17. What of Jesus’ life beyond the so-called unknown years?
In the absence of archaeological evidence, the discovery of additional ancient texts heretofore unknown, with flawless provenance, or an episode of divine revelation, Jesus’ whereabouts and activities during the years not described in the gospels will likely remain unknown. Those who accept the Christian teachings as unimpeachable will continue to do so, those that do not will continue to seek answers to their unanswered questions. The mystery will remain. Whether he resided in Nazareth, working as a simple carpenter, or in Capernaum, as some Bible verses assert, or elsewhere is immaterial to those for whom the question has no merit. For others, there are no provable answers.
There is however, a third unknown period for those disinclined to believe in the biblical account of the resurrection (the first being from infancy to the age of 12, the second from 12 to about 30). Some believe that Jesus of Nazareth survived the execution ordered by Pilate, and lived away from the jurisdiction of the Jews. Others believe (in accordance with the Koran) that he was raised bodily into heaven without dying, either on the cross or through any other natural means. Some believe that another was crucified in his place, allowing him to escape and continue his divine mission. For these, there is another period of the unknown in the life – or rather the story – of Jesus of Nazareth.