So what has kept the mythicist controversy alive despite frustrated assertions among biblical scholars that the debate was settled long ago? Derek Murphy demonstrates in chapter two of Jesus Potter Harry Christ that the modern controversy over the historicity of Jesus “has a long and substantial history, and that, in effect, the jury is still out.” Derek Murphy is well aware that some of the works he uses have been questioned and disputed with the advance of academic research. His purpose is thus limited to showing the existence and heritage of the debate.
My goal is only to demonstrate that a modern controversy over the historical Jesus exists, that it has a long and substantial history, and that, in effect, the jury is still out.
I also want to show that certain claims regarding Jesus are not modern delusions of “fringe” scholars — in fact there are few claims made about Jesus today that were not made centuries earlier. (p. 47)
Dismay among many believers in the historicity of Jesus reminds us that few people are aware that the question can be raised at all, and that the evidence used to support Jesus’ historicity is not universally accepted. (more…)