why is there no apparent credible historical evidence to support the life of a 1st century Jesus in non Church literature?
Back on page 50 of this thread jlockest wrote:
The whole way the stories of Jesus were consolidated, the lack of anything relating to His life outside of the Gospels, the lack of anything to do with his family, the implication that he had brothers (and sisters?), the lack of anyone saying in latter years 'I'm a descendant of Joseph/Mary', the lack of history of the sibling. It just seems like a void.
And Spartacus wrote:
Well, there is the Desposyni. IF Jesus had siblings its stands to reason that He existed as a real individual. IMHO the massive amount of work done by Professor Eisenman on James the Just cannot simply be dismissed out of hand. I've actually read his books (and yes, they can be very tough going) and I at least found some of his arguments compelling (but I'm certainly no expert! ). I've also read many of the 'Jesus is a Myth' books, and found them less compelling, particular those written by pseudo-historians. Much of the research in those particular books is IMHO extremely poor. One of the things I find is that an awful lot of people who have read the various 'Jesus is just a Myth' efforts haven't also taken the time to read the opposing works.
I also wonder about the oft repeated claim that if Jesus existed there should be something 'relating to His life outside of the Gospels'! Why? I sometimes wonder if this is another example of 20th/21st century thinking being projected back in time. In our age of global communication, printing presses, massive media, and high literacy perhaps some people may be being a tad unrealistic about how 'news' spread and was recorded in the 1st century!
What surprises me is, IF Jesus was merely a literary invention, why none of those early critics of Jesus made that accusation. Why did the early Jewish and Pagan critics of Christianity not simply point out that He never actually existed?!
And what criterion is used to determine that 'evidence' of Jesus 'seems like a void (this is not directed at you, jlockest, as your position is held by many)? Have records pertaining to other ancient 'famous' people been examined to see how far 'word' of them had spread outside their respected 'fields'. Because after all, there is ample 'record' of Jesus, in the canonical and non-canonical works of the early centuries of the 1st millennium CE! Is it reasonable to simply dismiss these 'records'?
I'm no expert on Islam, but, for example, how much evidence for the Prophet Muhammad (sallAllahu 'alaihi wa sallam) exists if we were to dismiss the Koran and all works written about him by his followers (which is essentially what Christ sceptics do in the case of Jesus). The Hadith AFAIK are stories collected some generations after his death and the so-called biographies were AFAIK written centuries later. Isn't it conceivable that a scholar somewhere could call into question the legitimacy of the so-called 'Teaching of Jacob' (as has been done with Josephus)? Wouldn't we then be in a similar situation to the one raised by the Jesus sceptics?
Btw all of the above is off the top of my head, and is simply meant to examine how the 'evidence' for the historicity of Jesus is viewed when compared to other ancient characters. I am NOT claiming that the Prophet Muhammad (sallAllahu 'alaihi wa sallam) is a mere literary character!
Interestingly, I offered to debate these subjects (along with MM and John the Beloved) on a dedicated thread but no one took me up on the offer!
Btw Hotair, I know you said 'non Church' literature...read above again for what I wrote weeks back...