Did Jesus Exit? – Part 5

In his book Did Jesus Exist? Bart Ehrman argues for something like the following Minimal Jesus Hypothesis (MJH):

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There was a flesh-and-blood person who was…
1. named ‘Jesus’, and
2. a Jewish man, and
3. living in Palestine as an adult in the 20s C.E., and
4. known to be a preacher and a teacher, and
5. crucified in Jerusalem by the Romans around 30 C.E., and
6. crucified when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea.

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1. named ‘Jesus’
As previously pointed out, the actual name would have been Joshua (in Aramaic):

1A. named Yeshu’a

2. a Jewish man

From my American Heritage Dictionary:

Jew n. 1. An adherent of Judaism. 2. A descendant of the Hebrew people.

Condition (2) is thus ambiguous. But presumably, both senses of the word are intended. This condition describes both the general religious viewpoint of Jesus and his ethnicity. Jesus was not a Hindu, nor a Zoroastrian, nor a worshipper of Greek or Roman deities. Jesus was not Chinese, nor African, nor East Indian:

2A. an adherent of Judaism, and a male descendant of the Hebrew people

3. living in Palestine as an adult in the 20s C.E.

This condition seems fairly straightforward. The phrase ‘as an adult’ is a bit vague. That could mean anywhere from 16 years old to 110 years old. Since Jesus is generally believed to have been about 33 years old when he was crucified, we could narrow the age range a bit by assuming that Jesus was between 30 and 36 years old in 30 CE (i.e. 33 years old plus-or-minus three years). So, we can say that Jesus was betweem 20 and 26 in 20 CE., and that Jesus would have been in his twenties or thirties in the 20s CE:

3A. living in Palestine as an adult (in his twenties and/or thirties) in the 20s C.E.

4. known to be a preacher and a teacher

This condition is also a bit vauge. A man who taught mathematics or who taught Greek philosophy or who taught others how to build boats would not fit our concept of Jesus. The word ‘preacher’ does imply speech with religious content, and thus is a bit less vague. But I think Ehrman has in mind the widely held assumption that Jesus was a preacher and teacher of religious beliefs and moral values:

4A. known to be a preacher and teacher of religious beliefs and moral values

5. crucified in Jerusalem by the Romans around 30 C.E.

This condition is straightforward and clear. The phrase ‘around 30 C.E.’ is a bit vague, so I would make a slight clarification/specification here:

5A. crucified in Jerusalem by the Romans around 30 C.E. (between 26 and 36 C.E.)

This puts the crucifixion of Jesus in the timeframe when Pilate was governor of Judea (26-36 C.E.)

6. crucified when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea

Given the above clarification of the date range for the crucixion of Jesus, condition (6) is largely redundant, since (6) is logically implied by (5) in conjuction with the generally accepted assumption that Pilate was governor of Judea from 26-36 C.E.

So, here is my clarified version of MJH:

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There was a flesh-and-blood person who was…
1A. named Yeshu’a, and
2A. an adherent of Judaism, and a male descendant of the Hebrew people, and
3A. living in Palestine as an adult (in his twenties and/or thirties) in the 20s C.E., and
4A. known to be a preacher and teacher of religious beliefs and moral values, and
5A. crucified in Jerusalem by the Romans around 30 C.E. (between 26 and 36 C.E.).
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Geisler & Turek Rebuttal: Chapter 9 (Part 1)
What is Faith? - Part 5
On Atheism and Brightness
Geisler & Turek Rebuttal: Chapter 9 (Part 2)

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