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The Magis Christ Wiki: Why Believe in Jesus?

© Robert J. Spitzer S.J., Ph. D./Magis Institute July 2011


Welcome to the second part of the Magis Online Encyclopedia of Reason and Faith (Why Believe in Jesus?), a free research tool written and developed by Robert J. Spitzer, S.J., Ph.D. of the Magis Center of Reason and Faith. We respectfully ask that if you download, print, or use any of this information, you acknowledge the copyright and its author (see above).

This tool was designed for in-depth study and research. It is written to present the best of current research, probative studies, detailed analysis, and referrals to other significant books, journals, and research materials. It is carefully footnoted, and the references for those footnotes are given in the last unit (Unit II-N).

The Magis Center of Reason and Faith provides additional materials concerned with reason and faith. Our website ( provides free videocasts on God and Physics, live debates (e.g. Fr. Spitzer on Larry King Live debating Stephen Hawking, Leonard Mlodinow, and Deepak Chopra), fact sheets on God and Physics, and other materials. We host a Facebook discussion with 14,000 participants (click the big “F” on website). We have developed a five-hour high school curriculum on God and Physics (, a thirty part (35 minutes each) lecture series by Fr. Spitzer explaining his book New Proofs for the Existence of God: Contributions of Contemporary Physics and Philosophy , and a three credit hour college course based on the lecture series (accredited by Benedictine College) which may be taken by high school seniors as well as college students for transfer credit to their universities (GS 298 Physics and Metaphysics in Dialogue). For information on how to purchase the lecture series or enroll in the college course see If you are interested in other Magis products, services, and activities, subscribe to our online newsletter by adding your email to our contact list – simply click here.

If you directly reference the material from this encyclopedia, the proper footnote form is:

Spitzer, Robert. 2011. “the name of the article cited” in The Magis Online Encyclopedia of Reason and Faith -- Jesus Vol II (

This part of the encyclopedia concerns the historicity of Jesus. Visitors interested in topics primarily concerned with the existence of God, creation, evidence from physics, logic, and philosophy of mathematics, the transcendentals, and the response to atheism, suffering, and evil will want to visit the first part of this encyclopedia (Magis Online Encyclopedia of Reason and Faith – God). This part may be accessed through or from the Magis Center’s main website: The contents for this part of the encyclopedia (Why Believe in Jesus?) is given below. It answers the following questions: Why do we need revelation? Why believe in Jesus (in addition to a Creator)? What is the evidence for Jesus outside of the New Testament? What are the rigorous methods of establishing the historicity of the New Testament? What is the evidence for Jesus’ resurrection? What is the importance of Jesus’ gift of the Holy Spirit? What is the evidence for Jesus’ miracles? What did Jesus say about Himself? And, is God unconditional love?

How to Use This Tool?

This tool was designed to be accessed in two ways:

1. Reference to whole articles,

2. A subject search through the search window in the upper right hand corner of your screen.

With respect to the first way, please note that all twelve units in this part of the encyclopedia are titled with questions (e.g. What is the Evidence for Jesus’ Resurrection?). Each unit is a cohesive, systematic whole, which can be downloaded or printed partially or entirely. Several of the units are quite complex, and as a consequence, their contents are divided into multiple sections and subsections.

With respect to the second way of accessing the encyclopedia, you may search the whole encyclopedia by entering a word or a string in the search box in the top right hand corner of your screen. You will be given every mention of the term in its sentence context throughout this part of the encyclopedia. You may want to consult the list of Search Terms.

Please note that all twelve units of this part of the encyclopedia are systematically organized so that they can be read one after the other like a book. Graduate students and professionals may want to do this with a view to obtaining a comprehensive knowledge of the interrelationship among the topics.

Other Related Resources

There are seven major resources for the material in this part of the encyclopedia (though recourse is made to over 100 resources given in our References page). This part of the encyclopedia gives summaries of these very extensive, heavily footnoted, scholarly volumes. Readers wishing to delve more deeply into the topics of the summaries given here will want to make recourse to these volumes:

Brown, Raymond. 1994(a). An Introduction to New Testament Christology. (New York: Paulist Press).

---. 1994(b). The Death of the Messiah: From Gethsemane to the Grave: A Commentary on the Passion Narratives in the Four Gospels. (New York: Doubleday).

Jeremias, Joachim 1966. The Eucharistic Words of Jesus. (London: SCM Press).

---. 1971. New Testament Theology. Vol. 1. (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons).

Meier, John P. 1994. A Marginal Jew: Rethinking the Historical Jesus. Vol. 2. Mentor, Message, and Miracles. (New York: Doubleday).

Wright, N.T. 1996. Jesus and the Victory of God. Vol 2. (Minneapolis: Fortress Press).

---. 2003. The Resurrection of the Son of God. (Minneapolis: Fortress Press).

We hope you find this tool to be a source of information, analysis, and inspiration.

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