Did Jesus Exist?

Source: The Huffington Post

By Prof. 

In a society in which people still claim the Holocaust did not happen, and in which there are resounding claims that the American president is, in fact, a Muslim born on foreign soil, is it any surprise to learn that the greatest figure in the history of Western civilization, the man on whom the most powerful and influential social, political, economic, cultural and religious institution in the world — the Christian church — was built, the man worshipped, literally, by billions of people today — is it any surprise to hear that Jesus never even existed?

That is the claim made by a small but growing cadre of (published ) writers, bloggers and Internet junkies who call themselves mythicists. This unusually vociferous group of nay-sayers maintains that Jesus is a myth invented for nefarious (or altruistic) purposes by the early Christians who modeled their savior along the lines of pagan divine men who, it is alleged, were also born of a virgin on Dec. 25, who also did miracles, who also died as an atonement for sin and were then raised from the dead.

Few of these mythicists are actually scholars trained in ancient history, religion, biblical studies or any cognate field, let alone in the ancient languages generally thought to matter for those who want to say something with any degree of authority about a Jewish teacher who (allegedly) lived in first-century Palestine. There are a couple of exceptions: of the hundreds — thousands? — of mythicists, two (to my knowledge) actually have Ph.D. credentials in relevant fields of study. But even taking these into account, there is not a single mythicist who teaches New Testament or Early Christianity or even Classics at any accredited institution of higher learning in the Western world. And it is no wonder why. These views are so extreme and so unconvincing to 99.99 percent of the real experts that anyone holding them is as likely to get a teaching job in an established department of religion as a six-day creationist is likely to land on in a bona fide department of biology.


Categories: CHRISTIANITY, Religion

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5 replies

  1. From current resources that have been in the news recently we know that Jesus was a frequent name, around the time of our lord Jesus (peace be upon him). For instance a jar of bones was recently found with the name “Jesus son of Joseph” on it.
    That, hopefully, proves that the name was not an invention. Then I would cite names of those who died for being Christians. The name of St. Peter stands out. He is known as a disciple of Jesus and no bible is complete without his name. This should be enough to prove that there was a holy teacher with the name Jesus who claimed to be the Messiah and that this holy teacher inculcated such faith in his followers that they would die for it. I would not mention St. Paul for I believe that he made Christianity cheap by offering it, and making it palatable, to the gentiles; though he too suffered violent death for being a Christian.
    So Jesus existed for sure but the efforts of the missionaries of the ilk of St. Paul obscured his existence. For example I see many likenesses between the story of Jesus and of Hercules. Hercules was, as the story goes, a son of a Greek god Zeus and of course his step mother Hera did not like Hercules. So she set up some trials for Hercules. Of course Satan was a convenient replacement for Hera and we got those stories of the trials of Jesus set by Satan.
    There could be other reasons for “obscuring” Jesus. As it is mentioned in the Quran and as it has been the belief of many Christians that Jesus did not die on the cross. (He let his followers feel his wounds when he appeared to them after his crucifixion.) His whereabouts had to be obscured otherwise Jews would want to harm Jesus. That could also be the reason to spread the faith among gentiles. Only God Almighty knows what the truth is behind that.
    The story of Jesus (peace be upon him) took another turn when Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, the holy founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement in Islam, declared, citing a revelation and plausible historical evidence, that Jesus went to India after being saved from cross to bring “the lost sheep of Israel” to the fold. The “lost sheep of Israel” usually means the tribes that were displaced by Nebuchad Nezzar and who are spread in parts of Afghanistan and Kashmir. He also pointed to the grave of Jesus. For those interested in looking for the “real Jesus”, the book “Jesus in India” would be interesting reading. You can find the book at: http://www.alislam.org/library/books/jesus-in-india/index.html
    The book “Jesus in India” offers an opportunity for further research for those Christians who want to know the truth and pinpoints the place where Jesus is buried. So I will leave you with the translation of a couple of verses [4: 158-159] from the Quran:
    [4: 158] And their saying, ‘We did kill the Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary, the Messenger of Allah;’ whereas they slew him not, nor crucified him, but he was made to appear to them like one crucified; and those who differ therein are certainly in a state of doubt about it; they have no definite knowledge thereof, but only follow a conjecture; and they did not convert this conjecture into a certainty;
    [4: 159] On the contrary, Allah exalted him to Himself. And Allah is Mighty, Wise. On the contrary, Allah exalted him to Himself. And Allah is Mighty, Wise.

  2. (With reference to the above comment.)
    The verse [4: 159] of the Quran starts with:
    بل رفعہ اللہ الیہ
    and this has caused some Muslim Ulema to buy into the stories of ascension of Jesus and believe that Jesus ascended to the heavens. This would not happen if they had fully understood what the Jews meant by “‘We did kill the Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary, the Messenger of Allah”, as mentioned in [4: 158]. It was a derogatory statement pointing to a statement in the scriptures that is tantamount to saying that anyone who dies hanging from a tree is cursed, and anyone fabricating a lie against God, dies a cursed death. The appropriate response to these insinuations was to say that Allah exalted him rather than just causing him to ascend. The term exalted seems to refer to the spread of Jesus’ message. (Allah Almighty knows best what he meant butthere is a similar example in the Quran in Chapter 6. After mentioning the argument Abraham (AS) had with his people Allah says in [6:84]
    And that is Our argument which We gave to Abraham against his people. We exalt in degrees of rank whomso We please. Thy Lord is indeed Wise, All-Knowing.
    Then He (apparently) explains what being “exalted” meant by giving the names of the prophets in Abraham’s progeny, in later verses.

  3. These type of posts serve no useful purpose.They deter fair-minded Christians to come closer to Islam. They are contrary to our goal of “Universal Brotherhood”.

  4. Apparently, Anwar, you had nothing to support your insinuation or you would come up to set me straight. There is nothing in my first comment that cannot be found in Christian literature or in Hadhrat Masih-e-Mauood’s (AS) writings. In the second comment the interpretation (tafsir) is mine, in that I did not consult any books of tafsir on that. About my comment on Ascension, I think the whole idea of Ascension was brought in to obscure Jesus’ intended destination. Otherwise the Almighty Lord of the universe did not need for Jesus to walk to the summit of a mountain (Was it Mount Olivet?) to cause him to ascend.
    That brings me to your taking a shot at the “bad Zafrullah” for the sake of “Universal Brotherhood”. You stand accused of trying to decrease the number of members of UB by at least one.
    I usually do not consider comments by someone who does not have the courage to give his/her identity making comments. But you had said something that needed to be addressed. For your information, and for everyone else’s, it is my belief that we are not setting any traps for unsuspecting Christians to walk in so that we can do to their grand children what you are trying to do to me. It does not work that way. We are telling the world that we are Muslims and being Muslim makes it incumbent upon us to respect all prophets and their teachings, but if some teachings or descriptions of some events have been adulterated we have the right to discuss them, as followers of those prophets. Well this is my view and if the Muslim Times feels it is at odds with their agenda they are welcome to stop sending me the newsletter.

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