Jesus Christ, the History Maker
Over the years many have tried to question the historical facts concerning Jesus. Periodically, books are published making sensational claims to have exposed the 'truth' about Christ - claims that are almost always far removed from the accounts found in the New Testament. This has left many people with the impression that the historicity of Jesus is in grave doubt. Many opponents of Christianity loudly proclaim that this is the case and some even say Jesus never existed.
The truth, as virtually any serious historian of the period knows, is quite different. The gospel accounts are supported by a wealth of historical evidence. These pages are designed to provide an opportunity for you to review this evidence for yourself.
Obviously, your own questions on these matters will depend on your background; so we have attempted to organise this information so that you can dip into the areas, and the level of detail, that suits you personally.
The material is arranged under the following broad headings:
- The authenticity of the New Testament documents.
- Are the New Testament documents what they claim to be? An examination of the currently-available evidence shows that they are far better attested than any comparable documents of the period.
- The character of the witnesses.
- Looks at the integrity of the gospel writers themselves. Were they 'gilding the lily,' as has been claimed, or were they honestly reporting what they had seen and heard?
- Corroboration from Non-Christian Sources.
- We wouldn't expect Non-Christian sources to say that Jesus rose from the dead. But this section shows that the evidence available is of precisely the type and quality that we should reasonably expect to find.
- Did Jesus Really Die?
- Some suggest that Jesus didn't really die on the cross. This section examines the circumstances of Jesus' crucifixion and burial to see how such claims measure up to the evidence.
- The Resurrection Accounts
- Takes a close look at the accounts of the resurrection morning, considering whether they are genuine eyewitness accounts or later fabrications.
- The Resurrection Accounts - Continued.
- Considers the later resurrection appearances and the balance of evidence for and against the physical resurrection of Jesus.
- The Bottom Line.
- What are we to make of it all?
We don't want this to be a purely one-sided presentation of the case for Christianity, so we've tried to liven things up a bit, courtesy of our resident heckler and cynic, Ivan I. Deer. Click on Ivan or his comments for further discussion.
Much of the information presented here is far from original. It draws upon books, articles, documentaries, personal correspondence, internet sources, etc. It would be impossible to attempt to document them all, and unfair in general terms to mention just a few. However, we hope to provide a list of recommended sources in due course.
These pages are still very much under development and have been put on-line at this stage in the hope of obtaining useful feed-back. The project has been progressing slowly due to lack of man-hours and the volume of material needing to be organised. We particularly apologize that most links to bibliographical references and other sites of interest have not yet been implemented. Please feel free to bring to our attention any such shortcomings that particularly interest you, as this will help in determining priorities for future work. We regret, however, that at present we probably won't have time to offer more than a brief acknowledgement of your message - otherwise we'll never get done!