Announcing TalkHistoricity: An Index of Mythicist Claims

It was recently suggested to me that it might be useful to put together an index of mythicist claims, and the answers and responses to those claims from the perspective of mainstream historical study. Although it can be said that every claim by mythicists has probably been addressed at least implicitly in scholarly monographs and [Read More...]

Bias and Bayes’ Theorem in History

Regular commenter Ian has posted two more entries on his blog which relate to the use of Bayes’ Theorem in assessing historical probability, in response to Richard Carrier’s advocacy of the use of Bayesian reasoning. One is entitled “Error in Bayes’ Theorem” and the other “Say What I Want To Hear!“ [Read more...]

Is the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife a Fake?

Let me start with the news that Mark Goodacre shared a pdf of an article written by Francis Watson, arguing that the recently-found Coptic papyrus that has been dubbed the “Gospel of Jesus’ Wife” is a fake. He followed that up with a second shorter pdf on the forger’s alleged technique. Some are already pronouncing [Read More...]

3 Jesus’ Wife (With Fill in the Blank at the End)

There’s been even more blogged and discussed about the “Jesus’ wife” Coptic fragment since my last round-up. Most of what I have seen on blogs I read regularly have been wise, balanced, scholarly perspectives. Don Burrows clarifies the difference between absurd media claims and what Karen King and other scholars are saying. Craig Evans offers [Read More...]

2 Jesus’ Wife

The announcement by Karen King about the Coptic fragment which has Jesus mentioning “my wife” is, unsurprisingly, continuing to get much attention and generate much discussion. Rather than keep updating yesterday’s post on the topic, I thought that a follow-up post would be more appropriate, rounding up the blogging and media reporting of the “Gospel [Read More...]

Further Problematizing Richard Carrier’s Claims about Jesus

Ian has a further detailed explanation of Bayes’ Theorem on his blog. It problematizes Richard Carrier’s use of it in relation to history in general, and the historical Jesus in particular. I am also grateful to Nick Covington for sharing this video, which shows more of what Richard Carrier thinks about the figure of Jesus [Read More...]

Richard Carrier Responds

Richard Carrier has posted a response to my review of his book, Proving History. I'm not sure that there is anything that needs to be said by me in response, since he clearly is hedging on whether the earliest Jewish Christians thought that Jesus was a God, accepts what is perhaps the clearest example of [Read More...]

Stuff Mythicists Say: “Q Was Real, Jesus Wasn’t”

Mythicists say a lot of ludicrous things, and perhaps it would be useful to highlight some of the more astonishing and laughable ones from time to time. Mythicists like Earl Doherty will accept the existence of Q – a hypothetical source the existence of which is deduced from the common material shared between Matthew and [Read More...]

A Mathematical Review of Proving History by Richard Carrier

Regular commenter Ian has posted a review of Richard Carrier’s recent book, focused on the use of Bayes’ Theorem. It can be found on his blog Irreducible Complexity. [Read more...]

Mined Quote from James Barr

There’s a quote, attributed to James Barr, which is popular among young-earth creationists. Here is the quote: Probably, so far as I know, there is no professor of Hebrew or Old Testament at any world-class university who does not believe that the writer(s) of Genesis 1–11 intended to convey to their readers the ideas that: [Read More...]

Differentiating Between Debate and Denial

IO9 (in an article entitled “How to distinguish crap denialism from legitimate scientific debate”) linked to an article on the NIH website by Wendee Holtcamp, with the title “Flavors of Uncertainty: The Difference between Denial and Debate.” Both focus on the challenge the media and the general public faces in our day and age, when (to quote [Read More...]