Large numbers of atheists, humanists, and conspiracy theorists are raising one of the most pressing questions in the history of religion: "Did Jesus exist at all?" Was he invented out of whole cloth for nefarious purposes by those seeking to control the masses? Or was Jesus such a shadowy figure-far removed from any credible historical evidence-that he bears no meaningful resemblance to the person described in the Bible? In Did Jesus Exist? historian and Bible expert Bart Ehrman confronts these questions, vigorously defends the historicity of Jesus, and provides a compelling portrait of the man from Nazareth. The Jesus you discover here may not be the Jesus you had hoped to meet-but he did exist whether we like it or not.
As a leading Bible expert, Ehrman's supporters and critics alike have queried him about this nagging question and he has decided it's time to put the issue to rest. Yes, the historical Jesus of Nazareth did exist.
Known as a master explainer with deep knowledge of the field, Ehrman methodically demolishes both the scholarly and popular "mythicist" arguments against the existence of Jesus. Marshaling evidence from within the Bible and the wider historical record of the ancient world, Ehrman tackles the key issues that surround the mythologies associated with Jesus and the early Christian movement. Throughout Did Jesus Exist? Ehrman establishes the criterion for any genuine historical investigation and provides a robust defense of the methods required to discover the Jesus of history.
Who was Jesus? Was he a political revolutionary? An apocalyptic prophet? A proto-Marxist? A Jewish cynic philosopher? The Son of God? After establishing the historicity of Jesus, Ehrman identifies the most historically reliable sources for best understanding Jesus's mission and message and offers a compelling portrait of the person at the heart of the Christian tradition.