Brodie’s response to Jesus’ historicity runs into two problems. First, he seems to create a false dichotomy between history and literature. If a narrative is literary, or borrows a literary strategy from an earlier source, and is historically inaccurate, then Brodie questions its historicity altogether. Yet all history is literary. It is not surprising that Jewish Christians related their story by recasting national stories that brought them hope. The sheer volume of both Christian and non-Christian references to Jesus suggest the opposite conclusion, that Jesus existed. Even though historians lack details about Jesus’ life, it does not require us to conclude that Jesus was a wholesale creation.
Second, Brodie’s solution cannot adequately account for Christian origins. Why would the church create such a literary invention? What was the basis for early Christian
theology? If they based this literary invention on an actual person, would it not be easier to conclude that person actually be Jesus? Brodie himself concedes: “Christianity emerged from Judaism, but if Jesus and Paul are essentially literary or symbolic rather than
historical, it is not clear how that emergence happened” (177). Later he writes: “It is not clear what sparked this development—what inspired those at the origins of Christianity” (182). The existence of Jesus presents the most historically plausible conclusion.
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