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Is There Any Archaeological Evidence for Jesus?

“Don, is there any archaeological evidence that Jesus ever walked this earth?”

“Great question!  I think the best evidence consists of early written accounts about Jesus.”

“I guess I was thinking more like old buildings where he lived, or ruins, or his possessions…”

“You mean actual things that were clearly related to Jesus…sometimes the word artifacts is used for that kind of old stuff.”

“Yes, I guess so.”

“Well, let me ask you something.  If, in 200 years, your life were the subject of study, and nobody knew anything about you, which would tell someone more about your life: pieces of your clothing, or letters to you from your sister?”

“I think the letters would.”

“And what if they found letters from several of your friends talking about you, and business records with your name on them?”

“Ok.  So you’re saying that the written accounts about Jesus are better than archaeological artifacts?”

“Yes, if I had to choose, because the artifacts don’t necessarily come with labels, while the manuscripts available are filled with information about Jesus by those who knew him. We have a wealth of New Testament documentary evidence that can be traced back to a common thread of information about Jesus. In fact, except for a fringe among New Testament scholars, the huge majority of them—including the non-Christian ones like Marcus Borg, or John Dominic Crossan—acknowledge the existence and basic storyline of Jesus’ existence.”

“Ok. I see. So you lean mainly on the writings about Jesus.”

“Yes.”

“Are there any artifacts too…about Jesus?”

“Yes. I know of a few. 2005 was a big year for archaeology about Jesus. At Megiddo, east of Haifa, Israel, inmates at a prison accidentally unearthed an ancient church floor consisting of an intricate mosaic inscription saying ‘To the God Jesus Christ’. Also—I think in 2005—the Pool of Siloam was discovered during a municipal sewer project. Remember from John 9, that this was the pool that Jesus told the blind man to go wash in after Jesus put mud on his eyes. Also, the famous Pontius Pilate inscription, discovered in the ‘60s, is in the Jerusalem museum. And it was only in 2007 that the tomb of Herod the Great was discovered.”

“Wow. I will go home and google some of these things. I really knew nothing about the subject. That’s why I asked.”

References: Luke 7:17; Acts 18:24-26

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