I left the following text as a comment on this video interview of Dr. Robert M. Price by David LeBlanc:
The New Testament writers may have made some things up and gotten other things wrong, but I’ve read and studied their writing, and on their face it’s clear they believed Jesus was a historical person. If the writers didn’t know him, they knew people who claimed to have been disciples.
Paul, writing maybe as early as 15-20 years after Jesus’ crucifixion, explicitly claims to have only known the ‘risen’ Christ’s teachings thru scripture and revelation, a remarkable and absurd-sounding claim that should have gotten both him and Jesus relegated to the waste bin of history with the other ‘loser messiahs’ that Dr. Price mentioned. If there was something different in this case, that could explain the massive difference in outcomes. We only know of these ‘loser messiahs’ today due to the intense interest in Jesus’ historicity, or lack thereof.
Dr. Robert M. Price alleged that Philo, visiting Jerusalem 40 A.D. and writing about the Essenes, would have written about the Christian cult, let alone Jesus, had they existed. If he had written about them, it would be evidence, but not having it isn’t evidence of Jesus’ non-existence.
Dr. Price noted the Essenes, but omits discussion of the “Teacher of Righteousness” and the parallels to John the Baptist and/or Jesus:
Dr. Price mentions vegetation myths about dying-rising gods and the like that predate Jesus, but this isn’t evidence or a serious argument about the historicity of Jesus; Christian C.S. Lewis uses this to claim God sent humankind ‘good dreams’ before sending his Son.
Dr. Price mentions the “interpolation” in Josephus’ Antiquities Book 18, but this word choice implies he accepts the existence of an original text from Josephus, changed by a Christian copyist for theological reasons. However, Dr. Price ignores this, and instead implies Josephus said nothing at all about Jesus in this passage.
Dr. Price omits mention/discussion of this other important statement about Jesus in Book 20 of Antiquities, which states James being stoned for a law violation was the brother of Jesus, specifying which Jesus he was referring to with the ‘Messiah’ moniker, which is unlikely to be an interpolation – see article at source linked:
“Being therefore this kind of person, Ananus, thinking that he had a favorable opportunity because Festus had died and Albinus was still on his way, called a meeting of judges and brought into it the brother of Jesus-who-is-called-Messiah … James by name, and some others. He made the accusation that they had transgressed the law, and he handed them over to be stoned.”13
Dr. Price omits mention of Josephus’ passage in Book 18 about John the Baptist, which corroborates a number of details reported in the Gospels, e.g. baptism for remission of sins in exchange for repentance and pursuit of righteousness, and his execution by Herod:
Dr. Price omits Tactitus mention of Nero blaming the ‘Chrestians’, associating a “deadly superstition” with ‘Christus’ executed by Pilate under Tiberius. That he was writing in 116 CE about an event in 64 CE means he’s removed from the events by decades, but it doesn’t mean his report is unreliable. Indeed, most historians accept this as evidence for Jesus’ historicity.
So who was Jesus? Good question.