In this episode, we are doubting the historical existence of a man you may have heard about: Jesus of Nazareth. Ever since critical biblical scholarship began in the eighteenth century, largely a product of the Enlightenment, the consensus among mainstream historians and religious scholars has been that a man named Jesus did historically exist in Palestine and was crucified by the Romans in the first decades of the Common Era. Although these biblical critics did doubt and challenge the reality of the New Testament’s portrait of Jesus as a miracle worker and divinely appointed savior, they did think – or, more precisely, assume – that there was a real man named Jesus upon whom theological legends were later based. But there has always been another school of thought. The mythicists argued that not only was the Christ of faith a theological fantasy, but the Jesus of history was also a fiction. Jesus, said the mythicist scholars, never even existed historically.
Did Jesus exist as a historical figure? That is the question we are exploring here today on this podcast. Joining me as my special guest is David Fitzgerald, an author and historical researcher who has been actively investigating the Historical Jesus question for over 20 years. He has a degree in history and was an associate member of the Committee for the Scientific Examination of Religion (CSER). He has authored five books, including “Nailed: Ten Christian Myths That Show Jesus Never Existed at All” and the three-volume work “Jesus: Mything in Action.” I have a guest co-host joining me for this episode as well, my friend and former colleague from the dearly-departed Trolling with Logic podcast, Wolf McNamara.
Doubter of the Week: Marian Evans, aka “George Eliot” (1819-1880): Victorian poet, novelist, and freethinker, who translated Strauss’ “Life of Jesus, Critically Examined” into English.
David Fitzgerald on Twitter: https://twitter.com/dgcfitzgerald
David Fitzgerald book “Nailed”: https://tinyurl.com/y8f4o3x5
David Fitzgerald’s “Jesus: Mything in Action” books: https://tinyurl.com/y6wenp4j
David Fitzgerald, “Examining the Existence of a Historical Jesus” (Skepticon 3 lecture, 2010): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MvleOBYTrDE
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The opening clip is an excerpt from the audiobook “God is Not Great” by Christopher Hitchens, courtesy of Hachette Audio. Text Copyright 2007 by Christopher Hitchens. Audio production copyright 2007, Hachette Audio. Used with permission.
The opening and ending music is “Jade” by Esther Nicholson and is used under license. The editing was done by Rich Lyons of the “Living After Faith” podcast.
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