This is quite a claim. Please continue reading and find out why I am convinced of this.
As the New Testament contains the genealogy, birth, life, subsequent death and resurrection of Christ I will focus on the NT and not the Old Testament when dealing with historicity. It should also be said that I intend to use sources of information that use historiography to establish a documents historicity. A scientific method would be inappropriate as none of the events depicted in any historical document can be proven empirically, as those events can not be recreated in a controlled environment. In my readings, I have seen those who claim that the existence of Christ is "un-scientific" which is why I made this stipulation. If you are looking for scientific proof of history, you will find none.
There are 3 basic tests for historicity:
Date Written: 900 B.C. Earliest Copy: 400 B.C. Approximate Time Between Original and Copy: 500 years Number of Copies: 643 Accuracy of Copies: 95% (very good)
The Bible (Specifically the New Testament)
Date Written: 50-100 A.D. Initially the time between the oral and written records was thought to be 3 times this long, but later findings proved the actual amount of time to be within the 1st century A.D. Earliest Copy: c. 130 A.D. Approximate Time Between Original and Copy: Less than 100 years Number of Copies: 5,600 (19,000 copies in the Syriac, Latin, Coptic, and Aramaic languages, for a total of > 24,000 copies.) Accuracy: 99.5% (unheard of)
Let me take a moment to explain the statistics I have covered above:
The reason we compare the date written with the earliest copy of the manuscript is that oral record, although fairly reliable during this time as there were no printing presses so it was the only method available, has been deemed by critics to be susceptible to exaggeration and rumor over the course of a few hundred years. The fact that the time span between oral and written record of the NT is less than 100 years (some believe ~80 years) is significant in that most historians believe this to be more than adequate to dismiss claims of exaggeration by the writer. This is also significant because had the writer taken liberties with the facts, he would have more than likely been met with opposition and corrected by his contemporaries.
As stated above, the manuscript evidence (MSS) of the Bible far outweighs any other document we consider to be reliable. For comparison, your average history book used in public schools has about 2 dozen manuscripts.
What has been your overall impression of the Bible as a historical document?
How did you come to this conclusion? I ask this because a majority of people I have come across make claims of Bible inerrancy and contradiction but have never actually picked up a Bible and read it, but are simply repeating what they have heard.
If the Bible must be accepted as historically accurate, what implications are there for world religions that differ in their treatment of the person of Jesus Christ?
What implications would this hold for you personally?