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July 1st, 2010
01:49 PM ET

Gospels don't say Jesus was crucified, scholar claims

Update July 2 8:04 a.m. After this article posted Gunnar Samuelsson got in touch to stress that his research focuses specifically on the narratives of Jesus's execution in the four Gospels, not on the entire New Testament, so "Gospels" has been substituted for "Bible" in the headline.

There have been plenty of attacks on Christianity over the years, but few claims have been more surprising than one advanced by an obscure Swedish scholar this spring.

The Gospels do not say Jesus was crucified, Gunnar Samuelsson says.

In fact, he argues, in the original Greek, the ancient texts reveal only that Jesus carried "some kind of torture or execution device" to a hill where "he was suspended" and died, says Samuelsson, who is an evangelical pastor as well as a New Testament scholar.

"When we say crucifixion, we think about Mel Gibson's 'Passion.' We think about a church, nails, the crown of thorns," he says, referring to Gibson's 2004 film, "The Passion of the Christ."

"We are loaded with pictures of this well-defined punishment called crucifixion - and that is the problem," he says.

Samuelsson bases his claim on studying 900 years' worth of ancient texts in the original languages - Hebrew, Latin and Greek, which is the language of the New Testament.

He spent three years reading for 12 hours a day, he says, and he noticed that the critical word normally translated as "crucify" doesn't necessarily mean that.

"He was handed over to be 'stauroun,'" Samuelsson says of Jesus, lapsing into Biblical Greek to make his point.

At the time the apostles Matthew, Mark, Luke and John were writing their Gospels, that word simply meant "suspended," the theologian argues.

"This word is used in a much wider sense than 'crucifixion,'" he says. "It refers to hanging, to suspending vines in a vineyard," or to any type of suspension.

"He was required to carry his 'stauros' to Calvary, and they 'stauroun' him. That is all. He carried some kind of torture or execution device to Calvary and he was suspended and he died," Samuelsson says.

Not everyone is convinced by his research. Garry Wills, the author of "What Jesus Meant," "What Paul Meant," and "What the Gospels Meant," dismisses it as "silliness."

"The verb is stauresthai from stauros, cross," Wills said.

Samuelsson wants to be very clear about what he is saying and what he is not saying.

Most importantly, he says, he is not claiming Jesus was not crucified - only that the Gospels do not say he was.

"I am a pastor, a conservative evangelical pastor, a Christian," he is at pains to point out. "I do believe that Jesus died the way we thought he died. He died on the cross."

But, he insists, it is tradition that tells Christians that, not the first four books of the New Testament.

"I tried to read the text as it is, to read the word of God as it stands in our texts," he says - what he calls "reading on the lines, not reading between the lines."

Samuelsson says he didn't set out to undermine one of the most basic tenets of Christianity.

He was working on a dissertation at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden when he noticed a problem with a major book about the history of crucifixion before Jesus.

What was normally thought to be the first description of a crucifixion - by the ancient Greek historian Herodotus - wasn't a crucifixion at all, but the suspension of a corpse, Samuelsson found by reading the original Greek.

The next example in the book about crucifixion wasn't a crucifixion either, but the impaling of a hand.

Samuelsson's doctoral advisor thought his student might be on to something.

"He recommended I scan all the texts, from Homer up to the first century - 900 years of crucifixion texts," Samuelsson recalled, calling it "a huge amount of work."

But, he says, "I love ancient texts. They just consume me." So he started reading.

He found very little evidence of crucifixion as a method of execution, though he did find corpses being suspended, people being hanged from trees, and more gruesome methods of execution such as impaling people by the belly or rectum.

The same Greek word was used to refer to all the different practices, he found.

That's what led him to doubt that the Gospels specify that Jesus was crucified.

At the time they were written, "there is no word in Greek, Latin, Aramaic or Hebrew that means crucifixion in the sense that we think of it," he says.

It's only after the death of Jesus - and because of the death of Jesus - that the Greek word "stauroun" comes specifically to mean executing a person on the cross, he argues.

He admits, of course, that the most likely reason early Christians though Jesus was crucified is that, in fact, he was.

But he says his research still has significant implications for historians, linguists and the Christian faithful.

For starters, "if my observations are correct, every book on the history of Jesus will need to be rewritten," as will the standard dictionaries of Biblical Greek, he says.

More profoundly, his research "ought to make Christians a bit more humble," he says.

"We fight against each other," he reflects, but "the theological stances that keep churches apart are founded on things that we find between the lines.

"We have put a lot of things in the Bible that weren't there in the beginning that keep us apart. We need to get down on our knees as Christians together and read the Bible."

- Newsdesk editor, The CNN Wire

Filed under: Belief • Bible • Christianity • Jesus

soundoff (1,530 Responses)
  1. James

    at the end of the day, it is matter in which Christ died, but why he died, and the meaning of his death as it pertains to all of the peoples of the earth. i am not convinced at all that we have been taught the truth over the years, because there are things missing from the Book. but Jesus Life, Teachings, and Death are a symbol of hope for countless millions of folks out there and nobody has any business dashing it upon the rocks. still, there is something missing...maybe the interpretation, or maybe things removed from the text in times past, but it is not at all convincing if you take a long look at it. don't get me wrong, because i was raised Evangelical, was "Baptised" both by water and by the Holy Ghost(i still cannot explain that experience), and have prayed in other tongues when said "holy ghost" was affecting me(still cannot explain that one either). but in the text Christ said that miracles would follow the word of God, that we, as christian and disciples, would do greater things than the things he did. i see no evidence of "signs and wonders" anywhere today, anywhere in the world, therefore i am not all convinced that we, the people of the world, have a "true interpretation" of gods word. and i find it sad to know so much, yet still feel lost. 😦

    July 1, 2010 at 3:21 pm |
    • Christ Loves You

      Well Said! God Bless You!

      July 1, 2010 at 3:27 pm |
    • Corso

      That proves you don't have to understand it, just have faith and accept it. We belong to Him, and HE cares for all of us.

      July 1, 2010 at 4:01 pm |
  2. Zeit-Geist

    @runswithbeer
    the teachings of Christ about love can be found in many Eastern religions that predate a "historical' Jesus by thousands
    of years, using your logic it proves that Buddha and Krsna are also god

    July 1, 2010 at 3:20 pm |
    • Lini

      Islam teaches that prophets were sent to every people throughout history. This is the reason for similar messages that are found throughout the world.

      July 2, 2010 at 7:07 am |
    • Josef

      @ fred Magell: The writings of Josephus, about Jesus have been proven by scholars to be a forgery. A fraud perpurtrated by Christians. Isn't even his style of wriing. @Ronald Ferguson: Constantine rased his sword alright & on it was written "sol invictus' so he whorship the Sun god, not Jesus. There were maybe 100 gosples written , the Chatholic church got rid of the rest because it didn't suit their purposes. Especialy the Bibles of Mary Magdalin, Thomas & yes the much misunderstood Bible of Judas.To you christians if you beleive in Christ why aren't you a jew, he was . He never, never thougth christianity, what he thought was much closer to Buddhism then any other religion.There are legends of Jesu, as they called him in Indian & Greece. So whoever this man was he traveled learned of other religions, then put his own philosphy together. he just didn't come out of the woods. He never calls himself the son of god btw it's the son of man.Zeit we need to give these people references. I 've already given them Joseph Cambell & Barbara Walker. btw i know about "hell" which is why I put it in perentacies. Peace to you brother.

      July 2, 2010 at 2:05 pm |
  3. DAVINCIKODE

    Join the attacks on Christianity and help fulfill the prophecies, so that He may return soon.

    July 1, 2010 at 3:20 pm |
    • Zeit-Geist

      Jesus said he would return while some of his folowers were still living, I dont think that happened
      the dude aint coming back, he was probaly never here to begin with
      try researching astro-theological myth and that should set you straight

      July 1, 2010 at 3:29 pm |
    • DAVINCIKODE

      Perhaps you should research your neighborhood to determine if He still has followers, and then make concussions.

      July 1, 2010 at 3:35 pm |
    • Ray J

      Ah yes, I can just picture the scene as this guy in robes with a beard appears on the streets of Jerusalem, with no passport ,no I.D.papers,not even a watch or a cell phone. Then he announces he is the Messiah ! How long Iwonder before the security forces get their hands on him ? Why he might even end up at Gitmo..

      July 1, 2010 at 4:17 pm |
  4. buzzkill

    Actually... the evidence points to him never having existed in the first place.

    ...but whatever.

    July 1, 2010 at 3:19 pm |
    • aatami

      Ha! That;s awesome, and you did kill their sad little buzz too!

      July 1, 2010 at 11:32 pm |
    • ybs

      Another researcher/scholar once concluded, "A pile of dung is just that!" 🙂

      July 2, 2010 at 5:53 am |
    • kmichaels

      Wow, really? That evidence is what again? Oh yeah, you have no clue. Easy claim to make, just tad harder for you to muster your evidence for.

      July 2, 2010 at 7:39 pm |
    • nash

      The Islamic religion does not believe Jesus was crucified, we believe Almighty God took up to the Heavens and would eventually come back to earth and conquer evil then will die a natural death. It is only after that the world would come to an end for the judgement day.

      July 6, 2010 at 10:12 am |
  5. runswithbeer

    The translation of this part of the Bible is hotly debated all over the internet. Faith is what you believe when there is not enough evidence for scientific fact. We have no direct evidence that a supreme being created the universe. We simply have faith that one did. From the words written thousands of years ago we collect our faith that a higher being once walked among us. Not from the facts of his demise but from the truth of his teachings. Love your Neighbor. Love your Parents. Love your Creator. These Preachings are proof that he was a higher being, possibly God himself.

    July 1, 2010 at 3:16 pm |
    • LaJollaRich

      Faith = Hocus Pocus.

      July 2, 2010 at 12:27 am |
      • ybs

        I thought it's "Faith = Pocus Hocus!" 🙂

        July 2, 2010 at 2:00 am |
  6. let's be real

    Amen.

    July 1, 2010 at 3:14 pm |
  7. Seraphim0

    Wow. For followers of the lamb, you are all very argumentative between yourselves. Almost down right spiteful and hateful of differing opinions.

    Just looking over this, I've seen you insult one another and call one another out in very hostile ways.

    I'm sure Jesus would be so happy to know that his message is in the hands of such... spiteful and venomous people. And that's sad to say as I'm not even christian.

    July 1, 2010 at 3:13 pm |
    • kmichaels

      Jesus did not shy away from calling the current leadership snakes, vipers, hypocrites, the blind leading the blind, deaf and dumb spiritually and all sorts of other negatives. That does not imply that Jesus was unrighteous. It is just childish to think that some labeling of some ideas as being negative means that people are evil. So far, no bodily harm based on any of the words on any of these posts.

      July 2, 2010 at 7:35 pm |
  8. Tellurian

    It seems that people are being too restrictive in searching for answers to what actually happened. From Acts we have the following passages:

    Acts 5:30 The God of our fathers raised up Jesus whom you murdered by "hanging on a tree".

    Acts 13:29 Now when they had fulfilled all that was written concerning Him, they "took Him down from the tree" and laid Him in a tomb.

    Combine these with the passages about Yeshu (Jesus) that are found in the Talmud:

    The Talmud's Sanhedrin 43a contains this passage:

    Jesus was hanged on Passover Eve. Forty days previously the herald had cried, “He is being led out for stoning, because he has practiced sorcery and led Israel astray and enticed them into apostasy. Whosoever has anything to say in his defense, let him come and declare it.” As nothing was brought forward in his defense, he was hanged on Passover Eve.

    From the Talmud's Sanhedrin 45b section:

    MISHNAH. "ALL WHO ARE STONED ARE [AFTERWARDS] HANGED": THIS IS R. ELIEZER'S VIEW, THE SAGES SAY: "ONLY THE BLASPHEMER AND THE IDOLATER ARE HANGED". A MAN IS HANGED WITH HIS FACE TOWARDS THE SPECTATORS, BUT A WOMAN WITH HER FACE TOWARDS THE GALLOWS: THIS IS THE VIEW OF R. ELIEZER. BUT THE SAGES SAY: A MAN IS HANGED, BUT NOT A WOMAN. WHEREUPON R. ELIEZER SAID TO THEM: BUT DID NOT SIMEON B. SHETAH HANG WOMEN AT ASHKELON? THEY RETORTED: [ON THAT OCCASION] HE HANGED EIGHTY WOMEN, NOTWITHSTANDING THAT TWO [MALEFACTORS] MUST NOT BE TRIED ON THE SAME DAY.

    GEMARA. Our Rabbis taught: [Scripture states,] And if he be put to death, then thou shalt hang him on a tree: I might think that all who are put to death are to be hanged: therefore Scripture states, For he is hanged [because of] a curse against God. Just as the blasphemer in question is executed by stoning, so "all who are stoned must be subsequently hanged": this is R. Eliezer's view. But the Sages say: Just as the blasphemer in question denied the fundamental principle [of faith]. So all who deny the fundamental principle [of faith]. Wherein do they differ? — The Rabbis employ [the rule of] the general and the particular; whilst R. Eliezer employs [the rule of] extension and limitation. 'The Rabbis employ [the rule of] the general and the particular.' [Thus:] And if he be put to death then thou shalt hang him, is a general proposition; for he is hanged [because of] a curse against God is the particular. Now, had these two clauses been placed beside each other, we should have said, the general includes nothing [but] the particular, i.e., only this man and no one else.

    Combining these passages indicates that the historical Jesus was stoned to death by the Sanhedrin, and then his body was hanged on a tree. The followers later took his body down from the tree as stated in the book called Acts. The gospel stories later tried to take the blame away from the Sanhedrin and place the execution on the Romans.

    July 1, 2010 at 3:13 pm |
  9. Mark (not the Bible one)

    The key message of the new testament is that you are saved by faith (not works). Several places in the new testament refer to the nail marks in Jesus' hands. So he was nailed to something, and he rose which is more important.

    July 1, 2010 at 3:12 pm |
    • kmichaels

      Actually, the key message is that you are given a chance by grace, and rewarded according to your works. There is about one scripture on being saved by grace and about one hundred different indications and or outright claims that you are rewarded according to your works.

      I find it ironic that the people in the camp that claims that you are not rewarded by works claim they are saved by the one work of believing in a particular name. To me, that sounds more like boasting than the person that takes the logical belief that you are rewarded according to the works of your lifetime.

      The grace of God is a given, but so is the fact that the scriptures are full of statements claiming that it is your works that you are judged and rewarded by. You know, the faith without works is dead concept.

      July 2, 2010 at 7:30 pm |
    • CatholicMom

      Mark (not the Bible one),
      No where in the Bible does it say you are saved by faith alone. Once you have faith by the grace of God you must do good works otherwise you are no different than satan. He believes but refuses to do good works. [Doing good works is doing the Father’s will].

      July 8, 2010 at 7:55 am |
  10. Carrie Mae

    Okay, if you don't believe, why would you care one way or another. If you are a believer, than the important thing is that Jesus died for our sins and salvation.

    July 1, 2010 at 3:12 pm |
    • Christ Loves You

      Al Right! Great Answer!

      July 1, 2010 at 3:14 pm |
    • Toby

      My response to that question is that I WANT TO LIVE! Religion and god is the most divisive, destructive thing that man ever invented, and people's ideas of what this god wants of us and which is the true god is going to end up destroying civilization one day. There is a large crater in the center of Manhattan that is a precursor to this event, should you doubt my veracity.

      July 1, 2010 at 6:39 pm |
    • dy

      quarry?? if there was no religion?? than im supposed believe that everything would be rainbows and butterflies!!!?? gimme a f-in break; people would replace religion with something else...why do people hate their own race??..i think they just hate themselves and are scared to death at what "JUST IS" and what that could mean 😦 !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Read some physics....physics and critical thinking classes is all i needed to realize there is a GOD....History is bull.... just because someone writes it down doesn't make it true.....be careful what you read...

      July 2, 2010 at 3:04 am |
  11. Christ Loves You

    Jesus Christ was indeed crucified by the Roman emperor, but the Roman emperor asked the people of Jerusalem if they would like jesus to be crucified, all shouted with agreement..."Yes." The Pharisees wanted Jesus crucified because they though he was an impostor and yet they feared this because they knew it was the truth, Jesus was the Messiah and the son of God!

    July 1, 2010 at 3:10 pm |
    • Sigh

      Jesus wasn't the Messiah. The Messiah refers to a descendant of the Davidic line who would reclaim Israel for the Jews and usher in an era of peace. Jesus didn't reclaim Israel from the Romans and did not usher in an era of peace. Since Jesus did not fulfill the Messianic prophecy, he is/was not the Messiah. If Jesus had been the Messiah and decided to die for all humanity rather than fulfill the Messianic prophecy, then the Messianic prophecy was false. If the Messianic prophecy was false then there was no Messianic prophecy for Jesus to fulfill. If there was no Messianic prophecy for Jesus to fulfill . . . and around and around we go . . . either way you swing it . . . Jesus wasn't the Messiah.

      July 1, 2010 at 11:42 pm |
    • Beth

      Sigh –
      If Jesus wasn't the Messiah then why did all of his disciples (excluding Judas, of course) die for their belief in him? What they saw was real or they would not have given their lives. Who would die for a lie? They saw the miracles, the believed the truth that he spoke and they saw him die. They knew he was the Messiah, otherwise they would have denounced him and avoided being martyred.

      July 2, 2010 at 9:07 am |
    • DakkonA

      Beth: So because someone is willing to die for a belief, that makes it true? I can't wait for those 72 virgins then.

      July 5, 2010 at 7:37 pm |
    • Voig Nederlander

      Beth:

      On September 11, 2001, 19 terrorist hijackers died for Allah. So, according to your logic...

      July 6, 2010 at 11:20 am |
  12. jpeay

    I am quite certain that if you are hung on something of wood, shaped like a cross, with your arms and feet nailed to it, then you are indeed "crucified." That is not reading inside or outside the lines of the text. It is simple reading comprehension.

    Let's also not forget that writing an eyewitness account 30yrs after an event to someone who saw it and was used to memorizing "very large" portions of text etc..in their lifetime is nothing. Especially considereing what we take as gospel about other famous people like Alexander the Great who don't have such accounts from people so close to them still in existence. The best we can come is within hundreds of years.

    July 1, 2010 at 3:08 pm |
    • Toby

      Perhaps, but people don't live and die by Alexander the Great. I've never met an Alexander the Great suicide bomber, or abortion clinic killer who claims that Alexander the Great told him to do it. Nor does a belief in Alexander the Great cause "thinking" adults to tell innocent children that they are born guilty, diseased, deformed, and in need of salvation by human sacrifice. I think your analogy needs a little of that "Intelligent Design" fine-tuning that we hear about so often.

      July 1, 2010 at 3:13 pm |
    • dalis

      Toby Is your problem with Christianity when it is practiced or when it is abused? That is, is it Christianity per se or Christians? I could also bring up the glaring inconsistency in the posts on this board – that people are willing to argue with a Christian, but do you notice that not a single person will respond to a post by a Muslim? And permit me to ask, why this must be when there are atrocities committed by adherents in the name of both their respective religions? There are precisely as many abortion clinic bombers on this page as there are terrorists. That is to say, not a single one.

      July 1, 2010 at 4:45 pm |
  13. Mary

    To me, his death and manner of his death has always been a bit overly ritualized, and is far less important than his living message. Glorifying his death and making it a noble sacrifice- to me- seems added on after the fact to make it seem more noble and glamorous when in fact he was being exectued for being a criminal. it is not glorous or noble, it was simply horrible and a painful way to die. i would rather celebrate this great man's life... than worship his death.

    July 1, 2010 at 3:08 pm |
    • let's be real

      That is only because you have no idea about the meaning of his death. Jesus came to die for our sins. What happened to him was already planned. Had he not died for would not even allow us to discuss what we are discussing right now.

      July 1, 2010 at 3:37 pm |
    • Mary

      Actually, I have heard that before. =-) I personally do not believe that Jesus died for my sins or anyone's sins. I believe this was added afterwards by the writers of the bible to make his death seem meaningful and purposeful. However his death was a senseless and cruel act and does not need to be dressed up to make it palatable.

      July 1, 2010 at 4:50 pm |
    • actually

      He did die for the sins of the world; that is why He was here. His life on Earth was the living fulfillment of the entire Old Testament history and prophecy.

      July 1, 2010 at 11:29 pm |
    • Mary

      I firmly believe God would never demand a human sacrifice, even of his own son, even to save the planet or people's souls. To do so is evil.

      It is more likely that Jesus was simply executed as a criminal and the early christians tried to make it out to be a sacrifice to prove his divinity via resurrection since that was what they were into at the time and could understand.

      July 2, 2010 at 12:57 am |
    • DakkonA

      Here's something I never quite understood: What sort of rules is God bound by that required him to have a son and then have him killed in order to absolve people of sins? Couldn't he do that on his own, directly?

      July 5, 2010 at 7:34 pm |
  14. Insan Mukmin

    It is interesting to note the viewpoints of other religions. The Quran mentions the crucifixion in verse 4:157-158 which is "They said : we killed Jesus Christ, the son of Mary, the messenger of God, but they killed him not nor crucified him but so it was made to appear to them and those who differ are in doubt and without knowledge and follow conjecture, but for a surety they killed him not. The truth is that God raised him (Jesus Christ) up to Godself for God is Almighty.

    July 1, 2010 at 3:07 pm |
    • Insane

      I wonder why no one has ever mentioned the gospel of Barnabas. Probably because it was disbanded and destroyed by Christians as it was very closely in line with what Quran says about Jesus' ascension to heaven.

      July 2, 2010 at 2:05 am |
  15. Gary

    bible as we know it was written by king james...many names and events changed...bible and quran are both just books nothing to get excited about..

    July 1, 2010 at 3:05 pm |
    • Franni

      Actually, King James commissioned the version bearing his name in order to remove the "popery" of the Catholic version in use before the break from Rome. James also wanted certain things changed to lessen the influence of women and commoners in the new Anglican church. Since the printing press went into widespread usage, James also wanted a definitive version that would not be changed from scribe to scribe as was once the common practice. The people he commissioned to revise the material also had their own agendas and the end result resembles the original material about as much as I resemble Marilyn Monroe.

      July 1, 2010 at 4:24 pm |
    • dalis

      Gary The Bible as I know it is a modern English translation of St. Jerome's Latin Vulgate translated from the original Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek in the early 5th century.

      July 1, 2010 at 4:33 pm |
    • Ravensun

      @Dalis – Actually, the New International Version is considered an authoritative modern translation, taken from the original Greek, Aramaic, and Hebrew.

      The "King Jimmy" and its myriad rewritings into the modern vernacular (Revised King James, New King James, Revised Standard, Good News, etc.) is nobody's idea of accurate.

      July 2, 2010 at 3:41 pm |
  16. racnem

    Do you see the kind of people that go around wearing a cross?????? Give me a break. If it was holy, it wouldn't be worn in such ways. And why would anyone want to wear the murder weapon of someone they love around their neck??
    Its a pagan idol!!!

    July 1, 2010 at 3:02 pm |
    • dalis

      racnem I'm sure there are people in the world who find your ways alien and strange too.

      July 1, 2010 at 3:55 pm |
    • urban scholar

      Maybe it has something to do with what was accomplished on the cross. Like many in Jesus' day you make the mistake of thinking the cross represents end. What happened through the cross, tree, stake, etc. causing His death, points to something greater. Therefore, in a strange paradoxical way, the cross, tree, stake, etc. actually means life for all those wearing it around their neck.

      July 2, 2010 at 12:03 am |
  17. Blazer

    I'm just kinda glad he believes there was a Jesus period and that he lived and died regardless of how.At least his life is not discounted.

    July 1, 2010 at 3:01 pm |
  18. Mary

    Why name calling? Your point could be made much better than by villainizing someone you don't agree with.

    July 1, 2010 at 3:01 pm |
  19. MS

    I don't see what the big deal is, crucified or not, there still does not exist any tangilble evidence that Jesus even existed. I'll worry about the cross when someone can prove he even lived. & Chirstians, if you dispute my assertion, then surely you must also believe that Mohammad ascended to heaven from the Temple Mount. A fairytale I don't buy either but if you believe everything you read...

    July 1, 2010 at 3:01 pm |
    • Nic

      I think Josephus (a Jewish historian, not a Christian) would disagree with your statement that Jesus is fictional. The fact is that Jesus is mentioned in other secular works, not just the Bible. Now, whether you choose to accept him as God is a very different matter. But first, you need to admit that he was, in fact, a real person.

      July 1, 2010 at 6:04 pm |
    • Jake

      Josephus' writings were altered at a later time. I think it's funny you think a bit of text survived thousands of years with political interference.

      July 1, 2010 at 6:47 pm |
    • Melissa

      Josephus hadn't even been born at the time when Jesus allegedly died. Someone who lived decades after the fact is not what historians would consider a reliable witness.

      July 1, 2010 at 6:49 pm |
    • please understand

      You will never hear/see/read a single scholar tell you that Jesus didn't exist. This is a head-in-the-sand elementary dismissal that people use so that, as you indicated, they feel justified in not considering him God. Let me ask you, can you name a single ordinary person who lived 2,000 years ago? Jesus was referred to by name in both Biblical and non-Biblical sources. There is zero basis for doubting his very existence. On the other hand, it is highly likely that no one will be able to prove that you and I existed 2,000 years from now. Do we not exist? Don't be afraid to believe the truth, which naturally flows about the one called Jesus who was and is very real.

      July 1, 2010 at 11:20 pm |
  20. Toby

    I think the story of Jesus is still an entertaining bit of mythology with or without the crucifixion. It makes no difference if he was nailed to a cross or impaled-the simple fact is that it has absolutely nothing to do with reality and everything to do with myth and legend.

    July 1, 2010 at 3:00 pm |
    • Toby

      Of course, all of this assumes that he even existed, which is unlikely if not irrelevant.

      July 1, 2010 at 3:01 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.