Victor Paul Furnish on Mythicism

New Testament scholar Victor Paul Furnish wrote the following in the conclusion to his review of a volume featuring mythicist and minimalist scholars’ perspectives on Jesus:

The mythicists, in particular, summarily dismiss prevailing views about Jesus and the Gospels as governed by religious interests; arbitrarily apply paradigms derived from the study of ancient Near Eastern literature and mythology to first-century Christianity; and mistakenly assume that the presence of mythic and legendary elements in the Gospel narratives makes them ipso facto worthless as historical sources. Moreover, most of the contributors take little account of the role of the Christian communities within which the New Testament writings originated, to which they were directed, and for which they provide, unquestionably, firsthand historical evidence. In sum, while several of these essays provide helpful readings of the ancient sources, or raise provocative questions about using them, nothing that is presented or argued here requires abandoning the evidence commonly offered for the historicity of Jesus.

  • http://lotharlorraine.wordpress.com/ Lotharson

    Hello James.

    I think it is fair to say that the most influential and credible Mythicist is Dr. Richard Carrier.

    As I indicated, I am currently (among other things) critically analyzing his concept of probabiklity.
    I don’t think it is useful to view probabilities as subjective degrees of beliefs as he does, but interestingly enough I think it is possible to analyze historical propositions as frequencies of a very great number of similar events in a theoretical infinite world.
    (And this also the case of such a simple probability as that of a coin landing head).

    The main problem I see is that (in many historical situations) enormous approximations have to be made, a point Dr. Carrier all too often ignores. I’ll keep you in touch.

    I wish you all the best and merry Christmas if we don’t correspond in between.

    Lovely greetings from Europe.

  • J Smith

    Furnish,

    Between your review of Is This Not the Carpenter?, other articles and the above fallacious and assumptive comment…I would thoroughly enjoy taking you to the woodshed via debate regarding your knowledge of Christianity and Jesus as it interacts with your delusional belief without proof.

    If you graduated university and still believe in God, then you weren’t paying attention or attended the wrong academic institution.

    Perhaps one day you can overcome indoctrination, delusional belief and decompartmentalize your superstitious beliefs from your reasoning faculties.

    • Matt Brown

      J Smith, The idea that Jesus was a myth is not held by virtually any scholar or historian, whether secular or religious. Mythicism is psuedoscholarship in the academic realm. The idea that Jesus never existed is a baseless claim and one that lacks any proof. In fact, there is no proof that Jesus was a myth. All the evidence is in favor of Jesus being a real historical figure. The evidence for his existence is simply overwhelming.

      • J Smith

        Matt,…Wrong!

        Richard Carrier
        GA Wells
        Robert Price
        DM Murduch
        Earl Doherty
        A. Adair
        FC Bauer
        Gerald Massey
        AC Grayling
        D Barker
        Kenn Thomas
        AB Kuhn
        J Wheless
        D Fitzgerald
        Kersey Graves
        JM Robertson
        KL Knoll
        T Thompson

        Would you like me to list more?
        Thank you for confirmation of not keeping abreast of the current state of NT criticism.

        Btw, Matt, the non-existence of something does not require proof but the existence does. Do you not know the rules of logic and reasoning?

        “The evidence is overwhelming”. No it isn’t.
        There is NO contemporaneous evidence andor historical writing for the supposed actions and life of Jesus and can easily be plotted on a time-line to prove such.

        Additionally, current NT scholarship is now dating the Gospels to no earlier than the mid second century…over 150 years after the supposed life of Jesus.

        Not to mention that if the Gospels are synoptic then why does Matthew use 95% of Mark and Luke uses 60% of Mark?
        Eyewithness tesitmony does not use or need plagiarization if based upon truth and witness.

        Not familiar with the conclusions regarding the Nag Hammadi texts and Dead Sea Scrolls and how gnoticism is the primary “spiritual” implication?

        Overwhelming? Only in the mind of deluded believers and those that do not know the subject.

        • Matt Brown

          Richard Carrier- A credible historian and psuedoscholar.
          GA Wells- A professor of German, not relevant to the historical Jesus.
          Robert Price- A credible NT scholar and psuedoscholar.
          DM Murduch- A lay person w/ a bachelor’s. Not a credible historian.
          Earl Doherty- A lay person w/ a bachelor’s. Not a credible historian.
          A. Adair- Physicist, not a historian or scholar of NT or ancient history.
          FC Bauer- Scholar during the 20th century. His views are dead in academic mainstream.
          Gerald Massey
          AC Grayling- A philosopher. Not relevant to the historical Jesus.
          D Barker- A lay person w/ a bachelor’s whose not a historian or scholar.
          Kenn Thomas- A conspiracy theorist. Not an actual historian or scholar.
          AB Kuhn- A scholar from the early 20th. Not relevant to mainstream scholarship today.
          J Wheless- A laywer from the 20th century when mythicism was already dying in mainstream academia.
          D Fitzgerald- Not a historian or scholar, but a skeptic and lay researcher.
          Kersey Graves- A 20th century skeptic and not a historian or scholar. But even if he was, his views do not count toward mainstream academia.
          JM Robertson- Journalist and not a scholar. Lived during the 20th century.
          KL Knoll- Not a mythicist, but was introduced into a chapter regarding a book on mythicism. He’s mostly an OT scholar and even he himself says “that the lack of historical accuracy in the gospels is not proof that Jesus did not exist.”
          T Thompson- An OT bible scholar who is not relevant to NT scholarship.

          Out of all these people you mentioned, only two are credible trained scholars and or historians, who are relevant in the study of the historical Jesus(Robert Price and Richard Carrier). The rest are scholars with outdated work, not scholars at all, or scholars of the OT who have no relevance to the NT or expertise in classics. This exactly proves my point: You won’t find virtually any historian or scholar that thinks that Jesus didn’t exist because it’s false. Mythcism=young earth creationism.

          “Btw, Matt, the non-existence of something does not require proof but the existence does. Do you not know the rules of logic and reasoning?”

          The non-existence of something does require proof. I can tell you’ve been listening to James Randi. Although no philosopher thinks that you can’t prove a negative. The statement “You can’t prove a negative” is in itself a negative, so your argument is self-defeating. In fact, I can prove a few negatives. There are no square-circles. There are no married bachelors. There is no Santa Clause. None of these things exist.

          “There is NO contemporaneous evidence andor historical writing for the supposed actions and life of Jesus and can easily be plotted on a time-line to prove such.”

          Yes there is, it’s called oral tradition.

          “Additionally, current NT scholarship is now dating the Gospels to no earlier than the mid second century…over 150 years after the supposed life of Jesus.”

          Way to copy from wikipedia. NT scholars don’t date the gospels that late. The latest gospel is John and that was written within at most 60 years of Jesus life. The earliest gospel is Mark, and that was written within 20-30 years of Jesus life.

          “Not to mention that if the Gospels are synoptic then why does Matthew use 95% of Mark and Luke uses 60% of Mark?
          Eyewithness tesitmony does not use or need plagiarization if based upon truth and witness.”

          That’s where your wrong. Being synoptic does not make them myth. I don’t know where you get the idea that because they borrow some things or omit some things from each other as being proof that Jesus didn’t exist. That’s a non-sequitir. Eyewitness testimony contradicts each other. That’s what makes it more reliable and historically true. All 4 gospels are independent and borrow or omit some things, which makes it more plausible and accurate.

          “Not familiar with the conclusions regarding the Nag Hammadi texts and Dead Sea Scrolls and how gnoticism is the primary “spiritual” implication?”

          How are these texts relevant to Jesus existence? Most of the Nag Hammadi gospel texts are forgeries, and in fact, they actually prove Jesus existence more plausible than not. First, they might contain some extra sayings of Jesus that the gospels don’t. Second, the fact that most of them are forged proves that the Gospels are early and historical. It proves that the 4 gospel accounts can be trusted since the nag hammadi gospel texts developed over time, which is what we would expect from something being legendary. The gospel accounts were written so early, that even if legend did develop, it wouldn’t remove the core historical facts from the gospel narratives themselves.

          “Overwhelming? Only in the mind of deluded believers and those that do not know the subject.”

          No, it’s overwhelming to any secular or religious historian or scholar of the NT who has studied it. I think you’re the one whose deluded since your not even open to the evidence. Stop reading infidels and pick up an actual book from someone relevant in NT scholarship or ancient history.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sdSXJncFA-o

          • J Smith

            Hilarious!
            You promote credential fallacy and then link a Bart Ehrman videobook?
            Bart’s book has been excessively lampooned and is considered a joke…especially considering much of the text derives from his students work.

            Outdated work? More hilarity.
            All knowledge is based upon and owes a debt to that which came before…or do you think that Einsteins work on relativity is “outdated”?
            Open mouth, insert foot!

            “The non-existence of something does require proof”.
            And I can tell you have no training in philosophy. For the purposes of a “god debate” …you cannot prove a negative.
            Your straw man @ “squared circle” is either deflection or ignorance since the subject is god and Jesus. Did you think you were going to get away with that absurdity?

            Statistically speaking “oral tradition” is unreliable…so if you are basing your belief on oral tradition without other proof…you are screwed.

            Based upon the mythical Jesus being born @4BCE-6CE and dying 30CE-33CE….there is NO contemporaneous writing or testimony from that time gap.

            And before you attempt to reply with Josephus, Tacitus, etc….bone up on the current scholarship on the interpolations and forgeries of the Church.

            If you do not understand how the NH and DSS affect the Jesus myth then you should do some research before commenting.
            And considering all the Gospels are forgeries, you either highlight your ignorance or exhibit hypocrisy in accepting some and not others.

            Another straw man @ “synoptic vs myth”. If Mattew and Luke were eyewitness they would not be a plagiarization of Mark. Long refuted apologetics you are attempting.

            As for delusion…since my position is unbelief…by definition it is you who are deluded. Or do you not know the definition of delusion?

            Nice try…come back when you are not regurgitating outdated apologetics and have a better knowledge of current scholarship.

            BOTTOMLINE: THERE IS NO PROOF OF ANY VERACITY TO PROVE THE EXISTENCE OF THE JESUS OF THE NT.

            • Matt Brown

              “Hilarious!
              You promote credential fallacy and then link a Bart Ehrman videobook?
              Bart’s book has been excessively lampooned and is considered a joke…especially considering much of the text derives from his students work.”

              There’s no such thing as a “Credential fallacy”. If someone claims Jesus didnt’ exist, and is not a relevant scholar with credentials in the field of ancient history or NT scholarship, then their opinion doesn’t matter.

              Who has Bart’s book been lampooned by? Again, another baseless assertion you make. Much of the text derives from NT and historical scholarship.

              “Statistically speaking “oral tradition” is unreliable…so if you are basing your belief on oral tradition without other proof…you are screwed.”

              Says who? What historian of classics thinks oral tradition in general is unreliable since it was common back then?

              “And I can tell you have no training in philosophy. For the purposes of a “god debate” …you cannot prove a negative.
              Your straw man @ “squared circle” is either deflection or ignorance since the subject is god and Jesus. Did you think you were going to get away with that absurdity?”

              Seriously? That statement “You can’t prove a negative” is in istelf a negative. You just contradicted yourself.

              How is a square circle a strawman? Do you even know what a straw man is? A straw man is when you ignore your opponent’s argument and instead substitute an overexaggerated or misplaced argument. A square circle is a logical contradiction.

              “If you do not understand how the NH and DSS affect the Jesus myth then you should do some research before commenting.”

              I’ve already done research on the NH and DSS and they prove the gospel accounts as authentic.

              “And considering all the Gospels are forgeries, you either highlight your ignorance or exhibit hypocrisy in accepting some and not others.”

              No they’re not. Stop reading junk off infidels.

              “Another straw man @ “synoptic vs myth”. If Mattew and Luke were eyewitness they would not be a plagiarization of Mark. Long refuted apologetics you are attempting.”

              Not a straw man(see comment above as to what a straw man is) The fact that there are contradictions make the accounts more historical. Eyewitness testimony will always be different.

              “As for delusion…since my position is unbelief…by definition it is you who are deluded. Or do you not know the definition of delusion?”

              I’m not deluded since I believe Jesus existed based on hard historical evidence. Your position is not the default. You need to give positive reasons for the non-existence of something. In your case, that would be Jesus of Nazareth, and yet all you have done is attacked me and Dr. McGrath

              “Nice try…come back when you are not regurgitating outdated apologetics and have a better knowledge of current scholarship.”

              Says the guy who posted 20th century historians and NT scholars.

              • J Smith

                “There’s no such thing as a “Credential fallacy”.”

                Really? Then the wiki page and every other reference of such fallacious argument must be wrong.

                Based upon your own definition then your own comments “do not matter”. Can’t see your own hypocrisy?

                Thinking that an individual needs initials behind a name to be relevent is itself a fallacy.

                Google Robert M Prices review of Barts book. Poor Bart gets shredded due to his use of the same type of fallacy you practice.

                “That statement “You can’t prove a negative” is in istelf a negative”.
                Further confirmation of your undereducation on the topic. Let’s prove my point with an exercise: Prove to me in your next comment that unicorns do not exist.
                You cannot.

                “How is a square circle a strawman”?
                Do you actually think that contrdictive terms are a “negative” as it relates comparatively to the existence of Jesus?

                “Eyewitness testimony will always be different”.
                No shit!
                I am specifically referencing that Mark, Matthew and Luke are nearly exactly the same in word use and sentence structure. The commonality is what proves the plagiarization!

                There is NO HARD PHYSICAL evidence for your delusional belief. If there were you would offer it.

                How do you not know that “unbelief” is the default position of reason and the rules of logic?????????
                Based upon the rules of logic and the scientific method it is the one claiming existence that needs to offer the proof.
                For which you have none, period.

                Respectfully, you are seriously undereducated on multiple levels.

                • Matt Brown

                  “Really? Then the wiki page and every other reference of such fallacious argument must be wrong.”

                  People can change things on wiki and or wikipedia, so it’s not always credible.

                  “Based upon your own definition then your own comments “do not matter”. Can’t see your own hypocrisy?”

                  What Hypocrisy?

                  “Thinking that an individual needs initials behind a name to be relevent is itself a fallacy.”

                  No it’s not. A person who says “Jesus didn’t exist” and is not an expert in the fields of NT scholarship or ancient history, is not qualified to speak on the matter.

                  If a historian said the “earth is 6000 years old”, his opinion is not relevant because he’s not trained in the fields of geology, biology, or science.

                  “Google Robert M Prices review of Barts book. Poor Bart gets shredded due to his use of the same type of fallacy you practice.”

                  Robert M. Price is a psuedoscholar, and he has not “shredded” Bart, nor anyone else. He still thinks Jesus is a copy of pagan Gods, which was disproven a long time ago.

                  In fact, Price himself is agnostic about Jesus unlike Carrier. He won’t go flat-out and say that Jesus didn’t exist.

                  “Further confirmation of your undereducation on the topic. Let’s prove my point with an exercise: Prove to me in your next comment that unicorns do not exist.
                  You cannot.How is a square circle a strawman”?
                  Do you actually think that contrdictive terms are a “negative” as it relates comparatively to the existence of Jesus?

                  I already proved that we can prove negatives in reality. A square circle doesn’t exist because it’s a logical contradiction. A married bachelor doesn’t exist because a bachelor is someone who is not married. It’s a contradiction. There are no Female U.S presidents. There are no dinosaurs alive today. These are all negatives.

                  “I am specifically referencing that Mark, Matthew and Luke are nearly exactly the same in word use and sentence structure. The commonality is what proves the plagiarization!”

                  What’s your point? Plagiarization doesn’t mean the non-existence of Jesus? It means that Matthew, Mark, and Luke all had similar sources with common details, with some different details about Jesus. Your argument is a non-sequitir.

                  “How do you not know that “unbelief” is the default position of reason and the rules of logic?????????”

                  “Based upon the rules of logic and the scientific method it is
                  the one claiming existence that needs to offer the proof.
                  For which you have none, period.”

                  I never asked you that question at all. I said that unbelief is not the default position. Saying that something or someone doesn’t exist requires burden of proof.

                  “There is NO HARD PHYSICAL evidence for your delusional belief. If there were you would offer it.”

                  you are 100% wrong. There is an overwhelming amount of evidence to support Jesus of Nazareth’s existence. Where’s the evidence to support that he was a myth? Oh wait! There is none. However, you can believe in your mind that Jesus was a myth. Just like you can believe the earth is flat. The moon landing was a hoax. Or other “conspiracy” theories. But just know that when something like Mythicism has been disproved by highly trained historians and scholars, it ought to tell you that it’s not at all strong.

                  “Respectfully, you are seriously undereducated on multiple levels.”

                  Name one

                  • J Smith

                    You have shown repeatedly not to understand philosophy and logic and unbelief being the default position of rational thought.
                    You incorrectly think that presenting a contradictive term is “proving a negative”,
                    You do not know that those making the claims must offer the proof.

                    Bottomline: there is no verifiable evidence for the historical existence of the Jesus of the NT.
                    If there were, you would offer it…but since there is none you offer nothing.

                    Checkmate. (Delusion and undereducation never wins).
                    Come back when you have evidence and a better education of foundational science.,…and not just apologetics and delusion via indoctrination.

                    • Matt Brown

                      “You have shown repeatedly not to understand philosophy and logic and unbelief being the default position of rational thought.
                      You incorrectly think that presenting a contradictive term is “proving a negative”,
                      You do not know that those making the claims must offer the proof.”

                      I, as well as any philosopher, understand what it means to prove a negative. Any sentence or statement with a negation(no or there is no) is a negative. The sentence “There are no square circles. There is no santa clause are all negatives. I can disprove a negative because they are contradictions in themselves. If you want to deny that we can prove the non-existence of something, you can go ahead, but you’re shooting yourself in the foot since we prove negatives in reality all the time.( There earth is not 6000 years old).

                      “Bottomline: there is no verifiable evidence for the historical existence of the Jesus of the NT.
                      If there were, you would offer it…but since there is none you offer nothing.”

                      Really? you must have not studied the evidence or have repeatedly ignored it over and over again. Where’s your supposed persusasive case for mythicism?

                      “Checkmate. (Delusion and undereducation never wins).
                      Come back when you have evidence and a better education of foundational science.,…and not just apologetics and delusion via indoctrination.”

                      So now you’re calling me delusional and uneducated….Bet you wouldn’t say that to my face

                    • J Smith

                      Still awaiting your evidence.

                      Put your money where your delusion is by offering evidence for your delusion and belief in fairy tales.

                      Got evidence? Let’s see it.
                      Checkmate.

                    • Matt Brown

                      I’ve given you plenty of evidence that virtually all historians and scholars agree upon(secular and religious). Josephus, Tacitus, The Gospels, Pauls Epistles, Acts, the New Testament, Pliny the Younger, Celsus, Suetonius,etc.

                      You can repeatedly deny these facts all you want to, but your view(Mythicism) is not historically honest or verifiable. I am still waiting for the evidence that Jesus was a myth……….

                    • J Smith

                      You haven’t given any “evidence” that has not been refuted repeatedly.

                      Thinking otherwise shows your lack of education on the subject.

                      Every source you offer has been long refuted andor dismissed. You are not up to date with the current scholarship.

                      “That which can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence.” – Christopher Hitchens.

                      And thanks again for attempting another implication of fallacy….”Mythicism is not verifiable”.
                      You have shown repeatedly a lack of education and knowledge regarding the laws of llogic.

                      Come back when you can find some evidence.

                    • Matt Brown

                      Since you claim that Current scholarship doesn’t agree with the evidence, then you’re really lying because virtually no historian thinks Jesus was a myth.

                      *Hint: I can gurantee 1% is an over-exaggeration*

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

      What makes you think that Dr. Furnish would see your comment here?

      What makes Yale University the wrong institution? And how could you claim to know more about this subject than a well-known retired professor in New Testament, when you apparently lack the basic information literacy skills needed to find out who he is?

      Is this actually supposed to be a joke, a parody of the kind of silly things people post in comments on the internet? If so, I apologize for taking it seriously.

      • J Smith

        What makes you think Mr Furnish seeing the comment is relevant?

        “…how could you…”?
        Based upon his credentials and writings I have more education and experience (specifically the latest state of NT scholarship) than Mr Furnish on the topic and am not clouded by delusional belief.

        Your fallacy and incorrect assumption aside, I am very familiar with Mr Furnish. His positions are outdated and not reflective of the latest scholarship.

        If you find the facts to be a joke then I can understand the embarrassing state of NT scholarship and criticsim within “Christian” institutions and by Christians.

        • Matt Brown

          Then why don’t you state your credentials Dr. Smith?

          • J Smith

            Credential fallacy again?
            In that is case, every comment you proffer is moot.
            Get it, now?

            • Matt Brown

              You claimed you had more experience that Victor Paul Furnish.

              “Based upon his credentials and writings I have more education and experience (specifically the latest state of NT scholarship) than Mr Furnish on the topic and am not clouded by delusional belief.”

              So since you say that then prove it. Show us your books. Show us your Phd. Show us your peer-reviewed articles. Show us what University you teach at. Catch my drift;)

              • J Smith

                Prove it? Why?

                So you can reduce yourself to the same credential fallacy you have used twice?

                • Matt Brown

                  Prove what? You claimed you had more experience that a NT scholar. Back it up

                  • J Smith

                    Are you so deluded on multiple levels as to think that typing something in a comment box is “proof”?
                    LOL

                    • Matt Brown

                      So now your denying what you wrote and calling me a liar…. smh

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

          This isn’t about Christian institutions and scholars. You can survey what professional secular historians say on the subject. Just because Christians say something doesn’t make it wrong, any more than just because atheists say something it makes it right. We are all prone to bias. Following internet cranks and conspiracy theorists is not the solution. Consulting the current state of scholarship, not limited to scholars with a particular ideological slant, is a better approach.

          • J Smith

            “…survey what professional secular historians…”
            Done, and they come up lacking….because you cannot present a rational and proven case without evidence.
            Period.

            “…internet cranks and conspiracy theorists…”
            You delusional “believers” have ridden that pony to death and is no longer an acceptable excuse.

            Present your facts or consider yourself “an internet crank(s) and conspiracy theorist(s)”.

            To accept your standard without hypocrisy then you would have to dismiss every delsuional believing theologian due to bias and the inability to overcome the untenable compartmentalization of faith (belief wo proof) from rational faculties.

            “Consulting the current state of scholarship, not limited to scholars with a particular ideological slant, is a better approach”.
            Or is that statement a covert attempt at the fallacy of argumentum ad populum?

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

              If you have read what secular historians have written, then you must know what the evidence is. Either explain here why you find that evidence unpersuasive, and acknowledge that your suggestion that there is no evidence was dishonest, or otherwise acknowledge that you have not in fact read what you claim to have.

              You seem to have same misunderstanding of the argument from authority that young-earth creationists have. The fallacious appeal to authority says “this person has a PhD, therefore what they say must be right.” What YECs and mythicist do is to pretend it means that one can simply dismiss the overwhelming consensus of historians or scientists and all the thousands of relevant publications of research on the topic, and believe something they prefer instead which they read online somewhere.

              • J Smith

                Wrong…again.

                I am familiar with all the “secular” material and none of it presents verifiable evidence for the existence of the Jesus of the NT. Period.

                I can only assume that you do not know nor understand the definition of “evidence” as it applies to both science and historical verisimilitude.

                Additionally, your support for the fallacious argumentum ad populum shows you to be hypocritcal in reflection to your absurd “YEC” (non)tangent.

                • Matt Brown

                  Alright, then name us NT scholars and historians who think that Jesus was a myth

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

                  Pointing out the consensus of experts is not what is involved in a fallacious argumentum ad populum. It is only denialists who seek to dismiss a scholarly consensus in this way, whether it be about evolution, climate change, the Holocaust, or anything else.

                  Perhaps your expectations about the kind of evidence it is reasonable to expect for a non-wealthy figure in the ancient world are unrealistic? What sort of evidence does it take to conclude that there was most likely a historical Socrates, or Hillel, or John the Baptist?

                  • Andrew Dowling

                    He won’t answer that . . he’ll just keep responding with generic attacks. Typical troll.

                    • J Smith

                      Says the clown that offers no evidence? Silly, kid.

                  • J Smith

                    Bring the evidence or accept the fact that you are relying upon fairy tales and delusion.

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

                      I wonder whether you, like me, have seen the exact same comment, perhaps word for word, left by a creationist on a biologist’s blog or a discussion of evolution?

                      If you want to offer a different interpretation of the relevant evidence, you are free to do so. You can dismiss what all secular historians have to say and concoct your own amateur interpretation, and that still won’t make you quite the level of crackpot as one who says “there is no evidence” about a topic that has been studied and published on by scholars for multiple decades in hundreds of books and many more peer-reviewed articles.

                      Perhaps instead of leaving these short, troll-like comments, you should begin by familiarizing yourself with the evidence and arguments? Why not read a book on the subject? If that seems to you to be asking too much, then why not survey the many years’ worth of discussion not merely of the historical Jesus more generally, but mythicism in particular, on this blog? Let me Google that for you: https://www.google.com/search?q=blogging+mythicism+highlights+patheos&oq=blogging+mythicism+highlights+patheos&aqs=chrome..69i57.5782j0j7&sourceid=chrome&es_sm=0&ie=UTF-8

                    • J Smith

                      Still awaiting your evidence.

                      Bring your evidence for the Jesus of the NT or there is nothing further to discuss since it is nearly impossible to break your indoctrinated delusional belief.

                      My degree(s) and extensive study on the topic far outpaces your absurd suggestion of using Google.

                      Bring the evidence or consider yourself the troll.

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

                      No one suggested that you use Google. I encouraged you to read books, and to resort to my blog only if you were too lazy to do so. You may well have degrees, but I have no way of verifying that. But if you have degrees that are in relevant subject areas, then you know what the evidence is. It sounds as though you are trying to play the troll trick of suggesting that I need to retype everything I’ve already said on the subject here for you, which is obviously ludicrous. And your reference to “the Jesus of the NT” suggests that you may not yet be talking about the historical Jesus, depending on what you mean by it. There are many mythicists who have an absurd all-or-nothing view of sources which they inherited from fundamentalist Christianity, but which is incompatible with what historians do. So is your question about the Jesus who is referred to, but not consistently depicted with historically accurate information, in the New Testament? Or is it akin to “Show me evidence that William Wallace was just like the movie Braveheart depicted him, or otherwise there was no William Wallace”?

                      If you are familiar with the evidence, then presumably you are aware of the unlikelihood of someone inventing a crucified Davidic anointed one, and then trying to persuade their Jewish contemporaries that this was the one they were hoping for to restore the Davidic dynasty. Instead of pretending such evidence does not exist, why not discuss it as though you are a sane and rational individual? It seems as good a place to start as any, assuming that you are capable of leaving aside childish internet games that fit poorly with your claim to have obtained degrees and done research.

                    • J Smith

                      You haven’t given any “evidence” that has not been refuted repeatedly.

                      Thinking otherwise shows your lack of education on the subject.

                      “That which can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence.” – Christopher Hitchens.

                      Come back when you can find some evidence.

                      Otherwise, keep your indoctrinated delusion and childish belief in archaic fairy tales to yourself.

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

                      I am beginning to suspect that you are mistaking me for someone else. Believing in fairy tales seems like something I oppose rather than do, and I am not sure exactly how you would propose that I proceed further than I have in my education, other than pursuing another doctorate, but for a blog commenter to complain that someone only has one PhD seems ridiculous, unless of course you are willing to provide a link to your academic web page which shows that you have more, and then explain why you think one is not enough.

                      By “refuted” you seem to mean “dismissed by people on web pages” rather than “having persuaded the majority of experts through peer-reviewed publications.”

                      So I think it is time for you to present what your precise credentials are, and to not dismiss the work of mainstream scholars and historians without yourself presenting evidence. When you dismiss without evidence what professional scholars have argued with evidence simply makes you seem like you do not now what you are talking about.

                    • J Smith

                      Where’s the evidence?

                      As stated, show some evidence to support your position or stop the troillish behavior.

                      What part of “I don’t have time for your absurd apologetics” do you not understand?

                      Advance the debate with evidence or close out the debate.

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

                      I offered you evidence, related to the unlikelihood of claims of a crucified Davidic anointed one being invented. You didn’t even interact on that point, much less substantively address the issue.

                      Since you see fit to order me to stop the trollish behavior on my own blog, I can only interpret that as a request that I ban you. I will do so, but with regret, since I had hoped you would rise to the challenge of engaging in actual serious discussion. If you ever feel that you can rise to the level discourse this blog aims for, please get in touch and I will gladly lift the ban, since I only put it in place in the first place because you demanded that I do so.

  • Gabriel

    I think my main problem about Dr Furnish is that he can not be really classified a scholar when he has been educated at a theological seminar with links to the Discovery Institute et all. You only have to read the ethos of the institution to learn that you have to be a god bible believer to even apply at that institution. I do appreciate Dr McGrath and colleagues were raised in the American education system and may be he can’t see the problem about this but I do refer myself to the work of Dr Avalos around this subject on the problem about Bible studies. Saying that I do believe Jesus existed! :-)


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