In an old thread
I have made reference to the Mark Craig's case supporting Jesus historicity as the ''Best Case''
left in circulation at the present. In the his words:
When one goes to the writings of the Church Fathers, there appears to be no substantive evidence that a heresy was circulating claiming Jesus was a purely mythological figure rather than a real person.
The Church Fathers write prolifically about particular heresies that challenged the official teachings of the Church regarding the existence and nature of Jesus. Within these writings there is no clear reference to a heresy circulating that Jesus was not a real person. Those who deny Jesus existed often postulate that the first Christians believed Jesus was merely a cosmic saviour figure who communicated to believers through visions. Christians subsequently added the apocryphal details of Jesus’ life (such as his execution under Pontius Pilate) in order to ground him in first century Palestine. However, if the mythicist theory is true, then, at some point in Christian history there would have had to have been a break or outright revolt between new converts who believed in a real Jesus and the apparent “orthodox” establishment view that Jesus never existed. The curious thing regarding this theory is that the early Church fathers, such as Irenaeus, were passionate about eradicating heresy and never once mentioned the mythical heresy regarding the nature of Jesus.
Many of the ancient Fathers of the Church wrote massive treatises criticising heretics; however, in all of their writings the heresy that Jesus never existed is never mentioned. In fact, no one in the entire history of Christianity, not even early pagan critics like Celsus or Lucian, seriously argued for a mythic Jesus. In fact, Celsus presumed the existence of an Historical Jesus but argued against his divinity.171 The mythical Jesus was a later development, emerging principally in the 18th century.
Other heresies, such as Gnosticism or Donatism, were like that stubborn bump in the carpet. You could stamp them out in one place only to have them pop up again centuries later. Nevertheless, the mythicist ‘heresy’ is nowhere to be found in the records of the Early Christian Church. There does appear to be, therefore, a robust tradition corroborating the existence of Jesus and renders plausible the historical axiom that Jesus was a real person and not merely a fabrication.
Now, I should conclude, taking again the same premise of Mark Graig, that
...if the mythicist theory is true, then, at some point in Christian history there would have had to have been a break or outright revolt between new converts who believed in a real Jesus and the apparent “orthodox” establishment view that Jesus never existed
...and the expected evidence of that ''ouright revolt''
assumed the particular form of a genuine rejection of the same idea of the name ''Jesus''
for the dying-and-rising Christ, even as the name of ''a wise man''
possessed by the divine Christ.
Not only the idea that a wise man was possessed by the divine Christ was rejected;
not only the idea that Christ was called someway 'Jesus' was rejected;
but also the same idea that the mere earhtly (IF
earthly) hologram of Christ on the earth was known as 'Jesus' was rejected.
Someway, the historicist 'corruption' (or 'degrading heresy'
, in the eyes of these mythicist Christians who were reluctant to become historicists) was seen at work behind the use of the name 'Jesus'
in any his possible Christological use.
This fact has clearly some implications.
Was the name 'Jesus' part and parcel of the historicist Gospel (and not
of a previous mythicist belief) ?
Or was the name 'Jesus' especially used for the Christ among the historicist Judaizers, so to mark definitely their aggressive post-70 propaganda in the eyes of the more radical anti-Jewish Gnostics ?
Or yet was the name 'Jesus' rejected by the Gnostic Ophites only after the fact becoming inevitably self-evident
that the name 'Jesus' served to describe - in the eyes of the stupid hoi polloi
- the name of the ''historical'' man Jesus coming from the Judea and Jerusalem
, by eclipsing totally the previous mythicist tradition about the name 'Jesus' ?
Under the mythicist paradigma, the point 3
is the more expected possibility.
doesn't work since Jesus appears in the oldest forms of the cult.
doesn't work since Jesus appears also in Gnostic Gospels.
is the more probable possibility since it may explain why the mythicist tradition survived just in a Gnostic
sect (and not
in a Jewish-Christian sect) that despised the god of the Jews
: the binomial 'historical Jesus' = 'Judaizing Gospel' was in their eyes a consolidated fact. They threw the ''baby'' out (=the possibility of historicizing Jesus along Gnostic and anti-Judaizing lines
) with the ''dirty water'' (=the Judaizing threat behind the continued acceptance of the name Jesus