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Modern Secular Historians and The Bible

Not only do Christian scholars and historians find The Bible to be historically reliable (of course they would) but also some secular historians as well.  Not every historian makes their religious beliefs (or lack of them) known but the historians below make it clear they are not Christian but have determined the The Bible to historically reliable.  Not just any Historian with a degree but well respected secular historians in their field.

EP Sanders, Arts and Sciences Professor of Religion at Duke University, Jesus and Judaism and One of the most respected and influential New Testament scholars wrote The Historical Figure of Jesus.  He is a Fellow of the British Academy. In 1966 he received a Th.D. from Union Seminary in NYC. In 1990 he received a D. Litt. from the University of Oxford and a Th.D. from the University of Helsinki.
"I shall first offer a list of statements about Jesus that meet two standards: they are almost beyond dispute; and they belong to the framework of his life, and especially of his public career. (A list of everything that we know about Jesus would be appreciably longer.) Jesus was born c 4 BCE near the time of the death of Herod the Great; he spent his childhood and early adult years in Nazareth, a Galilean village; he was baptized by John the Baptist; he called disciples; he taught in the towns, villages and countryside of Galilee (apparently not the cities); he preached ‘the kingdom of God’; about the year 30 he went to Jerusalem for Passover; he created a disturbance in the Temple area; he had a final meal with the disciples; he was arrested and interrogated by Jewish authorities, specifically the high priest; he was executed on the orders of the Roman prefect, Pontius Pilate."
"Historical reconstruction is never absolutely certain, and in the case of Jesus it is sometimes highly uncertain. Despite this, we have a good idea of the main lines of his ministry and his message. We know who he was, what he did, what he taught, and why he died. ….. the dominant view [among scholars] today seems to be that we can know pretty well what Jesus was out to accomplish, that we can know a lot about what he said, and that those two things make sense within the world of first-century Judaism."
Maurice Casey, Emeritus Professor of New Testament, University of Nottingham and atheist: wrote Jesus of Nazareth
"He argues that those (generally non-experts) who think otherwise base their conclusions on ludicrously late dates for the Gospels, incorrect comparisons with pagan myths, tampering with ancient texts to remove inconvenient evidence, poor application of accepted historical methods and disregard for the work of major scholars in the field."
Michael Grant, historian of the Roman Empire and worked at Ankara University, chairman of Humanity (Latin) at Edinburgh University, vice-chancellor of the University of Khartoum, vice-chancellor of Queen's University of Belfast, and an expert of ancient Greek, Roman and Israelite history: wrote Jesus: an historian's review of the Gospels
"we can no more reject Jesus' existence than we can reject the existence of a mass of pagan personages whose reality as historical figures is never questioned. ..... In recent years, 'no serious scholar has ventured to postulate the non historicity of Jesus' or at any rate very few, and they have not succeeded in disposing of the much stronger, indeed very abundant, evidence to the contrary."
Grant and Casey add in addition to Sanders:
  • Jesus preached repentance, forgiveness and the coming of the kingdom of God in rural and small-town Galilee;
  • Jesus was known in his day as a healer and exorcist (Casey says he was a folk healer);
  • Jesus predicted his death and resurrection and he believed his death would be redemptive;
  • Jesus’ tomb was really empty and/or his disciples “saw” him (in what sense is uncertain) after his death.

M A Powell wrote The Jesus Debate

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