This is quite impressive coming from the mainstream left-wing press in England: What is the historical evidence that Jesus Christ lived and died?
The article was written by Simon Gathercole, Reader in New Testament Studies at the University of Cambridge. One would presume that he would produce better-researched work than the average journalist!
The sources given are what I was given in my Christology course at Fribourg: the Pauline Epistles, Flavius Joseph, Pliny and Tacitus who attest that Jesus was executed under Pontius Pilate. The non-Christian evidence fits the Gospel narrative and time frame. Both Pliny and Tacitus were hostile to Christianity.
It is a refreshing change from the spurious stuff being written saying that Jesus never existed and was only an idea.
These abundant historical references leave us with little reasonable doubt that Jesus lived and died. The more interesting question – which goes beyond history and objective fact – is whether Jesus died and lived.
My theological college principal – quoting, I think, the great Bp Westcott – used to say that only three things could be said with any certainty about Jesus Christ, but that they were adequate as a foundation for the whole of the Christian superstructure. (1) Jesus lived. (2) Jesus died. (3) After his death his followers were convinced that he was alive.
On the other hand, reading the comments make me doubt the existence of rational intelligence in many unbelievers.
I agree. The idea that a clump of “pre-existing” brute matter exploded and evolved into life and consciousness, and that we, animals and plants are just “machines” is totally irrational. A pre-existing consciousness (which we call God and all life) can’t be proven, but it is more reasonable.