Did Jesus really exist? That’s a very good question. Because the Bible may be full of stories, but how reliable is a 2000-year-old book? And are there any other sources that confirm its existence?
Let’s start with the Bible. The New Testament is full of stories and sayings of Jesus. For clarity: Jesus did not write the Bible himself. This second part of the Bible was written by friends of Jesus or written down by later followers based on eyewitness accounts. It is important to know that the storytelling culture was very strong at the time. Stories were often remembered and passed on very accurately. Because few people could read and write, storytelling was very much part of the culture. The first parts of the New Testament were written less than 25 years after Jesus’ death. Many eyewitnesses were still alive when the stories were written down. In other books from the Classical Antiquity this time is much longer and these documents are also considered important historical books.
There are over 5,600 manuscripts of the New Testament (or parts thereof). This is far more than any other historical document. This indicates that the original text of the New Testament can be reconstructed with great accuracy. Researchers indicate that if you look closely at the text and the background information, you can only come to one conclusion: and that is that there is a maximum of 30 years between the actual events and the time when the Gospels were written.
What do (non-Christian) scientists and archaeologists say about the question: Did Jesus really exist? The details of his existence have been disputed for centuries, but almost all scientists and archaeologists agree that the person Jesus actually walked the earth. How, what, where and why? Opinions differ on this.
At the time when Jesus is said to have lived, there were historians who described everything about what happened in their days. The most famous Jewish historian of that time is Flavius Josephus, who wrote down some phrases about Jesus, such as that he was a wise man, had Jewish and Gentile followers, and he also described his death. Four other sources have been found that tell about the life of Jesus. Many non-Christian scholars confirm that Jesus was born a Jew between 6 and 2 BC. He spent his childhood in Nazareth. He was baptized by John the Baptist. He gathered students around him and taught them and others about the faith. About year 30 he went to Jerusalem for the Jewish Passover and caused a stir in the temple. He was captured and interrogated by Jewish authorities and executed by Pontius Pilate. He was sentenced to death and crucified and buried.
Did Jesus really exist? You can safely assume that Jesus really lived. But where does his story end? At his death or does the story continue? That’s a question for you to discover the answer to.