The Jesus of History: Man or Myth?
Two thousand years ago something happened that changed our world. According to ancient written testimonies, a man set foot on our planet who was different from all others. He claimed to be from beyond our world. His name was Jesus.
The incredible feats and lofty words attributed to him have caused some to label him a myth—they believe he didn’t exist. But the vast majority of scholars believe otherwise, acknowledging Jesus Christ as a real historical person. [See “Was Jesus a Real Person?“].
After reading the New Testament accounts of Jesus, the great scientist, Albert Einstein, became convinced of Jesus’ reality. Although Einstein was an agnostic, his awe for Jesus caused him to remark, “No one can read the Gospels without feeling the actual presence of Jesus. His personality pulsates in every word. No myth is filled with such life…. No man can deny the fact that Jesus existed, nor that his sayings are beautiful.”
Virtually, all leading secular historians, such as Will Durant and H. G. Wells, have been convinced of his reality. Summing up the opinions of first-rank historians, Wells wrote of Jesus, “Here was a man. This part of the tale could not have been invented.”
Ancient history offers several clues about Jesus Christ. These clues come from archaeological discoveries, contemporary historical documents, and ancient New Testament manuscripts.
Archaeologists have discovered relics of names and places associated with Jesus. These discoveries include the synagogue in Capernaum where Jesus often taught, a stone with the name Pontius Pilate, the ossuary of Caiaphas the High Priest who tried Jesus, and the recent discovery of first century Nazareth, the town where Jesus lived as a child. Until that discovery, many skeptics had argued Jesus couldn’t have lived in Nazareth since there had been no evidence of the town’s existence in the first century [See “Was Jesus Really From Nazareth?“].