evidence to a credible conclusion. The facts are, Mr. Carrier cannot refute the certainty of recorded history. Both the Jews and the Romans would rather that Jesus had not existed, yet they found themselves recording many of the events of His life and death—in their preserved records of history. The evidence of antiquity demands that Jesus existed as a real person in Palestine during the period of history in which the New Testament describes Him.

Most people are intelligent enough to understand that a person who has already determined what the end result will be, before he begins to write—cannot be objective in his conclusions.

Professor Michael Grant, who translated the writings of the Roman historian Tacitus in 1956, stated in regards to the historical Jesus:

“In recent years, no serious scholar has ventured to postulate the non historicity of Jesus or at any rate very few, and they have not succeeded in disposing of the much stronger, indeed very abundant, evidence to the contrary.”[5]

Dr. Richard A. Burridge—Dean of Kings College in London, England; also the professor of Biblical Interpretation, as well as the Director of New Testament Studies in 2007, and appointed to a personal Chair in Biblical Interpretation in 2008—states:

“There are those who argue that Jesus is a figment of the Church’s imagination, that there never was a Jesus at all. I have to say that I do not know any respectable critical scholar who says that any more.”[6]

The fact that nearly all scholars, who are found competent in their evaluation of the historical record, which substantiates Jesus as a real person of antiquity, does not define all of these scholars as believers that Jesus is also God. The gap between evidence and faith has been bridged by the historical record—while the chasm between willful ignorance and intellectual honesty will never be conquered. Although it is certain that all of the texts which record Jesus’ actions in the New Testament, are reliable and actual accounts of the events they describe—no amount of evidence will ever be sufficient to convince a person who does not want to believe.

Any person who is sincerely searching for truthful answers to the question of God’s existence and whether Jesus Christ is a real person of history, can find great and compelling evidence to substantiate such a conclusion. The problem with many human beings is that the will often overcomes the heart’s desire for truth and subdues it until it can search no further.

When the human mind does not want to believe something—either due to an agenda that has attached itself to the will, or by a desire to continue in a certain lifestyle—unhindered by any outside influence, it is quite impossible to convince this person of truthful facts concerning God.

One-time evangelical scholar Bart Ehrman, who now claims to be an agnostic, said regarding the historical Jesus:

“He certainly existed, as virtually every competent scholar of antiquity, Christian or non-Christian, agrees.”[7]

Virtually everything that we believe regarding past history is because of the eyewitness testimony of those who were there at the time the events they recorded, took place. How do we know that George Washington and Abraham Lincoln were actual persons of history? We read the testimony of those who saw them, heard them, and then recorded these events for us.

According to the United States Library of Congress, we have just over 20,000 documents written by Abraham Lincoln, from 1833-1916.[8] The documents that describe the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, which have survived time and decay, are 24,593. We know more about Jesus of Nazareth and the events surrounding His life than we do the 16th president of the United States of America.

The man Jesus Christ is a real person from history whose life has been recorded for us by honest men who documented the amazing things that He has said and done. There is more historical evidence for the man called Jesus than practically any other person in the chronology of the world.[9]

“I know of no one fact in the history of mankind which is proved by better and fuller evidence of every sort, to the understanding of a fair inquirer.” —Dr. Thomas Arnold, Oxford history professor

“The evidence for the resurrection alone is better than for claimed miracles of all other religions. There leaders are buried and still in their graves. Jesus tomb was found empty!” —Anthony Flew, former atheist

Critics of the evidence for the historical Jesus, stipulate that there is a massive amount of evidence for the person described as Jesus of Nazareth. In the same breath, they state that this evidence is not accurate. In order to make this assertion, a person must ignore what exists in the historical record from the period of time when these events took place.

1. We have the secular record of the Roman government, from the time when Jesus is alleged to have been in Jerusalem, which names Jesus as crucified under Pontius Pilate, in harmony with the New Testament gospels.

2. We have the secular record of the Jews, written in their Talmud, Sanhedrin, 43 a-b, that states that Jesus was crucified in; Herzog 1, Munich 95, Firenze 11.1.8-9, and Barc0.[10]

3. We have the Biblical account of Jesus life, death, and resurrection—by those who were either present during these events, or recored the testimony of those who were present at these events. The New Testament narrative of Jesus Christ has never been impeached in a 2,000 year history by anyone. There are 24, 593 documents which have survived this period of history.

4. We have the record of the Christian church. By 350 A.D., the number of Christians in the world had grown exponentially to 33,882,208, or 56.5 percent of the population of the world.[11] If the resurrection did not take place as the four gospels describe, then how do we explain the explosive growth of the Christian church to over 33 million believers and 56 percent of the world’s population, just 300 years after the resurrection was first reported?

5. We have the archeological record of history which validates the pristine accuracy of the New Testament. Old Testament: Nelson Glueck is considered one of the world’s greatest Archeologists. His work in the discovery of over 1,500 ancient sites led him to the firm conclusion that every reference in the Old Testament scriptures which refers to an ancient city, civilization, or people, were entirely accurate in every regard. New Testament: World famous historian and renowned archeologist, William Ramsey began as an atheist in his exploration of New Testament validity. Upon an expedition to the places described by the New Testament, Dr. Ramsey discovered the pristine accuracy of Luke’s narrative. As a result of the evidence that was found, Dr. Ramsey concluded that the record of Jesus Christ is true, and he became a follower of Jesus. Dr. Ramsey described Luke as “a historian of the first rank.”

6. We have archeological evidence from the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus in the Shroud of Turin. Originally described as a fraud, today the Shroud has been validated as an authentic historical artifact from the time period when Jesus was crucified. Documented by forensic experts as containing substantial evidence that this linen cloth is in fact, the burial shroud of the man described as Jesus of Nazareth. This Shroud remains as the most stunning piece of empirical evidence ever discovered.

The evidence which is presented to us for the existence of Jesus of Nazareth, His death and resurrection and the validation for Him as a real person of history, meets or exceeds the evidentiary requirements that have been established by every court of justice in the world.

There is a pattern that has developed amongst critics of the New Testament account of Jesus Christ. Regardless of the evidence that is presented, it is alway refuted. The intelligent person is left with the conclusion that those who discredit valid evidence, do so—for purely partisan reasons, not as a result of matters of fact.

According to one of the world’s leading experts on what constitutes valid evidence, the proof that is now required by modern atheists, exceeds all requirements set forth by the courts of justice in the United States and around the world.

When it comes to facts that concern the evidence for Jesus Christ, often a different set of rules are established that demand empirical evidence that would not be required under any other circumstances. This requirement is inconsistent with the rule of law, and unreasonable from any intellectual or logical requirement.

“In the ordinary affairs of life we do not require nor expect empirical evidence, because it is inconsistent with the nature of matters of fact, and to insist on its production would be unreasonable and absurd. And it makes no difference, whether the facts to be proved relate to this life or to the next, the nature of the evidence required being in both cases the same. The error of the skeptic consists in pretending or supposing that there is a difference in the nature of the things to be proved; and in demanding empirical evidence concerning things which are not susceptible of any other than moral evidence alone, and of which the utmost that can be said is, that there is no reasonable doubt about their truth.”[12]

In determining whether or not there is sufficient evidence for the existence of Jesus as a real person from history, as well as, His death and resurrection, the kind of evidence that should be required are matters of fact. The type of empirical evidence which can be tested and seen, that many atheists demand, is never required in a court of law—even in cases where the life of a person is held in the balance. It is unreasonable to demand proof by a different set of rules than are required in every other instance of human life—where evidence is required.

“In proceeding to weigh the evidence of any proposition of fact, the previous question to be determined is, when may it be said to be proved? The answer to this question is furnished by another rule of municipal law, which may be thus stated: A proposition of fact is proved, when its truth is established by competent and satisfactory evidence. By competent evidence is meant such as the nature of the thing to be proved requires; and by satisfactory evidence is meant that amount of proof, which ordinarily satisfies an unprejudiced mind, beyond any reasonable doubt. The circumstances which will amount to this degree of proof can never be previously defined; the only legal test to which they can be subjected is their sufficiency to satisfy the mind and conscience of a man of common prudence and discretion, and so to convince him, that he could venture to act upon that conviction in matters of the highest concern and importance to his own interest.”[13]

“In trials of fact, by oral testimony, the proper inquiry is not whether it is possible that the testimony may be false, but whether there is sufficient probability that it is true.”[14] —Simon Greenleaf

The amount and type of evidence required to prove anything is defined by whether it is reasonable enough to create doubt, that it is not true. These rules for evidence remaining, I will still present to you empirical evidence that fully validates Jesus Christ and the claims that are made concerning Him in the New Testament.

On the basis of empirical facts, the evidence for Jesus presence in Jerusalem during the time set forth by the New Testament, is overwhelming.

For The Record

The book: “Yeshu: The Historical Jesus,” contains a substantial accounting from secular history, which is a direct confirmation of the entire testimony of the four gospels. As we proceed, we find many references to a historical confirmation of a prophetic event which is described in the New Testament. History does not serve to validate the text of the New Testament, it stands only as a companion and intellectual friend to the facts which are already substantially confirmed by the writers of Jesus gospel.

In reality, the Bible needs no confirmation by secular history. It stands alone as a reliable narrative which is authenticated by the record of history and archeology. When we understand the prophetic reality of the Bible, we gain a third compelling piece of evidence. It was by the words which God spoke in advance of their fulfillment, that we might be able to authenticate the testimony which is given—concerning His Son, Jesus Christ. For the person who is diligently seeking truthful answers to life’s greatest questions, the testimony of all that Jesus has said and done, while offering up His life for our sins—finally raising Himself from the dead, are facts sufficient to cause any person to place their complete trust in Him for their eternal life.

Yeshu: The Historical Jesus, now available at Amazon.com for $4.77

Yeshu Cover Cover


NOTES:
[1] Robert E. Van Voorst Jesus Outside the New Testament: An Introduction to the Ancient Evidence Eerdmans Publishing, 2000. ISBN 0-8028-4368-9 page 16 states: “biblical scholars and classical historians regard theories of non-existence of Jesus as effectively refuted”
James D. G. Dunn “Paul’s understanding of the death of Jesus” in Sacrifice and Redemption edited by S. W. Sykes (Dec 3, 2007) Cambridge University Press ISBN 052104460X pages 35-36 states that the theories of non-existence of Jesus are “a thoroughly dead thesis”
The Gospels and Jesus by Graham Stanton, 1989 ISBN 0192132415 Oxford University Press, page 145 states : “Today nearly all historians, whether Christians or not, accept that Jesus existed”.
[2] George Ellis, Ph.D., is a Mathematician and considered one of the world’s leading Cosmologist. Dr. ellis co-authored the famous “Large Scale Structure of Space-Time in 1973 with Stephen Hawking. He has emphatically stated that the entire purpose of those who seek to push forward the idea of the multi-verse universe is to explain away why our observable universe is fine-tuned. In his conclusions, Dr. Ellis said that the multi-verse is not a valid alternative at the current time in Cosmology because it cannot be tested or verified. Until it can be tested and verified, it should not be considered as a valid reason to exclude the fine-tuning of the universe as proof for creation.
A.The trouble is that no possible astronomical observations can ever see those other universes. The arguments are indirect at best. And even if the multiverse exists, it leaves the deep mysteries of nature unexplained.
B.All the parallel universes lie outside our horizon and remain beyond our capacity to see, now or ever, no matter how technology evolves. In fact, they are too far away to have had any influence on our universe whatsoever. That is why none of the claims made by multiverse enthusiasts can be directly substantiated.
C. Dr. Ellis believes that the attempts at passing the multi-verse theory off as a viable explanation for our finely tuned universe is not a viable theory because it is impossible to test, which is one of the first rules of science. For this reason, the multi-verse is not a theorem that should be considered as a possible candidate to eliminate the fact that our universe has been designed and finely tuned by an intelligent source.
D. A remarkable fact about our universe is that physical constants have just the right values needed to allow for complex structures, including living things. Steven Weinberg, Martin Rees, Leonard Susskind and others contend that an exotic multiverse provides a tidy explanation for this apparent coincidence: if all possible values occur in a large enough collection of universes, then viable ones for life will surely be found somewhere. This reasoning has been applied, in particular, to explaining the density of the dark energy that is speeding up the expansion of the universe today. I agree that the multiverse is a possible valid explanation for the value of this density; arguably, it is the only scientifically based option we have right now. But we have no hope of testing it observationally.
E. Proponents of the multiverse make one final argument: that there are no good alternatives. As distasteful as scientists might find the proliferation of parallel worlds, if it is the best explanation, we would be driven to accept it; conversely, if we are to give up the multiverse, we need a viable alternative. This exploration of alternatives depends on what kind of explanation we are prepared to accept. Physicists’ hope has always been that the laws of nature are inevitable — that things are the way they are because there is no other way they might have been—but we have been unable to show this is true. Other options exist, too. The universe might be pure happenstance—it just turned out that way. Or things might in some sense be meant to be the way they are—purpose or intent somehow underlies existence. Science cannot determine which is the case, because these are metaphysical issues. ”⁠
1“Amazing fine tuning occurs in the laws that make this [complexity] possible. Realization of the complexity of what is accomplished makes it very difficult not to use the word ‘miraculous’ without taking a stand as to the ontological status of the word.”
⁠2 George F.R. Ellis, “Does the Multiverse Really Exist?,” Scientific American August, 2011
3 George Ellis (British astrophysicist) Ellis, G.F.R. 1993. The Anthropic Principle: Laws and Environments. The Anthropic Principle, F. Bertola and U.Curi, ed. New York, Cambridge University Press, p. 30
[3] The following are specific references to Jesus of Nazareth, as found in the Talmud under passages on execution in Sanhedrin 43 a-b.⁠1
Herzog 1: On the eve of Passover, they hanged Jesus the Nazarene.
Vatican 130: He went and brought up Jesus the Nazarene.
Vatican 140: He went and brought up Jesus.
Munich 95: On the eve of the Passover, they hanged Jesus of Nazareth.
Firenze 11.1.8-9: On the Sabbath eve and the eve of Passover, they hanged Jesus the Nazarene.
Karisruhe 2: On the eve of Passover, they hanged Jesus the Nazarene.
Barco: On the eve of Passover, they hanged Jesus of Nazareth.
1 English translations of the Talmud from Peter Schäfer, pp 133–140
[4] A grant from Atheists United, as stated by Richard Carrier in the Preface of his book “On the Historicity of Jesus.”
[5] Jesus: An Historian’s Review of the Gospels by Micjhael Grant 2004 ISBN 1898799881 page 200
[6] Jesus Now and Then by Richard A. Burridge and Graham Gould (Apr 1, 2004) ISBN 0802809774 page 34
[7] Bart Ehrman, 2011 Forged : writing in the name of God ISBN 978-0-06-207863-6. page 285
[8] http://www.loc.gov/teachers/classroommaterials/connections/abraham-lincoln-papers/file.html
[9] 1.Grant, M., Jesus: An Historian’s Review of the Gospels New York: Scribner’s, 1977, Page 176
2.Van Daalen, D. H., The Real Resurrection, London: Collins, 1972, Page 41
3.Kremer, Jakob, Die Osterevangelien — Geschichten um Geschichte, Stuttgart: Katholisches Bibelwerk, 1977, Pages 49-50
[10] The following are specific references to Jesus of Nazareth, as found in the Talmud under passages on execution in Sanhedrin 43 a-b. English translations of the Talmud from Peter Schäfer, pp 133–140
Herzog 1: On the eve of Passover, they hanged Jesus the Nazarene.
Vatican 130: He went and brought up Jesus the Nazarene.
Vatican 140: He went and brought up Jesus.
Munich 95: On the eve of the Passover, they hanged Jesus of Nazareth.
Firenze 11.1.8-9: On the Sabbath eve and the eve of Passover, they hanged Jesus the Nazarene.
Karisruhe 2: On the eve of Passover, they hanged Jesus the Nazarene.
Barco: On the eve of Passover, they hanged Jesus of Nazareth.
[11] Ibid, chart by Rodney Stark
[12] Ibid. Locations 271-278 Kindle Edition The word “demonstrative”, translated: “Empirical.”
[13] Ibid. Locations 278-284 Kindle Edition.
[14] Simon Greenleaf. The Testimony of the Evangelists: The Gospels Examined by the Rules of Evidence (Kindle Locations 270-271). Kindle Edition.