Wednesday, April 15, 2009

a response to a question about the historicity of jesus

i received a comment on the blog about the historicity of jesus, so i thought i'd give a brief answer (taken from the "dying for a fix" teaching atlas).

Jesus Christ lived and died in Palestine during the rule of Tiberius Caesar in a time/space known to historians as Second Temple Judaism.

The accounts of Jesus life are not mythological, though they are mystical;
they are not fabricated, though they have been woven into Time
and have reworked history around them;
they are not disputed by any serious historical or archaeological scholar
in the world today.

Contrary to what some folks have thought, the narratives of Jesus’ life and death – called the Gospels – were not clever works of hopeful, religious nonsense. When the Gospel stories were being written down for the first time they were read and proofed by people who’d been alive while Jesus taught and was executed. The Gospels endured because they were accurate and proven to be of good account quickly after the death of Jesus. In fact, compared with any similar document out of antiquity, the amount of proof that we have for the historicity of the Gospels (and, indeed, for all of the New Testament) is simply staggering.

The historicity of Jesus and the events surrounding the time of his life has been well established by early Roman Greek and Jewish sources. The New Testament mentions such historical facts as rulers, nations, people groups, political events, and the existence of Jesus. In addition, non-Christian historical sources such as Josephus confirm the accuracy of the Biblical text.

(click on chart to expand in window)

Because we have so many manuscripts and because those manuscripts are so close to the original writings in the New Testament, we can have great confidence in the historicity and authenticity of the biblical text.

hope that helps!

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