This post continues my 10-part interview with Ben Witherington dealing with “mythicists,” those who claim that there never actually *was* a man Jesus, but that he is a complete fabrication, a myth. In Did Jesus Exist, I try to show why that is simply not true. But if he did exist, and the Gospels say things about him that probably didn’t happen, how do you separate the fact from the fiction? Here Ben asks me questions related to that idea, and I give some responses.
Q. Various mythicists have tried to argue that in fact there is only one source, namely Mark, that provides evidence that Jesus existed and presumably he made up the idea? Why is this not a fair representation of the evidence, and why do you think it is that various of them hardly even deal with the evidence from Paul?
A. Most mythicists claim that Paul never mentions the historical Jesus or says anything about him, but that he only speaks of a “mythical Christ” who was not a real human being. That is completely wrong. Paul tells us that Jesus was born of a woman, that he was born Jewish, that he had brothers, one of whom was named James (whom Paul personally knew), that he had twelve disciples, that he ministered to Jews, that he taught that it was wrong to get a divorce and that you should pay your preacher, that he had the last supper (Paul indicates what Jesus said at the time), and that he was crucified. Anyone who says that Paul never mentions the historical Jesus or never refers to his teachings simply hasn’t read the letters of Paul.
For anyone at all interested in history, knowing about Jesus should be a rather important matter. This is the kind of thing we deal with on the blog all the time. Why not join? It doesn’t cost much and every bit of your membership fee goes to thelp those in need. Click here for membership options