There's no point, RJM, my old chum Wil makes 'doubting Thomas' look like a dyed-in-the-wool believer! The consensus of scholars across the board — inevitably with the exceptions in the US — is that He existed. We have the authentic Pauline letters, for a start, written within a couple of decades of his death. Someone who knew Peter, James and John. Someone who had to defend himself, and his claims, against the community. Luke is interesting because for so long people claimed he was wrong, and now archaeology is proving him right. Whilst there is scant evidence outside of the Christian community, that should come as no surprise. We have next-to-nothing on the Gnostics other than refutations by Irenaeus; we have nothing on the Mithraists. We have precious little for Julius Caesar, considering his place in history ... in Paul we have a first-hand account written within the lifetime of those who knew Him. Today, whatever their faith, if any, nearly all modern scholars consider the baptism of Jesus and his crucifixion to be historically certain. He states that these "two facts in the life of Jesus command almost universal assent" and "rank so high on the 'almost impossible to doubt or deny' scale of historical 'facts' they are obvious starting points for an attempt to clarify the what and why of Jesus' mission." John P. Meier views the crucifixion of Jesus as historical fact and states that based on the criterion of embarrassment Christians would not have invented the painful death of their leader. The criterion of embarrassment is also used to argue in favour of the historicity of the baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist as it is a story which the early Christian Church would have never wanted to invent. Based on this criterion, given that John baptised for the remission of sins, and Jesus was viewed as without sin, the invention of this story would have served no purpose, and would have been an embarrassment given that it positioned John above Jesus. Bart D Ehrman, who went from evangelical born-again to atheist, surveyed the arguments of the "mythicists" against the existence of Jesus since the idea was first mooted at the end of the 18th century. He then published his book "Did Jesus Exist?" which stated that He did. wiki here. The author states that the authentic letters of the apostle Paul in the New Testament were likely written within a few years of Jesus' death and that Paul likely personally knew James, the brother of Jesus (as well as Peter and John). Erhman is scathing in his criticism of the "writers, bloggers and Internet junkies who call themselves 'mythicists'", he discusses leading contemporary mythicists by name and dismisses their arguments as "amateurish", "wrong-headed", and "outlandish".