Debate: External Evidence for Jesus – Wrapping up the Debate

Josh McDowell and various life events have distracted me from the debate with Joe Hinman about the external evidence for the existence of Jesus. (Sorry for the delay, Joe.)

I wrote an introductory post about the debate:

Introduction to the Debate

Hinman presented five arguments for the existence of Jesus based on external (non-biblical) evidence:

Arguments 1 Through 4 (Talmud, Papias, Polycarp, Josephus)

Argument 5 (Web of Historicity)

I criticized the five arguments, typically writing one (lengthy) post on each of the five arguments:

Critique of the Talmud Argument

Critique of the Papias Argument

Critique of the Polycarp Argument

Critique of the Josephus Argument

Critique of the Web Of Historicity Argument

I also produced two posts on some principles and points by Hinman about historical investigation:

Critique of Five Principles of Historical Investigation

Critique of Various Points on Historical Investigation

Hinman has written posts with replies to my various objections to his five arguments:

In Defense of the Talmud Argument

In Defense of the Papias Argument

In Defense of the Polycarp Argument

In Defense of the Josephus Argument

In Defense of the Web of Historicity Argument

Hinman also responded to my critique of his principles of historical investigation:

In Defense of Some Principles of Historical Investigation

I do not plan on making any sort of detailed responses to Joe’s detailed replies, because that would (a) require more time and effort than what I’m willing to invest in the debate, and (b) would probably kill off any remaining interest among those who read the initial arguments by Hinman and my posts raising objections to his arguments.

I was planning to wrap up the debate with a single post, but I now think that a series of shorter posts would be a better approach. I plan to do a brief post on each of the five arguments, presenting my view of the strengths and weaknesses of each arguments in view of the detailed replies that Hinman has made to my objections, but without going into all of the specific points in his replies.  I will try to be brief, and I will try to be objective and less focused on “winning” the debate in these closing posts.