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He came close to crushing the Roman Republic, was one of the greatest generals of all time and was famed throughout the ancient world for centuries after his death down to today. So if someone as famous and significant as Hannibal has no surviving contemporary references to him in our sources, does it really make sense to base an argument about the existence or non-existence of a Galilean peasant preacher on the lack of contemporary references to him? So while this seems like a good argument, a better knowledge of the ancient world and the nature of our evidence and sources shows that it's actually extremely weak. This is because we could expect such a meeting to be mentioned in those documents.Yet how many contemporary mentions of Hannibal do we have? Some "Jesus Mythicists" have tried to argue that certain ancient writers have mentioned Jesus and did not, and so tried to make an argument from silence on this basis.If Philo had mentioned Anthronges and Theudas, or Hillel and Honi or John the Baptist, but didn't mention Jesus, then a solid argument from silence could be made.But given that Philo seems to have had no interest at all in any of the various people Jesus, the fact that he doesn't mention Jesus either carries little or no weight.In 1909 the American "freethinker" John Remsberg came up with a list of 42 ancient writers that he claimed "should" have mentioned Jesus and concluded their silence showed that Jesus ever existed.But the list has been widely criticised for being contrived and fanciful.Bart Ehrman, Maurice Casey, Paula Fredriksen) and Jews (e.g. Many of the arguments for a Mythic Jesus that some laypeople think sound highly convincing are exactly the same ones that scholars consider laughably weak, even though they sound plausible to those without a sound background in the study of the First Century.For example: This seems a good argument to many, since modern people tend to leave behind them a lot of evidence they existed (birth certificates, financial documents, school records, etc.) and prominent modern people have their lives documented by the media almost daily.
Its heyday was in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, when it seemed to fit with some early anthropological ideas about religions evolving along parallel patterns and being based on shared archetypes, as characterized by Sir James Frazer's influential comparative religion study (1890).
Worse still, the more obscure and humble in origin the person is, the less likely that there will be any documentation about them or even a fleeting reference to them at all.
For example, few people in the ancient world were as prominent, influential, significant and famous as the Carthaginian general Hannibal. So if someone claims their grandfather met Winston Churchill, yet a thorough search of the grandfather's letters and diaries of the time show no mention of this meeting, an argument from silence could be presented to say that the meeting never happened.
Scholars who specialize in the origins of Christianity agree on very little, but they do generally agree that it is most likely that a historical preacher, on whom the Christian figure "Jesus Christ" is based, did exist.
The numbers of professional scholars, out of the many thousands in this and related fields, who don't accept this consensus, can be counted on the fingers of one hand.
Both claim that the consensus on the existence of a historical Jesus is purely due to some kind of iron-grip that Christianity still has on the subject, which has suppressed and/or ignored the idea that there was no historical Jesus at all.