Will there exist a scholarly consensus in the year 3000 affirming the existence of Jesus as a historical figure?
Basic
27
1.7k
3000
76%
chance

Jesus of Nazareth is a figure who, according to Christian belief, lived during the first century CE and whose life and teachings form the foundation of Christianity. Despite a consensus among most historians today that Jesus existed as a historical figure, the lack of direct historical sources from the time has led to a small minority of scholars known as mythicists challenging this consensus. A significant shift in this scholarly consensus, either for or against the historical existence of Jesus, could have profound implications for our understanding of religious history and the origins of Christianity. This prediction market will track whether the scholarly consensus in the year 3000 will maintain that Jesus existed as a historical figure.

Will there exist a scholarly consensus in the year 3000 affirming the existence of Jesus as a historical figure?

Here are some definitions of key terms:

  1. Scholarly Consensus: In the context of this prediction market, "scholarly consensus" will be defined as the prevalent viewpoint shared by at least 85% of active scholars in the fields relevant to the historical study of Jesus, namely religious studies, history, and archaeology. Active scholars will include only people or AIs who have dedicated a significant fraction of their life studying the subject in the academic sense — as opposed to spiritual or other senses — and are recognized by others as having extensive knowledge or talent in the relevant historical matters.

  2. Existence as a Historical Figure: For the purposes of this market, "Jesus existed as a historical figure" will mean that a person named Jesus lived during the first century CE, was recognized by many as a moral or spiritual teacher, and was executed under the direction of Pontius Pilate, even if other details or supernatural elements associated with his life are subject to historical and theological debate.


This question will be resolved according to the best available evidence, and best judgement of whoever is assigned to resolve this question. If in the year 3000, there exists a scholarly consensus that Jesus existed as a historical figure, then this question resolves to YES, and otherwise to NO. If there is no consensus either way, it resolves to NO.

Get Ṁ600 play money
Sort by:

To quote Wikipedia: "Virtually all scholars of antiquity agree that a historical human Jesus existed...The only two events subject to "almost universal assent" are that Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist and was crucified by order of the Roman Prefect Pontius Pilate."

I'm not entirely sure why this would change at any point in the next 977 years.

predicts YES

@evergreenemily There's a big debate outside of academia. Many people allege that current historians of Jesus are biased, and that the evidence for the existence of Jesus is actually very weak.

@MatthewBarnett The argument there is based on the desire to antagonize Christians, and the major source is one individual of whom you are probably aware.

There will likely be very few Christians in 3000, so this won't be relevant anymore and there is no reason to think any meaningful number of scholars will doubt that he existed.

predicts YES

@DavidBolin It's dubious that the only reason why people doubt that Jesus existed is to antagonize Christians. Have you looked into the evidence yourself? I see credible reasons for doubt.

@MatthewBarnett the main person promoting this view is Richard Carrier and I am very sure that is his motive.

@MatthewBarnett Specifically his interpretation of Paul is insane.

predicts YES

@DavidBolin Putting aside Richard Carrier's personal motives, I notice that there are approximately two main non-Christian documents that people cite for the existence of Jesus. The first, from Josephus, is recognized by nearly all scholars as being at least partially fabricated by later scribes. The second, from Tacitus, doesn't reveal the source of his knowledge, and therefore could have simply been repeating rumors. Both of these documents were written many decades after Jesus died, with Tacitus writing in circa 116 AD, more than 80 years after Jesus died. It seems wrong to be very confident that Jesus existed if these are the strongest non-Christian sources scholars currently have to offer.

@MatthewBarnett No.

I think the existence of Christianity in the form that it obviously existed in the years 300, 200, and 100 is inconsistent with the thesis that Jesus did not exist, regardless of documents.

@MatthewBarnett Why demand non-Christian sources though? I'm sure Scientologist sources say many false and implausible things about L. Ron Hubbard, but I feel like they'd still be good evidence he existed. The Gospels are not that far in time from his (alleged) life, Q if it existed was earlier still, and they seem to have grown out of an oral tradition. Paul, who is a contemporary, talks about him being crucified. He also says he met "the brother of the Lord". There are ways of interpreting that stuff away, but the most obvious explanation is "he met the brother of the cult's founder, and also the cult's founder was crucified, a plausible punishment for an anti-Roman religious rebel at the time'. I think I am probably less confident here than the scholars who insist there is "no doubt"-it's not impossible rumors started to spread about a person who had never actually existed-but I'd have thought this justifies being well over 50%. In comparison, if someone proved the Josephus passage hadn't been tampered with after all tomorrow, I don't think my credence in historicity would go up much. Even if Josephus referred to him it could just be rumors that started in the absence of a real person.