Two prominent Bible scholars are hitting back at a writer's claim that Jesus Christ was a mythical figure who never walked the Earth.
As TheBlaze previously reported, writer Michael Paulkovich claims he analyzed the works of 126 ancient writers who lived during the first to third centuries and found no mention of Jesus, claiming that Christians invented Christ in order to have a central figure to worship.
But not everyone is buying into Paulkovich's theory.
Dr. Candida Moss, a professor of New Testament and early Christianity at the University of Notre Dame and Dr. Joel Baden, a professor of Hebrew Bible at Yale University, argue in a new Daily Beast article that "absence of evidence is not evidence of absence."
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"Let’s get one thing straight: There is nigh universal consensus among biblical scholars — the authentic ones, anyway — that Jesus was, in fact, a real guy," Moss and Baden wrote. "They argue over the details, of course, as scholars are wont to do, but they’re pretty much all on the same page that Jesus walked the earth (if not the Sea of Galilee) in the 1st century CE."
The scholars go on to note that some of the people on Paulkovich's list of ancient sources actually preceded Jesus and, thus, wouldn't have commented on the Christian savior. Additionally, they noted that some of these people were philosophers — individuals not known to comment on current events.
Many of the others were mathematicians, satirists, doctors or poets. While some historians are among the bunch, Moss and Baden noted that few of their writings remain in tact and that most of what historians have to go on are mere fragments.
"Long story short: of the 126 people listed by Paulkovich, there are only 10 or so whom we might expect to have written about Jesus," they wrote. "And it’s probably worth mentioning that there are, of course, writers from the first centuries CE who refer to Jesus, and even write quite extensively about him. But since those authors all got bundled into a collection called the New Testament, we should probably just dismiss them from the discussion."
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Moss and Baden also tackle the overarching question behind the claims of Paulkovich and others like him: If Jesus was so important and pivotal, why did many of his contemporaries — outside of those who appear in the Bible — ignore him?
The Bible scholars noted that Jesus simply wasn't seen as very important in his time.
"He was just another wannabe messiah who ended up on the wrong side of the authorities," Moss and Baden wrote. "The prime candidate for 'Son of God' in the Roman world was the emperor himself, who had coins, statues, and temples to back those claims up. Jesus had a small band of followers and a lot of stories about sheep."
The authors concluded on a comical note, claiming that, by Paulkovich's own logic, some might assume that he, too, doesn't exist based on a lack of biographical information and virtually no web presence.
"It is safe to say that there are no historians that have, to this point, included Paulkovich in their writings (and let’s be honest, the chances going forward aren’t great)," Moss and Baden wrote. "What’s more, not a single mathematician, poet, philosopher, or gynecologist … refers to him even a single time."
Read the entire piece here.
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