Was Jesus Christ a Roman Fabrication?

Having recently read Reza Aslan’s excellent book, Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth, I find the suggestion that Jesus was a fiction created by the Romans to keep the Jews in check to be difficult, but not impossible, to accept. Aslan, despite making a strong argument that Jesus was an unsuccessful messiah (one of many) who became the impetus for other more ambitious Romans to base a new religion on, never doubts that Jesus was a real person.

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