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But it fell out of favor as the twentieth century progressed and was barely held by any scholars at all by the 1960s.
More recently the "Jesus Myth" hypothesis has experienced something of a revival, largely via the internet, blogging, and "print on demand" self-publishing services.
So Mythicist theorists then have to tie themselves in knots to explain how, in fact, a clear reference to Jesus being "born of a woman" actually means he born of a woman and how when Paul says Jesus was "according to the flesh, a descendant of King David" this doesn't mean he was a human and the human descendant of a human king.
These contrived arguments are so weak they tend to only convince the already convinced.
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.
Some others, however, are more reasonable at first glance.
Philo Judaeus was a Jew in Alexandria who wrote philosophy and theology and who was a contemporary of Jesus, and who also mentions events in Judea and makes reference to other figures we know from the gospel accounts, such as Pontius Pilate.
Broadly speaking, they fall into two main categories: (1) New Agers claiming Christianity is actually paganism rebadged and (2) anti-Christian atheist activists seeking to use their "exposure" of historical Jesus scholarship to undermine Christianity.
In fact, there is only one writer of the time who had any interest in such figures, who also had little interest for Roman and Greek writers.
He was the Jewish historian Josephus, who is our sole source for virtually all of the Jewish preachers, prophets, faith healers, and Messianic claimants of this time. Mythicists take comfort in the fact that the first of these references has been added to by later Christian scribes, so they dismiss it as a wholesale interpolation.
There are no references to an earthly Jesus in any of the earliest New Testament texts, the letters of Paul." Since many people who read Mythicist arguments have never actually read the letters of Paul, this one sounds convincing as well. While Paul was writing letters about matters of doctrine and disputes and so wasn't giving a basic lesson in who Jesus was in any of this letters, he does make references to Jesus' earthly life in many places.
He says Jesus was born as a human, of a human mother, and born a Jew (Galatians 4:4). He mentions how he was executed by earthly rulers (1 Cor.