Stephen Law has kindly posted his recent paper, "Evidence, Miracles, and the Existence of Jesus", Faith & Philosophy 28:2 (April 2011), pp. 129-151. Here's the abstract:
The vast majority of Biblical historians believe there is evidence
sufficient to place Jesus’ existence beyond reasonable doubt. Many
believe the New Testament documents alone suffice firmly to establish
Jesus as an actual, historical figure. I question these views. In
particular, I argue (i) that the three most popular criteria by which
various non-miraculous New Testament claims made about Jesus are
supposedly corroborated are not sufficient, either singly or jointly, to
place his existence beyond reasonable doubt, and (ii) that a prima
facie plausible principle concerning how evidence should be assessed – a
principle I call the contamination principle – entails that, given the
large proportion of uncorroborated miracle claims made about Jesus in
the New Testament documents, we should, in the absence of independent
evidence for an historical Jesus, remain sceptical about his existence.
I should say that I myself am quite persuaded that Jesus is a historical figure.
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