Did Jesus Really Exist?
Non-believers are very influential, especially in the Soviet Union, where the mythicist view was dominant, as it is even today in some Western lands, like Scandinavia , where the dominant view is that Jesus the man never did exist in the real world.
Did Jesus Really Exist?
A new book entitled - Did Jesus Exist? The Historical Argument for Jesus of Nazareth - by author Bart Ehrman ( historian and University of North Carolina Chapel Hill professor of religious studies) has provoked a storm of debate among people who, like the writer want solid historical evidence for the existence of Jesus.
Bart wanted to approach this question as an historian to see whether the facts can be substantiated, because the answer - though widely accepted as straightforward among religious scholars of all faiths - is anything but , many others, known as mythicists, claiming that Jesus never did exist at all.
These non-believers are very influential, especially in the Soviet Union, where the mythicist view was dominant, as it is even today in some Western lands, like Scandinavia , where the dominant view is that Jesus the man never did exist in the real world.
The viewpoint put forward by Mythicists are quite plausible, because in fact Jesus never does get mentioned in any Roman historical record, and archeological evidence of his existence is simply not to be found. Even Christian Gospels, which were written come long after the death of the prophet, by a whole host of people who never met or physically saw the man called Jesus, can hardly be considered a true record.
It should never be overlooked that, long before Christianity, there had been pagan gods said to die and rise again, so that Jesus was invented as a Jewish god simply doing the same thing, by elders looking to restore faith to their tribes. Even the writings of the apostle Paul, according to the book, leave room for doubt, because he mentions Jesus having a bother James, whom Paul knew, yet again no mention of him can be found in documentation of the time
Perhaps a more compelling argument for the non-existence of the messiah was the very fact that, if someone did invent Jesus, they would hardly have created a god-head who could be so easily overcome by those opposed to him. In those days, gods were supposed to overthrow enemies.
If a messiah was to be created, surely he would be powerful enough not to allow himself to be humiliated, tortured and the killed by his enemies, so the likelihood would seem to be that indeed some charismatic figure did exist around that time, who could inspire trust in others, but how much divinity he had has to be questionable.
Historians focusing on the life of the man they call Jesus, discover someone completely different from the figure portrayed in religious texts, which are usually and glaringly historically inaccurate anyway. If this person was a living man, he was the Mathatma Ghandi of his time, preaching non-violence, love, mercy and forgiveness, not lessons too well learned by those following him.
In the two thousand years that have passed since his supposed death on the cross, many hundreds of thousands have been slaughtered in his name, and the church - which he supposedly vehemently opposed the building of - has a lot to answer for.
If he ever truly lived- for which no evidence at all exists - then I think his ethical teachings got lost in an apocalyptic frenzy of religious fervour which has never really died down. What this iconic and legendary figure did prove beyond any shadow of a doubt is that humanity can be extremely gullible and easily manipulated at times, in enduring ways.