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The user wax eagle deleted my answer https://christianity.stackexchange.com/a/4921/282. His comment, to justify his action, is wrong. He wrote:

I'm deleting this because there is in fact supporting historical evidence that Jesus was an historical figure (see the works of Josephus and others). No one disputes this fact. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jesus (see second paragraph)

The claim: No one disputes this fact. is wrong. It is scientifically disputed. an abstract can be found here on Skeptics.

And here is a discussion about the historicity of Jesus on main which contains a link to said Skeptics topic.

As I said - not every Christian takes the bible literally. Many Christians only believe in a Christian spirit, but not in the miracles as fact. Eliminating deviant positions seems not justified to me - for the same reason, JEC-posts could be deleted for being in the wrong spirit. Or OEC-posts. Who decides what the right spirit is?

I protest and want my answer to be reopened.

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    There's not a chance you're going to get this undeleted without modifying it to reflect a valid Christian viewpoint. – Richard Dec 12 '11 at 22:51
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    You should have a look at Ian Scott's answer on the Skeptics topic. When dealing with ancient history, some sort of standard of evidence is required that accounts for the lack of the certainty that only modern recording devices can give. When the question is asked correctly, as "do the sources we have, weighed against the same standard of evidence we use to determine the historicity of other ancient people and events, support the historicity of Jesus?", the answer is yes. A different question can deliver a "no," but only by being overly simplistic or intellectually dishonest. – Mason Wheeler Dec 12 '11 at 23:00
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Ok first of all the claim that Jesus wasn't even a historical figure is pretty much not even open for discussion. I realize you are technically correct and there are some who dispute the fact, but even most of the strongest oponents of Christianity would at least argue that he existed in history.

More importantly however, this is a site about Christianity and answers are expected to represent the documented viewpoints of the various self proclaiming Christian traditions. Even more than that, each individual question is expected to be answered from the general perspective requested by the OP.

Christianity is resoundingly clean on the issue of Christ being a real person. We argue about what kind of person he might have been and how the whole God/man thing worked and what color his eyes might have been, but even the very word Christ-ianity revolves around having something to do with Christ. Even in a hypothetical religion where it's main figure was a figment of somebody's imagination and not a real historical figure at all, that figure's appearance would still be a valid question! And if you live in such a hypothetical world, you have have your Red Queen but this site isn't wonderland.

Answering that there was no such person as Christ to a question about Christian art with no references to documented Christian tradition is not a valid answer. I second the vote on wax eagles action and think the community is likely to bear us out. What do you say guys?

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    P.S. Thanks for bringing this up though. It's a great reminder that we really do need our question and answer guidelines. – Caleb Dec 12 '11 at 22:04
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    Well, I disagree in multiple ways. In order: 1.) I don't know most strongest opponents of Christianity, but I doubt you know them, and I doubt there is a statistical study what most of them argue. I think this is an argument from phantasy, from whishful thinking. 2. My viewpoint is not open for discussion, but a viewpoint. You might accept it or not, but I'm not forced to enumerate all possible viewpoints, and other answers don't present opposite viewpoints too. 3) There is no common viewpoint about the history of earth between YEC and OEC and people who think it is only a metaphor. – user unknown Dec 12 '11 at 22:12
  • ... For different viewpoints you may only show the different viewpoints side by side - that is a democratic discussion style. Tolerating the difference - not majority rules. The general perspective for how much science you accept, and where you close the door and say "enough" differs from Christ to Christ. If you don't like it, you shouldn't seek discussion. 5) There is not much written about the appearance of Christ in the bible, so what can be told about the color of his eyes? There is nothing written about that, and nobody made a drawing - so question answered. From a biblical view there... – user unknown Dec 12 '11 at 22:18
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    1) I am far from omnipotent but as the party under attack I am likely to have a more accurate idea about which adversaries's arguments weight than any individual adversary. The skeptics that argue against the historicity of Jesus as a figure usually end up doing Christianity a favor. 2) N/A, see above 3) I disagree with OEC folks but am going to have to defend them here. You do them a discredit because you don't understand their interpretive framework. However they interpret the text, at least they respect the text as the words of a real God to real men for a real purpose. – Caleb Dec 12 '11 at 22:20
  • ... is no substance to discuss his appearance. If it was important for Christianity, it would have been written into the bible, wouldn't it? There must be a reason that nobody mentions his outer style. So in the spirit of the bible, Jesus had no outer appearance, beside being a man, perhaps. – user unknown Dec 12 '11 at 22:22
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    4) This is not a full on democracy. The views of Hinduism or Islam or Humanism are not welcome answers to questions about Christianity. 5) The first part of that would actually be a valid answer. If you'd like to edit your answer to say that I'd be happy to undelete it. How his appearance can be not important to Christianity for other reasons without implying that he didn't exist. If you want to go on to conclude that there must not have been a physical Jesus you will need to cite some Christian tradition that holds that as doctrine in order to be valid. – Caleb Dec 12 '11 at 22:23
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    For the record I'm 100% in agreement with Caleb on this. – Waggers Dec 12 '11 at 22:42
  • So if you say, @Caleb, ad 4), that you have to be a Christ to accept that Jesus lived, you're effectively denying the objective fact that Jesus lived. You like to eat the cake and to keep it. – user unknown Dec 13 '11 at 0:38
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    5) The question about Jesus was not about tradition, but about correctness. It was not which tradition believes in blue eyes, and which not, but what the correct color was. Read it. – user unknown Dec 13 '11 at 0:49
  • Btw.: You needen't interpret my postings as an adversary. – user unknown Dec 13 '11 at 1:22
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    @userunknown plenty of folks who are not Christians believe Christ to be an historical figure. Historians of his period (Josephus for one) recorded parts of his life. Sure its an exaggeration to say its not disputed. But it is largely believed that he was a historical figure. – wax eagle Dec 13 '11 at 2:15
  • Sorry, @waxeagle, but why do you think this is relevant? – user unknown Dec 13 '11 at 5:07
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    @userunknown: Why do you think that's relevant? Your post is not deleted based on its technical accuracy or inaccuracy, it is deleted because it does not match the viewpoint of the OP nor does it reference any Christian tradition that holds such a doctrine, therefore it is irrelevant on a site about Christianity in the same way an answer about how to do something on Windows would be irrelevant to the Apple SE site. – Caleb Dec 13 '11 at 12:09
  • No, your example is wrong. If you wan't to know how Jesus really looked, you're not interested in a doctrine, but in reality. And if there are some doctrines, but no proven reality, than nobody knows how he looked like. Maybe it is an unforeseen consequence of the question, but it would be the accurate answer. And you may read wax eagles reason for deleting it - you can invent a new reason for deleting it, but claiminng that this new reason was the reason to delete it, would be a lie. – user unknown Dec 14 '11 at 20:47
  • @userunknown: Why do you have to make this so difficult? Of course I am not waxeagle and so I can't read his mind nor speak for him, but I have cited my own independent reasons upon review of your case and defended why I would delete your answer and hence why I haven't stepped in and un-deleted it. It's no lie. If you'd like to drop a comment on the question to raise that issue with the question itself, be my guest. I'm considering closing it anyway if we can't figure out how to make it more constructive. – Caleb Dec 14 '11 at 22:10
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As a Christian who does not take the Bible literally, I must respond to this:

As I said - not every Christian takes the bible literally. Many Christians only believe in a Christian spirit, but not in the miracles as fact.

Even in recognizing the Bible as a theological work and not a historical one, it's clear that there is a good deal of historical information contained in it. Allegory and history are not mutually exclusive. In fact, most of the work in historical Jesus research has been done by non-literalists, simply because they are the ones most interested in questioning whether this or that passage is rooted in history rather than uncritically accepting it all.

To read the gospels and not recognize that they are based on the life of an actual person, is to enter the world of conspiracy theory. There's no place for that in a fact-based question and answer site.

  • Replace "the gospels" with "Odysseus" and see, how wrong your conclusion is. – user unknown Dec 16 '11 at 19:58
  • @userunknown: In fact, many historians and archaeologists have spent time mining the Illiad and the Odyssey for historical information. Information from the Illiad led to the discovery of ancient Troy, for instance. – Bruce Alderman Dec 16 '11 at 20:35
  • Do you believe therefore, that the sirens must be true too? Shall I think of another example, or can you get the meaning with that one? – user unknown Dec 16 '11 at 21:07
  • No, you're completely missing my point. Individual claims from ancient texts can be evaluated independently of other claims in the same texts. While many scholars may doubt the miracle stories in the gospels, every historian who has looked at them recognizes Jesus as a historical figure. The only people who disagree are those from other disciplines (including, ironically, theologians). – Bruce Alderman Dec 16 '11 at 21:33
  • Can you name some of these historians? – user unknown Dec 17 '11 at 8:08
  • @user being that you are the one making the claim here that Jesus did not live I think the burden of proof is on your to find a credible historian who doesn't believe he exists. Or provide a sect that claims to be Christians who do not believe that Christ was a man who lived on earth. Find the second and integrate it into your answer and I will gladly undelete it. Until then it doesn't reflect a known Christian doctrine and I can't allow it here. – wax eagle Dec 18 '11 at 21:15
  • No. Historians don't talk about things, which aren't historically evident. You'll find Homer mentioned in Greek history, but not Odysseus. So you find the early Roman Church, which is a fact, but not Jesus Christ, who isn't. And I didn't make the claim, that Jesus didn't live, but that there is the possibility, that he didn't, which is a difference. Btw, your claim was: "No one disputes this fact." and is still the written reason, why the post was closed. – user unknown Dec 19 '11 at 5:28
  • @userunknown: Here's a few prominent historians who are not Christians but who have written about the historical Jesus: Michael Grant (Jesus: An Historian's Review of the Gospels); Robin Lane Fox (The Unauthorized Version: Truth and Fiction in the Bible); Will Durant (The Story of Civilization Vol III). The fact remains that you are unable to name even one historian who accepts the "Jesus myth" conspiracy theory. – Bruce Alderman Dec 19 '11 at 15:52
  • Well, @BruceAlderman, you could cite a million historians, which would still not prove the absence of everybody. If you had followed my link, you would have found the book, which is skeptic about a historical Jesus. From a theologican, by the way. And there is no need to joke about conspiracy theory, I guess. – user unknown Dec 19 '11 at 18:57
  • @userunknown: I've already acknowledged in a previous comment that some theologians doubt Jesus' existence. My point is that no historians doubt his existence. And when we're looking at questions of historicity, historians are the ones with the expertise to answer them. – Bruce Alderman Dec 19 '11 at 22:52
  • So you have evidence, that no histroian doubts the existence - is that right? :) – user unknown Dec 21 '11 at 17:42

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