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What about
the Bible?

The Hannibal-makes-Jesus-exist postulate

They say that if you believe in Hannibal then you have to believe in Jesus.

This is an argument for the existence of the man, not the Christ. But without the Christ, where's the man?

"Most historians accept that he existed" is the creed, the standard in public discourse. But most historians don't study Jesus. The claim is probably surreptitious.

Historians of antiquity make generous assumptions because the source material is limited and flawed. The presumption, in the "Hannibal vs. Christ" argument, seems to be that we have to accept that Jesus lived if our historiography is to have any integrity. Scholarship is hostage, in this argument.

And maybe the scholarship is wrong. It's certainly not rigorous, not scientific.

What's sure is that apart from the mythical — the fictional — there is nothing distinct about the biography of Jesus. Indeed, the most conspicuous and only certain fact about him is the absence of contemporaneous record.

When the story of Jesus is disabused of the claims that are not real, there is no story. It's extraordinary to claim that Jesus existed.