Is There Any Evidence that Jesus Existed?

Skeptics like Ellen Johnson [former President of American Atheists] cite the “lack of secular history” for Jesus as evidence that he didn’t exist.

Yet there is very little documentation for any person from the time of Christ. Most ancient historical documents have been destroyed through the centuries, by wars, fires, and pillaging, or simply through weathering and deterioration.

According to E. M. Blaiklock, who has catalogued most of the non-Christian writings of the Roman Empire, “practically nothing exists from the time of Christ”, even for great secular leaders such as Julius Caesar.¹ Yet no historian questions Caesar’s existence.

And since he wasn’t a great political or military leader, Darrell Bock notes, “It is amazing and significant that Jesus shows up at all in the sources we have.”²

So, who are these sources Bock mentions? Which early historians who wrote of Jesus did not have a Christian agenda? First of all, let’s look to Jesus’ enemies. [Read more…]

Mystery vs. History

Who would you be more likely to believe—someone who says, “Hey, I’ve got some secret facts that were mysteriously revealed to me,” or someone who says, “I’ve searched all the evidence and history and here it is for you to make up your mind on”? Keeping that question in mind, consider these two statements, the first from the Gnostic Gospel of Thomas (c. 110-150 A.D.) and the second from the New Testament’s Gospel of Luke (c. 55-70 A.D.): [Read more…]

Heretics Confirm the New Testament

The wealthy merchant Marcion (d. c.160 A.D.) didn’t like what he thought was the cranky God of the Old Testament, so he removed this God from his version of the Bible. He amputated the entire Old Testament as well as any New Testament books that to him sounded like the Old Testament. We generally know what was in his Bible, and it contained much of what is in ours. What he amputated is harder to discern. The important point is that Marcion’s partial list of New Testament books in 135 A.D. affirms their acceptance 200 years prior to the Council of Nicaea. [Read more…]

Are the New Testament Accounts of Jesus Reliable?

How do we know that the words we read about Jesus in the New Testament are reliable?  Can we actually trace the manuscript evidence back through the centuries and determine what the original writings said?

The answer from the science of textual criticism is, “Yes,” but only if there are enough ancient manuscripts dating to within a few generations of when the originals were composed.  The Scholars studying ancient literature have devised a three-part test that looks at not only the faithfulness of the copy but also the credibility of the authors.  The tests are these:[1]

1. The bibliographical test

2. The internal evidence test

3. The external evidence test

Let’s see what happens when we apply the first of these tests to the early copies of New Testament manuscripts. [Read more…]

The Discovery of the Century?

News alert! The BBC reports that about 70 lead tablets discovered in a north Jordanian cave between 2005 and 2007 may reveal clues about Jesus and his resurrection.[1] If authentic, they would be the oldest recorded documents yet discovered about Jesus Christ.

According to the BBC article, “the director of the Jordan’s Department of Antiquities, Ziad al-Saad, says the books might have been made by followers of Jesus in the few decades immediately following his crucifixion. ‘They will really match, and perhaps be more significant than, the Dead Sea Scrolls,’ says Mr Saad.”[2] [Read more…]

“The Bible’s Buried Secrets” Exposed

Has the discovery of an ancient pottery shard in excavations near Jerusalem, undone the sensational claims of a PBS documentary entitled, “The Bible’s Buried Secrets”?

In that documentary, PBS shockingly concludes that the Hebrew Bible was written hundreds of years after Abraham, Moses, Joshua, and David. It cites scholars who state that the Bible couldn’t have been written until the 6th century BC because the Hebrew language hadn’t been developed until then.

[Read more…]