Wednesday, August 29, 2012

On the Existence of the Water Walking Jesus

Maumee Bay State Park (Ohio)
In response to my recent "Flat-earthing After the Non-Existent Jesus" T.W. asks: "Just out of curiosity, can you point me in the direction of any hard concrete evidence that the miracle performing, water walking, Jesus of Nazareth really did exist?"

Yes. First, I'll point in a direction. Second, I'll say a brief word about water-walking. Third, a sentence about "hard, concrete evidence."


I suggest reading The Jesus Legend, The: A Case for the Historical Reliability of the Synoptic Jesus Tradition, by Greg Boyd and Paul Eddy. The mythicist position on the historical Jesus (the "legendary Jesus thesis) is sufficiently refuted here. 

I also strongly suggest Craig Keener's The Historical Jesus of the Gospels.

More briefly, Princeton's James Charlesworth's  The Historical Jesus: An Essential Guide.  

And Richard Bauckham's Jesus: A Very Short Introduction.  And Bauckham's brilliant Jesus and the Eyewitnesses: The Gospels as Eyewitness Testimony.  

See also some posts I've made along the way:

Is the Jesus-Story a Legend?

The Historical Existence of Jesus of Nazareth

Bart Ehrman - No Serious Scholar Doubts that Jesus Actually Existed

Did Jesus Actually Exist?

N. T. Wright on Jesus' Existence

Ehrman: Only "Internet Kooks" Think Jesus Never Existed

Bart Ehrman On the Mythicist Myth That Jesus Never Existed


On Water Walking

I recommend Craig Keener's brilliant, recent, and massive two-volume Miracles: The Credibility of the New Testament Accounts. Here, among other things, Keener debunks the Humean idea of the impossibility of miraculous events. This is important since Hume's philosophy largely informs the anti-supernaturalist's worldview. But Hume's philosophy is logically incoherent. Thus the historian can approach historical documents such as the Bible free of a pre-existing (and mostly unexamined) bias against the supernatural or miraculous. Hence, the historical possibility of water walking.

As for myself, I have read all the texts (and many more) that I've cited, plus I've read Hume and (arguably) all or most of the relevant texts against the logical possibility and then historicity of the miracle performing, historical Jesus. That is the direction I suggest if one wants to enter into this discussion, at least on an academic, non-googling level.

"Hard, concrete evidence"

All historical reasoning is inductive.