- Another Reply
There are two sides to this question and you need to make the distinctions clearly.
- There is the Jesus of Faith
- Faith in Jesus creates the reality of life with Jesus
- The Gospels are faith documents
- The Gospels record the different faith community experiences of Jesus in writing. These experiences can be revived in what is called affective prayer or active meditation
- There is the Jesus of History
- The gospels are not primary historical documents
- The Apocrypha has more evidence than what is in the Bible
- The Canon of the New Testament excluded everything written about Jesus that was not in Greek. Well known Gospels exist in other languages, such as the Gospel of Thomas, The Gospel of Peter, the Gospel of Pontius Pilate
- There are few documents which meet the criteria for historicity 2000 years later, but that is because history was not then an academic nor a human endeavour
- There are Jospehus, Pliny and other records, which historians regard with suspicion
The First Answer
Based on the writings of the historian Flavius Josephus (37-101 AD)it is comonly believed that there was a historical Jesus who is Josephus records as being a "wise man" and a "doer of wonderful works". The deeper theological question remains, was he, as he and his followers claim, the son God?
However, all reputable historians are certain that Flavius Josephus did not exist, and that the writings ascribed to him were composed in Granada, Spain, in the early 16th Century. Which sort of blows the above argument out of the water.