Welcome to A Christian Response to Jesus Mythicism. This site is the home of the e-book series A Christian Response to Jesus Mythicism and will feature media that will equip Christians to answer the challenges of some internet atheists and others who claim Jesus never existed.
Over the past decade, claims that Jesus of Nazareth never existed have exploded across the internet. While these are all but ignored by genuine scholars, amateur cranks have been busy constructing convoluted scenarios about the construction of the New Testament. These fanciful concoctions have been spoonfed to a gullible audience weaned on a diet of “New Atheist” books and conspiracy theories. Such speculation reached a fever pitch with the 2007 release of the film Zeitgeist and its viral status on the internet. Since then the pace has increased dramatically and today there is a cottage industry publishing “Jesus mythicist” material that grows more bizarre with each passing year.
Some Christian apologists have wondered why anyone even needs to bother discussing such a silly topic when there are far bigger fish to fry. While there are certainly much more serious challenges to the Christian faith that need to be answered, there are actually fewer places where answers are needed. There are dozens – perhaps hundreds – of Christian scholars and apologists publishing effective responses to the claims of Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Bart Ehrman, and others. Any Christian with an interest in answering their claims will face little difficulty in finding excellent responses to their attacks upon the Christian faith. Answers to mythicist claims, on the other hand, are far more difficult to find and the quality varies greatly. Although some excellent material exists, much of it is dated and there has been little follow-up on the many directions that mythicism has gone since Zeitgeist exploded on the scene. There are also responses by Christians that barely exceeds the surface level and sometimes the responses provided are every bit as questionable as the material by mythicists.
As can be witnessed by the reaction to Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code, ridiculous ideas about Jesus can gain a foothold on the internet and be a stumbling block when left unanswered. The same thing is now happening with Jesus mythicism. A far more vigorous analysis is needed of this phenomenon in order to understand the movement’s background, history, motivations, and arguments. This is not a topic that would have much interest for a scholar – Christian or otherwise – and the general answer they would give is that the whole thing is just silly. Well, they are absolutely correct, but silly ideas can gain traction in a cultural background where Oliver Stone movies are considered “historical.”
Although the primary focus will be upon Jesus mythicism, the mythicist phenomenon intersects with other areas and these will be discussed as needed. Examples of these are the origin of the New Testament books, the historical reliability of the Gospels, the textual reliability of the New Testament (i.e., that the New Testament we have is faithful to the originals), the cultural background of Second Temple Judaism and the Roman Empire in late antiquity, the development of the patristic tradition, and other topics that would relate to the likelihood that Jesus said and did what the New Testament claims.
It must also be noted that this site is specifically listed as a Christian response to Jesus mythicism. There are those who have opposed Jesus mythicism from an entirely secular point of view but the responses given on this website will be primarily those coming from the point of view of professing Christians. That is, it is the viewpoint argued on this website that Jesus not only existed on earth but is the incarnate Son of God.
I was first exposed to the topic of Jesus mythicism long before it became prominent and I investigated it in detail during that period. Thus, when mythicists make their arguments, I can place it in context from other material by earlier mythicists and draw connections that many new to the subject will miss completely. I have considered this particular battle to be my calling in the apologetics wars. I understand that there are those who have chosen to battle the “bigger fish” and I encourage them in their endeavors. Not all apologists should be fighting the same battles. God can use us as He sees fit and this is the subject where there is a need and I believe I have a unique enough perspective to contribute in defending the faith.