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Top 10 Most Influential Jews In History

The Jewish people have a long and colorful history. They are the source of some of the greatest thinking in history – religious and scientific. They have suffered many tribulations and have been the cause of a few as well. They have been central figures in much of the unrest in the middle east where the nation of Israel was created by the United Nations in the 20th century. This is a list of the greatest Jews – those who have (for good or bad) influenced the world.

10

David Ben-Gurion
16 October 1886 – 1 December 1973

David Ben Gurion

David Ben-Gurion was the first Prime Minister of Israel. Ben-Gurion’s passion for Zionism, which began early in life, culminated in his instrumental role in the founding of the state of Israel. After leading Israel to victory in the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, Ben-Gurion helped build the state institutions and oversaw the absorption of vast numbers of Jews from all over the world. Upon retiring from political life in 1970, he moved to Sde Boker, where he lived until his death. Posthumously, Ben-Gurion was named one of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Important People of the Century.

9

Niels Bohr
7 October 1885 – 18 November 1962

Niels Bohr

Niels Henrik David Bohr was a Danish physicist who made fundamental contributions to understanding atomic structure and quantum mechanics, for which he received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1922. Bohr mentored and collaborated with many of the top physicists of the century at his institute in Copenhagen. He was also part of the team of physicists working on the Manhattan Project. Bohr married Margrethe Nørlund in 1912, and one of their sons, Aage Niels Bohr, grew up to be an important physicist who, like his father, received the Nobel prize, in 1975. Bohr has been described as one of the most influential physicists of the 20th century.


8

Gustav Mahler
7 July 1860 – 18 May 1911

Gustav Mahler

Gustav Mahler was a composer and conductor, born in Bohemia (formerly part of the Austrian Empire, currently located in the Czech Republic), and identified throughout his life as a German-speaking Austrian. Mahler was best known during his own lifetime as one of the leading orchestral and operatic conductors of the day. He has since come to be acknowledged as among the most important late-romantic composers, although his music was never completely accepted by the musical establishment of Vienna while he was still alive. Mahler composed primarily symphonies and songs; however, his approach to genre often blurred the lines between orchestral song, symphony, and symphonic poem.

7

Baruch de Spinoza
November 24, 1632 – February 21, 1677

Spinoza

Baruch or Benedict de Spinoza was a Dutch philosopher of Portuguese Jewish origin. Revealing considerable scientific aptitude, the breadth and importance of Spinoza’s work was not fully realized until years after his death. Today, he is considered one of the great rationalists of 17th-century philosophy, laying the groundwork for the 18th century Enlightenment and modern biblical criticism. By virtue of his magnum opus, the posthumous Ethics, in which he opposed Descartes’ mind–body dualism, Spinoza is considered to be one of Western philosophy’s most important philosophers.

6

Sigmund Freud
May 6, 1856 – September 23, 1939

Freud-1

Sigmund Freud, born Sigismund Shlomo Freud, was an Austrian psychiatrist who founded the psychoanalytic school of psychology. Freud is best known for his theories of the unconscious mind and the defense mechanism of repression and for creating the clinical practice of psychoanalysis for curing psychopathology through dialogue between a patient and a psychoanalyst. Freud is also renowned for his redefinition of sexual desire as the primary motivational energy of human life, as well as his therapeutic techniques, including the use of free association, his theory of transference in the therapeutic relationship, and the interpretation of dreams as sources of insight into unconscious desires.

5

Maimonides
March 30, 1135 – December 13, 1204

Maimonides-2

Moses Maimonides, also known as the Rambam, was a rabbi, physician, and philosopher in Spain, Morocco and Egypt during the Middle Ages. He was the preeminent medieval Jewish philosopher whose ideas also influenced the non-Jewish world. One of the central tenets of Maimonides’s philosophy is that it is impossible for the truths arrived at by human intellect to contradict those revealed by God. Although his copious works on Jewish law and ethics were initially met with opposition during his lifetime, he was posthumously acknowledged to be one of the foremost rabbinical arbiters and philosophers in Jewish history. Today, his works and his views are considered a cornerstone of Jewish thought and study.


4

Albert Einstein
14 March 1879 – 18 April 1955

Albert Einstein 1947A

Einstein was a German-born theoretical physicist. He is best known for his theory of relativity and specifically mass–energy equivalence, E = mc², the most famous equation of the twentieth century. Einstein received the 1921 Nobel Prize in Physics “for his services to Theoretical Physics, and especially for his discovery of the law of the photoelectric effect.” Einstein published over 300 scientific works and over 150 non-scientific works. Einstein is revered by the physics community, and in 1999 Time magazine named him the “Person of the Century”. In wider culture the name “Einstein” has become synonymous with genius.

3

Abraham
2000 BC to 1825 BC

Abraham3Isaac

Jewish, Christian and Muslim traditions regard Abraham as the founding patriarch of the Israelites, Ishmaelites and Edomite peoples. He is widely regarded as the patriarch of Judaism and monotheism. Abraham means “High Father”, coming from the Aramaic words “Aba Rama”. Judaism, Christianity and Islam are sometimes referred to as the “Abrahamic religions”, because of the progenitor role Abraham plays in their holy books. According to Genesis, Abraham was brought by God from Mesopotamia to the land of Canaan. There Abraham entered into a covenant: in exchange for sole recognition of God as supreme universal deity and authority, Abraham will be blessed with innumerable progeny.


2

Moses
1393 BC – 1273

Moses1

Moses is a Biblical Hebrew religious leader, lawgiver, a Levi, prophet, and military leader, who wrote the Torah. He is the most important prophet in Judaism. According to the book of Exodus, Moses was born to a Hebrew mother, Jochebed, who hid him when a Pharaoh ordered all newborn Hebrew boys to be killed, and he ended up being adopted into the Egyptian royal family. After killing an Egyptian slave-master, Moses fled and became a shepherd, and was later commanded by God to deliver the Hebrews from slavery. After the Ten Plagues were unleashed on Egypt, he led the Hebrew slaves out of Egypt, through the Red Sea, where they wandered in the desert for 40 years, during which time, according to the Bible, Moses received the Ten Commandments.

1

Jesus
7–2 BC — 26–36 AD

Sacred

Jesus of Nazareth is the founding figure of Christianity and Christianity is the religion that shaped Europe, and much of the world as a consequence. As the largest religion in the world, there is no doubt that Christianity is still making an impact to this day. The principal sources of information regarding Jesus’ life and teachings are the four canonical gospels. Most critical scholars in the fields of history and biblical studies believe that ancient texts on Jesus’ life are at least partially accurate, agreeing that Jesus was a Galilean Jew who was regarded as a teacher and healer. They also generally accept that he was baptized by John the Baptist, and was crucified in Jerusalem on orders of the Roman Prefect of Judaea Pontius Pilate, on the charge of sedition against the Roman Empire.

This article is licensed under the GFDL because it contains quotations from Wikipedia.

Listverse Staff

Listverse is a place for explorers. Together we seek out the most fascinating and rare gems of human knowledge. Three or more fact-packed lists daily.

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  • Emar

    Just wondering what harm Jesus had done to some people?

    • jay

      are you kidding me me? that is a thoughtless question. i ll give you one thing right now THE CRUSADES. check how many muslims and christians were slaughtered during that war in the name of christ.
      not mention more wars are fought in the name of god than peace or anything else. i am not just talking about the last 100 years. i am talking about the last 2,500 years.

      • bigkahuna

        That wasn’t Jesus, that was a ton of deluded fanatics. Jesus preached love, respect, and peace. And F.Y.I. Muslims don’t worship Jesus.

        • avi

          Yeah, I’m not Christian and I don’t even think of Jesus as a good person, but the Crusades are not in line with his teachings by any stretch of the imagination.

  • qwerty017

    Nice. So of all of the Jewish people in history, the top 3 are imaginary. I guess the Jewish people really haven't done anything worth caring about.

    • decaf

      they are not imaginary they definitely existed, but it is up to you to decide if they were miracle workers or religioius figures. there is scientific proof that they existed. you sir, are ignorant

      • avi

        There is really not much evidence for their existence.

  • Toolhead

    Jesus didn’t exist though.

    • decaf

      really? even jews, hindus, buddhists, and atheists agree that Jesus did exist. they may not agree that he was a religious leader and performed miracles, but there is definitely proof that he existed. ask anyone with half a brain

  • Donna

    Glad to see who made number one spot. But all very amazing men. Nice list. ;)

  • YO-YO

    not a great list!!!

  • Why do you have to include imaginary figures? D’oh! Einstein is definitely the number 1 on the list, not THAT guy.

  • Donna

    Errm.. Toolhead, me begs to differ.

  • Oops I forgot Einstein’s dates – I will add them now :)

    • eco23

      You're the creator of the list? Nice one but I think Karl Marx is by far much more influential than Gustav Mahler.

  • Clouds

    Me too. Is Albert Einstein still alive? I see no date of death. Just kidding.

  • Okay – Einstein’s dates are added. Thanks Clouds :)

  • Toolhead

    Some very big names are Jews, I never knew Bohr was a Jewish.

  • Toolhead: I believe there are quite a number of great Jewish minds that were involved in physics in the 20th century. One of my favorites is Richard Feynman who wrote a fantastic book – full of humor called Surely You’re Joking Mr Feynman. I must give a tip of the hat to Kiwiboi who introduced me to it!

  • Ingi

    Enrico Ferni?

  • caramellee

    This is an interesting list as usual. I have heard of all of these people but never thought about thier religion, especialy Spinoza and Einstein. On the other hand, I don’t think about it because really at the end of the day does it matter what religion a person follows?

  • navi_blue

    just because u think they don’t exist doesn’t mean you can bad mouth them…let’s just give each other some respect…we choose to believe in something you don’t, that’s our right..you choose not to believe, it’s your loss…just a piece of advice, sometimes those people who deny or badmouth other, are actually just trying to convince themselves of the things they are saying.you know, it’s not bad to believe, it’s just bad when in the end, you’ll regret it…good luck with life…

    • so the religious can preach about religion but non religious people should keep it to themselves? thats absurd

      • decaf

        we preach because we hope to get people to join our religion because we know that when you practice religion AS IT IS SUPPOSED TO BE PRACTICED then good things will come. and dont start with me about the KKK, Jihads, the Crusades or any of that. those people were wrong in the head and the few dont speak for the many. we definitely dont appreciate it when you shit all over our beliefs. it is a very important part of our lives

  • caramellee: some of these people were not Jews by religion, but Jews by blood. You can be just one of the two or both of the two :)

    navi_blue: well said – we should all respect each other’s views – even if we don’t agree with them!

  • qwerty017: re-read item 1: “Most critical scholars in the fields of history and biblical studies believe that ancient texts on Jesus’ life are at least partially accurate” – you won’t find many historians who deny that Jesus existed. Whether you believe the things he did or not is one thing, but to simply deny he existed when the majority of historians state he did is pointless.

  • navi_blue

    thanks…that’s just my point of view…it’s bad enough that israel is being bombed everyday…

  • navi_blue

    some people need to read and research….it’s hard when you say something and finding out you’re wrong…

  • qwerty017

    Huh. Lets see. I did the usual Wikipedia research, since that is what this is based upon. For the top 3 spots, none have ever been shown to have existed. All of them were written about long after they were dead, or in the case of Jesus, even the earliest writings about him, Letters from Paul, only say that he saw Jesus in a vision. Even the scholars that say they might have existed say that the bible is a fictionalized account of their lives. What that means is that Moses, Abraham, and Jesus weren’t the ones who were influential. It was the people that wrote the bible.

  • Horror

    Although I’m non-religious, I think the inclusion of Abraham, Moses and Jesus is very cool, as they are important historical figures.

  • qwerty017

    Whoops. Didn’t read the FAQ. I won’t hold a conversation in the comments. Sorry about that.

  • navi_blue

    horror: exactly my point….
    don’t just say anything out of your ignorance…

  • Peadaddy

    I am a bit dissapointed to see three religious figures at the top of the list, many don’t believe they existed? Also you forgot Krusty the Clown

    • jimmyboy

      they did exist. and there is no way you could win an argument that Jesus, Moses, and Abraham were/are not INCREDIBLY influential. Abraham is the basis of Christianity and Islam, the worlds two biggest religions, and Judaism, another large religion. there has been so much done in the world, both bad and good, that resulted out of those three men. Im an atheist and I still believe that

  • caramellee

    jfrater: Thanks for the clarification.

  • navi_blue

    God bless….

  • jajdude

    Laser guns on the list, g, but where’s Jerry Seinfeld?

  • Great list. I knew Jesus was going to be Numero Uno, and was thrilled to see Him there. (And no, I’m neither Jewish nor Christian) :) Albert Einstein is also well placed.

    I was half expecting Steven Spielberg to be on this list, and was definitely dreading to find Shia Labeouf here. Thank God for small mercies. :)

    Cool list.

    • eco23

      I was expecting Karl Marx!!

  • astraya

    Saul/Paul of Tarsus got a brief mention in one of the comments. Possibly he should be on the list. I don’t think Mahler was “influential”. Post-Romanticism basically died about 3 years after he did. (I love his music, though.)

  • Doodlebug

    I can’t quite seem to get my head around this:
    Moses, Abhraham and Jesus didn’t exist because…….? What?
    a) They’re religious figures and, ya know, religion, like sucks man.
    b) They are religious figures featured in the bible and therefore can only be a work of 100% fiction, as per the rest of the bible.
    c) They are from, like, aaaaaaaaages ago and there’s no proof that they even existed.

    To state that the last three didn’t exist, completely disregarding any religious importance, is historically inaccurate, naive and, well, frankly only serves to demonstrate your inability to examine the evidence in an unbiased and logical way.
    I don’t believe in the miracles of Jesus and I am far more inclined to look at the scientific evidence behind the plagues of Egypt, but I would never dream of being pig-headed enough to deny the existence of these people based on my own personal vendettas against religion (which sound to me like they’re coming from angsty teenagers! Anyone else?!)

    • TheGuyWhoIsn’tHere

      Indeed they do. The Holden Caulfield wannabes of the 21st century.

  • sdggrant

    Jesus is an actual historical figure. You will be hard pressed to find a historian (with any real credability) who claims that he is an imaginery figure…wether or not he was the son of god is debateable though. Personally I think he was just a man trying to do good, the key word being MAN.

  • Spence425

    i would submit that the fact that the top three have already generated so much interest indicates that they are indeed historically influential.

    whether you believe they existed or not (which i do), they obviously have some historical significance if they generate this much debate.

  • Aaron

    I never realized that Bohr, Mahler and Freud were Jewish!

  • sdggrant

    I consider myself a huge history buff, Doodlebug, and I agree with you 100%

  • Jono

    does any one else find it strange that there are no women on this list?

    • StuChaWan

      Not at all

  • Doodlebug

    sdggrant – I’m not a historian (I’m an agnostic theologian actually, go figure!) but it frustrates me beyond belief when people make radical statements like ‘Abraham didn’t exist’ without bothering to back up their statements with actual knowledge!

    Essentially, I don’t like stupid people :P

  • Jeremy

    Jono – Yeah, it seems strange that Jesus is number one and Mary doesn’t even make the list. This despite the fact that millions still show devotion to her everyday.

  • Wildlifeman

    Another good list, and once again one that inspires comments that are at times more interesting than the list and at other times infuriating. I think the best thing about this website is how it makes one think. Thanks again for a great site.

  • geronimo

    bit confused here..dint Jews(or rather the religion) come into existence during Moses’s period…. so how come Abraham is listed as a Jew???

  • Spart

    Sir John Monash.

    Australian General and Engineer. Sucessfully rescued 40,000 soldiers from the total c*ck up of an English brain wave that was the Galipoli campaign.

  • kiwiboi

    Very interesting list. But I would, most definitely, have included Karl Marx…right near the top of the list.

    I would also include Mayer Rothschild.

    Also..like Jeremy (#37), a good case could be made for including Mary (or, indeed, Judas Iscariot).

  • MT

    Another good list. I’ll enjoy reading todays comments.

  • tim

    long time reader, first time poster (always wanted to say that)

    Jesus did “exist” in the physical sense of the word. Read Tacitus.

  • Barabas

    Jesus did exist.
    Son of god? Well I dont think so.
    Some Jew wandering around like Buddha?
    Sure, there are Roman sources proving it.
    But:
    Hitler ist missing?^^

    • herpderp

      Hitler wasnt Jewish…or a vegetarian for that matter. Both are myths to make him sound weirder or even hypocritical.

  • jahblum

    Good list.

  • Ash

    What about Itzhak Stern (or however you spell it)
    The guy who helped Schindler out
    Anne Frank?

    Simon Amstell?
    LOL
    Nah good list though.
    The Jesus one kinda sucks since most Jews aren’t big on Jesus…

  • Brg

    Doodlebug – I’m not a historian (I’m an atheist theologian actually, go figure!) but it frustrates me beyond belief when people make radical statements like ‘Abraham did exist’ without bothering to back up their statements with actual knowledge!

    Essentially, I don’t like stupid people

  • kiwiboi

    Thinking about it, I’d possibly add Myron Scholes (a Canadian Nobel Laureate). Along with the great financial economist Fischer Black, Scholes was responsible for the Black-Scholes Option Pricing Model which played a pivotal role in the evolution of the management of financial risk and, therefore, most aspects of daily life as we now know it.

    Without the B-S model the world would be an entirely different place (for better or for worse).

  • srichards

    Glad to see Jesus is number one!!
    Nice list….

  • SoCalJeff

    What No Larry David? ;-)

    Hey, if anyone wants to read up on an interesting Jew in American Civil War history, check out Judah Benjamin.

    http://www.ajhs.org/publications/chapters/chapter.cfm?documentID=222

    Served as a US Representative and US Senator from Louisiana before the Civil War and as Attorney General and Secretary of State for the Confederate States of America. Also if you believe the hype, he was the mastermind behind the assassination of Abe Lincoln.

  • Cheeshygirl

    Great list Jamie! I haven’t seen a list with this many comments so early on in quite a while. Should be interesting reading them for the next few days. ;) Let’s get ready to rumble!

  • rollinrollin

    adam sandler?

  • Jeremy

    Brg – Does that make you an a-theologian?

  • Tomo

    Dunno if David Letterman is jewish but if he is then he should be here, right?

  • cparker

    What proof do you possess that the top three did not exist? It is sooooooooo easy to deny anything and give your two cents about it. You may say what proof do I have? Faith and that’s it. This works both ways, disprove this in your comments with evidence not just opinion. Or better yet: “It is my opinion that these do not exist.” Touchy subject but fabulous list again jfrater.

  • cparker

    navi_blue:
    You are the hero of this comment list!

  • Randall

    Jamie: Great list.

    Tomo: No, Tomo.. no… David Letterman is not Jewish.

    As to the others saying Jesus didn’t exist… come on. Okay… ancient historian talking now:

    JESUS WAS A REAL PERSON. ACCEPT IT AND MOVE ON TO SOMETHING ELSE.

    What the vast majority of people do not seem to understand is that in ancient times nobody had credit cards, bank statements, census records, social security cards, or monogrammed shirts to back up their existence. They were born, they lived, they died. If they were a head honcho somewhere–a king, an emperor—they got their name carved in stone and maybe got written about. But unlike we moderns, who are such utter PANSIES that we can’t stand the fact that death ultimately erases us from the collective consciousness, the ancients just lived their short brutal lives and took it.

    So this argument that runs that Jesus didn’t exist because there’s no concurrent mention of him while he was alive–it just doesn’t hold water. In fact, it leaks like a sieve. By that argument NOBODY existed in ancient times except a handful of important people. Now granted, Jesus was important—AND in fact, we do, as a consequence of that, find him mentioned in MANY documents—all written after his death, yes—but then the ancients were NOT (also contrary to what seems to be a bizarre popular belief) in the habit of just *making people up.* Now, no, they didn’t have our sense of history and truth, it’s true—not in a broad sense–but it may surprise many of you to know that they were, in fact, HIGHLY intelligent people, our ancient forebears, and they didn’t truck with just fictionalizing life like some mad bunch of daydreamers. Moreover, enough documentation regarding Jesus–and YES, some of it is separate from theological writings–Jesus is mentioned in Roman writings as well–was produced CLOSE ENOUGH to the date of his death to say that it would have been EXTREMELY unlikely–neigh on impossible–for anyone to have simply “invented” him. There would have been too many people who would have remembered, if that were so, that this cat didn’t exist—and word would have gotten around. But the Romans of the day don’t even deny his existence. They talked about him as if he was simply a real person and don’t even ATTEMPT to raise the slightest spectre of him not being real. And while your resident historian Randall doesn’t have much respect for the ancient Romans, he acknowledges that they were a practical people with level heads and a strong sense of the proper way of doing things, and if there had been the slightest whiff of a notion that this Jesus fellow hadn’t existed, they would have reacted accordingly in whatever they said about him. But this is not the case. Jesus is talked about off-handedly, even casually, as a real dude. Case freakin’ closed.

    Religions aren’t invented around fictional characters. Around MYTHICAL characters yes… but MYTH is NOT synonymous with FICTION—remember that, kids.

    For Moses you have less of a case, but even so, there is still enough of a body of documentation to say that a guy LIKE Moses must have existed. Abraham, still less, because he is even older. But again—traditions about individuals usually come FROM somewhere. They aren’t just made up out of whole cloth.

    Remember people–these famous, important individuals you so blithely dismiss—they did great things and made their mark on our world. You, however, are but passing dandelion seeds of humanity that fly away in the breeze. You’ll be lucky if any of you do anything even a TENTH of what these ancient individuals did—so, in light of that–how would you feel if, 2000 years from now, your descendants were denying YOUR existence?

  • DiscHuker

    gerenimo: abraham was the “father of the jews”. he is the one where it all began. by the time moses came around, there were approximately 2 million jews in captivity in egypt.

  • Stizzy

    Uno technically the word “Jew” doesn’t apply to all people of Israeli/Hebrew descent, seeing as Jew was used to refer to people from those tribes that split off from the others in the south and became Judea, whilst Israel was in the north.

    As for the top three not existing….come on man lol around 66 testimonies written over several thousand years and witnessed by anywhere from hundres to millions of people. Imagine calling all the evidence into a court room, witnesses and all, you’d be hard pressed to prove they didn’t exist.

    One thing I will say though, there are only 3 ways you can look at Jesus:

    Either He was the Son of God

    He was insane, convinced that what he said was true, in which case he couldn’t be trusted and was therefore a questionable moral teacher.

    He was an evil trickster, and therefore definately not a good man or a great moral teacher.

    Can only pick one of em.

    But yesh, great list :D had no idea Freud was of Israeli descent.

  • Deadpool

    I thought Jon Stewart would be number 1

  • sashley

    Stizzy – I believe the Jewish have picked another option for what Jesus was. Not the son of God, just a prophet.

  • Ducky423

    Good List and glad to see JC on the top. Being a Christian myself I can say that Jesus Christ is real and still alive today. Maybe not in the literal sense that we as humans like to cling to, but he is alive in Heaven with his father,God. I can say these things because I have faith. I’m I wrong for believing in something that I haven’t seen? Do you believe in gravity? My point being…just because you can’t see something doesn’t make it unreal.
    Having some Jewish friends, by faith not blood, I’ve had many discussions about Jesus. And the consensus amoung them was that Jews believe that Jesus was a great man, but not the son of God. I never once told them that they were wrong for what they believed though, I would simply state what I believed and show them in the Bible why I believed it.
    To try to take away another person’s beliefs and faith is simply wrong.

  • Jono

    you guys are seriously strange, lets say the religious figures don’t exist,then in your minds let the list say
    “7 most influencial Jews in history”

    If you can think of someone better to put at no. 1?

  • Fromthefuture

    Hey!! Some of these people although religious figures they are REALL PEOPLE!!! It is inportant to respect and not put down others. If you have nothing good to say, say nothing at all. Thank you, and God Bless.

  • Enigma

    Jfrater, whether Abraham is a Jew is debatable. He is the father of Isaac, from whom the Jewish people through Jacob (also called Israel) descended. The other son of Abraham, Ishamel, is thought to be the person from whom the Arabs descended. So Issac was a Jew; Ishamel, an Arab, and who is their father then? A Jew?!

  • GuyGuy

    I agree with Toolhead. Jesus didn’t exist. Neither did Moses or Abraham. Mythology Mythology Mythology.

  • kbenjy

    Very well said, Randall…from the atheist kbenjy!

  • kbenjy

    Whether they existed or not is sort of beside the point anyway. Even if you think that they are as fictitious as Santa Clause, just the idea of the top 3 have influenced counteless people.

  • Stizzy

    Sasley – That’s Muslims, Jews saw Jesus as a blasphemer and a FALSE prophet which is why they wanted Him put to death. So they either thought he was option 2 or option 3.

  • Stizzy

    Gd point kbenjy, afterall the list is called most INFLUENTIAL. Whether people believe they existed or not, the fact is there are around 3 or so billion people (and that’s just counting those alive today) who have been influenced by those people. And Jesus is number 1 because He literally changed the world, whether He influenced people to belief or unbelief, He had an influence that hasn’t been matched in all of history.

  • bucslim

    Wow Randall, no love for the Romans?

  • TH Jack

    Let’s settle this Jesus did/didn’t exist thing by looking at Santa Claus.

    There was a real Santa way back when but he was different then our perception of him. He didn’t have the powers (flying sleigh, living at the north pole, elves making toys) that Christmas Stories say he did but he did give out presents.

    Jesus, like Santa, was a real person. There is more evidence to support his existence then there is to support Julius Caesar’s. Could Jesus do all/did all the things the Bible says he did? That is the question.

    Weather or not Jesus existed isn’t the question. I think What people are doubt is if he was the son of God. That is where faith comes in.

  • simon

    How was Abraham a Jew? The tribe of Judaya came from the progeny of Jacob who was way after Abraham.

  • LDBT

    And Karl Marx

  • bucslim

    Who let Himmler in here?

  • schiesl

    where is Karl Marx!!!??

  • onwisconsn

    I aree that Anne Frank should have been on the list. talk about humanizing the Holcaust! And what about Gold Meir?

  • onwisconsn

    I mean Golda

  • Randall

    bucslim:

    No, I’m all about the ancient Greeks, pal. I have nothing more than grudging respect for some of the accomplishments of the Romans. Great civilization, but leaves a bad aftertaste.

  • JLM

    Even if Jesus is not real, the idea of him has been so influential that he deserves the #1 spot. So many people believe in him and have dedicated their lives to him, that even if he was never real he HAS influenced the world we live in today in so many ways!!!!

  • Sharki

    I was wondering about Karl Marx too.

  • Arnaud

    I think that Karl Karx had jewish origins, at least partially. Right ?

  • Bob

    I’m glad to see some people here don’t believe Julius Caesar existed. Or Plato. Or Shakespeare for that matter. There’s less or equal evidence for any of those three than for Abraham, Moses, or Christ.

  • Brg

    “…just because you can’t see something doesn’t make it unreal.”

    I KNEW IT!!!!!!! THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, Ducky423!!!!!!!!!!!!! I have beeen telling EVERYBODY for ages that the ale-drinking green dragon that no one, but me, can see is completely REAL!!!!!!!!!! Your authoritative statement has proved it without any doubt!!!!!!

    Now, let’s see. Moses:

    – There are no Egyptian or neighbouring civilisations’ records, either written or archaeological, indicating that there was a large Jewish population living, either free or enslaved,in Egypt.

    – There are no Egyptian or neighbouring civilisations’ records, either written or archaeological, indicating that there was a large Jewish population leaving Egypt.

    – The Sinai desert was strongly garrisoned by Egyptian troops at the time (there are plenty of records proving); therefore a large Jewish population could not spend the next 40 years roaming the desert unnoticed.

    – Have you read the Bible regarding this story? How can the stories depicted there be true, and even moral?

    And I will not get into that “millions of pages written by Romans, Jews and whatnot prove that Jesus existed”; actually, most of them are way outdated or corrupted. Just one of the many strange things that make me think that he was not a real person: there are no records of a town called Nazareth before 4 AD. How can this be posible if the greatest guy in the history was born there? How could its existence pass unnoticed for hundreds of years if Romans and Jews alike knew of this guy in person?

    From Wikipedia: “No ancient historians or geographers mention [Nazareth] before the beginning of the fourth century [AD].”[49]
    Nazareth is not mentioned in the Old Testament, the Talmud, nor in the Apocrypha and it does not appear in any early rabbinic literature.
    Nazareth was not included in the list of settlements of the tribes of Zebulun (Joshua 19:10-16) which mentions twelve towns and six villages
    Nazareth is not included among the 45 cities of Galilee that were mentioned by Josephus (37AD-100AD).
    Nazareth is also missing from the 63 towns of Galilee mentioned in the Talmud.

  • dave4248

    Where’s Jonas Salk or J Robert Oppenheimer? They s/be here.

  • Phillies

    Here is a man who was born in an obscure village, the Child of a peasant woman. He worked in a carpenter shop until He was thirty, and then for three years He was an itinerant preacher. He never wrote a book. He never held an office. He never owned a home. He never had a family. He never went to college. He never put His foot inside a big city. He never traveled two hundred miles from the place where He was born. He never did one of the things that usually accompany greatness. He had no credentials but Himself. He had nothing to do with this world except the naked power of His Divine manhood. While still a young man, the tide of popular opinion turned against Him. He was turned over to His enemies. He went through the mockery of a trial. He was nailed to a Cross between two thieves. His executioners gambled for the only piece of property He had on earth while He was dying—and that was His coat. When He was dead He was taken down and laid in a borrowed grave through the pity of a friend. Such was His human life—He rises from the dead. Nineteen wide centuries have come and gone and today He is the Centerpiece of the human race and the Leader of the column of progress. I am within the mark when I say that all the armies that ever marched, and all the navies that ever were built, and all the parliaments that ever sat, and all the kings that ever reigned, put together, have not affected the life of man upon this earth as powerfully as has that One Solitary Life. –James C. Hefley

  • onwisconsn

    Without getting into his politics either way, how about Kissinger? His advice/policies shaped and continue to shape the world.

  • Stizzy

    Brg: So…..are you trying to say that Nazareth never existed now? loooool

    And there wouldn’t be records of a large “Jewish” population living in or leaving Egypt seeing as they weren’t Jews then.

    Not everything in the Bible is meant to be taken as moral guidence. The Bible is a collection of literature, historical, poetic, songs, biographies, letters etc etc. History isn’t always pretty.

    People also thought Ninevah didn’t exist for awhile until whoops…someone dug it up. The only account of it was in the Bible.

    And I seriously don’t think people should rely on everything written on Wikipedia as undisputed fact, cos frankly there’s alot of tosh on there.

    Anyone intersted in the topic of Moses, the Jews and Egypt, I suggest these articles: http://www.answersingenesis.org/tj/v15/i1/moses.asp

    http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/nab/does-archaeology-support-the-bible

  • Stizzy

    Also concerning Nazareth, if you consider that Galilee was called “Galilee of the Gentiles/Nation”, Nazareth (being an all Jewish settlement until the 4th century) wouldn’t have been mentioned.

    However, Nazareth is known to have been founded around 2nd Century BC, during the period in which Aristobulus the Maccabean “conquered Galiliee and Judaized it”, according to Eric M. Meyers & J.F Strange in “Archeology, the Rabbis & Early Christianity” and Clemens Kopp “The Holy Places of the Gospels”

  • Baxter

    Good list. I’m not Christian, but to everyone objecting to the top 3 – what’s the problem? If you think that they weren’t influential then you’re nuts. Whether they actually existed or not is quite inconsequential.

  • Paulb

    Hitler was never a Jew, don’t even suggest that

  • shaner5000

    If someone “made up” Jesus, when did they do it? 33 AD? 100 AD? 300 AD? At what point did someone go back into the historical record and “plant” Jesus therein? Who coordinated the vast amount of stories to be pulled together into the Bible, and how influential were these people that they transformed the Roman empire by the middle of the 4th Century?

  • Christine

    Randall – Bravo! Exactly what I wanted to say…

    If you need proof that a person existed, physically and not necessarily religiously, than I could say most everyone never existed. How can you prove to me that George Washington was real? Show me his body, show me pictures and writings, and historical documents about him, and I’ll say it wasn’t him. It is silly to believe a person did not exist because you don’t have proof.

    But tell us more, because I like hearing Randall’s explanations.

  • Callie

    I’m having trouble with this one…

    set aside your beliefs..the fact that you’re even debating if the top 3 exist proves the point of the list. They’ve influenced you. Good or bad, you know who they are, you know what they (or their story, if you don’t believe) did, and..I’m making a generalization here, so forgive me if I offend anyone. I’ts been my experience that most people who are atheists or don’t think of Jesus a religious figure were overexposed to religion as a child (catholic school, forced sunday school/church) and therefore don’t believe now. If that’s the case for even a handful of you, how could you ever even start to argue the point that you weren’t influenced? It’s silly.

  • thuss

    this list is cack, how do you know Moses,Jesus and Abraham ever existed.

  • bigski

    A BIG can of worms was opened by including the top three which is a good thing.People debating wether they were real or not is good too. Show some respect for one another and their beliefs wether you agree or not.To the person who said they hate jews(Gigi)why on earth would you make that statement ? Maybe you just need some attention !

  • smurff

    I enjoyed the list – but its turned into a bit of a slinging match, but that again is good for the program that people can express their thoughts and comments, its what makes listverse a winner.

  • Randall

    Brg:

    Come now. Healthy skepticism is one thing. I applaud it. Silly obstinancy is another. You are exhibiting the latter.

    I remind you Brg… ancient history is one of my specialties. So don’t throw “wikipedia” at me. I don’t even reference the bloody thing. I’m reporting on the views of scholarship on these questions.

    Now…. many of your statements here are over-the-top… and I shall point this out to you systematically. You need to reign it in a bit.

    let’s begin:

    “- There are no Egyptian or neighbouring civilisations’ records, either written or archaeological, indicating that there was a large Jewish population living, either free or enslaved,in Egypt.”

    INACCURATE. To begin with, these people were not called “Jews” at the time, so let’s not confuse the issue. But worse still, you’ve taken a small truth (that there are no Egyptian records of the EXODUS per se) and expanded it beyond the limits of common sense. The fact is that between the period of the middle and late kingdoms, Egypt WAS invaded and occupied by a group of people whom they called the Hyksos. These cats were tough semitic nomads who had fallen upon Egypt during a period of Egyptian weakness and distraction (the ancient Egyptians were prone to some laxity, at times… living in a river-fed land o’ plenty will do that to you) and were not finally expelled until the efforts of Pharoah Thutmoses, a great time later. The ancient Hebrews would have been, of course, of the same stock as the Hyksos, and probably would have even spoke a close approximation of their language. As such, they would have been welcomed into Egypt while it was under Hyksos control. And there IS concurrent Egyptian written evidence for such tribes coming and going in Egypt at the time. After the expulsion of the Hyksos, it’s only natural that they and their fellows (as I said, the Hebrews being such) would have been enslaved… common practice in the ancient world–the losers end up dead or working under the whip. And so there is nothing ludicrous about the idea of Hebrew slave-residency in Egypt—and again, the Egyptians DO list slaves of semitic/nomadic origin at this time.

    What does NOT exist is Egyptian record of the Exodus itself. But this is not hard to understand; we ought not to expect the Egyptians to have recorded such an event, which to them may have simply been the release of a few thousand slaves living in wretched conditions. We don’t know the true DETAILS of the Exodus, and for all we know the Hebrews may have been settled on the frontier of Egypt’s influence as a bulwark, as the Romans settled barbarians in their day. It’s possible. Certainly some time later we know that Ramses the Great had his great battle at Kardesh with the Hittites–and no mention is made, by the Egyptians, of a Hebrew state near that locale. However, we know from Hebrew records that they HAD settled in the region of Canaan (and yes, there IS significant archeological evidence of this) but again–to the Egyptians they may have been beneath notice.

    But in addition–later Egyptian record DOES mention what are apparently the Hebrew tribes, living in the region of the Levant. Now… we know that this region had previously been Canaanite.. so the question would then be… how did they get there? Hebrew tradition was that they came in force, in their exodus from Egypt. There’s little reason to doubt the veracity of this… again–we simply don’t know the factual DETAILS.

    I should also point out, quoting Cecil Adams on this: “One stela from the reign of Merneptah (1235-1227 BC, thought to be roughly the time of Exodus) does refer to the nomad tribe of Israel, but claims to have destroyed it. Plainly the war correspondence of the time was no more reliable than that of the present era.”

    Bottom line being–we have evidence to support nomadic Jewish tribes at this time–an abundance of it. But we can’t MERELY rely on Egyptian reporting of such matters as our sole basis for evidence. For various reasons, the Egyptians clearly reported what they wanted to report, on their own slant–and only what was vital to their interests.

    “- The Sinai desert was strongly garrisoned by Egyptian troops at the time (there are plenty of records proving);”

    Again, you’re playing a BIT loose with the facts. It depends on what TIME you’re talking about. During the reign of Ramses, yes… the Sinai was occupied by the Egyptians. But that is NOT necessarily the period of the Exodus.

    “- Have you read the Bible regarding this story? How can the stories depicted there be true, and even moral?”

    I do not believe in the literal interpretation of the Bible, as anyone on this site knows. However, we do know that the Bible has certain value in terms of historicity. The tales of Moses and the Exodus? Almost surely greatly embroidered. But at BASIS untrue? There’s no reason to say that, and every reason to then ask HOW this Hebrew tradition began.

    No doubt, much of it did come from Egyptian sources. Moses is a mythical figure in this sense (which does NOT mean that he wasn’t “real,” merely that he was later mythologized heavily) as he parallels Osiris in many ways, and his very name is Egyptian. But Hebrew tradition also relates the story of the Exodus and of Moses, and the two must be reconciled. As with many such items of history in the ancient world, there is no doubt a kernel of truth underneath all the legend.

    “And I will not get into that “millions of pages written by Romans, Jews and whatnot prove that Jesus existed”; actually, most of them are way outdated or corrupted.”

    This is simple hyperbole, and passes into a full inaccuracy. There are documents of uncorrupted, authenticated nature, mentioning the existence of Jesus by disinterested sources–among them the Romans. *Wanting* Jesus to have been unreal doesn’t make it so, Brg. Read my previous post on this matter. (#57).

    “Just one of the many strange things that make me think that he was not a real person: there are no records of a town called Nazareth before 4 AD.”

    This is irrelevant… again, read my previous post. Our ideas of modern record keeping are not applicable to the ancients. Towns and villages WOULD go unmentioned in documentary sources UNTIL THERE WAS A REASON to mention them. You’re grasping at straws with this, and thin ones.

    “How can this be posible if the greatest guy in the history was born there? How could its existence pass unnoticed for hundreds of years if Romans and Jews alike knew of this guy in person?”

    Here you’re simply not thinking. 4 AD is not a period “hundreds of years” after Jesus’ birth (in point of fact we don’t know the exact year of his birth–which was also not unusual for his day). It is, in fact, concurrent with Jesus.

    Jesus was referred to as “the Nazarene” in AUTHENTICATED Roman records JUST AFTER the period of his life. So really, here, you’ve just shot your mouth off and then stuck your foot right in it.

    “Nazareth is not mentioned in the Old Testament, the Talmud, nor in the Apocrypha and it does not appear in any early rabbinic literature.”

    Again, this is true of MANY such towns and villages in the region. You’re raising a chimera here, Brg. Get off it.

    “Nazareth is not included among the 45 cities of Galilee that were mentioned by Josephus (37AD-100AD).”

    And here you’re contradicting yourself. If you use Josephus as a source for THIS, then how do you reconcile the fact that Josephus ALSO mentions Jesus separately? Come now. Clearly you haven’t READ Josephus (I have, extensively—wrote a paper on him once, in fact, long, long ago) but are merely quoting from someone else. (The often flawed Wikipedia, still, perhaps?) Know your sources, Brg, before you open your mouth.

  • Phender_Bender

    Great list! In my opinion, the best one in a long time (not that the others were bad, this one just takes the cake).
    Randall: Nice! You threw down some major knowledge!

  • Gigi

    Jews are responsible for both world wars and for alot of evil in this world! If there were no jews the world would be a better place!

  • Randall

    Gigi:

    And you, Gigi, are responsible for being an unmitigated moron who deserves to be locked up somewhere. Too bad there isn’t some kind of a law against being a gigantic asshole… we could throw away the key on you.

  • Mongoose

    Randall, may I ask where you went to university?

  • Paulb

    Well Randall, for some reason Gigi is not the only who thinks that.
    first theres ancient egyptians, the assyrian empire, the babylonian empire, the persian empire, the roman empire, the byzantine empire, oh yeah can’t forget nazi germany.

  • srichards

    Gigi come back to list universe when you have evidence of the things you claim as the truth….or do us all a favour and disappear

  • cparker

    Dude, Randall you are too much sometimes. I like the way you handle things. HAHA. I am running for President in 2016 do you want to be my VP? Or perhaps my secretary of everything?

  • Randall

    Mongoose:

    Ha. I take the tack of an old girlfriend of mine, in never divulging too much about my personal life on the internet. So to answer your question, I went to university in New York. More than that I’m sorry to say I won’t say. :-)

  • Wonderful list jfrater! In just about the order I would have expected of you, too! That’s not to say the order isn’t accurate, I believe it is. I was just surprised to find someone else who had the same high regard for Abraham as I.
    Good work. Don’t mind the dolts. They will always be with us.

  • Cheeshygirl

    *stands up and applauds Randall* :D

  • Randall

    cparker:

    Depends on what party you belong to. I am myself an independent, but a former Republican who became deeply disenchanted with it in the early 90s. I could be persuaded to serve a Democratic administration, but it’d take big bux to get me to work for the GOP ever again.

    And I’ll take Secretary of Everything. VP is a thankless job.

    Better still, I’ll take a co-title of Undersecretary for Hot Chicks in Lingerie… I’d be proud to serve in that capacity, regardless of party affiliation. But Randall has never denied being a horny perv.

  • nimitz

    it doesn’t matter if the last three are real or not, look how big of an influence they have made. they are big enough to make you debate if they were real or not

  • YO-YO

    These are the good ones U can count them by your hands the rest is ugly U know what I mean

  • nimitz

    PS. extreme dogma is terrible, but thinking your superior and smarter because you don’t believe in god, or vice versa, doesn’t make you any better

  • Seanithan

    This is a great list, with the exception of Freud. Everything he taught was nonsense and the fact that it’s still taught today is absolutely ridiculous.

    He had a few crazy theories and everyone accepts them as some sort of insane truth.

  • Cedestra

    Great, People, you woke the sleeping bear. And I had just tucked in our Randall with some milk and cookies- just great. It will take him days to slumber again.

    62. Ducky423: You’re my kind of Christian, then. Not a “C & E” Christian, but also not an evangelistic slave to narrowminded thinking. You, Sir, are the Baby Bear’s porridge.

    Jamie, were you not satisfied with the fallout from the American Icons list? You had to go and stir up some more, huh? :) I liked this list. Good job. Whether or not I (or anyone else) believe Jesus was the son of God or not doesn’t matter, does it? The list is about INFLUENCE and Jesus has definately influences a LOT of people. While also being a Jew. So he fits perfectly.

    Look at it this way, People: The Flying Spaghetti Monster isn’t real but he’s influenced many people, too. Not quite as many and not really to the same level, but still… His noodly appendages are far reaching. (And apologies for the blasphemy towards any Pirates reading, of which I knew there are at least a couple.)

    Also, anyone saying that Jesus, Abraham, and Moses didn’t exist are saying that of the thousands and thousands of people that existed before the common era, there wasn’t ONE man with that name who did some amazing stuff? Jesus was a title- his real name was Joshua ben Joseph. I could find a lot of Joshs fathered by Josephs TODAY; at least one is going to have some influence.

  • TuggSpeedman

    Randall: I bow down before your skills. If you would have been the Pharaoh during the times when Jesus, Moses and Abraham lived, surely their names would have been listed in one of the ancient books / lists (pre-Internet List Universe). Thus, we could have all avoided this silly argument about their existence.

  • Seanithan

    jFrater I’d appreciate you unblocking my name. I said one thing to one person who deserved it, I don’t think I need my comments blocked forever.

  • Randall

    Cedestra:

    Can I have a glass of water? ;-)

  • Cedestra

    …also known as the Blistverse.

  • Cedestra

    Randall: Well, I suppose. You must be pretty hoarse after having to deal with all that. Yes, I’ll grant it.

  • Randall

    Pharaoh Mose-Randall the Great would have of course employed the Scribe, Jamie the Frater from Across the Wine Dark Sea, to enscribe the Daily List on the massive columnar stelae of the Pharaoh’s palace at Thebes. Woulda been a lot of work for poor ol’ Jamie, chiseling all those lists by hand… but hey, steady work for a Kiwi. How many down-under types could say they have a sweet job in the administration of Pharoah? Better than building my tomb in the Valley of the Kings.

  • Randall

    Cedestra:

    Thanks mom. But now I have to go potty.

  • Stizzy

    Maybe Magneto should be added as a bonus to the list to satisfy the people at odds with the last 3 :p

  • Avi

    Seriously there are farrrr to many jews that have affected history to only have 10 of them. if you look online you can find upwards of 1000 jews that affected science, media, politics and history.
    But since you cant have a list that say top 1000 most influential jews in history you can always settle for 10 haha

  • Cedestra

    Randall: Okay, you can go potty but don’t let me catch you playing in the sink.

  • stugy

    What about King David? Actually I probably just want to include him because I just finished “God Knows” by Joseph Heller. I would suggest it to anyone with a background in the Bible and enjoys Heller’s writing.

  • After comment 1 I expected this kind of reaction, though to be honest, I didn’t while I was putting the list together! It is good to see debate that is (for the most part) not resorting to silly name calling. :)

  • Metalwrath

    Avi : every list on this site could have a top 1000… and many influencial jews aren’t fully jewish (ethnically.. I wonder if a 100% ethnic jew even exists). Many of these non fully ethnic jews aren’t even jewish by religion. So yeah, if you take a guy who has a jewish great grandfather, or a jewish last name cause one of his distant ancestors from 200 years ago was jewish, and call him jewish, sure you can find many influential jews.

  • Mudflap

    Great list! Glad to see Jesus at #1! Amazing how some believe that the most pivotal character in history is fictional! Why do people fight so hard against someone that they don’t believe is real?

  • Randall

    Cedestra:

    Can I stay up and watch Rachel Maddow?

  • B

    I enjoyed reading this list. I’m agnostic, but I still anjoy the concept of religion, and the amazing story of the bible. I, personally don’t think the bible documnets history, but symbolically good and evil. Either way, Jesus, Moses, and Abraham, I believe existed, just not in the way people think. It’d be cool to have a top 10 influential Buddhists, hindus, or muslims, list.

  • evacreek

    But JC wasn’t born in Nazareth, he was born in Bethlehem, the city of avid.Read Luke, 2nd chapter, unless you think a two thousand year old book couldn’t possible contain any truth.

  • B

    …sorry about all of the mistakes. I don’t proofread when I’m done.

  • BP

    Ummm, maybe the existence of Moses and Abraham can be questioned, but it’s pretty evident Jesus existed, even if he didn’t do all of what is attributed to him.

    Nonetheless, I’m guessing Jon Stewart just missed the list at #11.

  • Alvin

    I’m danish & I never knew bohr was jewish. Expected to see marx on the list, I would say he was influential. Like no 1 though. Don’t care if he existed or not but would agree that he is THE most influential jew in history.

  • brian

    what about gilbert gottfried

  • JUNQUEMAN

    TOOLHEAD–GIGI–

    I reject your existence–Therefore you both are myths-You do not live-And obviously you don’t think.

    AND TOOLHEAD SURE AS H^^^l IS APPROPRIATE NAME.

  • llamee

    Jesus really shouldn’t be on the list. It’s really inconsiderate to all of the other people on the list who have been proven to exist. So, could you make Jesus a bonus one or something? It’s sort of disrespectful to people like Einstein and Bohr.

  • herald

    yeah, i agree with llamee
    putting jesus on the list is just to prevent people from saying anti semitic comments
    jesus’s existence is more debated than anything else
    jesus should either be a bonus or nothing
    its kinda patronizing

    but good list besides jesus

  • PETERabbit

    Oh shut the hell up Herald, you should be thankful they even made a list that talk about Jews in a nice way.

  • Callie

    llamee-

    and unless that was sarcasm, you are disrepectful..and a disgrace..to over 2000 years of world history.

    By the way, the haters here are hating the top three. Or do you think Moses and Abraham existed and not Jesus?

  • ferrets in yo pizzants

    great list
    #1 is patronizing

  • Cfenn

    Read Josephus, a Jewish historian who lived during the time of Christ. Its funny how people try to deny something that is historically true based off of whether or not they believe in his deity. What ever way you look at it, he has shaped history more than any other Jew. Loads of “Religions” have been founded and shaped many cultures because of him, as well as #3 and #2.

  • Troysky

    what about KARL MARX. pretty influential in my book

  • sabababababa

    qwerty170 – in my opinion – is a douchebag

  • herald

    josephus was a fucking traitor and liar
    he was a tool of the romans
    josephus shouldnt even be regarded as a historian
    he spewed bullshit propaganda

  • Sam

    Karl Marx converted to Christianity before he wrote the Communist Manifesto. So I disagree, Troysky.

  • Cfenn

    Thats a matter of opinion. Besides, the Romans had no ties to Jesus, except through the crucifixion, they had no reason to fabricate. Thats aside, thousands of scrolls giving account to the life of Jesus have been found. His existance as a human is as historically true as anything else in History.

  • Kreachure

    Someone doesn’t need to be REAL in order to be VERY INFLUENTIAL.

    (Sorry, I would say more about the subject, but I arrived rather late to the party, and all the good opinions are already taken :P)

  • D Holmes

    I’m sorry, but regardless of your religious beliefs, Jesus most likely existed, but maybe not how a lot people see him. He is relevant and recognized in several different religions. Islam, for instance sees him as one of the greatest prophets.

    Here’s an interesting article to show you what I mean: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religious_perspectives_on_Jesus

    Also, many historians believe he did indeed exist, its just that a lot of them believe simply a man. They just acknowledge him as a real person, but not a son of a God (or a prophet).

  • artistxxx

    albert einstein was an atheist, not jew…
    pretty stupid list…

  • JayArr

    I remember this one time, at band camp, when Jesus stole my drum sticks – man what a mean guy!

    Seriously though, I’m not sure this particular thread is the best place for the racial/religious commentary — we have many many others (including the forum) where such commentary is welcome and encouraged.

    I truly do appreciate this specific list, though I would have qualified the critera for membership a bit more clearly, to remove ambiguity. And yes, Abraham pre-dates Judaism (he was the progenitor, not founder), so should not be on this list.

  • Lewis_RATM

    Artistxxx: Naw-aw! He was a deist, or someone who believes in a non-personnel God.

  • Kreachure

    Well, to settle things, why don’t we ask DR. ALBERT EINSTEIN if Jesus existed or not!!

    (From “What Life Means to Einstein: An Interview by George Sylvester Viereck,”The Saturday Evening Post, Oct. 26, 1929, p. 17:)

    VIERECK: You accept the historical existence of Jesus?

    EINSTEIN: Unquestionably. No one can read the Gospels without feeling the actual presence of Jesus. His personality pulsates in every word. No myth is filled with such life. How different, for instance, is the impression which we receive from an account of legendary heroes of antiquity like Theseus. Theseus and other heroes of his type lack the authentic vitality of Jesus.

    VIERECK: Ludwig Lewisohn, in one of his recent books, claims that many of the sayings of Jesus paraphrase the sayings of other prophets.”

    EINSTEIN: No man can deny the fact that Jesus existed, nor that his sayings are beautiful. Even if some them have been said before, no one has expressed them so divinely as he.

    Well, if you can’t trust good ol’ Al, then who CAN you trust??? :P

  • ohrmets

    An Influential Jew list? Oh man, I have so many jokes percolating in my head, I don’t know where to start!

  • Sheldon Roy

    I’m sure that ther was somone named jesus somwhere in the past who was a teacher. Maybe there was a jesus who founded christianity. The list sais nothing about majic and miracles, that didn’t happen.

  • shaymm

    Jesus’ existence is proved, whether you believe he did what he did is another thing, but nonetheless he was around and kicking sometime…

  • Exelcior

    Imaginary or not, Abraham, Moses and Jesus have influenced 2000 years of human history. That’s worth a mention in my opinion.

  • occams chainsaw

    Jesus didn’t exist, eh? Better tell Pliny, Josephus, Tacitus, and other early historians.

    I realize that what He taught isn’t convenient for you, but that’s just tough. There is a substantial body of evidence not only for His life, but His Resurrection-so much so that some very highly regarded attorneys attempting to disprove His deity have come to faith.

    Got anything else?

  • mozbets

    Jesus was just a raving lunatic….he went around telling people he was the son of god…no wonder they crucified him.

    artistxxx….Albert Einstein was a Jew….that doesn’t mean he practiced Judaism. It seems a lot of people on here don’t understand that just because you are Jewish by blood doesn’t mean you are by religion. Oh ya, Einstein was agnostic, not atheist.

    Actual quote

    “I have repeatedly said that in my opinion the idea of a personal God is a childlike one. You may call me an agnostic, but I do not share the crusading spirit of the professional atheist whose fervor is mostly due to a painful act of liberation from the fetters of religious indoctrination received in youth.”

  • Samir

    Do you know that Jesus was mentioned and quoted several times in the Quran – the holly Muslim Book? Abraham and Moses as well. Furthermore, there are 114 parts (sura) in Quran. The 14. part is named Ibrahim (Abraham) and the name of sura no. 19 is Maryam.

  • Mongoose

    Randall, New York state or New York city?

  • Mom424

    Great List Jamie. I would agree that Freud was influential; I note that you didn’t bother to say whether that influence was for good or ill. I’m thinking a lot of the latter, not so much of the former. Yep, all female problems boil down to penis envy. LOL.

    Randall: Great job once again. Glad to see you back in full force.

    For all you folks denying the existence of Jesus; Your total disregard of the historical facts is just as offensive to me as those who ignore scientific facts to justify their narrow world view. In fact maybe more so; you folks are pretending rationality when you’re doing the exact same thing, just at the opposite end of the argument.

  • boris

    I have been reading this website so far, despite the lots of inaccuracies, just cause it’s fun. I’m deleting it from my reader now.

  • Paulb

    Of course Jesus is mentioned in the Quran, Muslim, Christianity, and Judaism all have the same roots. Jesus was a prophet according the the Quran, they just don’t recognize him as the Messiah, same goes with Judaism

  • PJMurphy

    Even if the actual, human existence of Jesus, Moses, and Abraham can be debated, the influence of these figures cannot.

    The difficulty in determining the actual facts is caused by the manipulation and editing, over centuries, of both secular and religious writings by powerful men with an agenda. There may well have been documents which could prove the issue…but they are lost to us.

    We are left with Faith, and some small fragments of historical texts. Perhaps these men existed, perhaps not, but the Faiths they inspired have had a tremendous influence, both for good and for evil. This is undeniable.

    And that is why they are at the top of the list.

  • mike

    Oy vey! Oy vey!

  • Jenna_Bug

    I would love to read a list without the constant bashing of Jesus Christ. I mean the 1st comment! Come on!
    Grow a brain and get a life.
    Keep your negative ignorant comments to yourself.
    As I have mentioned before, comments like that make me dislike this site more and more every day.
    Just wait til your Judgment Day….

  • Cedestra

    Randall: Did you finish your homework? If so, then yes, you can watch Rachel Maddow.

  • JayArr

    Boris(164) bye bye! :(

  • Cedestra

    Jenna_Bug: You had me until “Judgment Day”. With that you tipped your comment ever so slightly into the “my religion is better than your religion” category. Those that are throwing their two cents in with “Juses isnt rel lawlz” are trolls and flamers. Just don’t bother with them- they probably don’t really mean it, they’re just trying to piss people off.

  • Brosiusjb

    Jay
    You are upset about three religious figures on a religiously bent list because they don’t take into account your atheist views? Me thinks the lady doth protest too much. Are you serious? I am 100% fine with atheists and think your brethren have a lot to conntribute to society, but any view, religious or not, that disallows the mention of important religious figures on a religious list is absurd. Sorry Jay, you’re absurd.

  • Cedestra

    jay: I say you quit your whining and hold your breath until the “Top 10 Most Influential Atheists/Agnostics in History” list comes out. Either way you’ll shut up.

  • Jenna_Bug

    Cedestra: I just get pissed off when I read these lists and ANYTIME Jesus is mentioned, people throw a fit because “HE’S NOT REAL.” It’s annoying.
    Respect for others religious beliefs is very important. I believe everyone will have their own Judgment Day no matter what religion they are.

  • jay

    cedestra- i think your just mad cause you went into debt with the donation to god show.

  • Cedestra

    Jenna_Bug: My issue was actually with the Capital Letters. I got the impression that you meant “Just wait until Armeggedon when Jesus comes and fries your ass”. If not, then my apologies. If so, it’s a bit haughty, don’t you think?
    I can appreciate your anger, I’m just saying why let it get to you? Oh, I get pissed sometimes, too, but I’m trying to move on. No use giving them your time and energy.

  • Cedestra

    jay: You’ll have to explain that one to me? Don’t assume I’m gnostic- I might not be. And I hardly think $30 will put me into debt.

  • jay

    and its not about him being real , i believe a man named jesus existed but everyone should know its scientificaly proven its impossible for him to do the shit you bellieve. you think you shouldnt sin , yet you kill other people because they dont believe in god , is that not the worst sin?

  • Jenna_Bug

    Cedestra: In no way did I mean it to be that way, I just feel everyone will have their day to explain why they were the person they chose to be. And a lot of people on here IMO, are just plain ignorant and rude. There is no respect for the Christian faith on this website. I don’t see disrespect for other religions or beliefs, just Christian.
    I’m not angry, just perturbed by ignorance and arrogance.

  • Cedestra

    jay: Was that in response to my post? I’m not Judeo-Christian, I don’t believe Jesus was the Son of God. So, yeah, I’ve never killed anyone who didn’t believe in the Tuatha de Danaan. Can’t speak up for my fellow druids, but, you know, that’s the way they rolled.

  • jay

    cedestra- i do not care if your “gnostic” but show me another intelligent word for this i was just making a joke at your epxepnse..

    brosiusjb- im not absurd i can have a athesist view on a religous list, is it wrong to give a case that jesus n the rest to not exist ? or do i just av to have faith ?

  • Cedestra

    Jenna_Bug: Don’t blame the website, even eBaumsworld tries sometimes. That’s the bummer with the internet, it attracts fools and idiots like moths to a flame. No sense of responsibility, either.

  • jay

    cedestra- no , i was just bringing up another point had nothing to do to you, your attempts at trying to pull people in conflicts is pathetic. go buy a stress ball or something

  • JayArr

    I like stress balls – when frozen, they make great stress relievers… and my aim IS improving!

  • Mr. Plow

    I am a little late to this party. Great list, interesting commentary.

    For the first time in the year or so I have been lurking and occasionally posting…I am finding myself agreeing with Randall.

    Well said in comment 57 my friend. Great discussion everyone.

  • me

    What is the hebrew word for “crappy and lame list”?

  • jackit

    To say that Jesus, Moses, and Abraham didn’t exist because there’s no “proof” is like saying Caesar didn’t exist because you’ve never seen him. Dipshits.

    I agree that part of the bible is not factually accurate, but then, neither are accounts of people like Hitler, George Bush, etc.

  • Paulb

    I think the Jew from the parade in Borat should be on this list, jk jk

  • Spence425

    Gigi-
    what you’ve said is the equivalent of saying Caucasians are responsible for the civil war, the revolutionary war, slavery, apartheid, or any other travesty initiated by any group of Caucasian people.

    If you insist on blaming both world wars on Jews (which is false as it is), the proper phrase would be “a group of Jews”. lumping every Jewish person on the face of the earth into one group is flat out bigotry.

    One group of any larger group can, and often does, cause a problem without the support or knowledge of the rest of that group.

  • Gregory

    Paulb – JUDAISM DOES NOT CONSIDER JESUS A PROPHET!!!!!

  • Liam

    Gigi, I am Jewish. So it is my duty to say FUCK YOU.

  • rpresto

    jesus FTW!

  • dog

    Jay:

    Please don’t call anyone else pathetic when you use the phrase “credit ability” to justify your arguments.

    Additionally, please look at the list title and your comment below

    “and its not about him being real , i believe a man named jesus existed but everyone should know its scientificaly proven its impossible for him to do the shit you bellieve. you think you shouldnt sin , yet you kill other people because they dont believe in god , is that not the worst sin?”

    The list is called top 10 influential jews, not top ten real people who lived and performed miracles.

    Again, as everyone has been saying, it’s about INFLUENCE, not about beliefs or credibility (c-r-e-d-i-b-i-l-i-t-y) Jesus has had an undeniable influence over thousands of years and billions of people. If he’s not number one, who is?

  • surfboy

    Great List! I LOVE cans of worms!
    There’s a saying that goes “If you throw a rock into a pack of dogs- the one that yelps is the one who got hit!”

    It’s funny- Santa(I have to be careful- he’s making a list) and the Easter Bunny are a driving force in our lives. Look at the Holidays. But Just MENTION Jesus and WHOA TIGER!!! Look out!!! If He’s not real, don’t sweat it-we’re all brainwashed. If He is Real well then…. Why don’t you ask him?

    Love You! Peace!

  • bigski

    Randall your needed at top 10 military commanders

  • bigski

    Liam im a Christian and i agree with you.

  • CARD

    I agree with kiwiboi, you forgot one of the most influential jews in history even more than Einstein, Karl Marx.

  • CARD

    Mr JFrater you should ban Gigi from your webpage, although I was raised Catholic (but don’t believe in teh church anymore, and I’m not jewish), I don´t think people should post hate messages on this page or in any other page for that matter.

    BAN GIGI FROM THIS WEBPAGE OR ANYONE WHO POSTS HATE MESSAGES

  • Brosiusjb

    Jay
    As a person who shares your name I feel like I can talk to you as though we are friends. I’ve noticed that you are having trouble holding two mutually exclusive ideas in your head simultaneously. Let me try and help you. When someone does research there are two basic columns (with many subsets) of data: possible and impossible given the laws of physics. That the Son of Man probably didn’t calm a body of water and save a ship or walk on water has surprisingly little to do with the christian religion. Religions opponents often find this an attractive card to play because some have trouble understanding how elements of the story can be false and the story still remain true. I’ll put it this way, Jesus’ triumph wasn’t that he “turned Pepsi to Coke” as my man Jules said, but that his philosophy of “love thy enemy” was a radical change from much of the Jewish arguments. The only place it takes faith is believing that he was the direct son of God, as Christians claim, or he lived the “Perfect Life”. I believe in God because I know there is much more about this world that I know I don’t know, and believing that you should “turn the other cheek” is far safer than, say, what is going on in Arabia. And people don’t kill people because they don’t believe in God. Arabs and most people in our country both believe in the same monotheistic God, and let’s not forget our friend the Jews’ relationship with the Muslims. The reason’s they hate each other are the same reasons people have gone to war since the first time someone grasped a club and hit their mother-in-law with it: land, food, water, pain, etc. My favorite history teacher was atheist and I found having an “outsider” teach me about the European Middle Ages, which was the high water mark of the Catholic Church, was one of the most beneficial things in my educational past, but let’s not start taking things too far and insert yourself into the fray in places you ought not to be because you were made to feel bad by a couple of kids in recess or something. Atheist aren’t killed by Christians, Christians only kill atheists if they have foreign oil wells.

  • Stizzy

    179. jay – October 22nd, 2008 at 3:46 pm

    and its not about him being real , i believe a man named jesus existed but everyone should know its scientificaly proven its impossible for him to do the shit you bellieve.
    ———————-

    This is one of the funniest things I’ve read here. For starters, Jesus being the Son of God and God Himself…I don’t think it’s hard work to bend the laws of physics beyond what can be “scientifically proven” science can only go so far, it can’t and isn’t meant to explain everything despite what people think. Science is God’s playground, that’s why He has OmniSCIENCE.

    That’s like telling a computer programmer he cant reprogram the code he created because the laws of the code say so.

  • Doodlebug

    Randall: You make me weep tears of intelligent, well executed and logical joy.

    One more thing (any xkcd fans out there will agree with me on this one….) can we introduce a ‘third party option’ for commenting? Example – someone goes to write something PHENOMENALLY stupid (like ‘zomg jesus didn’t exist coz I never met him and abraham is gay kthnksbai’) and, instead of just posting it straight away a third party has to read it aloud to ensure the poster realises how unutterably thick they will sound.

    Who’s with me?!

  • Brosiusjb

    Ooo, what a paradox! Once God sets the rules to the universe can He alter the universe in ways that break the rules? Nobody try and answer this question it is rhetorical, which means there are as many answers to this question as there are hairs on my left nutt, (more than 2, I like to keep trimmed for my fiance). There is a much tougher question that I actually need answered, can God Himself call a customer-service number in India and get a person on the line promptly and both understand the agent and get some useful infomrmation that leads to a resolution of the issue?

  • Dante

    I detect controversy. Hey whatever you fags say about religion is your business, but whether any of the top three are imaginary or not (obviously not) they HAVE still influenced people, have they not?? 60% of the world is Christian… Hmmm… Do you think that Christ guy might have had anything to do with it?

  • David

    1. Great list but why limit it to only 10?

    2. Re Gigi: As a Jew myself I can say that, yes we did start those wars, but only so we could get Christian baby blood to use in our sacrifices, so don’t criticize.

    3. Whether Jesus “existed” or not is indisputable, obviously he existed. Whether he did everything people say he did is simply part of belief or non-belief; aka “a leap of faith”

  • Lizzyxo

    Randall: I have a bit of a geek/intelligences crush in you at the moment. =)

  • anthony p

    Never heard of that Mexican guy at number 1

  • Brosiusjb

    I’m no fag, my fiance is female. She’s a runner to, so, I lucked out. But Dante you’re right. Its strange that being real isn’t a prerequisite for having influence. Take the smurfs and my fragile Id as an example.

  • Liam

    David – Dude you’re funny. I didn’t think we’d reveal our secret plans so blatantly, but whatever. Yeah, Gigi, it’s due time you find out. We are having a big cook out next week, so why don’t you drop off your children and we’ll have a great dinner. All gentile children are invited! And be sure to be extra bloody for our sacrificial ceremonies afterwards to worship Satan. Oh, and the next major war is scheduled for May of next year. I’ll ruin the surprise telling you where! (Hint: It starts with V and ends with enezuela)

    Anthony P – Yeah more like Jesus of Mexico City.

    jFrater – I think, to compromise, I should be #1.

  • krchuk

    Well, Jamie, guess you got number one spot on because he seems to be influencing (dominating) the comments. ;)

  • krchuk: indeed – point proven I think :)

  • Precision

    Great list, I thoroughly enjoyed it. I enjoyed reading the comments at the end of the list even more though!

    I have no problem whatsoever accepting the top 3 on this list, and agree completely. It’s interesting that the people blatantly spouting “they don’t exist” messages provide no proof or references to support their opinons.

    The only person (please correct me if I’m wrong) to attempt to justify their opinion of “non-existent religious figures” with evidence was BRG (#85), and their arguments were comprehensively destroyed by Randall (in a most entertaining manner – hats off to you sir).

    Whether or not you believe what is written about the actions of the top 3 (Jesus particularly), to blindly state that they didn’t exist at all in an illogical and ill-informed manner, and in the face of (I believe) insurmountable historical evidence just makes yourself look silly.

    In fact, for an atheist to state “Jesus did not exist” based on nothing more than their own personal opinion displays a great deal of faith – the very concept they criticise so fervently in others. Ironic, no?

  • Brosiusjb

    Wow, South Park was appropriate tonight in light of this little discussion.

  • Don Juan

    This is an interesting and seemingly controversial list, not controversial to me though. All the entries seem appropriate.

  • David

    Liam: I’m sorry I thought it was time they all found out. What can they do, we own and control everything and everyone. BTW how much have you gotten out of these awesome financial times? I just got my cut, about $100 bill. Unfortunately, it’s in an Israel bond so I can cash it in, but its ok I can just rely on all my banks to hold me over.

    Gigi: Here’s a secret just for you. During Chhh-anukah we spin a little top and whatever side it lands on, that’s we decide which war to start. Great fun!

  • dracon

    Gershwin, Speilberg, Lansky, Larry, Moe + Curly.

  • pinkchihuahua

    hello

  • pinkchihuahua

    hello my name is pinkchihuahua!!!

  • pinkchihuahua

    im watching the comedian mike berbiblia

  • pinkchihuahua

    later,

  • Peeves

    Yeah, no women? Golda Meir wasn’t an obvious choice?

    Otherwise, whether they existed or not is kind of moot because their characters at the very least were incredibly influential to history. I’m a non-believer but the ‘real’ people don’t even come close to their influence.

  • Anne O’Nemus

    does anyone know of any evidence for or against Mayer Amschel Rothschild, the founding father of the Rothschild banking families of Europe, for being Hitler’s grandfather? Random vaguely Jewish-related question; so if this were true, Hitler would partially Jewish and very ironic.

  • astraya

    Mary of Nazareth? (If she or, indeed, the whole village of Nazareth existed!)

  • what about kyle from south park?

  • Cambrex101

    Oh, yay. I think I suggested this like a million years ago?

    Good list.
    I never knew Freud was Jewish!

  • Mom424

    Wow! Has anybody else noticed that #8, Gustav Mahler is the spitting image of Roger Daltry? The resemblance is eerie.

    Head on over to the forums; JwJwBean has kindly posted a comparison shot on the pics thread.

    Very Weird.

  • Vera Lynn

    How sad. How much hate. I am a teacher. I am Jewish. I am the best teacher your child would ever know. But you think I am a disease. So you deprive your child because you hate me. G-d help you. I am sad for you. You don’t know how to be human and you are poisoning your child.

  • Meg

    @Cambrex101: (about Freud) Me too!

  • thunderchicken

    Nothing like religion to spice up discussion. Also, the premise of this list is flawed. . . all Jews are influential – just ask my Grandfather.

  • A person

    Einstein was Jewish? I had no idea. I knew he left Germany or Austria or wherever the hell he was from because of the Nazis, but I see why now! Wow! I was really liking this list until I saw people like Jesus on it. Did you run out of real people so you had to use imaginary ones?

  • Miss Destiny

    Yay! I can read List Universe once again! I was without Internet for a while. I misread the title of this list as the most influential jaws, and was really confused for a second. But once I got it right, I found it very fascinating! I’m all about Albert Einstein, that guy was awesome. :) And you really can’t go wrong with Jesus Christ, can you?

  • Doodlebug: I like your suggestion about third party moderation but it would be a huge effort to implement. I think the best option would be something like reddit and digg where people can vote comments down or up (we had this functionality once) – then we could allow people to set a threshold at which to ignore comments or people. I must admit though, I almost always look at the hidden comments on reddit to see what people thought was so offensive!

  • Lizzyxo

    A person: Maybe you should read ALL of the 229 comments before you post one that has been posted and shot down like a millions times.

  • brettc

    Just a quick pick up on Spart’s comment #40 re John Monash:

    Monash was not one of the top level planners for the Gallipoli withdrawal; that was Birdwood and Brudenall-White (commander and Chief of staff of the AIF). However, Monash was tremendously influential as he essentially developed the tactics used against the German Army in August 1918 at the battle of Amiens, which the Germans later refined into Blitzkrieg.

    Monash’s ideas of integrated tanks, infantry and air-support (including using both tanks and aircraft to supply frontline troops with ammunition and other supplies) resulted in a devastating blow to the German Army, and finally got the Allied armies – initially the attacking Australian and Canadian armies – out of the trenches and into open warfare.

    As is often the way, the forces on the receiving end took more note of the tactics than the victors, and used them very successfully 21 years later.

  • Ramcat

    There is no historical evidence (aside from the Bible, which is a rather biased source as it is) that a “Jesus Christ” existed.

  • Gazian

    haha, wtf pinkchihuahua?

  • Lizzyxo

    Ramcat: There is much historical evidance to that. Though they may not refer to him as “Jesus Christ” Alexander the Great wasn’t born “Alexander the Great” he be came, the Great, as Yeshua (translates to Jesus in Greek) be came what is known as the Christ. Josephus one of, if not the most famous ancient historian on the 1st century talked a a lot about the man most of us refer to as “Jesus Christ”. The only question is really, did he do what he is believe too, or is he the Son of God, not did he exist, there is much proof that he did.

  • Precision

    Ramcat #236, please read Randall’s posts #57 and #99 regarding historical evidence. Also, take note of his posts, and others in this list, so that in future you are able to provide a more logical argument to support your claims. If you’d like to know my views about “blind” statements, post 212 is for you.

    Not wanted someone to be real isn’t the same as them not existing. Whether you believe Jesus was the son of God is your business, but to state he didn’t exist is just being ignorant.

  • Ramcat

    I’m referring to contemporary evidence. From that era, there isn’t even a mention of a Pontius Pilate putting one Jesus Christ to death.

    Josephus was born one year after Jesus’ supposed crucification (not quite an eyewitness, I’d say) and wrote the brief accounts 5 decades after the event and right after the first gospels were written. So obviously his accounts were written from an indirect source.

  • Toatane

    Precision #212 and #239, (and a number of other posters) are conflating three separate claims about the existance of three separate indidviduals.

    Abraham – not even the lauded Randall goes anywhere near arguing for a historical basis for such a figure. Contrary to your assertion, it is logical to conclude that no such figure existed – especially given the claims made about him.

    Moses – again, nothing that Randall says supports the conclusion that such figure existed. In fact his posts include a number of points (such as Moses’s mirroring of mythical figures) which can support the idea that Moses is a fictional character. His use of the argument that there must have been basis for these stories is a standard of proof which would quickly become a slippery slope. I’m sorry but “there is no doubt a kernal of truth underneath the legend” is a very weak line of argument. If he has a stronger one I’d like to hear it.

    Jesus – here, IMHO, Randall is on stronger ground. But still it is entirely logical to argue that the TYPE of person Jesus is presented as in the New Testament never has, or will, exist.

  • Brosiusjb

    The threshold of proof is a difficult thing to get past when you’re talking about events that happened in the infancy of history. I have always had a problem with the exodus story for one reason; has anyone ever lived in the desert for 40 years? But I don’t doubt that Moses was a real person. Were he a king or pharoahe he would have had statues carved of him and inscriptions built on all the buildings he ordered built. Since he was a religious figure, he is copied in religious texts. I find it hard to believe that the entire Bible and other Jewish texts (as well as Islamic texts) that a work of utter fiction was able to spread as far as it has has no basis in reality. I tend to think that the events in the Bible need to be read with an apocraful eye but I don’t doubt that the people existed. The Bible can be a good historical tool, too.

  • Brosiusjb

    ignore the phrase directly after the parenthesis, I know I messed that up.

  • Ramcat

    As for Randall’s comments, he doesn’t provide any evidence supporting his claim that Jesus was real or any examples of the documents supposedly containings accounts of Jesus. What documents are you talking about? Who wrote them? You don’t even add any contrary evidence to support the idea that there were records of Jesus written when he was alive. You’re simply trying to gain credence to your claims through verbosity, “If you can’t dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bullshit.”

    You’re sort of flip-flopping between views, Randall.

  • Brg

    Randall,

    I have heard about the Hyksos theory, and I might not have all the historical facts, but that is beside the point; as Toatane has pointed out, we are discussing the existence of Moses,and even you have mentioned that he could have been only a mythical figure. My sources are the studies of Israel Finkelstein and Neil Asher Silberman, authors of “The Bible Unearthed”.

    And for all of you who scramble to mention Josephus’ mentioning of Jesus: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Josephus_on_Jesus#Testimonium_Flavianum (yes, wikipedia. If you don’t like it try http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=josephus+jesus&aq=f&oq= instead)

  • Brg

    Bosiusjb and Samir, don’t get me started on the Qu´ran! Or better yet, go here: http://kafirgirl.wordpress.com She is already all started up.

  • Doodlebug

    Jfrater – I was of course kidding (although its not that bad an idea….) Sometimes the stupid comments are by far the funniest :P If I were you I wouldn’t change a thing; I’ve been reading since damn near the beginning (this place is my homepage) and I love it.
    Keep up the good work!

  • Toatane

    Randall, I would add to Brg’s comments that even a reasonable explanation for WHY there isn’t very much historical evidence does not remove the problem that isn’t very much historical evidence.

  • Rina

    Great fight! I mean list. Or is it the fight? Cant decide which I liked better. I dont really know what some people are on about. Everybody is entitled to their own opinion. My opinion is Jesus lives! I see him every day in every sunrise and sunset, in every new born babys smile and I see him right here in these comments. But thats just my opinion and I wont force it on anybody who doesnt believe.
    Thank you and God bless!

  • FreedumbFighter

    jfrater:
    some of these people were not Jews by religion, but Jews by blood. You can be just one of the two or both of the two

    You can’t be Jewish by blood. You can be Polish, Spanish, Czech, or any other nationality by blood but religion is not a nationality. There are rights of passages in all religions to become whatever it is you choose. People aren’t born Catholic, Protestant, or Muslim.

  • qwerty017

    Guess I was wrong and we are allowed to have conversations in the comments.
    Anyways, even if the top 3 did exist, they did not do what the bible says they did. Was Jesus just a preacher who traveled around? Maybe. But he is not influential for being a preacher that walked around and told people to be nice. He is known for the miracles he supposedly did and the idea that he was the son of god. Basically, since the reasons for him being influential were made up by the authors of the books in the bible, those people were influential.

  • Samir

    Liam, I am a Muslim and I agree with you.

  • Brg

    Rina,

    Do you see him in the smoke of the bombed villages?
    Do you see him in the crying mouths of the children who are dying of hunger?
    Do you see him in the faces of the destitute,sick and dying?

    And no, I haven´t had a childhood filled with religion, nor live in one of those places, nor am ai destitue or anything. I just read the Bible, thought a little, added 2 and 2, and came to the conclusion that something doesen’t add up.

    Add to this that it just sounds wrong when, just like you, a religious friend of mine looks around his well-sheltered life, home and children, and sees god everywhere.

  • Stizzy

    “Do you see him in the smoke of the bombed villages?
    Do you see him in the crying mouths of the children who are dying of hunger?
    Do you see him in the faces of the destitute,sick and dying?”

    I see Him angry
    I see Him crying
    I see Him hurt and moved with compassion.

    All in all I see His sorrow at knowing all this could have been avoided if we’d just allowed Him to take the wheel. Most importantly I see His absence, not because He doesn’t exist, but because we simply don’t want Him around.
    The world is broken and shattered, but every now and then through the broken shards, you can see just a glimpse of His reflection. Because we look on these things and we feel emotion, we get choked up, because we’re made to value human life just like He does.

    Often in the face of such tragedy, you find those more thankful, more aware, more open and loving than those living in a well-sheltered life with home and children. Their world is in turmoil but you barely hear them complain. But across the pond, the wails rise along with the price of petrol. What a sad world we live in.

  • Stizzy

    The funny thing is, for those who want proof that Jesus did the things He did, I don’t think you really know what you’re asking.

    For a man who was fully God to have to proove Himself is saying that proof holds greater sway than God Himself which isn’t possible.

    Frankly if Jesus Himself turned up at your doorstep, you would probably echo Thomas in saying you won’t believe until you put your hands in the holes. And maybe then, you’d still fog it off as hallucination.

    And of course people will pick at what Josephus put down and they add supposed christian scholars to back up their claims. But there are many christians who believe in thiestic evolution and the long age of the earth in contradiction to what the Bible says. Just because they use the label Christian, doesn’t always mean anything.

    To say you believe in Jesus isn’t enough. Even Satan believes He was the Son of God, ushered in the kingdom of heaven, died and rose again. But he obviously ain’t a christian ;)

  • Rina

    Brg
    No, I dont see him there because he isnt there. He’s part of creation, not destruction. Thats a man made thing and even though you suggest that I have a nice cozy sheltered life, I dont have it. I lost both my children after my husband passed away and the only thing that kept me going was the Man who’s existance people deny. I live in South Africa and just like anywhere else in this world, we see the destruction caused by man all the time. I agree with Stizzy, if we allow Him to take the wheel again and rule the earth things will improve and hate will dissapear.

  • meangene

    Religions take everything that your DNA naturally wants to do to survive and procreate and makes it wrong. Why? Well, if you’re busy fighting your internal drives, and you see God as the only way to cleanse yourself of these ‘bad’ thoughts, then you are a much better SHEEP. If you want to control people you must first confuse them, then tell them you have the answers they are searching for, i.e. Scientology and their personality test. You can’t laugh just at scientology because it uses the same princables as most religions, like offering a final solution, i.e. afterlife, heaven, reincarnation, allah, jew heaven etc. Jesus was a stand up guy though, great jew.

    Stizzy, that is the gayest thing I have ever read.

  • Brg

    Rina,

    I´m sorry for your loss. And I will try to thread gently here, but in my opinion it is not the Man who kept you going, but YOU, Rina. You have the strength, the purpose, inside of you, and the Man is but a way for you to channel it and keep going.

    Or would you say that a Buddhist or a Muslim or an Atheist cannot endure what you have endured? If it were solely the Man who can do it, only christians would be able to endure pain and sorrow. And that is not the case.

  • Spart

    #250 Freedumfighter
    Not so sure I agree with what you just said…

    I was always under the understanding that wrt to Jewishness there was both an ethnicity and a religion. Of the ethnicities, there are three major ethnic groups of Jews – the Askenazis, Sephardi’s and the Mizrahim.

    There are also people who convert to Judaism, and might not belong to one of the older groups.

  • Brg

    Stizzy,

    We do not want him around him? Wrong. On one hand, we have the faithful, who are plenty, who say that he is around; on the other hand, the atheists who DO NOT SAY that we don’t want him around, but that there is no one to be around in the first place.

    I assure you that I would have to fight Richard Dawkins and many other atheists to be the first in line to pay homage to god, if such a god existed. But there is no actual proof. See, there was an early comment by someone saying that not seeing could not be proof that something didn’t exist, and he mentioned gravity as an example.

    Now, let us take a ball and prove the existence of something we can’t see:

    – Drop the ball from your hand a gazillion times, and the ball will fall a gazillion times to the ground. I cannot see gravity, but I can see it acting on the ball. Ergo, there is gravity.

    – Now, pray a gazillion times to god for the ball to raise up to your hand, and the balla will remain a gazillion times on the ground. I cannot see god, and I cannot see him acting on the ball. Ergo, there is no god, and I will not be fighting Richard Dawkins for first place in the apology line.

  • onwisconsn

    Faith – you either got it or ya don’t. ‘Nuff said.

  • Rina

    Thank you Brg
    I guess we all need someone or something to believe in and that will carry us through. If their religion carry them through its not my place to deny its existance. But I’ve had a miracle in my life, performed in the name of Jesus and therefore I believe in Him unconditionally.

  • Brg

    Rina,

    Well, then I am glad for you. That you are okay now is more important that whatever discussion we are having regarding Hyksos, Josephus, gravity and whatnot.

    Cheers!

  • Randall

    Mongoose:

    Why do you want to know? Do you feel you know me? If I got more specific, as you ask, would you then ask me to get still MORE specific?

    I’d prefer to know why you want to know where I went to college first. Not irked or anything… just curious.

  • Heymon

    you’re all idiots, its says the most “Influential” NOT “famous”, that’s different, they’re like ideas you dumbnuts. And Jesus was pretty freaking Influential to those whom DO believe in him.

    im not religious, but at least i understand this list >_>

  • Callie

    ramcat:

    In 2000 years, when computers are gone and our language is archaic and people are telling stories of the great and wonderful ramcat…how will it be proven you existed?

    Before gravity was proven to exist, do you think people just went about falling off the earth? I mean…it wasn’t proven..it must have not existed.

    You’re entitled to believe what you want about the faith part. You aren’t entitled to be as mind numbingly stupid as you’re being about the reality part.

  • Quiana

    @Heymon. I guess it’s good that we have people who didn’t read were it says the most “Influential” NOT “famous”, and how we all love to fly off the handle about something as simple as a list because otherwise we would have 265 comments that all said ” Great List!!”. :)

  • Brg

    Callie,

    “Before gravity was proven to exist, do you think people just went about falling off the earth? I mean…it wasn’t proven..it must have not existed.”

    Gravity does not need to be proven to exist, because you can see its effects on everything at all times. There is not a before or after to talk about.

    Now, forget this. Are you trying to say with your statement that no proof of god doesn’t mean that he does not exist? Then we are talking about faith, and that has nothing to do with something, like gravity, that we know is there.

    My previous post was about this exactly: someone said earlier that he believed in a god that he could not see because there are things that cannot be seen (i.e.: gravity) that do exist; I tried to say that comparing both is nonsensical; and you, Callie, seem to be trying to say too that such comparision is nonsencial. On that I agree with you.

    Now, if your mind works based on faith, then I would say that I have serious doubts about you being able to ponder and evaluate how things work based on reality, so I would not be snapping at people to freely about what they know about the real world.

  • nur

    I like the list but I love the comments!

  • JayArr

    CARD(199) The problem with banning anyone who uses the word ‘hate’ in their post is that we’d soon not have anyone posting on the site at all. True, the use of hateful words is often in poor taste, and shows a lack of forethought and tolerance for others. The good thing about it though, is that it gets people talking and learning – even if it comes out that the person making the original hateful statement is really a shallow, thoughtless, mean-spirited individual.

    I think that, as long as a person does not attempt to insight others to hateful thinking and actions, we need to allow the freedoms of speech here as much as we do in society at large… painful as it may be at times. ;-)

  • Cedestra

    206. Lizzyxo: Lay off, he’s my bear!

  • Cedestra

    265. Heymon: We’re all idiots? Even the thirty of use who have already mentioned the difference between fame and influence? If we’re idiots, then you’re lazy.

  • Callie

    “Gravity does not need to be proven to exist, because you can see its effects on everything at all times. There is not a before or after to talk about.

    Now, forget this. Are you trying to say with your statement that no proof of god doesn’t mean that he does not exist? Then we are talking about faith, and that has nothing to do with something, like gravity, that we know is there.”

    Yes BRG, we do know it’s there, but we didn’t always. My point is we accept is as easily and “the sun will rise” because it’s been proven beyond a doubt. That’s easy because it’s scientific. Thousands of years before that fateful day Newton got KO’ed by an apple and came up with the theory, it was around, doing its thing, keeping us grounded. So yes, there is a before and after. It’s always been around, but there was a before.

    It’s easy to believe science. I don’t know if there’s any anti gravity groups out there, but I know there’s anti jesus. The point is, because of the delicate and controversial nature of JC, someone could find a birth certificate and a nice family photo of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph with God giving a thumbs up in the background, and people would still be hesitant to believe.

    So let’s hear it BRG. Real or not, Jesus never influenced you? Regardless of this “exist vs. not exist” quagmire we’ve all gotten ourselves into, he hasn’t influenced you to come on this board and post your opinions, whatever they may be?

    Dog (194) Has it right:

    “The list is called top 10 influential jews, not top ten real people who lived and performed miracles.

    Again, as everyone has been saying, it’s about INFLUENCE, not about beliefs or credibility (c-r-e-d-i-b-i-l-i-t-y) Jesus has had an undeniable influence over thousands of years and billions of people. If he’s not number one, who is?”

  • Randall

    Brg & ramcat:

    Obstinancy–and a little knowledge–are not substitutes for scholarship, objectivity, and common sense, kids. If you want to cling to the idea that no one ever existed in the past of human history except those for whom there are contemporary reports (but then how do we *really* establish the veracity of such reports? If you’re willing to believe people make up historical characters out of whole cloth a mere 50-100 years after the supposed lifetime of said characters, then why not believe even *contemporary* reports can be just “made up?”) then be my guest; but I can’t say much for your wit and critical thinking skills, if so.

    This strict and rigid interpretation of what amounts to historical evidence strikes me as rather odd, and I detect an agenda behind it. Because it’s one thing to point out there is no evidence for someone’s existence in the past; it’s quite another, frankly, to take off from that and make definitive-sounding statements that said person DID NOT exist. The former is a reasonably valid (if in this instance somewhat inappropriate–but I’ll come to that) point, which takes its cue from science, in a sense. The latter, however, steps far beyond the bounds. It takes into account NONE of the points I’ve made previously regarding the nature of records of individuals in the past. It says that if there is no concrete, irrefutable, contemporary evidence of a person’s existence, then that person DID NOT EXIST. This is not science–it’s not even valid reasoning.

    But it should be pointed out, also, that history is not a science. It is built upon evidence, yes, but that evidence takes varying forms, and it is not empirical in the sense that scientific evidence is empirically-based, nor is it experimental or reproduceable in nature. History accepts its evidence on the basis more of the courtroom–of testimony and weight of circumstance.

    Healthy skepticism is therefore one thing, when it comes to history. But you’ve taken it over the fence into obstinancy and denial—neither of which serve history, nor do they serve truth. An objective historical view holds that figures like Jesus Christ (and others for whom there is a lack of strict *contemporary* reports) existed if there is a strong weight of testimony and circumstantial evidence to support the view that they existed. And for Jesus the weight of the testimony and the circumstantial evidence is at least highly persuasive, and to be fair could be considered mountainous. In fact it can be argued that there are more separate, objective reports of him in a documentary sense than there are for Socrates, who also never wrote a single thing in his own hand. I believe wholeheartedly, as an historian, that Socrates existed, however. As I believe Thales and Heraclitus existed, for whom we have even less evidence. There is the timbre of myth about Jesus, of course, but it is vastly secondary to the veracity of the man as a character. For Moses this is reversed; there is far more of the myth than the character. Moses is a figure far removed from us and he issues from a time when there was even LESS likelihood of him being mentioned by anyone OUTSIDE of Judaism. But even for Moses, in an HISTORICAL sense, the argument is strong that someone LIKE HIM existed. As someone like Homer existed, for instance… and in fact one can argue, again, that there is more evidence for Moses than Homer. As an ancient historian, and a Greek enthusiast, I can tell you that I believe Homer existed. The exact specifics of his life? I cannot say. We probably never will be able to say. Same for Moses. Does this mean that we should then turn around and claim that neither Moses nor Homer existed? That’s rubbish. They both left behind them a body of influence, material, and tradition that one would then have to explain in SOME way. How is the explanation that all this was just “made up” or was stitched together artificially any MORE valid, in your view, than the explanation that, given the nature of things, and the nature of human beings, these men really did simply exist–even if we don’t know and probably never will know the specific details of their lives, lacking as we do biographies and records of the modern sense.

  • Mongoose

    Randall, I as I read through your posts you reminded me of a guy I once knew, who was a graduate of Columbia University. He first name was actually Randall, and I remember he was quite knowledgeable when it came to a subject like this. I was just wondering…

  • Randall

    Mongoose:

    Ah.. well, you see, Randall is knowledgeable on ALL subjects… hence your understandable confusion. ;-)

    I cannot say, however, that I ever graduated from Columbia University. :-) Did you?

    Anyway, no… I’m therefore not the person you’re thinking of. Sorry.

  • Toatane

    Randall, I note with interest that you have abandonned referring to Abraham now and are starting to pull back from commenting about Moses.

    To be honest I can’t comment on your crictical thinking skills or your wit but I can’t say much for your argument here. You seem to have had to very carefully hedge your type of proofs for Socrates to make him comparable to Jesus. Are you really trying to say that there are sources for Jesus comparable to Xenophon, Aristophanes, Plato and Aristotle?

    Once you remove the mythic from these stories, as you are happy to do, what really are you left with to order to claim that there must, in a historical sense, have been some “LIKE” them?

    It also seems to me that many of the arguments you present in the final paragraph can quite easily be used to give one plausible reason why ancient peoples created figures like Moses and Homer out of whole cloth – they too believed there much be some explanation for what they observed (for example, The Iliad) and the easiest one to jump to was that there was one person responsible.

    BTW just to be clear on my claims. I see no reason to believe that a figure even like Abraham existed, little historical reason to believe a figure like Moses existed and that it is reasonable to argue Jesus, as he is presented in the new testament, did not exist.

  • Cedestra

    274. Mongoose: “you reminded me of a guy I once knew, who was a graduate of Columbia University”
    275. Randall: “Anyway, no… I’m therefore not the person you’re thinking of. Sorry.”
    Or is he? Mwahahahah. Mwahahahaha! MWAHAHAH ::coughsputter:: Yeah.

  • Tobias

    Whether Jesus, Moses and Abraham were real or not, they were definately the most influential, and the people the influence believe that they were real, and jewish. Therefore they are the most influential jews in history.

  • Randall

    Toatane:

    Don’t try me, you little weasel. I don’t respond well to snide attacks from the likes of you.

    NOW…

    A) I abandoned NOTHING. I don’t have time in my vastly busy day to educate you and others on every single point of an argument nor to take on the defense of every historical figure you want to deny. Abraham is a figure dating back far enough in history that there isn’t much that can be said about him definitively. I said that previously. So don’t give me this crap that I’m abandoning anything. Point is, however, that this is true for MANY figures such as he. Your take on this is that he therefore DIDN’T exist. Which is an attitude no more scientifically valid than saying the Easter Bunny DID exist. Get off it. The BEST you can say is that you don’t know. HISTORY, as I said, however, is NOT science. There is a weight of tradition that says a figure by the name of Abraham DID exist. But to ARGUE about such a point shows that you have a SMALL, coarse little mind. Why is it so freaking IMPORTANT to you that Abraham is questionable? Or Moses? Or Jesus? You seem to revel in it. THAT is not the behavior of someone interested in historicity.

    B) I have, similarly, NOT “pulled back” from ANYTHING regarding Moses. I laid out from the beginning my stance in his regard, and it has changed not in the LEAST.

    C) Socrates, like Christ, is a figure who left no writing of his OWN behind him. Plato and Xenophon, yes, document his existence contemporaneously (and yes, Aristophanes lampooned him in The Clouds) and the most important source here is Plato (Socrates was dead several years before Aristotle was born, Toatane). But anyone who knows anything about Plato’s works knows that scholarly opinion has LONG held the consensus that Plato DOES NOT report Socrates’ words verbatim, but rather he not only paraphrases, but adds his own. Plato in a sense often USES Socrates as a character. Again, I have no doubt whatsoever that Socrates existed, and any reasonable person would agree. But the fact is that some of what we know of Socrates is undoubtedly the result of the literary INVENTION of Plato. But this is beside the point. LATER tradition does not address Socrates in much of any way, except for the acceptance of him as a figure IN the works of Plato and Xenophon, citing and repeating them, in essence. There’s nothing wrong with this and nothing invalid about it. There’s still no reason to doubt that he was a real person. But with Jesus we ALSO have reports of OTHER parties, after the fact, that talk about him, and built NOT merely on a single previously written source, but drawn from memory and incidental mentions in documentation. Trivial, yes, but history is often BUILT on trivia. AGAIN… where Jesus is mentioned in various sources, NO ONE thinks even for a moment to say, “eh, there was said to be this guy named Jesus 30 or 40 years ago, (or whatever) and he was said to be a great prophet or that he claimed to be the son of god. But oh by the way, we aren’t sure he really existed. There’s rumors he didn’t.” NO. There are NO statements to this effect—even when it would have SERVED the party in question to thus cast doubts on Jesus’ existence. And the logical reason is that there was enough generally accepted memory of the guy that to DENY he even existed would have been silly. No one even thought of it.

    D) You are confusing “mythic” with “fictional,” I suspect. But at any rate–let’s take a figure like Moses, as an example. Mythically, the embroidery around his reported life seems to be drawn from earlier Egyptian tradition–even his name. But then if you DENY Moses’ existence, then YOU must explain on what archeological/historical PEG we can hang all this Jewish tradition on, which goes all the way back to the era of Moses’ supposed existence, which states that a person of his name and stature DID live. Or to put it another way, dearer to my heart: not too long ago, people denied that the Trojan War ever happened. Even after Schliemann had dug up a city where Troy was said to be, and even after later excavations established a violent end for that city, and brought up other evidence which matched in EVERY way the traditional description of that city. EVEN TODAY we still have no PROOF that it was CALLED Troy. But historically it’s accepted that it WAS Troy and that the war DID happen, also given some perfunctory incidental documentary evidence in Hittite archives. BUT the point is that, upon finding all this out, the consensus changed to realize that if the Greeks had just “made up” the war, and “made up” Troy, it wouldn’t have been accepted for a moment. Tradition and historical circumstance are powerful in determining matters in an historical sense. So if you were to DENY the Trojan War, then you’d have to explain HOW and WHY the Greeks had been able to make the whole thing up and get away with it, and leave it seeming, only a short time later, like absolute historical fact. Something similar can be said for Moses (and to some extent Abraham as well). He is a PIVOTAL figure in Hebrew tradition. You want to deny him, fine–but then YOU must illustrate how it is, and why it is, that the Jews were able to get away with INVENTING such a character so utterly and completely, investing him with a place of near-supreme importance in their history.

    Your final “claims” then, need more backing up than simply stating that you “see no reason” to believe in the existence of these figures–but particularly of Jesus, a figure for whom there is separate and substantiated documentary evidence from only a short time after his life. The weight of historical conjecture and professional historical consensus is against you on this one, toatane. So you must first REFUTE that consensus before you can even begin to hope to proceed.

  • guy

    wow this list really turned into a debate on wether or not moses, abraham and jesus existed. i just think that it is interesting that freud was jew because i am studying him in philosophy right now.

  • Toatane

    I apologise Randall. I confused you for someone who could debate in vigorous yet civilised manner.

    “Don’t try you…” SHEESH.

  • Cedestra

    This is better than American Gladiators- much, much better.

  • Randall

    Toatane:

    It’s amusing that people such as you, whenever presented with a vigorous argument and refutation of their silly claims, then proceed to withdraw without admitting any errors, while simultaneously making one last backhanded insult at their opponent.

    Or perhaps you’re just trying to pull a tactical retreat so you can use the time to Wikipedia away like mad, trying to find more to say against me, in the hopes that you can somehow validate your own silliness.

  • Cedestra

    Randall: How was Rachel Maddow last night?

  • Rog

    I think everything written after “…. little weasel” became redundant, and a bit of cheek to talk about insults backhanded or otherwise after that.

  • Randall

    Cedestra:

    I fell asleep!

  • Toatane

    In fairness to others who might have followed this debate.

    There is, being VERY generous, little historical evidence, beyond what you might lend to the old testament, that a figure even “like” Abraham existed. Additionally, even removing the supernatural elements of the story, the claims made about him, i.e. literal father of both the Arabs and the Jews, seem to me to implausible enough to doubt such a figure’s existence.

    You can, contra Randall, present a plausible, historically based, argument that no such figure as Moses existed. I suggest you do look into and decide for yourself.

    I already stated earlier that I thought Randall had a stronger argument for Jesus (I’m Randall but “snide”?). However, I don’t agree that the written sources for Socrates are as similar as those for Jesus as Randall implies.

  • Toatane

    The aside above should read “I’m sorry Randall, but “snide”?

  • Randall

    Rog:

    And who are YOU?

    “Redundant?” Why, because you simply don’t agree with the consensus of professional historians?

    And I’ll display all the “cheek” I like, “Rog.”

  • Randall

    Toatane:

    Again, Toatane… you made this backhanded comment that I had “abandoned” referring to Abraham—when in fact from the very beginning I had qualified my views on the nature of his historicity, and had not changed them, and still have not changed them. You made a similar gambit with the reference to me “backing off” on Moses.

    Both of these snide–yes, snide–remarks were clearly cheap attempts to score unfair points, and so, yes, you were responded to in kind.

    You and Brg (and I believe there was someone else in there as well) started off, Toatane, with rhetoric that seemed clearly calculated to discredit the existence of all three figures—to in essence state definitively that they did not exist. I repeat–this is not objective nor is it good history. It smacks of agendas, not good scholarship.

  • Toatane

    No Randall.

    A civilised repsonse would have calmly restated that you hadn’t backed off from anything. It would have been generous enough to assume that I wasn’t attempting to be snide. Perhaps it might have suggested that my expression was clumsy and given me the opportunity to correct any mis- spoken words.

    You went striaght to direct, personal insults.

  • Randall

    Toatane:

    So now you’re taking it upon yourself to lecture me on civilized discourse. Uh huh. An opening line in a comment…. and that’s what you’re harping on. I see.

    This IS a way of distracting from your losing argument, Toatane… but not a good way, and isn’t likely to work.

    You’re simply sounding like a whiner. This isn’t a professional academic journal… this is a free and open-to-the-public web site of reader-submitted lists. If you want greater control over the level of discourse, I suggest you seek out pastures in loftier heights. Although those folks won’t admit you without credentials usually.

  • Rog

    Who am I, well I’m Rog obviously.
    As it happens I agree there is enough to suggest these figures existed. I was referring to the ad hominem which tends to discredit any argument no matter how well constructed. And of course you can display as much cheek as you like, was just pointing out some irony.

  • JayArr

    Darn, I hate it when people start messing with the Really Old Guy.

    As for the number 1 person on the list here: Regardless of whether in person or by reference, real or imaginary, in truth or in falsehood, by right or wrong, Jesus (however you look at him – king of the Jews or otherwise) was certainly the most influential person of Jewish descent ever to have been discussed in this forum.

    Nuff said… time to focus on today’s new list!!! :-D

  • Toatane

    Actually, I was using that line as a place holder for all your insults. Would “SMALL, coarse little mind” suit better?
    Or your repeated implications about myself, my learning, my credentials? (etc, etc.) As well as your comments about other posters’ “critical thinking skills” and “wit”.

    You show real confusion over whether some one is attacking your argument or trying to find things to (#283). “say against me”.

  • Randall

    Toatane:

    Yawn. Bickering over insults is a colossal bore. Again, if you’re trying to distract from your own utter lack of an actual argument, nice try, but it’s not working. If you have more to say, say it. Otherwise, I couldn’t care less about your whinging over this sideshow stuff. Let’s move on.

  • JayArr

    You get a line and I’ll get a pole, honey
    You get a line and I’ll get a pole, babe
    You get a line and I’ll get a pole
    We’ll go down to the crawdad hole
    Honey, baby of mine.

    Okay, who’s got the bait?

  • Patrask

    Nice to see Jesus as #1…Funny how some people doesn’t realize he was jewish.

  • Marv in DC

    It seems to me that when people talk about Jesus existing, it is always a black and white issue. People seem to think that in order to accept his existence they therefore have to believe and accept everything that is said about him. That means you get people who say “based on the laws of physics it is impossible for someone to walk on water or to feed a multitude of people with five loaves of bread. Since it is impossible for those things to occur then Jesus can not exist” That is not evidence that he didn’t exist, it just means that things are attributed to him that may not be true. It does not mean the man did not exist. By that kind of logic, if you don’t belive that George Washington never told a lie or threw a dollar across the Potomac, therefore he didn’t exist. This is because we realize it is part of the mythology of Washington. Why can’t the same apply to Jesus? I don’t really think that Jesus did everything that the Bible says he did, but I think historical evidence proves he did exist,

  • Brosiusjb

    You two should box, Roger and Totane. Or better yet, joust! That or you can faithfully recreat the Monty Python scene where he comes upon the man keeping the bridge. “You Shall Not Pass” followed by “It’s just a flesh wound”. “Go away or I shall taunt you a second time”, and, “I fart in your general direction”.

    Totane without a time machine you will likely never believe anything both religious and ancient is based on fact. I see the fact that much of religious writing is supernatural as proof of the book’s authenticity. In those days, when the scientific method as we know it today was yet to be considered. To explain their world they often attributed events unexplainable to come from unseen forces. I have no doubt that you believe religion is a grand conspiracy but isn’t it a bit dismissive to claim that the people didn’t exist? The fact is that Randall’s Socrates example is the same type of proof as the religious figures who have suffered your slings and arrows. In order to be a conspiracy the writers would have had to fashion a person out of the ether giving him name, temperment, and physical appearance and launch him on a quest that that noone witnessed or, or had ever heard of, and made them believe it was so. They would have had to convince people who didn’t see Moses (as an example) that he was real in order for the story to grow. I have a feeling this is tougher than you think. Humans have wild imaginations but what is equally true is most humans have no reason to construct false religious icon’s in order to hide the truth from the world. To what end? It just seems devoid of logic to contend that none of these people existed at all just because you haven’t had them for dinner. In fact, it is a very arrogant attempt at historical verification; in order for a person to be accepted as real Totane must be convinced, likely by meeting that person on the street. Why isn’t “The Lord of the Rings” accepted as fact since it happened before your time and you have seen no direct proof that it didn’t happen. It is impossible to prove something didn’t happen because you are using a lack of evidence as your evidence which in itself is a flimsy buttress to rest your claims on. You have a personal reason for trying to discount these religious figures as real that is keeping you from seeing logic. The history of humans isn’t merely a history of deception.

  • Callie

    Marv’s George Washington example is wonderful. Well done.

  • Jesus

    Damn. I am good. I made number one.

  • Cedestra

    300. Brosiusjb: Woah, woah, woah there. Say what you want about Jesus but when you start messing with Monty Python, I draw the line. The gatekeeper to the bridge never said “None shall pass”, that was the Black Knight, who also said “it’s just a flesh wound”. And the Angry Frenchman said “I fart in your general direction”- both played exquisitely by John Cleese, not Terry Gilliam (who played the gatekeeper to the bridge). You, Sir, have angered me. ::slips off gountlet and slaps Brosiusjb in the face:: I challenge you to a duel. (And it’s Toatane and Randall, not Totane and Roger.)

  • D Holmes

    @Jesus- “Damn. I am good. I made number one.”

    Jesus, what is your secret? I must know.

    And how you do you get to be the son of God? Is there an application process with interviews or what? Because I was thinking about becoming a messiah and I wanted to know how I come about becoming one.

  • JayArr

    Sorry dude – there is rumor that you don’t exist…

  • bigski

    This is more fun than fartin in the tub!

  • ciko

    No Karl Marx,but a lot of biblical characters..?American conservatism??

  • bigski

    JFrater cant you find something a little more controversial on the next list ?

  • Y’all remember:

    “In the service of God, one can learn 3 things from a child & 7 things from a thief.

    From The Child:
    1) Always to be happy
    2) Never to sit idle
    3) To cry for everything that you want.

    From The Thief:
    1) To work at night.
    2) If one cannot gain what one wants in one night to try again the next night.
    3) To love one’s co-workers just as thieves love each other.
    4) To be willing to risk one’s life even for a little thing.
    5) Not to attach to much value to things even though one has risked one’s life for them- just as a thief will resell a stolen article for a fraction of it’s real value.
    6) To withstand all kinds of beatings and torture but to remain what you are.
    7) To believe that your work is worth while and not be willing to change it.

    Dov Baer, the Mazid of Mezeritch

    …or maybe it was Bob Dylan

  • D Holmes

    @ciko

    No.
    This list was written by a New Zealander.

  • D Holmes

    @JayArr

    *sigh*

    Refer to my earlier comment, its the 150th comment.

  • Renegade

    ok..after reading every comment thusfar posted, at the expense of my eyes O.O;, I could not stop laughing at some of the things said. Ad someone who goes to private school I have been studying the bible for the past four years..which, as someone who is protestant and not catholic, was 3 more than really necessary. In all of my reading of the new testament writing I don’t EVER recall Jesus stating, “I am the Son of God”. On the other hand, we simply believe in him. The closest he EVER gets to saying it are the following examples.

    “I am the way, the truth, and the light. Nobody can get through the father accept through me.” -Somewhere in the Book of John I believe

    In this it isn’t exactly mentioned that he is the “son of God”. He simply states that the way to God is through him, and because Jesus as a person was very defined by the things he preached it just means that the way to God was through the things he taught. Ad for saying “the father” in this quote, don’t start pulling that out as proof. Especially because every priest in the Catholic, and most, if not all, protestant faiths refers to God as “Father”. Next thing he says that is close to it.

    “If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.”
    -Mark 8:38

    I’d like to emphasize ‘son of man’ first off. I believe we are all “sons of man”, unless you are willing to deny that your parents were human. That would be absurd of course, but I think you see my point. Plus, Son of Man may not be necessarily be talking about JESUS himself. Because we are all sons of man by definition I don’t see why it couldn’t be any old person who is ashamed. I’d also like to mention, once again, that, God is often referred to as ‘father’ my the majority of Christians.

    The final time he comes truly close to saying he is the Son of God is when he asks the 12 apostles who they believed he truly is. Peter responded that he was the messiah, the son of God. In the passage Jesus never agrees and states that he is indeed so. On the other hand he simply acknowledged Peter as the disciple with the strongest faith in him. I’d like to make clear that I DO NOT mean the strongest faith in who he truly was, BUT the strongest belief in who he was thought to be. Therefore this cannot be taken as true proof of him saying he is truly the Son of God.

    My point in this argument was to address any of the earlier statements that Jesus was a raving lunatic who walked around saying he was the Son of God. That is simply not the truth. It was the people themselves who believed that he was the Son of God.

    As a disclaimer if anybody is capable of showing me ANYWHERE, citing the passage, where Jesus states he is the Son of God, I will look at it. I am not afraid to admit I am in the wrong, especially in something as long as the bible where many things could be stated and missed.

  • By religion, ancestry or blood. Hmmn, I believe Marx should be on the list. Whether he became a Christian or an atheist. Workers, unite! Whuahah! :D

  • Religious apologists versus radical atheists debates (and everything else in the middle, love it.) ;)

  • DiscHuker

    renegade:

    john 10:36-38… “Why then do you accuse me of blasphemy because I said, ‘I am God’s Son’? 37Do not believe me unless I do what my Father does. 38But if I do it, even though you do not believe me, believe the miracles, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me, and I in the Father.”

    if you need more, let me know.

  • Hayzeus

    Uh… Benjamin Disraeli anyone? Only Jewish Prime Minister of Britain so far? Wrote a bunch of novels, too? Famous wit? ANYONE?

  • Phil

    Randall- if you dont want to bicker over insults then dont use them, you provided the distraction and the sideshow.

  • nur

    Randall

    Why starts your arguments by first belittling your opponents? You’re really a good conversationalist but not good on debate.

  • meangene

    Randall won the arguement hands down, but he loses overall because he is a geek with no friends who blogs too much and has no social skills in real life situations

  • Renegade

    “john 10:36-38… “Why then do you accuse me of blasphemy because I said, ‘I am God’s Son’? 37Do not believe me unless I do what my Father does. 38But if I do it, even though you do not believe me, believe the miracles, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me, and I in the Father.”

    if you need more, let me know.”

    DiscHuker:
    Actually I believe that this one is more of a rhetorical question. Kind of like, “Why do you accuse me of blasphemy? Because I said I was the ‘son of god'” Where the second question was one of disbelief. You have to remember that the Bible is full of grammatical errors and the way things were said was not actually how the sentence structure said they were. The only reason he would say this in the context that you believe he did would be that he had said he was the Son of God earlier in the book of John. If you can find me where he says it earlier, point yours. ^_^

  • Renegade

    *”Am the son of God?”. Apologies

  • Randall

    meangene:

    Oooooo—kay “meangene.” Sure.

    Phil/nur:

    People like you and Toatane need to grow a pair. All there is to it. This is my persona here; my purpose is to inform, educate, and entertain. I’ve been here about a year, and my sense is that people enjoy the persona I put on. Of course, there’s always going to be a small percentage of lunkheads who don’t get it—who can’t recognize that a well-crafted, erudite, articulate argument mixed with Don Rickles-type insults is a put-on, a bit of fun churned together with the dry facts and weighty intellectual stuff—to keep the audience AND the contributor (moi) from getting bored stiff.

    Seems to work for most people, but then you gotta think for a minute, and not have a paper-thin skin.

    Don’t like it? Too bad. You’re welcome to read the posts of others. I ain’t gettin’ paid for this.

  • JayArr

    D Holmes(311) I was making a funny with Jesus(302). By the way, sighs are good for you! They get oxygen deeper into the lungs and force out some of that extra carbon dioxide! ;-)

  • DiscHuker

    renegade:

    here is the full context preceding what i quoted earlier…

    ” 22Then came the Feast of Dedication[b] at Jerusalem. It was winter, 23and Jesus was in the temple area walking in Solomon’s Colonnade. 24The Jews gathered around him, saying, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ,[c] tell us plainly.”
    25Jesus answered, “I did tell you, but you do not believe. The miracles I do in my Father’s name speak for me, 26but you do not believe because you are not my sheep. 27My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. 28I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. 29My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all[d]; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. 30I and the Father are one.”

    31Again the Jews picked up stones to stone him, 32but Jesus said to them, “I have shown you many great miracles from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?”

    33″We are not stoning you for any of these,” replied the Jews, “but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God.”

    seems pretty clear to me. Jesus says i am the Christ because of all of the evidence that i have given. the miracles speak for themselves. then he goes the full distance and says “i and the father are one”. this was obviously seen as a claim to be God because the jews then picked up stones to kill him for blasphemy.

  • Toatane

    Randall:

    Don Rickles’s insults were often made in a way that was inclusive of his target, allowing them either to laugh at their foibles or at least laugh to save face. I didn’t find your comments humourous. His insults were also normally made in a forum where you could expect them; you knew they were coming. Nothing in the very limited way we had interacted before hand gave me any indictaion of the type of reaction I would recieve.

    I’m new here but, with respect, I think you have a misapprehension on how you are viewed. The many positive comments people have given you on this page have been based on your obvious knowledge and your treatment of people’s argument. Even I noted where I thought you were making strong points. The negative comments have all been about your treatment of individuals. The notion that you must insult to stop being bored and to entertain doesn’t hold much water.

    You are right – we do try to create a persona on these sites. I am new here and I was hoping for one which showed that I enjoy vigorous and respectful debate. I now seem to have added to it that I don’t react well to insults. Nevertheless, in light of what I aim for, if not always achieve, I re-read my “backing out” comments. I think the best that can be said of them is that they are poorly written. Regardless, they were unnecessary and I withdraw them.

  • When Menachem Begin won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979, there was a joke around Los Angeles.
    At the top of every on-ramp to the freeways there are signs which read:
    BEGIN FREEWAY.
    The joke, of course, was that every freeway had been renamed for Mr. Begin.

  • Cedestra

    325. Toatane: Maybe I should explain a bit of how things are around listverse. I don’t consider myself an expert, but I have been here for over a year and it was conceived only shortly before then.
    You have your regulars, some who frequently comment or others that show up now and again. A good chunk of those people have supplemented the site with their own lists (I claim two myself). Then you have some newer people who are interested in becoming regulars and some who just lurk. The worst of the commenters are trolls, and we’ll get a few of those on each list because, hey, it’s the internet.
    Regulars include myself, segue, Mom242, Randall, rushfan, Dischuker, Tempyra, MT, bucslim, Anon, and many others (sorry if I forgot you). Of those, easily the most loudspoken is Randall. He is a well-versed professor who clenches onto arguments and will pound them into the ground. You will rarely see him back off an argument, and yes, he will pepper his debates with insults, mostly when he feels he was initially insulted or the person’s arguments are monumentally stupid. Most of us regulars have felt the mightly lashing of Randall’s tongue. I consider it a right of passage to be a regular! (And yes, we butted heads when I first came here- you can check out one of the science fiction or fantasy themed lists for that conversation.)
    Most of us have grown accustomed to Randall’s tyrades. It’s just the way things are. He’s just a big, grumpy bear sometimes and you just have to pet him and give him some honey and then he’s okay. If you are interested in furthering the debate on this list with him, I would recommend being the better person, apologizing perhaps for whatever he was insulted for, and continuing with the argument. He’s a great person to debate with and I suggest it well worth the swallowing of pride.

  • Jay

    @ Cedestra. LOL Wow, Of all the people who kneel down and lick Randalls balls I must say you my good friend have licked them the best!!

  • Quiana

    Jesus Rocks!!!

  • Randall

    Cedestra: (and parenthetically, to Toatane)

    Thanks for all that… “big, grumpy bear” huh? :-) Funny, that was my ex-wife’s affectionate nickname for me. At least… I *think* it was affectionate.

    But you’re incorrect on one count–I don’t require nor do I want an apology from Toatane. (Are you listening Toatane?) He/she was insolent, yes, but I rarely carry grudges. I just don’t want to listen to someone whining about being “insulted.” If being called “weasel” is worth all this ridiculous carrying-on, then I suggest Toatane go home and hide under the bed, because life will certainly treat him/her a lot more harshly than that.

    I mean, look at this. We had a brief exchange going about the historicity of three Judaic figures. (Brief in regards to the number of comments, of course, not their length. I know I’m longwinded). It’s now abandoned and has dragged on into this protracted, pointless bickering, with Toatane repeatedly attempting to lecture me on proper internet etiquette (so it seems). A colossal waste of time.

    What bothers me is—as I pointed out earlier—I detected what I thought was a distinct agenda on the part of Toatane and Brg. And it seems that, once challenged, Toatane has latched on to ONLY the opening line of my lengthy comment to him/her, and drilled it into the ground with complaints about “civilized discourse.” That says to me that Toatane doth protest too much. It’s a way to distract from the real point so that it doesn’t have to be faced—namely, that denying the historicity of Jesus in particular is just plain silly, and goes full in the face against the general consensus of scholarship. These are the two characters (Brg and Toatane) who not only said they *doubted* the existence of Jesus, but in essence made statements that he definitely did NOT exist, because of the lack of evidence which pleases and satisfies them. Which is neither good history, nor is it logically valid.

    Now, I don’t defend Jesus for the sake of defending Jesus; this isn’t about religious faith for me–as everyone knows, I’m not religious. Rather I’m defending historical logic. I’ve done so, at length, but instead of addressing that, Toatane has chosen instead to repeatedly gripe about ONE sentence in my comment to him/her. That’s either monumentally silly, or calculated to let him/her off the hook from having to answer my refutation of his/her stance. (Or, if you like, you could say it’s both).

  • Callie

    I think I’m on that “almost regular” list…I sent in a list, but I don’y think it’ll make it onto the main page

    Anyway, I agree with cedestra. Randall and I have come to blows quite frequently, and the first time I was legitimately upset. However, he’s a nice guy- in fact I suspect he’s downright friendly in real life. He’s helped me with wine and scary movies and those are two of my most favorite things. I’d recommend not getting into it unless you are passionate about what you’re saying, which is actually a good lesson for anything. Say what you mean, but make it worth it. I’ve come to respect you, Randall..maybe not your opinions all the time, but the way you make them.

  • Randall

    Thank you Callie, I respect you too.

  • D Holmes

    @JayArr

    Its all cool, its just that there are other people who’ve said something similar. Its hard to catch sarcasm online (believe me, people have taken some of my comments the wrong way to horrendous results).

  • Cedestra

    328. Jay: Hmmm, with such a mainstream name as yours, I’m not sure if you’re the same Jay, with a lowercase j, that was at odds with me somewhere else. Either way, you really blew what I had said out of proportion. (Oh, sorry, was that sentence too much of an innuendo for you?) I also respect Randall, if only for the fact that he helps clean the trash on this website up. If my previous post came across as groveling to Randall then so be it. It’s not what I meant by it, only a little discourse on how I see the ins and outs of listverse. Frankly, if there’s anyone on this list I would like to do anything remotely sexual to, it would be JayArr. I’ve got a serious cyber-crush on him…her?
    Hey, anyone else get the distinct impression that someone is making several different aliases and posting in support of one idea? I’ve noticed this before on different lists, but never mentioned it. I mean, I’m guessing that toatane and brg are probably different people, but some other lists have me scratching my head.

  • Toatane

    Thanks Callie and Cedestra for telling me the lay of the land as you see it. If you are happy to debate with Randall on the terms he offers that’s fine. As I said he appears knowledgeable and willing to clearly outline his opinions. As I said above I don’t react well to being insulted and so this will be my final post.

    Randall, this does leave my argument in a very weak position as I’ve made several claims without backing them up with either reasons or explanations. If you choose to see my walking away at this point as due to over-sensitivity, an act of calculation or monumently silliness it is, of course, your right to do so.

  • kiwiboi

    Toatane – stick around. There’s a maturity about your posts, and this is always welcomed at LV.

    Nobody here gets on with everybody else all of the time; we all have our moments.

    It’s up to you, but I hope you stay.

  • Toatane

    Thanks, kiwiboi.

  • Shlufi

    How the Fuck does this list not have Karl Marx, the founder of communism? He Should be #1.

  • bigski

    Cedestra very well said just the right amount of sarcasm peppered with bits of sexual ambiguity (yes i have my dictionary handy so i spell correctly which i learned from a previous post on another list when i was called out for my spelling). Anyway Toatane dont give up we love when Randall goes off on a rant,because we all learn something from you and him! Said with sincerity no sarcasm.

  • NonLinear

    Beg to differ Randall. You do hold grudges – I have seen you repeatedly dredge up retorts to real and suspected slights that have been rained upon you in various forums.

    I also don’t beleive that you are a professor, not for a minute. You are a bully that begins arguments with nasty swipes. I completely agree as a visitor of 9/10 months that your agression outwieghs your intelligence.

  • Lilith Hel

    Christine: “How can you prove to me that George Washington was real? Show me his body, show me pictures and writings, and historical documents about him, and I’ll say it wasn’t him. It is silly to believe a person did not exist because you don’t have proof.”

    ‘it’s silly to believe a person didn’t exist because you don’t have proof?’ you’ve got to be shitting me. i’m sorry, but that’s just fucking stupid. how can you possibly compare the proof of jesus existing to be as irrefutable as that of george washington?! cmon, the first US president who was also a general in the revolutionary war–which happens to be incredibly well documented; we have his freaking autograph on the constitution and you can even visit his grave and you would deny all that proof in favor of believing that 2,000 years ago there was a guy walking around calling himself the son of god and all you have to back that up is the bible? i’ll give you the benefit of the doubt and say that jesus could’ve existed as a regular person, but do you really think the bible is that historically accurate? nobody had a ‘vision’ of george washington. he was actually there! i understand people making a leap of faith, but believing insane crap without proof is how people get killed (i.e. the holocaust). next time you make a leap, i’d suggest a helmet.

  • Lilith Hel

    if Randall’s a professor, i want to know when bullshit became a science. he fails to site proof for anything he says, aside from his vague allusions to historic writings which he never names. all of his responses to those that question him are nothing more than obnoxious tirades consisting of no new relevant information, uncalled for insults (of which he later denies), and repetitive language composed at an obsurd length because he likes to hear the sound of himself type. unfortunatley for you, Randall, being a pompous, blow-hard with a lifetime subscription to the World Book Encyclopedia series doesn’t make you a Ph.D.

  • Brg

    I want to add to Lilith’s comment on Washington, there is also a dead mask cast of Washington’s face, so we know exactly how did he look like,wrinkles and all.

  • DiscHuker

    brg and lilith: you are being too literal. listen to the point of the argument and don’t get caught up in the details. if it would work better for you, substitute ghengis kahn for george washington.

  • yuri

    wow, lots of comments for this one.

    i don’t think lack of documentation is enough proof to say that someone isn’t real. we have to take into consideration that at that time, documentation isn’t like what we have now. also, if i remember correctly, oral tradition is more prevalent for that period. information is passed down rather than written down.

    anyway, issues of existence aside, the chosen top 3 have influenced the lives of many. whether they’re fact or fiction does not change their influence.

  • navi_blue

    nuff said….thanks to all the people who believed in Jesus….just proved my point.i rest my case…:)

  • Quiana

    @ 342 Lilth– “When did bullshit become a science?” I’ve never heard that one before, I’m going to start using that one!!

  • Randall

    Nonlinear & Lilith:

    What the f**k is all this hostility? Particularly from two people I’ve never heard from before (presumably). I find that rather suspicious, to say the least.

    Well let’s clear a few things up, shall we?

    A) I am not going to lend credence to–and do not lend credence to–someone who skims a few threads and then forms, on that basis, a negative opinion of me. In point of fact, I don’t lend credence, period, to people forming a negative opinion of me based on what they’ve read on this site. If you don’t like me, ignore me and don’t address me in any way.

    B) I have always endeavored, here, to present facts. And when my argument isn’t strictly about “fact,” I have always endeavored to back up my *opinions* with as much factual support as is possible. But I’m not writing lengthy papers here that are meant for peer review. I don’t have time to cite every single author, tome, study or paper that comes up in the course of a discussion. Despite the lack of brevity I sometimes display, I am often writing very much on the run when I post here. I try very hard, of course, to never say anything on this site that I feel I couldn’t back up with textual support if need be. But I’ll be damned if I’m going to wait to post my thoughts here until I’ve thumbed through a dozen books just so I can provide a bibliography at the end of each comment to please some asshole who thinks I’m full of shit. My experience is that even if you provide such a thing on this site, it won’t satisfy the people who are truly opposed to what you say—they’ll just dismiss your sources or say they have their own that contradict yours. It just isn’t worth the time and trouble. I’m not getting paid for this and neither are any of you.

    B) Responding IN KIND to insults or slights or sarcasms is NOT the same as “holding a grudge,” Nonlinear. When I say I don’t hold grudges, I mean that I try very hard to let arguments with particular people stay within their respective threads—I don’t drag them into others. And I don’t take things personally BEYOND that thread—if some List Universe member here argues with me in one thread about religion, I’m not going to then attack the guy in an unprovoked fashion in ANOTHER thread about “favorite movies” or some such thing, just because he pissed me off in another topic. I find that to be bad form. I did it once, recently, to someone who has PARTICULARLY irked me on this site, repeatedly, and I apologized for it almost immediately.

    Neither do I just pop in here and insult people. I go after people when they say stupid, ignorant and/or insupportable things. I invite people to do the same to me if they find me saying stupid, ignorant, and/or insupportable things. This is the risk you take in posting on the internet like this.

    C) “I also don’t beleive that you are a professor, not for a minute. You are a bully that begins arguments with nasty swipes. I completely agree as a visitor of 9/10 months that your agression outwieghs your intelligence.”

    Well again, I am not interested in your opinion in this regard, no matter how long you’ve been lurking. If you characterize me as “a bully” who BEGINS arguments “with nasty swipes,” then you’re simply mischaracterizing me, period. I know damn well we could go through this site and find instance after instance where I had opened my arguments with calmness and respect for the person I was addressing, and only AFTER being insulted or in some similar way slighted, did I resort to name-calling. Occasionally, sure, I do open up with it—but again, only when someone has said something monumentally stupid, offensive, or insupportable. Not just out of the blue, for no reason.

    Again, as I’ve said before–if enough complaints about me came to Jamie Frater (the owner of the site) I’m sure he’d contact me and tell me to tone it down or knock it off. He knows he could do so, and that I’d respect his wishes implicitly, as I respect HIM implicitly and without question. He has never taken this action, however, and I don’t doubt he never will have to, as I think it’s obvious to 90% of the regulars here that I am not some “bully” nor just some gigantic blowhard.

    I won’t launch again into this tired old speech I’ve given dozens of times before, that I am here to entertain and inform, and that this is just a persona I put on.

    But that’s the way it is. If you don’t like it, then as I say, ignore me and go do something else.

    D) This thing about me being a “professor”: I am protective of my privacy on the ‘net, as much as I think is necessary and within reason, without being obsessive about it. I learned this from a good friend and ex-girlfriend, who has FAR more cause than me to be concerned over her public persona and privacy, seeing as she is someone of relative importance in her professional scientific field and holdsa position in a foreign government–related to her science profession, of course. I have nothing to compare with that, let’s be clear. I’m just a nobody. But I do try to protect the facts of my life. In this regard, however, I do not like to leave wrong impressions. I DO work at a major university in the east, and I HAVE taught in the past, but gave it up a good while ago, at least for the time being, for various personal reasons–and NO, not because I couldn’t find work or was booted or anything of that kind. I HAVE recently taught “on the side,” but have put that part of my career on hold, for now.

    As to me not talking like a professor or a PhD—please. YOU TWO don’t know what you’re talking about. But the fact is, of course, that I have an entirely different persona outside of this place. Believe it or not, people actually like me on the outside, and students love me. Never had a complaint.

    One last point, to Lilith, specifically:

    It’s amusing, Lilith, how you accuse me of insulting people unwarrentedly, when you yourself, in the PREVIOUS posting, called Christine “fucking stupid.”

    You suggest next time she wear a helmet–I suggest next time you just keep your mouth shut.

  • JayArr

    D Holmes(333) Yeppers! It’s cool.

    Quiana(329) Woohoo! Rocks!! When I was in Sunday School as a child we learned that Jesus was a rock too! Now if we can get Presidential candidates, Jews and Rocks all together on the same ticket, we’d get something special, dassa-fo-shua!

  • Phil

    “Don’t try me, you little weasel.”

  • rho

    moses jesus and abraham –>> there is no empirical proof that they existed! you missed richard feynman!

  • Aart Tuynman

    Jesus, Moses and Abraham were probably all myths and not historical persons. They should not be included in the list. Further, according to both the Bible and the Quran, Abraham was not only the father of the Israelites, but also the father of other nations. So you should not count him as a Jew anyway.

    Maimonides was an important theologist and philosopher for Judaism, but his ideas hardly influenced the non-Jewish world.

    Gustav Mahler was a great composer, but does that make him influential?

    Baruch de Spinoza was from Jewish origin, but because of his ideas he was excommunicated by the synagogue. So at a certain moment he was not a Jew anymore.

    I agree with some of the comments above that some very influential Jews should be included in the list, like Karl Marx and Mayer Amschel Rothschild. But maybe they are not included in the list because their influence was rather destructive.

    I think it is a badly composed list.

  • DiscHuker

    aart: welcome to the discussion. here is what you have missed. lots of people saying what you just said about moses, abraham and jesus. the main response being, you can’t say someone didn’t exist in the face of mountains of evidence, just because YOU think so. provide some evidence if you are going to contradict thousands of years of accepted fact.

  • Randall

    Aart:

    Read my comments in this thread, going back to at least comment #90. There is no way to support labeling Jesus as a fictional personage. Moses and Abraham are more mythical in nature–but “mythical” is NOT synonymous with “fictional.”

    Maimonides WAS influential. Simply because his influence was larger in Jewish theology than outside of it, it does not follow that he shouldn’t be on this list. It’s entitled “Top 10 Influential Jews in History”—not “Top 10 Jews Who Influenced the Rest of the World.” (Despite the fact that this is mentioned in the lead-up, we go by the title–and anyway, there’s still maneuvering room in there to say that Maimonides WAS influential on the world stage—which he certainly was). Before accusing the author of having composed a “bad” list, *you* should more carefully craft and compose your arguments and logic.

    Mahler was an influential composer, yes. Read the descriptive text, for one thing. Also, he’s viewed, if I’m not mistaken, as one of the seminal composers–and influences–on 20th century classical music.

    MY understanding of Judaism is that one cannot be literally “excommunicated” from it, in the sense that a Catholic can be separated from the Church via excommunication. Therefore Spinoza cannot be said to have ceased being Jewish. At any rate, (right or wrong) it is generally taken that being Jewish is a form of identity different from–and of deeper-set seed than–merely “belonging” to a religion. This is commonly understood (and again, right or wrong–accepted) and yet it’s surprising that you failed to recognize this.

  • Maggot

    Is the debate about whether or not a person on the list is “mythical” or not, while interesting, really relevant to them being considered as influential? IMO – no.

    (my apologies if this has been addressed in earlier comments; I’ve tried to keep up but may have missed some)

  • vinny

    To all those who say the top three jewish people on this list are fiictional. I have few words to say to you losers. Ignorant, mindless, pot smoking crack heads, you godless heathens..i know your kind and i know what you people beleive in. Darwin the quack, Freud whos brain was fried to begin with and all the other crackpot braindead scientsists who think they exclusive rights to science and all those antigod people and satanists who beleive that life began from nothing and that there is no God. Now i say to you if you beleive in the evolution fairytale. Then you guys have been duped and have been snookered by the greatest conspirancy in History. The joke is on you.

  • Anon E. Mouse

    Wow, Vinny. That’s not really necessary. While I agree that calling the top three imaginary is innaccurate, you don’t have to respond with calling all of us who don’t particularly believe in your faith ‘crackheads’. This is why I left Christianity in favor of Taoism.

    I leave it as your right to not believe evolution is real. But there is no need to bash those of us who find it a plausible and viable way to explain the origins of life.

    Ah-hem. Anyways, my view of this list. It is undeniable that the top three have had a large impact, regardless of whether what they did is true or not. I do believe that they all existed (the only one I find hazy being Abraham), however, I don’t necessarily believe that the biblical depiction of what they did in thier lives is directly accurate.

    This kinda reminds me, jokingly, of a bit from a favorite musician of mine’s concert (Voltaire, maybe someone here knows him). He tells how he was explaining the concept of christianity to his son and his son responded with “Jesus is a zombie?!” Made me laugh to be able to look at things from that perspective.

  • jbjr

    That’s right Captain Kirk is a Jew.

    Saw – How William Shater changed the world.

  • jbjr

    Shatner

  • DiscHuker

    anon e. mouse: “that is why i left christianity for taoism”. shouldn’t you judge a belief system by what it is supposed to be as opposed to what the practionier makes it look like.

    see if this statement makes as much sense…
    i went to the doctor the other day he misdiagnosed my illness. that is why i left modern medicine for (insert alternative medicine here).

  • vinny

    mouseman..why would jews beleive in fictitional people such as moses and abaraham..and christians willing to die for their beleif of jesus?

    It was very necessary for those comments to shut up and expose those ignorant commentators on here for who they are: Frauds and Liars who have no credibilty they just spew off lies without any backing.

    you left christianity cause of your own dissatisfaction of catholicism or the other mainstream so called christian religion..But if you would read the bible and study it deeper you will see that the bible gives way more hope for us humans than any other book or religion.

    Taoism has never been a unified religion, but has rather consisted of numerous teachings based on various revelations. Therefore, different branches of Taoism often have very distinct beliefs.

  • Quiana

    jayarr#349. I think you may be on to something there.

  • Anon E. Mouse

    DiscHuker: Ah, I worded that badly. Apologies. I didn’t leave the faith solely because of the behavior of it’s individuals, although that did have a part in it, I admit. It was also the fact that upon re-evaluation of my own personal beliefs, I found that mine did not gel with those of my fellows. I decided not to live a lie, and remain Christian just because it was what I was born into. My sincerest apologies if I offended.

    Vinny: Yes, I do understand that. I simply reacted in kind to your defaming of the people who believe evolution to be truth.

    I have read the Bible, and I took what life lessons from it that I could. I was baptized Methodist and very active in my church community prior to my conversion. I simply found the paths and teachings of Taoism to suit me much better.

  • DiscHuker

    anon: not trying to proseltyze but searching through many religions to find the one that “suits” you seems kinda backwards. doesn’t religion show you how to live a “better” life? the one that agrees with you the most is least likely to bring about any real change, because it already thinks you are pretty well off.

    i don’t remember who said it but the sentiment was, “i believe in the God of the Bible because he isn’t anything like me”.

    i know what devilry lurks within me. i need a transcendent being who isn’t prone to the same foibles.

  • DiscHuker: While it may not spawn any major change to follow a religion that is in agreement with you, in my view it is also counter-productive to try to follow a religion that is in direct controversy to your beliefs.

    I think we view religion very differently, which is perfectly fine, and here we shall have to agree to disagree. Deal?

  • Lilith Hel

    Randall: i didn’t say christine was fucking stupid. i said her arguement was fucking stupid. for someone so into details i surprised you missed that.

  • Sblast

    Too short…

  • Parker

    All men on this list..
    Where is Anne? she was brave and wonderful and im sure she influenced many people from all generations and she doesnt even know it. Her diary was read by many people and translated into numerous languages. she was wonderful and im sure if she lived she would have more books then just her diary.

  • DAC

    For those of you who say Jesus doesn’t exist…maybe you should try and ask him into your lives and then decide wethwer he exists or not. I did and I now believe.

  • Ilana

    Even on a list about Jews Christianity is present. And no women!
    Here are some real Jewish heroes:

    Hannah Szenes- Hungarian resistance partisan during WWII.
    Molly Picon- huge Yiddish theatre star in early 20th century NYC.
    Emma Lazarus- wrote the famous “give me your tired, your poor” verses every American is familiar with.
    Levi Strauss- invented Levis, worn by non-Jews everywhere.
    Fanny Brice- vaudeville star.
    Jackson Pollock- American Expressionist and alcoholic.

    I could go on, but I’ll spare you.

  • loma

    What about any Amschel Mayer Rothschild. Also Abraham did not exist, Moses probably did not exist and Jesus MAY not have existed.

  • Cybogen

    368. DAC- RIGHT ON!

  • rebeldengpalaka

    ijust pray that you all find the right path…
    DAC,i completely agree with you…anyway,it is said that “..you will be persecuted because of Me…” and if we are persecuted, we have to remember that He was persecuted first..

  • Struth

    Which path would that be then?

  • JEAN

    Jesus actually did exist. Whether or not you think he is divine is some what is up for debate.

  • Amanda H.

    Hell yea Sigmund Freud!!!!!! I had no idea that he was Jewish, interesting list!

  • bassbait

    Shutup about jesus being FAKE!

    It pisses me off, half because I choose to believe in him, and the other half because it’s just stupid to say so.

    Here are reasons to accept Jesus as the most influential Jew:

    1.It never said they had to be a REAL person.

    2.Jesus can’t be proven to be fake.

    3.For all we know, if Jesus didn’t exist, I could say einstein didn’t exist either, which is not provable to be false or true. You have EVIDENCE, but I can easily say “Einstein never existed”. I can say that about anybody. So why does Jesus have to be taken off? Because you’re intolerant! I know I am! I’m intolerant of idiots!

  • M Mac

    Its a good list, few surprises except Bohr.

  • Maximuz04

    I contest the “largest religion in the world”. While is you take christianity as a whole this is true, its hard to do that. Wildly different believes asks for you to consider the different denominations as independent. Doing that it would be Catholicism, and I do believe Islam is bigger… Even if you only count Sunni islam, just to be fair

  • stefania

    Bohr is a damn Nobel Prize thief!! He stole the prize from ?tefan Procopiu, a Romanian physicist.

  • Sanjuro

    I know the list can’t include everyone, but how can you exclude Asimov? I know this list is about the most influential, not the greatest thinkers, but Asimov made strives in every field categorized in the Dewey decimal system.

  • Doug

    Fuck all the Jews, I say. Same goes with the Christians and Muslims. They all taste the same to the lions.

  • dazza

    karl marx ?

  • gabby

    good list and rock on jewish

  • eric cantona

    the usual dumbass christians vs dumbass atheists debating here? just like the entire fucking internet… you haven’t said anything new… you are incapable of convincing someone with deeply held views in an anonymous internet forum; especially without writing some kind of thesis.
    give it a rest.

    there is probably more historical evidence for the existance of jesus as a historical figure than there is for julius caesar.
    there is absolutely no evidence that he was divine, other than what people choose to believe.

    decide for yourselves and shut the fuck up about it. you are not going to convert the internet. leave us alone, we don’t care.

    (just needed to get that out of my system) awesome list, but that composer guy? who cares?

    you should do top 10 most influential Catholics, Muslims, Chinese, Africans, Eskimos, whatever, it makes interesting reading.

  • eden

    what about the rothschilds

  • Jabnasty

    Where is John Stewart????

  • brubbish223

    sure the jesus guy would have been good
    if he existed hmm you all have been misleaded
    well maybe not im a atheist thelemic and i dont
    care about these things this list suck and was a waste of time……!

  • VPayne

    OK two things.

    First, Judaism is not only a religion, it’s a race. For example I’m Jewish but don’t believe in God or things of that nature. So it does matter that Einstein was Jewish, because he was Jewish by race.

    Secondly, this list is just this person’s opinion on who were the most influential Jews in history. Obviously Jesus wasn’t the greatest Jewish person ever, but he is one of the most influential.

  • Chelsey

    How can Karl Marx not be on this list? Come on.

  • dave

    BOB DYLAN BOB DYLAN BOB DYLAN

  • bobjim

    lol the jews will read this with a smile until they see number one.

    Remember fellow ‘goyim’ they hated Jesus so much they KILLED Him!!

  • Allan B.

    Well, i think they missed one, very influential, jew. The founder of the Moslem faith, Mohammed. he Was the son of a fairly wealthy Jewish merchant… just dont tell any middle-eastern moslems, they go 3 shades of crazy when being told this, trust me…

  • tyler youngblood

    no mel brooks on the list makes me sad
    jesus on the list makes me happy lol

  • John

    Please add that jesus was rised after death.
    Thank you

  • randy marsh

    Jerry Seinfeld!!!

  • Brett

    That's a huge slap in the face putting Jesus number 1. WOW

  • lehlohonolo

    i was hoping to see karl marx but, every one in the list deserves his place. oh, what about seth rogen?

  • Cyril

    Abraham, Moses and Jesus are not historical figures

  • stevenuz

    what about larry david

  • Name

    Where’s Bob Dylan!?

  • nfty

    Spinoza was excommunicated from the Jewish population. Not really sure you can consider him a Jew if the Jews don’t (same goes for Jesus…)

  • James

    where is Karl Marx??? look at all the problems related to Communism today! like the Soviets, North Korea, Vietnam, China…

  • Jesus did exist. It’s pretty much accepted that Jesus was a person. It’s just his divinity that’s in question.

  • Ryan

    This reminds me of Social Studies 8 back in high school, where we were told to TRIPLED-UNDERLINE, BOLD, CAPITALIZE, AND HIGHLIGHT one little phrase: “JESUS WAS A JEW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

    want to know what I put?

    jwaj

  • fuckjews

    jesus is not a jew you big nosed kike loving peice of shit

  • antonio

    the las 3 never exist lol

  • yoris

    i was expecting bob dylan on this list oh and gene simmons!nah kidding.wasnt nostradamus jewish?

  • Alpha

    How can both Abraham and Moses be Jews when the word JEW was not invented till many centuries after there deaths. Also How can Jesus be a Jew when he spent all his life fighting the corruption of the so called Jews living around him.

  • Max

    Abraham and Moses did not exist as the old testament is mythology, for Jesus, there is insufficient evidence to support the claim, therefore it is impossible to class Jesus as a historical figure as this figure does not meet the requirements to do so.

  • fuckjews

    Jesus wasn’t a jew and all jews need to be gassed and burnt alive

  • I would like to add 3 to this great list. Two serious and the other……..well you decide for yourself. 1). Franz Kafka. 2). Elie Wiesel, and 3). Gene Simmons of the rock group KISS. There was an episode where Gene Simmons on his reality show (Gene Simmons Family Jewels) visited a center for the advancement for Jewish people. There was a plaque there which voted on the top 100 influencial American Jewish people whoever lived and yes………he was listed on there. If there is any question to the validity of Gene Simmons and him being Jewish, he was born in Haifa, Israel on August 25, 1949. His parents survived the holocaust (his mother is still living) and his real name is Chaim Witz.

  • GENE SIMMONS OF THE ROCK GROUP KISS………YES HE IS JEWISH, HIS REAL NAME BEING CHAIM WITZ AND WAS BORN IN HAIFA, ISRAEL AND HIS PARENTS SURVIVED AUSCHWITZ. HIS MOTHER IS STILL LIVING……..

  • george

    neither moses or abraham are or ever were jews moses was a levite wrong tribe buddy and abraham was the father to many tribes on of which was jewish

  • petet2112

    If its any consolation, Gene Simmons of the rock group KISS is in the Top 100 most influential Jews living in the U.S. (His real name is Chaim Witz)

  • Matt

    Poor Jews… The top 3 influential people they have to look up to never even existed. No wonder they’re so lost, confused and just can’t seem to fit in wherever they end up.

  • petet2112

    1). Elie Wiesel. A Romanian Jew who survived both Auschwitz and Buchenwald and has written almost 60 books on his survival.

    2). Frank Kafka. A German Jew who authored many famous short stories. One in particular was “The Metamorphosis” and many experts say that he was the Greatest writer ever.

    3). Hank Greenberg. A Romanian Jew who was one of the leading Baseball players of the late 30′ to the late 40’s Like Jackie Robinson being the first Afro-American player, Hank was the first Jewish player, He played for the Detroit Tiger and is a member of The Baseball Hall Of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y.

  • Karl Marx ?

  • petet2112

    Well, how about this. Most Influential Jews in U.S. History, and this man just happens to be in the Top 100 of that category and you can look it up if you don’t believe me………………..GENE SIMMONS of the rock band KISS. Not just the music (which is rather lame), but for his work and business ethics and also his philanthropy for this country

  • blake

    Never wrote here before, but was a good list. Probably should have two different list. One with biblical figures and one without. Because, really, you could make an argument for every jewish figure in the bible. Think about all the stories that have affected people in judism, christianity and islam from the old testement. Not so much with the new testement but still in the tens of millions maybe hundreds.

  • Valerie

    I’m very disappointed to see Yitzhak Rabin NOT mentioned at all when he was one of the most influential and loved leaders in the establishment and the governing of Israel. Made me sad, he should have been number one.

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