There's no evidence Jesus actually existed

There's no “historical Jesus,” there's just a Roman historian who repeated a Christian belief without bothering to look into it.

The “evidence” for him is really bad. Even Tacitus normally cited sources, but neglected to do so in the case of Jesus, obviously not finding the matter important enough to look into. The contempt with which he treats the Christians makes it highly likely he was annoyed by even having to talk about them, let alone research their claims. He was writing about the fire of Rome as part of a longer history of Rome; he wasn't a historian of the various cults who were in Rome at the time.

With regard to Josephus – an extremely unreliable historian due to his being enslaved by the Flavian gens that was waging a war against Judea and then freed in exchange for service as an informant against the Jews – there are two passages that mention Jesus, one of which has been thoroughly discredited (the one that calls him “the Messiah”). The other talks about “James, the brother of Jesus, who was called Christ”. If he's referring to him as a biological brother of Jesus, that would certainly be a strong testament to the idea of a “historical Jesus” who was fundamentally different from the one talked about by Christianity, and therefore cast into doubt everything believed by Christians – but there's no reason to believe this description was literal, since describing someone as “ἀδελφός” in a non-literal sense was completely normal. And if it's non-literal, this is not an attestation of Jesus's existence at all, especially since the passive participle is similarly vague here: did he mean at the time of James, or during the alleged life of Jesus?

So this is the hill I'm dying on: there's no more “historical Jesus” than there is a historical Dionysus. Call me a pretentious weirdo pseudo-historian all you want, but also, look into the claims yourself, and see if they actually make any sense. I dare you.

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