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In Italy of All Places?

After spending several years living in Italy, home to some of the most renowned testaments to Christendom, I must admit that I never imagined seeing the following headline on  “Italy Court asks: Did Jesus Exist?”


Apparently, there are laws on the books in Italy prohibiting both the “abuse of popular belief” that ends up fraudulently deceiving people, and “impersonation” by which someone gains by attributing a false name to someone else.  Here, a lifelong atheist apparently believes that a local priest has violated both laws by printing a church bulletin claiming that Jesus actually existed.


While I am not one to debate the existence of the central figure of one of the world’s major religions, I am quite certain that the drafters of these two laws never foresaw this particular application.


Stay tuned for follow-up coverage, but I am willing to guess that this case will ultimately be tried in not in an Italian court, but where it has been for centuries:  between theologians, historians and philosophers.


Posted by Michel J. Ayer on Monday, January 23, 2006

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