Did Jesus actually exist?
Josephus (Jewish Pharisee), c. AD90, Antiquities
“ … a man named James, the brother of Jesus who was called the Christ”
Tacitus (Roman Historian), c. AD110, Annals of Imperial Rome
“ … Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace. Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one our procurators, Pontius Pilate.”
Pliny (Roman Governor of Bithynia), c. AD112, Letters to Emperor Trajan
“ … It was their habit on a fixed day to assemble before daylight and recite by turns a form of words to Christ as a god”
How reliable are the primary documents about Jesus?
How soon after the events was it written?
|Event||Date||First written record||Gap (years)|
|Alexander the Great’s death||323BC||AD130 (Historian Arrian)||450+|
|Jesus’ death||AD30||AD50-100 (New Testament)||20-70|
If the original is lost, how many copies exist, and how close are they to the original?
|Event||No. of copies||Date of original||Oldest surviving copy||Gap (years)|
|Tacitus Annals of Imperial Rome||1
|AD110||Books 1-6: AD850
Books 7-10: lost
Books 11-16: AD1000
How do you explain the empty tomb?But isn’t any record written by a follower inherently unreliable/biased?
The “swoon” theory
The Jews and/or the Romans hid the body
The disciples stole the body
How did people at the time respond to the claim that Jesus was alive?
“Doubting” Thomas Didymus
John 20:25 “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it.”
Saul of Tarsus 1
Corinthians 15:9 For I am the least of the apostles and do not even deserve to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.
1 Cor 15:17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins.
1 Cor 15:20 But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep.
“Beyond ANY doubt” or “beyond REASONABLE doubt”?
Chief Justice Lord Darling
“There exists such overwhelming evidence, positive and negative, factual and circumstantial, that no intelligent jury in the world could fail to bring in a verdict that the resurrection story is true