The methodological points to start my solution are the following:

Panecillo, Quito, Ecuador
Panecillo, Quito, Ecuador

1.  Accepting an anthropological constant (similar human behaviour 2000 years ago and today), refusing Jesus’ singularity,

2. Paying careful attention to the contemporary historical back­ground,

3.  Accepting that the religiosity of Antiquity is the basis for early Christianity,

4.  Re-evaluating the gospels as poetry and part of the literary discourse of the 1st century CE,

5. Accepting that historical processes can be described logically and through argument.


Hermann Samuel Reimarus (1694-1768) exposed this contradiction: he applied the criteria

Old Town, Quito, Ecuador
Old Town, Quito, Ecuador

of plausibility and agreement with sources to examine the biblical story of Jesus. He proved 1. that the biblical narratives of Jesus and his disciples are often not plausible, and 2. that there are a lot of contradictions between the teachings of Jesus and those of the apostles, and so of the church.

Reimarus recommended the following solution, which is critical of the church: that the resurrection was a fraud by the disciples, who wanted to continue making their living as itinerant preachers.

The problem brought up by Reimarus was accepted as a scientific /scholarly problem and led to the German Leben-Jesu-Forschung of the 19th century. But his solution was rightly rejected by subsequent scholars.



The Bible tells the history of Jesus and his disciples in the style of contemporary poetry. It mixes historical facts

Old Town, Quito, Ecuador
Old Town, Quito, Ecuador

with fictional material such as anecdotes and miracles, and at the important places supernatural powers and persons are brought into play to substantiate the significance of the events.

Until the Enlighten­ment people intuitively understood this way of telling stories about Jesus: nobody saw a contradiction between religious truth and historical facts.

In the modern sciences since the 16th century the idea of truth has been connected with verifiability and repeatability in experiments. In the historical sciences since the Renaissance, and especially in the 18th century, plausibility and agreement with sources have gained acceptance as criteria of truth.