Challenge Response: No Reliable Non-Christian Sources for Jesus

Posted: June 28, 2012 by Brett Kunkle in Jesus Changes Everything, Weekly Challenge

For this week’s challenge, special guest Michael Licona answers the skeptic…

  1. Jerome A. Danner says:

    Thanks for this video! I’ve read about Josephus and Tacitus but need to do more research! May our God bless your ministry!!

  2. Is Mara Bar-Serapion really a good source to use, though? He only says “wise king” rather than “Jesus”, so any skeptic will always say “but he’s probably not talking about Jesus!” It’s also strange to me that Mara would explicitly say Socrates’ name and Pythagoras’s name, but not use the actual name of the wise king.

  3. SENSATIONAL INTERNET SKEPTIC BRETT STRONG totally dismantles (owns) Brett Kunkle and Mike Licona! Here weeeeeeee gooooooooooo!

    Urban myth Jesus reportedly left earth for the cosmos—30 AD
    • Real person Josephus: 37 AD-100 AD
    • Real person Tacitus: 56 AD-117 AD
    • Real person Suetonius: 69/75 AD-after 130 AD
    • Real person Pliny the Younger: 61 AD-112 AD

    So as you can see Kunkle/Licona; Josephus/Tacitus/Suetonius/and Pliny the Younger (people who supposedly mentioned Jesus/Christian their writings) were born way after 30 AD (the time this superhero biblical character reportedly ascended into the cosmos as his earthly disciple waved goodbye)

    So point 1 Kunkle/Licona (this is indisputable!!!!)

    • …the best Josephus/Tacitus/Suetonius/and Pliny the Younger could be doing is relaying SECOND HAND INFORMATION/HEARSAY! And we all know how unreliable second hand (“what so and so said”) information is! Especially when we have no idea (you hear that folks? we have no idea!!!!!) where Josephus/Tacitus/Suetonius/and Pliny the Younger got their alleged Jesus/Christ info from! And I’m speaking pure fact Kunkle/Licona!

    Point 2 Kunkle/Licona

    • …any alleged Jesus/Christ references could very well be church scribes INTERPOLATIONS! Just look at how badly church scribed butchered (interpolated) Josephus’s work! And the interpolation scenario really makes sense when you realize that none of the alleged second church father’s writings ever quote any of the alleged Josephus/Tacitus/Suetonius/and Pliny the Younger Jesus/Christ quips! That’s definitely a powerful hmmm!

    Point 3 Kunkle/Licona (and most shocking irrefutable FACT of all [that make point one and two not even needed to destroy Kunkle/Licona case for Jesus/Christ outside of the bible)

    • …the earliest copies we have from Josephus/Tacitus/Suetonius/and Pliny the Younger WERE WRITTEN AT LEAST 750 YEARS AFTER THESE PEOPLE DIED! With absolutely nothing before them! A big fat blank! That’s a whopping 750+ year gap of total nothingness (no originals, no copies of the originals, no nothing [just handwritings written over 750 years later by bored scribes who were just copying other handwritings before them])

    So Kunkle/Licona have built their Jesus case on HEARSAY (second hand information) OF THE WORST KIND!!!!—being that we have no idea where Josephus/Tacitus/Suetonius/and Pliny the Younger got their microscopic Jesus/Christ info from! Are you shocked readers? And worse yet, Christian scribes are noted for forgeries (clear ex. Josephus forgery/interpolation)—so the miniscule Jesus/Christ quips must be mulled over as interpolations! But most detrimental of all: the earliest copies we have from Josephus/Tacitus/Suetonius/and Pliny the Younger WERE WRITTEN AT LEAST 750 YEARS AFTER THESE PEOPLE DIED—by unknown scribes who were just copying the writings before them!

    Folks, if Kunkle/Licona were to take what we have (per above) to court (Federal or Civil court) to try to make a court case for Jesus/Christ being a real person, they would be literally laughed out of court! That’s how bad the Jesus/Christ stuff is that Kunkle/Licona try to pass off as impeachable or near impeachable! And I’m not being mean spirited I’m just being factual! Even Licona admitted that a small group of PhD ancient historians admit that what they do is basically “fiction”

    • …remember folks; 3 BCE to 30 AD knows nothing of the NT Jesus (he doesn’t exist in that time period/as if he’s a fictional character thought of years later!)
    • …the Dead Sea Scrolls (written by Jews for Jews 150 BCE to 70 AD) knows nothing of the NT Jesus (as if he’s a fictional character not worth mentioning)!
    • …the apostle Paul admits in 1 Corinthians 15:3 that he was just passing on what was told to him (through oral tradition/the great myth making machine)!
    • …the gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, and Acts) (were we get virtually all of our NT Jesus info from) are all scandalously anonymous, undated, origin unknown & written in the 3rd person (note: all that is picture perfect for fictional character writing [like the cosmic superhero NT Jesus]/using the very real ancient Middle East as its backdrop)!

    • …and the rest of the epistles are disputed as being flat out forgeries!

    • …late 1st century early 2nd century ancient Church fathers—no originals and nothing close to the originals (and all of its NT Jesus info secondhand at best)

    • Josephus/Tacitus/Suetonius/and Pliny the Younger were born way after the 30 AD mythological NT Jesus reportedly ascended into the cosmos; and furthermore these guys (if they did write such things) only report secondhand NT Jesus information from which their sources are 100% unknown; and Josephus’s work was admittedly forged by Christian scribes (hmmm, why would Christian scribes feel the need to commit fraud? And what are the numerous Gnostic gospels? MORE FRAUDULENT JESUS WRITINGS! You see; some Christians thought nothing of outright brazen forgery!) which puts doubt on any purported 2nd century secular mention of the NT Jesus (being that Christian scribes likely copied such writings); and worst of all: the earliest purported copies we have from Josephus/Tacitus/Suetonius/and Pliny the Younger WERE WRITTEN AT LEAST 750 YEARS AFTER THESE PEOPLE DIED!

    That’s why (amongst other shocking reasons!!!!!) the NT Jesus (as a mere man or a miracle worker) is at best a hypothesis; and at worse: pure fiction!

    Brett Strong strikes again!

    Ps: folks its very reasonable for one to say (with no evidence whatsoever) that there was a mere man named Jesus of Nazareth (from 3 BCE to 30 AD) who was a good Jewish teacher, who even thought he was the Messiah, who had a small following, who eventually got himself crucified by some bloodthirsty Romans and some local jealous territorial Jews; and they fed his dead corpse to the dogs (or his body just decade like al dead bodies do), and a time later his followers mythologized Jesus into a god through oral transmission, and a few believed it but most dismissed it—but through sheer conviction Christendom took off like a rocket!

    Very believable and I would accept such an account with evidence! Just look at Islam—conviction of their fictional god being real, made Islam into a major worldwide religion! Mormonism—conviction of their fictional gold plates from heaven being real, made Mormonism into a major sect of Christendom! Buddhism—conviction of their fictional reincarnation being real, made Buddhism a force to be reckoned with! And the same thing goes with Christianity—conviction of their fictional cosmic NT Jesus being real, has made Christianity into the word’s leading religion (with Islam nipping at their tails)!

    But as you can see: the cosmic New Testament Jesus is a fictional character/100% myth! Commonsense sees that 1,000 miles away! Hello! And I would happily debate (live, radio, podcast, Skype, etc) Mike Licona or Brett Kunkle or any Christian apologists on this subject: “is the NT Jesus/fact or fiction?” Internet Skeptic vs. seasoned Christian apologists! Make it happen folks! It would be fun for all! (Just go the radio archive and click on November 20, 2011 and hear me [Brett Strong] easily dismantle J Warner live on air with just a few words [and J Warner is a great guy!!])

    Final note to all: America needs Christianity (due to the majority of people desiring [for many reasons] to believe in some type of god (regardless of how improvable any so-called god is [and besides, wipe out Christianity and much more dire religions are sure to fill the void, so we must have modern-day American Christian-lite Christianity by default, cool]); but America does not need dogma (no hell talk, no sinner talk, no god is mad at you talk, no tithing talk, and like things—and that’s what my ministry is all about, stopping Christian insane dogma talk like hell; but definitely keep all the heaven talk/love talk/forgiveness talk/god & Jesus loves you and is for you and stand behind you and will strengthen you!!! Awesome-awesome-awesome/I applaud and immensely enjoy such talks!!!!)

    So let it be said again: America only needs Christian-lite Christianity (like Christian pop music [Michael W Smith and Chris Tomlin {2 of my all time favorite listen to music!!!} or Joel Olsteen type happy go lucky make you feel good sermon pastors [note: Joel only goes wrong when he broaches upon the scam called “tithing”])…so Christians, keep being Christians, keep doing loving acts in the name of Jesus, keep worshiping Jesus, keep loving Jesus, keep going to church; I sincerely mean that, heck two weeks ago me and my family were personally invited to & and went, to a Billy Graham revival and we rocked out (hands in the air, yes, Brett Strong had his hands in the air [like the Christians around me] singing word for word with Michael W Smith and the Newsboys live in concert; it was awesome!!!!

    So Christians keep being Christians just lose the negative dogma like hell talk, tithing talk, god is mad at you talk, you are a sinner talk, etc, etc, etc—but keep all the love and joy of your religion! Use it as a tool for worldwide peace, not division! Fair enough!

    Last note: I have a debate coming up on backpack radio (Brett Strong vs. Vocab Malone titled: “what can be known about the historical Jesus” ….it airs July 15)! (Amy Hall [forum god/master], if you have any problem with my backpack radio announcement, be like your on-paper Jesus on the cross scene: “forgive him, for he knows not what he does”)

    Due to my busy schedule: I can only respond to 3 people: the wonderful Amy Hall (god/master of forum), Mr Kunkle or Mikey Licona! Later friends and have a great day and a good nights sleep!

  4. …just 2 more things for Mikey Licona/Mr Kunkle youtube/str video (and they are powerful quotes!!!):

    William Lane Craig and other christian apologists love to quote ‘1,000’s’ of scholars who believe as they believe in a particular area (like the NT Jesus [either as a man and/or miracle worker] is real), but even his fellow co-hort Dr. Gary Habermas (a man who is insanely meticulously in counting the number of ancient historian [Christian and non-Christian] scholars who believe Christian points of views [and he’s been doing this tracking of scholars, hard-core, for almost 40 years]) stated

    “[doing a head count on] where scholars are today does not determine or prove anything–it doesn’t prove anything!” Gary Habermas (wow-wow-wow!)

    Prominent Christian apologist Hank Hanegraaf stated on his radio show “I’m looking at the book The Jesus Family Tomb, the forward by James Cameron, and in the forward James Cameron says this”

    “…as a result of this 12 year investigation, I have come to realize that [ancient] history is a consensus hallucination! It is a myth upon myth which we all agree to agree!” .

    ..and that’s exactly what the NT storybook Jesus is, a myth from ancient times that modern ancient historians (from all walks of life/from William Lane Craig to Bart Erhman) agree to agree that Jesus at least lived as amere man…pretty funny stuff when you realize that their so-called ‘evidence’ is so bad that no court in America would accept it as evidence for the NT Jesus nor anyone else mentioned in the bible!

    Even Bart Erhman admitted that if we hold PhD ancient historians to modern-day historian rules for reporting the last few 100 years, that you can’t say anything about the bible! And that’s an hardcore fact!

    …but anyways, Christians as you know I want you to keep loving and worshiping and living for this NT Jesus character–please do/awesome!!!!!! just lose the dogma that I spoke about in my above 1st post!

    Brett Strong strikes again

    note to readers about my first post (and maybe Amy you can change it?): “Very believable and I would accept such an account with evidence!” should obviuosly read “…I would accept such an account WITHOUT evidence!”

    Later the-truly-awesome Amy Hall (who has an amazing smile/you should do Colgate commercials) and friends!

    Have a great day everyone and keep Jesus in your hearts and do loving deeds in his name and one day we’ll all see each other in heaven singing my favorite song with hands in the air and tears running down our faces “how great is our god” by Chriss Tomlin live in heaven concert! Awesome!

    It is finished! Until another posts catches my attention! Bye!!!!!!!!

    • Benjamin Bryant says:

      You are neat
      Couple things
      1) Luke and John both contain first-person sections so claiming they’re simply third person accounts is slightly inaccurate.
      2) Jesus as minor crucified but non-resurrected Jewish teacher as you claim actually un-does your argument. Treating this as plausible would explain why there were no contemporary reports about him… his life held no contemporary value to be reported about. All the gospel writers admit this. Each show the disciples ignorance to who Jesus was pre-crucifixion.
      3) Post resurrection/crucifixion/myth reporting is all that is possible if Jesus’ significance is not seen until after the fact.
      4) The real question you should be asking is not “Is the Jesus myth true?” That is too easy. A yes or no question only. What you should be asking is “How did the myth the disciples fabricated remain and grow in power without the visible presence of an earthly leader?” And “Why were they (to a man) willing to give their properties and lives for the sake of a bold lie.” None of them got rich by this lie. None of them got any benefit worth dying for from this.
      5) No movement has ever gotten started as forcefully and as quickly upon the sudden death of their leader as Christianity. Never. In fact, all movements live and die by their leadership. Leaders must be replaced. And strong movements need strong leadership. If anything a fabricated resurrection myth would not explain the sudden strength of the movements’ leaders. Where did this movement get it’s power? The boldness of an uneducated Peter, the change in direction of an opposition party leading Paul, cannot be explained by “they made up a story”. Unless they too are myths, or maybe you just don’t trust anything.

      Where does Christianity get it’s power? If you could answer this, you’d really have something. As it is, you’re just arguing for the sake of arguing.

  5. MR BRYANT SAYS: Luke and John both contain first-person sections; so claiming they’re simply third person accounts is slightly inaccurate.

    BRETT STRONG RESPONSE: Sorry Mr Bryant: I should have been more specific there; thanks for the heads up! So let me clarify it for you: Luke and John are like 99% told in the 3rd person
    :-)—besides already being detrimentally 12 times anonymous (i.e. Luke, John, along with Matthew and Mark are all unsigned/undated/origin unknown) ancient documents from which we have neither originals nor any thing close to an original; thus (for those stated reasons) all courts in America (Federal and Civil courts and all judges in America!!!!) would outright reject them (calling them completely worthless!!!!!) as evidence for anyone in the bible! And this entire paragraph is a fact my friend!

    So there you go Mr Bryant! Do the facts above make you feel any better?

    MR BRYANT GOES ON TO SAY: [Jesus’] life held no contemporary value to be reported about.

    BRETT STRONG RESPONSE: What bible are you reading Mr Bryant, to make such a statement (that Jesus’ life held no contemporary value to be reported about)?

    Mr Bryant, you call over 50,000 in-your-face earth shattering miracles a small splash (nothing to report about)? Seriously? Mr Bryant: both the feeding of 5,000 and 4,000 were just counting the men; add in women and kids, we’re easily talking about almost 30,000 to 50,000 people in just those 2 miracles alone…again: you call that a small splash?: Matthew 2:3 “[King] Herod was deeply disturbed…as was all of Jerusalem” concerning Jesus being the newborn king of the Jews… you call that a small splash? Matthew 4:25 “Large crowds followed [Jesus] wherever he went—people from Galilee, the Ten Towns, Jerusalem, from all over Judea, and from east of the Jordon River”… you call that a small splash? Matthew 21:1-11 the multitudes “spread their coats on the road” “cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road” “the crowds all around [Jesus] were shouting ‘Praise God’ for [Jesus]” “The entire city of Jerusalem was stirred as [Jesus] entered” “the crowds replied ‘It’s Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee”… you call that a small splash? John 6:2,5, 15 “a huge crowd kept following [Jesus] wherever he went, because they saw his miracles” “Jesus soon saw a great crowd of people climbing the hill, looking for him” “Jesus saw that they were ready to take him by force and make him king”… you call that a small splash? John 12:12, 17 “The next day, the news that Jesus was on the way to Jerusalem swept through the city” “Then the Pharisees said to each other ‘We’ve lost. Look, the whole world has gone after [Jesus]!’”…you call that a small splash? John 18:20 “Jesus replied, ‘What I teach is widely known, because I have preached regularly in the synagogues and the Temple. I have been heard by people everywhere”… you call that a small splash? John 20:30 “Jesus’ disciples saw him do many other miraculous signs besides the one recorded in this book”/and remember: there were some 50,000 miracles in this book… you call that a small splash? John21:25 “if all the other things Jesus did were written down, the whole world could not contain the books”… you call that a small splash? Acts 10:39 “we apostles are witnesses of all [Jesus] did throughout Israel and in Jerusalem”… you call that a small splash? (And I could go on and on and on with such wow Jesus verses, but I think I’ve written enough to make my point emphatically!)
    Mr Bryant, as you can see your thinking does not represent the bible! The NT makes Jesus out to make a super-duper splash like none other in all of history; but in reality, history (4 BCE to 30 AD) know nothing of Jesus…as if the NT Jesus is pure fiction or a mere man who was mythologized through the great mythmaking machine called oral (zero evidence!) tradition!
    MR BRYANT SAYS: The real question you should be asking is not “Is the Jesus myth true?” That is too easy. A yes or no question only. What you should be asking is “How did the myth the disciples fabricated remain and grow in power without the visible presence of an earthly leader?”

    BRETT STRONG RESPONSE: Mr Bryant: another shocking indisputable fact: no one knows for sure who started the Jesus myth! For we have nothing from 3 BCE to 30 AD and we have nothing even decades later! So asking “who started the NT Jesus myth” is unto itself entirely theory! Because, besides a single scrap fragment from around 90 AD, the entire 1st century (as far as what we have in our hands) is void of the NT Jesus and his disciples! So any “who started the NT Jesus myth” is total speculation! And that’s on top of the fact that the NT Jesus himself—even as a mere man—is at best a theory, completely hypothetical! And that’s pure scholarly schooling son! Read Mr Bryant”

    “…any item of [ancient] historical knowledge comes from forming a HYPOTHESIS”
    J P Moreland
    • Mr Bryant: that surely means your ancient NT Jesus is a hypothesis!
    “There is no absolute certainty about any hypothesis” Mike Licona
    • So Mr Bryant: even if we speak hypothetically about the NT Jesus, there is no absolute certainty that he (even as a mere man!) ever lived in reality—because, after all, the NT Jesus is a hypothesis (a guess) from the start; so anything you say about the hypothetical NT Jesus is likewise hypothetical (pure guessing, at best)! Ouch!

    MR BRYANT SAYS: …And “Why were they (to a man) willing to give their properties and lives for the sake of a bold lie.” None of them got rich by this lie. None of them got any benefit worth dying for from this.

    BRETT STRONG RESPONSE: Mr Bryant, here’s some impossible homework to humble you: I challenge you before all readers for you to give me one (just one!!!) purported 1st century EYEWITNESS ACCOUNT of any of the big 12 (i.e. the on-paper NT Jesus gospel disciples/plus Paul) being martyred for their beliefs in Jesus! Not secondhand information or hearsay or off the cuff comments but eyewitness accounts (I was there and I saw them martyred for Jesus) from the 1st century (even if the accounts were written a 1,000 years later but are purported to be from the 1st century, I’ll take it)!

    MR BRYANT SAYS: 5) No movement has ever gotten started as forcefully and as quickly upon the sudden death of their leader as Christianity. Never. In fact, all movements live and die by their leadership. Leaders must be replaced. And strong movements need strong leadership. If anything a fabricated resurrection myth would not explain the sudden strength of the movements’ leaders.

    BRETT STRONG RESPONSE: Question Mr Bryant: if Christendom got off to such a roaring start (as you say) then how come not a single Jew or Greek or Roman historian spoke of them until the turn of the 2nd century? And if they purportedly did speak of Christians is was just a few scant words!
    • Josephus: few scant words about Christians
    • Tacitus: few scant words about Christians
    • Suetonius: few scant words about Christians
    • Pliny the Younger: few scant words about Christians

    Hmmm, so much for a roaring start for Christendom!

    MR BRYANT SAYS: Where did this movement [Christendom] get it’s power?

    BRETT STRONG RESPONSE: The same place Islam (1.5 billion followers!), Mormonism (250 million followers!), Buddhism (over a half billion followers!), & Hinduism (1 billion followers!) got its power (i.e. the great numbers that eventually called each religion their own)—through sheer conviction!

    Because as wise people know: nothing sells like dogged conviction (regardless of how crazy the idea is)! Point in case: Jeff Warren (serving life in prison/busted having sex with underage girls) has some 10,000 loyal, Jeff Warren is god incarnate, followers! You see: conviction sells! The notorious Charles Manson (on sheer conviction that he was god incarnate) got his adheres to slaughter people like pigs! David Koresh (on sheer conviction that he was god incarnate) got his loyal followers to offer up their underage daughters (and I do believe wives) unto him; and over 70 of them went to their death by his side! Jim Jones (a religious zealot) got nearly 1,000 people to commit suicide (though it is said many were murdered) in the jungles of Africa! And lastly of all: Hitler got an entire country (Germany) to buy into the theory that Jews were less than human; and thereafter had 6 million Jews slaughtered!

    And you ask how Christendom got its power!

    The same way Charles Manson (alleged god incarnate), Jeff Warren (alleged god incarnate), David Koresh (alleged god incarnate), Jim Jones, and Hitler (alleged god incarnate/or atheist [depends who you ask]) (plus other cults and all major religions) got their power—by (through sheer dogged conviction!) selling their truly insane ideas to the public and the masses (smaller masses to huge masses) will bite (for the saying goes “there’s a sucker born every minute”)!

    MR BRYANT FINALLY STATES: the change in direction of an opposition party leading Paul, cannot be explained by “they made up a story”. Unless they too are myths, or maybe you just don’t trust anything.

    BRETT STRONG RESPONSE: The apostle Paul admitted in 1 Corinthians 15: 3 that someone sold him the idea of a dying a rising Messiah and he bought into it! Remember Mr Bryant “there’s a sucker born every minute”…and Paul admitted in Roman 7 that he was basically insane! And later on (1 Corinthians 4:9) he basically said he was a freak show! Need I say more?

    Brett Strong strikes again!!!!!!

    Hey Mr Bryant, it’s been my pleasure talking to you and have a great day (you sound like a really cool person with a heart for Jesus and god; splendid—keep spreading love, joy, grace, forgiveness to yourself, family and to all the world)! Sorry but I am much to busy to correspond any further with you or anyone else on this forum besides the big 3: the wonderful-totally awesome Amy Hall or Kunkle or Mikey Licona…

    But please anyone leave a comment for others to read and mull over! I am truly finished this time—too too busy! Bye Amy!!!!!! Till the next post catches my eye….FYI: actually Amy I found this post (Mikey Licona and Kunkle) on apologetics315 blog for I haven’t come to str in a few months…too too busy with work and life….

    Mercy Me “Jesus bring the rain!” …what a beautiful song to end our time together, bye everyone!!!!!!!!

    One last thing: …I’m still waiting for Brett Kunkle or Mike Licona to debate me on: “is the NT Jesus fact or myth”….come on Brett Kunkle, you have my e-mail; contact me about doing a debate on radio, Skype, podcast, live in person or whatever way you would like: internet skeptic (Brett Strong) vs. Christian apologists (Brett Kunkle)…awesome…lets see who owns who? Surely you are not shy or too timid? Later my friend! Have a great day! Look forward to hearing from you! I’ve debated Greg Koukl and J Warner (and his buddy Al) several times on the live radio show; not its time for you to stop hiding behind them and debate me…and I hope you realize that I’m saying this in a fun loving way!

    • Benjamin Bryant says:

      Hey good stuff Brett,
      I am a little confused by your claiming that I don’t know my Bible. You’d be surprised. Your reponse contains some contradictions:
      1) In places seems to treat the bible as authoritative and yet in other places you claim it to be unreliable.
      For example treat the miracle stories of Jesus as an acturate representation of his career but you also claim the resurrection passages a myth. How are you able to pick and choose so.
      2) On the issue of first vs. third person gospels. You’d be hard-pressed to find any contemporary biographical material written in the first person. (The first person sections of Acts are travellogue not biography.) That they are in the third person is a non-issue. You make much ado about nothing. If anything the first person sections add to the claim that they puport to be truthful.
      3) All of your examples of “movements of conviction” had powerful, forceful, visible leaders whose movements were well under way before the leader’s death. For these to apply for a discussion about Christianity there would have to be a similar leader. Jesus in your argument does not fit that description because you say he died. Additionally, each person is hiistorically verifiable, Christianity, you claim, relies on a non-historical event, and yet it thrives.
      Holes, sir.

  6. Hello everyone. For those of you who have been reading Brett Strong’s comments, I’d like to direct you to the podcasts on the STR website were Brett called in and talked to Greg. They are on October 16, 2011 and October 30, 2011.

    Despite how Brett claims that he “owns” Greg on the issue, Greg points out that Brett is imposing his own standard upon history such that no evidence that we have counts. It’s not that we don’t have enough evidence to conclude beyond a reasonable doubt what we know about the historical Jesus, it’s that Brett says the evidence we have wouldn’t be admitted into a modern day courtroom. But this isn’t how we do history.

    I don’t have time to go into this extensively, but I encourage everyone to check out the book “I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist.” In it, there are multiple chapters that discuss the dating and historical reliability of the sources we have regarding Jesus of Nazareth. However, I will provide an important quote:

    “Furthermore, skeptics don’t demand ‘extraordinary’ evidence for other ‘extraordinary’ events from history. For example, few events from ancient history are more ‘extraordinary’ than the accomplishments of Alexander the Great (356-323 B.C.). Despite living only 33 years, Alexander achieved unparalleled success. He conquered much of the civilized world at the time, from Greece, east to India and south to Egypt. Yet how do we know this about Alexander? We have no sources from his lifetime or soon after his death. The truth is, we base virtually everything we know about the ‘extraordinary’ life of Alexander the Great from historians who wrote 300 to 500 years after his death! In light of the robust evidence for the life of Christ, anyone who doubts Christ’s historicity should also doubt the historicity of Alexander the Great. In fact, to be consistent, such a skeptic would have to doubt all of ancient history.” (I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist, pg 346 chapter 12)

    If Brett wants to argue that we have no good reason to believe anything about Jesus of Nazareth based on the points he has made then fine. I’m just curious why he isn’t arguing about most everything else we claim to know about ancient history. In fact, Brett should probably be arguing that we should stop teaching history in school. By his standard, we can’t know anything about it at all.