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Just now I made one minor change which I believe is in line with the intent of this article as previously written. (Adding of "no" so it now reads "There is no contemporary evidence of Jesus".) There are two other parts of this that confuse me, however: The section "Burden is on those who say there is a historical Jesus" content does not appear to support the main point nor does the counter-apologetics section. I am willing to try to improve these but am new here and don't want trash somebody else's work if I am missing a point, so will hold off for a bit. Also I am just learning this wiki stuff so not sure if this is the right way/place to raise the question. -DaveL

27 March Y8 comment: I undid my edit described above because after reading another page created by Tatarize (Argument from Evidence), it appeared to me that the omission of the word "no" from "There is contemporary evidence of Jesus" was deliberate. I now think the intent in both topics is to present what I will call a Socratic dialogue, where a counter-apologetic position is stated, then the apologetic response is stated (in this case that there is contemporary evidence for Jesus) and then this is refuted. Since I am new here and I had only intended to fix up what I thought was an inadvertent omission, I decided it would be best to undo it. The fact that Sans Deity has now restored the "no" suggest to me that at a minimum this Socratic dialogue approach is not the standard here or widely understood. It does not appear in the help pages so far as I can tell (although while looking for it I found the guidance on whether edits are minor and I now understand that since I changed the meaning it was not a minor edit, and will bear this in mind going forward). I think some discussion is in order on whether there was a "Socratic dialogue" intent originally and if so should it be standard, etc. I think this discussion is needed because 1) There appears to be more topics in this format, 2) They will only get more confusing if they have a mixed point of view. I was planning to start a thread about it on the wiki discussion board when I saw there is already one started by Tatarize, and then I noticed that Sans Deity had put the "no" back. This would seem to confirm that further discussion is warranted here. So unless somebody else responds here I think I will put something on the board about it when I get some time. -DaveL

Yeah. The lack of the "no" was intentional. The argument was given that there's no evidence, and then the counter argument as such is that there is contemporary evidence. Then the arguments FOR contemporary evidence are refuted. It's hard to be counter apologetic if we aren't dealing with apologetics. Tatarize 19:23, 22 August 2013 (CDT)


Sometimes my clarity leaves much to be desired. It's a counter apologetics wiki. It's hard to counter the apologetics if you don't point out the apologetics in the first place. I haven't seen any clear indication of a generally accepted format. Tatarize 18:12, 15 October 2008 (CDT)

Contemporary evidence?

The gospel accounts were likely modified to better agree with one another, and parts of the are of questionable authorship.

We don't know whether or not the Tacitus account was drawn from contemporary sources.

We don't lack contemporary evidence. We have poor contemporary evidence.

My take is this:

While we cannot establish the truth of the story as a whole, we can establish that (a) the Christian movement happened, (b) many of its leaders were executed, and (c) followers believed that the founder had been executed.

Our poor contemporary evidence is not enough to establish that three Babylonians gave him perfume and money because they saw a UFO, that he had an especially convincing travelling magic show, that he had exactly twelve friends (well, eleven), or that he fed some West Bank settlers with genetically modified catfish.

But the fact of his existence and martyrdom are not extraordinary, and should not require the same level of rigorous proof. I think what we have is evidence enough to indicate the founder of a popular religious and political movement existed and was executed, despite the later embellishments.

--jaban 13:21, 26 March 2011 (CDT)

There's a lot of crap here.

Generally Richard Carrier's work here is the best. We are not suppose to take on a neutral point of view and just explain mythicists arguments but show the arguments and the counter arguments made against it, basically so that if somebody encountered that argument they could quickly come here and see why it sucks. But, there are a good number of mythicist arguments that are strictly speaking false. They are easily defeated by facts. I'm not sure whether to just butcher large sections about Nazareth denialism because it's just silly and certainly is a weaker argument or to leave it in because actual mythicists really do argue that. Tatarize 19:14, 22 August 2013 (CDT)

So I see this comment was made over two years ago, and I hadn't really noticed this article at all, but yes, I agree with Tatarize 100%. This article is awful. I am dying for someone to help rewrite and streamline it. Here is a short list of things about it that I can't stand...
  • It's incredibly long winded, with information scattered all over the place. Not useful as an anti-apologetic resource at all.
  • Many of the claims appear to be poorly sourced, or blatantly contrary to established academic consensus.
  • Sample text: "There is not a shred of evidence for a city named Nazareth at the time of the alleged Jesus." Whether true or not, wording like this (which is abundant in this article) comes across as childish and petty.
  • "It is generally accepted that there is a historical Jesus, but this is an argument of ad populum. What really matters is what the evidence says." -- The fact that qualified scholars have a consensus on something is not ad populum. It is relevant. This reminds me of global warming deniers who want to be called "skeptics" and assert that all climatologists are biased and doing it for money.
  • Lengthy sections on the writings of Josephus, Tacitus, etc. There are articles about these individuals already. Details of their work should be on those pages, not this one. If those articles don't contain sufficient information, expand them please.
  • Why so many numbered bullet points? That doesn't read like an article. The Tacitus section has 26. Whyyyyy...???
  • While some of the sections flat out need someone to axe them entirely, the length of can be cut a lot by identifying other arguments that need to be broken out into new and separate articles. Some of these heads could be reduced to a couple of sentences saying "Christians claim that blabbity blah. For more detailed responses to that claim, see (linked article)."
Mythicism in general is a tricky and controversial topic. There are a few people who are doing worthwhile research into the subject, and I think it's not a very extraordinary claim that the Bible character of Jesus Christ is, at best, only VERY LOOSELY related to any person who really lived at the time. However, the great majority of mainstream historians hold the position that a person named Jesus did exist. That doesn't settle the matter, but non-historians (which is most of the authors on this blog) should be extremely careful about acting like a confident authority on the subject.
I've put out a request for help outside the wiki, and I hope we'll get some new eyes on this page. Please don't be shy about making sweeping changes as needed. The changes are logged, and we can always revert if anyone makes a mistake. --Kazim 14:01, 27 January 2016 (CST)
Agreed. Since it needs significant work, I might start a new article and merge any usable parts into it. --Tim Sheerman-Chase 14:51, 28 January 2016 (CST)
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