The Historicity of Jesus

Michael Whitty (1920)

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The question of whether such a personage as Jesus Christ ever lived as recounted in the New Testament, or whether the stories told of him are intended to bear a mythical or mystical interpretation, has exercised the minds of many scholars for hundreds of years. In this magazine there have appeared recently a number of articles and letters dealing with this problem in which strong evidence, though perhaps of a negative kind, has been cited against the literal interpretation of the Gospels; and a good deal has also been written showing that name, story and logia can be traced back to periods long antedating the Christian era.

In addition to this the story bears a remarkably close correspondence with Astrological phenomena and the mystical teachings of the inner schools of India, Chaldea and Egypt. In fact, if anyone is able to approach this question and examine the evidence for and against with an unprejudiced and open mind, we think he will conclude that the probabilities are decidingly against the historic truth of the Gospel narratives.

This is, however, a finding which cannot be conclusively proved and is moreover one most repugnant to all good

Christian people who are outraged at the thought that the/love, devotion and adoration of billions of people given to the person of the Nazarene for the last nineteen hundred years has no better foundation than allegory or symbol.

The great majority of such people are not scholars; they are not prepared to throw over their cherished faith because some learned men say that faith is misplaced. There is not the same confidence reposed in the scholar as there is in the scientist, so the consequence is that it is more or less a waste of time and energy to ask them to investigate the subject.

Moreover we do not believe that it matters very much