To start this post, let’s review the minimal facts about the historical Jesus by citing prominent non-Christian historical Jesus scholar E.P. Sanders of Duke University.
Below is a list of facts about the historical Jesus that are accepted by ancient historians – Christian, non-Christian, atheist.
These are compiled by non-Christian scholar E.P. Sanders:
From his book “Jesus and Judaism” (1985):
- Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist.
- Jesus called disciples and spoke of there being twelve.
- Jesus confined his activity to Israel.
- Jesus was a Galilean who preached and healed.
- Jesus engaged in a controversy about the temple.
- Jesus was crucified outside Jerusalem by the Roman authorities.
- After his death, his followers continued as an identifiable movement.
- At least some Jews persecuted at least parts of the new movement.
From his book “The Historical Figure of Jesus” (1993):
- Jesus was born c.4 BCE, near the time of the death of Herod the Great;
- He spent his childhood and early adult years in Nazareth, a Galilean village;
- He was baptized by John the Baptist;
- He called disciples;
- He taught in the towns, villages, and countryside of Galilee (apparently not the cities);
- He preached “the kingdom of God”;
- Around the year 30 he went to Jerusalem for Passover;
- He created a disturbance in the temple area;
- He had a final meal with the disciples;
- He was arrested and interrogated by Jewish authorities, specifically the high priest;
- He was executed on the orders of the Roman prefect, Pontius Pilate;
- His disciples at first fled;
- They saw him (in what sense is uncertain) after his death;
- As a consequence they believed he would return to found the kingdom;
- They formed a community to await his return and sought to win others to faith in him as God’s Messiah.
Now, the two facts in bold are denied by Muslim believers, for the simple reason that their holy book in Surah 4:157 denies the crucifixion of Jesus. As the list of nearly universally accepted facts above suggests, there is basically no PhD-credentialed ancient historian who holds the Muslim view. In particular, Jewish, secular and atheist historians would all grant that Jesus died of crucifixion.
Now, let’s see the story from the College Fix.
A student says he was suspended from Rollins College for challenging his Muslim professor’s anti-Christian assertions, including her claim that Jesus’ crucifixion never took place.
Twenty-year-old Marshall Polston, a sophomore at the private, Florida-based four-year college, said that the professor of his Middle Eastern Humanities class also told students that Jesus’ disciples did not believe he was God.
[…]The professor, Areej Zufari, as well as a campus spokesperson, could not be reached by The College Fix late Sunday. However, the Central Florida Post reports that it tried numerous times to obtain comment from Rollins College and Professor Zufari to no avail.
Polston claims the situation began after he challenged Zufari’s assertions about Jesus and his disciples. Polston said this challenge led Zufari to file a complaint with a campus dean, claiming he made her feel “unsafe.”
Next, Polston received a 52 percent on a major essay.
“I was upset, understandably. I’ve never gotten anything less than straight A’s, so I was really interested in figuring out how to possibly improve or at least understand the grade,” Polston told the Post.
[…]Zufari, for her part, posted on Facebook to the ACLU of Florida, complaining about an unnamed student that is “making my life hell this semester. This one is spewing hatred at me, de-railing class, and just sent me a hateful email threatening me…I want to know if there is a way to hold the individual responsible for his harassment and hate speech. Any ideas? Thank you!”
According to the March 24 suspension letter, Polston’s “actions have constituted a threat of disruption within the operations of the College and jeopardize the safety and well-being of members of the College community and yourself.”
Those alleged actions are not spelled out within the document. Nonetheless, Polston was given strict directions not to set foot on campus or have any contact with Zufari in the letter.
So let’s find out about this alleged harassment.
A campus safety report obtained by The College Fixstates:
“Student ______ stated to me that she looked out the back glass door of the classroom and saw Mr. Polston staring into the room. He briefly stopped then proceeded on his way. Campus safety was immediately notified and responded at 19:36 hours. A search was conducted but Mr. Polston was not found. Ms. Zufari’s students were upset and did not feel comfortable being in the class. Ms. Zufari dismissed her class early at 20:07 hours.”
Polston has completely refuted these claims, however, offering video footage of his whereabouts — at a restaurant over a half-hour away from the school.
It would not be the first time that free speech was deemed offensive, or that a fake hate crime was alleged.