100 Years Ago… – Tough questions for Christians


The Review of Religions (English), August and September 1920

Not only has Modern scholarship unreservedly repudiated the doctrine of the resurrection of Christ as a piece of pure mythology, but the very existence of the Christ of the Gospels, is now denied by an ever-increasing number of the foremost historical scholars of the world.

If Dr Marsh will read The Rise of Christianity by Paster Albert Kalthoff, The Christ Myth and The Witnesses to the Historicity of Jesus by Prof Arthur Drews, Pagan Christ, Christianity and Mythology, A Short History of Christianity by Hon John M Robertson, The Golden Bough by Sir James G Frazer, Ecce Deus by William Benjamin Smith, The Christ by John E Ramsburg and the article on The Gospels by Professor Paul W Schmiedel in the Encyclopaedia Biblica, he will find that these works (which are only a few of their kind) written by men who are among the most profound scholars of the world, show conclusively that there is no historical reason for believing that such a person as Jesus Christ ever lived among men.

The truth is that the orthodox view of Christ is everywhere breaking down before the advance of critical research.

In a lecture on Jesus in Modern Criticism delivered in 1907, Professor Schmiedel observed that in the preceding five or six years the theory that Christ is a myth had won greatly increased acceptance among scholars … Among those most competent to judge the conviction is rapidly growing that Christianity took its rise not from an individual leader but as a social evolution.

If Christ really lived why is it that the history of the age should know nothing whatever of him? Why is it that no contemporary historian has even recorded his name? … And mark you, so far as Christianity is concerned it is not a question as to whether there was a Jesus, a man, it is a question as to whether or not there was Christ a God. One Jewish peasant more or less is not the question at issue at all. Christianity requires that history shall proclaim a God, and yet history knows nothing whatever either of Jesus the Man, or Christ the Deity. (From the Truth Seeker)

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