Here is an interview (LANG=DE) with the German Theologian Hermann Detering, who wrote the book „Falsche Zeugen. Außerchristliche Jesuszeugnisse auf dem Prüfstand“ (False witnesses, exochristian Jesus witnesses on trial).
You can't take the bible for granted, because it isn't a historic book, but a statement of faith.
It's hard to tell, when it was written and by whom. Most author names, mentioned, are wrong.
Some parts of it are first mentioned in the beginning of the 2nd century, but from witnesses, who are themselves faked.
There are 6 main witnesses outside of Christianity:
- the Jewish historian Josephus
- the Roman historian an authors
- a purported mail from a father to his son
- another document from 3rd hand
The central statements of these witnesses about Jesus would fit on a postcard. These witnesses have been massively overestimated in the past. They where treated as if they were independent source. However, in reality, they where redacted by Christians, which is of little surprise, since copying at that time took place by handwriting.
In younger times, there were 3 new texts discovered:
- the Judasgospel
- the post 1945 discovered handwritings in
They didn't help much in the finding, whether Jesus was a historic person. In the Qumran text, he doesn't take place at all, and in the gnostic literature of Nag Hammadi, he is mostly a mythologic figure.
The whole question of historic Jesus isn't new, and was debated before WWII in Germany, but abandoned afterwards. But today, there are new methods to analyse scriptures. With modern databases, it is possible to find favourite words for different authors. So were words and phrases found in texts, which weren't used in the time, the document supposedly origins. This shows, that the texts were redacted.
An example is the „Testimonium Flavianum“ from Josephus. He mentions Jesus as a wise man. But early, Christian literature from that time doesn't mention that witness, as one would expect. The christian historian Eusebius is the first to mention the witness of Josephus. Unfortunately, his wording and phrases are very similar to the wording and phrases of Josesphus.
The roman historian Sueton mentions a man called 'Chrestos', who shall, under imperator Claudius (reg.: 41-54) , agitated the Jews of Rome to furor. Then Claudius displaced the Jews from Rome. But Jesus is said to died under imperator Tiberius (reg.: 14-37), and Christus is not Chrestos, which was a common name for slaves in Rome.
Then there is the Roman historian Tacitus, who wrote about the burning of Rome under Nero, as filmed in Hollywood. Isn't this a witness of early prosecution of Christs? Well - early Christian scriptures don't talk about this important event. Only later writings from about 300-400 BC talk about it, and again, the words and phrases of the reporting Tacitus, and his 'source', Sulpicius Severus are very similar.
Today, historians doubt, that Nero burned Rome.
So the conclusion is not only, that the existence of Jesus is questionable, but the existence of an early Christianity in the first century too. First witnesses are from the mid of the second century, namely imperator Marc Aurel.
More to be read:
Hermann Detering: Falsche Zeugen. Außerchristliche Jesuszeugnisse auf
dem Prüfstand. Aschaffenburg: Alibri 2011. 243 Seiten, kartoniert,
Euro 19.-, ISBN 978-3-86569-070-8