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Was There a Jesus?

The evidence for his existence is only imagined
 
All of the evidence for Jesus the alleged founder of the Christian Church can be invalidated. At best there is no evidence, at worst the evidence indicates that Jesus never existed. From my other books which you can access through the homepage you will see that the Jesus story was unknown in the early Church, that the New Testament evidence for Jesus can be dismissed as worthless, you will see that the Jesus who the apostles knew was just a post resurrection apparition and you will see New Testament traditions that Jesus didn’t live in the first century but in times long forgotten.

Introduction

Jesus Christ did not exist. If he did there is no acceptable evidence for it. And if there is acceptable evidence then it is too flimsy to justify taking Jesus seriously as a person never mind a god or wizard. To the world, I offer Was There a Jesus? The truth can be known and should be. Unfortunately, defending the existence of Jesus and accepting him as a man and not a myth is where the money is and where the power lies. That is the real secret of the strength of the popular belief that he was a real person. Moses was invented and was similar to Jesus and had more supporters so why couldn’t Jesus have been invented as well? Hopefully when the philosophy contained in my The Gospel According to Atheism grows popular Jesus will be as little known as Henry James Prince, the nineteenth century Messiah in England.

The sources we have are the gospels and the rest of the New Testament writings which are regarded as scriptures or God’s word by the Christians. We have a few short writings from the first post-apostolic generation. We will test them all to see if they really assist the case for belief in Jesus as a historical Jesus.
 
We have some references from secular writings. The trouble is that they are either vague or could have been forged or could have been depending on Christian hearsay. For example, somebody put a piece about Jesus’s existence, miracles, messiahship and resurrection in the unbeliever Josephus’s work. Oddly, what they put in seems to base the evidence on alleged prophecies of Jesus from the Old Testament and not on proper evidence.
 
Tacitus said that Christ was put to death under Pilate. Unhappily for Christians, Pilate killed several Christs so there could be some confusion there. Do not forget that the Gospel Jesus says that there will be many saying that they are Jesus or the Christ and that the time is close - see Luke 21. Tacitus said when he died the superstition was checked for a moment but broke out in Rome. This does not fit the Christian claim that the Church broke out in Palestine a few weeks after Jesus died. But Christians just focus on what suits them. And checked for a moment and then breaking out in Rome means that Tactitus was thinking of a long moment if he was thinking of Jesus Christ!! If you were a historian writing about events from decades or centuries before you would expect people to know that the expression for a moment would not be referring to a very short time but maybe a period of about a year. A year or more could be represented by a moment when you are dealing with a long period of time.
 
Tacitus speaks as if the Church broke out for the first time in Rome not Palestine.
 
Tacitus says it happened soon after the death of Christ, a year or so.
 
These contradictions of the history of the Church show that Tacitus was not in any position to be relied up in what he wrote about Christ. He could have been wrong to think that Pilate executed him.
 
The contradictions are inexplicable.  Was a forger at work again? If so, then the forger needed to fabricate evidence for the existence of Jesus which would be a very telling thing to do!
 
Thankfully the body of writings is a small one which makes the task not too difficult. We will see that if Jesus did not exist then it was a case of definitely not existing or a case of having no evidence one way or the other which would mean we don’t know if he existed or not. Either is fatal to the Christian faith.
 
THOSE WHO DENIED THE EXISTENCE
 
Second Peter states that the apostles did not give out cleverly devised myths when they revealed to the world the power and the coming of the Lord Jesus but were eyewitnesses to a visionary event, the transfiguration, that revealed the majesty of Jesus (1:16). In other words, a vision verified the power and coming of Jesus. It doesn't hint that it means the second coming of Christ. It just says coming. The vision he recounts said nothing or indicated nothing about a second coming. Second Peter is plainly saying that Jesus' power and coming had to be revealed to the apostles in a vision. He was not heard of before. This supports the idea that there was no Jesus known of until some people claimed to be having visions of this being who claimed to have been crucified and died and rose again.
 
Justin Martyr recorded that a Jewish theologian around 150 AD, called Trypho, said the Christ Christians believed in was an unfounded rumour and the Christians invented a Christ for themselves. He was certainly denying the validity of any Christian evidence about Jesus if not denying the existence of Jesus. But what he wrote can be interpreted as an outright denial that Jesus lived.
 
Justin protested against the Roman opinion that Christians were really atheists because they worshiped an invisible God and not one of the human gods who lived in some inaccessible place like they had.
 
Justin says that Christians worship the Son and makes no effort to show that Christians also worship a human God. This proves that the Romans believed that Christ did not exist and that they felt that the Christian worship of Jesus was a pretence to cover up atheism for they could not seriously worship a man who never lived. Most people then did deny Jesus’ existence in those days. It also proves they were right for although Justin says he believes Jesus lived 150 years before he had no evidence for this contention. Those who would have known best, the educated and the rulers, denied Jesus’ existence. Most of the Christians had nothing historical to say about Jesus even by then. Their leaders were as bad. That got them into trouble for the pagans gave their gods elaborate life-stories.

Justin declared that Sunday was the day God made the world though Genesis says it was Saturday. He is denying that Jesus was a Jew for, being a Jew, Jesus would not have believed that. When believing people could not even get Jesus’ religion right it shows that he must have been invented.

Justin’s grave departures from the apostolic teaching do not inspire confidence in him as a worthy foundation for arguments for Jesus’ existence and we can only rely on him when he lets slip what he does not want us to know.

Justin made Jesus a god below God contradicting Jesus’ strict monotheism.

Celsus was a Roman historian and writer and he declared that Jesus’ virgin birth and death and resurrection were fables as were the stories Christians told about Jesus when they were doing magic spells (page 53,54, Celsus, On the True Doctrine). This was in the sixties or seventies of the second century. If Jesus’ crucifixion and death were fables so was Jesus or at least he was very likely to be a fable! The Romans had no need to deny the crucifixion. Indeed they considered it a proof that Jesus was a fake. Their denial is very significant.
 
The Testament of Levi says that the Son of God will receive great honour in the world until he ascends. This denies that the killers if any could have been men for the whole world worshipped him. It puts Jesus outside the time span spelled out in the gospels for he must have lived in a long forgotten time when that happened.


(See www.ccel.org/fathers2/ANF-08/anf08-07.htm#P378_53868).

The Church was bothered by converts who began saying that Jesus was not a person but an apparition or symbol seen by natural eyes or by the imagination from the very start.  
 
NON-BIBLICAL WITNESSES TO THE WEAK EVIDENCE

 Here are non-biblical witnesses that Jesus lived before the first century and was a man of perfect mystery and therefore that there was nothing but flimsy evidence for him if any.

The Talmud says that Pinhas, the priest and grandson of Aaron who was the brother of Moses killed the man we know to be Jesus. We know that this Pinhas must be that person for the Talmud would not record a forgotten and unimportant person without clarification especially when there was a Pinhas in the Old Testament. It speaks of him as if he were somebody we can find out about so this must be the biblical Pinhas. This puts Jesus’ existence at fourteen centuries before the time given by the New Testament. The Koran says that Mary, the mother of Jesus, was a sister of Moses because it calls her the sister of Aaron (Sura 19:28). Sura 3:5 says that Mary and Aaron had the same father. The gospel Mary had nothing in common with Aaron for she was not even a member of the priestly line. The Koran would say if it did not mean a literal sister so literal sister it is. The book never places Jesus in the time designated in the New Testament. The Koran though late is evidence for a tradition against the Christian one that said Jesus lived in the first century. It preserves a tradition that merely slips out of the Talmud. Muhammad would not have had the intelligence to discover that slip so the information came from another source.

There is a scripture called Melchizidek which was found at Nag Hammadi in 1945. It claims to record revelations given to this priest of Abraham’s time and it claims that Melchizidek was Jesus Christ. Their alleged author was killed by crucifixion and rose from the dead. The hostile angelic powers did this to him according to what a group of people said to him after he came back from the dead and was addressed as Melchizidek. Nobody knows when this book was written but when it predicts the coming of the heretics who will deny that Christ had real human body it may date to the first century. It lists Old Testament figures and puts Melchizidek right after Noah therefore it says that Jesus Christ lived at the time of Abraham – long before the birth of Moses. The existence of a Jesus who lived that long ago would be doubtful.
 
Tatian who composed a harmony of the four gospels in the middle of the second century argued with the Greeks that God becoming a man was not ridiculous because their own Gods became man. But these Gods were mythical and the Greeks he contended with didn’t mean any of it literally so unless Tatian believed that the gospels were only true as myths not as history only then can what he said make sense (The Silent Jesus on the WWW). Tatian told his pagan critics that they should believe in his Christian religion because it makes up stories about Jesus its god just like they do (The Second Century Apologists, http://human.st/jesuspuzzle/century.htm).

Theophilus of Antioch who may have been the Theophilus for whom the Gospel of Luke was written was unable to give Autolycus an example of a man who rose from the dead (The Silent Jesus). Certainly he believed that Jesus rose but believed that there was no earthly evidence for it but only the testimony of faith inspired by God. What he was looking for was something to persuade this man that it was not only a truth revealed by God but a historical one but he had nothing. He rejected the gospels as having apologetic value for those who wanted proof of miracles and prophecy and men coming back from the dead. He rejected the most important evidence for the existence of Jesus and that makes him as good as a person who denied the existence of Jesus outright.
 
Conclusion
 
There is no evidence that Jesus existed which on its own could mean that we should be agnostic about him. The evidence that Jesus did not exist is stronger than that he did exist. And the evidence for his existence is spurious and worthless. And whatever has the ring of truth makes sense only as been borrowed from the lives of real but very different persons. It is mad to expect people to suffer and die for him because of these facts though the gospels and the Christian religion demand it. My book, They Hid the Four Gospels, gives further proof that the gospel story was not known in the early years or even thought of.
 
The most convincing evidence shows that Jesus never existed. The evidence that he did is useless and is largely make-believe. The evidence that he didn’t is authenticated by the fact that it is more like accidental slips which makes it totally convincing. This is the biggest secret the world has ever had, the most important man to supposedly walk on this world in fact never lived.
 
WORKS CONSULTED

A Concise History of the Catholic Church, Thomas Bokenkotter, Image Books, New York, 1979
Alleged Discrepancies of the Bible, John W Haley, Whitaker House, Pennsylvania, undated
Asking them Questions, Various, Oxford University Press, London, 1936
Belief and Make-Believe, GA Wells, Open Court, La Salle, Illinois, 1991
Concise Guide to Today’s Religions, Josh McDowell and Don Stewart, Scripture Press, Bucks, 1983
Did Jesus Exist? GA Wells, Pemberton, London, 1988
Did Jesus Exist? John Redford, Catholic Truth Society, London, 1986
Documents of the Christian Church, edited by Henry Bettenson, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1979
Early Christian Writings, Maxwell Staniforth Editor, Penguin, London, 1988
Encyclopaedia of Heresies and Heretics, Leonard George, Robson Books, London, 1995
Encyclopaedia of Unbelief, Volume 1, Ed Gordon Stein, (Ed) Prometheus Books, New York, 1985
Evidence that Demands a Verdict, Vol 1, Josh McDowell, Alpha, Scripture Press Foundation, Bucks, 1995
Fundamentalism and the Word of God, JI Packer, Inter Varsity Press, Leicester, 1996
Handbook to the Controversy With Rome, Volume 1, Karl Von Hase, The Religious Tract Society, London, 1906
He Walked Among Us, Josh McDowell and Bill Wilson, Alpha Cumbria, 2000
In Defence of the Faith, Dave Hunt, Harvest House, Eugene, Oregon, 1996
Introduction to the New Testament, Roderick A F MacKenzie, SJ, Liturgical Press, Minnesota, 1965
Jesus, AN Wilson, Flamingo, London, 1993
Jesus and the Goddess, The Secret Teachings of the Original Christians, Timothy Freke and Peter Gandy, Thorsons, London, 2001
Jesus – God the Son or Son of God? Fred Pearce Christadelphian Publishing Office, Birmingham, undated
Jesus – One Hundred Years Before Christ, Professor Alvar Ellegard Century, London, 1999
Jesus and the Four Gospels, John Drane, Lion, Herts, 1984
Jesus Hypotheses, V Messori, St Paul Publications, Slough, 1977
Jesus Lived in India by Holger Kersten, Element, Dorset, 1994
Jesus, Qumran and the Vatican, Otto Betz and Rainer Riesner, SCM Press Ltd, London, 1994
Jesus the Evidence, Ian Wilson, Pan, London, 1985
Jesus the Magician, Morton Smith, Harper & Row, San Francisco, 1978
Jesus under Fire, Edited by Michael F Wilkins and JP Moreland, Zondervan Publishing House, Michigan, 1995
Lectures and Replies, Thomas Carr, Archbishop of Melbourne, Melbourne, 1907
Let’s Weigh the Evidence, Barry Burton, Chick Publications, Chino, CA, 1983
Miracles in Dispute, Ernst and Marie-Luise Keller, SCM Press Ltd, London, 1969
On the True Doctrine, Celsus, Translated by R Joseph Hoffmann, Oxford University Press, Oxford 1987
Putting Away Childish Things, Uta Ranke-Heinemann, HarperCollins, San Francisco, 1994
Runaway World, Michael Green, IVP, London, 1974
St Paul versus St Peter, A Tale of Two Missions, Michael Goulder, Westminster John Knox Press, Louisville, Kentucky, 1994
St Peter and Rome, JBS, Irish Church Missions, Dublin, undated
Saint Saul, Donald Harman Akenson, Oxford University Press, New York, 2000
The Bible Fact or Fantasy, John Drane, Lion, Oxford, 1989
The Bible Unearthed, Israel Finkelstein and Neil Asher Silberman, Touchstone Books, New York, 2002.
The Call to Heresy, Robert Van Weyer, Lamp Books, London, 1989
The Case For Christ, Lee Strobel, HarperCollins and Zondervan, Michigan, 1998
The Case for Jesus the Messiah, John Ankerberg Harvest House, Eugene, Oregon, 1989
The Early Church, Henry Chadwick, Pelican, Middlesex, 1967
The Encyclopedia of Heresies and Heretics, Leonard George, Robson Books, London, 1995
The First Christian, Karen Armstrong, Pan, London, 1983
The Gnostic Gospels, Elaine Pagels, Penguin, London, 1990
The Gnostic Paul, Elaine Pagels, Fortress Press, Philadelphia, 1975
The Historical Evidence for Jesus, G A Wells, Prometheus Books, New York, 1988
The History of Christianity, Lion, Herts 1982
The History of the Church, Eusebius, Penguin, London, 1989
The House of the Messiah, Ahmed Osman, Grafton, London, 1993
The Jesus Event and Our Response, Martin R Tripole SJ, Alba House, New York, 1980
The Jesus Hoax, Phyllis Graham, Leslie Frewin, London, 1974
The Jesus Mysteries, Timothy Freke and Peter Gandy, Thorsons, London, 1999
The MythMaker, St Paul and the Invention of Christianity, Hyam Maccoby, Weidenfeld and Nicholson, London, 1986
The Nag Hammadi Library in English, Ed James M Robinson HarperCollins New York 1990
The Pagan Christ, Tom Harpur, Thomas Allen Publishers, Toronto, 2004
The Reconstruction of Belief, Charles Gore DD, John Murray, London, 1930
The Search for the Twelve Apostles, William Steuart McBirnie, Tyndale House, 1997
The Secret Gospel Morton Smith Aquarian Press, Harper & Row, San Francisco, 1985
The Truth of Christianity, WH Turton, Wells Gardner, Darton & Co Ltd, London, 1905
The Unauthorised Version, Robin Lane Fox, Penguin, Middlesex, 1992
The Virginal Conception and Bodily Resurrection of Jesus, Raymond E Brown, Paulist Press, New York, 1973
Theodore Parker’s Discourses, Theodore Parker, Longmans, Green, Reader and Dyer, London, 1876
Theological Dictionary of the New Testament. Kittel Gerhard and Friedrich Gerhard, Eerdman’s Publishing Co, Grand Rapids, MI, 1976
Those Incredible Christians, Hugh Schonfield, Hutchinson, London, 1968
Who Was Jesus? A Conspiracy in Jerusalem, by Kamal Salabi, I.B. Taurus and Co Ltd., London, 1992
http://books.google.ie/books?id=yWzcsddrx_wC&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q&f=false
Who Was Jesus? NT Wright, SPCK, London, 1993
Why I Believe Jesus Lived, C G Colly Caldwell, Guardian of Truth, Kentucky
 
The WWW

Who is GA Wells? Rev Dr Gregory S. Neal
www.errantskeptics.org/G_A_Wells.htm

The Silent Jesus
www.askwhy.co.uk/awcnotes/cn4/0325SilentJesus.html#Justin

Apollonius the Nazarene, The Historical Apollonius versus the Historical Jesus
www.apollonius.net/bernard1e.html

Why Did the Apostles Die? Dave Matson,
 www.infidels.org/library/magazines/tsr/1997/4Why97.html
 
The “Historical” Jesus by Acharya S
www.truthbeknown.com/historicaljc.htm

How Did the Apostles Die?
www.infidels.org/library/magazines/tsr/1997/4/4front97.html

History’s Troubling Silence About Jesus, Lee Salisbury
www.secweb.org/asset.asp?AssetID=102

Steven Carr discusses the Christian and apostolic martyrs
www.bowness.demon.co.uk/martyrs.htm
www.bowness.demon.co.uk/martyrs2.htm

Challenging the Verdict
A Cross-Examination of Lee Strobel’s The Case for Christ
http://human.st/jesuspuzzle/CTVExcerptsOne.htm
http://human.st/jesuspuzzle/CTVExcerptsTwo.htm
http://human.st/jesuspuzzle/CTVExcerptsThree.htm#Twelve

The Martyrdoms of Peter and Paul, Peter Kirby
http://home.earthlink.net/~kirby/

The Martyrdoms: A Response, Peter Kirby
www.bowness.demon.co.uk/martyrs3.htm

A Sacrifice in Heaven,
http://human.st/jesuspuzzle/supp09.htm

The Evolution of Jesus of Nazareth
http://human.st/jesuspuzzle/partthre.htm

The Jesus of History, a Reply to Josh McDowell by Gordon Stein
 www.infidels.org/library/modern/gordon_stein/Jesus.html

Josh McDowell’s Evidence for Jesus – Is It Reliable?, by Jeffrey J Lowder www.infidels.org/library/modern/jeff_lowder/jury/chap5.html

A Reply to JP Holding’s “Shattering” of My Views on Jesus
www.infidels.org/secular_web/new/2000/march.html

Robert M Price, Christ a Fiction
www.infidels.org/library/modern/robert_price/fiction.html

Earliest Christianity G A Wells
www.infidels.org/library/modern/g_a_wells/earliest.html

The Second Century Apologists
http://human.st/jesuspuzzle/century.htm

Existence of Jesus Controversy, Rae West
www.homeusers.prestel.co.uk/littleton/gm1_jesu.htm

Why I Don’t Buy the Resurrection Story by Richard Carrier
www.infidels.org/library/modern/richard_carrier/resurrection/index.shtml

Jesus Conference,
www.st-and.ac.uk/~www_sd/jconf_hall.html
 
Jesus Conference,
www.st-andrews.ac.uk/~www_sd/jconf_stuckenbruck.html
 
The Testament of Levi Concerning the Priesthood and Arrogance
www.ccel.org/fathers2/ANF-08/anf08-07.htm#P378_53868.

Sherlock Holmes Style Search for the Historical Jesus
www.fortunecity.com/greenfield/bp/890/history.html
 
The Ascension of Isaiah
www.earth-history.com/sacred-ascension-Isaiah.htm

Apollonius of Tyana: The Monkey of Christ? The Church Patriarchs, Robertino Solarion www.apollonius.net/patriarchs.html

What About the Discovery of Q? Brad Bromling
www.ApologeticsPress.org
 
Wells without Water, Psychological Buffoonry from the Master of the Christ-Myth, James Patrick Holding
www.tektonics.org/JPH_WW.html

Critique: Scott Bidstrp [sic] on The Case for Christ by James Patrick Holding
www.tektonics.org/bidstrup02.html

GA Wells Replies to Criticism of his Books on Jesus
www.infidels.org/library/modern/g_a_wells/errant.html

The Ossuary Scam: A Critical Analysis of the “James” Ossuary
http://www.atrueword.com/index.php/article/articleprint/15/-1/1/

The Origins of Christianity and the Quest for the Historical Jesus, Acharya S
www.truthbeknown.com/origins.htm
 
The Historical Jesus
http://www.geocities.com/b_d_muller/index.html
 
BIBLE VERSION USED
 
The Amplified Bible
The King James Version