Jesus Never Existed 'LINK'
Mythicism "goes back to Enlightenment times, when the historical-critical study of the past was born," and was revived in the 1970s. Proponents broadly argue that a historical Jesus never existed, and that a mythological character was later historicized in the gospels.[q 2][q 5] Some authors have argued that the sources on Jesus are so obscured by myths and dogma that "we could no longer be sure there had ever been a real person at the root of the whole thing."[q 6] A view closer to the mainstream position is that the historical Jesus was the Galilean preacher preserved in the hypothetical Q-source, and that details about him were added to Paul's mythical Jesus.[q 7]
Jesus Never Existed
These critical methods have led to a demythologization of Jesus. The mainstream scholarly view is that the Pauline epistles and the gospels describe the "Christ of faith", presenting a religious narrative that replaced the historical Jesus who lived in 1st-century Roman Palestine,[q 11] but that there is no doubt that a historical Jesus did exist. New Testament scholar Bart D. Ehrman states that Jesus "certainly existed, as virtually every competent scholar of antiquity, Christian or non-Christian, agrees".
The most radical mythicists hold, in terms given by Price, the "Jesus atheism" viewpoint, that is, there never was a historical Jesus, only a mythological character, and the mytheme of his incarnation, death, and exaltation. They hold that this character developed out of a syncretistic fusion of Jewish, Hellenistic and Middle Eastern religious thought; was put forward by Paul; and historicised in the gospels, which are also syncretistic. Notable 'Jesus atheists' are Paul-Louis Couchoud, Earl Doherty,[q 2] Thomas L. Brodie, and Richard Carrier.[q 14][q 15]
Wells in his early works and Alvar Ellegård have argued that "the first Christians had in mind Jesus who had lived as a historical figure, just not of the recent past." Ellegård identified this figure with the Essene Teacher of Righteousness, de facto proposing an historical Jesus. Wells, in his later writings, came to view the gospel stories of Jesus as containing elements of a historical figure "traceable to the activity of a Galilean preacher of the early first century," preserved in the Q-source, who was added to Paul's mythical Jesus in the gospels, arguing for "two originally quite independent streams of tradition," which were fused in the gospels,[q 7] leaving open the question regarding Paul's Christ "as to whether such a person had in fact existed and lived the obscure life that Paul supposed of him." According to Wells, "There is no means of deciding this issue."
According to Wells in his later writings, a historical Jesus existed, whose teachings were preserved in the Q source. Wells said the gospels weave together two Jesus narratives, namely the Galilean preacher of the Q document, and Paul's mythical Jesus. Doherty disagrees with Wells regarding the teacher of the Q-document, arguing that he was an allegorical character who personified Wisdom and came to be regarded as the founder of the Q-community. According to Doherty, Q's Jesus and Paul's Christ were combined in the Gospel of Mark by a predominantly Gentile community.
Some scholars estimate that there are about 30 surviving independent sources written by 25 authors who attest to Jesus. Mainstream biblical scholars point out that much of the writings of antiquity have been lost and that there was little written about any Jew or Christian in this period. Ehrman points out that there is no known archaeological or textual evidence for the existence of most people in the ancient world, even famous people like Pontius Pilate, whom the myth theorists agree to have existed. Robert Hutchinson notes that this is also true of Josephus, despite the fact that he was "a personal favorite of the Roman Emperor Vespasian". Hutchinson quotes Ehrman, who notes that Josephus is never mentioned in 1st century Greek or Roman sources, despite being "a personal friend of the emperor". According to Classical historian and popular author Michael Grant, if the same criterion is applied to others, "We can reject the existence of a mass of pagan personages whose reality as historical figures is never questioned."
Most historians agree that Jesus or his followers established a new Jewish sect that attracted both Jewish and gentile converts. Out of this Jewish sect developed Early Christianity, which was very diverse, with proto-orthodoxy and "heretical" views like Gnosticism alongside each other. According to New Testament scholar Bart D. Ehrman, a number of early Christianities existed in the first century AD, from which developed various Christian traditions and denominations, including proto-orthodoxy. According to theologian James D. G. Dunn, four types of early Christianity can be discerned: Jewish Christianity, Hellenistic Christianity, Apocalyptic Christianity, and early Catholicism.
Ehrman notes that "there were no Jews prior to Christianity who thought that Isaiah 53 (or any of the other "suffering" passages) referred to the future messiah." Only after his death were these texts used to interpret his suffering in a meaningful way, though "Isaiah is not speaking about the future messiah, and he was never interpreted by any Jews prior to the first century as referring to the messiah."[note 23]
Many mainstream biblical scholars respond that most of the perceived parallels with mystery religions are either coincidences or without historical basis and/or that these parallels do not prove that a Jesus figure did not live.[note 26] Boyd and Eddy doubt that Paul viewed Jesus similar to the savior deities found in ancient mystery religions. Ehrman notes that Doherty proposes that the mystery cults had a neo-Platonic cosmology, but that Doherty gives no evidence for this assertion. Furthermore, "the mystery cults are never mentioned by Paul or by any other Christian author of the first hundred years of the Church," nor did they play a role in the worldview of any of the Jewish groups of the first century.
According to Van Voorst, "The argument that Jesus never existed, but was invented by the Christian movement around the year 100, goes back to Enlightenment times, when the historical-critical study of the past was born", and may have originated with Lord Bolingbroke, an English deist.
In 1835, David Strauss published his extremely controversial The Life of Jesus, Critically Examined (Das Leben Jesu). According to Elisabeth Hurt, Strauss "arrived at a Christianity depersonalized and anonymous, reducing Jesus to nothing more than a gifted genius whom legend had gradually deified." While not denying that Jesus existed, he did argue that the miracles in the New Testament were mythical additions with little basis in fact. According to Strauss, the early church developed these stories in order to present Jesus as the Messiah of the Jewish prophecies. This perspective was in opposition to the prevailing views of Strauss' time: rationalism, which explained the miracles as misinterpretations of non-supernatural events, and the supernaturalist view that the biblical accounts were entirely accurate. Strauss' third way, in which the miracles are explained as myths developed by early Christians to support their evolving conception of Jesus, heralded a new epoch in the textual and historical treatment of the rise of Christianity.
The work of social anthropologist James George Frazer has also influenced various myth theorists, although Frazer himself believed that Jesus existed. In 1890, Frazer published the first edition of The Golden Bough which attempted to define the shared elements of religious belief. This work became the basis of many later authors who argued that the story of Jesus was a fiction created by Christians. After a number of people claimed that he was a myth theorist, in the 1913 expanded edition of The Golden Bough he expressly stated that his position assumed a historical Jesus.
In 1909, school teacher John Eleazer Remsburg published The Christ, which made a distinction between a possible historical Jesus (Jesus of Nazareth) and the Jesus of the Gospels (Jesus of Bethlehem). Remsburg thought that there was good reason to believe that the historical Jesus existed, but that the "Christ of Christianity" was a mythological creation. Remsburg compiled a list of 42 names of "writers who lived and wrote during the time, or within a century after the time" who Remsburg felt should have written about Jesus if the gospel accounts were reasonably accurate, but who did not.
Ehrman[q 23][q 24] and Casey have characterized Thompson's position as mythicist, and Ehrman has criticised Thompson, questioning his qualifications and expertise regarding New Testament research.[q 23] In a 2012 online article, Thompson defended his qualifications to address New Testament issues, and objected to Ehrman's statement that "[a] different sort of support for a mythicist position comes in the work of Thomas L. Thompson."[note 31] According to Thompson, "Bart Ehrman has attributed to my book arguments and principles which I had never presented, certainly not that Jesus had never existed", and reiterated his position that the issue of Jesus' existence cannot be determined one way or the other[need quotation to verify]. Thompson further states that Jesus is not to be regarded as "the notoriously stereotypical figure of ... (mistaken) eschatological prophet", as Ehrman does, but is modelled on "the royal figure of a conquering messiah", derived from Jewish writings. In response to Thompson's article, Maurice Casey dismissed Thompson as "an incompetent New Testament scholar".
According to agnostic scholar Bart D. Ehrman, nearly all scholars who study the early Christian period believe that Jesus did exist, and Ehrman observes that mythicist writings are generally of poor quality because they are usually authored by amateurs and non-scholars who have no academic credentials or have never taught at academic institutions. Maurice Casey, an agnostic scholar of New Testament and early Christianity, stated that the belief among professors that Jesus existed is generally completely certain. According to Casey, the view that Jesus did not exist is "the view of extremists", "demonstrably false" and "professional scholars generally regard it as having been settled in serious scholarship long ago". 041b061a72