The witnesses to the historicity of Jesus PDF 1912 PDF book by Arthur Drews

Download The witnesses to the historicity of Jesus PDF 1912 PDF book by Arthur Drews

 The witnesses to the historicity of Jesus PDF


THE present work is an abbreviated and amended version, for English readers, of the volume which the author recently published as the second part of The Christ-Myth (English translation, 1910, Fisher Unwin).

The author described this part as "an answer to his opponents, with special reference to theological methods," and dealt in the early part of it with the theological critics who had assailed the results and the methods adopted by him. It will be seen that the fault of the method is entirely on the side of the opponents and that theologians can maintain the historical reality of Jesus on methodical arguments only when their methods are pre-arranged to lead to that result.

It is not the author's intention wholly to omit the points of this controversy, as in this respect, there is no difference between the theologians of Germany and those of other countries. The chief aim of the work, however, is to collect, examine, and refute the arguments which are advanced on the theological side for the historicity of Jesus. In spite of their arrogant behavior, the German theologians have not been able to produce one single decisive reason for the historicity of Jesus. It remains to be seen whether the English authorities can adduce better proof of the validity of the Christian belief than their German colleagues have done. Besides doing this necessary critical work, it is hoped that the book may also provide a better explanation of the rise of the Christian religion than historical theology, as it is called, has yet afforded.

In this respect, the author is indebted to the very stimulating and informing works of Mr. J. M. Robertson (Christianity and Mythology, Pagan Christs, and A Short History of Christianity), and to the American writer Professor W. B. Smith, whose works, Der vorchristliche Jesus and Ecce Deus, ought to be in the hands of every student of the Christian religion.

The question of the historicity of Jesus is a purely historical question, and, as such, it must be settled with the resources of historical research. This procedure is, however, in view of the close connection of the subject with emotional and religious elements, not inconsistent with the fact that the final decision belongs to an entirely different province, that of philosophy, which also controls subjective feelings. In this sense, the question of whether Jesus was a historical personage coincides with the question of the significance of personality in the general order of the world, and of the roots and motives of the inner religious life generally.

The controversy in regard to the Christ-myth is at the same time a struggle for the freedom and independence of the modern mind, and of science and philosophy. Let there be no mistake about it: as long as the belief in a historical Jesus survives we shall not succeed in throwing off the yoke of an alleged historical fact which is supposed to have taken place two thousand years ago, yet has profoundly affected the science and philosophy of Europe.

What a situation it is when the deepest thoughts of the modern mind must be measured by the teaching of Jesus, and referred to a world of ideas that has nothing to recommend it but the antiquity of its traditions and the artificially engendered appreciation of everything connected with it!


by Arthur Drews
Translated: Joseph McCabe

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