Bart Ehrman on the Existence of a Historical Jesus

Preparing for the appearance of his new book, Did Jesus Exist?: The Historical Argument for Jesus of Nazareth, which is now in stock on Amazon.com, Bart Ehrman has published an article on the topic in the Huffington Post. His conclusion is “Whether we like it or not, Jesus certainly existed.” To see how he gets there, click through and read the article.

Bart Ehrman also now has a blog: Christianity in Antiquity: The Bart Ehrman Blog.

It is disappointing to see the discussion on Jerry Coyne’s blog, where a group that has banded together at least in part to combat those who introduce nonsense into science in the name of religion, and do not realize they are doing the same thing with respect to history: buying bogus claims found online, misunderstanding the methods and arguments of experts, and manufacturing controversy where none exists. Shame!

There are other posts about the book around the blogosphere, The most interesting is probably John Shuck, who got an advance copy of the book and has a review. That’s the first post in a series that is planned as part of a blog tour about the book. There is also a review at The Passive Habit, which I am linking to since it is relevant, even though it disturbingly recommends something by JP Holding! But it deserves a link if for no other reason than this great line: “It won’t deter the hardcore proponents of the [mythicist] hypotheis [sic], but perhaps some readers will be spared acceptance of such a moronic point of view because of Ehrman’s book.”

Also relevant to this topic is Tom Verenna’s review of Richard Carrier’s new book on historical methodology and Bayes’ Theorem, and Mike Kok’s post on Dale Allison’s treatment of the passion narratives, and how Paul’s letters provide evidence for the existence of that story well before the Gospels were written.

UPDATES: Since I originally posted this, a few other blog posts have appeared about this. Tom Verenna shared some agreements, and indicated that he will be posting a much longer list of disagreements on a later occasion. Neil Godfrey’s post provides some indication of how mythicists are reacting to Ehrman’s article and book.

Answers in Genesis BUSTED posted on a number of misconceptions and untenable arguments, and includes Jesus mythicism, concluding with the following:

What’s sauce for the creationists is sauce for the Jesus mythicists; Have your doubts and questions, but be humble and don’t assume you know it all, and especially don’t present a fringe viewpoint as a reason for someone else to accept your conclusion.

Let me also mention Mark Goodacre’s podcast which addresses historical Jesus criteria and methodology.

  • Cameron English

    No love for Holding, Dr. McGrath? I know he irritates a lot people, but his book about mythicism is well researched and rather convincing. 

    Anyway, thanks for the link.  

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

      Cameron, he showed up here once a few years ago and started attacking me because I had provided a blurb saying that if Christians wanted to interact with well-articulated atheist arguments, a particular book that John Loftus edited is a good choice. It was incredibly bizarre. He didn’t make a good impression. Prior to that I had sometimes wanted to link to things that he posted on his blog, but they seemed to always have a misspelling in the title. Really an odd character, from my perspective.

      • Cameron English

        To be sure, he’s idiosyncratic. But he’s a friend, and I’ve found much of his material very useful. Out of curiosity, which Loftus book were you recommending? 

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

          The Christian Delusion is the book, and here is a link that shows exactly what it is I wrote: http://www.amazon.com/Christian-Delusion-Why-Faith-Fails/dp/1616141689

          • Cameron English

            I wasn’t all that impressed with it. I thought Carrier and Price wrote interesting chapters, but none of the material was very convincing. What did you like about it?

  • Pingback: Religion at Butler U

  • Ian

    Unfortunately I wandered away from Coyne’s blog because of that anti-intellectual pseudo-scientific bent among the commentors. It is sad when a group that can recognize ideologically motivated sloppy thinking in others, celebrates it –  nay even requires it – in themselves.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_MUIGGGWVZRPI7DRSO4ENSPPHCQ ConnorO

    It’s not moronic, and there is no shame in challenging an entrenched orthodoxy to see if anything is holding it up other than a buck-passing consensus and cultural inertia.

    Mythicism may very well be wrong, and I’m interested to read Ehrman’s case on its merits. But as usual you substitute opprobrium for argument.

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

      That it is not moronic has yet to be demonstrated. The cases offered by folks like Dorothy Murdock and Earl Doherty certainly fit the description moronic aptly. They are bunk trying to disguise itself as scholarship. Whether one could make an actual scholarly case in the present day that is non-moronic can only be tested by someone actually doing that. 

  • Pingback: yardna.org

  • Cameron English

    I’m mildly amused (and annoyed) by the fact that the bulk of the mythicist case is based on silence. Of course, they would never accept the same kind of argument from William Lane Craig or Lee Strobel, but they’re happy to lower the standards when it comes to their own theories. That’s the moronic part. 

  • Ed Jones

    If Ehrman can make a case for the existence of a HJ from the writings of the NT, fine. However, I do not see that he has taken account of present historical methods and knowledge in NT studies with its conclusions: “None of the writings of the New Testament is apostolic witness to Jesus as the earrly church itself understood apostolicity. The sufficient evidence of this point is that all of them (the letters of Paul, the Gospels, as well as later writings of the New Testaament) have been shown tp depend on sources, written or oral, earlier than themselves, and hence not to be the original and originating witness that the early church mistook ihem to be in judging them to be apostolic. The witness of the apostles is taken to be the real Christian norm, even if we today have to locate this norm not in the writings of the New Testament but in the earliest stratum of Christian witness accessible to us, given our own methods of historical analysis and reconstrudtion.” (Schubert Ogden).        

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

      Ehrman fully takes mainstream historical methods and conclusions into account. Paul’s authentic letters give us access to a first-generation Christian who knew Jesus’ brother. Were it not for the determination of some to create controversy where none is justified, much as happens with evolution, climate change, and other subjects, then there would be no need for a book like Ehrman’s on a topic like this.

      • Jim Jones

        “Paul’s authentic letters give us access to a first-generation Christian who knew Jesus’ brother.”

        How do you know which is/are authentic? All we have is textual analysis which says that Romans, 1 & 2 Corinthians and Philomen were written by one author. The rest are by different authors.

        You are already making an assumption if you claim Paul wrote these four. And then you come up with the “I’ve danced with a man, who’s danced with a girl, who’s danced with the Prince of Wales” (1927 by Herbert Farjeon) ‘argument’. Hardly rock solid support!If you go through every epistle and collect all references to Simon Peter you wind up with something so slight as to be negligible.’Jesus’ is as reliable in history as Robin Hood and William Tell.

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

      Thanks, Tom! Having updated this post twice, rather than have those get missed, I may just make a round two post. Carrier’s points deserve a response, I think.

    • jjramsey

       I do wonder what’s going on with that Huffington Post article that Carrier critiqued? Did an editor at HuffPo chop it up or something? I really have to wonder where something like,

      “With respect to Jesus, we have numerous, independent accounts of his
      life in the sources lying behind the Gospels (and the writings of Paul)
      – sources that originated in Jesus’ native tongue Aramaic and that can
      be dated to within just a year or two of his life (before the religion
      moved to convert pagans in droves)”

      comes from, especially when he’s been so lucid elsewhere.

      I do find it funny, though, how he claims that James could have earned the title “brother of the Lord” by “simply being a baptized Christian,” ignoring that in 1 Cor. 9:5 Christians such as the apostles and Cephas were obviously not called “brothers of the Lord.”

  • Anonymous

    James, if you respond to Carrier, would you graciously send him a link to it?  I think he would like to know your thoughts on the matter as well, should you decide to challenge his arguments.

  • Anonymous

    I actually note in my post that I have a chapter on this in a forthcoming collection of essays I coedited with Thomas Thompson.  But Carrier does a good job explaining the argument on his blog with links (important to follow the links and check the resources).

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

    I’ve posted my response to Carrier’s response 

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/2012/03/responding-to-richard-carriers-response-to-bart-ehrman.html 

    My biggest criticism is that, having criticized Ehrman for the inevitable infelicities of wording in a newspaper op-ed, Carrier then simply writes as an internet apologist rather than in a scholarly manner, talking about Ehrman as simply having made mistakes, rather than recognizing the most likely meaning of what Ehrman wrote and trying to articulate where his (i.e. Carrier’s) own interpretation of the evidence is different, and why. I found it very disappointing, not to mention unpersuasive, although it is par for the course when it comes to mythicism.

  • Jim Jones

    Despite its age, this sums up the truth as well as anything.

    Quote:  “The Jesus Christ of the Gospels could not possibly have been a real
    person. He is a combination of impossible elements. There may have lived
    in Palestine, nineteen centuries ago, a man whose name was Jesus, who
    went about doing good, who was followed by admiring associates, and who
    in the end met a violent death. But of this possible person, not a line
    was written when he lived, and of his life and character the world of
    today knows absolutely nothing. This Jesus, if he lived, was a man; and,
    if he was a reformer, he was but one of many that have lived and died
    in every age of the world. When the world shall have learned that the
    Christ of the Gospels is a myth, that Christianity is untrue, it will
    turn its attention from the religious fictions of the past to the vital
    problems of today, and endeavor to solve them for the improvement of the
    well-being of the real men and women whom we know, and whom we ought to
    help and love.”

    From “Did Jesus Christ Really Live?” — by Marshall J. Gauvin (ca. 1922)

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

      Jim Jones, if your first comment accurately reflects your own viewpoint, then why do you come across as though you are arguing against Ehrman rather than agreeing with him? And why, if you are seeking to engage with historical research on this topic, do you quote older out-of-date materials and discuss whether there is “rock solid” evidence when that is not what historians have for the vast majority of the poor and non-powerful figures in ancient history?

      Do also see my review of the book in two parts in recent posts. Perhaps it will turn out that you were arguing against what you thought Ehrman was saying, rather than what he actually wrote.

      • Jim Jones

        I agree with most of what Ehrman has said previously, however I disagree
        with his attack on the myth argument, which, IMO, is well founded.

        Instead of reading the gospels I tried to look at them and decide what
        form of literature they were (since there’s no point in arguing the
        historical accuracy of a soap opera — or a space opera). After chewing
        it over I concluded that they were comic books — and very like the
        Superman comic books at that.  (The lack of pictures is a function of
        the cost structure of books of that time and not significant).

        This shouldn’t be a surprise. This form of literature is very attractive – we see echoes of it in urban myths.

        Given that, they simply don’t reflect the actual life of an actual man.
        ‘Jesus’ is a hero figure and the incidents of his life are pretty
        standard fare for the time and place.

        I quoted Gauvin because it makes the point that little progress has been
        made. Once you rip the gospels out of the NT (and assuming you ignore
        Revelation for obvious reasons) all you have left are the epistles. Not
        much to base a world wide religion on – let alone 2,000 years of torture
        and murder “to protect the faith”.

        BTW, I do accept that the authors of ‘Superman’ may have based their
        hero on Jesus, even if they were unconscious of it. However this doesn’t
        prove that the gospel authors didn’t base their works on even earlier
        works.

        Whatever the gospels are, they are not history nor biography in any
        sense that we would use the terms. There is no method of divination that
        can extract any ‘real’ incidents from them. Any input the authors got
        from early Christianity as to events is no more solid than the ‘fanfic’
        which has grown up around TV shows of our times, such as “Star Trek”.

        Gauvin got it right.

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

          Jim Jones, any text can be read as fiction, or merely as story. But historians study texts and often find that some of them intend to provide at least some historical information, and some do so even in passing while writing historical fiction. To simply treat the early Christian sources as though they are all written in the as yet not extant genres of the comic book or science fiction is to ignore all the relevant historical questions. Historians simply cannot do that.

          • Jim Jones

            “But historians study texts and often find that some of them intend to provide at least some historical information, and some do so even in passing while writing historical fiction.”

            Indeed. You can find actual information in the novels of James Bond – or Harry Potter. But to determine what is truth and what is not you have to apply knowledge gained elsewhere. There is no source of knowledge for gospel Jesus outside of the NT that can be relied on. There was too much invention and re-invention and rewriting of it all. Even the basic facts are missing, dates of birth, death, names and places. So much of what is written is known to be wrong or makes no sense.

            As for the genre, that’s been with us since men told tales around camp fires at night. It isn’t new, we just have to recognize it when we see it.

            Give me one fact, or two facts, or more and I can deduce something from them. Here we have no facts at all, merely guesses (often called ‘traditions’) and wishes.

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

              Jim Jones, I think to begin with, you ought to stop making facile comparisons to modern novels, unless you are going to explain how the Gospels supposedly were written for entertainment and yet ended up being the almost exclusive possession of a community that mistook them unanimously for something else.

              You also seem to know a lot about the motives of these authors. What is your source of information for those motives? Or are you simply extrapolating that every Christian you have ever met was an ignoramus or a charlatan, and therefore they all must have been like that 2,000 years ago, even at a time when their movement was not even called Christianity yet?

              You also seem to imagine people telling these stories around the campfire, and they may well have. But why did they do so? And for how long? And what is your basis for concluding that people in oral cultures did not pass on factual information and legends based in fact in such settings, as well as purely fictional information?

              You seem as well to assume that if sources come from someone’s devotees, those people are not only biased in favor of that individual, but cannot be trusted even to say whether he existed. Would you treat the case of Socrates, for instance, in the same way, saying that his students cannot be trusted to tell us whether or not he existed? Isn’t that rather ridiculous?

              Do not forget what it is that Paul and the Gospels were claiming. They claimed that this man Joshua was descended from David and the one anointed by God to restore the line of David to the kingship as they believed God had promised. They claimed this and sought to persuade others to believe it, even though they also said the individual in question had been crucified by the Romans. What makes it seem more likely that this was invented, as opposed to coming about in the manner that all professional historians conclude, with a group that believed that an actual person Joshua was the Messiah, and when he was executed, rather than admit failure, they coped with the cognitive dissonance by claiming his post-mortem vindication by God?

              • Jim Jones

                Wow! What a lot of assumption and conflation.

                “Jim Jones, I think to begin with, you ought to stop making facile comparisons to modern novels”

                Which avoids the point I made – all stories are really stories about humans. As such, they are rooted in our lives and experiences. It’s quite usual for them to be based more or less on real places, events or people. That
                doesn’t make them non-fiction.

                 “unless you are going to explain how the Gospels supposedly were written for entertainment and yet ended up being the almost exclusive possession of a community that mistook them unanimously for something
                else.”

                I didn’t say they were written for entertainment except in the widest sense. It’s as likely that they were written by later devotees of the Pauline religion as speculative fiction – as what ‘might’ have happened.

                 “You also seem to know a lot about the motives of these authors. “

                 The audience is the author. If you ask who they were written for you may get closer to why they were written at all. That they were written in Greek, for Greeks, by Greeks is very telling. Where are the Aramaic writings about (or by) Jesus?

                “What is your source of information for those motives?“

                 I think about things.

                 “Or are you simply extrapolating that every Christian you have ever met was an ignoramus or a charlatan “

                I made no such claim. I merely avoided unreasonable supposition. It takes very little to create a myth – the example of Cassie Bernall is always with us.

                “and therefore they all must have been like that 2,000 years ago, even at a time when their movement was not even called Christianity yet?”

                Who said all? There were many writings in the early years. The selection in the NT is a very arbitrary one.

                “You also seem to imagine people telling these stories around the campfire, and they may well have. “

                You’re conflating much earlier times with those around the epoch.

                “But why did they do so? “

                 Who doesn’t like a good story?

                 “And for how long? “

                 It hasn’t stopped.

                “And what is your basis for concluding that people in oral cultures did not pass on factual information and legends based in fact in such settings, “

                Why would they? The most factual information in the NT is, IMO, the lists of ‘begats’ – and we can reasonably suspect that those have been altered by the gospel authors. Why would ancients care much about facts other than those which were important to life and death? A peoples’ myths are more important to them – myths such as the slavery in Egypt, their escape and their wanderings in the wilderness, not to mention their unbelievable ‘triumphs’ over other peoples.

                “as well as purely fictional information?”

                Look at the OT. Look at how much of that is fictional, how little is supported by any actual evidence.

                “You seem as well to assume that if sources come from someone’s devotees, those people are not only biased in favor of that individual

                Not a surprise. Talked to any Scientologists lately? Or LDS?

                “but cannot be trusted even to say whether he existed. “

                There’s much, much better evidence he did not.

                “Would you treat the case of Socrates, for instance, in the same way, saying that his students cannot be trusted to tell us whether or not he existed? Isn’t that rather ridiculous?”

                We don’t worship Socrates. We still do have evidence for him. We don’t even have the evidence for Jesus that we have for Glycon.

                “Do not forget what it is that Paul and the Gospels were claiming. “

                Don’t conflate these. Paul never saw (or heard) the gospels. And the gospels may have little in common with whatever Paul’s religion was.

                “They claimed that this man Joshua was descended from David and the one anointed by God to restore the line of David to the kingship as they believed God had promised. “

                 Who did? The Jews? The early (and mostly Greek) Christians?

                 “They claimed this and sought to persuade others to believe it, even though they also said the individual in question had been crucified by the Romans. “

                That lets out the Jews. They would never accept a dead (or risen) messiah.

                 “What makes it seem more likely that this was invented, as opposed to coming about in the manner that all professional historians conclude

                Any “professional historians” who support this aren’t very professional.

                 “with a group that believed that an actual person Joshua was the Messiah, “

                 Converts from other Greek paganisms who wanted a pagan Jesus.

                 “and when he was executed, rather than admit failure, they coped with the cognitive dissonance by claiming his post-mortem vindication by God?”

                No, for the Greeks that was not a problem. Re-risen gods were normal for them.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=681367580 Paul Regnier

    Picking on a dead girl Jim, classy. 

    I would actually say that Cassie Bernall presented is a very good example of the kind of process that scholars think is happening in places in the NT and why mythicist assumptions are wrong: Even where, as in this case, a story about a person may not be historically true, it would be rash to think that the person is therefore a fiction. 

    Myself I would say that the story attached to Cassie still tells us something about how she died, but tells us more about how those who passed on the story viewed Cassie or wished to represent her and that they saw her death as in some way significant. 

    To believe the Jesus myth thing Jim, we have to swallow the claim that a wholly fictitious figure could be mistaken for a historical one, just a few decades after this figure’s supposed life, and where nobody seems to have remembered that it was all just a fiction or objected that a mistake has taken place. I might find this slightly more convincing if you could offer me any comparable examples?

    • Jim Jones

      “Picking on a dead girl”? Wow! In terms of missing the point it’s a perfect example. This entire myth, the source of books and a movie and of a belief I’m sure some have to this day, was based on a simple misunderstanding corrected within a day. And this was in the 20th century with all of our modern recording technology.

      And yet the train of delusion rolled on!

      Examples? Robin Hood, King Arthur, William Tell are just a few. And then there’s Lady Godiva – who was real but wasn’t called Lady Godiva and never rode a horse naked. Her story was mistold after 100 years – by monks!

      As for “collective amnesia” your devotees suffered from it to the extent that they never noted the date or place of Jesus’ birth nor of his death so it all had to be re-imagined 100 years or more later.

      Of course you have it backwards. ‘Jesus’ started off as a mythic figure, possibly with no name or a different name, and step by step with the re-telling was moved closer to reality, every telling adding a little more.

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

        I am puzzled. You mentioned figures either who existed but were transformed radically after their deaths, or figures about whom historians are unsure whether there was a historical figure at the root of the later legends. And so how are those supposed to help you defend mythicism, which says that Jesus was not such a figure but was completely fictional? They seem better as examples of what mainstream historians say about Jesus – that he was a real figure, so thoroughly transformed in later centuries that it can be hard to get a glimpse of the actual historical figure at all. Are you sure you are a mythicist?

        • Jim Jones

          And once again I refer you to this:
          “Did Jesus Christ Really Live?” — by Marshall J. Gauvin
          — with emphasis on “There may have lived in Palestine, nineteen centuries ago, a man whose name was Jesus …”

          As for your “better examples” there’s Ned Ludd (or Ned Lud or Ned Ludlam or Edward Ludlam). Not so very long ago!

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

            So basically the impression I got when you first visited here was an incorrect one, and you are not in fact a mythicist?

            • Jim Jones

              So far I see no evidence of a historical Jesus. However I don’t doubt the possibility, no matter how unlikely, that such evidence might just turn up somewhere. I do doubt that such a Jesus will be anything like gospel Jesus, so I expect you will be far more shocked and surprised than I will be.

              And what sort of evidence would be the best? Far and away the very best would be something like Lucian’s criticism of Glycon, or rather of his creator, Alexander of Abonutichus. That would be very powerful.

              • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=681367580 Paul Regnier

                So… let me get this straight…

                You *reject* the historical existence of Jesus of Nazareth, reputed to be a prophet, miracle worker, and descended from a divine being. 

                But…

                 You *accept* the historical existence of Alexander of Abonutichus, reputed to be er…. a prophet, miracle worker, and um… descended from a divine being. 

                Jim, when you can come up with an opinion which at least passes the basic test of being logically consistent, please do let me know.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=681367580 Paul Regnier

        Jim,

        The historical Jesus died c. 30 CE and by the 50′s CE we have Paul stating that he had a historical existence and providing some  details about his life. By c. 70 CE we have Mark and 80-90 CE Matthew and Luke and pretty much the whole Jesus story in place from virgin birth to resurrection (and which tie in with the details provided by Paul). 

        If you can point to any references to King Arthur that date to within 25 (or even 100) years of his likely death, I’d be interested to know what they are. Robin Hood is a poor analogy as the story develops over *centuries* (as does Arthur’s), while William Tell also first appears much later than his supposed existence.

        Also, Arthur is not mentioned in places where, were he historical he should be (e.g. Bede). I’ve never seen Robin Hood mentioned in any work of history and it seems that the William Tell stories were at an early date circulated with a caution that they were fictitious. 

        So while mentioning legendary characters is all very well, can you show me that they offer any evidence for the kind of collective amnesia you think has taken case in the place of Jesus? 

        PS: As DrMcGrath says, it’s not entirely clear that e.g. Arthur or Robin Hood did not have some basis in history, and as you yourself admit, there was a historical Lady Godiva. If you have any better examples, that would be nice.

        • Jim Jones

          “The historical Jesus died c. 30 CE”

          There is no historical Jesus, only gospel Jesus (or Jesii, since there are so many conflicting versions).

          “and by the 50′s CE we have Paul stating”

          We have no provably authentic Pauline documents

          “that he had a historical existence and providing some  details about his life.”

          On the contrary, any reading of the epistles gives a picture of  mythic Jesus. And then there’s the problem of who wrote those.

          “By c. 70 CE we have Mark and 80-90 CE Matthew and Luke”

          All of these dates are highly speculative and based almost entirely on wishful thinking.

          “and pretty much the whole Jesus story in place from virgin birth to resurrection (and which tie in with the details provided by Paul).”

          Say what? Paul’s recounting of the basic facts of Jesus is one of the most oddly phrased things you could find. And Paul clearly never read the gospels.

          Further, the gospels trace their origin back to many sources, including the Pentateuch and in particular Isaiah. Nothing points to a “real Jesus”.

          As for the dates of the gospels, can you, for example, prove beyond doubt that any one of the gospels was written before the bar Kochba rebellion?

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

            Can you prove beyond doubt, to someone determined to allow any and all ad hoc alternative explanations for the data in the manner that you are in the case of both Jesus and Paul, that there was a Bar Kochba rebellion?

            • Jim Jones

              Why would anyone fake the Bar Kochba rebellion? For what purpose? 

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

                Why would anyone fake a seemingly failed king of the Jews and proclaim him anyway? For what purpose?

                • Jim Jones

                  Why do all god-makers invent fake god-men? There’s power or money in it.

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

                    But we are dealing with a non-God man in this case, at least initially.

                    Where is the money, in a first century context, in a crucified king of the Jews?

                    • Jim Jones

                      Where was the money in Joseph Smith’s inventions? Or those of 
                      Bernadette Soubirous?

  • Jim Jones

    “You *accept* the historical existence of Alexander of Abonutichus, reputed to be er…. a prophet, miracle worker, and um… descended from a divine being.”

    No. You’ve conflated Alexander with his creation, Glycon. Fail.

    And I am quite consistent on this subject. 

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=681367580 Paul Regnier

      Jim – if you accept that Lucian’s criticism of Glaucon’s origins, presumably you must also accept Lucian’s view that his creator Alexander had a historical existence?

      So again, it seems to me that:

      You *reject* the historical existence of Jesus of Nazareth, reputed to be a prophet, miracle worker, and descended from a divine being. 

      But… You *accept* the historical existence of Alexander of Abonutichus, reputed to be er…. a prophet, miracle worker, and um… descended from a divine being. 

      So yup, when you have an opinion that passes the basic test of being logically consistent, lets chat more.

      • Jim Jones

        You just repeated yourself.

        Quote: “The contemporary writer Lucian reports that he was an utter fraud – the god Glycon was supposedly constructed out of a glove puppet. The vivid narrative of his career given by Lucian might be taken as fictitious but for the corroboration of certain coins of the emperors Lucius Verus and Marcus Aurelius and of a statue of Alexander, said by Athenagoras to have stood in the forum of Parium.”

        That wasn’t hard to find.

        However you’ve failed to follow the rules of debate set out here:

        http://atheismresource.com/wp-content/uploads/Debate-Flow-Chart1.jpg 

        which means I win all points.

  • Paul R

    Jim,

    I’ll post a longer reply later. I can’t be bothered to read your rules of debate, but I take it they include something like “if you can cut and paste something directly from Wikipedia, then *you win*”?

  • Jim Jones

    > “I can’t be bothered to read your rules of debate”

    It’s a picture.

    > ” but I take it they include something like “if you can cut and paste something directly from Wikipedia, then *you win*”?”

    No, they say that if you are just another liar for Jesus I win. If you can stick to the topic at hand without trying to cheat at every opportunity then we have a debate. Rare indeed is the theist who can do that.


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X