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Italian Trial Demands Proof of Jesus

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Miracle on Via Sacra? Atheist's publicity stunt succeeds
Luigi Cascioli wrote a book called The Fable of Christ (apparently self-published) which says Jesus didn't exist. Enrico Righi, a priest near Rome, wrote an article in the diocesan newspaper criticizing the claim. So Cascioli did something almost American: He sued.

Or, more accurately, Cascioli filed criminal charges against Righi, saying that he's breaking two Italian laws. The first, "abuse of popular belief/credulity," is an anti-fraud law. The second is "substitution of identity"— Cascioli charges that "the church constructed Christ upon the personality of John of Gamala," an anti-Roman Jew in the first century.

"I started this lawsuit [in 2002] because I wanted to deal the final blow against the church, the bearer of obscurantism and regression," Cascioli told Reuters.

Judge Gaetano Mautone "had earlier refused to take up the case, but was overruled last month by the Court of Appeal, which agreed that Signor Cascioli had a reasonable case for his accusation," The Times of London reported yesterday. So on Monday, Mautone set a preliminary hearing for the end of this month, and ordered Righi to appear, essentially to prove that Jesus actually existed.

"Cascioli says he didn't exist. And I said that he did," Righi told Reuters. "The judge will have to decide if Christ exists or not."

The priest told The Times that he doesn't anticipate a problem, as the evidence for Jesus' existence is overwhelming.

"If Cascioli does not see the sun in the sky at midday, he cannot sue me because I see it and he does not," he said. Well, apparently Cascioli can sue. But he's unlikely to win. Even Cascioli agrees with that. "It would take a miracle," he said.

British Medical Journal: ...

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Launched in 1999, Christianity Today’s Weblog was not just one of the first religion-oriented weblogs, but one of the first published by a media organization. (Hence its rather bland title.) Mostly compiled by then-online editor Ted Olsen, Weblog rounded up religion news and opinion pieces from publications around the world. As Christianity Today’s website grew, it launched other blogs. Olsen took on management responsibilities, and the Weblog feature as such was mothballed. But CT’s efforts to round up important news and opinion from around the web continues, especially on our Gleanings feature.
Ted Olsen
Ted Olsen is Christianity Today's managing editor for news and online journalism. He wrote the magazine's Weblog—a collection of news and opinion articles from mainstream news sources around the world—from 1999 to 2006. In 2004, the magazine launched Weblog in Print, which looks for unexpected connections and trends in articles appearing in the mainstream press. The column was later renamed "Tidings" and ran until 2007.
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