Ancient History Speaks
Let’s begin with a more foundational question: How can we distinguish a mythical character from a real person? For example, what evidence convinces historians that Alexander the Great was a real person? And does such evidence exist for Jesus?
Both Alexander and Jesus were depicted as charismatic leaders. Both reportedly had brief careers, dying in their early thirties. Jesus is said to have been a man of peace who conquered by love; Alexander a man of war who ruled by the sword.
In 336 B.C. Alexander the Great became king of Macedonia. A military genius, this handsome, arrogant leader swept through villages, towns, and kingdoms of Greco-Persia until he ruled it all. It is said that he cried when there were no more worlds to conquer.
The history of Alexander is drawn from five ancient sources written 300 or more years after he died. Not one eyewitness account of Alexander exists.
However, historians believe Alexander really existed, largely because the accounts of his life are confirmed by archaeology and his impact on history.
Likewise, to determine if Jesus was a real person, we need to seek evidence for his existence in the following areas:
- Early non-Christian accounts
- Early Christian accounts
- Early New Testament manuscripts
- Historical impact
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