The Historical Jesus – Now With Even Less Futility!

Pat McCullough has written a response to my response to his earlier posts, clarifying what points he agrees with me on, and what he actually had in mind when he talked about “futility.” See too Brian LePort’s round-up of and comments on the discussion up until that point. [Read more…]

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Is Historical Jesus Research Futile?

Pat McCullough has a couple of posts on his blog in which he treats historical Jesus research as “futile.” If one is of the view that all attempts at knowing about the past are so complicated by our inability to infallibly separate memory from invention, or to attain absolute certainty, then by all means dismiss [Read More…]

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Distorted Images

A friend and colleague shared an article on Facebook about the distorted view of the area of land masses that we get from conventional Mercator maps. This is a Peters map, which shows area accurately: This doesn't mean that the above map is “right” and the ones that we use more often are “wrong.” A [Read More…]

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Take Up Your Cross

I received a question in an e-mail that seemed worthy of a blog post rather than just a private response. The question was about the depiction in the Gospels of Jesus telling people to not simply follow him, but to take up their cross and follow him. One question is obviously whether Jesus can be [Read More…]

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Do Gospel Authors Owe Us The “Truth”?

I read the words below in an article in today’s New York Times about the blurriness of the lines between history and historical fiction in recent movies. How do you think its points relate to the depictions, reworkings, and interpretations of history in the Gospels? I for one doubt that the majority of people in [Read More…]

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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…]

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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…]

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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…]

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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…]

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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…]

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Restoring Jesus

I’ve felt like there was some analogy or parable to be made from the recent case of a parishioner trying to do an amateur restoration of a famous painting, with this result: Perhaps the best or at least the most relevant analogy for the sorts of subjects that I deal with is this: The figure [Read More…]

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