What about the relevant body of alleged evidence for the historicity (or existence) of Jesus?It can be conveniently grouped under two main headings: (1) Christian sources, and (2) non-Christian sources.

In particular, he draws attention to Polycarp, Eusebius, Irenaeus, Ignatius, Justin, and Origen.[5] Turning to He Walked Among Us,[6] Mc Dowell and Wilson suggest two reasons why the church fathers confirm the existence of Jesus: (a) the Church fathers did not base their belief solely on Christian tradition (he cites the 'Acts of Pilate' as an example); and (b) most of the church fathers died as martyrs for their beliefs.

Concerning (a), Mc Dowell only cited one example of church fathers relying on non-Christian tradition--Justin Martyr's reference to an alleged 'Acts of Pilate'--so I will have to restrict my comments to that.[7] There are three problems with Justin's reference.

First, Justin Martyr was not known for his historical accuracy.

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Before you dismiss, please consider making a donation. Overview: Christian Sources: New Testament | Church Fathers Non-Christian Sources: Josephus | The Talmud | Pliny the Younger | Tacitus | Suetonius | Thallus | Phlegon | Mara Bar-Serapion | Lucian | Hadrian Miscellaneous: Notes | Related Documents In the fifth chapter of Evidence That Demands a Verdict (hereafter "ETDAV") entitled, "Jesus--A Man of History," Josh Mc Dowell lists a series of "sources for the historicity of Jesus."[1] According to the table of contents of ETDAV, this chapter lists "documented sources of the historical person of Jesus of Nazareth apart from the Bible."[2] In this chapter I shall consider each of Mc Dowell's sources.

Although I agree with Mc Dowell that there was a historical Jesus, I shall argue that most of Mc Dowell's sources do not provide independent confirmation of the historicity of Jesus.

Although I disagree with Mc Dowell (and Montgomery) over the degree of reliability of the New Testament, that disagreement is irrelevant here.

There is simply nothing intrinsically improbable about a historical Jesus; the New Testament alone (or at least portions of it) are reliable enough to provide evidence of a historical Jesus.[3] On this point, it is important to note that even G. Wells, who until recently was the champion of the Christ-myth hypothesis, now accepts the historicity of Jesus on the basis of 'Q.'[4] Other Christian Texts The other Christian texts cited by Mc Dowell do not provide any support for the historicity of Jesus: 1.

The Church Fathers do not provide any independent confirmation of Jesus.

Under the heading "Christian Sources for the Historicity of Jesus," Mc Dowell refers his readers back to his discussion of the church fathers in his chapter on the historical reliability of the Bible.