“What if I put some Batman comics in a box and put the box in the ground for some 2000 years. Once dug up, does that mean Batman was a real historical figure?” – Mythicist Claim
I am paraphrasing here but this is what the argument essentially boils down to. It’s an absolutely ridiculous claim that proves once again that Jesus mythicists have probably never read a single book from the Bible or ancient history for that matter. When a mythicist makes a claim like this, he or she is completely ignorant of the view people living in Antiquity had on people with supernatural powers and miracles.
The Supernatural in Antiquity
In these modern times the line between the supernatural world and the natural world is much clearer. However, in Antiquity that line was a lot thinner and people genuinely thought that the supernatural world interacted with the natural world. People living in the Greco-Roman world, and the Jewish world for that matter, didn’t argue whether or not miracles happened, they knew they did! That’s why you have so many miraculous stories from those days.
“In the Greek world there was less of a distinction between human and divine than there was in the Jewish world. Greek mythology depicted gods as consorting with human and producing joint offspring. The Greeks occasionally declared that a human was divine. Though the Romans were originally not inclined to think of humans as gods, the Greek practise tented to spread throughout the Roman empire.” – E.P. Sanders – The Historical Figure of Jesus (p. 161)
“Even though Jesus may be the only miracle-working Son of God that people know about today, there were lots of people like this in the ancient world. We should not think of Jesus as “unique”, if by that term we mean that he was the only one “like that” – that is, a human who was far above and very different from the rest of us mere mortals, a man who was also in some sense divine. There were numerous divine beings in antiquity.” – Bart Ehrman – How Jesus Became God (p. 17)
Octavian was considered the Son of God and it was told he had performed miracles. Appolonius of Tyana was considered a miracle worker. The same goes for Theudas, The Egyptian, Honi the Circle Drawer and Hanina Ben Dosa. All people who were considered to have a special standing when it came to the natural world and yet no mythicist questions the existence of the above even tough the historical evidence for some of the above is a lot more scarce than for Jesus!
The Gospels as Literature
Comparing a comic book with the Gospels is ludicrous at best. Both are completely different genres, both with a completely different goal. A comic book is written for entertainment the Gospels were not.
“The Gospels contain non historical information and stories that have been modified and exaggerated and embellished. These books do not contain the words of someone who was sitting at Jess’s feet taking notes. They are nothing like that. They are books that are intending to tell the “good news” of Jesus. That is, their authors has a vested interest both in what they were telling and in how they were telling it. They wanted to preach jesus. The were not trying to give biographical information that would pass muster among critical historians living two thousand years later who have developed significantly different standards of writing history, or historiography. They were writing for their own day and were trying to convince people about the truth – as they saw it- about Jesus. They were basing their stories on what they had heard and read. What they read was based on what the authors of these other writings had heard. It all goes back to oral tradition. – Bart Ehrman – How Jesus Became God (p. 92)
The Gospels were written with the clear cut idea to convert people by telling stories about Jesus. Yes, these stories may have become more embellished and more exaggerated over time, but that doesn’t exclude the possibility that there was a historical person at the core of these stories.
Moreover, the Gospels are considered “ancient Greco-Roman biographies”. What scholars did was comparing the Gospels with other literature from the time and see in what category they best fit. Ancient Greco-Roman biographies have certain characteristics:
Batman & Jesus the Movie
Admitted, I haven’t seen the film, but the Indiegogo Campaign movie found on youtube isn’t very promising. You can check that one out here.
“The truth is, none of us were around when Jesus was said to have lived. None of us has ever had the ability to see him for ourselves. So none of us really know” – Narrator
This is a direct quote from the movie on Youtube mentioned above. And then mythicists wonder why no one takes them seriously. Well, it’s because of arguments like these. The same argument can be applied to any figure from ancient history. Did no one exist back then?
Once again Christ myth theory followers have demonstrated that they have zero knowledge of what scholars actually have to say on this matter, they have zero knowledge of what people thought back in the days of the Greco-Roman world and they have zero knowledge of what kind of literature the Gospels are.
I would like to end this entry with a quote from Tim O’Neil. He pretty much sums it all up perfectly:
“It would be good if the naive atheists who swallow the Jesus Myth kool aid were to actually educate themselves in the genuine scholarship about the historical Jesus as an apocalyptic Jewish preacher. If anyone is inclined to confront modern Christians with uncomfortable historical analysis, that is academically rock solid and far more difficult for the devout to deal with than the stupid Mythicist wild goose chase.” – Tim O’Neil