Exploring Our Matrix
The Blog of Dr. James F. McGrath, Clarence L. Goodwin Chair in New Testament Language and Literature at Butler University, Indianapolis
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Via Bart Ehrman
Even though Ehrman is agnostic, I thoroughly enjoyed listening to his book online. He seems to very clear and concise to the point. I hope to read Casey’s book :-).
Whose book do you find better or more convincing?
I think each has its strengths and weaknesses. Ehrman tends to remain respectful throughout; Casey has little patience with the mythicists. Ehrman I think gives a better broad overview for a general audience; but Casey interacts more directly with the mythicists bloggers.
And so I am glad that we have both, although I think that even together they are unlikely to shift many die hard mythicists. Rather like “John came neither eating nor drinking…”
hahaha true true. It’s unfortunate that many mythicists would rather stick with conspiracy rather than “fact” .Maybe more scholars will see Carrier’s book when it’s released and in result write against it like Casey and Ehrman.
The best thing we can do is pray for Mythicists that God would open their minds and hearts:-)
I think Carrier’s book will put an end to mythicism. What I didn’t realise until recently is that Carrier is sticking to his two-body theory of the resurrection. The two-body theory is absolutely incompatible with mythicism. If he is trying to combine the two things then his theory will fall apart before it even gets off the ground.
Speaking of Carrier’s book…I think if it’s released before his debate with Professor Zeba Crook, then Crook could actually use his book against Carrier in the debate. In that case since Carrier’s book will be demonstrably false, then Crook could point out the two-body theory as well as the other mythicist junk Carrier is written.
That’s exactly what Dr. James White, a theologian and NT scholar, did in his debate with Dan Barker over Jesus existence..lol
That’s an excellent idea, using Carrier’s own arguments against him in the debate. Another thing that Zeba Crook should focus on is the timeline. According to Carrier, no one believed that Jesus was a historical person when Paul was writing. He also thinks, if I’m not mistaken, that Mark didn’t believe in a historical Jesus either. In Carrier’s opinion, Mark’s Gospel is an extended parable about Jesus. Now, we know that Matthew and Luke, who copied Mark, did believe that Jesus was a historical person. So, according to Carrier, there must have been the most extraordinary misunderstanding in human history. Mark’s parable about Jesus was immediately and widely misinterpreted as a biography of an actual historical person. This is hugely implausible.
Thanks for the link. I’ll have to watch that.
1. His arguements kind of remind me of those arguements that Conspiracy theorists use. Conspiracy theorists usually avoid overwhelming evidence and then they come up with some radical extreme position that’s so implausible and false, they end up believing it as true. I hate to say it like this, but Carrier is no different than those that deny Apollo 11′s landing on the Moon. As if 6 groups of astronaut l, NASA, Several Hundred Thousands of News Broadcasters, and the Governemnt would hoist some sort of Conspiracy in order to beat the Russians in space…smh. If Mythicists have to go to extreme whacky implausible lengths to try and argue their point, then that just shows how intellectually dishonest they are.
2. Hahah, yes, Anything you publish is fair game. I think that this would be an excellent oppurtunity since debating your opponent’s work shows the audience of voters what they have written. Not so that you can win, but just to show the audience the guilt or error in your opponent’s work. Especially since Carrier’s new book will be over the topic they’re debating.
Exactly! This is indeed a conspiracy theory. We need to consider what’s going on here. According to Carrier, the idea of a historical Jesus was completely different from the original understanding of Jesus. But such a radical reinterpretation of Jesus would have met with opposition, just as gnosticism did.
Carrier wants us to believe that a fundamental misunderstanding of Jesus was able to creep in and take over everywhere without leaving any trace of disagreement. This is like Invasion of the Bodysnatchers! This is the alien takeover theory of Christian origins.
I think Carrier would say that the traces are there (and so would I). Our earliest Jesus is the one preached by Paul and found in the other early epistles who manifests himself to his followers in the scriptures and by revelation and who didn’t say or do anything prior to the night before his crucifixion that was worthy of any mention. What makes Jesus significant in this view is that after his death God chose to exalt him by raising him from the dead. The historical Jesus shows up later in the Gospels, but through the end of the 1st century, we still have letters like 1st Clement that don’t seem to be at all interested in or aware of him.
Where I disagree with Carrier is that I don’t think that this is enough to establish that there never was a human Jesus who was crucified outside Jerusalem. It seems at least as plausible to me that stories were invented about the life of a man who was believed to have returned from the dead as that stories were invented to historicize an entirely supernatural being.
Just to clarify, what I meant was that there is no trace of the upheaval that might be expected as the view of Jesus changed so radically. This may be because the evidence of the upheaval has been suppressed, but I would regard that as special pleading.
I won’t question whether there is evidence of a different understanding of Jesus that may or may not have prevailed at an earlier time.
We have so little evidence of anything from the first few decades of Christianity that I’m not sure how much we should expect, but it does seem to me that the invention of stories about a man who had really not done much of significance during his life would leave less of a ripple than the invention of stories about a man who was originally thought to be a supernatural being who hadn’t existed on earth at all.
Facts mean little to those proselytizing.
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