Radio Freethinker

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Saturday Stub: Black Saturday and Jesus

Posted by Ethan Clow on April 23, 2011

Today is Black Saturday. Many Christians believe that this is the day that after his execution, Jesus lay in his tomb. Black Saturday follows Good Friday and precedes Easter Sunday. Basically, it’s the Empire Strikes Back of the Holy Week Trilogy.

Anyway, as I was saying, many Christians believe that Jesus Christ died on the Friday, was interred on Saturday and rose from the dead on Sunday.

I don’t.

Apart from the (in my opinion) huge leap of fanciful thinking that a man rose from the dead, I have a number of other issues with the story of Jesus. One of them is that I’m not even sure he existed.

The skepticism that Jesus was a real person is a legitimate area of scholarly research. Historians, biblical scholars and others try to find evidence for Jesus by looking at real historic events and matching them up to characters in the bible. This is of course, a very difficult process. When dealing with such old stories, many of which were passed on in an oral tradition and weren’t written down until many years after (in some cases decades or centuries later) embellishments and outright fallacies creep their way into the source material.

I’ve often heard the argument that there’s as much evidence for the existence of Jesus as there is for Julius Caesar. Aside from them having the same initials, the similarities pretty much end there. Virtually all the evidence for Jesus is from documents written after he was long gone. This is not the case with Caesar. Not to mention the huge mountain of empirical (or should I say imperial <chuckle>) evidence, like laws, proclamations, and physical evidence like statues and busts and buildings made while Caesar was still alive.

Truth be told, I haven’t done a ton of research or reading on the subject of whether or not Jesus really existed or not. I personally don’t know if there really was a person who the mythical Jesus is based on or if he was completely the invention of the later Christians, perhaps a composite character made from several other early preachers.

After doing a quick search of available literature a few books jumped out for me as a good place to start, allow me to share them with you.

Sources of the Jesus Tradition: Separating History from Myth Edited by R. Joseph Hoffmann

Jesus the Nazarene : Myth or History? by Maurice Goguel

The Bible Against Itself by Randel Helms

Deconstructing Jesus by Robert M Price

Jesus, Interrupted by Bart D Ehrman

There are of course, many more. But this is a beginning.


One Response to “Saturday Stub: Black Saturday and Jesus”

  1. Matt said

    “The skepticism that Jesus was a real person is a legitimate area of scholarly research.” No it’s not. Virtually no historian or scholar is a mythicist. Mythicism is dead in NT studies and by Historians of Ancient history(Classics).

    You’re also very wrong about the books you cited, for none of these people are mythicists(Except Price and Goguel). Goguel was a professor from 1926. Citing his work in today’s scholarship is absurd since his views are dead. Also, none of these authors books are on Mythicism other than Price Goguel, and Helms).

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