Saturday, 21 February 2009

Can I Have a Witness? The Dubious Historicity of Jesus Christ

Josh McDowell’s book, More Than A Carpenter, is the most-cited script by Southern (American) Baptists whenever questions regarding the authenticity of the historical character called Jesus Christ pops up. I was fortunate enough to get a copy from a white Mississippian Southern Baptist, who claimed to have been born again, after I brought to his attention the pagan origins of the resolution, in the form of an imperial decree, of the still-controversial doctrine of the trinity. He did not want to hear anything about Arius, Athanasius or Emperor Constantine but, after quoting a few Biblical verses that contradicted his stated belief in the dogma, he angrily thrust the little book into my hands. “Read it,” he commanded as he shoved McDowell's book into my hand, “it will answer your darned questions!”

Suffice it to say it is a nice little book but woefully inadequate in terms of addressing or clarifying the historicity of Jesus Christ. All practicing Christian and many practicing Moslems take the scriptural evidence of the existence of Jesus prima facie. If only this was true.

The scriptural narrations are testimonies of individuals so that they are, fortunately, subject to the Biblically mandatory evidence-validation edicts. Pursuant to said edicts, a person who makes a claim must put forth witnesses to verify the validity of his or her claim, viz.; Deuteronomy 13:1-5, Exodus 4:1-9.) and Deut. 18:18-22). In fact, Jesus himself, or a character by that name says in John 5:31, "If I testify about myself, my testimony is not valid." In Matthew 18:16 – 17; he says, "[T]ake with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established." Similarly, the character called Paul, in 2 Corinthians 13-2 says; “In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established.”


I have collated Bible texts of witnesses that seem to prove that the witnesses who testify about Jesus abysmally fail the evidence-validation test. It has been a worthy errand. Every time a group of Mormon missionaries or Jehovah's Witnesses knock at my door, I invite them in and pull out the essay I have written but not published. They cannot rebut the points in the essay and so they leave and promise to return with answers. Unfortunately, they never come back.

I will be posting the essay, as a pdf, in due course. Alternatively, I could offer it to Emmanuel or Ivor, if they do not mind posting rouble-rousing tracts.