Historical Epistemology: What Can We Know About Jesus?

Given that Jesus mythers won’t be going away (as long as the internet exists),  and people think it is really cool to say ” I am not sure if Jesus existed” on a college campus, I hope these resources help.

Reliability of the Gospels: Book of Acts

External Evidences for the Truth of the Gospels by Dr. Timothy McGrew

Recent   Perspectives on the Reliability of the Gospels: Gary Habermas

Dr. Tim McGrew Lectures on Alleged Historical Errors in the Gospels of Luke & John

Who wrote the Gospels? Dr. Timothy McGrew

Peter Williams Lecturing on The Reliability of the Gospels

3 Things The Gospel Authors Would Have Never Invented About Jesus

Archeology   and the Historical Reliability of the New Testament: Peter S. Williams

Anthony R. Cross, “Historical Methodology and New Testament   Study,” Themelios 22:3 (April 1997): 28-51.

James M. Arlandson: Historical Reliability of the   Gospels

Why the Lost Gospels Did Not Make the Canonical Cut by Michael Bird

Craig Blomberg: Jesus of   Nazareth: How Historians Can Know Him And Why It Matters

84 Confirmed Facts in the Last 16 Chapters of the Book of Acts

59 Confirmed or Historically Probable Facts in the Gospel of John

The Historical Reliability of John by Craig Blomberg

The Historical Reliability of Acts: Support from Extra-Biblical Primary Sources

Sources Outside the New Testament: (thanks to Cadre for these)

Did Josephus Refer to Jesus, A Thorough Review of the Testimonium Flavianum (Highly Recommended) CADRE member Christopher Price demonstrates the partial-authenticity of Josephus’ first reference to Jesus and discusses what we can know about the historical Jesus from Josephus. A revised and extended version of this article is avaible in the book, Shattering the Christ Myth, discussed below.

Josephus: A Double Dose of the Messiah J.P. Holding defends the autheniticity of both of Josephus’ references to the historical Jesus.

Josephus’ Writing and Their Relation to the New Testament Dr. Greg Herrick reviews the value of Josephus’ writings for the study of Jesus and the New Testament.

Nero’s Scapegoats: Cornelius Tacitus J.P. Holding argues that Roman Historian Tacitus’s reference to Jesus provides strong evidence of historicity.

Early Historical Documents on Jesus Christ The New Advent Encyclopedia chronicles the early references to the historical Jesus, including Pagan, Jewish, and Christian sources.

Extrabiblical References to Jesus before 200 a.d. The Chrisitan Thinktank’s Glen Miller discusses the second-century pagan historian Thallus’ reference to an eclipse that contemporary Chrisitan writer Africanus believed was a reference to the darkness that descended during Jesus’ crucifixion.

Shattering the Christ-Myth: Secular References to Jesus . Another article by J.P. Holding. The title speaks for itself.

The Existence of Jesus/Answering Jesus Mythers and Parallelomania

Did Jesus Even Exist?-The Problematic Argument from Silence

A fight they can’t win: The irreligious assault on the historicity of Jesus

Bart Ehrman On Why There Are Jesus Mythers

The Starting Point for Discussions About Jesus: The Historical Bedrock

Are the Sources for the Life of Jesus Really Unreliable? Answering Richard Dawkins

The Existence of Jesus by Craig Keener

Did Jesus Really Exist?-Dr. Paul L. Maier, The Russell H. Seibert  Professor of Ancient History, Western Michigan University

Ben   Witherington’s Review of Earl Doherty’s The Jesus Puzzle

Method or Madness? A reflection on Jesus, the Titanic, and Parallelomania

3 Things The Gospel Authors Would Have Never Invented About Jesus

Was Early Christianity Corrupted by ‘Hellenism’?

Was Jesus Christ just a CopyCat Savior Myth? Glen Miller

 Genre Issues: What are the Gospels?

Ancient and Modern Historiography: What Are The Gospels?

Craig Keener on the Genre of the Gospels

The Gospels as Historical Biography (Richard Bauckham)

Glen Miller’s Were the Miracles of Jesus invented by the Disciples/Evangelists?

The Gospels as Biographical Kerygma-Michael Bird

Textual Reliability

Norman Geisler: A Note on the Percent of the Accuracy of the   New Testament Text

Dr. Daniel Wallace: Earliest Manuscript of the New Testament Discovered

An Interview with Daniel B. Wallace on the New Testament Manuscripts

A   Response to Bart Ehrman’s Misquoting Jesus: Dr. Thomas Howe

Wallace, Daniel B: The   Gospel According to Bart: A Review of Bart D. Ehrman’s Misquoting Jesus: The   Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why

Oral Tradition/The Oral Phase

From Jesus to Us: A Look at P.O.W.E.R.

 Mark Roberts on Oral Tradition/Telephone Game Objections

A Look at Oral Tradition/The Orality Phase of the Jesus Story

James M. Arlandson: Historical Reliability of the   Gospels

 Paul and the Earliest Records for the Jesus Story

What Can Paul Tell Us About Jesus?

A Look at James Tabor on Christianity Before Paul

Why the Resurrection of Jesus is the Best Explanation For What Happened To Paul

The Earliest Record for The Death and Resurrection of Jesus: 1 Corinthians 15: 3-7

How Did Paul Receive the Gospel? Clearing Up A  Supposed Contradiction Between Galatians 1:11-12, and 1 Corinthians 15:3-5

A Look at Richard Carrier’s Critique of Bart Ehrman: Part Three

Did Paul Invent Christianity?

Did Paul Invent Christianity? Is the Founder of the Christian Religion Paul of Tarsus or Jesus of Nazareth?

Ben Witherington’s Review of Bart Ehrman’s Forged

Mike Licona’s Review of Bart Ehrman’s “Forged”

Objections to  Eyewitness Testimony

Are the Gospels a Reliable Eyewitness Account of the Life of Jesus?

Why We Should Expect Witnesses to Disagree

The Hearsay Objection: How Can the Gospels Be Eyewitness Accounts If They Include Things the Writers Didn’t See?

Why Should We Trust the Gospels When Eyewitness Testimony Is So Unreliable?

Richard Bauckham Jesus and the Eyewitnesses: The Gospels as Eyewitness Testimony

Are the Gospels Based on Eyewitness Testimony? The Test of Personal Names

Can A Witness Be Trusted If He Can’t Be Cross-Examined?

Did the Witnesses Tell The Truth? The Jewish People and Bearing False Witness

As Bakers Evangelical Dictionary of Theology notes, the biblical concept of testimony or witness is closely allied with the conventional Old Testament legal sense of testimony given in a court of law. Its validity consists in certifiable, objective facts. In both Testaments, it appears as the primary standard for establishing and testing truth claims. Uncertifiable subjective claims, opinions, and beliefs, on the contrary, appear in Scripture as inadmissible testimony. Even the testimony of one witness is insufficient—for testimony to be acceptable, it must be established by two or three witnesses (Deut 19:15). It can also be observed that the emphasis on eyewitness testimony was carried on through the early church.

As Gregory Boyd and Paul Eddy note in their book The Jesus Legend: A Case For the Historical Reliability of the Synoptic Tradition, Christianity cannot be understood apart from it’s first century Jewish context. The Sinai teaching that multiple witnesses was retained Mark 14:56,59; John 5:31-32; Heb 10:28) and also used for church discipline (Matt. 18:16; 2 Cor 13:1;1 Tim 5:19). Also, the principle of giving a true testimony and making a true confession are evident in the early church (Matt 10:18; Mark 6:11;13:9-13;Luke 1:1-2;9:5;21:12-13;22:71;John 1:7-8,15,19,32,34;3:26,28;5:32; Acts 1:8,22;3:15;5:32;10:37-41;13:31;22:15;18;23:11;26:16).

The Gospel of John uses words that are usually translated as witness, testimony, to bear witness, or to testify, witness, testimony, to bear witness, etc. The total usage of these words in John’s Gospel is larger than any of the Synoptic Gospels. The book of Acts is the next book with the most references to the terms related to eyewitness testimony.

Handling Objections to Luke- The Census Issue:


http://www.lambsound.com/Reading/books/Bible%20Difficulties.pdf Was Luke mistaken about Quirinius and the census? [p. 372 ff]

http://www.biblearchaeology.org/post/2009/11/01/Once-More-Quiriniuss-Census.aspx Once More: Quirinius’s Census

http://christianthinktank.com/quirinius.html On an objection about Luke, Quirinius, and Herods

http://www.tektonics.org/print.php4 Responses to Richard Carrier’s Claims

Church Fathers:

Of the four Gospels alone there are 19,368 citations by the church fathers from the late first century on. This includes 268 by Justin Martyr (100–165), 1038 by Irenaeus (active in the late second century), 1017 by Clement of Alexandria (ca. 155–ca. 220), 9231 by Origen (ca. 185–ca. 254), 3822 by Tertullian (ca. 160s–ca. 220), 734 by Hippolytus (d. ca. 236), and 3258 by Eusebius (ca. 265–ca. 339). Earlier, Clement of Rome cited Matthew, John, and 1 Corinthians in 95 to 97. Ignatius referred to six Pauline Epistles in about 110, and between 110 and 150 Polycarp quoted from all four Gospels, Acts, and most of Paul’s Epistles. Shepherd of Hermas (115–140) cited Matthew, Mark, Acts, 1 Corinthians, and other books. Didache (120–150) referred to Matthew, Luke, 1 Corinthians, and other books. Papias, companion of Polycarp, who was a disciple of the apostle John, quoted John. This argues powerfully that the Gospels were in existence before the end of the first century, while some eyewitnesses (including John) were still alive. (1)

1. Norman Geisler, Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics. Grand Rapids, Mich : Baker Books. 1999, 529, 530


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.