For reasons such as these, we must therefore rule out this erroneous attempt to pursue historical facts in the life of Jesus. It fails because it usually rejects the possibility of miracles in an a priorimanner, and also because it frequently rejects any investigation of miracle-claims at all. Additionally, its naturalistic approach to Jesus’ resurrection has failed, as even critics admit, and it also ignores the possibility that, if Jesus literally arose from the dead, then there is certainly a possible relevance for the theology that he taught. No Extra-New Testament Sources for Jesus
The last view that we will examine in this chapter is the often-mentioned opinion that everything we know about Jesus is recorded in the New Testament, and in the Gospels in particular. These are sometimes said to be our onlysources for the life of Jesus, meaning that ancient secular history knows nothing of him.
Actually, this position is compatible with any number of possible positions regarding the historicity of Jesus, including the two other views set forth in this chapter. On the other hand, it need not be a critical theory at all, in that believers could hold the view that the uniqueness of Jesus is increased because only Christian records know of his teaching and life.
But sometimes this position is held as a challenge to Christians. It may be asked that if Jesus made such an impact on the people of his time, then why do we know nothing of him from ancient (and especially secular) history?
Whatever the motivation or belief of the one holding this opinion, it certainly is held by a seemingly wide spectrum of persons. As one history text proclaims: Historical information about the beginnings of Christianity is unfortunately very limited. No external source, Jewish or classical, records the career of Jesus, and our entire knowledge comes from the subsequent writings of his followers gathered together in the Gospels. Modern scholarship no longer doubts the authenticity of these writings . . . (emphasis added by the authors).^52