The Instigator
guitarrox
Pro (for)
Winning
3 Points
The Contender
Dylan_Araki
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points

The Historicity of Jesus Christ as a real Historical figure is valid and sound.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 1 vote the winner is...
guitarrox
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/22/2013 Category: Religion
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 718 times Debate No: 36922
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (0)
Votes (1)

 

guitarrox

Pro

I propose that Jesus Christ was a real historical figure [whether he was the messiah or not] and that there is more than enough evidence to accept this as fact. I believe that extreme bias has caused this to be looked at with more scrutiny than is necessary. First round will be acceptance only. The only rule is that I will not accept any arguments from Zeitgeist because there are no respected scholars who agree with any of the claims made within.
Dylan_Araki

Con

You said first round is acceptance only, so I accept.
Debate Round No. 1
guitarrox

Pro

Thank you for accepting and good luck. In order to tackle the issue at hand, I will first lay out a general summary of my arguments.
First, We should attempt to address the bias by which people tend to base their opinions of Jesus on.
Second, we must clarify under what means we would determine the historicity of Jesus Christ.
Third, we will take a look into the methods of research used to determine this historicity.
And last, we will look into respected Scholars and Historians whose opinions coincide with the existence Of Jesus Christ.

The first part of my argument is fairly simple and shouldn't need much citation if any. The bias I refer to is taking the stance that because miracles are impossible, or because "I simply don't believe in God" Then this means that Jesus cannot be real because no man can perform said miracles. If we were to go by this logic then we should also discount any other historical persons who have legends or fables told about their lives. King Arthur must not have ever existed because mystical swords and magical stones don't exist. William Wallace must not have been real because people thought he had mystical powers as well or the more modern Idea that the movie Braveheart painted. There are hundreds, if not thousands of stories, legends, and fables told about people who actually existed. It is a very primitive Idea to say that Jesus never existed simply because one cannot also accept the idea of miracles or God being real. Whether or not you believe in these things has nothing to do with whether or not he existed.

So how do we determine the historicity of Jesus Christ? Simple. We analyze historical data to determine if Jesus Christ existed as a real historical figure, when and where, approximately, he would have lived, and if any major events in his life can be confirmed as actual historical events. [such as his death by crucifixion]. Do do this we need to compare and contrast non christian source material to christian source material. For example, we could compare Roman Sources, such as Tacitus, and Jewish sources, such as Josephus to Christian sources such as the Synoptic Gospels and the Pauline Letters. I don't have enough characters remaining to sit and do this contrasting and comparing for you, unfortunately. So I am forced to refer to scholarly quotes. In a 2011 review of the state of modern scholarship, New Testament Scholar Bart Ehrman wrote: "He certainly existed, as virtually every competent scholar of antiquity, Christian or non-Christian, agrees" Historian Michael Grant states in his book Jesus: An Historian's Review of the Gospels " that "In recent years, 'no serious scholar has ventured to postulate the non historicity of Jesus' or at any rate very few, and they have not succeeded in disposing of the much stronger, indeed very abundant, evidence to the contrary." In his book Jesus Now and Then, on page 34, Richard A. Burridge (Dean of King's College London and a professor of Biblical Interpretation) states: "There are those who argue that Jesus is a figment of the Church"s imagination, that there never was a Jesus at all. I have to say that I do not know any respectable critical scholar who says that any more."

http://en.wikipedia.org...
http://en.wikipedia.org...
http://en.wikipedia.org...

We will now be taking a look into the methods of research used to determine the historicity of Jesus Christ. A number of approaches to historical analysis and a number of criteria for evaluating the historicity of events emerged as of the 18th century, as a series of "Quests for the historical Jesus" The first quest being almost entirely based on Biblical Criticism. This was supplemented with Form Criticism and Redaction Criticism. Form Criticism looks for patterns in biblical text and tries to find the origin based on these patterns. Redaction Criticism views the author of biblical text as a "redactor" i.e. Someone preparing a report, and attempts to see how the redactor(s) might mold or change the text based on their own perspectives. After this Quest, Multiple Attestation was used as a major additional element up until the 1950s. Multiple Attestation is simple. The higher the number of independent sources that vouch for an event, the higher the amount of confidence in the historical authenticity of the event.
Other notable criteria for Research are as follows: "double dissimilarity", "least distinctiveness", and "coherence and consistency".
The criterion of "double dissimilarity" views a reported saying or action of Jesus as possibly authentic, if it is dissimilar from both the Judaism of his time and also from the traditions of the early Christianity that immediately followed him.
The "least distinctiveness criterion" relies on the assumption that when stories are passed from person to person, the peripheral, least distinct elements may be distorted, but the central element remains unchanged. aaaaannnnnnddd
The criterion of "coherence and consistency" states that material can be used only when other material has been identified as authentic to corroborate it.
http://www.veritas-ucsb.org...
http://www.thetablet.co.uk...
http://www.earlychristianwritings.com...

As we can see from this. The authenticity of Jesus Christ, as a real historical figure, has been extensively researched, over the years, and found, by the vast majority of modern scholars and historians, to be sound and secure.
On page 43 of his book, Jesus Outside the New Testament: An Introduction to the Ancient Evidence, American theologian and educator, Robert E. Van Voorst, states: "biblical scholars and classical historians regard theories of the non-existence of Jesus as effectively refuted"
The Gospels and Jesus by Graham Stanton (a widely respected new testament scholar) page 145 states : "Today nearly all historians, whether Christians or not, accept that Jesus existed".
http://en.wikipedia.org...
http://en.wikipedia.org...

The last part of my argument speaks for itself. There is not a single respectable scholar or historian in the world who doesn't accept Jesus as having been a real historical figure. Any attempt to deny this can only be based on a strong, anti christian bias, grounded only in ignorance. Thank you, Con, for your time and I look forward to your first argument/rebuttal. Good luck
Dylan_Araki

Con

The whole reason I can't accept the fact Jesus existed is because there is no evidence from the time he supposedly lived. Any so called "evidence" for Jesus comes from way after his supposed life time or from people hundreds of year later looking back. The first biblical "proof" came 20 years after his death, there is no way that the first Biblical writings can come 20 years after his death. Many people also consider Josephus evidence. Again though I don't consider him valid; Jesus was said to have died in the year 33. However, Josephus was born in the year of 37, he would have never had any eye witness of Jesus. Perhaps most important is that no Roman Census ever mentioned a Jesus Christ.
Debate Round No. 2
guitarrox

Pro

guitarrox forfeited this round.
Dylan_Araki

Con

Dylan_Araki forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
guitarrox

Pro

You argument is fairly simple so I shouldn't have to spend too much effort here refuting it. You site no sources at all, you use no evidence to back up any of your claims, you say that "any evidence for Jesus comes from way after his life or from people looking back years later" even though those two things are essentially the same thing making the sentence completely redundant, and you say you don't consider Josephus evidence yet offer no reasoning as to why that is, leading me to believe that it is simply a regurgitation of someone else's argument all together, while also completely ignoring the fact that Josephus was only one of 42 authors who mentioned Jesus within 150 years of his life. The list is as follows.
9 Traditional New Testament Authors
Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Paul, Author of Hebrews, James, Peter, and Jude.
20 Early Christian Writers Outside the New Testament
Clement of Rome, 2 Clement, Ignatius, Polycarp, Martyrdom of Polycarp, Didache, Barnabas, Shepherd of Hermas, Fragments of Papias, Justin Martyr, Aristides, Athenagoras, Theophilus of Antioch, Quadratus, Aristo of Pella, Melito of Sardis, Diognetus, Gospel of Peter, Apocalypse of Peter, and Epistula Apostolorum.
4 Heretical Writings
Gospel of Thomas, Gospel of Truth, Apocryphon of John, and Treatise on Resurrection.
9 Secular Sources
Josephus (Jewish historian), Tacitus (Roman historian), Pliny the Younger (Roman politician), Phlegon (freed slave who wrote histories), Lucian (Greek satirist), Celsus (Roman philosopher), Mara Bar Serapion (prisoner awaiting execution), Suetonius, and Thallus.

http://carm.org...

It's no surprise that there isn't any documentation of Jesus until after his death because he was not a very famous figure in time of his life. Roman historian Tacitus mentions the belief in the resurrection of Jesus as "a most mischievous superstition" As the Roman empire was the most powerful of the time, documentation from the Roman's would have been much more effectively preserved than documentation of an almost unheard of "superstition" from some remote region of the world. In fact, Christianity wasn't even a popular religion until eye witnesses brought the stories into Rome around 50 AD and even then took a long while to catch on. History is written by the victors, the survivors. To the Roman Empire, Jesus was a tiny blip on their self righteous radar. Not important enough to be documented during his life, or to save any documentation of his life. The rest of your argument is invalid and was already refuted in my first argument when I talk about the quests for the historical Jesus. I sited some sources so that further information about this can be read if needed. They, in great detail, describe how the Historicity of Jesus was found to be accurate. You talk about how Josephus was born a few years after Jesus's death making his claim false because he didn't actually see him alive.... This is a weak argument if I ever heard one. No writings ever mentioned my great grandfather and there is no documentation of his life as he wasn't born in the United States but in Italy. Does this mean I'm an unreliable source to say he ever existed because I never saw him alive? Absolutely not. He lived not that long ago. I know people alive who knew him as Josephus would have known people who knew Jesus. This is why he mentions Jesus in such a matter of fact way. There is no question as to whether or not Jesus was real to Josephus. He just mentioned him as if expecting anyone who read his writings would simply know who he was talking about. Word of mouth may change the unimportant details, but the main picture still gets across. Thus "Least distinctiveness criterion" I can only hope your next argument is more logical. Thank you again. :) Vote PRO
Dylan_Araki

Con

Dylan_Araki forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
Dylan_Araki

Con

Dylan_Araki forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 5
No comments have been posted on this debate.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Ragnar 4 years ago
Ragnar
guitarroxDylan_ArakiTied
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: FF