Lecture on Exodus and Conquest

I had hoped to make a recording of my class today, but we ended up discussing points raised by a student’s presentation, and so I recorded the above lecture in my office later in the day, so that I can post it and not take more class time covering the key points. I’d be interested [Read More...]

The Resurrection in Orthodox Iconography and the Marriage Gesture of cheir’ epi karpo

At SBL in November, John Dominic Crossan spoke about Eastern Orthodox iconography of the resurrection (I previously blogged about this). Here is an example of the iconography: I was struck by the consistent depiction of Jesus grasping Adam by the wrist, which I assumed symbolized that the entirety of the salvation was accomplished by God, [Read More...]

Joseph Hoffmann on Mythicism, Skepticism, and Historical Reasoning

Joseph Hoffmann posted on whether “anything goes” in mythicism, providing a wonderful discussion of the appropriate and inappropriate sorts of “skepticism” and illustrating how historians reason about the evidence regarding Jesus. Around a lengthy treatment of Hegelianism, he writes things like this: To say that Jesus is a plausible figure is thus merely to say [Read More...]

Does Making Charts Help Mythicism?

I laughed out loud when reading a recent post by Neil Godfrey. Most of it was neither laughable nor surprising. He discusses how we know people in the ancient world existed, with his usual shtick depicting historical Jesus scholars as confused bumblers. Nothing surprising, or interesting, except perhaps for his acknowledgment that historians in most fields do not [Read More...]

Religious Studies and Christian Agendas

In a blog post on the Religious Studies Project website, Raphael Lataster, a postgraduate student at the University of Sydney, has suggested that there is a Christian agenda behind even the supposedly secular study of religion. And he makes that claim because of his own experience of wanting to research mythicism at university. From what [Read More...]

Mythicists at Long Last Ready to Embrace Mainstream Historical Methods Like Divination?

There have been a couple of amusing posts over at Vridar. In one of them, Neil Godfrey discusses Daniel Boyarin’s claim (in his book The Jewish Gospels) that there may have been an expectation about a suffering Messiah prior to Christianity. Whatever your thoughts on this (the view is not unique to Boyarin, but neither [Read More...]

Martin Luther King Quotes

  Some more quotations from the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. courtesy of Buzzfeed.   [Read more...]

ORBIS: The Stanford Geospatial Network Model of the Roman World

Via IO9, I learned of a new interactive map of the Roman world: ORBIS: The Stanford Geospatial Network Model of the Roman World. http://orbis.stanford.edu/ You can set a starting and destination point (say Jerusalem and Tarsus, for instance), and find out what was involved in traveling between the two by various means of transportation, including what [Read More...]

Wikis, an Index of Mythicist Claims, and the Positive Case for a Historical Jesus

Those who’ve begun tinkering at the wiki I set up on Wikia already disagree on whether the best use of time and space is to address mythicist claims or to present the positive case for there having been a historical Jesus on its own terms. I don’t see the two as mutually exclusive. But since [Read More...]

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...]