Full text of Dr. William Lane Craig’s talk titled ‘Who was Jesus, Really? Searching for the Historical Jesus’ in which he unpacks questions surrounding Jesus’ resurrection and the historical accuracy of the biblical claims. Columbia University, 2009.
Dr. William Lane Craig – American analytic philosopher, Christian apologist
Thank you very much. It’s a delight to be with you this evening. This has been my first visit to Columbia University, and I’ve really enjoyed your beautiful campus as well as getting to know many of you. I especially enjoyed the dialogue last night with Shelly Kagan, and I’m looking forward to our discussion together this evening.
Twenty centuries after His death, Jesus of Nazareth continues to fascinate thinking men and women. From The Da Vinci Code to The Passion of the Christ to the Talpiot Tomb, Jesus continues to capture the public’s imagination. For centuries, Jesus has been the most influential person in human history, and He refuses to go away.
BUT WHO WAS JESUS OF NAZARETH, REALLY?
Was He God incarnate, as Christians believe? Or could the historical Jesus, as many Jewish people believe, have been simply a Jewish holy man? Or are Muslims correct in thinking Him to have been no more than a human prophet sent by God? Or could certain radical contemporary critics be correct that Jesus was a sort of social gadfly, the Jewish equivalent of a Greek cynic philosopher?
Well, perhaps the best way to get a start at these questions is to ask what Jesus thought about Himself. If you want to know who someone is, then the logical place to begin is to ask him who he thinks himself to be. Who did Jesus think that He was?
Well, immediately we confront a problem. Since Jesus Himself did not leave behind any writings of His own, we’re dependent upon the works of others for knowing what Jesus said and did.