Thesis Defence: “Was Jesus a Mythical Figure? A Response to the Charge the Jesus of Nazareth Never Existed”
Christopher Christiansen, “Was Jesus a Mythical Figure? A Response to the Charge the Jesus of Nazareth Never Existed”
Supervisor: Paul Chamberlain, PhD
Second Reader: Brian Rapske, PhD
Third Reader: Kent Clarke, PhD (MABSCT)
Exam Chair: Craig Allert, PhD (MABSCT)
The purpose of this thesis is to examine and refute the arguments made by mythicists, who deny the historicity of Jesus of Nazareth. It begins by investigating the common features of myths in the ancient world, proceeding to compare these with the accounts of Jesus in the four Gospels. Next, it explores the history of mythicism since its inception in the eighteenth century. The penultimate chapter outlines the main criticisms that mythicists level against the Gospels, and the final chapter responds to these arguments. There are two major findings of this thesis. First, the mythicists’ standard for evidence is not applied consistently. Second, they fail to show why their interpretations of the available data are better than more traditional approaches. The conclusion is that they do not provide sufficient reasons for doubting the existence of Jesus as a human in history.