Did Jesus Actually Live?

Lesson

In the historical Jesus debate, some scholars actually question whether Jesus even lived. How can we show that he did live using sources other than the Bible and the writing of the early Church Fathers?

Session 1-Vimeo

Outline

I. Problem

A. Is the historical Jesus the same as the Christ of faith?

B. Corroboration: what can we “prove” to be true (“burden of proof”)

II. Answer

A. Some academics say we cannot get back to the historical Jesus

B. Who is Jesus? Linking the Historical Jesus with the Christ of Faith (Bock)

C. How can we know Jesus ever existed, and is there any evidence outside the Bible and biblical writings?

III. Two clearest statements

A. Josephus (Antiquities 63-64)

B. Josephus on James (Antiquities 20.200)

IV. Notes

A. Some argue all of the first is made up, but note the almost half-handed way Jesus is mentioned in the second.

B. Note what the first does say.

1. Pilate and Jewish leadership together are responsible for Jesus’ death. Also mentioned in Tacitus (Nero blame fire in Rome on Christians, and Jesus’ crucifixion under Pilate) and Seutonius (mentions “Chrestus”).

2. Miracles (“wonderful works”). “Unusual works.” Jesus had a reputation of a miracle worker. Elsewhere Jesus is said to be a magician or sorcerer.

V. Conclusion

“Josephus tells me so.”

VI. Questions

A. Greek texts of Josephus

B. TheCentreforPublicChristianity.com. John Dickson interviews Chris Forbes (https://publicchristianity.org/library/josephs-and-jesus-a-christian-forgery)

C. Who is Seutonius, and the debate with an atheist

D. Tacitus text (F.F. Bruce. Jesus and Christian Origins Outside the Bible)