This has nothing to do with the theory of evolution, but it’s certain to arouse the creationists, so we’ll mention it. Your Curmudgeon is not taking sides in this one. We’ll present the news, such as it is, and then you’re on your own.
The tale appears in the Daily Mail, the UK’s second biggest-selling daily newspaper. The tabloid’s headline screams: ‘Jesus NEVER existed': Writer finds no mention of Christ in 126 historical texts and says he was a ‘mythical character’. There are already more than 2,400 comments after the story. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:
Historical researcher Michael Paulkovich has claimed that Jesus of Nazareth was a ‘mythical character’ and never existed. The controversial discovery was apparently made after he found no verifiable mention of Christ from 126 writers during the ‘time of Jesus’ from the first to third centuries.
Later in the story there’s a list of the historical writers Paulkovich checked. That seems to be the totality of his evidence. It doesn’t really prove anything, but it’s interesting nevertheless. The newspaper also says:
The 126 texts he studied were all written in the period during or soon after the supposed existence of Jesus, when Paulkovich says they would surely have heard of someone as famous as Jesus – but none mention him.
Wait a minute! We’ve all heard of one historian who mentions Jesus. Oh, that’s discussed:
Of the writings he examined, written from the first to third centuries, he found only one book that contained a mention of Jesus – The Jewish Wars by the Roman historian Josephus Flavius written in 95 CE, but he claims it is fabricated. Paulkovich says the mentions of Jesus were added later by editors, not by Josephus.
Oh. Okay. We continue:
Even in the Bible Paulkovich says Paul, often credited with spreading what would become Christianity, never refers to Jesus as a real person. ‘Paul is unaware of the virgin mother, and ignorant of Jesus’ nativity, parentage, life events, ministry, miracles, apostles, betrayal, trial and harrowing passion,’ he writes. ‘Paul knows neither where nor when Jesus lived, and considers the crucifixion metaphorical.’
Paul wasn’t one of the Disciples, and it’s generally understood that he never met Jesus. It may be that those details are missing from his writings. Here’s more:
‘Perhaps the most bewildering “silent one” is the mythical super-savior himself, Jesus the Son of God ostensibly sent on a suicide mission to save us from the childish notion of “Adam’s Transgression” as we learn from Romans,’ he says. ‘The Jesus character is a phantom of a wisp of a personage who never wrote anything. So, add one more: 127.’
Michael Paulkovich doesn’t hold back, does he? Moving along:
‘Millions should have heard of the Jesus “crucifixion” with its astral enchantments: zombie armies and meteorological marvels recorded not by any historian, but only in the dubitable scriptures scribbled decades later by superstitious yokels.’
One final excerpt, and this one is a bit more restrained:
Paulkovich’s views will surely prove very controversial, as most scholars do not support the theory that Jesus never existed.
Controversial? Yes, that’s a safe bet. What’s your Curmudgeon’s opinion? We don’t have one, because we’ve never claimed to be well versed in theology, and we’ve never studied the historians mentioned by Paulkovich. But we will make one observation: If creationists can deny the existence of mountains of evidence for evolution, is it really outrageous for Paulkovich to mention what he claims is a lack of evidence regarding Jesus?
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