Jesus, Probably

red815 (Posted by) Level 3
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Jonathan Bernier explains how historians’ judgment about Jesus’ historicity works:

All historical argumentation is probabilistic. This is also to say that any and all historical hypotheses are subject to revision or dispute. Hypotheses subject to revision are hypotheses whose probability sufficiently approaches 1.0 that we can treat them as virtually certain. Such hypotheses include the hypothesis that Germany invaded Poland in September of 1939, or that Jesus of Nazareth existed. Such hypotheses are virtually certain not necessarily because there are no conceivable alternatives, but in many (perhaps most) cases because all conceivable alternatives are sufficiently improbable that they can be excluded. Can I conceive of a world in which all the documentary and eyewitness evidence for Germany’s invasion of Poland in 1939 is falsified and it never took place? Perhaps. Is that alternative probable? Hardly. Nonetheless, in principle, even the most probable statement is subject to revision upon the emergence either of new evidence or new insights into old evidence. The recent resurgence in arguments for Jesus’ historical non-existence rested entirely upon the argument that there had emerged new insights into old evidence. The reason that these arguments fail is because those competent in the matter and fully familiar with the evidence recognized immediately that these were not new insights at all but almost without exception insights that had been advanced and rejected the better part of a century ago.

Click - Rest - Bernier - Example - Kind

Click through to read the rest. What Bernier writes really is a great example of the kind of balanced perspective on the matter that is all but universal among mainstream historians and scholars in related fields. See also Steve Wiggins’ post on how historical conclusions can change, and the implications of this for religious movements that claim to restore a tradition to its pristine original form:

Christian history is full of movements where...
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