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January 4, 2013
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Is there any historical evidence for Jesus Christ?

:iconn-team:
N-Team Featured By Owner Jan 4, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I'm curious. What I've read is that scholars say he existed, but nothing about the miracles. Hopefully you all can inform me. I'd say there is no absolute certainty on this...
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:iconcarusmm:
carusmm Featured By Owner Jan 22, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
I'm a little teapot, short and stout.
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:iconn-team:
N-Team Featured By Owner Jan 23, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
:iconyeahplz:
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:iconkausawolf:
kausawolf Featured By Owner Jan 22, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Whale of corals outside of the bible there isn't any writing oar anything of a Jesus in Nazareth, but theres a pretty good chance there was a Jesus living in Nazareth at roughly that time.
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:iconinuranma44:
Inuranma44 Featured By Owner Jan 21, 2013  Student General Artist
I'm surprised that no one's brought up the 5,000+ manuscripts of the New Testament and how, according to a bibliographical test (not BIBLE graphical test... xP) it's a very well preserved work of antiquity. Not to mention that the Dead Seas Scrolls also have a say in the authenticity of the Tanakh.

(Not trying to be dismissive but just hoping to contribute. Even if there's still some debate surrounding it, you gotta admit, it still has to count for something.)
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:iconlytrigian:
Lytrigian Featured By Owner Jan 21, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
The number of manuscripts is neither here nor there. It would be surprising if there WEREN'T thousands, considering Christianity's spread starting in the 4th century. But there are very, very few mss from the 1st and 2nd, fewer than 20, and only one of them from the 1st.

But others here have argued that the NT itself is a argument for the existence of the person Jesus, if nothing else, myself included.
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:iconinuranma44:
Inuranma44 Featured By Owner Jan 21, 2013  Student General Artist
Ah I see. :)

I've read most of them and I know you all mean well but it seems like this debate has become more of an "in your face" debate rather than a discussion.

As one who's looked in to this topic before, let's see if I can give it a shot. ^^

From my understanding, the number of manuscripts matters because its used to check if whether or not the documents we have today is the same that's written during the time it was written. That's how scholars authenticate the writings of other ancient works like Plato, Homer, Aristotle and so on. Not just the bible.

Now why is this important? Well to know if whether or not what we have now is the same thing that was written thousands of years ago, you gotta test it by checking the manuscripts through something called a bibliographical test, which is done in the field of Historiography.

Because there's 5,000+ manuscripts of the New Testament, it's pretty fair to say that what we have to day is the original, if not, VERY close to the original. Same goes with the Dead Sea Scrolls for the Tanakh. xD

Also, you did say the following: "The number of manuscripts is neither here nor there. It would be surprising if there WEREN'T thousands, considering Christianity's spread starting in the 4th century. But there are very, very few mss from the 1st and 2nd, fewer than 20, and only one of them from the 1st."

Before I'm to say ANYTHING, by Manuscripts, do you mean the Autographas or the copies?

As for extra-biblical sources, I heard in a debate between Apologist/Mathematician John Lennox and Richard Dawkins in which he says that secular historians have acknowledged the existence of Christ such as Pagan, Greek, Roman, Jewish and so on. After that, Dawkins admitted that there was a Jesus of Nazareth at some point (of course whether or now he still stands by it today, I'm not sure.)

Now, what these writings are SPECIFICALLY, I haven't looked in to it in detail. I know you guys have mentioned a couple like Josephus and Pliny the Younger but it seems such sources isn't enough to satisfy an answer (Of course, there's nothing wrong with that mind you. That just means that you're seeking for truth. Just make sure its for the SAKE of Truth and NOT because you wanna prove the "Christians" wrong or cuz you wanna shove the evidence in the face of the Atheist).

Of course if you REALLY wanna know, you would have to ask a historian, a theologian or someone with authority. Just keep an open mind when you do. ;D
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:iconlytrigian:
Lytrigian Featured By Owner Jan 21, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Same goes with the Dead Sea Scrolls for the Tanakh.

Actually, if the DSS has showed us anything, it's that there were at one time various textual traditions for the Tanakh, and the current Hebrew recension only descends from one of them. There was already evidence of this, given the variations in the Samaritan Torah and the Septuagint, but those could have been "errors". The DSS showed they were all once current acceptable variants, and also that variants existed with no modern descendants.

Of course mss does not mean autographs. We don't have autographs, and it's not reasonable to expect that we would.

It's not much of a stretch to "admit" that Jesus of Nazareth was a real person. Occam's Razor calls for it, if nothing else. You need to assume a lot more if you're going to insist the New Testament is fictional. It's the apparently legendary material that one might reasonably call into question.
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:iconinuranma44:
Inuranma44 Featured By Owner Jan 21, 2013  Student General Artist
Really? That's actually really interesting! :D I didn't know that about it in terms of the Hebrew. Man, you gotta love history. xD (Sorry, I'm a nerd when it comes to this kinda thing xP)

Still, if you were to translate it in to English, the modern copy we have would still have an accurate translation except for bits of the book of Isaiah which, even with the errors, doesn't change the core theology.

And ah okay. xD From what I've heard, the time period in between the autographa to the earliest manuscripts, the smallest is 70 years. That's a miracle if you compare it to other works of antiquity! xD

If you use that logic that it can't be good because there's only a couple of manuscripts (though I've heard there's definitely more than only one from the first century), then you can't count the works of the others either since there's not as much copies of those either. I know there's only 10 manuscripts of Ceasar's Commentary on the Gallic Wars, Plato has 7 Manuscripts, Tacitus has 20, etc. etc.*

Now, if whether or not what's written down is true is up to the reader. That's why the Apostle John writes in his gospel saying "But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name." :)

If you wanna look it up its in John chapter 20 verse 31 though I recommend reading the whole book! xD

The Occam's Razor? That's the argument in which God can't be found by reason alone right? Or is it the one where you choose the easier argument til' further evidence arrives? (Had to look it up... xP)

CS Lewis and other apologists like Ravi Zacharias and Josh McDowell can probably help you out with that. xD

Well of course! No other book in history boldy claims to be the true book! It makes pplz uneasy. I know it did to me for a couple years before I came to understand what the Gospel truly is. xD

*For some of you who are reading, the numbers may have been updated so you might wanna check for yourselves. For example, I looked in to it again and I was wrong on the New Testament manuscript number. Turns out that there's 24,633 manuscripts! xD
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:iconlytrigian:
Lytrigian Featured By Owner Jan 21, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
I have a reasonably comprehensive Christian theological education, and you can safely assume that I've read the Bible.

Last thing first: There very well ought to be many thousands of mss of the NT. It was written exclusively by hand until the introduction of the printing press c. 1450. That's about 1400 years to make copies by hand, and every little church needed at least a Gospel book and Epistle lectionary, and they tended to wear out every few decades. So it's not a surprising number, and a great many of them will be late. Useful, perhaps, for determining the characteristics of their text-type, but they won't provide a great deal of new information.

Still, if you were to translate it in to English, the modern copy we have would still have an accurate translation except for bits of the book of Isaiah which, even with the errors, doesn't change the core theology.

You really ought to look into the variants. The Septuagint (LXX) contains significant deviations from the Masoretic at a great many points. This is a translation made into Greek sometime from the 3rd to the 1st centuries BC. It was the official Old Testament of the early Christian Church, and the NT quotes from it more often than any other OT version. Many modern scholars had presumed that the differences were due to errors in translation, but the DSS showed that in fact it reflects a genuine Hebrew textual tradition that was dropped in favor of what eventually became the modern Masoretic in the middle ages. Not only are there indeed important theological differences -- the famous translation of "almah" as "parthenos" in Isaiah 7:14 only scratches the surface -- but sometimes the Hebrew is so obscure that it can only be understood in light of the LXX. Most modern English translations will rely primarily on the Masoretic, but with corrections from the LXX where the text is evidently corrupt.

It's very hard to find non-partisan information on the subject. Some boosters of the LXX are very vocal about what they feel makes it superior to any modern Hebrew version, and their evident anti-Semitism makes it unlikely they look at the issues without bias.

And then there's the Samaritan Torah [link] which is different from both.

So translation isn't even the issue. WHAT should you translate to get an "accurate" version?

Occam's Razor isn't directly about God at all. It's an expression of the logical principle of parsimony: when deciding between two alternative hypotheses, the one requiring fewest additional assumptions is more likely to be true. [link] In this case, it's easier to assume that Jesus was not fictional, and that the NT describes certain legends and traditions that had grown up around his person within the community of his followers, than to believe the sort of bizarre conspiracy theory you'd need to account for the multiple independent sources we have for him.

It's true that some ancient works are not well-attested, and that some exist only in copies much later than surviving NT mss -- but then, no one ever preached Caesar's "Gallic Wars" door to door and insisted people shape their lives by its precepts! And certainly it's fair to subject the NT to the same criticism as Caesar's works. We know, for instance, that much of what Caesar wrote was frank propaganda and cannot be taken at face value for reliable information on how Gauls lived.

Actually, there's only one NT ms fragment that MIGHT be from the 1st century. None are definitely that old.

Well of course! No other book in history boldy claims to be the true book!

Not sure what this is in response to, but you must not have talked to any Muslims about the Koran. Only the most strident of literalist Christian fundamentalists say anything for the NT even approaching what the average Muslim claims for the Koran.
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:iconinuranma44:
Inuranma44 Featured By Owner Jan 22, 2013  Student General Artist
Uh oh, someone's whooping out credentials. :giggle:

I’m curious though, if you do have a Christian education, why are you so dogmatically against the scriptures?

Ah I see. I guess I learned something today. :XD:

What's wrong with loving God and Loving your neighbor as yourself? What’s wrong with loving mercy or loving what is good? I mean, yeah, there be pplz who force it on others but that's more of a human fault rather than a biblical one.

Christianity is to be a faith of invitation, not a faith of imposition. It's your choice to accept Jesus as Lord and savior or not. :)

"Not sure what this is in response to, but you must not have talked to any Muslims about the Koran."

I thought we were only talking about the bible. :O_o:
Didn’t anyone?
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