Is the Jesus of History the Jesus of Faith? History and Archaeology Say YES!

by Ted Wright

Jesus mythicists can best be described as people who are “highly skeptical” if not completely doubtful that Jesus Christ ever existed. Of course, most of what we learn about the life and ministry of Jesus comes to us from the New Testament in the three synoptics. For example, Jesus mythicist, Bob Price (whom I’ve previously debated on the historicty of the Exodus), wrote the following:

“It is quite likely, though certainly by no means definitively provable, that the central figure of the gospels is not based on any historical individual. Put simply, not only is the theological “Christ of faith” a synthetic construct of theologians, a symbolic “Uncle Sam” figure. But if you could travel through time, like Superboy, and you went back to First-Century Nazareth, you would not find a Jesus living there” [1].

Similarly, Jesus mythicist, Richard Carrier, in his book, On the Historcity of Jesus: Why Might Have Reason to Doubt [“Might,” sic!], states that: “The Gospels generally afford us no evidence for discerning a historical Jesus.” And, that “Most of what Christians [i.e. “early Christians”] wrote were lies. We should approach everything they wrote with distrust.” Elsewhere Carrier noted that the NT book of Acts, “…reliability for demonstrating the historicity of Jesus is essentially non-existent” [2].

Yet, If history is at all knowable, with any degree of certainty, then the New Testament is one of THE most remarkable and reliable primary sources in the ancient world!

It is interesting that skeptics of the New Testament read quite a bit of material in order to “debunk” it as mythology, yet curiously don’t read about the history of biblical critics, whose theories have themselves been debunked and disproven. Through the years, New Testament has stood strong like a stone-clad lighthouse anchored to bedrock, while the waves, foam and torrents of the critics have crashed against it to no affect (John 10:35b).

What is History? How Can We Know It?

In the classical sense of the term, historiography is the science of writing history, where the scholars carefully analyze and vet primary sources. There are three primary sources for accurately reconstructing the past…

Is the Jesus of History the Jesus of Faith?