“The Real Jesus”in National Geographic
I noticed when making a hurried visit to a local supermarket last evening that (just in time for Christmas) the current issue of National Geographic (Dec 2017) has its cover story: “The Real Jesus.” “Mythicists” will be disappointed, as the author (Kristin Romey) dismisses the option in one paragraph.
She writes: “Might it be possible that Jesus Christ never even existed, that the whole stained glass story is pure invention? It’s an assertion that’s championed by some outspoken skeptics–but not, I discovered, by scholars, particularly archaeologists, whose work tends to bring flights of fancy down to earth” (pp. 41-42). Ouch!!Or how about her quote of Eric Meyers (archaeologist and emeritus Professor in Judaic Studies, Duke University): “I don’t know any mainstream scholar who doubts the historicity of Jesus. . . The details have been debated for centuries, but no one who is serious doubts that he’s a historical figure” (p. 42).
And then she cites Byron McCane (Florida Atlantic University), and John Dominic Crossan (co-chair of the Jesus Seminar) to the same effect.
This, of course, is more a journalist’s report on scholarly views, not an original judgement. But it reflects what many of us have been saying when asked about the “mythical Jesus” claim. No real traction among scholars.
[P.S. from BWIII, the Meyers are mainstream Jewish scholars, and of course Crossan was a leader of the Jesus Seminar, not a conservative scholar]