Jesus Never Existed
While this theory is no longer widely held in scholarly circles, it does continue to show up on sites on the internet. Books espousing this theory can still be found. An example is Bertrand Russell’s book, Why I Am Not a Christian, which is readily available in book stores. Russell says:
“Historically it is quite doubtful whether Christ ever existed at all, and if He did we do not know anything about Him, so I am not concerned with the historical Question, which is a very difficult one.”
Simply stated, this theory discounts the crucifixion and resurrection because, if Jesus never existed then, events surrounding His life never existed. The one making this argument will claim that Jesus is not mentioned anywhere but the Bible. However, the Jewish historian Josephus mentions Jesus at least twice. The first time he writes about Pilate condemning Jesus to the cross and that later, after His death, Jesus appeared to His followers. Josephus again mentions Jesus when he writes about the death of Jesus’ brother James.
In his book The New Evidence That Demands a Verdict,  Josh McDowell cites Cornelius Tacitus (the Roman Historian), Lucian of Samosata (a Greek satirist), Suetonius, Pliny the Younger, Thallus, and Phlegon. All of these writers mention Jesus and all are accepted by historians as reliable. While many of theses texts are difficult to find, it does not diminish the apologetic value of their writing. The New Testament is not the only reference to the fact that Jesus not only lived, but, also was crucified and appeared to His followers.
Josephus, Josephus The Complete Works, trans. William Winston, A.M. (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, Inc, 1998), 596.
Josh McDowell, The New Evidence That Demands A Verdict (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1999), 120 to 123.