Was Jesus a Real Person? Part 10

Scholars’ Verdict

Clifford Herschel Moore, professor at Harvard University, remarked of Jesus’ historicity, “Christianity knew its Saviour and Redeemer not as some god whose history was contained in a mythical faith. … Jesus was a historical not a mythical being. No remote or foul myth obtruded itself on the Christian believer; his faith was founded on positive, historical, and acceptable facts.”16

Few if any serious historians agree with Ellen Johnson’s and Bertrand Russell’s assertions that Jesus didn’t exist. The extensive documentation of Jesus’ life by contemporary writers, his profound historical impact, and the confirming tangible evidence of history have persuaded scholars that Jesus really did exist. Could a myth have done all that? All but a few extremely skeptical scholars say no.

Dr. Michael Grant of Cambridge has written, “To sum up, modern critical methods fail to support the Christ-myth theory. It has ‘again and again been answered and annihilated by first rank scholars.’ In recent years ‘no serious scholar has ventured to postulate the non-historicity of Jesus.’ ”17

Yale historian Jaroslav Pelikan declared, “Regardless of what anyone may personally think or believe about him, Jesus of Nazareth has been the dominant figure in the history of Western culture for almost twenty centuries. … It is from his birth that most of the human race dates its calendars, it is by his name that millions curse and in his name that millions pray.”18

This article was reprinted with permission from Y-Jesus Magazine.

End Notes

  1. Ellen Johnson and Larry King, “What Happens After We Die?” Larry King Live, CNN, April 14, 2005.
  2. Bertrand Russell, Why I Am Not a Christian (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1957), 16.
  3. Will Durant, Caesar and Christ, vol. 3 of The Story of Civilization (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1972), 553.
  4. Ibid., 557.
  5. D. James Kennedy, Skeptics Answered (Sisters, OR: Multnomah, 1997), 76.
  6. The Gemaras are early rabbinical commentaries of the Jewish Talmud, a body of theological writings, dated a.d. 200–500.6 Quoted in Durant, 554.
  7. Quoted in D. James Kennedy, Skeptics Answered, (Sisters Oregon: Multnomah Publishers Inc., 1997), 73.
  8. Quoted in Durant, 281.
  9. Norman Geisler and Peter Bocchino, Unshakable Foundations (Grand Rapids, MI: Bethany House, 2001), 269.
  10. Quoted in Josh McDowell, Evidence That Demands a Verdict, vol. 1 (Nashville: Nelson, 1979), 87.
  11. Quoted in Christopher Lee, This Sceptred Isle, 55 B.C.–1901 (London: Penguin, 1997), 1.
  12. Will Durant, The Story of Philosophy (New York: Pocket, 1961), 428.
  13. Quoted in Bernard Ramm, Protestant Christian Evidences (Chicago: Moody Press, 1957), 163.
  14. Malcolm Muggeridge, Jesus Rediscovered (Bungay, Suffolk, U.K.: Fontana, 1969), 8.
  15. David C. Downing, The Most Reluctant Convert (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 2002), 57.
  16. Quoted in McDowell, 193.
  17. Michael Grant, Jesus (London: Rigel, 2004), 200.
  18. Jaroslav Pelikan, Jesus through the Centuries (New York: Harper & Row, 1987), 1

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