Part One: The Historical Figure
It’s about that time again. Time for me to start up a new series regarding religion/faith/Christianity. I can already tell that this series will be a long one, so get ready for the long haul. I will address Jesus on a variety of different fronts, trying my best to be objective (like a lawyer). Granted, I cannot completely rid myself of my preconceived biases, but I hope that you can, at the very least, respect my investigative reasoning.
The title of this series is “Analyzing Jesus”, and the first section is ‘The Historical Figure’.
Before I begin though, let me define a few key terms. First, as I mentioned above, I will be using logic and reasoning to reach any conclusion (as oppossed to say, faith). Just so we are on the same page, logic is defined as:
The science that investigates the principles governing correct or reliable inference.
and reason is defined as:
a statement presented in justification or explanation of a belief or action…a premise of an argument
Okay, now that we have these two terms defined, let us continue with the analyzation of Jesus. I should note that I will draw upon a variety of sources during this entire series.
This first section (The Historical Figure) is necessary because in my experience, I have (suprisingly) come across some atheist individuals who doubt that Jesus even existed in the first place. Yes I know, it seems quite stupid to address a consperiacy theory designed to anger Christians, but nonetheless, I will address the issue objectively.
Truth be told, no real legitimate scholar believes Jesus did not exist. “The entire English-speaking world divides history into two principle periods: BC (“Before Christ”) and AD (“Anno Domini” — Latin for “Year of Our Lord”). Whether one subscribes to the BC/AD labels or the new “politically correct” BCE/CE (“Common Era”) labels, the birth of Jesus Christ has always been the dividing line in history.
Also, nobody can deny the fact that every leader of every major world religion has confronted the historical Jesus. Muslims recognize Jesus as a prophet, while Jews either see him as a blaspheming rebel or an exceptional rabbi elevated to deity by idolatrous Gentiles. Many Buddhists regard Jesus as a “bodhisattva” (a perfectly enlightened being who vows to help others), while there’s a Hindu tradition that Jesus was actually a guru who learned yogic meditation in India” (Niles).
Besides the impact Jesus has had on every major religion, we find evidence of his existence from the Babylonian Talmud, Josephus, Pliny the Younger, Tacitus, Seutonius, Mara Bar-Serapion, Lucian of Samosata, and so on (as I think you get the point). The plain truth is that Jesus of Nazareth lived, like it or not.
Now that it is clear that Jesus did in fact exist, we can continue on to other (more controversial) characteristics of him. The next section will address thedispute Jesus caused between the Jews, and that is the notion that he is the Jewish Messiah. For if he is not the Messiah, then that alone will demonstrate he is nothing more than a very gifted man.
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