quote:In other words, how could such a magnificient personage spring out of thin air? It seems, given the fact that Jesus is the most widely discussed figure in human history, that there is on some level, veracity to support at the least, His existence.
Odysseus was the most widely discussed figure in ancient times, therefore he existed - according to your argument.
quote:Why is that people challenge the historicity of Christ, but not Plato? Is there corroborating evidence that Plato ever lived? Why does everyone take Plato's existenece for face value, but challenge Jesus?
Because we have evidence for Plato - including writings from his own hand. Because we have no evidence for Jesus - just legends based on the OT and pagan themes.
The evidence you cite for Jesus does not stand up to scrutiny - none are contemporary, none are certain.
The famous Testamonium Flavianum in the Antiquities of the Jews is considered probably the best evidence for Jesus, yet it has some serious problems : * the T.F. as it stands uses clearly Christian phrases and names Christ as Messiah, it could not possibly have been written by the Jew Josephus (who remained a Jew and refused to call anyone "messiah" in his book which was partly about how false messiahs kept leading Israel astray.), * The T.F. comes in several versions of various ages, * The T.F. was not mentioned by any of the early CHurch fathers were reviewed Josephus. Origen even says Josephus does NOT call Jesus the Messiah, showing the passage was not present in that earlier era. * The T.F. first showed up in manuscripts of Eusebius, and was still absent from some manuscripts as late as 8th century. * (The other tiny passage in Josephus is probably a later interpolation.) An analysis of Josephus can be found here: http://www.humanists.net/jesuspuzzle/supp10.htm
In short - this passage is possibly a total forgery (or at best a corrupt form of a lost original.) But, yes, it COULD just be actual evidence for Jesus - late, corrupt, controversial but just POSSIBLY real historical evidence.
Roughly 80 years after the alleged events (and 40 years after the war) Tacitus allegedly wrote a (now) famous passage about "Christ" - this passage has several problems however: * Tacitus uses the term "procurator", used in his later times, but not correct for the actual period, when "prefect" was used. * Tacitus names the person as "Christ", when Roman records could not possibly have used this name (it would have been "Jesus, son of Joseph" or similar.) * Tacitus accepts the recent advent of Christianity, which was against Roman practice (to only allow ancient and accepted cults and religions.) * This passage is paraphrased by Sulpicius Severus in the 5th century without attributing it to Tacitus, and may have been inserted back into Tacitus from this work.
This evidence speaks AGAINST it being based on any Roman records - but merely a few details which Tacitus gathered from Christian stories circulating in his time (c.f. Pliny.) So, this passage is NOT evidence for Jesus, it's just evidence for 2nd century Christian stories about Jesus. http://oll.libertyfund.org/ToC/0067.php
THALLUS (date unknown)
We have NO certain evidence when Thallus lived or wrote, there are NONE of Thallus' works extant. What we DO have is a 9th century reference by George Syncellus who quotes the 3rd century Julianus Africanus, who, speaking of the darkness at the crucifixion, wrote: "Thallus calls this darkness an eclipse". But, there is NO evidence Thallus made specific reference to Jesus or the Gospel events at all, as there WAS an eclipse in 29. This suggests he merely referred to a known eclipse, but that LATER Christians MIS-interpreted his comment to mean their darkness. (Also note the supposed reference to Thallus in Eusebius is a false reading.)
So, Thallus is no evidence for Jesus at all, merely evidence for Christian wishful thinking.
PLINY the Younger (c.112CE)
About 80 years after the alleged events, (and over 40 years after the war) Pliny referred to Christians who worshipped a "Christ" as a god, but there is no reference to a historical Jesus or Gospel events. So, Pliny is not evidence for a historical Jesus of Nazareth, just evidence for 2nd century Christians who worshipped a Christ. http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/pliny.html
TALMUD (3rd C. and later)
There are some possible references in the Talmud, but: * these references are from 3rd century or later, and seem to be (unfriendly) Jewish responses to Christian claims. * the references are highly variant, have many cryptic names for Jesus, and very different to the Gospel stories (e.g. one story has "Jesus" born about 100BC.) So, the Talmud contains NO evidence for Jesus, the Talmud merely has much later Jewish responses to the Gospel stories.
Nearly one-and-a-half CENTURIES after the alleged events, Lucian satirised Christians, but : * this was several generations later, * Lucian does NOT even mention Jesus or Christ by name. So, Lucian is no evidence for a historical Jesus, merely late 2nd century lampooning of Christians.
quote: But for the time being, I would like to eradicate the notion that He never existed.
Of course you would, because that is what you believe.