ARCHAEOLOGY MAY HAVE CAST DOUBT on the historicity of such Old Testament characters as Moses and Abraham, but what of the central figure of the New? Was Jesus of Nazareth a real person who trod the dusty roads of Palestine in the 1st century? Or were his life, death and resurrection, as recorded in the four Gospels, events that belong entirely to the realm of faith?

Science has neither proved nor disproved the existence of the itinerant preacher and wonder worker who Christians believe was the Son of God. After all, writes biblical scholar R.T. France, "no 1st century inscription mentions...

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