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3 Essays on Christian Evidences

3 Essays on Christian Evidences

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Published by Michael Wright
Essay 1 answers the question "How can we know Jesus was not a myth? The 2nd deals with the Textual Integrity of the New Testament, in other words "How can we trust the New Testament Documents?" The third essay answers the question "Why is it important for Christians to believe in the Historicity of Jesus?"
Essay 1 answers the question "How can we know Jesus was not a myth? The 2nd deals with the Textual Integrity of the New Testament, in other words "How can we trust the New Testament Documents?" The third essay answers the question "Why is it important for Christians to believe in the Historicity of Jesus?"

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Published by: Michael Wright on Jul 31, 2012
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01/10/2013

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Essay Set 1Michael WrightPHIL240_D02_201230July 20, 2012
 
1
#1. Did Jesus ever really exist?
After several years of sharing the Word and developing apologetic arguments it’s almostastonishing that one of the most difficult questions to answer is the question of whether or notJesus Christ ever truly existed. It is a rather extreme position to take, though one might take it outof ignorance, an intellectually honest person would have to reject all evidence out of hand inorder to take it. A non-believing scholar, even an atheist would find this position difficult todefend.
1
The more extreme categorization of people who deny that Christ ever existed are knownas “mythers,” and range from (at best) the intellectual amateur to the legitimately scholarly butpersonally offended.
2
This essay shall address the less extreme, those who argue the point out of genuine ignorance.One does not need to approach the topic of 
historicity
to show that Jesus existed.Historicity in the case of Jesus actually does not regard whether or not Jesus actually existed butwhether the evidence points to the biblical Jesus of Nazareth or some different historicalconstruct upon which Christianity later evolved. To question whether there was a man namedJesus living in Nazareth in the first century is a non-starter. Around that time five percent of thepopulation carried the name “
Yeshua
” or Jesus. In fact scholars believe only about sixteen namesmade up 75% of the population.
3
 Now does that answer the question? Of course not, what the person really wanted toknow is if the
 Jesus Christ of Christianity
has a basis in history or not. Why then toss in red
1
Gary R. Habermas, "A Summary Critique: Questioning the Existence of Jesus,"
Christian Research Journal
22, no. 3 (2000).
2
Bart D. Ehrman,
 Did Jesus Exist? : The Historical Argument for Jesus of Nazareth
, 1st ed. (New York:HarperOne, 2012), 17-19.
3
Joel Kramer, "The Jesus Tomb Unmasked," in
 Expedition Bible
(Sourceflix Inc., 2009)
 
2
herring answers? Often these sorts of conversations are all about red herrings, and you need to beready for a fish slapping contest.
4
The movement that claims the Gospel accounts are justrehashes of pagan mythologies such as Osiris and Horus, Mithraism, etc. was born out of 19
th
 century anti-Semitism, and though that movement died out it has seen various resurgences eversince.
5
 When it comes to the evidence of Christ there are a variety of classifications for sources,but one might start with inside and outside sources. Inside sources can be defined as primary andsecondary, primary being the writings of those who claim to have witnessed Christ’s teachings(tied to Apostolic authority) and secondary being Christians who wrote of him after his death(largely the Epistles and Acts of Apostles). Outside sources are largely classified as SecularDocumentary (Tacitus, Suetonius, Thallus, Pliny the Younger), Secular Commentary (Celsus,Lucian, Mara Bar-Serapion), Jewish Non-Christian (Josephus, Babylonian Talmud), and Extra-Biblical Christian (Clement of Rome, Ignatius of Antioch, Quadratus of Athens, Aristedes theAthenian, Justin Martyr, Hegesippus, etc.).Upon genuine evaluation of this evidence, if an individual still feels the evidence is notconsistent enough to support the historicity of Jesus, then their one alternative is to show that heis myth. The testimony of history can certainly be unclear as to the details of a person or event,but either that person existed or they didn’t. The event happened or it didn’t. And if it didn’t, itstands to reason that something must have come about for that idea to come into being or there’dbe no presence of mind for the idea to come into play at all.
4
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IhJQp-q1Y1s
5
William Lane Craig, "Jesus and the Story of Osiris and Horus," in
Veritas Forum
(University of CentralFlorida, Orlando FL: 2012)

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