Did Jesus Christ of Nazareth actually exist in history? Was it just a fable that was made up centuries ago; thus, rendering Christianity to be a completely false religion?
The view that Jesus did not exist is not a new one. In the past few days it has been made popular in main stream media by a man called Michael Paulkovich. Despite writing his book “No Meek Messiah” in 2013, it has been made popular with his article entitled “The Fable of Christ” in The Inquisitr, Huffington Post, The Daily Mail UK, The Metro UK, CBS DC
What Are Michael Paulkovich’s Main Claims?
1. There are 126 writers from the time of Jesus who don’t write anything about Him & He doesn’t write about Himself either.
“In No Meek Messiah I provide a list of 126 writers who should have recorded something of Jesus, with exhaustive references. Perhaps the most bewildering “silent one” is the mythical super-savior himself, Jesus the Son of God ostensibly sent on a suicide mission to save us from the childish notion of “Adam’s Transgression” as we learn from Romans 5:14. The Jesus character is a phantom of a wisp of a personage who never wrote anything. So, add one more: 127″
“Millions should have heard of the Jesus “crucifixion” with its astral enchantments: zombie armies and meteorological marvels (Mt 27) recorded not by any historian, but only in the dubitable scriptures scribbled decades later by superstitious yokels”
2. 1st century Jewish Historian, Flavius Josephus, didn’t know anything about Jesus.
“Historian Josephus published Jewish Wars c. 95. He had lived in Japhia, one mile from Nazareth—yet Josephus seems to have been unaware of both Nazareth and Jesus.”
3. The Apostle Paul didn’t know anything about Jesus either!
“The Bible venerates the artist formerly known as Saul of Tarsus, an “apostle” essentially oblivious to his heavenly savior. Paul is unaware of the virgin mother, and ignorant of Jesus’ nativity, parentage, life events, ministry, miracles, apostles, betrayal, trial and harrowing passion. Paul knows neither where nor when Jesus lived, and considers the crucifixion metaphorical (Gal 2:19-20). Unlike the absurd Gospels, Paul never indicates Jesus had been to earth. And the “five hundred witnesses” claim (1 Cor 15) is a well-known forgery”
4. Christianity is a minor cult that contains the mythical character of Jesus
“When I consider those 126 writers, all of whom should have heard of Jesus but did not, and Paul and Marcion and Athenagoras and Matthew with a tetralogy of opposing Christs, the silence from Qumran and Nazareth and Bethlehem, conflicting Bible stories, and so many other mysteries and omissions, I must conclude this “Jesus Christ” is a mythical character. “Jesus of Nazareth” was nothing more than urban (or desert) legend, likely an agglomeration of several evangelic and deluded rabbis who might have existed”
“Christianity was a very minor and inconsequential cult founded late in the first century and then—while still quite minor—forced upon all the people of the Empire, and all rival kingdoms in the fourth century and beyond, as enforceable law with papal sanction. Christianity has caused more terror and torture and murder than any similar phenomenon. With its tyrannical preachments and directives for sightless and mindless obedience, the Bible is a violent and utterly useless volume, full of lies and immoral edicts and invented histories, no matter which of the many “versions” you may choose to read—including Thomas Jefferson’s radical if gallant abridgment”
1. 126 Silent Historians
It is interesting that Paulkovich takes the time to study 126 writers from around the time that Jesus is said to have existed and yet fails to see the New Testament authors who do write about Jesus!
Under what grounds are we to write off the New Testament authors? Is it because they were writing too late? The majority of New Testament scholars would conclude that the letters in the New Testament were written before 100 AD. Is it because they were biased? We are all biased towards an event we claim to have witnessed (in their case the resurrection), just as I would be biased that a crime happened if I witnessed that crime.
Additionally, Paulkovich fails to see the extra Biblical authors who DO mention Jesus in their writings in that era. Pliny the Younger (writing in 106 AD), Tacitus (writing in 109 AD), and Suetonius (writing in 112 AD) all wrote about Jesus at some point in the 1st century. That being said, these writers are writing later than the New Testament authors which renders them less reliable than the New Testament; however, there is still evidence of early sources referring to a historical Jesus of Nazareth.
2. Jewish Historian, Josephus, Oblivious
Is Josephus unaware of Jesus when he writes in 93 AD in Jewish Antiquities:
“About this time there lived Jesus, a wise man, if indeed one ought to call him a man. For he was one who performed surprising deeds and was a teacher of such people as accept the truth gladly. He won over many Jews and many of the Greeks. He was the Messiah. And when, upon the accusation of the principal men among us, Pilate had condemned him to a cross, those who had first come to love him did not cease. He appeared to them spending a third day restored to life, for the prophets of God had foretold these things and a thousand other marvels about him. And the tribe of the Christians, so called after him, has still to this day not disappeared.”
It does not appear that Josephus is unaware of Jesus of Nazareth in this paragraph. Remarkably, Josephus is not a Christian; rather, he is Jewish and still attests to the events of the historical Jesus’ life!
3. The Oblivious Apostle Paul
According to Paulkovich, the Apostle Paul (who wrote much of the New Testament) was “oblivious to his heavenly savior. Paul was unaware of the virgin mother, and ignorant of Jesus’ nativity, parentage, life events, ministry, miracles, apostles, betrayal, trial and harrowing passion. Paul knows neither where nor when Jesus lived, and considers the crucifixion metaphorical (Gal 2:19-20).” This is rather baffling considering that Paul’s writings are constantly attesting to quite the opposite of what Paulkovich is saying!
Paul believed in a literal Jesus who actually lived, actually died, and actually physically rose from the dead. He met Jesus, His apostles, and writes about Jesus in great detail.
Bible skeptic, Bart Ehrman, says of Paul: “We have one author who actually knew Jesus’ relatives and knew His disciples, Paul. Why would he lie about it? He says off-the-cuff comments where he’s not making a point, and that is very important to historians. A historian wants to find disinterested comments. He says things, for example, about James the brother of the Lord. This is just an off-the-cuff comment because everybody that he’s writing to knows who he’s talking about, so he makes the off-the-cuff comment . . . There’s no doubt about Paul writing Galatians. . . I know thousands of scholars of the ancient world and I don’t know any one of these scholars who doubts that Paul wrote Galatians”
4. Christianity, the Minor Cult
Paulkovich claims that “Jesus Christ is a mythical character. Jesus of Nazareth was nothing more than urban (or desert) legend, likely an agglomeration of several evangelic and deluded rabbis who might have existed.” Is this true though? How did these deluded rabbis manage to keep their lie so consistent with each other’s teaching & not blow their cover? Why did the majority of them (including Paul) end up dying for their lie?
How did Christianity grow to the billions of Christians it is today? If a historical person named Jesus of Nazareth did not exist, then Christianity would not exist. Something must have happened around 33 AD for Christianity to grow so rapidly (as it did around that time). Could it be that this historical person Jesus Christ of Nazareth actually existed and actually rose from the dead? If the resurrection did not happen, there would not have been people in that time who claimed to witness it happen; however, we DO have that! And they weren’t silent about it! The Apostle Paul says that 500 people saw Jesus alive at one time & Paulkovich says this is a forgery but fails to show us evidence of that.
Even Bible Skeptics Believe In A Historical Jesus
Instead of this coming from a Christian, allow me to show you what a non-Christian Bible skeptic & historian, Bart Ehrman, has to say about a historical Jesus Christ of Nazareth:
“I think there was a historical person Jesus & that we can say some historical things about Him. . . We have to look at historical evidence. If you say that historical evidence doesn’t count, then you get into huge trouble. Then why not just deny the Holocaust? Or why not deny that Abraham Lincoln lived? . . . We have more evidence for Jesus than we have for almost anybody from His time period. I’m not saying this as a believer, because I’m not a believer; I’m saying this as a historian.”
No historical Jesus; no Christianity. Plain and simple. The evidence is there to show that a historical person named Jesus of Nazareth did live in the 1st century AD. You may disagree that He was God & that He rose from the dead (although I see evidence for both of those); however, it is simply irrational to suggest that Jesus did not exist at all. If He didn’t exist, then how do we know any historical figures existed?
I don’t often agree with Bart Ehrman, but I think this quote sums up Michael Paulkovich’s book “No Meek Messiah” perfectly, despite Ehrman saying this years before Paulkovich wrote the book:
“I don’t think that there are any serious historians who doubt the existence of Jesus. There are a lot of people who want to write a lot of sensational books and make a lot of money who say Jesus didn’t exist, but I don’t know any serious scholar who doubts the existence of Jesus.”
– Tyson Bradley