Did Jesus Exist?

I came into the historicity of Jesus question with two extremes in mind,
he was either God in the flesh or didn’t exist. My reconversion from
Christianity was partially due to the comparative religions angle. How
much influence did surrounding mythologies and cultures have on the
development of the biblical books? Keeping in mind that I was a staunch
fundamentalist Christian who only saw things in extremes, it was
obvious to me that if Jesus was a mythology, he must not have existed.
Authors such as D.M. Murdoch / Acharya S., Joseph Atwill, John M.
Allegro (with his mushroom theory) Etc, helped me think of Jesus
differently even if they weren’t 100% correct in their positions. I was
willing to consider new evidence and research things that I would have
never investigated. I came across contemporary thinkers & serious
scholars in Jesus Mythicism such as Dr. Richard Carrier, Dr. Robert M.
Price, David Fitzgerald, Earl Doherty etc. Once I heard their arguments
thoroughly, I was convinced that Jesus most likely didn’t exist.
Running my program MythVision Podcast with mostly Jesus Mythicist, I
would often introduce a new guest who held to a historical Jesus
position and listen to them make their case. I truly kept an open mind to
their position and continue to do so. These wonderful people would
make me think there may have been a guy, but what we know of him is
radically filtered through Christian propoganda. I found the arguments of
dying and rising gods, mystery cults and how often did people become
mythologized or complete fictional gods become euhemerized to play
important consideration In determining whether Jesus was just a
historical guy who was mythologized into the divine or whether he was
originally a divine being/figure who was made into a flesh and blood
man. The debate of the hypostatic union comes to mind when thinking
about this.

The more I continue to research the more I’m torn between which
position is accurate. I’m agnostic on whether Jesus the man ever
actually existed. Many arguments historicist make, truly make sense.
Was Jesus a similar figure to that of the Egyptian (See author Lena
Einhorn) or possibly that of Judas the Galilean (see author Daniel T.
Unterbrink)? He does get compared to these other seditious movements
in Acts of the Apostles.

Jesus agnosticism seems to be my default position because the
evidence, depending on how one looks at it, can weigh in either
direction at times. One may say, all we need is one clear place that
makes him appear to be a real brother of someone or a real born man,
but that would be misunderstanding much of the Mythicist claim (see
Dr. Richard Carrier On The Historicity of Jesus). I also can see that even
if Mythicist argue interpolations where it could support the historicity of
Jesus, these arguments for interpolations were first put forth by
historicist (see Dr. Robert M. Price).

I remain a skeptic of both historicity and Mythicism in order to try and
keep my bias from preventing me from getting to the truth of the matter.
My program MythVision Podcast is not “MythicistVision”, rather
“MythVision”. People on both sides of the argument can be religious &
dogmatic, not MythVision.

It is my opinion at this time in history that I do not know which position is
accurate. The evidence we have is not very good and the methodology
one uses may reflect their conclusions. I will continue to remain agnostic
until I have a much better grip on the subject, I think that is fair.
When one goes into researching the historicity they should use the
scientific method. Be skeptical, but not overly skeptical to a point where
you aren’t willing to consider the evidence as potentially giving weight to
one position over the other. The consensus scholarly position is that
Jesus did exist. Where he was actually born is up for grabs, who his real
siblings were is contested and on and on it goes. If Christians didn’t play
with these texts so much we may have a better grasp on the real guy.
Serious damage has been done to the evidence when we consider
finding this figure in real history. The New Testament is loaded with
theology and mythology, to know what is actual history is speculative at
best. We aren’t even sure if he was actually buried in a tomb. If there
was an original Testimonium Flavianum that was a negative portrayal of
this Jesus figure (See Dave Allen) it is tough to say. Dr. Robert M. Price
has said, “the Testimonium is bad evidence and it would be complete speculation
to use it as good evidence for a historical Jesus.”

Dr. Robert M. Price also said,
“If there was a historical Jesus lying back of the gospel Christ, he can
never be recovered. If there ever was a historical Jesus, there isn’t one
any more.”

I’m not certain that Dr. Price is correct, but I understand where he is
coming from with this. Is it possible that Mythicist are not considering
evidence that is there as potential evidence for the real guy? My journey
into this topic has me playing tug of war in my mind. How can brilliant
scholars on both sides take completely different conclusions? What is
the difference in their methodology?

These are questions for consideration when you do your own research into the subject.
I no longer believe in Jesus for my faith, but I’m not closed off to a man
named Jesus having existed in real history at some point in the distant
past.

I would be interested in hearing in the discussion below if you have
had a similar experience as I have, also, if there was certain pieces of
evidence that made you come down on one side over the other. Any
advice for me to consider as I’m truly on a mission to find the guy, if he
ever existed in the first place.

4 Comments

  1. John Davidson November 9, 2020 at 7:53 am - Reply

    Great article Derek! Loving the website too!

  2. Pete Lee March 23, 2021 at 5:47 pm - Reply

    The person you need to talk to is Craig Lyons, I have also been researching, I contacted Craig Lyons via a website I will find his details for you have a look at the website below you will find it interesting

  3. Pete Lee March 23, 2021 at 6:06 pm - Reply

    My ongoing search for the “historical Jesus” is finally coming to a close. I have been searching since my graduation from Seminary for the “Jesus” and have not been able to find any demonstrable evidence for a Jewish Rabbi who lived in the first century in Palestine which was where the “expected Messiah” was to return. I have looked almost everywhere and read and studied everything available in my efforts to find the clues that will reveal this “Jesus” as a historical personage. My search has been tedious and exhausting and fruitless. Only when I began to trace the roots of Judaism back to Egypt was I finally rewarded for my efforts around 15 or more years ago. It is there, in Ancient Egypt that I finally found the “historical Jesus”. The only problem is that he is only “half-Hebrew” and was a “murdered” Pharaoh of the 18th Dynasty. This statement sounds almost impossible and many will begin to doubt my sanity upon reading it but let me warn the reader to not make any hasty decisions until he or she (as I have) has sifted through the evidence which proves without a doubt that the “historical Jesus” stories we find scattered down through history and applied to various “redeemers” had their origin with the life and death of Tutankhamun in Egypt. My search for the truth hidden{short description of image} in our Bibles and the stories surrounding the “historical Jesus” that we cherish, finally culminated in the necessary acquired knowledge that puts all these puzzle pieces together surrounding the “historical Jesus

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