Was Jesus Real?
by Arthur Khachatryan
Was Jesus a real person who lived or a fictional character around whom a religion was formed? It appears as though many atheists and skeptics of all kinds like to argue that Jesus was not real and did not exist. This presumption is generally made because the Bible conveys supernatural events, and therefore, those who hold that supernatural events cannot occur see it fitting to deny the existence of Jesus of Nazareth.
However, as professor of biblical criticism and exegesis F. F. Bruce states,
“Some writers may toy with the fancy of ‘Christ-myth,’ but they do not do so on the ground of historical evidence. The historicity of Christ is as axiomatic for an unbiased historian as the historicity of Julius Caesar. It is not historians who propagate the ‘Christ-myth’ theories.”1
In fact, even liberal non-Christian historians across the board, agree that Jesus was a historical person. So what makes historians so confident? Almost the entirety of the NT writings either make literal references to Jesus within a context of a historical narrative, include words spoken by Jesus himself, assume the Judeo-Christian theological separation brought about by Jesus or make Jesus the precursor and the very reason for their attestations. In other words, if Jesus never existed it would be foolish for the NT writers to write about a fictional person whom they were so convinced was God in human flesh that they routinely withstood persecution for their persistence of those beliefs. It is absurd to assume these writers to have created a fictional person for whom they were willing to die.
In addition to the biblical record, there are also many extra-biblical historians who wrote about Jesus and the movement He started. One very important thing to keep in mind as we look at some of these is that the Jewish and secular writers were usually antagonistic to Christianity, so their accounts carry quite a bit of weight since they had nothing to gain by admitting or, better yet, implicitly verifying the historicity of Jesus and His followers. There are many historical references to Jesus of Nazareth by historians and writers, including Trajan, Macrobius, Hadrian, Antonius Pius, Marcus Aurelius, Juvenal, Seneca and Hierocles. We could cite all these other references as well, but for the sake of brevity let’s look at just some of the more significant ones…
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