Mythicism and Peer Review

Note what Earl Doherty says in the next sentence after the one I quoted in my previous post:

Great. Finally something that will give mythicism a shot in the arm. After all, if someone like Bart Ehrman feels the necessity to take it on, that implies a certain degree of legitimacy. It can no longer be dismissed as a fringe crackpot theory not worthy of mainstream scholarship’s attention.

Maybe I’ll finally get my “peer review.” I look forward to the challenge.

I’ll check and make sure that he did receive a copy of Jesus: Neither God Nor Man. If he didn’t, I’d send him one, if I knew an address for him. Anyone who can supply me with one?

Peer review does not, in its normal usage, refer to getting reviewed by a scholar in a journal. It is a part of the process of getting one’s own work published by an academic publisher, especially in a scholarly journal. Here is how the University of Texas Libraries web site explains it:

Peer Review is a process that journals use to ensure the articles they publish represent the best scholarship currently available. When an article is submitted to a peer reviewed journal, the editors send it out to other scholars in the same field (the author’s peers) to get their opinion on the quality of the scholarship, its relevance to the field, its appropriateness for the journal, etc.

Publications that don’t use peer review (Time, Cosmo, Salon) just rely on the judgement of the editors whether an article is up to snuff or not. That’s why you can’t count on them for solid, scientific scholarship.

I notice that Doherty used quotation marks, and so perhaps he knew he wasn’t using the term in its normal sense. But it doesn’t seem like it, since he goes on to propose sending Bart Ehrman a copy of his book.

If it is actual peer review Doherty wants, and he hasn’t gotten it, then that means he has foolishly been posting his writings online and in self-published books instead of sending them to academic journals and university presses.

But I would guess that, if he has been desiring peer review and being taken seriously, then by now he probably has actually had his work subjected to peer review. If he has submitted it to any scholarly publisher or journal, and had it turned down, it has been subjected to peer review – and not passed muster.

So what are the options regarding mythicists and peer review? Either mythicists have not had their work subjected to peer review because they have been too foolish to submit it, or they in fact have had their work subjected to peer review and rejected, and are not acknowledging the fact. Or they have been talking about peer review without understanding the concept.

Whichever turns out to be the case, a consideration of this doesn’t make mythicism seem like a perspective that is to be taken seriously – and it doesn’t make its proponents look good either.

But given that even bad papers, to say nothing of merely incorrect ones, sometimes make it past peer review, that mythicists have had nothing of this sort published suggests that what they have written thus far is of a very poor quality indeed. But if you have read their stuff, you knew that already.

  • http://www.simon-cozens.org/ Simon Cozens

    What they need is a mythicist journal, so that they can peer-review and publish each other’s work. That’ll give them credibility.

  • Anonymous

    I have a few things to say.  I’m sure it’s been said before, but mythicists are like birthers and people who insist Obama is a muslim.  There are plenty of legitimate reasons to not like our president’s policies and to wish for him to be replaced in 2012.  However, him being born in Kenya and him being a muslim are not legitimate reasons, because they’re simply not true.  

    I reject evangelical/fundamentalist Christianity, for several reasons, which I believe are legitimate.  There are several reasonable criticisms of Christianity, but rejecting or criticizing Christianity because Jesus never existed is a terrible reason for doing so, because the idea that he never existed is bogus. Christianity, especially evangelical/fundamentalist Christianity, is vulnerable in so many places.  With so many real weak spots in the evangelical/fundamentalist Christian faith, using mythicism only makes one look really bad.  

    Even though he leans to the mythicist side, I still enjoy Robert Price. His podcast is very interesting and his book, “The Reason-driven Life” was very helpful to me in the early stages of my deconversion.  When listening to him, I just make sure I’m very discerning, which I try to be with everyone I read and listen to.  I say he leans to the mythicist side, because unless I’ve misunderstood him, he says he’s not convinced Jesus existed. That’s a little different than asserting Jesus did not exist for sure.  

    Lastly, I’ll say this and it’s a little of the subject, but related to the content of the original post.  I had a discussion with a evangelical/fundamentalist Christian apologist.  I told him that from the available evidence, I had come to the conclusion that  Jesus was an apocalyptic prophet who predicted the end of the world in the first century.  When I told the apologist this, he implied that that this view was a fringe one and asked if it had been subjected to scholarly peer review.  I guess he didn’t know that this is the view held by a large portion to the majority of biblical scholars at academic institutions that are not evangelical/fundamentalist Bible colleges and seminaries.  Unfortunately, that is typical of many evangelical/fundamentalist Christians.  They’re happy to use science and academia in general when it fits their purposes, but when it doesn’t, they denigrate it because “it has an agenda against Jesus.”

  • Earl Doherty

    Jim, you are a piece of work. I only wish that your mindless animosity toward the idea that, just possibly, the Christian record could represent something which two thousand years of hidebound and confessionally-driven tradition could never have brought itself to envision, was a rarity. But you are legion, and such animosity is hardly a dispassionate, scientifically founded position. Your counters to my arguments have been consistently naïve and pathetically lame, misunderstanding and misrepresenting my case, loaded with emotional prejudice and just about every fallacy in the book. And you’ve now added that voice to the farcical question of peer review.

    This idea of “peer” review is a joke in NT scholarship. The latter is a closed and privileged club, with boundaries that cannot be crossed (witness the failure of The Jesus Project), and no journal or publisher within that field is going to give mythicism the time of day. There would be no more possibility of an unbiased and effective review of a mythicist’s work than what you’ve given mine, and mythicists know that. You know it as well. The very idea that centuries of scholarship could have been based on a serious misinterpretation of the record is so abhorrent even to so-called critical scholars (there may be the rare exception, Mack or Ludemann for example), that no honest review is possible. You’ve shown that. And considering that people like you represent a good part of the general readership of such journals and publications, no journal or publication would risk the firestorm they would create in accepting and publishing mythicist viewpoints.

    An interested party (not a mythicist) in the U.S. several years ago offered The Fourth R publication of Westar/the Jesus Seminar a donation of $5000 if they would devote part of an issue to mythicism, consisting of an article by myself presenting my case and a rebuttal article by any scholar of their own choosing. They turned it down. The editor claimed, “No one who believes Jesus never existed can be persuaded otherwise!” (Which, of course, was not the purpose, but talk about pots and kettles!) And the subject was declared as of no interest (read: too objectionable) to its readership. But that’s not the point. Here was a good (and profitable) opportunity for historicism to deal a death blow to its long-term nemesis, or at least to trash it the way it has always been claimed can be done so easily. Here was a chance to give mythicism that “peer review” you would like to see it given. I guess you would consider as legitimate peer review an out and out denial of a voice to the very topic itself! (After all, you’ve said that you refuse to present any positive element of my case since it would supposedly grant it some kind of legitimacy. That’s honest ‘peer review’?)

    This business of demanding of mythicists that they be peer reviewed, and then taunted and consigned to fraud and charlatanry when they are not, is as transparent as they come. Until the concept of Jesus being a non-historical character is regarded as a legitimate offering within the field of NT study and is addressed on that basis (even if argued against, which is equally legitimate), the idea of peer review of mythicism is an oxymoron, and we all know it. You and yours demand peer review because you know it is simply not possible. It is blatantly designed to serve your own purposes, which is the height of duplicity on your part.

    When I commented that “maybe I’ll finally get my ‘peer review’,” I was quite obviously being ironic and sarcastic. The only “review” I would ever get from any of the “peers” you have in mind would be one by someone who approaches my book from the a priori position of condemning and rejecting it and sets out to trash it in the most unabashedly biased way. Just as you yourself have approached your review of Jesus: Neither God Nor Man.

    So let’s not hear any more about the sham that is the idea of ‘peer review’. Having defined mythicism as charlatanry, having closed and barred the gates of your discipline to any consideration of Jesus not being an historical figure, having nominated as the only allowable “peers” those with predeterminedly hostile views toward the very idea, you’ve loaded the deck and then think to blame and condemn us for failing to make any headway in the game. If you can’t see the utter dishonesty in that kind of farce, and the disgrace it is to the concept of genuine and open-minded scholarship, you are beneath contempt.

    • Just Sayin’

      Hell hath no fury like a Mythicist scorned.

  • http://historical-jesus.info/ Bernard Muller

    Humm!
    How do you feel Dr. McGrath?
    Your on-going critique on Doherty’s latest book not being considered a “peer review”!
    I suppose Earl consider a “peer review” as only one being favorable to him.

    But I think Bart (as you & I did) will be very unlikely to accept Doherty’s mythicist non-sense which is based on dubious, weak, biased & convoluted so-called interpretations. However the good thing about it is Erhman does not have any Christian beliefs and cannot get stuck on those, looking as an apologist.
    At least, that’s what I hope.
     

  • http://www.patheos.com/community/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

    In addition to appreciating your illustration of the fact that your stance on peer review in history and religious studies is much like the stance of creationists on peer review in the natural sciences: it does not safeguard scholarly standards but prevents genuinely new insights from getting a hearing.

    I for one am reassured by the unwillingness even of a periodical like The Fourth R to accept bribes in exchange for giving a platform to non-scholarly ideas, even with an opportunity for rebuttal.

    I understand that you take the criticisms of your ideas personally, since you are persuaded that you have genuine insights that are profound and revolutionary. I remain persuaded that you do not have any genuine insights but only a creative idea that refuses to fit the evidence in spite of your determined efforts to make it do so. I have no prejudice in this, and if I thought I could make a name for myself and become wealthy by being the person who proved to the world that Jesus did not exist, I would surely do so, even if it meant that every Christian I know came to hate me for it. I care about truth, not tradition or dogma. The reason I do not do so is that the evidence simply doesn’t fit.

  • http://historical-jesus.info/ Bernard Muller

    Looking at Doherty’s latest posting, all I can say is:
    rhetoric, rhetoric, rhetoric …

  • http://www.didaskelion.org Erlend

    Doherty’s response does seem to ape creationists arguments about why their research is never taken seriously; appeals to some conspiracy to drown out documented research that will overturn the field. 
    Unless he wants to claim that this is a unique issue, there have been hundreds of crazy claims over the years that have sought to slaughter sacred cows (both academically and devotionally). Sorry, I am not buying it.

  • Earl Doherty

    Jim says: “I understand that you take the criticisms of your ideas personally…”

    No, because what is thrown at me here is not “criticism.” In a scholarly context, “criticism” is—or should be—defined as “the act or occupation of analyzing and evaluating a literary or artistic work” (one of the definitions in Webster’s College Dictionary). “Analyzing and evaluating” in an honest and objective fashion backed by evidence and scholarly argumentation—rather than foaming at the mouth with preconceived hostility, blanket condemnation and ad hominem attacks. Let’s look at some of the ‘criticisms’ voiced here since my earlier posting:

    “Bart (as you & I did) will be very unlikely to accept Doherty’s mythicist non-sense which is based on dubious, weak, biased & convoluted so-called interpretations.” (Bernard)

    Objective? Informative? Serious scholarly tone and integrity backed up by substance? Hardly.

    “Your stance on peer review in history and religious studies is much like the stance of creationists on peer review in the natural sciences” (Jim)

    Do you think that your review of my book thus far is on a par with that of respected and renowned evolutionary scientists when dealing with creationism? I have never seen them adopting a tone anything like yours, and they certainly back up their defense of evolution by copious and incontrovertible evidence for evolution itself, as well as clearly and powerfully demonstrate the flaws of the creationist ‘case’. Where is your copious and incontrovertible evidence for historicism? “Brother of the Lord can only mean one thing”? LOL! Where is your powerful demonstration of the flaws of mythicism? Associating it with creationism? Appeals to authority? “Doherty deviously postpones contrary evidence”? Where is the sophisticated and convincing rebuttal? “Paul doesn’t mention anything about Jesus’ life and teaching because everyone already knew every detail of it”? Where the integrity? Misrepresenting or ignoring vast swaths of my argument because you don’t want to confer the slightest legitimacy on a theory you viscerally despise? The comparison with creationists is not only invalid on so many levels, it is simply a blatant attempt to manufacture guilt by false association.

    “Looking at Doherty’s latest posting, all I can say is: rhetoric, rhetoric, rhetoric …” (Bernard)

    This is counter-argument rebutting my presentation of Jim’s attitude toward peer review for mythicism and its basic dishonesty? Not a shred of it. All bluster and empty words.

    “Hell hath no fury like a Mythicist scorned.” (Just Sayin’)

    Moderately clever, but contributing nothing except derision.

    “I for one am reassured by the unwillingness even of a periodical like The Fourth R to accept bribes in exchange for giving a platform to non-scholarly ideas, even with an opportunity for rebuttal.” (Jim)

    A “bribe” to urge a magazine in the field to consider the pros and cons of a longstanding (almost two centuries) minority scholarly conclusion in their own discipline? A “bribe” to ask a leading voice in critical scholarship to address a persistent idea which has been gaining credence and popularity on the public scene, if only to check its spread? Or is it more likely a burying of one’s head in the sand, a fear to rock the boat and jeopardize interests that are anything but scholarly, a realization that their defense against mythicism has about as much substance as the emperor’s new clothes? How does one know that the ideas are non-scholarly if they are never given voice and attention by those who allegedly can decide and demonstrate their scholarly quality or lack of it?

    The Fourth R’s refusal to ‘peer review’ mythicism and Jim’s praising of their decision makes a mockery of his demand that mythicism submit to peer review when those “peers” refuse to do so and he supports them. It reveals the legitimacy of everything I said in my earlier post about the farce that the peer review issue raised by Jim really is.

    I don’t know if you hacks realize the depth of scholarly depravity to which you have sunk. If we still operated like the Middle Ages, mythicists would not simply be condemned out of hand and treated as pariahs, they would be burned at the stake; and I have no doubt you guys would cheerfully light the kindling. Essentially, you are no better than a milder version of the Inquisition, with no greater scholarly honor or integrity involved than we would accord to the Dominicans, who refused to consider contrary evidence, gave no voice to any witnesses to support the accused, whose idea of rationality was to torture the victim to extract the “truth”, and consigned the condemned heretic to the ultimate wilderness. Not to mention burning their writings. Jim’s views and approach to his review of my book has as much to do with reasoned and capable rebuttal to mythicism as the Pope’s Hounds exercised in rooting out heresy and saving the vested interests of the Catholic Church.

    Are any of you familiar with the American composer Charles Ives’ short orchestral piece called “The Unanswered Question”? A questing and questioning trumpet asks a calm and serious question. A chorus of five flutes at first complacently answers. Clearly inadequately, since the trumpet must repeat its question, though it maintains its equanimity. With each repeat of the question (about five times), the flute chorus becomes more and more agitated, condemnatory, it increasingly scoffs and scorns. In the end it is literally foaming at the mouth, wild-eyed with derision. (Ives’ talents are astonishing in creating his musical effects.) That is what historicism, and particularly the flute chorus here, has increasingly become, abdicating any responsibility (or ability) to address an honest and serious questioning, rooted in the evidence, of the historical basis of Christianity, indulging instead in vacuous ridicule and demonization, and an assigning of all heretics to a figurative stake, a fate pre-judged for them from the beginning.

    You are not even capable of being ashamed of yourselves.

    • Bloodborn

      You get em Earl…..I agree.

  • Gakuseidon

    Well, ‘heretic’ and ‘figarative stakes’ aside; it isn’t just Christians who have a problem with your theories. Atheist scholars also do, as you well know. And not just historicists: people like G.A. Wells don’t support your Platonic readings.

    But what is really curious is those who nominally support you. Carrier wrote a review 10 years ago giving you provisional support, though he recognised some issues. So, what did he do with that? Nothing, as far as I know.

    What about Robert M Price? AFAIK he hasn’t written any kind of review about your book. But he’s written reviews about Acharya S’s books, for goodness sake!

    More curious are the many on the Internet who support you. Where are their reviews? Where are their investigations into helping strengthening your theories? They aren’t there, as far as I know. Neil Godfrey is one of the few who have looked into it AFAIK, but even he stresses it isn’t in any depth. He’s spent many blogs in responding to James’ review — a review of a review, in fact — but nothing on your theories. What’s up with that?

    It does seem that those cheering you on the sidelines, are in fact happy to stay on the sidelines. Everyone — including yourself — appears to be waiting for someone else to come in and push the work. But if you aren’t going to engage modern scholarship, and no-one else is going to engage scholarship, why blame scholarship for ignoring you? How the heck are they going to know you exist?

    Write an article for peer-review publication. Remove all your responses to Christian arguments and apologetics. Even if it doesn’t published, at least you’ll have something written for a scholarly audience.

  • Jonathan Burke

    Mr Doherty, I have to say that I would be more interested in your work if you didn’t do things like making up meanings for Greek words and phrases. You claim a particular meaning, I look it up and find that not a single standard professional lexicon or dictionary gives that meaning (or that they specifically identify a different meaning in the passage in question), and I can’t help wondering where your evidence is because you typically don’t provide any. It just looks like you made it up on the spot, to support your theory.

    For those of us with personal experience of Fundamentalism and its willful abuse of original source languages, this is indistinguishable what we’ve seen too many lay preachers do; base an entire sermon on a specific word or phrase meaning which they’ve simply invented.

    I would read more of what you wrote if you didn’t do things like this. It gives me good reason to question your credibility, and the alternative implied by your supporters (that all the professional lexicons and dictionaries are involved in a massive conspiracy to conceal the true meanings, which only you have managed to uncover), is so absurd as to be not even worth considering.

  • Immanuel Velikovsky

    I am entirely in sympathy with Dr Doherty.  My ideas, too, were rejected by a hidebound and dogmatic academic clique.  I, too, was subject to abuse from my critics, and only my ability to dissect their assaults with the objective science of psychoanalysis allowed me to remain calm.  But I urge Dr Doherty to remain steadfast.  Since my rejection, the progress of science has shown my ideas to have been absolutely correct (for certain values of correct).  Carl Sagan even apologized to me!  No doubt you will be similarly vindicated in time.

    • http://www.patheos.com/community/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

      Now that’s funny! Love it!

  • http://www.patheos.com/community/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

    @1339a2323379bb5d87a8b2a609ca574d:disqus , you seem not even to have read my post. If you want your ideas subjected to peer review, write an article and send it to a peer-reviewed academic journal. That’s how you get peer review. If you want your ideas discussed in an academic publication, then publish them in an academic publication. That’s how that works. If you want your book reviewed in a journal, you get the publisher to send a copy to the journal – easily done in this case since the publisher is you.

    The main point of my blog post, which you seem to have failed to grasp, is this: It is inappropriate to complain about allegedly being refused the opportunity to be peer reviewed when you don’t seem to understand what “peer review” means, nor to have taken the time to find out how one gets a book reviewed in an academic journal.

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  • http://profiles.google.com/eheffa Evan Effa

    It is reasonable to consider any hypothesis on the merits of its explanatory power & its ability to explain the data we have.

    The suggestion that Christianity started with a Logos-type Mythical Jesus to which an Historical Jesus was later added is an hypothesis worthy of some consideration.  Doherty has attempted to provide an argument for how that could have happened and how this explains the paucity of Pauline references to the Gospel Jesus, the surprising lack of familiarity with the Gospel Jesus in the earliest datable Christian writings we have and the very striking lack of third party verification for any of the officially sanctioned history of the first century church.  The dating of canonical & other christian writings is a huge problem but if we accept that the authentic Paulines came first and the interdependent Gospels later, (when exactly?), how does one explain the early high Christology of Paul and the much later Midrash-laden ‘feet in the dust Jesus’ of of Mark?  Doherty’s theory makes more sense than the defanged, so unremarkable no-one noticed dessicated sort of Historical Jesus our sophisitcated theologians cum historians would have us accept.  This minimalist Jesus does not strike me as someone who would have inspired the movement we now call Christianity.  Doherty simply brings an alternative explanation to the table.   He deserves more than the ad hominem attacks that seem to be the historicists’ stock in trade.  If he’s wrong about the details then please show us how & please leave the sneering dismissals out of it.

    Creationists can be refuted point by point; dismantling their arguments with the evidence.  Perhaps the historicists could show how the *evidence* refutes Doherty and leave the ad hominems in the Trash file.

    -evan

    • Gakuseidon

      Evan Effa: The suggestion that Christianity started with a Logos-type Mythical
      Jesus to which an Historical Jesus was later added is an hypothesis
      worthy of some consideration.

      Evan, I agree! And I have personally considered it, and I’ve found that Doherty’s theories don’t represent the thinking of those times. (Google my name and Doherty’s to find my reviews) But I’m an amateur on this topic, so there is no reason people should take my word for this.

      But my question to you is: WHO should consider it? Scholars? But scholars don’t know that Doherty exists. I don’t think anyone expects scholars to have the time to examine each fringe theory that comes along. So how should it be brought to their consideration? How are ANY new ideas brought to the attention of modern scholarship?

      Dr Carrier and Dr Price have been aware of Doherty’s theories for 10 years now. What have they done with them? Nothing AFAIK. What does that tell you about the strength of Doherty’s case?

      It staggers me that Doherty spends his time dealing with apologetics and anachronistic Christian views. Ever hear of adoptionism in early Christianity? Ever hear of the term “Son of God” being applied to people who were NOT thought divine? Look for any investigation by Doherty in his books in vain. If this doesn’t tell you that Doherty is just presenting one side of the argument, then nothing will.

      How can someone write books for a popular audience and then complain that scholars don’t take him seriously? Does that make sense to ANYONE?

      Doherty’s supporters need to urge Doherty to remove his addressing of apologetic arguments from his book and write something for a **scholarly** audience. Isn’t this the next logical step? Evan, you tell me. If Doherty’s theories are worthy of consideration, who should consider them, and why? And how does Doherty get his theories considered by them?

      • Landon Hedrick

        Gakuseidon,

        I guess I generally agree that Doherty and Price should be trying to engage the scholars in peer review.  To be honest, I haven’t read Doherty’s newer book, but I read “The Jesus Puzzle” about four years ago.  I found the argument plausible, but I didn’t have any way at the time of really investigating his theory to see if it rises above that.

        But now he’s got an 800+ page book which, I imagine, stakes out claims on a number of different controversial issues.  You don’t win the war all at once; you try to win the individual battles.  So rather than just resting content with this book and claiming that peer reviewers wouldn’t touch his theories for whatever reason, it seems like he should focus on just one point of controversy which would help support his overall case if he was right about it, and write a scholarly paper about that.  Getting that sort of thing published in a journal would greatly advance his case, I think.  And I see no reason why peer reviewers would eschew that kind of paper–it’s not like the paper will be defending mythicism.  It would just be a paper defending one small part of the overall case.  (My understanding is that the journal article Doherty said he already published was basically a summary of his overall case for mythicism.  That’s not the sort of paper I’m talking about.)

        I’ve made a similar recommendation to Price, but he just told me that he’s already done this in various articles in the Journal of Higher Criticism.

        Richard Carrier will actually be doing this, to some extent.  Surely when his books on the topic are published scholars will take issue with numerous individual issues–e.g. the dating of this document, the contention that this or that passage is an interpolation, the interpretation of some passage, etc.  And those are good scholarly article topics.  I suspect Carrier will be engaging in this procedure.

        By the way, I’m not sure it’s fair to say that Carrier hasn’t done anything with Doherty’s argument in ten years.  He hasn’t written much about it, sure.  But he has given talks on mythicism, mentioned Doherty’s book as one of the good ones, and has for a few years been working on a scholarly book assessing the historicity of Jesus.  My impression is that he thinks Doherty is basically correct, and that he will be defending the theory with more scholarly rigor in his own book.

        • Gakuseidon

          Landon Hedrick: So rather than just resting content with this book and claiming that
          peer reviewers wouldn’t touch his theories for whatever reason, it seems
          like he should focus on just one point of controversy which would help
          support his overall case if he was right about it, and write a scholarly
          paper about that.  Getting that sort of thing published in a journal
          would greatly advance his case, I think.  And I see no reason why peer
          reviewers would eschew that kind of paper–it’s not like the paper will
          be defending mythicism.

          Landon, that is sound advice, and one that has been offered to Doherty quite a few times. His theories rest on a number of controversial issues that aren’t even on the radar of modern scholarship AFAICT. Such topics include:

          1. There was no mention of Jesus in the earliest layer of the Q document.
          2. Nearly all of the extant Second Century apologists didn’t believe in a historical Jesus. Even Justin Martyr was converted to a “Logos” style Christianity that had no historical Jesus.
          3. The average pagan believed that there was a “World of Myth” that began in the sky and extended through the heavens where Mithras was able to slay a bull and Attis castrated.

          He has an 800 page book where the evidence has been collected. So creating scholarly articles for peer-review to push those controversial issues into view would be useful for his overall theory.

          By the way, I’m not sure it’s fair to say that Carrier hasn’t done
          anything with Doherty’s argument in ten years.  He hasn’t written much
          about it, sure.  But he has given talks on mythicism, mentioned
          Doherty’s book as one of the good ones, and has for a few years been
          working on a scholarly book assessing the historicity of Jesus.

          That’s certainly true, but if he thinks that Doherty has a strong case, he’s not in a hurry to follow up on it. Nor is Dr Price. Both Dr Carrier and Dr Price are quite outspoken on the topic of historicity generally. It seems everyone is waiting for someone else to start engaging modern scholarship on this topic.

          • Earl Doherty

            Don’t worry, Don. If rumors are true, modern scholarship is about to start engaging with mythicism by writing books intended to debunk it (Ehrman and Casey so far). Which shows that mythicists have been doing things right, ramping up the pressure until an engagement had to be made. That’s when the fun will start.

            So if you don’t mind, I’ll wait for the attack to begin (actually, we’re getting the vanguard of it right here on the Matrix), rather than waste my time writing some esoteric article on some aspect of mythicism which stands a near zero chance of getting published and will only attract a “see, I told you so” from people like you.

            • Landon Hedrick

              Earl,

              Let me say that I’m agnostic on the question, and I don’t have any personal animosity towards you (which you may suspect Gakuseidon does have, given your past interactions).

              But I think he’s right that you should at least try to publish some respectable papers in peer reviewed journals.  If you submit a paper trying to argue that Jesus never existed, it will likely be rejected.  One reason might be, as you seem to think, that those in academia won’t take that view seriously.  (And maybe you’re right.)  But another reason is simply because you can’t make any serious headway on a topic like that in a journal article.

              But you can make significant headway on a more limited issue.  For example, the “World of Myth” stuff that Gakuseidon mentioned in his comment.  (And yet you might even need to narrow that down even further, to argue for just some aspect of that entire issue.)  Now I don’t see any reason to think that the academics in charge of peer review publication will reject a paper on that topic just because it’s related to one mythicist’s case against the historicity of Jesus.  If the paper were to end up getting rejected, it would probably be for the ordinary reasons that papers get rejected.  I suspect.

              But look at it this way.  If you can begin to build up publications like these (which help support your overall case for mythicism), and if you can start convincing scholars about these individual pieces of your case, then they’ll be more receptive to your big picture.  This is something that will need to be done eventually anyway.

              I actually think the debate on this topic will be picking up given the forthcoming book later this year by Ehrman, and Carrier’s mythicist book (next year?).  Should be interesting.

  • http://historical-jesus.info/ Bernard Muller

    I wrote: “Bart (as you & I did) will be very unlikely to accept Doherty’s mythicist non-sense which is based on dubious, weak, biased & convoluted so-called interpretations.”

    Doherty answered: “Objective? Informative? Serious scholarly tone and integrity backed up by substance? Hardly.”

    BM: Why would you expect the above in my (short) posting?
    But all of that is in my critique of your previous book:
    http://historical-jesus.info/djp1.html
    Plus, of course, in my postings in James’ review of your latest work (which, of course, you don’t consider as a “peer review”!).
    And because your ideas are different and clashing with the ones of your potential “peers”, that does not make you a Galileo, but more likely a Velikovsky, or any of the many who proposed theories based on their petty agenda or imagination, but not supported by evidence.

  • http://www.patheos.com/community/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

    @google-6daf02a4b08a556f1ecf3f7a6a26b400:disqus , I’m guessing you are a relative newcomer to my blog. I recently posted a round-up of round-ups of all my blogging about mythicism thus far. I have offered substantial analysis of the claims made by mythicists, in detail. They are being given due attention, and their interpretations of the evidence are consistently found to be either incompatible with the evidence, less plausible than other interpretations, or failing to address or accurately understand key considerations.

    Please take a look at what has been written, rather than claiming that it and Jesus never existed.  :-)

  • http://lowerwisdom.com JSA

    The NT “scholars” routinely suppress ideas that they find threatening.

    For example, what of the theory that Jesus was a master hypnotist who hypnotized his disciples with the post-hypnotic suggestion to forget where the tomb was and hallucinate him on the road to Emmaeus?  Ignored!

    What of the theory that Jesus was a shape-shifting alien who was attempting to make the people more loving, so that the aliens could harvest our positive emotions through their love-suckers?  Silenced!

    What of the theory that Jesus was actually a Muslim Imam from the year 2300, who went back in a time machine to preach pacifism, so that the population would be docile and ready for the slaughter in the coming Muslim ascendancy?  The “scholars” are too afraid to touch it!

    I could go on, but the point is clear.  NT “scholars” refuse to consider any theory except the theory that they already presupposed to be true!  

  • Pingback: Jozef Krajčovič

  • Jonathan Burke

    Gakuseidon, you make an excellent point. I find Mr Doherty’s work significantly lacking in any serious analysis of (or even informed reference to), Second Temple Period Judaism. Apparently we’re supposed to believe that 1st century Palestinian Jews (the vast majority of whom were illiterate and who never traveled more than 60 miles from where they were born, in their entire lives), drew for theological inspiration on Roman Mithraism, Greek Orphism, the Egyptian Osiris and Isis cult, Platonism, Pythagoreanism, and pretty much any pagan source they could get their hands on, except for Second Temple Period Judaism.

    Add this to the fact that he just makes up his own meanings for Greek words and phrases, and it’s difficult to take him seriously.

  • Earl Doherty

    Jonathan Burke: Mr Doherty, I have to say that I would be more interested in your work if you didn’t do things like making up meanings for Greek words and phrases. You claim a particular meaning, I look it up and find that not a single standard professional lexicon or dictionary gives that meaning (or that they specifically identify a different meaning in the passage in question), and I can’t help wondering where your evidence is because you typically don’t provide any. It just looks like you made it up on the spot, to support your theory.

    This is nonsense, Jonathan. One of the things you are doing is confusing the “definition” of a certain word, with the “meaning” given to that word in a particular context. The other thing you are doing is criticizing me for suggesting an understanding of that meaning in a different way than has traditionally been done. Since my theory involves a radically different interpretation of the record, it is hardly surprising if the average lexicon does not see things the way I do and present a meaning in conformity with mine!

    Let’s take one prominent example. The phrase “kata tas graphas in 1 Cor 15:3-4 involves words which have a “definition”. My “definition” of the word “graphas” is precisely that of any dictionary. And I daresay that almost every single word I have “defined” in my books agrees with the definition in any standard lexicon or dictionary. The odd exception will at least have agreement in some publications which include more detail and less usual applications, such as the word sarx (“flesh”). Here the Theological Dictionary of the New Testament points out it can be used in application to forms of spiritual ‘flesh’ possessed by the demons, and Bauer’s Lexicon recognizes it can refer to the flesh “of transcendent entities…(to) flesh other than human…i.e., of divine messengers who take on sarx when they appear to humans.” (See Jesus: Neither God Nor Man, p.159. I can’t help it if people like GDon consistently refuse to recognize this or take it into account when ridiculing the idea of seeing Christ’s “flesh” as spiritual or mystical.)

    OTOH, the “meaning” I give to that 1 Cor. phrase is never suggested by any lexicon that I am aware of, since it would support the mythicist interpretation. Traditionally, the “kata tas graphas” is interpreted as meaning ‘in fulfilment of the prophecies in scripture’. I interpret it as meaning ‘as we learn from the scriptures’. (Note that the meaning in either case does not conform to a literal definition of the words or phrase itself.) Would you expect to find any “standard professional lexicon or dictionary” acknowledging that this phrase could mean that knowledge about Christ’s dying and rising has been derived from scripture, rather than history, even if such a meaning of the phrase could theoretically be valid, from a dictionary point of view? (See JNGNM, p.46/note22.)

    As for not providing evidence for such different interpretations of meaning, that too is nonsense. “Evidence” is not solely being able to point to the usage of the same phrase in some other context with the same clear and stated meaning. It involves considering the context of the given phrase, both immediate and bringing other passages into account; it involves using deductive argument in regard to the texts as a whole, and so on. If you would like to give me an example in my book(s) or website of where I provided a divergent definition or meaning which is entirely invalid (and because it contradicts traditional understanding doesn’t count!) and not backed up by any argument in its favor, I’d be pleased to address it.

    And let me comment on your final remark:

    It gives me good reason to question your credibility, and the alternative implied by your supporters (that all the professional lexicons and dictionaries are involved in a massive conspiracy to conceal the true meanings, which only you have managed to uncover), is so absurd as to be not even worth considering.

    You reveal a couple of things here. The conspiracy theorists are not me and my supporters, but you and others like you who read conspiracy accusations into us. I have never accused historicists of ‘conspiring’ to suppress evidence which they acknowledge can support mythicism. (Which is different from being universally reluctant to consider it.) Even Jim & Co. don’t do that. They are simply so convinced of their own viewpoint—regardless of its weak basis—and so hostile to any other, that they act accordingly in very unscholarly ways; they are unable to acknowledge that mythicism could in any way be supported. Do you think I consider Walter Bauer to have ignored meanings he knew were valid and supportive of mythicism, and yet deliberately suppressed them in order not to give it that support? (Though, as we have seen, there is a certain echo of this in Jim’s own approach at times, as he himself has admitted.)

    The second thing you reveal is an innate prejudice against the very thought that in any field, anyone could possibly come up with a new theory or interpretation which no one else has thought of before. You call the very idea “absurd” and refuse to consider it. Not only is this unscholarly and the epitome of closed-mindedness, it is clearly contradicted by many examples in history. This you can surely recognize in principle, even if you can’t bring yourself to envision it in the matter of the existence of Jesus. Nor am I some kind of aberrant singularity. While some aspects of my own case may be ‘original’ to me, I am building on a lot of predecessors and their ideas. This frequent practice of dumping on me personally as though I stand alone in some kind of lunatic wilderness is just another example of having recourse to attacking the person rather than the arguments. The former is much easier than the latter.

    • Jonathan Burke

      Mr Doherty,

      * I never said anything about ‘definitions’, my statement was very specific in its reference to ‘meaning’, including meaning in context; there’s no confusion here

      * No I am not criticizing you for suggesting an understanding of that meaning in a different way than has traditionally been done; I am criticizing you for failing to present lexical evidence for specific meanings you claim, and failing to even mention (let alone engage), the meanings found in standard lexicographical sources and the evidence they provide (this is the kind of tactic I expect from climate change deniers and Fundamentalist Creationists)

      * With regard to the Greek, what you have done more than once is committed the fallacy of illegitimate totality transfer, assuming the entire lexical range of a word is available in any given usage of it in context; in reality, the meaning of a word in context is constrained by that context, so you can’t just pick out a meaning from a list and say ‘I’ll choose that one when reading this word in this verse’

      * Yes, your understanding of ‘graphas’ in 1 Corinthians 15:3-4 can be found in standard lexicons, but as you point out the meaning you give to the *phrase* in that passage is not found in any standard lexicon; why is it, do you think, that standard lexicons don’t give that meaning?

      * Yes ‘sarx’ can be found in TDNT and BDAG as a reference to the bodies taken on by transcendent beings or demons who enter the realm of humans, but even in this case it is still *flesh*, the reference is still to a physical, corporeal body, so unless you want to claim that Paul’s Jesus was a transcendent being who pretended to be human by putting on a ‘man suit’ of flesh, entering the realm of humans and physically interacting and being seen by people, then this gets you nowhere; you still end up with a completely physical Jesus who walked around in normal everyday life where everyone else is, and looked for all the world like a real human being, which is the exact opposite of your ‘incorporeal-spirit-being-in-the-sub-lunar-realm’ Jesus

      * Furthermore, TDNT also defines ‘sarx’ as the earthly sphere, in contrast to celestial realms; this contradicts your appeal to the TDNT completely

      * Worst of all, you seem to approach Greek phrases without an understanding of how the language works; your method is to split the phrase into its components, look up the lexical range of each word, select individual meanings for the words which make sense to you, and then put the phrase back together with those meanings, but that’s not proper linguistic analysis

      * With regard to phrases, what you absolutely must do is search for other occurrences of the phrase in the relevant literature, using both synchronic and diachronic analysis, but you give no indication you have done this

      * Take for example reference to a ‘city on seven hills’ (Revelation 17:9); given that the phrase is found as a reference to Rome in Horace, Virgil, Ovid, Italicus, Tatius, Tibullus, Claudian, Martial, Prudentius, Juvenal, and Pliny, and given that it is never used during the period in question as a reference to Jerusalem, we would need extraordinary evidence before we could understand it as a reference to Jerusalem

      * So why didn’t you look at how the phrase ‘kata sarx’ is used by Aristotle, Sophocles, Empedocles, Epicurus, Plutarch, Sextus Empiricus, Galen, Oribasius, Julian  the Apostate, Paulus Aegineta, and most relevant of all for synchronic lexical analysis, Josephus?

      * Yes, if there was evidence that ‘kata tas graphas’ could have the meaning you suggest, even theoretically ‘from a dictionary point of view’, then of course I would absolutely expect to find that referred to in a standard professional lexicon; why wouldn’t I?

      * No I did not call absurd ‘the very thought that in any field, anyone could possibly come up with a new theory or interpretation which no one else has thought of before’, I did not say that is absurd at all; what I specifically called absurd was the idea that ‘all the professional lexicons and dictionaries are involved in a massive conspiracy to conceal the true meanings, which only you have managed to uncover’

      * I did not attribute claims of conspiracy to you, I said specifically that this is what is *implied* by your *supporters*, and I’ve corresponded with enough of them to see them do this on many an occasion (though I grant some of them probably don’t)

      To return to my original point, what you need for your case is actual evidence, at the critical points in your argument where your claims disagree with those who really *do* have evidence for their claims.

      When you assert a meaning for a phrase which is found in no standard professional lexicon, and you provide no evidence for the phrase being used with that meaning in any literature proximate to the text being examined (or any relevant text at all), and when there is an abundance of proximate and other relevant literature which uses the phrase with a very different meaning, then the burden of evidence rests on you to demonstrate that the meaning you attribute to the phrase is actually valid.

      If a phrase or word has a range of lexical meanings, then as a general rule in a given passage the most common meaning is most likely to be used, the rarer meanings are comparatively less likely, and *completely unattested meanings* are least likely of all. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

      A completely unattested meaning is an extraordinary claim, and requires extraordinary evidence. Claims without *any* independent evidence whatsoever (independent evidence does not include ‘Well that’s how it reads to me’, or ‘Well when I read this other stuff Paul wrote, then that’s the meaning which makes sense in this passage), can rightly be considered unsubstantiated, and therefore subject to claims which actually do have independent evidence.

      It’s really that simple. You need to go and look for some actual evidence for your lexical theories. When you actually have some, and your evidence is proportionate to your claim, and you can construct a robust, objective, Popper-falsifiable argument, you’ll have a point. Think ‘scientific method’, and you’ll be heading in the right direction.

  • Earl Doherty

    GakuseiDon: Evan, I agree! And I have personally considered it, and I’ve found that Doherty’s theories don’t represent the thinking of those times. (Google my name and Doherty’s to find my reviews) But I’m an amateur on this topic, so there is no reason people should take my word for this.

    Right. Thanks for neutralizing your own claim, Don. And in my responses to your reviews I have consistently disproved that claim. Not that you ever admit or address that, just as you ignore all my counter-responses and keep saying the same things over and over. That’s your M.O. and there are many who recognize it.

    But scholars don’t know that Doherty exists.

    I don’t know where you get that idea. Just because they turn their backs and turn up their noses doesn’t mean they aren’t fully aware that I’m there. Bart Ehrman certainly knows, when he is asked in interviews about my theories. Major scholars have known about me since the days of the original Crosstalk in the late 90s. Fifteen years is no flash in the pan.

    Dr Carrier and Dr Price have been aware of Doherty’s theories for 10 years now. What have they done with them? Nothing AFAIK. What does that tell you about the strength of Doherty’s case?

    What do you expect them to “do” with them? Drop their own work and devote their lives to promoting me? Price has reviewed and expressed support for my work for well over a decade. Carrier became a mythicist himself in major part because of my work, as he has admitted. Each is at work full time writing their own books in support of the basic tenets of mythicism. I don’t expect them to agree with me in every aspect, but historicists try to make no end of hay to differing opinions, as though no such thing exists in their own circles.

    It staggers me that Doherty spends his time dealing with apologetics and anachronistic Christian views.

    Anachronistic to whom? To the highest echelons of critical scholarship? How many times do I have to say that I am not writing exclusively for them? And there is as much attention if not more given to the views of critical scholarship in my books as there is to the apologetic, though I have also said that I am not addressing “apologetics” per se but to the popular views and beliefs of Christians which happen to coincide with apologetics to a great extent.

    It isn’t just Christians who have a problem with your theories. Atheist scholars also do, as you well know. And not just historicists: people like G.A. Wells don’t support your Platonic readings.

    And this is supposed to prove what? As I said, in mainstream Jesus scholarship there are differing views all over the map, some of them mutually exclusive. Would you direct the same invective to them? I’ve addressed Wells’ differing views (basically the nature of Paul’s Jesus and the existence of an historical sage at the root of Q) and shown the arguments against them. As far as I know, he hasn’t done the same for me.

    I can’t be all things to all people. I have tried to occupy a middle ground, to appeal to the intelligent layperson, but at the same time in sufficient depth and scholarly detail to serve the scholarly community. You keep harping on adoptionism. This sort of thing is a detail within historical Jesus theory. It has little if any pertinence to the question of his existence. When the arguments and interpretation of documents is presented in regard to the latter, scholarship’s concern over an issue like adoptionism is virtually irrelevant. It would be like asking me to address the question of whether Jesus preached in Aramaic or Greek. As for “son of God” I’ve answered you on that more than once. My argumentation relating to how early Christians like Paul use the phrase in regard to the object of their worship excludes any thought that they are using it in the manner some recent scholarship would like to suggest, a watered down ‘man in God’s favor’ sort of thing. Such a meaning could not possibly be read out of passages like Col. 1:15-20 and Hebrews 1:2-3, and any scholar reading my discussion of such passages and what they tell us about the nature of Paul’s Son ought to be able to realize that. I don’t need any in-depth addressing of the latest scholarly fad (and certainly not endorsed by all) that Jesus was not seen as divine by the earliest Christians as represented by the epistles. My whole presentation puts the lie to such a nonsensical idea.

    I am responding to you like this, Don, not for your sake or because you are not already aware of my answers to such things (since I’ve given them to you ad nauseam over the years), but for the sake of others less familiar with your antics in regard to me, and so that you don’t pull the wool over their eyes without some counter-input and corrective clarification from me.

  • http://www.patheos.com/community/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

    @Earl Doherty, it is up to you whether or not to submit things to journals, but that is how you undergo peer review. That is what the term means – your work is evaluated anonymously by other historians or scholars of whatever the field of the journal happens to be. Getting discussed by a scholar is not peer review, and so it will not give you the status of having produced “peer reviewed scholarship” – or make scholars your peers, for that matter, any more than creationists are peers of the scientists who patiently explain why they are wrong/dishonest.

  • Earl Doherty

    Jim, I am well aware of the principle of peer review. What I doubt is the possibility of its application in practice in regard to this topic. Should I assume that the scholars who would peer review a submitted article by me, or respond to it, would be any more unbiased and receptive than you have been? Are you saying that you are an aberration in that regard, and that I would get a more honest and less emotionally skewed hearing than you have given me, backed up by a bit more professional scholarship than you have offered?

    You’ll have to forgive me if I say I doubt it. I might be turned down in more polite language than you have used, but I would be turned down nonetheless. If I wasn’t convinced of that before, I certainly am now after my experience with the Matrix.

    But that aside, shall we continue? I look forward to your review of my Chapter 10.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Michael-Wilson/1355591760 Michael Wilson

      Spoken like a true snake oil sales man. No need to submit work to qualified review because all those guys are corrupt. Of course we know your work wouldn’t be positively reviewed because it is garbage intended to fool only the simple minded. Well you and the 9/11 people, UFO people, and all sorts of assorted nut jobs can use the internet as a crack pots university (creationist are rich enough build their own fake educational institutes).

      • Earl Doherty

        Don’t you just love it when your opponents prove your point?

        • Immanuel Velikovsky

           Yes! And they always will, eventually.

          • Immanuel Velikovsky

             Ahem: (Slaps Dr Doherty on the back, in a congratulatory fashion) (frickamfrackumstupiddogmaticapologistpostingengine)

  • Jonathan Burke

    This is Michael Shermer’s Baloney Detection Kit.

    1. How reliable is the source of the claim?
    2. Does this source often make similar claims?
    3. Have the claims been verified by another source?
    4. How does the claim fit with what we know about how the world works?
    5. Has anyone gone out of the way to disprove the claim, or has only supportive evidence been sought?
    6. Does the preponderance of evidence point to the claimant’s conclusion or to a different one?
    7. Is the claimant employing the accepted rules of reason and tools of research, or have these been abandoned in favor of others that lead to the desired conclusion?
    8. Is the claimant providing an explanation for the observed phenomena or merely denying the existing explanation?
    9. If the claimant proffers a new explanation, does it account for as many phenomena as the old explanation did?
    10. Do the claimant’s personal beliefs and biases drive the conclusions, or vice versa?

    I would like to see a Mytherist make the case that Mytherism can pass each of these points.

  • http://www.patheos.com/community/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath
  • Gakuseidon

    It would be good if Neil Godfrey (or anyone else who supports Doherty’s thesis) applied Michael Shermer’s Baloney Detection Kit to Doherty’s thesis. I’d be curious to see if he thought it passed the test.

    Item 5 “Has anyone gone out of the way to disprove the claim, or has only supportive evidence been sought?” seems particularly appropriate.

  • Anonymous

    Don, I would think you would more than qualify as someone who has gone out of their way to disprove Doherty, as would Dr. McGrath.

    • Gakuseidon

      beallen0417, the very point would be to have someone sympathetic to Doherty’s thesis apply Michael Shermer’s Baloney Detection Kit. That’s what the Baloney Detection Kit is for: a guide to evaluate unusual claims.

      I’m reminded of Martin Gardner’s “Fads and Fallacies in the Name of Science”, where he points out how to recognise pseudo-scientific cranks. From the Wiki article on the book:

      “Gardner says that cranks have two common characteristics. The first “and most important” is that they work in almost total isolation from the scientific community… the crank ‘stands entirely outside the closely integrated channels
      through which new ideas are introduced and evaluated. He does not send
      his findings to the recognized journals or, if he does, they are
      rejected for reasons which in the vast majority of cases are excellent’.

      The second characteristic of the crank (which also contributes to his or her isolation) is the tendency to paranoia. There are five ways in which this tendency is likely to be manifested.

      1. The pseudo-scientist considers himself a genius.
      2. He regards other researchers as stupid, dishonest or both.
      3. He believes there is a campaign against his ideas, a campaign comparable to the persecution of Galileo or Pasteur. He may attribute his ‘persecution’ to a conspiracy by a scientific ‘masonry’ who are unwilling to admit anyone to their inner sanctum without appropriate initiation.
      4. Instead of side-stepping the mainstream, the pseudo-scientist attacks it head-on…
      5. He has a tendency to use complex jargon, often making up words and phrases…”

  • Jonathan Burke

    I think that points 6, 7, 9, and 10 would be particularly challenging. James, I would be interested to see your application of the baloney detection kit to Mr Doherty’s work.

  • http://www.patheos.com/community/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

    @google-0afc84882ce2bf8bdbede723f1020d0f:disqus :  Oops, there was a typo in the comment in which I tried to share the link! Sorry – here it is:

    http://exploringourmatrix.blogspot.com/2011/05/overview-of-part-one-of-earl-dohertys.html

  • Jonathan Burke

    Thanks James. Don, great points.

  • http://www.patheos.com/community/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

    I don’t think Evan has grasped that those who seek after the truth try to find the flaws in their own ideas, and not simply those of people they are inclined to disagree with. That’s the essence of free and critical thinking, and of science. This is how Michael Shermer puts it:

    “This is the confirmation bias, or the tendency to seek confirmatory evidence and to reject or ignore disconfirmatory evidence. The confirmation bias is powerful, pervasive and almost impossible for any of us to avoid. It is why the methods of science that emphasize checking and rechecking, verification and replication, and especially attempts to falsify a claim, are so critical.” 

  • Anonymous

    No, I understand it very well, Dr. McGrath. I think the best evidence for a historical Jesus is the prima facie case made by the NT as a whole. So I started out believing in an HJ. I later became a skeptic and when I heard of the MJ hypothesis, I dismissed it initially. After investigating to try to falsify it, I was unable to. 

    I have read your posts, and Don’s. I have scoured the primary documents involved. I find nothing that reliably points to a verifiable historical figure and lots of things that are impossible, contrary to logic and bizarre regarding the HJ hypothesis, once one loses the paradigm of the dominant culture. But I agree that someone should try to prove themselves wrong. I’d be happy to be proven wrong. I just haven’t been given any evidence that compelling alters the equation to this point.

    The NT is about a man who went into the sky, who rose after being dead for three days and became God. It’s about a man who preexisted the universe and was present with the Hebrews on their non-existent Exodus. The HJ hypothesis tries very hard to get away from these facts, but they are verifiable and you can read about them in multiple spots in the NT.

    So nobody doubts that the NT is about a mythical character except for the people who believe it to be true (who curiously escape the ire of the committed HJ proponents). The difference between the HJ proponents and MJ proponents is that the HJ proponents believe that by literary analysis they can reconstruct a non-mythical person from within the admittedly mythical NT, whereas the agnostics and MJ proponents do not believe this can be done. 

    So there really isn’t much that is spectacular, odd or unusual in this debate, and if it were about a normal topic, both sides might easily coexist (a la Q skeptics and Q proponents) and simply be varying views of the same data. 

    Yet, because it is about Jesus, who is the sine qua non of Christianity for a large number of believers, the topic becomes relatively mired in acrimony. Most of it comes from people who are incensed at the idea that anyone could believe the other way. 

    I think that intelligent people can disagree without being disagreeable and I have been paying attention to this blog for a long time. I’ve asked many questions and seen many posts and I can’t say that I have been able to prove this opinion wrong. The host of the blog has been kind enough to let me to continue to post. I apologize for any disturbance that I’ve been.

    One final misconception seems to be reflected in the idea that all Doherty would need to do is to publish peer-reviewed studies to be taken seriously. This to me seems ludicrous. It’s not as if Doherty is the first person ever to question the historicity of Jesus of Nazareth. Volney, Dupuis, Bauer, Van Manen, van den Bergh van Eysinga, Drews, Robertson, Johnson, Wells, Price, Detering and many others have done the same. This idea is neither new nor does it lack scholarly credentials. This means nothing to whether it is true however. The only thing that can determine that is if the evidence against it outweighs the evidence in favor of it. 

    There is no reason to name call, mock or ridicule something that is simply wrong. The best thing to do is show why it is wrong. 

    • http://historical-jesus.info/ Bernard Muller

      Evan wrote: “The NT is about a man who went into the sky, who rose after being dead for three days and became God. It’s about a man who preexisted the universe and was present with the Hebrews on their non-existent Exodus. The HJ hypothesis tries very hard to get away from these facts, but they are verifiable and you can read about them in multiple spots in the NT.”

      BM: Feats before birth (pre-existence) and after death (post-existence) can easily be added to somebody who existed as a earthly human. All you need for the mythical stuff is words, with some (dubious) back up from the OT and pretended visions & revelations. And then few, if any, critical Jesus historians/historicists consider the alleged pre-existence and post-existence as part of a “historical Jesus”. “historical Jesus” is about an earthly human who, by some way, had a part in starting Christianity.

      Evan wrote: “So nobody doubts that the NT is about a mythical character except for the people who believe it to be true (who curiously escape the ire of the committed HJ proponents). The difference between the HJ proponents and MJ proponents is that the HJ proponents believe that by literary analysis they can reconstruct a non-mythical person from within the admittedly mythical NT, whereas the agnostics and MJ proponents do not believe this can be done.”

      BM: Not all of the NT is mythical. Parts of it relate to a very human (and “normal”) Jesus. Just by looking at Paul’s deemed authentic letters, that Jesus came from a woman and Israelites and was crucified in Zion. He was a man in sinful flesh and had blood brothers, one being James, the later corroborated by Josephus (of course, all of that is doubted by Mythicists and Agnostics through a variety of pretexts). So the NT Jesus is not an entirely mythical character.
      Of course MJ proponents cannot retrieve a HJ, that’s very obvious. But they have great difficulty into explaining how a rustic Galilean Jew got retrofitted into a purely mythical Jesus (or why such an unlikely character was invented in order to support Gentile Christianity).

  • Ian

    Wow, Doherty’s first comment comes right out of the creationist playbook. I was rather skeptical of how similar the two things were, but that’s quite shocking.

    The thing about both creationists and that comment is that cases aren’t made in one go. 

    For example, if “Brother of the Lord” is supposed to be a metaphoric title: why not do the detailed research of all ancient materials and show that “Brother of X” was idiomatic as a metaphor, and in which contexts and periods. That would make an excellent paper that would contribute to our knowledge.

    The thing that always strikes me about creationists, and lots of these conspiracy theories is that they are whole-cloth arguments. They fail to show where the specific fine-grained evidence lies. 

    • Anonymous

      I think I might ask where the evidence is to show that by “the Lord” Paul intended to refer to a recently deceased human being who prior to his death had been known to many of Paul’s contemporaries rather than to a heavenly being who had only made himself known to Paul and his contemporaries through supernatural manifestations and revelations.  That is the question that continues to puzzle me in interpreting “Brother of the Lord” as referring to a biological relationship.  I see plenty of evidence for the latter in Paul’s writings, but I’m hard pressed to find any evidence of the former.

      I agree that the mythicists have not offered much evidence to convincingly establish that “Brother” means what they think it does, but I should think that historicists might want to provide some evidence to show that “the Lord” means what they think it does.

      (I hope that raising this point again doesn’t get me banned from this blog, too.)

  • http://www.patheos.com/community/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

    I appreciate @beallen0417:disqus  sharing his experience. But I don’t see that even he would claim that the existence of a historical Jesus has been falsified. And this highlights something that tends to be true of mythicists, creationists, and others whose views are in the same realm: definitive proof is demanded from one side, while all that is felt to be necessary from the other is that it not have been falsified. But if mythicism is unfalsifiable, for instance, then its not having been falsified may be due to other reasons than the truthfulness of its claims.

  • Anonymous

    Bernard, thanks for your reply and your serious responses. If you don’t mind, I’d like to make a point here about the NT and myth that I hope makes it clear to you.

    The NT is almost entirely about a mythical Jesus who is the son of God. Of course, this mythical Jesus has a mother, so did Romulus, Hercules and Achilles. Of course he was assigned a national identity, just as Osiris and Attis were. After reading the NT in one sitting, one would be hard pressed to say that it is a story about a rural Galilean Jew. Not one gospel is about an unremarkable rural Galilean Jew, not one epistle and certainly not the Apocalypse. So if we are going to find a rural Galilean Jew in the NT, it is going to have to be in spite of the actual stories that we find there. Certainly historians don’t imagine that most rural Galilean Jews were familiar with the LXX in detail. 

    Bart Ehrman is very clear about this point in his book on Jesus, when writing about the disciples:

    “For someone to pull it off (writing a book) in antiquity required a good deal more than the average amount of literary training. And training of that kind required leisure time and money, since the vast majority of people had to work very long days. [...] In the end, it seems unlikely that the uneducated, lower-class, illiterate disciples of Jesus played the decisive role in the literary compositions that have come down through history under their names.”

    So the next question is how then did Jesus himself become known for his wise sayings and knowledge of Jewish Lore, given that he was just as poor and illiterate (according to the standard Historical Jesus hypothesis). How can we say such a thing about a rural Galilean Jew on the basis of the evidence that we have?

    So I have to ask what historical source exists for there having been a rural Galilean Jew of no particular charisma or impact who after his death became regarded as the savior of the world. There isn’t a single book in the NT that describes this process, not a single apocryphal gospel, not one epistle or apocalypse and certainly no pagan, Christian or Jewish historians record such an event.

    Yet I am being told that not to believe this story is tantamount to creationism.

    • http://historical-jesus.info/ Bernard Muller

      Evan wrote: “The NT is almost entirely about a mythical Jesus who is the son of God.”
      BM: I agree with “almost entirely” and the rest. What has interested me is what is left when the “almost entirely” is removed.
      Evan: “Of course, this mythical Jesus has a mother, so did Romulus, Hercules and Achilles.”
      BM: In parts of the gospels, more so gMark, and in some bits in Paul’s epistles, HJ is not mythical but very human. And many ancient heroes (some might have a historical basis greatly expanded by extraordinary fiction) were certainly attributed a human mothers, but also regular humans had human mother, including Jews from Galilee.
      Evan: “Of course he was assigned a national identity, just as Osiris and Attis were.”
      BM: Or HJ was a Jew from Palestine. That does not require mythical extraordinary understanding. And why would Jesus being a Galilean be significant? He is not presented as the god of the Galileans anywhere is the NT. As for Attis, do you know that the first rendition (330 BCE) of his story actually makes a lot of secular sense (except for his death). However later beliefs about him (150 CE & 350 CE) show a lot of embellishments, divine add-ons and significant modifications.
      Evan: “After reading the NT in one sitting, one would be hard pressed to say that it is a story about a rural Galilean Jew. Not one gospel is about an unremarkable rural Galilean Jew, not one epistle and certainly not the Apocalypse. So if we are going to find a rural Galilean Jew in the NT, it is going to have to be in spite of the actual stories that we find there.”
      BM: I did not claim the gospels are all about a rural Galilean Jew named Jesus (HJ). Because of the many fictional additions, HJ has been partially hidden under a lot religious mythical stuff. But the gospels (especially gMark) do show an underlying HJ whose story, about the last year of his life, makes secular sense, after you remove the crap on top of it.
      See my “Jesus, in a few words” here: http://historical-jesus.info/digest.html
      Evan: “Certainly historians don’t imagine that most rural Galilean Jews were familiar with the LXX in detail.”
      BM: All historians should reject HJ quoting from the OT. Many of these quotes were obviously extracted from the LXX. And some of them are of ‘cut and past’ sort, which later Christians (including Paul & the author of ‘Hebrews’) were very adept to do. Evan: “Bart Ehrman is very clear about this point in his book on Jesus, when writing about the disciples:”For someone to pull it off (writing a book) in antiquity required a good deal more than the average amount of literary training. And training of that kind required leisure time and money, since the vast majority of people had to work very long days. [...] In the end, it seems unlikely that the uneducated, lower-class, illiterate disciples of Jesus played the decisive role in the literary compositions that have come down through history under their names.””
      BM: I totally agree with Bart. Long ago, I asked him (through someone else) to read my website.Evan: So the next question is how then did Jesus himself become known for his wise sayings and knowledge of Jewish Lore, given that he was just as poor and illiterate (according to the standard Historical Jesus hypothesis). How can we say such a thing about a rural Galilean Jew on the basis of the evidence that we have?
      BM: Paul never said he was known for that. Those wise sayings and Jewish Lore appear (according to my count) 42 years after his death (in gMark). And “Mark” used the Holy Spirit landing on Jesus after the baptism, likely to explain how Jesus suddenly became wise and learned.Evan: “So I have to ask what historical source exists for there having been a rural Galilean Jew of no particular charisma or impact who after his death became regarded as the savior of the world. There isn’t a single book in the NT that describes this process, not a single apocryphal gospel, not one epistle or apocalypse and certainly no pagan, Christian or Jewish historians record such an event.”
      BM: The main sources are in the Pauline epistles (about a humble Jew who got crucified in Zion) and gMark & Q, once again, I repeat, among a lot of mythical fiction which has to be sorted out.
      And why would you expect a Christian, living in Paul’s times, to explain thruthfully how a simple rural Jew got elevated as the Son of God? And most people with a 15 minutes fame, or flash in the pan, were not acknowledged in the ancient literature which has survived up to us. However I had no trouble to explain the whole process (from “a rural Galilean Jew of no particular charisma or impact” to savior of the Christians, but not the world) on that webpage: http://historical-jesus.info/hjes3x.html
      In conclusion, I think most of your arguments are valid as reasons to reject Christianity. But most are not valid when you used the same arguments to reject a HJ.Do we have to reject the existence of Mohammad in order to reject Islam? Do we have to reject the existence of Rosa Parks, a humble seamstress, because she was credited to be the Mother of the Civil Rights Movement (even if she did not participate in it)?

      • Anonymous

        Bernard, thanks again for your reply. I appreciate it. You do seem to be getting to the crux of the issue and I think the central part for me is that you think the Pauline epistles are one of the main sources for your story of a rural Galilean Jew. 

        But the Pauline epistles are about a being who was first and foremost raised from the dead. He pre-existed the earth, created it and spoke to it through the LXX. Paul states that if Christ has not been raised, then he, Paul, is a fool. Paul thinks this person was present during the Exodus in the form of a rock. This is myth through and through. What credible historical source writes about a rural Galilean Jew whose followers mistakenly believed had been resurrected?

        It strikes me that the description you offer of Jesus, Bernard, is very much like Josephus’ description of Jesus, son of Ananus. 

        • http://historical-jesus.info/ Bernard Muller

          Evan,
          I did not say Paul’s epistles is one of the main sources for Jesus as a rural Galilean Jew. Take “Galilean” and “rural” out. Put instead humble Jew, with Israelites as ancestors, a brother called James and crucified in Zion. Do not misrepresent me.
          For the rest of your post, about the mythical stuff in the Pauline letters (pre-existence and post-existence of HJ) and the LXX, we went through that already (you can (& should) reject all of that, as I do, but that’s no reason to dismiss the existence of a HJ).
          Was Jesus, son of Ananus, a rural Galilean? Was he a petty healer? Was he uneducated? Was he crucified? Was he a trouble maker in the temple? Was he a follower of John the Baptist? Did he preach the Kingdom being at hand? Please educate me.

  • http://www.patheos.com/community/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

    Can anyone help me understand why @beallen0417:disqus  thinks that, in order for the historical Jesus to be historical, he has to have been lacking in charisma? 

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Michael-Wilson/1355591760 Michael Wilson

      because beallen0417 is lacking in charisma? Wasn’t it said Jesus researches always find a Jesus like them selves? The Mythies have found a Jesus who is either boring or full of shit.

  • http://www.patheos.com/community/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

    I have not banned anyone for raising points again (and again, and again). I have in the case of one individual decided that it is not worthwhile having the same conversations over and over again and so have stopped interacting, but have not banned them. The only people I have banned are trolls and spammers. (And so, if someone is reading this who has been trying to post and unable to, and you don’t fit either of those two categories, please get in touch via e-mail so that we can figure out what the problem is!)

  • Jonathan Burke

    VinnyJH, when a term such as ‘X, the brother of Y’, or ‘the brothers of X’ is found in other New Testament writings as a reference to biological kinship, when it’s found in Josephus as a reference to biological kinship, and when it’s found in the LXX as a reference to biological kinship, then those who claim it is a reference to fictive kinship are making an extraordinary claim.

    Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. So we need to see the evidence for the Mytherist claim that such terms refer to fictive kinship in Paul. What is the evidence for this extraordinary claim?

    On the other hand, that ‘the Lord’ refers to Jesus is not an extraordinary claim, because we have clear references to Jesus as ‘the Lord’ by Paul, and we have clear references in other New Testament writings to Jesus as ‘the Lord’.

    • Anonymous

      Johathan,

      Since Paul regularly (if not overwhelmingly) uses brother to designate a spiritual relationship rather a biological one, I don’t see how the suggestion that he is doing so in Galatians 1:19 could be considered an extraordinary claim, although I might concede that it is not the most natural reading of that particular passage.

      On the other hand, I cannot find anything (or at least anything else) in Paul’s writing to suggest that “the Lord” referred to a recently deceased human being who prior to his death had been known to
      many of Paul’s contemporaries personally rather than to a heavenly being who had
      only made himself known to Paul and his contemporaries through
      supernatural manifestations and revelations.  I would not call the suggestion that Paul is referring to the former in Galatians 1:19 an extraordinary claim, but I would call it an uncorroborated one.

  • http://www.patheos.com/community/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

    @VinnyJH:disqus , as I have said before, I think that the mythicist attempt to focus on the use of the term brother in isolation, ignoring the context and phrase, is one of its weakest moments. The fact that “brothers” can be all Christians does not justify treating “brother of the Lord” as though it were synonymous with “brother in the Lord.” That’s the sort of word games that Christian fundamentalists play, and not something that a person investigating early Christian literature in a scholarly manner ought to find acceptable.

    As for whether the Lord (presumably Jesus) was a human being, it seems that the reference to his brother can actually shed some light on that very question, as long as one is willing to focus not merely on the variety of uses to which the term brother was put by early Christians, but what its likely meaning is in the particular grammatical construction in which it is found in the passage under discussion in Galatians.

    • Anonymous

      Dr. McGrath,

      I’m not quite sure what you mean by “willing to focus.”  I am willing to consider the particular grammatical construction, but I am also willing to consider Paul’s other uses of “the Lord,” Paul’s other uses of “brother,” as well as the lack of any other references to Jesus as a recently deceased human being who was personally known to any of Paul’s contemporaries.  (I am also willing to consider the possibility that some scribe helpfully interpolated “the brother of the Lord: in order to distinguish between the various Jameses who were running around in the early church.)  When I consider all these factors, I find myself wanting some further corroboration that Paul intended “the brother of the Lord” to refer to a biological relationship with a recently deceased man.  I don’t see it and I don’t think that I am being excessively skeptical.

      It seems to me that both historicists and mythicists would like me to focus on whatever factors are most difficult for the other side to explain. 

  • Jonathan Burke

    VinnyJH, this is not a matter of statistics, nor is it a matter of Paul’s use of the word adelphos (‘brother’). It’s about a phrase, not a single word. I have already explained that a synchronic and diachronic lexical study indicates that this particular term, ‘X, the brother of Y’, has an established meaning. We can’t come along and decide that it means whatever we like.

    When we claim for this term a meaning which us completely unattested by any relevant text, then we are making an extraordinary claim. See my previous post for details.

    http://www.patheos.com/community/exploringourmatrix/2011/07/27/mythicism-and-peer-review/#comment-270751997

    //On the other hand, I cannot find anything (or at least anything else) in
    Paul’s writing to suggest that “the Lord” referred to a recently
    deceased human being who prior to his death had been known to many of
    Paul’s contemporaries personally rather than to a heavenly being who had
    only made himself known to Paul and his contemporaries through
    supernatural manifestations and revelations.//

    It is not difficult to establish from Paul’s writings that he is referring to Jesus, regardless of whatever else Paul thought about Jesus. Leaving the details aside, what you have to demonstrate is that it doesn’t refer to Jesus. Can you do that? It’s going to be difficult, because your claim is extraordinary both in its complexity and in its lack of evidence.

    • Anonymous

      Jonathan,

      If I leave the details aside, then of course your position is more persuasive, but I think the details are the point.  I see no other evidence to suggest that Paul thought of the Lord Jesus Christ as a recently deceased human being who while he was alive was known personally to Paul’s contemporaries.  I see lots of evidence to suggest that Paul thought of the Lord Jesus Christ as a heavenly being who only made himself known to Paul and his contemporaries through supernatural manifestations and revelations.

      Our earliest manuscript of Galatians dates from 150 years after the original.  It tells us what Paul’s message was understood to be at the end of the 2nd century, but we have no idea what corruption the text may have suffered during transmission.  In order to assert that any specific passage accurately reflects Paul’s original thought, it is perfectly reasonable to want corroboration and confirmation. I think I could just as well ask you to prove that “the brother of the Lord” was part of the autograph.

  • http://www.patheos.com/community/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

    @VinnyJH:disqus , your statement is only true if you find Doherty’s claims about a wide array of New Testament texts more persuasive than the way mainstream scholarship understands them. Otherwise, Paul mentions Jesus’ human birth, his humility, and on multiple occasions his crucifixion, to name a few obvious examples.
    As for the date of our manuscripts, that certainly leaves room for uncertainty, but I wonder whether you are consistent in remaining agnostic about most ancient history that depends on textual sources, since in almost all cases a comparable or even a much greater gap exists between our earliest manuscripts and the time when texts were written.

    But the most important thing is to separate two issues. If the question is whether you can be absolutely certain about the existence of a historical Jesus with no possibility of being wrong, then the answer is no – not because of problems unique to this figure but because of the nature of historical investigation itself. But if the question is whether it is more reasonable to accept as likely the conclusion to which the available evidence points, and the consensus of historians of Roman, Jewish and early Christian history, because the claims of Doherty and others like him may raise doubts but do not offer a more likely reconstruction of Christian origins, then I think the answer to that question is unambiguously clear – not absolutely certain, but clear and probable nevertheless. Because while the mythicists raise doubts which do show that doubt is possible, they offer no evidence that makes their claims and reconstructions likely, and that, when it comes to historical evidence and reasoned investigation, is what matters.

    • Anonymous

      Dr. McGrath,

      I have never read Doherty, although I have read Carrier,
      Price, and Wells.  My understanding of what Paul has to say about a historical Jesus has also been shaped by Ehrman and Ludemann.   I haven’t found the historicists’ explanations for Paul’s silence satisfying.

      I’m not completely sure whether I’m consistent in my
      agnosticism.  When it comes to the subject of ancient history, I have only read a handful of books and listened to a couple of Great Courses from the Teaching Company.  My impression is that New Testament scholars express a much higher degree of certainty about matters of conjecture than do historians of ancient Rome and Greece.

      I think that sometimes the historical sources are so
      problematic that the best a historian can do is speak in terms of possibilities rather than probabilities.   I doubt that the mythicists could ever show their reconstruction to be likely, but I think the historicists have some work to do to get there as well.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Michael-Wilson/1355591760 Michael Wilson

    Why is it that manuscript corruption is always raised on points that favor HJ but not on points that favor MJ? if the text are so mysterious wouldn’t Doherty be looking at fool’s gold to use Paul to prove his case? I know a lot of Mythies would agree.

    • Anonymous

      Michael,

      I think we might logically expect corruption to move in the direction of orthodoxy because variants that supported the prevailing opinion would be more likely to be perpetuated than those that did not.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Michael-Wilson/1355591760 Michael Wilson

    the movement of orthadoxy is to remove jesus from the mundane trappings of human life so that jesus all but walked out of mary’s miraculously intact lady parts, and all those brothers are really cousins and such. if you compare the progression of the gospels in time when they are known by external attestation and theology then apply to Paul, i would expect that more mystical material would be added as opposed to earthy material.

    • Anonymous

      Maybe the Jesus of the epistles needed to get more human and the Jesus of the gospels needed to get more divine.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Michael-Wilson/1355591760 Michael Wilson

    possibly. My thought is Paul is writting 20+ years after jesus died, so we already have 2 decades of christian development, but the gospels are a compilation of early mataerial, pre resurection ideology.

  • Earl Doherty

    Jonathan: No I am not criticizing you for suggesting an understanding of that meaning in a different way than has traditionally been done; I am criticizing you for failing to present lexical evidence for specific meanings you claim, and failing to even mention (let alone engage), the meanings found in standard lexicographical sources and the evidence they provide.

    Standard lexicons and scholarship tend not to “engage” meanings which would discredit HJ paradigms, which as I pointed out earlier (something you ignored) is the reason why most lexicons and other publications don’t put them forward. Even Bauer occasionally reads an HJ context into phrases which are clearly ambiguous and ignores the other side of the ambiguity in his translation.

    Besides, I hardly ignore the standard meanings. I usually state them, right in conjunction with the alternative I am putting forward; I certainly did so in regard to 1 Cor. 15:3-4. (Please stop making false accusations against me, though I realize this is standard fare here.) You seem to expect me to automatically be forced to accept the standard side of the ambiguity simply because it is the preferred interpretation by standard lexicons. Well, of course it is, because they are governed by the HJ paradigm. You are surely not so naïve as to think otherwise. And it is clearly your preference (accompanied by a lot of animosity against a different view). But that doesn’t make it necessarily right.

    With regard to the Greek, what you have done more than once is committed the fallacy of illegitimate totality transfer [!!!], assuming the entire lexical range of a word is available in any given usage of it in context; in reality, the meaning of a word in context is constrained by that context, so you can’t just pick out a meaning from a list and say ‘I’ll choose that one when reading this word in this verse’.

    Nonsense, Jonathan. In any case where I suggest a different meaning from the standard one, I always try to justify it by pointing to the context, or to some immediate or broader consideration which would support me (not necessarily prove me).

    Yes, your understanding of ‘graphas’ in 1 Corinthians 15:3-4 can be found in standard lexicons, but as you point out the meaning you give to the *phrase* in that passage is not found in any standard lexicon; why is it, do you think, that standard lexicons don’t give that meaning?

    I’ve answered that above. But in fact, you’re wrong. Bauer’s lexicon does in fact, by implication, allow for just such an understanding as I’ve suggested (though maybe he did it inadvertently). Look at (2nd edition, p.407) the definition of “kata” II, 5, a, “according to, in accordance with, in conformity with, corresponding to”:…“kata tas graphas (cf. Paus. 6, 21, 10 kata ta epē=according to the epic poems) 1 Cor. 15:3.”

    What is that passage of Pausanias? It reads: Description of Greece. [6.21.10] “According to the epic poem [kata ta epē] called the Great Eoeae the next after Marmax to be killed by Oenomaus was Alcathus, son of Porthaon; after Alcathus came Euryalus, Eurymachus and Crotalus.”

    This is precisely what I suggested about the kata tas graphas of 1 Cor. 15:3-4. Not that it means “in fulfillment of the scriptures”, just as Pausanias did not mean “in fulfillment of the epic poem…” He meant, ‘as we learn from the epic poem’ or ‘as the epic poem tells us’. My context for justifying this reading was that Paul denies (Gal. 1:11-12) that he got his gospel from any man; that he and others are constantly appealing to scripture and the Spirit as the source of information about Christ (including, by the way, Romans 1:3-4) and never anything they identify as historical tradition; that he never discusses in any unmistakeable (or even obscure) fashion the idea that scripture was fulfilled in history; that passages like Romans 16:25-27 state that the “mystery of Christ” was made known after long ages of being unknown, through scripture. What more do you want from me? Your accusations of what I do or do not do are clearly governed by your prejudices and are simply not justified or accurate.

    Incidentally, take a look at 1 Cor. 12:8: “For to one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, to another the message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit [kata to auto pneuma].” The Spirit is the source of the message, just as scripture/revelation is the source of Paul’s gospel in 15:3-4. That meaning, too, is provided by Bauer, who hammers it home by equating the “kata” phrase with the earlier phrase in the 12:8 verse, “dia tou pneumatos,” through the Spirit. In almost identical fashion Paul is saying in 15:3-4 that we know of Christ and his dying and rising acts through the scriptures.

    (I guess I should have added yet another page to my 800-page opus to provide all this specific justification at the point in question. Not that it would have had any effect on you or McGrath, since mythicism is never allowed to win even the smallest point with the closed-minded.)

    Yes ‘sarx’ can be found in TDNT and BDAG as a reference to the bodies taken on by transcendent beings or demons who enter the realm of humans, but even in this case it is still *flesh*, the reference is still to a physical, corporeal body, so unless you want to claim that Paul’s Jesus was a transcendent being who pretended to be human by putting on a ‘man suit’ of flesh, entering the realm of humans and physically interacting and being seen by people, then this gets you nowhere; you still end up with a completely physical Jesus who walked around in normal everyday life where everyone else is, and looked for all the world like a real human being, which is the exact opposite of your ‘incorporeal-spirit-being-in-the-sub-lunar-realm’ Jesus.

    Again, you are completely off base in what you are claiming. First of all, TDNT does not limit its definition of the “flesh” of demons to only “when they enter the realm of humans,” but as part of their constituent nature, no matter where they are. They do not say it is human flesh. That’s the point. It is another type of flesh, just as Cicero says that the gods possesses “bodies” but not the same type of bodies as humans (and certainly not only when they come to earth). In effect, you are begging the question, saying that there is only one type of “flesh”, the type possessed by humans on earth and which can only exist there. Neither TDNT or BDAG says this. Also, I have given other primary sources which speak of entities, whether angelic or formerly humans, who undergo things in the heavenly spheres while possessing bodies. Paul himself uses the term “flesh” (and “body”) in mystical ways which are neither human nor limited to the material sphere. If there can be other types of flesh in regard to non-human entities, then that is a principle which is established. One can then go from there and place that other type of flesh in a celestial setting, especially if various contexts support it (such as, for example, the Ascension of Isaiah 9, or 1 Cor. 2:8’s “rulers of this age” as referring to the demon spirits who operate in the heavens as well as on earth, and those other primary sources I have just alluded to).

    Furthermore, TDNT also defines ‘sarx’ as the earthly sphere, in contrast to celestial realms; this contradicts your appeal to the TDNT completely.

    No, it does not. (First, you ought to quote from the TDNT so that we can be sure you are not misunderstanding or misinterpreting what it says; don’t leave all the work up to me, there are a couple of dozen pages under ‘sarx’.) It has established that “flesh” can be applied to non-human entities and further does not limit such examples to the earthly sphere. Remember that the TDNT is discussing individual or groups of documents, not providing the contributors’ own opinions. (It even points to the concept of “spiritual flesh” in the Apoc. of Elijah 5:32.) If it also provides a definition of ‘sarx’ as having a meaning regarding the earthly sphere, or if that is the majority application, it does not mean it rules out all other settings in all possible documents.

    If a phrase or word has a range of lexical meanings, then as a general rule in a given passage the most common meaning is most likely to be used, the rarer meanings are comparatively less likely, and *completely unattested meanings* are least likely of all.

    Again, nonsense, but it is a very common type of nonsense among historicists. For what you are in effect claiming is that if there is a common meaning, that is the one we should or need to adopt. In other words, you are effectively ruling out less common meanings, despite that fact that your statement is an admission that they do exist. That is a fallacy of the highest order, and a very self-serving one. We encounter it all the time on the Matrix (as, for example, in regard to Gal. 1:19).

    Is that the rule you adopt in Russian Roulette? Since the most common situation is that the chamber is empty, you just assume the next one is? I guess that’s your idea of the scientific method. Be my guest, but don’t expect me to join in.

  • Jonathan Burke

    Mr Doherty, before I reply in detail, can I confirm that what you are saying is that professional lexicons are biased towards the historical Jesus paradigm, and that this affects their definition and lists of meanings of Greek words and phrases such that they exclude definitions and meanings which favour the Mytherist position?

    • Earl Doherty

      Of course they are biased, but please don’t turn around and accuse me of saying that there is an active and conscious “conspiracy” going on. The bias is simply in the nature of the discipline (it is essentially, certainly at root, a religious discipline, not an historical one). New Testament studies exists in Religion faculties, not History ones. If a Lexicon like Bauer ignores certain possible translations, or promotes one alternative, it is not because it is consciously seeking to suppress certain possible meanings, but its assumptions are so ingrained that it is natural to express those assumptions in the translations being presented.

      A perfect example is the remark of Paul Ellingworth in his Commentary on Hebrews 8:4. He rejects a translation given by the NEB. He admits it is “grammatically possible. However, it goes against the context (in that)…it could also be misunderstood as meaning that Jesus had never ‘been on earth’.”

      William Arnal and other Q scholars regularly state that it must be assumed that the death of Jesus is in the Q mind, even if not stated, and this affects the meaning they give to certain verses, such as seeing the “coming” of the Son of Man as meaning the “return” of the Son of Man/Jesus.

      The NEB in their translation of 2 Timothy 1:10 places the words “on earth” in the phrase “brought fully into view by the manifestation/appearance* [on earth] of our Savior…” where there are no such words in the Greek. They do much the same in Heb. 2:3: “For the deliverance was first announced through the lips [!] of the Lord himself,” to convey the image of Jesus’ own earthly preaching, which the Greek does not say or even imply. The translators have ‘clarified’ the text by blatantly inserting their own assumptions. I have encountered dozens of cases like this in many translations (usually a little more subtle) of reading the Gospels into the epistles.

      * For the word “appearance” (epiphaneia) in this verse, Bauer “defines” this word as “of Jesus’ first appearance on the earth,” meaning the incarnation, even though epiphaneia is not normally (if ever) used to signify a birth or whole life, but rather a single-occasion appearance or presence of a god or human, as in all the other definitions Bauer gives: “As a religious technical term, it means a visible manifestation of a hidden divinity, either in the form of a personal appearance, or by some deed of power by which its presence is made known.” Or, “of Jesus’ coming in judgment,” namely at the future Parousia. In other words, Bauer gives the normal, common (if not exclusive) meaning of epiphaneia in all other cases, that of a single-occasion appearance. (The former definition noted above would certainly fit the epistles’ implied use of the term–to those with an unbiased mind–as the manifestation of a god whose spiritual presence has been made known among believers, as mythicism suggests). But because such a translation in 2 Tim. 1:10 would virtually rule out any incarnation, Bauer is forced to give the word in this verse an unnatural meaning it does not normally have, one which is based on the Gospels.

      What more does one need to show that NT scholars are biased in their translations? Conspiracy has nothing to do with it, but that doesn’t mean you can trust the process any more.

  • Jonathan Burke

    VinnnyJH,

    //If I leave the details aside, then of course your position is more persuasive, but I think the details are the point.//

    But what you’re doing is actually ignoring some of the details. That’s the problem here. I’ve provided verifiable lexical evidence which you are setting aside in order to substantiate a Mytherist reading. This is not a robust method of investigation; we should draw our conclusions from the evidence, not draw conclusions and then interpret the evidence accordingly, or draw conclusions using only some of the evidence and then attempt to explain away the other evidence which doesn’t fit our conclusions.

    //Our earliest manuscript of Galatians dates from 150 years after the original. It tells us what Paul’s message was understood to be at the end of the 2nd century, but we have no idea what corruption the text may have suffered during transmission.//

    That’s fine, but you can’t posit a textual corruption until you have evidence for doing so.

    //I think I could just as well ask you to prove that “the brother of the Lord” was part of the autograph.//

    You could, and I could provide abundant textual evidence that it was. On the other hand, you cannot provide any evidence that it wasn’t. That’s why the overwhelming majority of professional textual critics consider this passage original.

    • Anonymous

      Jonathan,

      I am not ignoring any details.  I am simply weighing the details that support different conclusions.  Details that can be corroborated within Paul’s writings seem to me to deserve greater weight than those that cannot.

  • Earl Doherty

    You could, and I could provide abundant textual evidence that it was. On
    the other hand, you cannot provide any evidence that it wasn’t. That’s
    why the overwhelming majority of professional textual critics consider
    this passage original

    Don’t make silly statements, Jonathan. Textual evidence is not the only accepted criterion for determining or judging interpolation. A majority of critical scholars judge 1 Thess. 2:15-16 to be an interpolation, even though there is zero textual evidence for it. Other interpolations, or at least possibilities or such, are detected through evident seams, through incongruities of language, through obvious anachronisms, and so on.

  • Jonathan Burke

    //Of course they are biased, but please don’t turn around and accuse me of
    saying that there is an active and conscious “conspiracy” going on.//

    I see. So not an ‘active and conscious’ conspiracy, just something which is so similar you need to clarify that it’s not that. I think you know how this looks, especially without any evidence.

    To claim that the entire field of professional Greek lexicography is biased to the extent that word definitions and meanings are selected on the basis of a preconceived belief in a historical Jesus is an extraordinary claim indeed, and certainly requires extraordinary evidence. And do you really think that professional Greek lexicography is a ‘religious discipline’?

    Do you honestly believe you can be taken seriously when you dismiss qualified professionals in the relevant field (whose conclusions just happen to be inconvenient to your theories), with the unsubstantiated claim that they are all biased?

    When Creationists and anthropogenic climate change deniers make the kind of claim you did, they are rightly ridiculed.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunning-Kruger_effect

    //What more does one need to show that NT scholars are biased in their translations?//

    The topic at hand is lexicography, not translation of the New Testament. Please show me that professional lexicography is biased in its rendering of how the phrase ‘kata sarx’ is used by Aristotle, Sophocles, Empedocles,
    Epicurus, Plutarch, Sextus Empiricus, Galen, Oribasius, Julian the
    Apostate, Paulus Aegineta, and Josephus. Then we can talk. Without evidence, you don’t have an argument.

    Thus far you’ve given me no evidence. You’ve cited a snippet from a commentary (not professional lexicography), the NEB (not professional lexicography), and a perfectly reasonable gloss by Bauer, behind which you detect a hidden agenda (again, no evidence).

    What you haven’t given me is any evidence that the methods of professional lexicography (which you do not use), are wrong, nor any evidence that when we read ‘kata sarx’ in Paul we should not read it with the meaning we find attested in hundreds of other texts (both diachronic and synchronic), but we should read it with a meaning which is completely unattested in any other text at all.

    Reading your post, the following ‘baloney detector’ bells are ringing.

    3. Have the claims been verified by another source? No, your claims have not been verified by another source.

    6. Does the preponderance of evidence point to the claimant’s conclusion or to a different one? Yes, the preponderance of lexical evidence (both diachronic and synchronic), points to a meaning for ‘kata sarx’ with a meaning completely different to the one you claim; the same goes for ‘X, the brother of Y’ in Galatians.

    7. Is the claimant employing the accepted rules of reason and tools of research, or have these been abandoned in favor of others that lead to the desired conclusion? No, you are not using the accepted lexicographical method, you are using your own unrecognized method.

    10. Do the claimant’s personal beliefs and biases drive the conclusions, or vice versa? It certainly looks that way.

    //Textual evidence is not the only accepted criterion for determining or judging interpolation.//

    Of course it isn’t, but without textual evidence a claim of interpolation is without validation; it’s unfalsifiable.

    //A majority of critical scholars judge 1 Thess. 2:15-16 to be an
    interpolation, even though there is zero textual evidence for it.//

    Which ‘majority of critical scholars’? Clearly not text critical scholars,  scholars who are actually professionally trained in text criticism. Perhaps you mean ‘Mytherists’.

    • Earl Doherty

      Jonathan, when you started out I thought from your tone that perhaps you were a reasonable person capable of reasonable discussion. Now that I’ve offered you reasonable argument which you can’t counter, you sink into the same old bluster and insult and misrepresentation as the rest of the Matrix peanut gallery. Too bad.

      Sorry, but I thought the issue at hand was precisely the “translation of the New Testament”. Isn’t that what you accuse me of taking invalid liberties on? Isn’t how professional scholars translate the NT relevant here? Do you make any sense at all?

      Just who are these “professional textual scholars” you speak of who have addressed the translations of NT texts, as opposed to NT scholars operating in the halls of mainstream biblical academia? You don’t offer any names or otherwise identify them. Is Bauer’s Lexicon not a “professional textual” operation? Apparently not. Can you quote from any of your “professionals”? Either they would agree with Bauer, or disagree with him, which latter hardly places much confidence in your average lexicon and mainstream NT scholar to give us proper translations. This whole objection makes even less sense on your part. You are floundering around and using blatant smokescreening, and everyone can recognize it.

      Then there’s the old Appeal to Authority. How dare I question the integrity and proficiency of “qualified professionals in the field”? Pathetic. Of course, that’s one of the standard ‘arguments’ in the historicist arsenal, so no surprise there.

      I did my best to make the real distinction between ingrained bias and predisposed reading of the texts on the one hand, and active skullduggery conspiracy on the other, but you still insist on equating the two. That kind of pig-headedness I can make no headway against, so I will no longer try.

      I gave you other grounds which, in the discipline, are used to judge interpolation. Zero effect. You still say that without textual evidence nothing provides any validity. Can’t make any headway against that kind of concrete either, I guess.

      And do you hope to make any substantive point, let alone counter-argument, by simply enumerating your Baloney Test again?

      You and I have come to the end of our discussion.

  • http://www.patheos.com/community/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

    This is where every attempt to communicate with mythicists in a rational, fair and scholarly manner ends up. You ask for evidence or point out inconsistencies and weaknesses in their claims, and they respond with a disdainful “I thought you were capable of reasonable discussion.” When you point out that lexicons of ancient languages, compiled based on the sweep of known literature in a given language and not merely or even primarily on Biblical texts, do not support their interpretation, you are allegedly “appealing to authority.” That fallacy does not mean what they think it means. None of us individually can fully research every single matter, and so we all depend on those with expertise beyond our own. Doing so is correct procedure, and in fact “appeal to authority” rather refers to what Doherty and others like him do with New Testament commentaries and other such sources – cite them as authoritative when they lend support for their idiosyncratic views, ignore them or treat them with disdain when they do not.

    Hopefully those reading this thread, in particular those who have read Doherty’s own writings, can appreciate the irony of his asking whether someone who has contributed in a clear, positive and coherent manner to this conversation “Do you make any sense at all?”

  • Jonathan Burke

    //Sorry, but I thought the issue at hand was precisely the “translation of the New Testament”. Isn’t that what you accuse me of taking invalid liberties on?//

    No that wasn’t. Please read what I wrote. I referred specifically to lexical meanings. I know you understood this, because that’s when you told me that all the professional lexicons are biased.

    //Just who are these “professional textual scholars” you speak of who have addressed the translations of NT texts, as opposed to NT scholars operating in the halls of mainstream biblical academia//

    I haven’t said anything about professional textual scholars who address the translation of New Testament texts. I referred specifically to ‘text critical scholars, scholars who are actually professionally trained in text criticism’. If you want names, I can provide them; the Alands, Metzger, Finegan, Black, Epp, Comfort, Fee, Wikgren, Martini, plenty here. All professional textual critics.

    //Is Bauer’s Lexicon not a “professional textual” operation? Apparently not.//

    Of course it is. I’ve never denied it. You really don’t seem to be reading what I write. The problem is that you accept Bauer’s lexicon when it suits you, and cry bias when it doesn’t. That’s a problem.

    //Then there’s the old Appeal to Authority.//

    It’s not an appeal to authority when I point out that professional lexicographers have a specific method using actual evidence, which produces reliable results, and that they are therefore more trustworthy than your claims made without evidence.

    I also made this point.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunning-Kruger_effect

    //I did my best to make the real distinction between ingrained bias and predisposed reading of the texts on the one hand, and active skullduggery conspiracy on the other, but you still insist on equating the two//

    I did no such thing. Despite how it looks (and we both know how it looks), I pointed out that to claim that the entire field of professional Greek lexicography is biased to the extent that word definitions and meanings are selected on the basis of a preconceived belief in a historical Jesus is an extraordinary claim indeed, and certainly requires extraordinary evidence. Where is your extraordinary evidence?

    //I gave you other grounds which, in the discipline, are used to judge interpolation. Zero effect.//

    Zero effect? Nonsense, I agreed with you.

    //You still say that without textual evidence nothing provides any validity.//

    I said that without textual evidence you cannot validate the claim. You are making a claim which is non-falsifiable. Anyone could make any claims with regard to any ancient text, but without actual independent evidence to validate the claim, the claim remains unproven. Do you understand the concept of Popper-falsifiability?

    //And do you hope to make any substantive point, let alone counter-argument, by simply enumerating your Baloney Test again?//

    I’ve made several substantive points which you’ve never even addressed.

    * A completely unattested meaning is an extraordinary claim, and requires extraordinary evidence

    * To claim that the entire field of professional Greek lexicography is biased to the extent that word definitions and meanings are selected on the basis of a preconceived belief in a historical Jesus is an extraordinary claim indeed, and certainly requires extraordinary evidence

    * With regard to phrases, what you absolutely must do is search for other occurrences of the phrase in the relevant literature, using both synchronic and diachronic analysis, but you give no indication you have done this

    * What you haven’t given me is any evidence that the methods of professional lexicography (which you do not use), are wrong, nor any evidence that when we read ‘kata sarx’ in Paul we should not read it with the meaning we find attested in hundreds of other texts (both diachronic and synchronic), but we should read it with a meaning which is completely unattested in any other text at all

    * When you assert a meaning for a phrase which is found in no standard professional lexicon, and you provide no evidence for the phrase being used with that meaning in any literature proximate to the text being examined (or any relevant text at all), and when there is an abundance of proximate and other relevant literature which uses the phrase with a very different meaning, then the burden of evidence rests on you to demonstrate that the meaning you attribute to the phrase is actually valid

    * You seem to approach Greek phrases without an understanding of how the language works; your method is to split the phrase into its components, look up the lexical range of each word, select individual meanings for the words which make sense to you, and then put the phrase back together with those meanings, but that’s not proper linguistic analysis

  • Mia

    Spot on Earl. GakuseiDon has been doing the exact same thing with the work by Acharya S for many years too.  It really is GakuseiDon’s M.O.

    McGrath and others are too much the intellectual coward to discuss Acharya’s work at all. I found a thread discussing McGrath’s blogs

    New Testament scholar takes on mythicists
    http://freethoughtnation.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=15&t=3102

    Have fun with this video

    The Mythicist Position – video (read the links in the info box)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YKW9sbJ3v2w

    Oh, here’s a thread exposing Richard Carrier telling John Loftus not to discuss Acharya’s work

    http://www.freethoughtnation.com/forums/viewtopic.php?p=21269#p21269

  • Earl Doherty

    JonathanI haven’t said anything about professional textual scholars who address
    the translation of New Testament texts. I referred specifically to ‘text
    critical scholars, scholars who are actually professionally trained in
    text criticism’. If you want names, I can provide them; the Alands,
    Metzger, Finegan, Black, Epp, Comfort, Fee, Wikgren, Martini, plenty
    here. All professional textual critics.

    Please provide examples of where these professional text critical scholars differ from someone like Bauer or Ellingworth. Otherwise, your point is meaningless and is simply a smokescreen.

    Again I will state that your point was that I mistranslated NT texts with no justification. If I appeal to recognized scholars and translators to make a point, there is no logical reason for you to object to that if they do not differ from your “professional textual scholars.” But it’s a ludicrous idea anyway, because translators and scholars differ on points of translation all the time, and I daresay even among your professionals. Are you saying that every one of those names you enumerate agree in every respect in their translations in all passages? Don’t be ridiculous. Just what sense are you trying to make?

    And I have every right to appeal to Bauer for support when I agree with him, and to reject his translation on grounds of bias if I don’t. You don’t seem to understand that a new theory and paradigm inevitably involves differences with old authorities, but not differences in every single matter!

    And you are still accusing me of things which I have carefully explained, with examples, that I do not do. Again, par for the course on the Matrix. It’s the only way you have anything left to say.

  • Jonathan Burke

    Mia, is Acharya S (DM Murdock), the person who claims that a group of technologically advanced pygmies with a global civilization predated all the other human ethnic groups in the world, and that she knows this because the pygmies told her so?

    • Mia

      More lies from hate spewing people who absolutely nothing about Acharya’s work.

      No, I am not Acharya S, why would she even waste her time here with such low life punks?

  • Earl Doherty

    Jonathan: I pointed out that to claim that the entire field of professional Greek
    lexicography is biased to the extent that word definitions and meanings
    are selected on the basis of a preconceived belief in a historical Jesus
    is an extraordinary claim indeed, and certainly requires extraordinary evidence.

    And I gave you some of that evidence in my response to you, and I give it in spades throughout my books. The fact that you put on blinders to it all is not my responsibility.

  • Jonathan Burke

    //Please provide examples of where these professional text critical
    scholars differ from someone like Bauer or Ellingworth. Otherwise, your
    point is meaningless and is simply a smokescreen.//

    You’re confusing two separate issues. I did not cite these textual scholars in the context of Bauer or Ellingworth. I cited them in the context of whether or not 1 Thessalonians 2:15–16 is an interpolation.

    //Again I will state that your point was that I mistranslated NT texts with no justification.//

    I said no such thing. I took issue specifically with your faulty lexicographical approach.

    //If I appeal to recognized scholars and translators to make a point,
    there is no logical reason for you to object to that if they do not
    differ from your “professional textual scholars.”//

    I agree. Fortunately this didn’t happen.

    //Are you saying that every one of those names you enumerate agree in every respect in their translations in all passages?//

    No. I didn’t cite them in the context of translation. I cited them in the context of textual criticism, namely the question of whether or not there’s any textual evidence that 1 Thessalonians 2:15–16 is an interpolation.

    //And I have every right to appeal to Bauer for support when I agree with
    him, and to reject his translation on grounds of bias if I don’t.//

    In order to do that validly, you have to actually prove he has a bias. If your claims that he is biased coincide repeatedly with the issues on which his statements are inconvenient to your theories, and if a range of scholars doesn’t see the same bias, then the rational conclusion to draw (according to Occam’s Razor), is that the bias exists only in your mind.

    //You don’t seem to understand that a new theory and paradigm inevitably
    involves differences with old authorities, but not differences in every
    single matter!//

    Of course I understand that. What I also understand is that new theories and paradigms can only advance on the basis of evidence.

    //And I gave you some of that evidence in my response to you, and I give it in spades throughout my books.//

    No you didn’t. You cited only one lexicographer, and you failed to substantiate your claim even in that case. Your only criterion for bias appears to be ‘they disagree with my conclusions’. That is not an objective basis of judgment.

    I’ll return to the fact that you need an objective basis for your theories, and you need actual evidence. You need a Popper-falsifiable hypothesis. You need evidence supporting your hypothesis. You need to propose situations under which it would be falsified, and situations under which it would be validated. Then you need to demonstrate that evidence exists which validates your hypothesis. Evidence must be objective, and independent.

    I’m going to repeat a couple of key points you haven’t ever addressed.

    * A claim that a given Greek phrase has a meaning which is completely unattested in any other Greek text is an extraordinary claim, and requires extraordinary evidence

    * With regard to phrases, what you absolutely must do is search for
    other occurrences of the phrase in the relevant literature, using both
    synchronic and diachronic analysis, but you give no indication you have
    done this

    * What you haven’t given me is any evidence that the
    methods of professional lexicography (which you do not use), are wrong,
    nor any evidence that when we read ‘kata sarx’ in Paul we should not
    read it with the meaning we find attested in hundreds of other texts
    (both diachronic and synchronic), but we should read it with a meaning
    which is completely unattested in any other text at all

    * When
    you assert a meaning for a phrase which is found in no standard
    professional lexicon, and you provide no evidence for the phrase being
    used with that meaning in any literature proximate to the text being
    examined (or any relevant text at all), and when there is an abundance
    of proximate and other relevant literature which uses the phrase with a
    very different meaning, then the burden of evidence rests on you to
    demonstrate that the meaning you attribute to the phrase is actually
    valid

  • Jonathan Burke

    Mr Doherty, to settle a bet, where do you stand on the ‘advanced global civilization of pygmies’ question? Do you stand with DM Murdock, or not?

  • http://www.patheos.com/community/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

    @Mi, why did you feel the need to post that twice?

    I look forward to both Mi and Earl Doherty answering Jonathan’s question about Acharya S and the Pygmy civilization.

    • Mi

      Thanks for proving my previous point – that link is the trash that GakuseiDon posts all over the place. How many of those people posting there have even actually read the book? GakuseiDon uses the topic on Pygmies to ridicule her into some sort of sumbission to try to embarrass her in order to get her to shut up. It’s ultimately a form of CENSORSHIP. That’s GakuseiDon for ya.

      Garden of Eden originally a Pygmy myth?
      http://www.freethoughtnation.com/contributing-writers/63-acharya-s/562-garden-of-eden-originally-a-pygmy-myth.html

      Pygmies in ‘The Christ Conspiracy’
      http://www.freethoughtnation.com/forums/viewtopic.php?p=18880

      Still, it’s blatantly obvious that rather than intelligently discuss the work of Acharya S in any sort of objective and honest manner, instead we see ad homs and assorted distraction fallacies and malicious personal attacks thrown at her. I think that tells decent people all they need to know about some of the people posting here, including McGrath.

  • Earl Doherty

    No you didn’t. You cited only one lexicographer, and you failed to
    substantiate your claim even in that case. Your only criterion for bias
    appears to be ‘they disagree with my conclusions’. That is not an
    objective basis of judgment.

    Nonsense. I gave you clear examples of where bias influenced a translator against a certain possible translation or in favor of an unusual one, Ellingworth in regard to Heb. 8:4 and Bauer in regard to 2 Tim. 1:10. I also cited Arnal’s clear bias in regard to Q, and showed you how the NEB clearly falsified its translations to insert a reference to the Gospel Jesus where the text did not contain it. What more “substantiation” do you require?

    Since you deny that your appeal to “professional textual scholars” had anything to do with that point, please don’t try to introduce such a distinction to squirm out of this, especially as you have admitted that all translators, even the likes of Aland, can differ in their opinions about translations. And are you denying that the textual scholars you listed are from the same general discipline as all the rest of mainstream NT scholarship? That would be nonsense.

    And if you don’t think that someone like Bruce Metzger was as biased as they come, you haven’t a clue. Have you read the travesty of an interview with him in Strobel’s The Case for Christ? The man was an embarrassment. This textual expert actually stated “We have copies [of the NT documents] commencing within a couple of generations of the writing of the originals.” Even you, Jonathan, ought to recognize that that is balderdash. Copies of the Gospels a couple of generations after Mark in the 70s and the rest by 100 (according to ‘expert’ dating)? Copies of Paul within a couple of generations after he wrote in the 50s (according to ‘expert’ dating)? Outside of that scrap of John (P52) coming from somewhere in the mid-2nd century, we have nothing, NOTHING, from before the 3rd century, most of it in fragments, and most of it from well into the 3rd century. This is a couple of generations??? This isn’t bias??? This isn’t distortion of reality??? And you dump shit all over me for suggesting that everything might not be kosher in the halls of academia where impartiality and reliable scholarship and dependable translations are concerned?

    What you haven’t given me is any evidence that the
    methods of professional lexicography (which you do not use), are wrong, nor any evidence that when we read ‘kata sarx’ in Paul we should not read it with the meaning we find attested in hundreds of other texts (both diachronic and synchronic), but we should read it with a meaning which is completely unattested in any other text at all.

    OK, Jonathan, give me an example of a “method of professional lexicography” which demonstrates that “kata tas graphas” in 1 Cor. 15:3-4 must mean “in fulfillment of the scriptures” or something of that nature, and not “according to the scriptures” in the sense of the scriptures revealing to Paul that information. Put your money where your mouth is. You are quite capable of spouting all these ‘professional-sounding’ generalities but I suspect you haven’t a clue about their application as a means of discrediting my arguments. (Do you even know the meaning of terms like “diachronic” and “synchronic” or have you just picked them up because they sound impressive to you?)

    As for my meaning being attested “in any other text at all” I gave you a clear example of exactly that in regard to “kata”, as quoted even by Bauer. “According to the epic poem” in Pausanias has precisely the same meaning I am advocating for “according to the scriptures” in 1 Cor. 15. Do you just make statements in complete disregard for what has already been said? I guess so. What a joke!

    Earlier I said that this discussion was over. I’ve changed my mind. I will continue it as long as you give me reason to expose you for the farce you are engaged in.

    • Jonathan Burke

      //I gave you clear examples of where bias influenced a translator against a certain possible translation or in favor of an unusual one, Ellingworth in regard to Heb. 8:4 and Bauer in regard to 2 Tim. 1:10.//

      But that wasn’t what I asked for. I asked for the extraordinary evidence necessary for your extraordinary claim that the entire field of professional Greek lexicography is biased to the extent that word definitions and meanings are selected on the basis of a preconceived belief in a historical Jesus.

      In your response, you cited merely one example of alleged bias, from a single lexicographer. This is just not good enough to justify your sweeping claim of systematic bias in the entire field of professional Greek lexicography.

      //Since you deny that your appeal to “professional textual scholars” had anything to do with that point, please don’t try to introduce such a distinction to squirm out of this, especially as you have admitted that all translators, even the likes of Aland, can differ in their opinions about translations.//

      You are confusing two separate issues yet again. I referred to Aland and the other textual critics, in the context of textual criticism. I did not refer to them in the context of lexicography, or translation. I agree all translators can differ in their opinions about translations, though this is not something I ever said previously, let alone ‘admitted’; and of course it is not a point under dispute.

      //And are you denying that the textual scholars you listed are from the same general discipline as all the rest of mainstream NT scholarship?//

      The text critical scholars I cited are all from the discipline of textual criticism. This is not a ‘general discipline’, and they do not belong to the same discipline as all the scholars in mainstream New Testament scholarship.

      //And if you don’t think that someone like Bruce Metzger was as biased as they come, you haven’t a clue.//

      Of course he was biased. What you have to demonstrate is that his bias has anything whatsoever to do with the fact that the *committee* responsible for Nestle-Aland 27th edition identified 2 Thessalonians 2:15-16 as original to the text, not as an interpolation. It’s no good trying to pin this on Metzger’s bias, when the decision wasn’t his. It’s certainly no good trying to pin this on Metzger’s bias, when the overwhelming majority of text critical scholars holds to the same position. This is the beauty of professional peer reviewed scholarship; personal biases are powerless in the face of scrutiny from multiple peer review.

      //And you dump shit all over me for suggesting that everything might not be kosher in the halls of academia where impartiality and reliable scholarship and dependable translations are concerned?//

      No I didn’t. I simply asked for the extraordinary evidence necessary for your extraordinary claim that the entire field of professional Greek lexicography is biased to the extent that word definitions and meanings are selected on the basis of a preconceived belief in a historical Jesus.

      //OK, Jonathan, give me an example of a “method of professional lexicography” which demonstrates that “kata tas graphas” in 1 Cor. 15:3-4 must mean “in fulfillment of the scriptures” or something of that nature, and not “according to the scriptures” in the sense of the scriptures revealing to Paul that information.//

      Who said anything about it ‘must’ meaning X, Y, or Z? Lexicography and lexical-syntactical analysis is not typically about what ‘must’ be, but what is the most likely conclusion in a given context. In this case the scholarly consensus comes down on the side of ‘in accordance with the Scriptures’ or ‘in fulfillment of the Scriptures’, because it’s the most likely conclusion in the context. It’s a simple matter of grammar in this case.

      The ‘κατὰ τὰς γραφὰς’ comes after ‘παρέδωκα γὰρ ὑμῖν ἐν πρώτοις, ὃ καὶ παρέλαβον’, so the meaning is ‘I passed on to you, as most important, what I also received; that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures’. Not ‘I passed on to you, as most important, having received it from the Scriptures, that Christ died for our sins’.

      Paul is saying he is passing on to them, what he also received; but he doesn’t say he ‘received’ it from the Scriptures. This is a reference to oral tradition. You’re not actually reading the text in context.

      Aside from grammar, we have the methods of diachronic and synchronic analysis; you check the use of the term ‘kata tas graphas’ in different texts throughout different time periods, and you check the use of the term in different texts in the same time period as 1 Corinthians 15:3-4. This way you not only identify the lexical range of the term, but you also identify its semantic and contextual uses, and you can determine what the most likely meaning is in a given context.

      So in the LXX we find ‘κατὰ τὴν γραφὴν’ in Deuteronomion 10:4, ‘ὡς ἐνετείλατο Μωυσῆς ἐν λόγῳ θεοῦ κατὰ τὴν γραφήν’ in Paraleipomenwn A 15:15, ‘κατὰ τὴν γραφήν’ in Paraleipomenwn B 30:5, ‘κατὰ τὴν γραφὴν’ in Paraleipomenwn B 35:4, and ‘κατὰ τὴν γραφὴν βιβλίου Μωϋσή’ in 2 Esdras 6:18. In each case we have the meaning ‘just as it is/was/had been written’, or ‘event X happened/didn’t happen, in accordance/agreement with what is/was/had been written’ (note, all of these are references to what are represented as actual historical events).

      So likewise, we have also ‘κατὰ τὴν γραφήν’ in PER ccxxiv.6 (Fayyûm, 5-6 CE),[1]‘κατὰ γραφάς in BU 136.10 (135 CE),[2], and ‘κατὰ τὴν γραφήν’ in P Am II. 43.13 (173 BCE).[3]

      What we don’t have in these passages is ‘X happened/didn’t happen, as the Scriptures have revealed to me, or ‘X happened/didn’t happen, as I have received from the Scriptures’.

      //(Do you even know the meaning of terms like “diachronic” and “synchronic” or have you just picked them up because they sound impressive to you?//

      Indeed I do. I had to take a year and a half of Greek at university as part of my double classics major, which is worth next to nothing in terms of mastery of the language, but which certainly gave me an understanding of the lexicographical method, and very importantly enabled me to detect and debunk the typical errors of first year Greek students and people who have never received any formal training in Greek at all.

      So, to the terms and the methodology to which they refer. Diachronic analysis is the tracing of a word’s use in different texts over time (from the 6th century BCE to the 6th century CE, for example; see my own example given previously in this post). Synchronic analysis is the tracing of a word’s use in different texts which belong to the same time period (the 1st century, for example). This is standard lexicographical methodology. I am surprised that you were not aware of this, but it explains why you didn’t use these methods in your examination of the words in question.

      //As for my meaning being attested “in any other text at all” I gave you a clear example of exactly that in regard to “kata”, as quoted even by Bauer.//

      Well no, even according to your own words when you first introduced this, you said this was ‘implied’ (by you). I don’t believe you are actually reading Bauer correctly. Bauer does not provide the passage in Pausanias as an example of the phrase used in 1 Corinthians 15:3, not least because Pausanias uses a different phrase. So no, Bauer does not provide an example of ‘κατὰ τὰς γραφὰς’ with the meaning that you claim for 1 Corinthians 15:3, not even one example.

      Bauer writes ‘according to, in accordance with, in conformity with, corresponding to’, then explicitly places the quotation from Pausanias in parentheses with a ‘c.f.’ notation, identifying it as one use of ‘according to’, but this is followed by a citation of 1 Corinthians 15:3 which is not identified as ‘according to’ in the sense of Pausanias.
      What you have done (and you shouldn’t have thought I wouldn’t notice), is TRUNCATED the quotation from Bauer with an ellipsis. You provided this.

      * “according to, in accordance with, in conformity with, corresponding to”:…“kata tas graphas (cf. Paus. 6, 21, 10 kata ta epē=according to the epic poems) 1 Cor. 15:3.”

      Look at that, right after ‘corresponding to’ there’s an elipsis, then the quotation starts again. So what was it that you left out? What are you hiding? Let’s take a look at the complete text, starting from the place referred to in your citation ‘II, 5, a’, down to the last place referred to in your citation ’1 Cor. 15:3′.

      * ’5. of the norm, of similarity, homogeneity according to, in accordance with, in conformity with,corresponding to.a. to introduce the norm which governs someth. — a. the norm of the law, etc. ( Dit., Or. 56, 33;Wilcken, Chrest. 352, 11 kata; ta; keleusqevnta ; POxy. 37 II, 8) kata; to;n novmon ( Jos. , Ant. 14, 173;15, 51; kata; tou;” novmou” jAreopageivth” , letter of MAurelius: ZPE 8, ’71, 169, 1. 27) Lk 2:22 ; J18:31 ; 19:7 ; Hb 7:5 . ta; kata; t. novmon what is to be done according to the law Lk 2:39 ( cf. Ep.Arist. 32). kata; to; wJrismevnon in accordance w. what has been determined 22:2 2. Cf. 1: 9; 2:24 , 27, 42 ; Ac 17:2 ; 22:3 . kata; to; eujaggevliovn mou Ro 2:16 ; 16:25 a; 2 Ti 2:8 . kata; to; eijrhmevnonRo 4:18 . kata; ta;” grafav” ( cf. Paus. 6, 21, 10 kata; ta; e[ph =according to the epic poems) 1 Cor 15:3 ;'

      Well, what do we find here? We find that you've completely omitted several lines of text. Most telling of all, you've omitted the text 'IN ACCORDANCE W. WHAT HAS BEEN DETERMINED', which is the meaning Bauer explicitly ascribes to 1 Corinthians 15:3, and is certainly not the meaning in Pausanias. Bauer does not even associate the usage in Pausanias with 1 Corinthians 15:3, he cites it in reference to the 'κατὰ τὰ' of Romans 4:18 ('kata; ta;" grafav" ( cf. Paus. 6, 21, 10 kata; ta; e[ph =according to the epic poems)').

      So much for your misrepresentation of BADG (2nd). As if that wasn't enough, the 3rd edition of Bauer (BDAG, please note the change of acronym), is pretty clear. Here's the 3rd edition.

      * 'according to (the prophecy of) the holy scriptures 1 Cor 15:3f (Just., D. 82, 4)'[4]

      You were saying?

      //”According to the epic poem” in Pausanias has precisely the same meaning I am advocating for “according to the scriptures” in 1 Cor. 15.//

      Sure it does, but that’s irrelevant since this passage does not use the phrase in question, ‘κατὰ τὰς γραφὰς’. It’s the phrase that’s in question, not the single preposition κατὰ’. Remember, you told me yourself ‘OTOH, the “meaning” I give to that 1 Cor. PHRASE is never suggested BY ANY LEXICON THAT I AM AWARE OF’.

      Having told me that yourself, you then tried to backflip by claiming such a meaning was given, at least by implication, in Bauer 2nd. However, not only is the phrase different, but the meaning given is different, both in BADG 2nd (which you misrepresented grossly), and in BDAG 3rd.

      So despite your claims to the contrary, you have not provided a single example of the phrase ‘κατὰ τὰς γραφὰς’ meaning ‘as [I have] learned from the Scriptures’, or ‘as the Scriptures have revealed [to me]‘.

      Your original comment was perfectly valid; ‘OTOH, the “meaning” I give to that 1 Cor. PHRASE is never suggested BY ANY LEXICON THAT I AM AWARE OF’.

      ____________________

      [1]  Corpus Papyrorum Raineri Archiducis Austriae, volume 1, p. 254 (1895)

      [2] Ägyptische Urkunden aus den königlichen Museen zu Berlin: Griechische Urkunden, volume 1 (1895).

      [3] The Amherst Papyri, volume 2, p. 53 (1901).

      [4] Arndt,Danker,& Bauer, ‘A Greek-English lexicon of the New
      Testament and other early Christian literature’, p. 206  (3rd ed. 2000).

  • Earl Doherty

    Mr Doherty, to settle a bet, where do you stand on the ‘advanced global
    civilization of pygmies’ question? Do you stand with DM Murdock, or not?

    To settle a bet? And just which side did you bet on?

    How about you telling me where you stand in regard to the creation of the world in 6 days, or the reality of Noah’s flood, or the age of Methuselah at death, or the existence of the Patriarchs and Moses, or the historicity of the Exodus and its miracles, or Samson’s hair problems, or the Star of Bethlehem, or the raising of Lazarus, or the darkness over the earth at the crucifixion?

    I know nothing about pygmies, but I’d sure be willing to bet on their advanced global civilization being more likely than any of these.

  • Gakuseidon

    Earl, how can you know nothing of pygmies? You reviewed Acharya S’s book “Christ Conspiracy” where she brings up this topic, and even gave the book 5 stars (out of 5!) in your review of her book on Amazon:
    http://www.amazon.com/review/R2QE1LGGUKNCZ6

    You wrote in your review:

    “She delves into Egyptian and Indian precedents for the possible
    derivation of many of the bible’s traditions. When she ranges even
    further afield and notes the astonishingly widespread commonality of
    certain religious and cultural motifs from one end of the planet to the
    other, extending back into very ancient times, we are on intriguing if
    speculative ground, but for the most part the author simply lets the
    data speak for itself, and readers can draw what conclusions their own
    adventurous spirits might wish.”

    You read the data she provided on an ancient advanced global Pygmy civilization in “The Christ Conspiracy”. What does your adventurous spirit conclude?

  • Jonathan Burke

    //To settle a bet? And just which side did you bet on?//

    The non-belief side. However, having read your glowing 5 star review of Murdock’s pygmy hypothesis, I’m now starting to wonder. I thought you were the ‘lizard-men-conspiracy’ guy for a bit, but that turned out to be David Icke.

    //How about you telling me where you stand in regard to the creation of the world in 6 days, or the reality of Noah’s flood, or the age of Methuselah at death, or the existence of the Patriarchs and Moses, or the historicity of the Exodus and its miracles, or Samson’s hair problems, or the Star of Bethlehem, or the raising of Lazarus, or the darkness over the earth at the crucifixion?//

    Sure, why not? Creation in 6 days; no. Reality of Noah’s flood; yes (archaeological, textual, and hydrological data affirms a local Mesopotamian mega-flood). Age of Methusaleh at death; unknown, the chapter is a satire of the Sumerian King List, so the ages aren’t genuine.

    However, none of the other items you mentioned are provable. Existence of the patriarchs and Moses; unprovable. Historicity of Exodus; unprovable beyond a minimalist reading. Samson’s hair problems; unprovable. The star of Bethlehem, raising of Lazarus, and darkness over the earth at the crucifixion; unprovable. Since there’s no objective independent evidence for them, we cannot conclude that they are demonstrably historical.

  • Gakuseidon

    Jonathon, to be fair to Doherty, there is a lot more in Acharya S’s “The Christ Conspiracy” than her Pygmy theory. Still, how do we take Doherty giving the book five stars? Let’s look at part of Dr Robert M Price’s review of the same book:

    “I got a copy [of The Christ Conspiracy] and read it for myself, and immediately I cringed, realizing that skeptics and freethinkers might, as apparently the television host did, regard my book [Deconstructing Jesus] and The Christ Conspiracy as interchangeable polemical weapons. The latter would confirm my suspicion that such people are no more discriminating than their mirror-opposites, the fundamentalist apologists, and are interested in any book, any argument, well- or ill-founded, that appears useful in the service of one’s (religious or antireligious) cause…

    The Christ Conspiracy is a random bag of (mainly recycled) eccentricities, some few of them worth considering, most dangerously shaky, many outright looney. If one has the time, it is fun trying to sort them out. But no one whose disquiet with traditional Christian faith is based on solid fact or credible theorizing will want to recommend this book, much less appeal to it as justification for one’s own doubts.”

    My question to Earl is: Since you give Acharya S’s “The Christ Conspiracy” five stars, do you think scholars ought to address her book? Do they need to seriously examine the Pygmy myths of the Pygmy Christ born of a Pygmy Virgin and the source of the Egyptian Osiris-Isis-Horus myth? If not, why not? In other words, why should they take your popularly written book seriously and not Acharya S’s popularly written book?

    • Mi

      Typical Gakuseidon M.O. further proving my previous point about your extreme dishonesty – still using that old Dr. Price review even though you know he removed it from his own website around 2004 and no longer stands by it. http://www.robertmprice.mindvendor.com/rev_murdock.htmThe book isn’t about Pygmies and you know that too. She mentions Pygmies towards the end of the book to raise the question and essentially point out that more research is needed on that topic. Your use of it is for purely malevolent intentions, as always.

  • Jonathan Burke

    Thanks for the clarification Don. I can see how Mr Doherty might feel that it was worth giving Murdock’s book five stars on the basis of its Christ-myth hypothesis, whilst carefully ignoring all the pygmy stuff, so perhaps that’s what he did. However, Price’s review seems more intellectually honest.

    • Mia

      Actually, Price’s old review wasn not intellectually honest at all. Price was so embarrassed by it that he removed it back in 2004 and Gakuseidon has known that for years but, he dishonestly posts it around the net anyway.

      Here is a far more honest and objective review of Acharya’s work by Dr. Price.
      Christ in Egypt: Reviewed by Dr. Robert M. Price:

      “…I find it undeniable that many of the epic heroes and ancient patriarchs and matriarchs of the Old Testament were personified stars, planets, and constellations…”

      “The book is more extensive and encompassing than many dissertations I have read, containing over 900 sources and nearly 2,400 citations in several languages, including ancient Egyptian. The text abounds in long lost references many of them altogether new to English rendering, including de novo translations of difficult passages in handwritten German….”

      “I find myself in full agreement with Acharya S/D.M. Murdock…”

      http://www.robertmprice.mindvendor.com/reviews/murdock_christ_egypt.htm

  • http://www.patheos.com/community/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

    This is an interesting perspective – describing a mainstream scholar of early Christianity as a “lowlife punk”! That’s an interesting way to make the case that your viewpoint should be taken seriously…

    Spamming the comment section with lots of links which go nowhere or to little more than advertising for books doesn’t help either.

    If you have something to say, say it in a single comment, and perhaps a follow up if you realize that you have forgotten to mention something. Then wait for others to respond. If you are interested in conversation, you’ll find this place very open, but not uncritical. If you are interested in spamming the blog with advertising, then that will not be tolerated.

  • Jonathan Burke

    Just for the sake of completeness.

    _______________________________
    γραφή, ῆς, ἡ (s. γράφω; Trag., Hdt.+) gener. that which is written: ‘writing’.
    ① a brief piece of writing, writing (γ.=piece of writing: Diod S 1, 91, 3 price-list; Maximus Tyr. 16, 1b indictment; GDI 4689, 49 and 58 [Messenia]; PHib 78, 18; 1 Ch 28:19; 1 Macc 14:27; Tat. 38, 1) Hv 2, 2, 1.
    ② sacred scripture, in the NT exclusively so
    ⓐ ἡ γ. individual scripture passage (4 Macc 18:14; Philo, Rer. Div. Her. 266; Just., D. 65, 2 al.; Mel., P. 1, 3.—S. also TestNapht 5:8 γραφὴ ἁγία of a written word of a divine sort outside the Bible) Mk 12:10; 15:28 v.l.; Lk 4:21; J 13:18; 19:24, 36f; Ac 1:16; 8:35; Ro 11:2; 2 Ti 3:16; Js 2:8, 23; 1 Cl 23:3.
    ⓑ scripture in its entirety
    α. the pl. αἱ γραφαί designates collectively all the parts of Scripture: the scriptures (Philo, Fug. 4, Spec. Leg. 1, 214 αἱ ἱεραὶ γ.; Rer. Div. Her. 106; 159; Jos., C. Ap. 2, 45 τ. τῶν ἱερῶν γραφῶν βίβλοις; Just., D. 68, 8; 137, 3 al.; Did., Gen. 70, 13: θείαι γ.) Mt 21:42; 22:29; 26:54; Mk 12:24; 14:49; Lk 24:27, 32, 45; J 5:39; Ac 17:2, 11; 18:24, 28; Ro 15:4; 2 Pt 3:16; PtK 2 p. 15, 4; αἱ γ. τῶν προφητῶν the writings of the prophets Mt 26:56 (cp. αἱ τῶν προφητῶν τοῦ θεοῦ καὶ τῶν ἀποστόλων τοῦ Ἰησοῦ γ. Orig. C. Cels. 5, 5, 10). αἱ ἱεραὶ γ. 1 Cl 45:2; 53:1 (s. Philo and Joseph. above); γ. ἅγιαι Ro 1:2 (Just., D. 55, 3); προφητικαί 16:26 (Just., D. 85, 5 γ. προφητικῶν; on the absence of the art. in both Ro passages and 2 Pt 1:20 [β next] s. γράμμα 2c).
    β. the sg. as designation of Scripture as a whole (Philo, Mos. 2, 84; EpArist 155; 168; cp. 1 Ch 15:15; 2 Ch 30:5, 18; Just., Mel; ἡ θεία γ. Theoph. Ant. 2, 10 [p. 122, 33]; Did., Gen. 71, 15) Ac 8:32; J 20:9; 2 Pt 1:20 (s. bα above); εἶπεν ἡ γ. J 7:38, 42; λέγει Ro 4:3; 9:17; 10:11; Gal 4:30; 1 Ti 5:18; Js 4:5; 1 Cl 23:5; 34:6; 35:7; 42:5; 2 Cl 2:4; 6:8; 14:1f; B 4:7, 11; 5:4; 6:12; 13:2, also 16:5 in a quot. fr. En 89:56ff (Just., D. 123, 1 al.); περιέχει ἐν γ. 1 Pt 2:6; πεπλήρωται, ἐπληρώθη ἡ γ. J 17:12; cp. 19:28 v.l.; πιστεύειν τῇ γ. J 2:22; οὐ δύναται λυθῆναι ἡ γ. scripture cannot be set aside 10:35. W. Scripture personified: προϊδοῦσα ἡ γ. scripture foresaw Gal 3:8. συνέκλεισεν ὑπὸ ἁμαρτίαν vs. 22.—κατὰ τὴν γ. (w. ref. to a contract CPR I, 224, 6 [Dssm., NB 78=BS 112f]; PAmh 43, 13; 2 Ch 30:5; 35:4; 1 Esdr 1:4) Js 2:8; κατὰ τὰς γ. (BGU 136, 10 κατὰ γ. w. ref. to the laws) according to (the prophecy of) the holy scriptures 1 Cor 15:3f (Just., D. 82, 4) ἄτερ γραφῆς without scriptural proof PtK 4 p. 16, 6.—JHänel, D. Schriftbegriff Jesu 1919, 13ff; Harnack, D. AT in d. paul. Briefen u. in d. paul. Gemeinden: SBBerlAk 1928, 124–41; OMichel, Pls u. s. Bibel 1929; HvanCampenhausen, D. Entstehung d. christl. Bibel ’68. S. νόμος, end.—‘Scripture’ in the early Christian period always means the OT, and only after some passage of time was this term used in ref. to the writings of the NT. Quotation of the Gospels as such begins to make its appearance in Justin, but concern for literal accuracy is first to be found in Irenaeus. In general, the authors of our lit. quote the Gospels with as little care for precision as that exhibited e.g. by Maximus Tyr. in his citation of ‘the ancients’ (KDürr, Philol. Suppl. VIII 1900, 150f). The close acquaintance of Christians with Scripture has its parallels in the familiarity of the Greeks with Homer. Heraclit. Sto. I p. 2 ln. 3ff: ἐκ πρώτης ἡλικίας a child is trained on Homer and is to be occupied to the end of life with his epics.—DELG s.v. γράφω. M-M. EDNT. TW. Sv.

    Arndt, W., Danker, F. W., & Bauer, W. (2000). A Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament and other early Christian literature (3rd ed.) (206). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

  • http://armariummagnus.blogspot.com/ Tim O’Neill

    I wish Disqus had a “munching popcorn” icon, because this thread has become highly entertaining.  Not only do we have Doherty getting whipped like the proverbial red-headed stepchild over his feeble grasp of Greek but, as a comedy bonus, we have a visit from one of the vacant-eyed drones from the “Acharya S” hive-mind, posting the usual links-of-cluelessness. This is great stuff.

    Do carry on.

  • http://armariummagnus.blogspot.com/ Tim O’Neill

    I wish Disqus had a “munching popcorn” icon, because this thread has become highly entertaining.  Not only do we have Doherty getting whipped like the proverbial red-headed stepchild over his feeble grasp of Greek but, as a comedy bonus, we have a visit from one of the vacant-eyed drones from the “Acharya S” hive-mind, posting the usual links-of-cluelessness. This is great stuff.

    Do carry on.

  • Jonathan Burke

    Actually I strongly suspect we’ve been blessed with the presence of Murdock herself.

  • Gakuseidon

    Jonathan: No, Mi isn’t Acharya S. He is Dave31, aka Freethinkaluva, aka a multitude of other nom de plumes. Why he just doesn’t go under the one id I have no idea.

    Mi: We have our Acharya S and Pygmies thread on FRDB so let’s continue on on that thread. http://www.freeratio.org/showthread.php?t=303339&page=4 I’ll add Acharya S’s latest link on the Pygmy Garden of Eden in there.

    I’ve provided some interesting quotes by Acharya S on the FRDB thread, including her claim that she “do[es] not subscribe to the HIV=AIDS supposition”. Also that she has had some communication with David Icke, but while “appreciative of his efforts to expose the Christ myth”, to her credit she finds it “pretty much impossible to believe that the English royal family are shape-shifting reptilians who ate Diana and babies, etc., ad nausea”.

    Earl: On Amazon, “The Christ Conspiracy” has now received 279 reviews, with 155 of them giving her book 5 stars, including yours. Should scholars engage with the arguments in “The Christ Conspiracy”, do you think? Or is the onus on her to provide a more scholarly paper — appropriate for peer-review, even if not submitted for peer-review — before scholars investigate the data that “speaks for itself”, according to you? Where does the onus lie here?

  • Jonathan Burke

    Thanks Don, I always thought freethinkaluva was a sock puppet of Murdock’s on her forums. Now I know he’s just a regular member of the Pygmy Promotion Club, I’ll read him differently.

  • Earl Doherty

    Well, it’s all very impressive-looking, Jonathan, but when you really boil it down to its essentials, most of it is fluff. And you haven’t made any dent in my reading of 1 Cor. 15:3-4’s “kata tas graphas”. Shades of Jeffrey Gibson, quoting reams of text from lexicons and such which are largely irrelevant.

    And you have a distressing habit of switching horses in midstream, claiming that what I deal with in your previous postings is not what you said, or can have no relevance to what you said. Our basic subject was “bias among translators” because you questioned or condemned my translations when they did not agree with the traditional translations of the establishment, and I accused them of being governed by their biases when they neglect to consider non-traditional understandings of the meaning of certain phrases.

    When I give you clear and precise examples of bias among translators, and their ignoring of possible alternatives because of that bias (in one blatant case, such a bias was openly stated by the scholar), suddenly this becomes “what you didn’t say.” Baloney. This is your way of not dealing with the clear examples of bias which I provided. And what was it that you claim you did say?

    But that wasn’t what I asked for. I asked for the extraordinary evidence necessary for your extraordinary claim that the entire field of professional Greek lexicography is biased to the extent that word definitions and meanings are selected on the basis of a preconceived belief in a historical Jesus.

    Again, baloney. Suddenly the goalposts are raised to the sky, and in the vaguest possible fashion. Extraordinary evidence? By that, of course, you mean something which would be so demanding that I couldn’t possibly satisfy you. Let’s be honest here. What I gave you, several examples—not just one—of clear bias by commentators and translators (some actually falsifying their translations) in their choice of language or meaning, clearly showed that bias existed and could be identified in certain cases. You completely ignored this in favor of making it sound as though I made a sweeping claim that the entire discipline was rotten to the core and never got anything right. That’s misrepresentation on your part for your own biased purposes. (Oh, you’re not biased?)

    You evaded my argument entirely by misrepresenting it and thought that by doing so you were exempt from answering it. It doesn’t work that way, or at least it ought not to in honest and rational debate. Unfortunately, that’s not what goes on at the Matrix.

    The text critical scholars I cited are all from the discipline of textual criticism. This is not a ‘general discipline’, and they do not belong to the same discipline as all the scholars in mainstream New Testament scholarship.

    Technically correct, but still bullshit for our purposes. Are you consigning critical scholarship to the wilderness because it is somehow distinct from those who focus on textual criticism? Your implication is that the latter always get everything right (like Metzger did?), and if the former disagree with the latter, they are automatically wrong and deserve condemnation. Is that your position? Why do you not direct your ire and pretentious dismissal against all those scholars who regard 1 Thess. 2:15-16 as an interpolation? Aren’t they as equally deserving of consignment to the inferno as mythicists are? (Incidentally, I take it that you yourself reject the view that the passage is an interpolation, right? Along with rejecting any thought that the Pastorals are not by Paul? And a host of other liberal viewpoints in NT research, I take it. Or are you going to avoid answering such questions, too, as Jim and the rest of the peanut gallery on this blog did recently?)

    Since you refuse to address the clear examples of bias that I gave you, let’s just cut to the chase and see what you have to say about the key passage under discussion and how well you are capable of actually defending its traditional meaning: “kata tas graphas” in 1 Cor. 15:3-4. In other words, getting your hands dirty and doing your own work, rather than all these vague appeals to some other authority. You began:

    Who said anything about it ‘must’ meaning X, Y, or Z? Lexicography and lexical-syntactical analysis is not typically about what ‘must’ be, but what is the most likely conclusion in a given context. In this case the scholarly consensus comes down on the side of ‘in accordance with the Scriptures’ or ‘in fulfillment of the Scriptures’, because it’s the most likely conclusion in the context. It’s a simple matter of grammar in this case.

    Where do you get this? Grammar is grammar. Grammar is not context, at least not in any sense that I have ever encountered in NT scholarship. Grammar can also be notoriously ambiguous, and maddeningly common, and if you don’t know this, you are woefully ignorant on the study of NT texts (no matter what “discipline” you are in or what type of scholar is engaged in it). Context, on the other hand, is not grammar per se, but relates to surrounding material, settings in which statements are made, the known Sitz-im-Leben, etc.

    In the matter of 1 Cor. 15:3-4 and your defense of it, you in fact completely ignore context. What do you appeal to?

    The ‘κατὰ τὰς γραφὰς’ comes after ‘παρέδωκα γὰρ ὑμῖν ἐν πρώτοις, ὃ καὶ παρέλαβον’, so the meaning is ‘I passed on to you, as most important, what I also received; that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures’. Not ‘I passed on to you, as most important, having received it from the Scriptures, that Christ died for our sins’.

    Paul is saying he is passing on to them, what he also received; but he doesn’t say he ‘received’ it from the Scriptures. This is a reference to oral tradition. You’re not actually reading the text in context.

    Your argument is based on word order??? You state that “kata tas graphas” comes after that opening phrase of verse 3. Of course it does, how could it come before? Do I have to rewrite your own argument to make it coherent? What you seem to be claiming is that for my meaning to work, you would require “kata tas graphas” to come immediately after that opening phrase, so as to give us a literal word order of: For I delivered to you…what I received from the scriptures. Fine. Paul might have chosen to say that as an alternate way of putting things. That proves nothing. The question is, does the way he did put it rule out my meaning and require yours? It does not.

    The word for what he “received” is “parelabon”, from “paralambano. Look at Galatians 1:12 (this, by the way, is “context”). Paul, in using “parelabon” applies it first to the idea of receiving his gospel from others, from oral tradition, but he denies this application of the word; he did NOT “receive” it from any man. Rather, he goes on to say that he received it by revelation. Look at 1 Cor. 11:23. “I received [parelabon] from the Lord…” i.e., the words he is about to quote. This is a clear reference to revelation, like the one in Galatians. Yet despite this “context” for Paul’s usage of this verb, you refuse to consider the likelihood that Paul, to be consistent, must be referring in 1 Cor. 15:3-4 to a source of revelation, namely the scriptures. Moreover, you are refusing to follow the procedures which you yourself have advocated, namely:

    Aside from grammar, we have the methods of diachronic and synchronic analysis; you check the use of the term ‘kata tas graphas’ in different texts throughout different time periods, and you check the use of the term in different texts in the same time period as 1 Corinthians 15:3-4. This way you not only identify the lexical range of the term, but you also identify its semantic and contextual uses, and you can determine what the most likely meaning is in a given context.

    Oughtn’t these diachronic and synchronic methods you advocate lead us to conclude a meaning for “parelabon” in 1 Cor. 15:3-4 which conforms to the “lexical range of the term”? After all, its “contextual uses” within Paul himself consistently give it a meaning of reception through revelation, accompanied by the fact that Paul has categorically denied the alternative. Can you point to a single instance in the “lexical range of the term” in the epistles which conforms to your alternative? Does anyone ever use “kata tas graphas” or even words to that effect to mean “as prophesied [about Christ] in the scriptures”? The answer is no. In fact, the epistles are rife with the opposite.

    Romans 1:2 speaks of God’s gospel of the Son as found in “the holy writings”, but it doesn’t prophesy Jesus, it prophesies Paul’s gospel, so in effect Paul is once more saying that he received his gospel from the scriptures, and certainly not oral tradition about an HJ.

    Romans 16:25-26 clearly says that the proclamation about Jesus Christ by Paul, knowledge of which has been hidden for long ages, has now been revealed “through the prophetic writings.” Nothing there about scripture prophesying things which happened to Jesus Christ on earth. It is yet another case of ‘learning about Christ from the scriptures’, just as I advocate for Paul’s gospel in 1 Cor. 15:3-4.

    Galatians 3:8 actually says that scripture prophesied something. But was it Jesus and his life on earth? No. It was “that God would justify the gentiles by faith.” He “announced the gospel in advance.” Again, the constant theme that the preaching of apostles like Paul is derived from scripture. Something is found in scripture, which then has its fulfillment in the time of Paul (“the time/arrival of faith” as Paul puts it). 3:22 again has scripture promising the result of having faith in Christ Jesus, not Christ himself and his acts.

    James (2:8) can say that scripture tells us to love one another, but not a word about Jesus having supposedly taught that very thing. Paul in 1 Thess. 4:9 says that God (meaning through scripture) tells us to love one another, not Jesus. Scripture can do a lot of things, apparently, but about the only thing it doesn’t do is prophesy Jesus himself and his words and deeds. Even in the couple of “words of the Lord” resembling Jesus’ Gospel pronouncements (1 Cor. 7:10 and 9:14), Paul’s language is again of personal reception through revelation, and many critical scholars do interpret his meaning in this way. Oh wait, no doubt you don’t accept that, and no doubt all your “professional textual scholars” are in accord that he is alluding to sayings of Jesus on earth as recorded in the Gospels.

    Jonathan, there is not a single case in the epistles, employing no matter what terms and phrases, where we can tell that scripture is regarded as having prophesied the words and deeds of Jesus on earth. And we have all those statements and indicators by Paul and others that knowledge about Jesus has come through the scriptures by means of revelation through the work of God and the Spirit. You say:

    So despite your claims to the contrary, you have not provided a single example of the phrase ‘κατὰ τὰς γραφὰς’ meaning ‘as [I have] learned from the Scriptures’, or ‘as the Scriptures have revealed [to me]‘.

    But are you not in the position that you have not provided a single example of the phrase, or any other phrase in the epistles, as entailing the idea of scripture prophesying the earthly acts of Jesus? Is this a double-standard or what? And actually, I have just provided many examples of references to the scriptures which conveys my contention rather than yours, so I’m the one on top here! Your examples from the LXX are irrelevant. I’m not saying the scriptures are never regarded or spoken of as having “prophesied” something. Of course they do. They are just never spoken of in the epistles as having prophesied Jesus himself on earth. The idea is totally missing in the non-Gospel record. You also don’t know anything about history if you are not aware that the whole idea and fixation on personal revelation was a characteristic of the turn of the era period, not that of the Hebrew bible. You might as well claim that Christians didn’t believe in demons because we don’t find that concept in the law and the prophets.

    Yet you refuse to countenance any possibility of my meaning for “kata tas graphas” and accuse me of all sorts of ignorance and nefarious deviation. And you don’t think that you are biased? You don’t think that you are desperately fighting tooth and nail, with no holds barred, to prevent any consideration for the mythicist alternative? Well, you may be fooling yourself, but you sure ain’t fooling me, or a lot of other people who visit this blog.

    The word order in 1 Cor. 15:3 is immaterial. The present word order can just as easily accommodate my meaning as your theoretical (and uncorroborated) alternative. Paul is used to using the “received” verb in a context of revelation so his statement up to the word “parelabon” makes sense in itself and implies revelation. He saves the actual reference to the scriptures revealing his gospel for his mention of those elements which it has actually revealed.

    And I did not misrepresent Bauer by leaving out material that was irrelevant to my point, which was that the phrase could have the meaning of “as we learn from…”, which quoting Bauer’s reference to Pausanias amply demonstrated (and I’m glad you admitted that). It wouldn’t matter how Bauer understood or applied Pausanias in relation to his own understanding of the phrase in 15:3. The quote itself was what I was focusing on, and it served its purpose. The fact that Bauer himself called attention to it was an added plus.

    Don’t be surprised if I decide not to waste any more time on you after all. I have better things to do than keep batting my head against the concrete of the Matrix wall. (Although I still await Jim’s review of Chapter 10.)

    And to Tim: Please don’t insult yourself by pretending that you really believe that I am getting “whipped” or that my grasp of Greek is “feeble.” Neither Jonathan, nor Jim, nor yourself for that matter, for all your patented bluster and braggadocio, has come close to accomplishing or demonstrating that. The only thing feeble around here is the ability of historicist defenders, yourself included, to make any headway in actually discrediting mythicism, rather than simply scorning and insulting it and those who advocate it. But then, no doubt you are incapable of telling the difference.

    • http://historical-jesus.info/ Bernard Muller

      Doherty wrote: “The word for what he “received” is “parelabon”, from “paralambano. Look at Galatians 1:12 (this, by the way, is “context”). Paul, in using “parelabon” applies it first to the idea of receiving his gospel from others, from oral tradition, but he denies this application of the word; he did NOT “receive” it from any man. Rather, he goes on to say that he received it by revelation.”

      BM: If Paul denied the application of “received” as from man, then why didn’t he use “got” (or another verb with similar meaning) instead in Gal1:12? Certainly, I do not see here that Paul made a point that “received” cannot be used for something got/gotten from man/men. And in 1Co15:1, what is received is from Paul (his gospel) with no indication yet this gospel comes from above. That will be specified later, in another epistle.
      So I do not think Paul understood the meaning of “received” with the restriction you advocate. And that would be against what “received” meant for his contemporaries. Could Paul have been ignorant of the general meaning of the word?

      Another point: from where do you think Paul would have “received” his “info” about the reapearances to Cephas, the 12, the 500, James and the apostles?
      From revelation from above? From the scriptures?

      Bernard

      • Earl Doherty

        So I do not think Paul understood the meaning of “received” with the
        restriction you advocate. And that would be against what “received”
        meant for his contemporaries. Could Paul have been ignorant of the
        general meaning of the word?

        I did not say that. What I said, if you would read me more carefully, is that for himself and his gospel he rejected any application of “received” as through some kind of tradition, not that he was ignorant of any such usage of the word in other contexts. Since he was in the habit of using that word in the context of personal revelation (I supplied several examples of that), we have every reason to apply the same understanding to his usage of it in 1 Cor. 15:3-4, especially since if we take the standard alternative assumed by traditional scholarship, he would be contradicting himself in regard to the source of his gospel.

        Another point: from where do you think Paul would have “received” his
        “info” about the reapearances to Cephas, the 12, the 500, James and the
        apostles? From revelation from above? From the scriptures?

        Bernard, you have read (supposedly) my material, both in book and website, and should know how I parse 1 Cor. 15:3-8. I have demonstrated how the “received” verb logically governs only up to verse 4, and the rest need be governed only by the verb “delivered (to you previously)”, which is the main verb in that sentence. If anyone else wants to check out the complete argument, see my website Supplementary Article 6: The Source of Paul’s Gospel, or Jesus: Neither God Nor Man, p.78.

        • http://historical-jesus.info/ Bernard Muller

          Doherty wrote: “Bernard, you have read (supposedly) my material, both in book and website, and should know how I parse 1 Cor. 15:3-8. I have demonstrated how the “received” verb logically governs only up to verse 4, and the rest need be governed only by the verb “delivered (to you previously)”, which is the main verb in that sentence. If anyone else wants to check out the complete argument, see my website Supplementary Article 6: The Source of Paul’s Gospel, or Jesus: Neither God Nor Man, p.78.”BM: I read your Article 6 (which is wordy and confusing) but I think I understood that, according to you, what is “received” is through divine revelation. You come to that conclusion (which “involves several interlocking elements”) mostly by analysing some verses in ‘Galatians’ (written later than 1Corinthians). I do not know where the scriptures fit into that. Would it be, through divine revelation via the scriptures?But grammatically-wise, “what I also received” is what is “delivered” by Paul to his Christians. The first verse of 1Cor15 confirms that: “Now I would remind you, brethren, in what terms I preached to you the gospel, which you received,”: what was received by Paul’s Christians is his whole gospel. According to that, I cannot see how received” is only about a small part of what Paul would deliver then to his Christians. And in your article, you did not say “received” applies only to 15:3b and 15:4. You only took verse 15:8 out.The best solution is that 1Cor15:3-11 was written by an interpolator, who was not strict about his use of “received” (as you think Paul were). This individual wanted to have his Christians believed what was received came mostly through humans (after all, Paul had been in contact with Peter, some of the 12, likely some of the 500, James and many apostles!). But in reality, the introduction, the “according to the scriptures” clauses and the list of reappearances was compiled by looking at the Pauline epistles (including 1Cor11:23 “For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you”), the gospels (probably only gMark & gLuke) and possibly ‘Acts’.For anyone interested, here is my (seven) reasons for declaring 1Cor15:3-11 an interpolation: http://historical-jesus.info/co1c.html#adcBernard, you have read (supposedly) my material, both in book and website, and should know how I parse 1 Cor. 15:3-8. I have demonstrated how the “received” verb logically governs only up to verse 4, and the rest need be governed only by the verb “delivered (to you previously)”, which is the main verb in that sentence. If anyone else wants to check out the complete argument, see my website Supplementary Article 6: The Source of Paul’s Gospel, or Jesus: Neither God Nor Man, p.78.”BM: I read your Article 6 (which is wordy and confusing) but I think I understood that, according to you, what is “received” is through divine revelation. You come to that conclusion (which “involves several interlocking elements”) mostly by analysing some verses in ‘Galatians’ (written later than 1Corinthians). I do not know where the scriptures fit into that. Would it be, through divine revelation via the scriptures?But grammatically-wise, “what I also received” is what is “delivered” by Paul to his Christians. The first verse of 1Cor15 confirms that: “Now I would remind you, brethren, in what terms I preached to you the gospel, which you received,”: what was received by Paul’s Christians is his whole gospel. According to that, I cannot see how received” is only about a small part of what Paul would deliver then to his Christians. And in your article, you did not say “received” applies only to 15:3b and 15:4. You only took verse 15:8 out.The best solution is that 1Cor15:3-11 was written by an interpolator, who was not strict about his use of “received” (as you think Paul were). This individual wanted to have his Christians believed what was received came mostly through humans (after all, Paul had been in contact with Peter, some of the 12, likely some of the 500, James and many apostles!). But in reality, the introduction, the “according to the scriptures” clauses and the list of reappearances was compiled by looking at the Pauline epistles (including 1Cor11:23 “For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you”), the gospels (probably only gMark & gLuke) and possibly ‘Acts’.For anyone interested, here is my (seven) reasons for declaring 1Cor15:3-11 an interpolation: http://historical-jesus.info/co1c.html#adchttp://historical-jesus.info/co1c.html#adc

  • Mia

    Just more lies from Gakuseidon. So anybody who defends Acharya S to set the record straight from all the lies must all be the same person now? LOL, make it up however you need to in order to shore up your Christian faith at all costs … even if it means smearing everyone who you disagree with.

    Searching the net for your trash … I notice you are always on the attack and are never held responsible for your malicious smears. You also never discuss your beliefs in Jesus, instead you spread lies about good people like Earl Doherty and Acharya S et al. McGrath is welcoming of that type of trash because it’s on par with his own level of integrity. Those with a conscience would be ashamed.

    So, rather have make any attempt at an honest sincere and objective discussion of Acharya’s work you do everything you can to ‘poison the well’ with your smears and assorted distraction fallacies just like you are here bringing up Pygmies, Icke and now AIDS. You go to great lengths to avoid a real discussion of her work. It’s the same with McGrath on the mythicism topic and that should be a red flag to everyone with a conscience.

    Earl should not even be expected to reply to you. All you have to offer, Gakuseidon, is harassment … same as McGrath. Decent people are embarrassed by you guys and your tactics.

    Submit these for peer review:

    The Origins of Christianity and the Quest for the Historical Jesus Christ
    http://www.stellarhousepublishing.com/originsofchristianity.pdf

    Jesus as the Sun throughout History
    http://stellarhousepublishing.com/jesussunexcerpt.html

    The Gospels: A 2nd Century Composition?
    http://stellarhousepublishing.com/gospel-dates.html

    The Origins of Islam
    http://www.truthbeknown.com/islam.htm

    The New ZEITGEIST Part 1 Sourcebook (2010)
    http://www.stellarhousepublishing.com/zeitgeistsourcebook.pdf

    I DARE McGrath to actually post a blog on the Mythicist Position video by Acharya S and try to have an intellectually honest, objective and mature discussion.

    The Mythicist Position video. Read the links in the info box
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YKW9sbJ3v2w

    McGrath won’t do it because he’s an intellectual coward when it comes to mythicism.

  • http://armariummagnus.blogspot.com/ Tim O’Neill

    And to Tim: Please don’t insult yourself by pretending that you really believe that I am getting “whipped” or that my grasp of Greek is “feeble.”

    So the great Earl Doherty is now an authority on what I believe and lectures me on this subject?  Does this guy’s fatuousness know no bounds?

    Neither Jonathan, nor Jim, nor yourself for that matter, for all your
    patented bluster and braggadocio, has come close to accomplishing or
    demonstrating that.

    Given the amount of time you’ve devoted to your hobbyist’s obsession Earl, we’re hardly going to expect you to throw up your hands and say ‘Okay, I’m wrong.  I’ve been wasting my life for the last couple of decades.  I’ll go to FRDB and Jesus Mysteries and tell the acolytes the game’s over and they can all go home.’  Those of us who have been critiquing your feverishly amateur fairy castle of supposition and nonsense have done a good enough job to warn off a great many non-specialists.  As for the specialists – well, we all know your zero impact there Earl (yes, I know – “conspiracy! conspiracy – the fools can’t recognise my vast genius!” etc etc)

    I once ignored several of your vast walls of contrived text and cut to the chase -  asking if there was a mythic proto-Christianity that existed alongside orthodox/historicist Christianties in the first centuries AD, why is there *nothing* in the historical record about it?  Where are the orthodox apologists responding to this threat?  Why do they go after minnows like the Ebionites, and even do so when it seems there actually were no Ebionites, and yet ignore a rival form of their faith which had a legitimate claim to being the original and real Christianity?

    You came up with nothing, apart from a feeble attempt at pretending a clear reference to Docetism was somehow a reference to your fantasy proto-Christian mythicism.  Yet you expect people to take your kooky imaginings seriously and honestly think your rejection by the academy is because they can’t handle your wonderfulness.

    It must be fun to be you Earl, it really must. 

  • Earl Doherty

    A little addendum, Jonathan, to what I wrote last night. It would seem that you have no ability at all to read lexicons, so it’s no wonder some of your arguments are so incoherent. You said:

    Well, what do we find here? [The reader can look back to your posting to see your quote of the Bauer passage; it is no different from the one in my edition which I’ll be quoting from below (except for your occasional typo).] We find that you’ve completely omitted several lines of text. Most telling of all, you’ve omitted the text ‘IN ACCORDANCE W. WHAT HAS BEEN DETERMINED’, which is the meaning Bauer explicitly ascribes to 1 Corinthians 15:3, and is certainly not the meaning in Pausanias. Bauer does not even associate the usage in Pausanias with 1 Corinthians 15:3, he cites it in reference to the ‘κατὰ τὰ’ of Romans 4:18 (‘kata; ta;” grafav” ( cf. Paus. 6, 21, 10 kata; ta; e[ph =according to the epic poems)').

    Where the hell do you get all this? First we have a period, indicating the end of one reference to be followed by another, different one. Then Bauer says: “kata to horismenon in accordance w. what has been determined 22:22”. The “in accordance with what has been determined” is Bauer’s translation of Luke 22:22; it has nothing to do with 1 Cor. 15:3, “explicitly” or otherwise. Mention of 1 Cor. 15:3 is not brought up until several lines later, with two intervening periods separating it off to boot. Nor is the reference to Pausanias in any way cited in reference to Romans 4:18, which has a period directly after it, with a new reference following that period to “kata tas graphas” and 15:3, with the comparison to Pausanias an integral part of it, no punctuation interrupting it: “kata tas graphas (cf. Paus. 6, 21, 10 kata ta epē=according to the epic poems) 1 Cor 15:3;” Bauer has asked the reader to “compare” (you did know that “cf.” means “compare”?) the phrase in 15:3 with the phrase in Pausanias as having a similar meaning. Your statement that “Bauer does not even associate the usage in Pausanias with 1 Corinthians 15:3” is dead wrong. In Pausanias the meaning is clearly a matter of deriving information from the epic poem; what can the comparison convey other than that 15:3 means a matter of deriving Paul’s gospel from the scriptures? (I don’t know if this is what Bauer intends to imply, but his language certainly does convey it, and he gives no qualification by way of making an alternate or ‘correcting’ reference to “as fulfilling the scriptures”.) Nor does it matter that a different word from “graphas” is involved in Pausanias; the concept is exactly the same.

    So right there you have made three gross, egregious errors in interpreting what Bauer writes, despite the fact that his layout of data in that paragraph is straightforward and crystal clear. If you can’t even interpret a simple lexicon, how can we trust any of your other arguments about translation and lexicography?

    By the way, the reference in the Bauer to 15:3 with its comparison with Pausanias is followed by another comparison, to James 2:8, which I should have thrown into the pot. It is not a separate reference, as only a semi-colon follows the “15:3” and once again Bauer asks the reader to “cf. Js 2:8.” James 2:8 is (NIV): “If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture [kata tēn graphēn]…” Does that mean the royal law “as prophesied in the scriptures”? Of course not. It means, as we read or learn, or as is found, in the scriptures. Exactly the meaning I advocate for 15:3. More evidence for my reading (and this one even involves exactly the same word), regardless of whether Bauer would support it, though it sure looks like he does.

    I’m certainly glad, Jonathan, that you had all of one and a half years of Greek study. Otherwise, you might have been as totally ignorant in Greek as almost everyone else on this blog. Myself? Four and half years of Greek study in university, plus several more on my own reviewing and expanding those Greek studies plus a lot of familiarity with Greek-based arguments from the hundreds of commentaries I have read over two decades. And by the way, me asking you if you knew the meaning of diachronic and synchronic hardly meant that I didn’t know them myself.

    (And Perhaps Tim O’Neill might like to tell us just how much training in Greek he has had, so that we can be sure he is not as “feeble” as I am.)

  • Earl Doherty

    Tim, there is certainly no doubt that you are amazingly adept at colorful insult, derisive ad hominem, and blustering rhetoric. But your postings are as vacuous as your supply of actual knowledge and your ability to produce counter-argument of any substance. It’s clear you like to hear yourself bleat and babble, but you’re not fooling anyone, and I daresay you have become an embarrassment to your fellow anti-mythicists—other than those as vacuous as yourself. The game sure isn’t “over” because of any of the empty noise you’ve contributed to the ‘lynch the mythicists’ mob who howl and drool while they wave their firebrands.

    We still don’t know the extent of your training in Greek since you refuse to tell us (my own estimate is zero). We still don’t know why an “atheist” gets so foaming at the mouth against a longstanding minority viewpoint in biblical scholarship simply for presenting a case for the non-existence of a Jesus you say you don’t believe was God anyway. A real mystery there, which suggests your bluster may be covering up something a bit more disreputable. Perhaps you’re not really the atheist you claim you are. Were you anything but in the past, yet can’t stand now to think that you were taken in to that extent? On the other hand, you sure are the bastard you label yourself. Proud of that, are you?

    An Aussie? Maybe that’s the answer. Too much pressure on the brain from having to hang upside down like that for so long!

    And what’s the matter, Jonathan? Cat got your tongue? Are you on a crash course on how to read lexicons? Perhaps you’re busying consulting with brilliant resident linguist Mike Wilson or crack researcher Bernard Muller? Or the devilishly devious Don?

    What a crew, from bridge to bilge! Where are the icebergs when you really need one?

  • http://www.patheos.com/community/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

    @1339a2323379bb5d87a8b2a609ca574d:disqus , my guess would be that he is upset that mythicism is being bought into by atheists and making them look foolish and tarnishing their reputation as freethinkers.

    Mythicism is not a minority viewpoint. It is a viewpoint that no one teaching at an accredited institution of higher education holds, not only in the field of Biblical studies but also in the field of history.

    • Earl Doherty

      Doesn’t make them right, Jim, especially when their viewpoint is governed by interests and pressures other than honest, open-minded research. Unfortunately, it generally takes outsiders (and they do constitute that “minority”) to get around those self-imposed blinders. And historians, such as Michael Grant, simply go along for the ride, without investigating it themselves, as I have demonstrated.

      Of course, you realize that your statement is simply the old appeal to authority? An accredited scholar like yourself should surely be able to recognize fallacies.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Michael-Wilson/1355591760 Michael Wilson

        CONSPIRACY! CONSPIRACY!

  • Earl Doherty

    By the way, when can we expect your review of Chapter 10?

  • Kris

    You realize for almost every comment made by Doherty you could replace the name of the historians  in question with the name of a holocaust historian and get something reading just like the bigotry of neo nazis.

    For example

    Doesn’t make them right, Jim, especially when their viewpoint is governed by interests and pressures other than honest, open-minded research. Unfortunately, it generally takes outsiders (and they do constitute that “minority”) to get around those self-imposed blinders. And historians, such as  DEBRA LIPSTADT, simply go along for the ride, without investigating it themselves, as I have demonstrated.

    Of course, you realize that your statement is simply the old appeal to authority? An accredited scholar like yourself should surely be able to recognize fallacies

  • Howard Mazzaferro

    Earl, how exactly are you understanding 1 Co 15:3 to support your view?

    • Earl Doherty

      Earl, how exactly are you understanding 1 Co 15:3 to support your view?

      Isn’t that clear from my postings above, Howard? Do I have to go over the same stuff again?

      In a nutshell, “kata tas graphas” has the meaning of ‘as we learn from the scriptures’ (not ‘as prophesied in the scriptures’), meaning that scripture is the source of the Pauline type of Christ cult’s information and faith about Jesus (the heavenly one) and his acts (in the heavenly world). I have supported it by reams of context in the epistles themselves and permissible translations of that and other Greek passages in the texts, even if established scholarship ignores or rejects such alternative translations and understandings.

      • Howard Mazzaferro

        Earl, Yes, I did finally come across that information, but I am not sure how this Scripture relates only to a heavenly Christ. How I understand this Scripture is that Paul list three things.

        1. Jesus’ death
        2. That his death was a sacrifice for sin
        3. Jesus was resurrected on the third day

        Paul then relates that these things happened according to the Scriptures. Meaning that these things are written in the Hebrew Scriptures, but were probably not fully understood until they were revealed to Paul and the others. “. . .For they did not yet discern the scripture that he must rise from the dead.” (John 20:9)

        Later on it says,  “. . .He now said to them: “These are my words which I spoke to you while I was yet with you, that all the things written in the law of Moses and in the Prophets and Psalms about me must be fulfilled.” Then he opened up their minds fully to grasp the meaning of the Scriptures, and he said to them: “In this way it is written that the Christ would suffer and rise from among the dead on the third day,” (Luke 24:44-46)

        So I am still a little confused, are you saying Paul learned this by himself without any divine revelation? If that’s the case, then I would not agree with that. What I am saying, is that the information was in the Hebrew Scriptures for hundreds of years before Paul, but needed to be interpreted properly by God’s spirit that Paul was anointed with. (2 Corinthians 1:21-22)

  • http://www.patheos.com/community/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

    @Earl Doherty, I do know what the fallacy known as “appeal to authority” refers to. And unless you stop misusing it as though it meant one should never draw information from recognized experts and in particular the consensus among them, then I will have to ask you to stop doing so that very thing, since you apparently consider it a fallacy.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Michael-Wilson/1355591760 Michael Wilson

      But James how will creationist argue that people who say that Creationism shouldn’t be taught in school because the overwhelming majority of biologist reject it are only making an appeal to authority and not considering the work of the minority yet revolutionary creation scientist?

      • Earl Doherty

        But James how will creationist argue that people who say that
        Creationism shouldn’t be taught in school because the overwhelming
        majority of biologist reject it are only making an appeal to authority
        and not considering the work of the minority yet revolutionary creation
        scientist

        Because, Mike, creationism has long been shown to be based on religious stances and literal interpretations of the bible, and not in any way on principles of science and the scientific method, and therefore should not be allowed to masquerade as something which it is not.

        Mythicism, on the other hand, has–believe it or not–not been demonstrated to be guilty of the same egregiously false principles and self-representation, despite the attitudes of people like yourself, who basically offer little else than appeals to authority and labels of neo-nazi against mythicists. Certainly Jim’s review of my book thus far has done little more.

        Look at everyone who has chimed in since my last posting. Over the last several days I have posted a couple of solid postings with detailed arguments about biased translations and interpretations of 1 Cor. 15:3. Has there been one single solitary attempt by any of you to counter those arguments? Nary a one. Jonathan avoided directly addressing those examples of bias and has now fled to parts unknown after I showed how he couldn’t read a lexicon, O’Neill could offer only his own usual immature bluster, you could only serve up your tired old comparison to creationists, and Jim gave us the only thing he has on his plate, an appeal to authority.

        Behind the walls of the Matrix institution, the outside world may look like we’re the ones who belong in an asylum, but mythicism is having a field day out here and gaining a lot of respect, and until you guys start treating it with some respect and engaging with it on honest, rational, and scientific grounds, nothing will change.

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Michael-Wilson/1355591760 Michael Wilson

          Earl, your suggestion that everything that is based “in any way on principles of science and the scientific method” should be taught in schools is ludicrous.  Almost as ludicrous is your defense of your own fraudulent work because it is not, “based on religious stances and literal interpretations of the bible”. You set a low bar for scholarship.
           
          “people like yourself, who basically offer little else than appeals to authority and labels of neo-nazi against mythicists.”
          This gross misrepresentation shows that while you don’t seem like a Neo-Nazi, you are as stupid and dishonest as one.

          • Earl Doherty

            Did I say anything about mythicism being taught in schools?

            And your posting continues to demonstrate my claim that you guys offer little else than appeals to authority, insults and bluster.

    • Earl Doherty

      I am not misusing the term “appeal to authority,” Jim. You and I both “draw information from recognized experts,” but when I differ in some conclusion from those experts, you inevitably have recourse to simply claiming that they have to be right, since they are the experts and enjoy an alleged “consensus” and I am only the amateur charlatan. That is an appeal to authority (and a grossly biased one), and it is inherently a fallacy.

  • Howard Mazzaferro

    Earl, you are clearly barking up the wrong tree here. Why are you even interested in the opinions of so called mainstream scholarship? In actuality, they have very little sway over the average person’s religious views. They are just a tiny fraction of the population that likes to tickle each others ears with their newest theory of the day. And there is in fact a conspiracy going on that prevents your ideas from making progress in the academic world. As is obvious to anyone, historical critics have abandoned many ideas and stories in the Bible, they can quibble and reject all sorts of things, except Jesus himself. Why? Because Jesus is the foundation of the Christian religion, If scholars agreed with you, there would no longer be any reason for scholars to support the Christian religion as it would be simply another myth and the Bible would simply just be another literary work of men. How many Colleges and Universities would financially support entire departments for the study of one mythical book? A lot of New Testament scholars would be out of work. So, you will never make any progress in this area, your situation would be like if some Greek tried to convince first century Pharisees that Abraham and Moses were mythical. Not only would he be verbally berated (sound familiar) but probably beaten and stoned to death. That’s the scholarly way, didn’t you know? No, I don’t agree with your views, but you’re allowed to have them and I don’t even need to revert to the behavior of a 4 year old child to communicate my disagreement. It does make me laugh sometimes because much of the historical view is also based on myths and forgeries to explain away the parts of the Bible that do not fit their humanistic outlook. Sadly, some even try desperately to hold on to their claim of being a Christian while at the same time they dismiss most of the qualifications and beliefs of a Christian as outlined in the Bible. But who am I to judge, God judges those on the outside. :)

    • Earl Doherty

      Howard, I couldn’t have said it better.

  • Kris

    Do you plan on addressing Tim’s argument below Earl?

    I once ignored several of your vast walls of contrived text and cut to the chase -  asking if there was a mythic proto-Christianity that existed alongside orthodox/historicist Christianties in the first centuries AD, why is there *nothing* in the historical record about it?  Where are the orthodox apologists responding to this threat?  Why do they go after minnows like the Ebionites, and even do so when it seems there actually were no Ebionites, and yet ignore a rival form of their faith which had a legitimate claim to being the original and real Christianity?

    • Earl Doherty

      Kris, I’ve answered Tim’s argument so many times in so many places. Again in a nutshell, by the time we get to all the extant heresiologists in the late 2nd century (Justin’s anti-heresy works are lost), the Pauline type of sacrificial Christ cult is dead, it has morphed into Roman proto-orthodoxy based on an historical interpretation of the Gospels. By the latter 2nd century, it is Gnosticism that is the great heresy monster, and apologists like Irenaeus have their hands full with that. For Irenaeus or Tertullian to recognize the predecessor of his own orthodoxy in movements like that of Paul would be to recognize what his own faith has grown out of. Do you think any orthodox Christian commentator of that time was going to be capable of doing that? As for the Ebionites, they were a 2nd century development and still going strong in the time of Irenaeus, which was not the case with original Paulinism.

  • Earl Doherty

    Howard: So I am still a little confused, are you saying Paul learned this by
    himself without any divine revelation? If that’s the case, then I would
    not agree with that. What I am saying, is that the information was in
    the Hebrew Scriptures for hundreds of years before Paul, but needed to
    be interpreted properly by God’s spirit that Paul was anointed with. (2
    Corinthians 1:21-22)

    You’ve got it exactly right (depending on your point of view). Since there is no divinity, Paul did get it without benefit of actual revelation. From HIS point of view, he derived it from scripture under the influence of revelation by God and the Spirit. And you’re right, scripture did contain the information for centuries, and Paul saw himself as the one who finally interpreted it properly. Ergo, scripture contained the information about the Son which Paul then found/learned/derived from it. Nothing about scripture prophesying the earthly life of a recent incarnated Jesus. This picture the epistles present many times throughout their texts.

    • Howard Mazzaferro

      Earl, I think I understand where you are going with this, so if I am right, you are saying that Paul, who was a devout Jew, was attempting to interpret the Hebrew Scriptures concerning the promised Messiah, basically apart from any gospel stories, oral or written. He then devised a complete theology from his interpretations of the Hebrew Scriptures believing God inspired him and that he had some sort of contact with this heavenly Messiah that was revealed to him. Now if God does not really exist, then he merely took man made writings (Hebrew Scriptures) and created a new or extended Jewish theology out of his own abilities to interpret the text. Then later someone took his writings and combined them with the separate gospel writings that were probably contemporary with Paul’s writings and transformed them into the Christian New Testament.

      That’s just a rough sketch, but is it close? However, because of my experiences and interpretation of the Bible texts (which is different from most Christians), I can not accept such a view. I do believe in God and even though there are a number of issues, the Bible makes perfect sense to me. But don’t assume I believe in any of the contradictory ideas that slowly crept into Christianity, like the trinity, immortal soul, hell and so on. This world is full of bogus interpretations of the Bible. And a lot of Bible translators are not much better. But that’s a story for another time.

      • Earl Doherty

        Howard, you’re close enough. The one element I would nuance is that Paul did not act alone, nor was he the first Christ cultist. Those “pre-Pauline hymns” are already pretty sophisticated (we have no idea who were the authors), but Paul brought his own influential take on christology to the movement, notably in the area of his “Christ in you”, “baptism into Christ’s death”, the “body of Christ”, a freeing from sin through Christ’s sacrifice, etc., and of course the gentiles’ exemption from the Law or the general dismissal of the Law as any longer having force, though I’m sure others held similar ideas on that last one as well, as in the Hebrews’ community. There could also have been differences between himself and others in the finer interpretations of scripture as to what knowledge it revealed about the Son. It is in these areas that Paul could claim that he got his gospel “from no man” but from personal revelation and his own reading of scripture. Naturally, he played up that dimension of things to aggrandize himself and his own preaching work vis-a-vis other “apostles of the Christ” (none of whom are ever said to have had a connection with an earthly Jesus, but received their own revelations through the spirit about “another Jesus”, as in 2 Cor. 11:4).

  • Kris

    Do you have an iota of evidence to support that response to Tim’s question? Again why are the records lost of such an important event in the history of Christianity. You are assuming mytherism to prove mytherism Earl.

  • http://www.patheos.com/community/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

    @Earl Doherty, as I discussed previously, you are misunderstanding the appeal to authority while also using it when it suits you, and developing what amounts to an “appeal to lack of authority”, as though challenging the historical consensus is inherently praiseworthy and somehow makes it more likely that you are right and the experts wrong.

    When a scholar challenges the consensus, we know that the onus is on us to demonstrate not only that the consensus is wrong but that our proposed alternative does better justice to the evidence. You have done none of those things: you seem to think that the onus is on others to give your proposal a try irrespective of its merits, you have not shown that the scholarly consensus is wrong, and you have not shown that your proposed alternative does a better job of accounting for all the relevant data. At most, you have shown that if someone really wants to, they can understand the evidence the way you do. That is true of pretty much every new idea that gets proposed, by definition. You seem not even to be clear about what you would need to do in order to offer a challenge to the consensus. If that is what your aim is, you have scarcely begun. Getting experts to agree is hard, and when they do so, it indicates that someone at some point has made a very strong and reasonable case for that conclusion. What you have done is show that, at best, your view is possible (although I would say that, when examined in detail, it is not even that). But until you stop living in a fairytale world where the experts allegedly all agree in accepting a view not because it makes sense of the evidence but in spite of the fact that it doesn’t, and recognize that to challenge the consensus will mean recognizing that the mainstream view makes sense of the evidence, and to overturn that you need to make better sense of all the relevant evidence, then you will not even have begun.

    But like many proponents of Intelligent Design, you seem to be happy to bypaand research and the academy and appeal directly to public opinion. If you genuinely want to be different from the proponents of Intelligent Design, then once again, the onus is on you to be different, to not do the same things that they do. It is not the responsibility of your opponents to not make the comparison so long as it fits; it is your responsibility to actually be different.

    • Earl Doherty

      Jim: When a scholar challenges the consensus, we know that the onus is on us
      to demonstrate not only that the consensus is wrong but that our
      proposed alternative does better justice to the evidence. You have done
      none of those things: you seem to think that the onus is on others to
      give your proposal a try irrespective of its merits, you have not shown
      that the scholarly consensus is wrong, and you have not shown that your
      proposed alternative does a better job of accounting for all the
      relevant data.

      I entirely support your first sentence. Mythicism has done that for over a century, which doesn’t mean that it has to be right in every aspect of its case.

      The second part above is a matter of opinion. You have done anything but demonstrate that the scholarly consensus is not wrong and that mythicism does not have a better explanation. I, on the other hand, claim that it is and that it does, and I have backed it up with evidence that you refuse to countenance. Your bias against mythicism is so blatant and has been so resoundingly stated by you yourself in so many ways that one can hardly trust any negative opinion you come up with as to the force of mythicism’s arguments and the failures of historicism to deal with longstanding problems in NT research.

      And you ought to know that there is no comparison between mythicism and Intelligent Design. ID provides no proof or even scientific argument for itself. It basically proclaims itself as the default position solely on the undemonstrated (and demonstrably false) claim that science/evolution cannot explain the development of the world and life, or things like the eye. Mythicism hardly limits itself to claiming to be the default position because historicism cannot prove the existence of an HJ. Mythicism has a solid body of evidence and interpretation on its own for the non-existence of Jesus position.

      Please don’t make accusations about mythicism which are so easily demonstrated as false.

  • Kris

    Earl still does not get it but you can always replace mythicism with holocaust denial for so many of arguments.

    And you ought to know that there is no comparison between mythicism and Intelligent Design. ID provides no proof or even scientific argument for itself. It basically proclaims itself as the default position solely on the undemonstrated (and demonstrably false) claim that science/evolution cannot explain the development of the world and life, or things like the eye. HOLOCAUST DENIAL  hardly limits itself to claiming to be the default position because historicism cannot prove the existence of THE HOLOCAUST . HOLOCAUST DENIAL  has a solid body of evidence and interpretation on its own for the non-existence of THE HOLOCAUST.

    Amazing how these kooks all sound alike.

    Now Earl evidence to your answer to Tim’s  question for sources documenting the existence of ancient myther Christians. Pretty amazing no one mentions them at all seeing they would be a gold mind for ancient Pagan and Jewish critics and would have demanded a response from early Christian Apologists.  Well according to Earl if we have no evidence for a claim  we know what to do…….

  • http://www.patheos.com/community/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

    @Earl, it may be that you genuinely believe that you have provided a persuasive case, but I have found what you offer to be unimpressive, in some instances possible but not clearly probable, in others extremely unlikely and ill-fitting with the evidence. And as long as you are unwilling or unable to make a case that can be found worthy of publication, then you are not even at the standard of the hundreds of new ideas that are floated in scholarly literature every year, but which fail to stand the test of time.

    In short, your belief that you have created a brilliant new paradigm that should be found persuasive, I find unpersuasive. Your options are to make a genuine case to try to persuade me otherwise, or to continue complaining about how all academics are closed-minded, unwilling to consider your ideas. I am considering them, and find them unpersuasive. Your options are to complain that I and all other scholars are treating your claims unfairly (which is scarcely credible, since some of us have read and interacted with your work even though we gain absolutely nothing for ourselves by doing so), to take our criticisms to heart and revise your views, or to try to improve your case and your argumentation so as to make it persuasive. It’s your choice, but option 1 will do nothing but harm your credibility.

  • Kris

    Another conspiracy!!!

    Or the passage is simply genuine and Earl wants to get rid of it cause it does not work well with his pet theory. Textual none of course.

    • http://vridar.wordpress.com Neil Godfrey

      Pst, Kris, that’s Bernard arguing the passage is an interpolation, not Doherty.

  • Kris

    textual evidence none of course I meant to say.

  • Kris

    Yes I am well aware of that, zero textual evidence for this of course. This just shows how mythers will embrace anything provided it helps the cause. 

    Mythers respect scholarship in the same way losers  respect prostitutes, use them for a single purpose then cast them aside.

  • http://www.patheos.com/community/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

    Kris, as Neil tried to point out to you, Bernard is not a mythicist. Positing interpolations for which there is no textual evidence is not something that inky mythicists do, and whether it has any justification has to be decided on a case by case basis. A passage that is sharply at odds with the work in which it is embedded, and which interrupts the flow of the passage, may become widely regarded as a possible interpolation. In other cases, there may be less justification for doing so.

    But the whole discussion of the use of “received” in Paul here seems problematic, since it suggests that words in Greek, unlike in English, had a single use. “Received” and its Greek equivalent will not answer questions about when, where, how or who Paul received from. Those sorts of questions require context and/or explicit statements. Lexical considerations alone will not settle the matter.

  • Kris

    Another interpretation is simply the original writer was not a good writer. I know from readings things I have written over the years I have done the exact same thing that people use as evidence for interpolation and I certainly know no one has edited my writings! ( Maybe they should but that is another discussion for another time)

    So one poor writing does not prove interpolation

    Second the possible insertion could have been done by the original author, we have all done such things before!

    I tend to almost always want textual evidence simply cause if the interpolation was done by another hand it had to be done very very early in the history of the document to erase all traces of the non interpolated original. Obviously such an event would have to happen when there were only a few copies to edit.

    So yes I tend to be very suspicious of interpolations period and even the few ones identified tend to be small ones, not the large one Bernard is arguing for. That gives me a lot of warnings right now.

    So yes I am suspicious of interpolations and doubly suspicious when mythers resort to them.

  • Jonathan Burke

    Certainly we are right to be suspicious of an interpolation claim which is particularly beneficial to a specific argument being made by the one claiming an interpolation. Motivated readings such as these are not disinterested, and there is an obvious bias involved.

    • http://historical-jesus.info/ Bernard Muller

      I object to your last posting.
      I am very aware of these accusations when someone declares a passage (showing in all ancient manuscripts) to be an interpolation. Many scholars do not want to deal with this kind of interpolation for fear of damaging their reputation.
      I do not reject a passage except if I have a series of clear-cut evidence. Please note I rejected the whole of the main Testimonium Flavianum and 1 Thessalonians 2:14-16, even if those two would “prove” a historical Jesus.
      1Cor15:3-11 stinks in many ways as being written by Paul and it was very easy for me to pile up arguments against its authenticity.

      Bernard
         

    • http://historical-jesus.info/ Bernard Muller

      I object to your last posting.
      I am very aware of these accusations when someone declares a passage (showing in all ancient manuscripts) to be an interpolation. Many scholars do not want to deal with this kind of interpolation for fear of damaging their reputation.
      I do not reject a passage except if I have a series of clear-cut evidence. Please note I rejected the whole of the main Testimonium Flavianum and 1 Thessalonians 2:14-16, even if those two would “prove” a historical Jesus.
      1Cor15:3-11 stinks in many ways as being written by Paul and it was very easy for me to pile up arguments against its authenticity.

      Bernard
         

  • Jonathan Burke

    Mr Doherty (may I call you Earl?), sorry to keep you waiting.

    //Myself? Four and half years of Greek study in university, plus several more on my own reviewing and expanding those Greek studies plus a lot of familiarity with Greek-based arguments from the hundreds of commentaries I have read over two decades.//

    Two points need to be made here.

    On the one hand, since you have far more formal and informal experience with Greek than I do, why you do not follow the standard lexicographical procedures to which even beginners such as I are exposed and taught? I raised the necessity of diachronic and synchronic lexical analysis; why have you not conducted this analysis?

    When checking your lexical claims I conducted searches in TLG and the Duke Papyri, not to mention trawling through pages of Corpus Papyrorum Raineri Archiducis Austriae, Ägyptische Urkunden aus den königlichen Museen zu Berlin, and the Amherst Papyri, yet you show no evidence of ever having done such research; why? Have you actually done such research?

    You are simply not following standard lexicographical procedure, despite the fact that after four and a half years of Greek you know full well that reliable lexical analysis does not consist of reading a passage or two, concluding ‘I reckon this word/phrase means X’, and then claiming anyone who disagrees with you is simply biased against your conclusion.

    On the other hand, you need to explain why you think your views after a mere four and a half years of Greek, are to be accepted over the half a dozen standard professional Greek lexicons and dictionaries which are the product of decades of peer reviewed study.

    These points are important, because I don’t appeal to my Greek knowledge in support of my arguments, whereas you appeal directly to your Greek knowledge in support of yours.

    Now to Bauer. I’ll try to keep this section as brief as possible.

    * ‘First we have a period’

    I agree that the period indicates the end of one reference to be followed with another. What I don’t agree with is your apparent interpretation of this as meaning that the new list of references are being represented as having a completely different meaning to the last meaning given in italics, even if no different meaning is actually provided.

    For example.

    * ‘b. the norm according to which a judgment is rendered, or rewards or punishments are given ajpodou`naitini kata; t. pra`xin or e[rga aujtou` (Ps 61:13 ; Pr 24:12 ) Mt 16:27 ; Ro 2:6 ; 2 Ti 4:14 ; Rv 2:23 . misqo;n lhvmyetai kata; t. i[dion kovpon 1 Cor 3:8 . krivnein katav J 7:24 ; 8:15 ; 1 Pt 1:17 ; cf. Ro 2:2.'

    Here we have a list of references introduced by the definition 'the norm according to which a judgment is rendered, or rewards or punishments are given'. A number of references follows, then a period after 'Rv 2:23'. New references follow, again terminated by a period after '1 Cor. 3:8'. A last set of references follows '1 Cor 3:8'.
    Do you mean to propose that the list of references after 'Rv 2:23' has a meaning other than 'the norm according to which a judgment is rendered, or rewards or punishments are given'? You can't surely be saying that.

    The references following the period after 'Rev 2:3' all have the same meaning as was introduced in the beginning of the paragraph, 'the norm according to which a judgment is rendered, or rewards or punishments are given'; when we look them up we find 1 Corinthians 3:8 'each will receive his reward according to his work', John 7:24 'Do not judge according to external appearance, but judge with proper judgment.”', John 8:15 'You people judge by outward appearances', 1 Peter 1:17 'the one who impartially judges according to each one’s work', Romans 2:2 'God’s judgment is in accordance with truth'.

    The period separates each Greek phrase and the references to texts in which the phrase appears, but the period does not indicate that each new Greek phrase introduced has a meaning other than that given at the beginning of the section.

    So let's look at the definition in question.

    * 5. of the norm, of similarity, homogeneity according to, in accordance with, in conformity with,corresponding to.a. to introduce the norm which governs someth. — a. the norm of the law, etc. ( Dit., Or. 56, 33;Wilcken, Chrest. 352, 11 kata; ta; keleusqevnta ; POxy. 37 II, 8) kata; to;n novmon ( Jos. , Ant. 14, 173;15, 51; kata; tou;" novmou" jAreopageivth" , letter of MAurelius: ZPE 8, ’71, 169, 1. 27) Lk 2:22 ; J18:31 ; 19:7 ; Hb 7:5 . ta; kata; t. novmon what is to be done according to the law Lk 2:39 ( cf. Ep.Arist. 32). kata; to; wJrismevnon in accordance w. what has been determined 22:2 2. Cf. 1: 9; 2:24 , 27, 42 ; Ac 17:2 ; 22:3 . kata; to; eujaggevliovn mou Ro 2:16 ; 16:25 a; 2 Ti 2:8 . kata; to; eijrhmevnonRo 4:18 . kata; ta;" grafav" ( cf. Paus. 6, 21, 10 kata; ta; e[ph =according to the epic poems) 1 Cor 15:3 ;'

    Let's note that every single one of these references comes under the general definition 'of the norm, of similarity, homogeneity according to, in accordance with, in conformity with,corresponding to', more specifically still under the definition 'to introduce the norm which governs something'. So every one of these references is defined as introducing the norm which governs something; that includes 1 Corinthians 15:3. There is of course no support here for your lexical claim.

    In this section we find 'what is to be done according to the Law', followed by a reference to Luke 2:39 (and a comparison with Aristeas). Next we find 'in accordance with w.[hat] has been determined’. This definition (yes, a translation of Luke 22:2), is followed by a list of references to Greek phrases using kata to/ta. Though each Greek phrase is separated from the others with a period, as with the example I gave previously no new definition is introduced after ‘in accordance with what has been determined’, and looking at these references we find that they all have that same basic meaning:

    *  Luke 1:9 ‘according to the custom of the priesthood’
    * Luke 2:24 ‘according to what is specified in the law of the Lord’
    * Luke 2:27 ‘what was customary according to the law’
    * Luke2: 42 ‘according to custom’
    * Acts 17:2 ‘as he customarily did’
    * Acts 22:3 ‘according to the law of our ancestors’
    * Romans 2:16 ‘according to my gospel through Christ Jesus’
    * Romans 16:25 ‘according to my gospel’
    * 2 Timothy 2:8 ‘such is my gospel’
    * Romans 4:18 ‘according to the pronouncement’

    The last of these references is of course 1 Corinthians 15:3, which fits this same basic meaning, ‘in accordance with what has been determined’. Further evidence for this (as if it were necessary), is demonstrated by Bauer’s definition of the phrase in 1 Corinthians 15:3 as explained in the entry under γραφή.

    * ‘according to (the prophecy of) the holy scriptures 1 Cor 15:3f (Just., D. 82, 4)’

    As we can see, he defines it here with the same kind of meaning as he associated it with in the entry under κατὰ, showing that Bauer understand the phrase to have the meaning ‘that which has been determined, in this case ‘according to (the prophecy of) the holy scriptures’. Note of course the complete absence here of any reference to Pausanias. So that’s two out of my alleged three ‘egregious errors’ dealt with.

    What I will grant you is that the Pausanias reference belongs to 1 Corinthians 15:3, not Romans 4:18. I would like to see you repay the courtesy of acknowledgement of error by acknowledging it was wrong of you to misrepresent Bauer by quoting him out of context and removing specific definitions he gave ( ‘to introduce the norm which governs someth.’ and ‘in accordance with w.[hat] has been determined’).

    //In Pausanias the meaning is clearly a matter of deriving information from the epic poem; what can the comparison convey other than that 15:3 means a matter of deriving Paul’s gospel from the scriptures? (I don’t know if this is what Bauer intends to imply, but his language certainly does convey it, and he gives no qualification by way of making an alternate or ‘correcting’ reference to “as fulfilling the scriptures”.)//

    It is clearly not what Bauer intends to imply, not least because he explicitly defines the phrase elsewhere as meaning ‘according to (the prophecy of) the holy scriptures’, without any reference to Pausanias at all. Regardless, the passage in Pausanias does not use the phrase ‘κατὰ τὰς γραφὰς’ , which has a very well established and specific meaning in the papyri and other texts.

    Of course James 2:8 doesn’t mean ‘as prophesied in the Scriptures’. It means ‘in accordance with the Scriptures’, or ‘according to the Scriptures’, as Bauer indicates by placing it in a section of references for which he gives the general meaning ‘to introduce the norm which governs someth.’. So it means ‘in accordance with the Scriptures’ with the sense ‘as prescribed by the Scriptures’, or ‘as commanded by the Scriptures’.

    So now let’s recap and see where the evidence lies. First your own words.

    * ‘OTOH, the “meaning” I give to that 1 Cor. PHRASE is never suggested BY ANY LEXICON THAT I AM AWARE OF’

    Correct, and for good reason. Meanwhile, I have provided the following textual evidence for the rendering in Bauer (which I follow).

    * In the LXX, ‘κατὰ τὴν γραφὴν’ in Deuteronomion 10:4, ‘ὡς ἐνετείλατο Μωυσῆς ἐν λόγῳ θεοῦ κατὰ τὴν γραφήν’ in Paraleipomenwn A 15:15, ‘κατὰ τὴν γραφήν’ in Paraleipomenwn B 30:5, ‘κατὰ τὴν γραφὴν’ in Paraleipomenwn B 35:4, and ‘κατὰ τὴν γραφὴν βιβλίου Μωϋσή’ in 2 Esdras 6:18; in each case we have the meaning ‘just as it is/was/had been written’, or ‘event X happened/didn’t happen, in accordance/agreement with what is/was/had been written’ (note, all of these are references to what are represented as actual historical events)

    * In the papyri, ‘κατὰ τὴν γραφήν’ in PER ccxxiv.6 (Fayyûm, 5-6 CE),[1]‘κατὰ γραφάς in BU 136.10 (135 CE),[2], and ‘κατὰ τὴν γραφήν’ in P Am II. 43.13 (173 BCE)[3]

    Support from professional lexicography is found in Bauer, Balz & Schneider, and Moulton & Milligan (who provide several examples from the papyri.

    * ‘Of homogeneity, similarity, correspondence, manner: according to, in accordance with, corresponding to, like (Luke 2:22, etc.: “according to the law”; v. 39: πάντα τὰ κατὰ τὸν νόμον κυρίου, “everything [to be performed] according to the law of the Lord”; 1 Cor 15:3: “according to [the] Scripture[s]”’[4]

    * ‘For κατά, “according to,” of standard, law, rule, as in Rom 10:2, 1 Cor 7:6, 2 Cor 8:8, Heb 11:13, cf. P Petr II. 11(1)1 (iii/b.c.) (= Selections, p. 7), τὰ λοιπά σοι κατὰ γνώμην ἐστίν, P Tebt I. 4025 (b.c. 117) κατὰ τοὺς τῆς κώμης ἐθισμούς, P Oxy I. 37ii. 8 (a.d. 49) (= Selections, p. 51) κατὰ τὰ ὑπὸ τοῦ κυρίου ἡγεμόνος κριθέντα, Chrest. I. 35211 (a.d. 117) κατὰ κελευσθέντα, ib.17 κατὰ τὸ ἔθος (cf. Lk 1:8), and from the inscrr. OGIS 5633 (b.c. 237) κατὰ τὸ πρότερον γραφὲν ψήφισμα. Similarly κατὰ λόγον, as in Ac 18:14, “in accordance with what is right, befitting,” is common in epistolary phrases, e.g. P Eleph 131 (b.c. 223–2) εἰ ἔρρω[σ]αι καὶ τὰ λοιπά σοι κατὰ λόγον ἐστίν, εἴη ἂν ὡς ἐγὼ θέλω, “if you are well, and other things are going rightly, it would be as I wish,” P Lond 422 (b.c. 168) (= I. p. 30, Selections, p. 9) εἰ ἐρρωμένωι τἄλλα κατὰ λόγον ἀπαντᾶι, εἴη ἂν ὡς τοῖς θεοῖς εὐχομένη διατελῶ, P Goodsp Cairo 43 (ii/b.c.) (= Selections, p. 24), P Par 635 (b.c. 165).’[5]

    So the meaning I understand the phrase in 1 Corinthians 15:3 to have, is found in standard lexicons, and is attested by a range of textual evidence. In contrast, you acknowledge you have no support from any standard lexicon, and of the two texts which you believe are evidence for the meaning you attribute to the phrase, one does not actually contain the phrase itself (Pausanias), and the other is read entirely differently by lexical professionals such as Bauer.

    //And by the way, me asking you if you knew the meaning of diachronic and synchronic hardly meant that I didn’t know them myself.//

    So why don’t you use these lexical analytical techniques? I’m sure you have access to TLG like I do, not to mention the Duke Papyri, Corpus Papyrorum Raineri Archiducis Austriae, Ägyptische Urkunden aus den königlichen Museen zu Berlin, the Amherst Papyri, and other relevant publications, so why don’t you use them the way they’re used in standard lexical procedure?

    What puzzles me most is the fact that you have four and a half years of Greek training, much of which you seem to be ignoring. Why is this?
    ____________________

    [1]  Corpus Papyrorum Raineri Archiducis Austriae, volume 1, p. 254 (1895)

    [2] Ägyptische Urkunden aus den königlichen Museen zu Berlin: Griechische Urkunden, volume 1 (1895).

    [3] The Amherst Papyri, volume 2, p. 53 (1901).

    [4] Balz & Schneider, ‘Exegetical dictionary of the New Testament’, volume 2, p. 262 (1990-).

    [5] Moulton & Milligan, ‘The vocabulary of the Greek Testament’, p. 323 (1930).

  • Kris

    Well if you reject the entire Testimonium Flavianum then you do so in spite of the evidence, not because of the evidence as Peter Kirby has shown the majority of scholars support partial authenticity. We also have the discovery made by Professor Pines of what seems to be an unedited version of the Testimonium Flavianum.

    This does not inspire confidence in me that you handled the other two passages correctly at all if you call the issue with the Testimonium Flavianum to be clear cut.

    • http://historical-jesus.info/ Bernard Muller

      I dealt with the TF on that webpage:
      http://historical-jesus.info/appe.html
      That a majority of scholars support partial authenticity is not primary evidence. And most of these scholars are Christians and many of those favor a Jesus as a sage & teacher. Don’t you think they might be biased?
      And if Pines thinks a seemingly unedited version (in Arabic, dated 10th century, significantly different of the TF first known through Eusebius) might be authentic, just because it is not too Christian, also does not constitute evidence.
      Bernard

  • Kris

    Actually the fact that a clear majority of scholars support the view seems to show you are wrong on this issue. Are you seriously suggesting people such as Crossan and Vermes are in some religious quest? I think those clearly Christian scholars are far less biased  then mythers.

    Unless you think Agapius and Michael the Syrian are involved in some plot to refute arguments almost 1000 years before their time, then the fact they use a version of Josephus that does not have the Christian gloss tells me the mainstream view of  Josephus is correct. 

  • Kris

    100 years after their time I meant to say

  • Earl Doherty

    Jonathan, I am not going to take the time to once again go through your reams of quotation and analysis of Bauer. And you again misrepresent me. I do not detach any of that paragraph from the opening basic definition given in section 5. That does indeed govern the whole paragraph. But it is a broad definition which can encompass both the traditional understanding of “in fulfillment of the scriptures” as well as “as is found in the scriptures” in the sense of my ‘as we learn from the scriptures’.

    Your original claim was that one example/application within that paragraph in regard to Luke 22:22, “in accordance with what has been determined,” (though I’m not sure what you thought that proved), was applied by Bauer to another example within that paragraph, 15:3, whereas it was indeed separate and separated by more than one period from the earlier example.

    And once again, whether the Pausanias phrase uses “graphas” or not, is immaterial. It is the sense of his statement. There is no difference between saying something is found in the writings or something is found in the epic poem, as to whether “kata tas graphas” could be legitimately and grammatically understood as “as we learn in the scriptures” rather than “as is prophesied in the scriptures.” If you can’t see that, I give up.

    And so much of your postings, along with many others here, rely on appeals to authority, this is what we always believed, this is what the consensus of scholars thinks, etc., etc., ad nauseam. When are you going to realize that this has nothing logically to do with whether I am right or wrong? There are reams of examples in history and even in modern scholarship where a majority has been dead wrong, and what began as a minority proven right. So please stop wasting your breath.

  • Kris

    Yes but this” minority”  has had two centuries now and it is still laughable in the extreme.

  • http://www.patheos.com/community/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

    Earl, this is getting tiresome. The fact that consensuses can be wrong does not in any way demonstrate that you are right. So please show the consensus to be wrong, if you are able to, because unless you are a crank or crackpot, then you know that the onus is on you to do just that. Depicting yourself as a modern-day Galileo without demonstrating that the consensus is wrong or less satisfactory than your new paradigm just makes you sound like a kook.

    On the question of terminology, I think that the discussion is something of a red herring. Even if one granted that by “according to the Scriptures” Paul might have meant “according to what I have read in and derived from the Scriptures,” that would still not be incompatible with his understanding the Scriptures in questions as predictions of or applying to a historical Jesus. And so unless you have linguistic evidence that Paul could not have possibly meant that, then your efforts would be best spent trying to show why you think your interpretation makes better sense of what Paul actually wrote, in context.

    • Earl Doherty

      Earl, this is getting tiresome. The fact that consensuses can be wrong
      does not in any way demonstrate that you are right. So please show the
      consensus to be wrong, if you are able to, because unless you are a
      crank or crackpot, then you know that the onus is on you to do just
      that. Depicting yourself as a modern-day Galileo without demonstrating
      that the consensus is wrong or less satisfactory than your new paradigm
      just makes you sound like a kook

      James, this is getting tiresome. Your demand for my demonstration that the consensus is wrong has been met. You have it in your hands. It is neither my fault nor my responsibility that you refuse to allow the case I have presented to make even the slightest inroad into your brain. You haven’t even allowed in sufficient consideration of it to be able to craft anything resembling a reasonable counter-argument against it.

      Even if one granted that by “according to the Scriptures” Paul might
      have meant “according to what I have read in and derived from the
      Scriptures,” that would still not be incompatible with his understanding
      the Scriptures in questions as predictions of or applying to a
      historical Jesus

      Wow! Now there’s a desperate admission! I might actually be right in suggesting that Paul is actually saying he derived his gospel about the Christ from scripture! But what kind of devious paths does this lead us into? Let’s see: “Christ died for our sins.” Hmmm, an historical Jesus could be known to have died, his death might even have been witnessed and told of in oral tradition, but ‘dying for sin’? Who could tell that just by witnessing Calvary? OK, maybe 15:3 means Paul got this interpretation of Jesus’ historical death from scripture. (You see? Crafting a fairly decent counter-argument sometimes isn’t that impossible. You should try it.)

      But then we have “he was raised on the third day.” For Paul to reasonably claim that he got this from scripture, no historical resurrection on Easter Sunday could have taken place, no visitation in bodily form to any followers on earth. We’re giving ground here, since that means all the appearances represent visionary experiences (or even less).

      But then we face the predicament of having no physical or witnessed resurrection (except in scripture) to impel the new faith movement. A crucified criminal dies on Calvary, is thrown into a grave and no one ever sees him again, except it is claimed in visions. Is that really enough to get countless Jews and gentiles across half the empire to accept that man as the divine Son of the God of Abraham, creator and sustainer of the universe, redeemer of humanity by his death and guarantor of their own resurrection? (It wouldn’t do that much for me. A claim of merely rising to some sort of heaven in spirit form after death wouldn’t gain any headlines in the ancient world. It was a fairly common idea in one form or another, except perhaps among the Sadducees.)

      Having given up that ground, we get closer to accepting the obvious meaning of a passage like Romans 16:25-26 in which Christ the Son is stated as being an entity revealed after long ages of being unknown, through the scriptures. We get closer to accepting that whatever Romans 1:3 means in the mind of the writer, that information, too, came from scripture, as is stated in 1:2, not historical tradition. That passage also tells us that scripture did not prophesy the figure and life of Jesus, but Paul’s gospel about him. A host of other passages in the epistles, difficult to reconcile with historicism, suddenly fall into place as well, all pointing in the same direction. And so on…

      You see, James, when you have a house of cards, disturbing one of them can bring the whole contraption tumbling down. So I welcome your rethinking of the meaning of “kata tas graphas” in 1 Cor. 15:3-4.

  • Earl Doherty

    Kris: Do you have an iota of evidence to support that response to Tim’s question? Again why are the records lost of such an important event in the history of Christianity. You are assuming mytherism to prove mytherism, Earl.

    The records are not lost. They exist in the form of the New Testament epistles and other early non-canonical documents. That is not an “assumption” of mythicism, it is the evidence for mythicism, supported by various other forms of corroboration which mythicism presents. The early documentary record as a whole for the first two centuries reveals the situation I outlined in my response to Tim’s question. My answer is a description of what the record itself reveals.

    Now Earl evidence to your answer to Tim’s question for sources documenting the existence of ancient myther Christians. Pretty amazing no one mentions them at all seeing they would be a gold mind for ancient Pagan and Jewish critics and would have demanded a response from early Christian Apologists.

    If a movement has evolved from one type of belief into another, in order to be able to accept the latter it has to lose sight of the former, to reinterpret it in light of the latter, otherwise it will realize that its new belief is a later development and was not there from the beginning, and this will undermine if not destroy its acceptability. If the Pauline cult having only a heavenly Jesus evolved into accepting the Gospels as indicating an earthly Jesus at its roots, who after that process was complete is going to ‘remember’ or continue to give witness to its former state? The heresiologists in the later 2nd century wrote at a time when that process was complete. And if you think that Celsus or Jews in the time of Celsus (170s) were in a position to know that the Gospels were not originally intended to represent history and that even the Christians were now deceived about an imagined founder, you are more naïve than I thought. But I’ve been over all this before.

    What is it that you don’t understand about that explanation, Kris? Or is it because your stubborn preconceptions and rabid animosity to mythicism prevent you from processing it?

    And you don’t know your texts. I have more than once given two strong indicators of the transition from a non-earthly Jesus to an earthly one in the thinking of the Christian community, namely in the letters of Ignatius when he rails against those who do not preach a Jesus born of Mary, baptized by John, crucified by Pilate (which is not about docetism), and 1 John 4’s condemnation of those who deny that Jesus has come in the flesh. I guess you couldn’t process those either, due to the same reasons as above.

  • Kris

     Kris: Do you have an iota of evidence to support that response to Tim’s question? Again why are the records lost of such an important event in the history of Christianity. You are assuming mytherism to prove mytherism, Earl.

    The records are not lost.KK Yes they are  unless you can show records that unambiguous teach a mythical Jesus.They exist in the form of the New Testament epistles and other early non-canonical documents.KK No they do not. I will challenge you to produce any mainstream historian who would agree with that view, especially for Paul who teaches Jesus had a brother, had teachings about divorce, a last supper, was crucified which are all very earthly things. I know you have some odd how it could have been scenario for these but needless to say Classical Historians and NT scholars insist they refer to historical Jesus. Evidence that only you agree is evidence is not evidence at all. That is not an “assumption” of mythicism, it is the evidence for mythicism, supported by various other forms of corroboration which mythicism presents.KK You have wild assumptions about the text and as others have shown you purposely abuse ancient Greek to make them. That is hardly evidence. The early documentary record as a whole for the first two centuries reveals the situation I outlined in my response to Tim’s question. My answer is a description of what the record itself reveals.KK Well I have read the early records on numerous occasions and my reading of those records seems to show a historical Christ. They are show a historical Pilate, historical Augustus, etc.  They show a historical high priest. They show a historical Peter interacting with historical figures. This is what you would expect of historical writings, not mythical writings.
    Now Earl evidence to your answer to Tim’s question for sources documenting the existence of ancient myther Christians. Pretty amazing no one mentions them at all seeing they would be a gold mind for ancient Pagan and Jewish critics and would have demanded a response from early Christian Apologists.

    If a movement has evolved from one type of belief into another, in order to be able to accept the latter it has to lose sight of the former, to reinterpret it in light of the latter, otherwise it will realize that its new belief is a later development and was not there from the beginning, and this will undermine if not destroy its acceptability.KK This is hardly a good enough explanation for why all records are lost especially in light of the preservation of the records of such minor groups as the Ebionites.  Of course you assume mythicism to prove mythicism with that argument.If the Pauline cult having only a heavenly Jesus evolved into accepting the Gospels as indicating an earthly Jesus at its roots, who after that process was complete is going to ‘remember’ or continue to give witness to its former state?KK Unfortunately Paul did not have only a heavenly Jesus in mind as one can understand by simply reading his letters. He refers to the following earthly things: Jesus being crucified, Jesus’ teaching on divorce, Jesus being buried, Jesus having the last supper, Jesus having a brother. I am well aware of myther how it could have been scenarios to the above, but needless to say it has not convinced academia one bit. Evidence that only convinces you is not evidence. The heresiologists in the later 2nd century wrote at a time when that process was complete. And if you think that Celsus or Jews in the time of Celsus (170s) were in a position to know that the Gospels were not originally intended to represent history and that even the Christians were now deceived about an imagined founder, you are more naïve than I thought. But I’ve been over all this before.KK Ah so ancient historians among them Jews and Pagans could not detect this but bumbling inept in Canada can. How charming.  It must be wonderful to be you Earl to make all these new discoveries. I would say you are naive but I will go with dishonest instead.
    What is it that you don’t understand about that explanation, Kris? Or is it because your stubborn preconceptions and rabid animosity to mythicism prevent you from processing it?KK I understand the explanation and it is utter garbage. You might like to know I oppose all historical trash, it’s nothing personal. 
    And you don’t know your texts. I have more than once given two strong indicators of the transition from a non-earthly Jesus to an earthly one in the thinking of the Christian community, namely in the letters of Ignatius when he rails against those who do not preach a Jesus born of Mary, baptized by John, crucified by Pilate (which is not about docetism), and 1 John 4’s condemnation of those who deny that Jesus has come in the flesh. I guess you couldn’t process those either, due to the same reasons as above.KK Ah I am just another person who cannot comprehend your greatness.  1 John 4 refers to Gnosticism, good try Earl. Your ability type Ignatius is not referring to  Docetism does not impress me.

    • Anonymous

      I would say that the gospels are evidence of a mythical Jesus. What is a story about a man walking on water, appearing with Moses and Elijah, arguing with the devil, transporting through walls and appearing alive again after death with wounds still present in his flesh other than a myth?

      When Aeneas descends to the underworld, we don’t try to figure out what the historical Aeneas did, we use that as a literary marker for the fact that the story is fictional/mythical/literary and not a description of facts on the ground.

      If we had a piece of literature that described Jesus as a small-town preacher man who upset the apple-cart in Jerusalem at a national feast and was killed by the Roman military and then stayed dead, that would be much better evidence for historicity, especially if that literature eschewed divine titles for this character. In fact, there is such a Jesus, Jesus, son of Ananus. 

      If historicists want to argue that Jesus, son of Ananus is the historical Jesus, I welcome whatever insights they may generate. 

    • Earl Doherty

      You know, Kris, if you would concentrate on trying to craft postings which have some resemblance to proper grammar, spelling, sentence structure and overall coherence, you might even achieve some tiny contribution to debates here.

      Disordered writing is not the best sign of an ordered mind. I will make no effort to respond to your latest verbal mess.

      • Earl Doherty

        What, Kris? You’re now hiring a ghost writer to whip your postings into shape? Well, at least it’s an improvement.

  • Kris

    Beallen
    Way to burn a straw man and not address my points or the point of any historicists at all.

  • Jonathan Burke

    //What is a story about a man walking on water, appearing with Moses and
    Elijah, arguing with the devil, transporting through walls and appearing
    alive again after death with wounds still present in his flesh other
    than a myth?//

    What about a man who comes down from heaven, who spews flames to destroy his enemies, catches missiles from catapults and throws them back? Do we call him a mythical figure?

    • Anonymous

      Yes, we do. Clark Kent is based on Harold Lloyd, but Clark Kent is fictional. Sherlock Holmes is based on Joseph Bell, but Sherlock Holmes is fictional. Any story with comic-book powers granted to the protagonist is fictional.

  • Kris

    Kris: Do you have an iota of evidence to support that response to Tim’s question? Again why are the records lost of such an important event in the history of Christianity. You are assuming mytherism to prove mytherism, Earl.

    The records are not lost.

    KK Yes they are  unless you can show records that unambiguous teach a mythical Jesus.

    They exist in the form of the New Testament epistles and other early non-canonical documents

    .KK No they do not. I will challenge you to produce any mainstream historian who would agree with that view, especially for Paul who teaches Jesus had a brother, had teachings about divorce, a last supper, was crucified which are all very earthly things. I know you have some odd how it could have been scenario for these but needless to say Classical Historians and NT scholars insist they refer to historical Jesus. Evidence that only you agree is evidence is not evidence at all. 

    That is not an “assumption” of mythicism, it is the evidence for mythicism, supported by various other forms of corroboration which mythicism presents.

    KK You have wild assumptions about the text and as others have shown you purposely abuse ancient Greek to make them. That is hardly evidence. 

    The early documentary record as a whole for the first two centuries reveals the situation I outlined in my response to Tim’s question. My answer is a description of what the record itself reveals.

    KK Well I have read the early records on numerous occasions and my reading of those records seems to show a historical Christ. They are show a historical Pilate, historical Augustus, etc.  They show a historical high priest. They show a historical Peter interacting with historical figures. This is what you would expect of historical writings, not mythical writings.

    Now Earl evidence to your answer to Tim’s question for sources documenting the existence of ancient myther Christians. Pretty amazing no one mentions them at all seeing they would be a gold mind for ancient Pagan and Jewish critics and would have demanded a response from early Christian Apologists.If a movement has evolved from one type of belief into another, in order to be able to accept the latter it has to lose sight of the former, to reinterpret it in light of the latter, otherwise it will realize that its new belief is a later development and was not there from the beginning, and this will undermine if not destroy its acceptability.

    KK This is hardly a good enough explanation for why all records are lost especially in light of the preservation of the records of such minor groups as the Ebionites.  Of course you assume mythicism to prove mythicism with that argument.

    If the Pauline cult having only a heavenly Jesus evolved into accepting the Gospels as indicating an earthly Jesus at its roots, who after that process was complete is going to ‘remember’ or continue to give witness to its former state?

    KK Unfortunately Paul did not have only a heavenly Jesus in mind as one can understand by simply reading his letters. He refers to the following earthly things: Jesus being crucified, Jesus’ teaching on divorce, Jesus being buried, Jesus having the last supper, Jesus having a brother. I am well aware of myther how it could have been scenarios to the above, but needless to say it has not convinced academia one bit. Evidence that only convinces you is not evidence. 

    The heresiologists in the later 2nd century wrote at a time when that process was complete. And if you think that Celsus or Jews in the time of Celsus (170s) were in a position to know that the Gospels were not originally intended to represent history and that even the Christians were now deceived about an imagined founder, you are more naïve than I thought. But I’ve been over all this before.

    KK Ah so ancient historians among them Jews and Pagans could not detect this but  a bumbling inept in Canada can. How charming.  It must be wonderful to be you Earl to make all these new discoveries. I would say you are naive but I will go with dishonest instead.

    What is it that you don’t understand about that explanation, Kris? Or is it because your stubborn preconceptions and rabid animosity to mythicism prevent you from processing it?

    KK I understand the explanation and it is utter garbage. You might like to know I oppose all historical trash, it’s nothing personal.

     And you don’t know your texts. I have more than once given two strong indicators of the transition from a non-earthly Jesus to an earthly one in the thinking of the Christian community, namely in the letters of Ignatius when he rails against those who do not preach a Jesus born of Mary, baptized by John, crucified by Pilate (which is not about docetism), and 1 John 4’s condemnation of those who deny that Jesus has come in the flesh. I guess you couldn’t process those either, due to the same reasons as above.

    KK Ah I am just another person who cannot comprehend your greatness.  1 John 4 refers to Gnosticism, good try Earl. Your ability type Ignatius is not referring to  Docetism does not impress me.

  • Kris

    Earl does another disappearing act, but by the way I actually do have dyslexia, thanks for being a prick. I love the irony of a myther telling anyone they have a disordered mind though, that is richness. 

    Still let me translate Earl’s comment. I found an informed opposition, I need to leave now.

    • Earl Doherty

      Well, Kris, since I had no clue, I’m hardly to blame.
      Especially since you are not the only one here with serious limitations in writing skills. I simply took it as a characteristic of much of historicism’s defenders.

      There seems to be an epidemic of dyslexia in the ranks, and not only on the Matrix.

  • Kris

    Tim O’Neill warns people about this.  When you significantly whip Earl he does a disappearing act that revolves around you being unable to comprehend  his greatness….. I suspect Earl is about to go back to his realm of myth and deities soon.

  • Earl Doherty

    You realize for almost every comment made by
    Doherty you could replace the name of the historians  in question with the
    name of a holocaust historian and get something reading just like the bigotry
    of neo nazis.

     

    Earl still does not get it but you can always replace
    mythicism with holocaust denial for so many of arguments.

     

    Mythers respect scholarship in the same way losers
     respect prostitutes, use them for a single purpose then cast them aside.

     

    By the way, Kris, are you going to put remarks like the
    above down to dyslexia?

  • Kris

    Nothing is false in any of those statements Earl. You can substitute  yours word about why academia opposes you and change just a few words and get the exact same comments made by holocaust deniers.

    Myther’s do treat scholars that way.

    What is your protest?

  • http://www.patheos.com/community/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

    Earl, do I even need to say who else says of their books that they provide decisive proof of the bankruptcy of mainstream thought? Do I really need to point out who else is persuaded that they are among a select few brilliant and honest minds who are the only ones to have read the evidence rightly, while all those who ever looked at the me things before were incompetent or dishonest?

    If you think that by asserting your own interpretation, mainstream historical scholarship will collapse like a house of card, you are only illustrating that you are unfamiliar with mainstream scholarship and are deluded both about the strength and coherence of its understanding and also the supposed force of your rhetorical flourishes. Perhaps if you showed that you had actually read mainstream scholarship and offering a detailed argument against its understanding, instead of offering a straw man whose downfall has no bearing on anything outside of your own imagination, it might be possible to take what you write seriously. But as it stands, you are like those in that group I am refraining from mentioning, who regularly claim that all mainstream scientists are deceived and/or dishonest.

    If you merely believed that mainstream scholars are all wrong, it might be possible to conceive that maybe, just maybe, you could be right. But since you clearly think that all mainstream scholars are stupid and incompetent, having produced something that can be demolished by even a poorly-worded sentence you offer, I don’t see how anyone could ever think you are anything but deluded.

    • http://vridar.wordpress.com Neil Godfrey

      I missed something. What is the straw man Doherty sets up to stand in for “the understanding of mainstream scholarship”?

    • Earl Doherty

      Where, James, have I ever said that all or even any mainstream scholars are stupid and incompetent? That would mean that in the history of the world there have been countless numbers of stupid and incompetent people, philosophers, scientists, etc. just because they turned out to be wrong. Why must you take it as a personal insult for being judged to be wrong? Is no discipline ever wrong? Is no belief system ever wrong? Is no scientific viewpoint ever proven wrong? Does that make all those who have held wrong beliefs and conclusions stupid and incompetent because subsequent generations have come along and revised accepted thinking?

      Would a reasonable person put that kind of cast upon it? I consider myself a reasonable person who knows something about the history of ideas on this planet, and I would never consign all the wrong people on it, past or present, to the realm of stupid and incompetent. Yet it is so typical of you and others like you to make such an accusation; it’s part of your demonization of those who would dare to suggest that this one discipline, this one area of scholarship and belief in the history of the world, could possibly be proven wrong.

      Yes, I have accused scholars of bias, of hidebound preconception which often governs and distorts their scholarly judgment (and have given clear examples of it). That is not the same as saying they are stupid and incompetent. (Having recourse to this type of distortion and exaggeration is your way, and a common one, of dismissing disagreement with you and exempting yourself from actually addressing it.) In fact, it takes a fair degree of scholarly talent to make the early Christian record demonstrate the existence of an historical Jesus with the certainty with which you invest it.

      I would not even label creationists stupid and incompetent. They have come out of a long background in which indoctrinated belief in their faith system is of paramount importance and overrides everything, even science and common sense. I feel quite sorry for them, since they are missing out on the exhilaration of understanding the real origins and history of our world and the life we are a part of. I feel sorry for their closed-mindedness and stunted conceptions of the the wondrous universe we live in. I feel sorry for the freedom they are denied from fear, guilt and the enslavement they have to their frightful god and his imagined demands and threats, a freedom which abandoning their primitive view of the world tied to a primitive time and primitive concepts (like the blood sacrifice of a god to redeem their supposedly wretched sinful state) would grant them. I feel sorry for their bigotry and the divisions they set up between themselves as sole possessors of the truth and the rest of the humanity of the damned.

      Modern biblical research, of course, is nowhere near as bad, especially as it has been moving along a trajectory of increasing secular enlightenment and scientific understanding. But it has still come out of that sort of tradition (have you read any 19th century commentaries by ‘Reverend’ scholars with their smug self-righteousness and utter certainty of belonging to the privileged truth lately?), and we can still get “qualified professional scholars” being blacklisted and consigned to the wilderness for being too enlightened. Every discipline has its peer pressures, its hallowed traditions that cannot be surrendered lightly. Your “certainty” in the absolute truth of the core of your discipline, James, and the utter disreputability of all who would deny or radically revise it, is really in the same vein. It’s just a matter of degree.

      As I have said, the comparison ought to be between creationism and historicism. It is mythicism that has broken the bonds of hidebound tradition and fear of freedom from it, and that has nothing in common with creationism.

  • http://www.patheos.com/community/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

    Doherty, in his last tirade, didn’t even mention, much less refute, the dominant view, which is that the early Christians had persuaded themselves, wrongly of course, that the death and resurrection of Jesus were foreseen in Scripture, and that that is what Paul is referring to here. Instead, Doherty presented a rather lengthy diatribe reflecting who-knows-whose views, ending by describing my own viewpoint, and thus mainstream scholarship, as a house of cards, while his own is “obvious.” At least, that’s my attempt at gleaning a meaning from his not particularly lucid comment.

    Surely even most mythicists and those who are undecided or sympathetic to mythicism can see that, the question of whether Doherty is right or wrong aside, he is speaking precisely the way cranks and crackpots do.

    • http://vridar.wordpress.com Neil Godfrey

      So he didn’t set up a straw man to demolish after all, as you initially said . . . .

      . . .  instead of offering a straw man whose downfall has no bearing on anything outside of your own imagination . . .

      .

      But you have read his book so you do know that he does indeed mention the dominant view and addresses it, don’t you?

      I did not see a lot of bitter words (diatribe) or denunciation (tirade) in his post.

      Can you fault any of his actual arguments? It sounds like you are just hand-waving them all aside as diatribe not worth addressing.

    • Earl Doherty

      James: Doherty, in his last tirade, didn’t even mention, much less refute, the
      dominant view, which is that the early Christians had persuaded
      themselves, wrongly of course, that the death and resurrection of Jesus
      were foreseen in Scripture, and that that is what Paul is
      referring to here. Instead, Doherty presented a rather lengthy diatribe
      reflecting who-knows-whose views, ending by describing my own viewpoint,
      and thus mainstream scholarship, as a house of cards, while his own is
      “obvious.” At least, that’s my attempt at gleaning a meaning from his
      not particularly lucid comment.

      Outlining the consequences of seeing “kata tas graphas” as meaning that Paul derived his knowledge of Christ’s death and resurrection from scripture was hardly a “tirade.” And the “house of cards” was the structure which scholars have created out of the early Christian record which purports to demonstrate Paul’s knowledge of an historical Jesus, even if he never clearly presents one. By altering one card in that structure (the meaning of “kata tas graphas”), by dislodging or even slightly repositioning such a card, one risks bringing the whole misguided structure down, and that is what I was demonstrating.

      Do you expect me to go through every argument in detail in every posting where a subject comes up? I have more than once presented my argumentation for claiming that the dominant view of Paul’s meaning for “kata tas graphas” as ‘foreseen in scripture’ is wrong. Surely I can expect you to retain the memory of that while the debate is in progress and don’t have to repeat it every time.

      Once again, you took it as though I were dissing the entire body of mainstream scholarship in some form of personal accusation of rank stupidity. I was merely pointing out the consequences of it being possibly wrong in its interpretation of that phrase, and mythicism being possibly right in its own interpretation. The ramifications of that, which I tried to give a brief idea of, could indeed bring down the Paul-knew-an-historical-Jesus house of cards.

      The stuff of cranks and crackpots? More distortion and exaggeration. Please get a grip, James.

  • http://www.patheos.com/community/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

    Sorry, are you referring to a post of his somewhere else? I was merely reacting to his comment. Perhaps you can elucidate its point? Is there a full-blown post of his somewhere else that you were referring to, which might help me see what he wrote in a different light?

  • http://www.patheos.com/community/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

    It is what you claimed, not something you demonstrated. And that makes all the difference.

    • Earl Doherty

      Well, James, you never admit that I have demonstrated anything, so this is no surprise.

  • Kris

    Earl

    Can you name any NT Scholar,  Classical scholars  or Greek scholar that would support your translations?

  • Kris

    That is not a myther?

  • Howard Mazzaferro

    The disagreement about 1 Co 15:3 is not about the translation of the text, but about the continuity with other New Testament writings. Earl is right that it basically means that Paul learned about Jesus death and resurrection from the Hebrew Scriptures. The problem is that a traditional view is that the historical man Jesus came (according to the gospels) and fulfilled the things written in the Hebrew Scriptures, and Paul received this information at some point through men or divine revelation. Regardless of how or when, Paul did learn something he did not know before, and that something was rooted in the Hebrew Scriptures. Paul knew what was written in the text, but it was vague and indistinct, and at some point it was made explicit to him. The traditional view thinks this became explicit to Paul when he learned about the death and resurrection of the man Jesus and then made the connection with the Hebrew prophecies. Since Earl does not think Paul knew about any gospels or a historical man, then the Hebrew Scriptures became explicit to Paul because he thought he was receiving a divine revelation about what these Scriptures meant. I assume Earl does not believe in God, so in the end, what Paul thought was a divine revelation was actually all in his own mind. So the real disagreement is whether or not you incorporate the gospel accounts into your understanding of 1 Co 15:3.

  • Jonathan Burke

    //Outlining the consequences of seeing “kata tas graphas” as meaning that Paul derived his knowledge of Christ’s death and resurrection from scripture was hardly a “tirade.”//

    But your argument lacked actual evidence. On the one hand, I presented a range of textual evidence demonstrating the lexical meaning of the phrase; I showed you these texts more than once, and you never addressed them (instead you wrongly claimed I was appealing to authority, just because I pointed out that standard lexicons use THESE TEXTS as the evidence for the definition they provide). On the other hand, you couldn’t present a single text with the phrase used with the meaning you assert; not even one.

    This is the difference between the Mytherist case and the historicist case; the Mytherist case is not evidence based, and ignores contrary evidence when it is presented.

  • Ignorant Amos

    All three hypotheses are more plausible than the proposed reality set out in the New Testament.

  • Matt Brown

    Haha good Joke!

  • Ignorant Amos

    No need, Carrier’s new book has been peer reviewed.

    On the Historicity of Jesus
    Why We Might Have Reason for Doubt

    http://www.sheffieldphoenix.com/showbook.asp?bkid=264

    • Matt Browwwwn

      That doesn’t mean his book is “correct”.

      • Anonymous Coward

        No one said or implied otherwise.

        • Matt Browwwwn

          Why do you always pop up and randomnly dissapear whenever I comment on something?

      • Ignorant Amos

        I never suggested his book is “correct”, whatever that means.

        But there is so much whining about peer review, it is moot concerning On the Historicity of Jesus.

        Have you read it?

        • Matt Browwwwn

          No. But I know what Carrier’s main points are, and they aren’t anything new or convincing to historians.

          Proponents of ID have been able to publish in peer-reviewed Journals. However, that doesn’t mean that ID as a theory is credible.

          • Ignorant Amos

            Well I suggest you read the book if that is what you think you know, lest you make a fool of yourself by commenting on it any further.

            Proponents of ID have been able to publish in peer-reviewed Journals. However, that doesn’t mean that ID as a theory is credible.

            That is a false equivalence and it is sad that you think the two are comparable. When Carrier’s thesis is roundly sacked by a supported argument, then you might have something, as yet, it isn’t. In fact, it is as at least as probable as the historicist position, and given all the background evidence, much more probable. But as you haven’t read the book, complete with an abundance of citation to support his argument, there isn’t much point in talking about it further. You know what you think you know, that is not a rational position to debate from I’m afraid.

            • Matt Browwwwn

              I suggest you not put so much stock in Richard Carrier’s arguments, for they aren’t anything good. I’ve seen his arguments that he’s shard from his book as well as his main points, and that is enough for me to know his position. I don’t have to read a 100$ book in order to know this, when much of it is written in an unecassary length. Carrier is a sensationlaist, which means he only cares about himself rather than the arguments. Even Carrier himself has said on his blog posts that Mythicism is only a viable theory if can convince the consensus and he also doesn’t care whether Jesus existed or not and that mythicism as a theory has yet to provide “gun-smoking” evidence.

              The point I was making about ID, was that it has peer-reviewed books and journals as well. However, that doesn’t mean ID as a theory is correct.

              Carrier is attempting to apply an unrelated field(Math) to biblical studies. Bayes Theorem is only as good as what you put into. Carrier denies that anything we have is evidence for Jesus existence(except for James the brother of the Lord, which he himself says is a good argument). Claiming that the probability of Jesus existence is 30% is extremeley speculative and false. Pointing to parallels as “proof” that Jesus didn’t exist is baloney.

              • Ignorant Amos

                I suggest you not put so much stock in Richard Carrier’s arguments, for they aren’t anything good.

                What stock would that be? Carrier has presented a thesis, no one has yet been able to refute it successfully, when and if they do, I will disregard it. For someone who has not read his book how can you state his arguments are not any good? Can you give me an example of an unsupported argument he has made that is not anything good?

                I’ve seen his arguments that he’s shard from his book as well as his main points, and that is enough for me to know his position.

                Cite an example.

                I don’t have to read a 100$ book in order to know this, when much of it is written in an unecassary length.

                Well apparently you do. How can you even make a statement on how necessary the length of the book is, if you are not even aware of it’s contents?

                Carrier is a sensationlaist, which means he only cares about himself rather than the arguments.

                Not only is that remark an ad him, it is grossly erroneous. If you had read the book, you’d know as much. I suggest you pick up a copy and at least read the Preface.

                Even Carrier himself has said on his blog posts that Mythicism is only a viable theory if can convince the consensus and he also doesn’t care whether Jesus existed or not and that mythicism as a theory has yet to provide “gun-smoking” evidence.

                Well I’m not sure it is accurate to say he doesn’t care about it, he has written enough to show that is not the case. What he doesn’t care about is a question of historical accuracy. There is no “smoking gun” for any of the plethora of posited Jesus’, historical or mythical, there may never be, Carrier just wants the subject approached objectively.

                But anyway, so what? You are not stating anything I’m not aware of, again, read the Preface of OHJ. Even just the first page, Carrier lays his cards on the table from the get go.

                The point I was making about ID, was that it has peer-reviewed books and journals as well. However, that doesn’t mean ID as a theory is correct.

                Again, so what? So, by your assertion, peer review is useless? I don’t care. The whinge was, that no mythicists work has been peer reviewed, that is not the case any more. Whether it makes a theory correct or not, is a non sequitur.

                Carrier is attempting to apply an unrelated field(Math) to biblical studies.

                Wrong, he is applying a theorem that predicts the probability of any truth claim being so. In this case it is all about history and nothing about mumbo jumbo. You really need to read the two books before making assertions.

                Bayes Theorem is only as good as what you put into.

                That is correct.

                Carrier denies that anything we have is evidence for Jesus existence(except for James the brother of the Lord, which he himself says is a good argument).

                No, what he says is that, in his opinion, it is the only actual evidence historicist have (Ch.11, subsection 10, page 582, OHJ). Chapter 10 is entitled “The Epistles”, subsection 10, “Brothers of the Lord”. Here Carrier goes into some detail on the subject.

                Element 12 of background evidence page 108…

                From as early as we can ascertain, Christians believed they became ‘brothers’ of the Lord Jesus Christ through baptism (ROM. 6.3-10), which symbolised their death to the world and rebirth as the ‘adopted sons of God’, hence they became the brothers of the Lord, the son of God. *101 Thus Jesus was only ‘the firstborn among many brethren’ (ROM.8.29).

                *101: extensive citation from the NT, Ireneaus, etc., see OHJ.

                Carrier gives the historicist the benefit of the doubt on this issue at two to one, even if it isn’t.

                Claiming that the probability of Jesus existence is 30% is extremeley speculative and false.

                Why? The point of the book is to show that it really isn’t. Moreover, it is more probably worse than that.

                Pointing to parallels as “proof” that Jesus didn’t exist is baloney.

                You are right. But your remark just shows how ignorant of the arguments you actually are.

                I’m not trying to be funny, but I’m not going to debate arguments in a book that the other side hasn’t read and hasn’t a clue what those arguments are and how they fit together to make a reasonable hypothesis. Either read the book and debate from a position of knowing it’s contents, or do the honourable thing and withdraw from the discussion.

                You do know that the consensus once favoured heliocentricity, creationism, the steady state origin of the universe, and the historicity of the patriarch Moses, but now don’t?

                If you don’t like Carrier for whatever reasons that is one thing, he isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but let’s leave personalities to one side. By all accounts, Sir Issac Newton was a nasty piece of work that was up his own ass, but his scholarship was, for the most part, sound.

                • Matt Browwwwn

                  “What stock would that be? Carrier has presented a thesis, no one has yet been able to refute it successfully, when and if they do, I will disregard it. For someone who has not read his book how can you state his arguments are not any good? Can you give me an example of an unsupported argument he has made that is not anything good?”

                  The Christ Myth Theory was refuted 100 years ago by top-rank scholars. It is “A Dead Theory in Academic Studies”. It is not taught at any University in the world. What Carrier is presenting isn’t that much different from what some scholars were presenting 100 years ago.. i.e.arguments from Parallel sources, extra-biblical sources being too late or forged or secondary. Paul’s episltes not having any merit or value because it contains too many theolgoical details. This kind of stuff is what Carrier is arguing although he’s refurbishing these arguments in a new way.

                  “Cite an example.”

                  I can give you plenty of examples of the kinds of arguments Carrier makes. One example is that Carrier claims that Paul hallucinated the Last Supper and Jesus’ teachings. However, Paul claims to have met with James and Peter and gathered information from them. The question is: Where is Paul receiving this kind of information about Jesus? Now the mythicist answer is that Paul just made it up from hallucinations. But that kind of agument isn’t supported by the historical-critical method. If Paul is claiming he isn’t recieving this kind of information from visions or hallucinations, and we know that he met with James(Jesus’ brother) and Peter(Jesus’ chief disciple) then the real answer is that Paul is in essence receiving information that was passed down orally and not from visions.

                  “Well apparently you do. How can you even make a statement on how necessary the length of the book is, if you are not even aware of it’s contents?”

                  I don’t have to read every single detail to know what his main points are. Can you point out what arguments that I don’t know about?

                  “Not only is that remark an ad him, it is grossly erroneous. If you had read the book, you’d know as much. I suggest you pick up a copy and at least read the Preface.”

                  It isn’t false or ad hominem at all. Ad hominem is attacking someone’s character instead of their arguments. I’m not saying Carrier is false because he’s a sensationalist. I’m saying he’s false because the Christ Myth Theory is psuedo-history and not based on any evidence whatsoever. Perhaps, you should read Carrier’s blog-posts to see the kind of junk he writes about scholars. His mistreatment of high-rank scholars like Ehrman and Casey are just flat-out rude and insulting. If that’s the case, then I seriously have no respect for someone like this. It’s one thing to try and argue against a consensus. It’s another thing to be a bully towards those who disagree with you.

                  “Well I’m not sure it is accurate to say he doesn’t care about it, he has written enough to show that is not the case. What he doesn’t care about is a question of historical accuracy. There is no “smoking gun” for any of the plethora of posited Jesus’, historical or mythical, there may never be, Carrier just wants the subject approached objectively.”

                  That’s not the feeling I get from reading one of Carrier’s blog posts:http://freethoughtblogs.com/carrier/archives/6084

                  Notice what he says:

                  “Notably I have long agreed with his overall thesis: objectively, the historicity of Jesus is no more important than the historicity of Socrates, and is really only an interesting question in history. It’s not an earth-shattering thesis in counter-apologetics. It would be only if we had smoking-gun scale evidence against historicity, and we don’t, due to the paucity of evidence survival and its hugely compromised state (OHJ, chs. 7 § 7 and 8 § 3-4 and § 12; also chs. 4, Element 22, and 5, Element 44). For example, if Christianity were based on the belief that a flying saucer was found at Roswell and alien bodies recovered from it and autopsied by the government, the evidence against that even having happened would certainly be exhibit A in any refutation of Christianity. But we have in the Jesus case nothing like the survival of evidence we have in the Roswell case. Hence I’ve made the point before:”

                  “Again, so what? So, by your assertion, peer review is useless? I don’t care. The whinge was, that no mythicists work has been peer reviewed, that is not the case any more. Whether it makes a theory correct or not, is a non sequitur.”

                  I never said Peer-review was “useless”. I certainly don’t think that at all. Peer-review is a great way of determining the quality of material. However, my point was that not all peer-reviewed material is correct. I’m sorry if I misplaced you in this category. In my discussion with mythicists in the past, they’ve frequently tried to claim that Carrier’s book is “proof” that Jesus never existed because it was published by a very good University.

                  “Wrong, he is applying a theorem that predicts the probability of any truth claim being so. In this case it is all about history and nothing about mumbo jumbo. You really need to read the two books before making assertions.”

                  But Carrier doesn’t follow the historical-critical method when studying the historical Jesus. That’s why he has to conform to BT. Don’t get me wrong, I like probabilities and BT. But BT is a strict mathematical rigorous formula. History is about deductive reasoning. That’s not to say you can’t use a probability in precise terms, but what it does mean is that you have to use words and terms to show that something is extremely probable. Things like Explanatory Scope, Plausibility, Degree of ad-hocness. These are the kind of things that historians look for.

                  “No, what he says is that, in his opinion, it is the only actual evidence historicist have (Ch.11, subsection 10, page 582, OHJ). Chapter 10 is entitled “The Epistles”, subsection 10, “Brothers of the Lord”. Here Carrier goes into some detail on the subject.”

                  HIs book should be very dissapointing if he thinks thats the only evidence historians have. However, that evidence alone is enough to cut the jugular of the mythicist vein because it shows that Jesus had earthly siblings which means Jesus had to have been real.

                  “From as early as we can ascertain, Christians believed they became ‘brothers’ of the Lord Jesus Christ through baptism (ROM. 6.3-10), which symbolised their death to the world and rebirth as the ‘adopted sons of God’, hence they became the brothers of the Lord, the son of God. *101 Thus Jesus was only ‘the firstborn among many brethren’ (ROM.8.29).”

                  This however doesn’t mean that every use of the word “brother” meant fictive kinship. Especially when Paul talks about James relationship to Jesus.

                  “Why? The point of the book is to show that it really isn’t. Moreover, it is more probably worse than that.”

                  Because if you assume that “James the brothers of the Lord” is the only piece of evidence for Jesus’ existence, then obviously the outcome is only going to be 30% or less. This means that Carrier ends up exlcuding 69-70% of the other evidence.

                  “You are right. But your remark just shows how ignorant of the arguments you actually are.”

                  I’m not sure how my remarks show how I’m ignorant when you just said I’m right….

                  “I’m not trying to be funny, but I’m not going to debate arguments in a book that the other side hasn’t read and hasn’t a clue what those arguments are and how they fit together to make a reasonable hypothesis. Either read the book and debate from a position of knowing it’s contents, or do the honourable thing and withdraw from the discussion.”

                  You keep claiming that I don’t have a clue about Carrier’s arguments because I haven’t read his book. But you don’t cite me what I don’t know regarding his arguments. I know what his arguments are because I’ve seen them been made by him in his debate with Dr.Crook, his blog posts, reviews of his new book, and I’ve seen the outline of his book. So again, can you please tell me where I misrepresent Carrier’s arguments?

                  “You do know that the consensus once favoured heliocentricity, creationism, the steady state origin of the universe, and the historicity of the patriarch Moses, but now don’t?”

                  You can’t compare a consensus from centuries ago to a consensus now, when we’re living in the 21st century and have advanced technology that has helped us uncover our knowledge about Judaism and the first-century, as well as archaeological findings and culturla/linguistic knowledge during Jesus’ time. Moses is still disputed in history. Using Carrier’s arguments I see?

                  “If you don’t like Carrier for whatever reasons that is one thing, he isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but let’s leave personalities to one side. By all accounts, Sir Issac Newton was a nasty piece of work that was up his own ass, but his scholarship was, for the most part, sound.”

                  I don’t dislike Carrier, but I don’t have respect for him because of his dishonesty as a Scholar. He’s lying in order to make money and or a name for himself. He could care less about the evidence. Just as long as his name goes down in the history books as another Academic who changes the consensus. If that’s the case, then I see no reason to have respect for him until he realizes what he’s doing. As a christian, I will pray for him.

          • Ignorant Amos

            BTW my point was, his book is peer reviewed and published by a reputable source. The argument was, mythicists haven’t yet published peer review, or scholarly publishing house. Now that one has, you attack!pt to move the goal posts by attempting such equivocation. Attack the argument please. Oh, sorry, you can’t, because you don’t know what it is or how it is supported.


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