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Before the European Enlightenment, virtually all New Testament experts assumed that handed-down stories about Jesus were first recorded by eye witnesses and were largely biographical. That is no longer the case.
Assuming that the Jesus stories had their beginnings in one single person rather than a composite of several—or even in mythology itself—he probably was a wandering Jewish teacher in Roman-occupied Judea who offended the authorities and was executed. Beyond that, any knowledge about the figure at the center of the Christian religion is remarkably open to debate (and vigorously debated among relevant scholars).
Where was Jesus born? Did he actually have twelve disciples? Do we know with certainty anything he said or did?
As antiquities scholarship improves, it becomes increasingly clear that the origins of Christianity are controversial, convoluted, and not very coherent.
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