Best Answer

This is a very controversial subject matter and no view on this has been definitively proven. Please read all sections before coming to an opinion. As a result of the divergence of opinion, this answer has been split into three main sections corresponding to the three general arguments on this subject and various opinions of different contributors have been placed within.

  • Answers A: Jesus was historical and a Prophet and/or Divine (Christian and Islamic View)
  • Answers B: Jesus was a historical human but not a Prophet or Divinity (Secular View)
  • Answers C: There is insufficient evidence to claim that Jesus existed at all (Secular View)

The order of the answers is not indicative of their validity, solely an organizational piece.

Answers A: Jesus was historical and a Prophet and/or Divine (Christian and Islamic View)

Answer A1:

He still is alive, just as God is alive.

Answer A2:

Many books outside of the bible (Qur'an, Hippocrates, etc.) have detailed descriptions of Jesus. There is also other physical evidence of Jesus... the headboard that was placed above him on the cross. It has been protected by Catholics for centuries, and it was recently examined by forensic scientists. They have concluded, through carbon-dating, that it is the real thing. It daters back to the time when he was crucified. Also, the writing on it has been studied historians and cryptologists. They have concluded that it is accurate with the way things were written in the 1st century a.d.

In response to Answer C1, the Shroud of Turin has NEVER been found to be a hoax. How could DaVinci have created it? Carbon dating has proven that it was created way before DaVinci's time. Did DaVinci have a camera in the Renaissance? How could you create a perfect negative of a crucified person with a sheet?

Let's face the facts....Jesus is real. He lived, he died, and he rose again. Don't deny him.

Answer A3:

Yes Jesus existed. He had a great historical impact as well. The Muslims actually recognized him as a great prophet and writings have been found acknowledging him. They do not however acknowledge him for his greatest contribution as the Messiah. The greatest way to know of both of these truths is to do two things however; 1. Read the scriptures 2. study it out in your mind 3. reach a decision 4. Pray about it (I know that's not scientific) (Well look at it this way your trying an experiment and to get real results you have to try booth sides to get the true results) 5. If the results are positive act on them.

Some people have confused the role of Messiah, the scriptures have always pointed to a great sacrifice for the sins of man. That is why the Hebrews were commanded to live the law of Moses. This was a reminder of the sacrifice that was going to made. This law had actually existed from the beginning w/ Adam. However we are reminded now that Christ has suffered all things worse than we ever will. He is going to return.

Answer A4:

I read all of the answers and at the lack of evidence given for his not existing! If Jesus didn't exist how can you say that this is the year 2005? The count of time is supposedly based on when he was born? What accounts for the permeating effect of this 'fictional' character on world civilization? I'll bet not one of you is a historian with a degree...are you? Neither am I. Therefore why not quote some actual historians? -- Please see the link for the Watchtower Article and the Historian Claims in the "Expert Answer".

Answer A5:

Jesus did not only exist, but he still exists to this day and it's proven by miracles all the time if one is willing to look and listen instead of jabbering all the time. I agree with that one poster that was fed-up of Jesus being crucified on the Internet. Religion is a very private matter and different cultures have their own belief systems, but, we all should respect the others beliefs. Jesus was sent in human form and no, he was not thrilled to the fact he would be crucified and asked his father (God) why? The reply was to pay for the sins of the rest of us. We have a road to go down and we can either take the good road or the bad one. I have seen in my many years not only miracles (they have happened to me as well) but humans that have never believed in Jesus be in a very difficult position in their lives (such as a child that could die or a loved one) and the person is on bended knees in the Chapel of that hospital for the first time. Basically they are so distraught they are covering all bases. So, whether you like it or not He does exist in all of us and we can deny him or accept him. Arguing about it isn't going to change it. The choice is up to you.

Answer A6:

Its a really simple answer.Yes. he was an existing person. He is the Son of God.You can find this answer by simply reading the Bible.He is king of kings and lord of lords,the Alpha and Omega.He is the all loving,all forgiving,and merciful God.He made us and the world and everything in it.He was so loving though that he died on the cross to save you and me and everyone else.But the most amazing thing is that that's not where the story ends for 3 days later he rose again and went to heaven, and one day hes coming back.

Answer A7:

Science and history have never been able to disprove His existence,despite claims to the contrary.And once you've experienced His working in your life,you know He exists without any other evidence-and nature itself shouts out the evidences every day.

Answer A8:

Yes, Jesus of Nazareth existed as a historical man. No, he was not a theological construct. Side note, "the Christ" is a title, not a name.

There are enough historical witnesses to verify this as fact. Claims as big as "I am the King (Christ)" and "I am the Son of God" or "I am the way, the truth, and the life--no one can get to the Father [heaven] except through me"--these claims would not be something people (especially in that place and in that time) would take lightly--as seen in the portrayal of his execution. The religious leaders who put him to death also wanted to put his name to death. They obviously failed.

People put a lot of faith in him, his followers also put their lives on the line just to stand for what they knew! Some of his followers were crucified for not denying his name. This is hardly something people would do for something that simply "didn't exist" in the slightest.

A theological construct is easily seen as it provides no significant historical validity and the claims are absurd. The time, the places, the names, the events -- all of these provide enough information to see obvious lies versus what actually took place in history. This question is legitimate to ask 2,000 years after the fact. Yet most people who are being honest wouldn't even know who their great, great, great, great, great grandfather was or if he even existed. It shows how skeptical our generation is about things that are verifiable facts! However, we know with enough research, the answers are available and the proof is usually difficult to find.

Lee Strobel did a great job answering this question in his book The Case for Christ. For convincing evidence on this subject and educational research, I recommend this book, see the link in the "Expert Answer".

Answer A9:

Jesus was a 100% man and 100% God. He was not a theological construct by any means, and He was and still is God in every way. Many people belief many different things about Him, but majority of them are not true. There is only one truth. Read it yourself to find out.

Answers B: Jesus was a historical human but not a Prophet or Divinity (Secular View)

Answer B1:

Jesus lived and died in Judea, the historically Jewish part of the Roman Empire. he was born with the name Yeshuha ben Yosef. He was a Saducee but was influenced by some Pharisee and Essen philosophies as well. He kept strange company - such as the purist Essene sect member John the Baptist who wore nothing but skins and seaweed and ate twigs and leaves and such. He was a preacher (Rabbi) and a miracle worker who on occasion refused to treat non-Jews.

Slowly, he came to think that he was the Moshiach (anointed one) of Israel who would bring Jews out from under the Roman yoke. He was of Davidic line and somewhat fit some of the prophecies of Israelite sages. Before anything major happened, the Romans crucified him. The people who followed him worked out a philosophy (mainly Paul) that Jesus was crucified for man's sins, whatever that means... Funny, Jesus never said ANY of that; this was all written after his death, to rationalize that he died. Later, some followers claimed that they saw him alive. His tomb was said to be empty.

The sect continued to grow slowly and bother the both the Jews and the Romans who called them the Jewish Christians. The Roman emperor Constantine had a vision before a desperate battle of a Cross in the sky and after winning the battle, contributed it to Christianity. This was the turning point in the religion - it became state sponsored. Missionaries converted Romans and pagans en mass - the future peoples of Europe.

Ironically - Christians believe that Jesus was the Messiah, but the original prophecies said that the Messiah would bring the world to an end and that Israel would become a holy land and God would rule from that land. Nothing happened of this sort - the land continued to be fought over and millions upon millions have died in subsequent wars over the land and the religion. Oddly, more people have died in the name and because of Christianity than any other man made philosophy.

Answer B2:

Many people who do not believe Jesus was the son of God still believe he was a living person and a great guy!

Answer B3:

Yes, Jesus was a real, "historical" person. Read Josephus, the historian. He was a historian contemporary to the time of Jesus and the beginnings of Christianity.

Answer B4:

There are volumes of conflicting information, each with its own agenda and misleading half-truths. With any controversy like this, the answer usually lies somewhere in the middle. Jesus (or somebody resembling his character) likely existed and was a local folk hero who lived on in tales passed from people who knew him. Keep in mind the first books of the New Testament weren't written until years after his death. Much like any story passed on by word-of-mouth, details begin to change (quite dramatically in some cases) and the story takes on a life of its own. While Jesus may have been a real person, the deification assigned to him was certainly the product of exaggeration. Sadly, these supernatural claims about Christ drown out the positive aspects of Christian philosophy, causing the myths to become the focal point instead of the message.

Answers C: There is insufficient evidence to claim that Jesus existed at all (Secular View)

Answer C1:

There is no evidence that Jesus existed. The Shroud of Turin has been shown to be a DaVinci prank. The ossuary box that stated James brother of Jesus was forged. Josephus works were also altered after the fact based on dating tests. There was a myth in Mithraism and Hinduism about a messiah. Many religions are plagurized works of prior religions. There was a historical figure Jesus Ben Pantera that was tortured and killed for blasphemy. Many scholars believe this is how the Jesus myth originated. The Jesus Puzzle is a good book.

Answer C2:

While we cannot say for sure whether or not Jesus was real, it is far more likely that he was not real than that he was. This argument is discussed at length by several modern scholars such as Richard Carrier who explain that there were several "dying and rising cults" such as Mithraism and the Cult of Isis where an imaginary character interacted with the real world and defeated death; the Jesus myth fits into this trend. Additionally, as far as Jesus is concerned, the Bible is made entirely of hearsay accounts which differ wildly in their portrayal of Jesus in the passages that are not direct copies of each others' contents. All of the extra-biblical sources, such as Josephus or Tacitus, report on what the people are saying about Jesus rather than actual miracle events and a significant number of those were later interpolations put there by Christians to justify their religious beliefs (we can tell interpolations because of a different use of vocabulary, especially if they use words that did not exist when the historians were alive).

If we are forced to concede that Jesus is real, then he is probably something much closer to what is described in Answer B1 than anything supposed by Christian belief. -- Please see the link to Richard Carrier's presentation in the "Expert Answer" above.

Answer C3:

Outside of the Bible and some vague references from the Jewish-Roman historian Josephus, there is absolutely no evidence for the existence of Jesus. He could very well be a myth, based on one or several individuals, like Ulyssis, Pecos Bill or Paul Bunyon.

Answer C4:

Every biblical scholar agrees Josephus lived after Jesus making his works hearsay at best and they certainly agree his works were altered by Christian leaders long after he wrote them. There is no direct proof Jesus ever existed. JC is a plagiarized myth.

Answer C5:

Of course he existed. He still does. He watches over you and rewards you when you are good. He knows when you've been bad. And once a year, he appears at department stores and delivers toys around the world. Oh wait a minute, that's the other imaginary hero. Sorry, I get them confused.

Answer C6:

If you were to use a common-sense approach of evaluating the historical evidence for Jesus living between 0-33AD, you would find the evidence lacking. Most of the purported evidence is of the form "It is written (rumored) that Jesus did X, and here is a piece of evidence showing that X could have happened in that time frame, so Jesus must have lived then". Additionally, some evidence is clearly fabricated. Obviously, this is not solid, but at best creates an impression that his existence was plausible. Given the 2000 years of time, it is not surprising that both the evidence is lacking and a mythology has built up around purported evidence. I'm certain there were many people named Jesus who lived in that time frame, but does one of them fit the description laid out in the bible? Not only is there no solid evidence to support this, but there is much evidence to show that the descriptions in the bible were 'borrowed' and 're-used' (not to mention that those who wrote the bible never actually saw him). This should cast serious doubt on the bible as a source of historical evidence. However, in their faith, people have to have the ability to look beyond reason and facts, otherwise religions would come tumbling down every time one of their tenants was shown to be false (such as the sun revolves around the earth).

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โˆ™ 2014-12-15 19:12:26
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โˆ™ 2014-12-15 19:09:44

This is not an answer but a "links repository" for the Answers below.

In Answer A4, there is a reference to this Watchtower Articleand Historian Claims.
In Answer A8, there is a reference to Lee Strobel's book, The Case for Christ.
In Answer C2, there is a reference to Richard Carrier, so here is a YouTube lecture of his views on the subject.

Additionally, these two Related Questions are very helpful:
What are the arguments for the historicity of Jesus?
What are the arguments against the historicity of Jesus?

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โˆ™ 2016-05-14 21:55:34

Jesus of Nazareth may have existed but, if so, New Testament scholars debate whether he performed miracles.

John Ashton ('History and Theology in New Testament Studies', The Nature of New Testament Theology,edited by Rowland and Tuckett) says that historians (and others) continue to argue with one another whether Jesus was really a homespun Cynic philosopher, a social reformer or an eschatological preacher deeply sympathetic to the Pharasaic culture all around him. They say that not only Jesus’ miracles but also the amazing religious experiences attributed to him in the Gospels, his baptism and transfiguration, are generally dismissed as legendary.

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โˆ™ 2016-05-15 18:28:04

If you are looking for external writings that note the life of Jesus then there are ten known non-Christian sources and about four times as many Christian sources which include the Gospels. The 10 are: Josephus, the Jewish historian for the Roman Government; Tacitus, the Roman historian; Pliny the Younger a Roman politician; Phlegon, a freed slave who wrote histories; Thallus, a first century historian; Seutonius, a Roman historian; Lucian of Samosata, a Greek satirist; Celsus, a Roman philosopher; Mara Bar-Serapion, a private citizen who wrote to his son; and lastly, the Jewish Talmud. All of these writings are within a 150 year timeframe of the life and times of Jesus.

Interestingly, compare these 10 writings to only the 9 non-Christian writings (during same 150 year timeframe) for Tiberius Caesar, the Roman emperor at the time of Jesus' ministry. Strange how few doubt his existence or writings.

Modern writers Norman Geisler and Frank Turek in their 2004 book "I Don't Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist', summarizes the 10 non-Christian writers noted above (some very anti-Christian) as follows: 'They attest that Jesus lived during the time of Tiberius Caesar, lived a virtuous life, was a wonder-worker, had a brother named James, was acclaimed to be the Messiah and was crucified under Pontius Pilate on the eve of the Jewish Passover, accompanied by darkness and earthquake...The further affirm that His disciples believed He rose from the dead, were willing to die for their belief, spread Christianity rapidly as far as Rome and denied the Roman gods, instead worshipping Jesus as God ' (p. 223).

The above sounds like it could be a summary of the Gospels, Acts and some of the other books in the New Testament.

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Q: Did Jesus Christ exist as a historical human or was he a theological construct?
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