Introduction to the issue: Did Jesus exist?
Outline of Did Jesus Exist? By Bart Ehrman. Various skeptical points by Ehrman, especially the insignificance of non-Christian historical sources.
Keith Parson’s advice and Bart Ehrman on the Minimal Jesus Hypothesis (MJH).
Development and clarification of the Minimal Jesus Hypothesis.
About 17,000 Jewish males in Palestine were named ‘Jesus’ at any given point during the first century.
Chronology of Jesus’ ministry and crucifixion.
Ehrman’s Seven Gospels Argument (SGA) and the analogy of proving the existence of God with proving the existence of Jesus: both depend on what you mean by the key term ‘God’ or ‘Jesus’.
Ehrman’s Seven Gospels Argument (SGA) is concerned with seven gospel sources that are supposed to be independent sources. Ehrman fails to discuss the facts and data required to evaluate his key claim. I propose the MJH-Source Matrix as a guide to evaluate the key claim in SGA.
Mark portrays Yeshu’a as a flesh-and-blood person-MJH attribute 1 (A1). In the Comments section (near the end of the comments) I also show that Q portrays Yeshu’a as a flesh-and-blood person.
Crossan’s certainty about the crucifixion and death of Jesus is undermined by skeptical points made by Ehrman.
M appears to portray Jesus as a flesh-and-blood person.
L portrays Jesus as a flesh-and-blood person.
Mark represents Jesus as being ‘Jewish’ in both senses of the word.
Q represents Jesus as a devout follower of the Jewish faith.
Q represents Jesus as a male descendant of the Hebrew people.
L represents Jesus as a male descendant of the Hebrew people.
The Batman and Superman characters are common ideas in American culture. So, almost any American in the 21st century could create a story about Superman, and it would include many characteristics of Superman that other Americans would recognize. First century Palestinian Jews had a common cultural idea that could explain many of the attributes that make up the Minimal Jesus Hypothesis: the idea of a ‘Messiah’.
L represents Jesus as a devout follower of the Jewish faith.
The Minimal Jesus Hypothesis consists of 12 attributes. The agreement between Mark, Q, L, and M concerning the first 8 attributes can be explained in terms of the common cultural idea of a ‘Messiah’. The remaining attributes are primarily related to the crucifixion of Jesus, which are not explained by the idea of a ‘Messiah’. So, SGA has some significant force ONLY if there is agreement between these gospel sources concerning crucifixion-related events/attributes.
None of the 16 crucifixion-related events found in Mark are found in Q, M, or L. There are no crucifixion-related events covered by Q, M, or L. Thus, the SGA (Seven Gospels Argument) is very weak and inconclusive, because of two serious problems: (1) the common cultural idea of a ‘Messiah’ explains the agreement of the gospel sources concerning the first 8 attributes of MJH (Minimal Jesus Hypothesis), and (2) there is no agreement between the gospel sources concerning crucifixion-related events, which is what most of the remaining attributes of MJH are about.