Jesus’ Private Teachings about the King of the Jews

In this thread I am discussing whether Jesus considered himself the messiah prior to his death.   So far I have made one major argument for that view, involving his death itself.  All of our sources report Jesus was executed by the Romans specifically for calling himself the King of the Jews.  They do not report that the Roman governor Pontius Pilate ordered him crucified for raising an army, or for causing a disturbance in the temple, or for being a ...

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Jesus’ Crucifixion as King of the Jews

One of the main reasons I think Jesus called himself the future messiah is that this best explains the best attested event of his entire life: his crucifixion by the Romans.

There are a few things we can say with virtual certainty about Jesus.  For example: he was a Jewish preacher from rural Galilee who made a fateful trip to Jerusalem and was crucified by the Roman governor Pontius Pilate.  There are, of course, lots of other things that we ...

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Why Would Jesus’ Disciples Think He Was The Messiah?

The big question to emerge from my previous post is: If Jesus’ disciples (or at least some of them) believed he was the messiah before he died (as I tried to show they must have done) then what would have led them to think so?

I think there are two possibilities, one of which strikes me as implausible.  The implausible one, in my opinion, is that Jesus did things that the messiah was expected to do, and because of that, his ...

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Jesus the Messiah Before the Resurrection

In my recent posts I have argued, against the Mythicists, that the idea of someone (or lots of someones) inventing Jesus as a crucified messiah does not seem plausible, given the fact that no one expected a messiah to be crucified.  If you were to invent a messiah, it would not be one that was completely different (opposite, actually) to what anyone expected.

In response to these posts, several readers have asked why, then, Jesus’ own followers thought he could be ...

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The Invention of a Crucified Messiah

This is a follow-up to my recent post in which I argued, against the mythicists who maintain that Jesus was not a real person but was invented by his earliest followers who had learned of a cosmic Christ who was crucified by demons in outer space, that it does not make sense, in my judgment, that first century Jews would make up the idea of a human messiah who got crucified.   I received a number of responses to that post, ...

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Mythicists and the Crucified Messiah

In my previous post I explained what ancient Jews who were expecting the messiah were expecting.  I do not want to give the impression (one widely held today) that most Jews *were* expecting a messiah.  My sense is that most ancient Jews didn’t spend much time thinking about the matter, any more than most Jews today do.  But for those who did expect a messiah, there were certain expectations.   In this post I want to explain why those expectations relate ...

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Mythicists, Jesus, and the Messiah

I am now able to finish off this thread dealing with my debate with Robert Price on whether Jesus existed.  I have already laid out most of the arguments that I gave during my 30-minute presentation at the debate.  As I did in that talk, I now would like to set forth the argument that seems to me to be one of the most convincing of all.

Mythicists say that the early Christians invented historical man Jesus, that there never was ...

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Paul, Jesus, and the Messiah

My current thread on the blog is less like a thread and more like a tapestry.  Ultimately it is all related to the book I’m now working on, The Triumph of Christianity, which is interested in the question of how the Christian movement that started with just a couple of dozen people after Jesus’ death (i.e., those who almost right away, soon thereafter, came to believe he had been raised from the dead) came to be a prominent religion by ...

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The Death of the Messiah for Salvation

In a previous post I argued that Christians invented the idea of a suffering messiah.  Because Jesus was (for them) the messiah, and because he suffered, therefore the messiah *had* to suffer.  That was clear and straightforward for the Christians.  They backed up their newly devised theology by appealing to Scripture, finding passages of the Bible where a righteous person suffered but was then vindicated by God, passages such as Isaiah 53, Psalm 22, Psalm 69 and so on.   They ...

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Jesus Death as King of the Jews

I now can mount a second argument for why Jesus almost certainly called himself the messiah during his lifetime.  Remember: by that I do not mean that Jesus wanted to lead a military rebellion against the Romans to establish himself as king. On the contrary, I think Jesus was not a supporter of a “military solution.”   Jesus was an apocalypticist who believed that God himself would take action and do what was needed – overthrow the evil ruling authorities in ...

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