Archive for May 12th, 2014

May 12, 2014

Christ Myth Theory

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The Christ myth theory (also known as ‘Jesus mythicism’) is the proposition that Jesus of Nazareth as described in the New Testament was mythical, although others define it more strictly that Jesus never existed in any form. The thesis that Jesus was invented by the Christian community after 100 CE was first put forward in the late 18th century and then popularized in the 19th century by German philosopher Bruno Bauer who proposed a three-fold argument still used by many myth proponents today: the New Testament has no historical value, non-Christian writers of the first century failed to mention Jesus, and┬áChristianity had pagan and mythical beginnings.

Despite the debate in popular culture and on the Internet, the position that Jesus did not exist is not held by most professional historians, nor the vast majority of New Testament scholars. Classical historian Michael Grant states that, ‘Modern critical methods fail to support the Christ myth theory…[It has] again and again been answered and annihilated by first rank scholars.’ Other scholars, mostly based in Europe, however, argue their colleagues should remain more open to this possibility and that the debate on the historicity of Jesus is not over.

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