Full text of Paul Maier’s talk titled “The Real Jesus: New evidence From History And Archeology” at Iowa State University. In this talk, historian and author Paul Maier (Western Michigan University) presents historical evidence for Jesus.
Listen to the MP3 Audio here:
Paul Maier – Historian and author
I am trying to figure out why everybody came here this evening. I’m sure it was for the iPad or your professors made it a matter of faith and morals and passing the course to be here. I’m sure that’s it. In any case, Jesus will bring out anybody, I suppose, and everybody, and that’s the one I guess we should attribute this splendiferous attendance to, believe me.
It’s a fun topic because Jesus — the character of Jesus, has been manipulated, changed, caricatured, denied more than that of any other figure in history. You love Him or you hate Him, evidently. And so there are so many caricatures out there that I’d like to begin by the unreal Jesus, people playing what I like to call the Jesus game.
Here’s how you play it. You read the New Testament quickly and not very carefully. Then you put it away for a year or two, and then you let the facts mellow in your brain, and then you be very creative about it, and you draw another picture of Jesus, mostly not drawn from the Bible, and if the resulting image of Jesus is anything like you see in the New Testament, you lose the Jesus game.
But if you get something really off the wall, something over-the-top, something that could not simply — not possibly have been Jesus, then you win. It’s sensational. Everybody will talk about it. They’ll be the path to the bookstore and get your latest to put down on Jesus, and really it’s kind of unfair the way this historical figure has been treated most recently in the last century and a half, I guess. There’s been most of the critical attacks on Jesus. The debate, by the way, is changing.