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...]

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...]

Review of Richard C. Carrier, Proving History

I am delighted to have been given the opportunity to review Richard Carrier’s latest book, Proving History: Bayes’s Theorem and the Quest for the Historical Jesus. I am grateful to Prometheus Books for sending me a free review copy. Carrier emphasizes from the outset that this is the first of two books, the second of [Read More...]

An Odd Diatribe from Thomas L. Thompson

In the latest issue of The Bible and Interpretation, Thomas L. Thompson offers a very odd rebuke to Bart Ehrman. Thompson mentions things like Philo's love of allegory and Qoheleth's assertion of our lack of novelty, as though these somehow will allow one to open the door to any and all interpretations of texts, including [Read More...]

Jesus, John, Paul, George, and Ringo Mythicism

Commenter Admiral Mattbar shared a link to a site, “The Beatles Never Existed.” I got a glimpse of it, but the next time I tried to reload it, it was as though it was not there. I began to wonder if perhaps I should become a “The Beatles Never Existed” web site mythicist… But then there [Read More...]

Talpiot Tombs and New Testament Historical Criticism

A piece I wrote, expanding on my thoughts about the relationship between the recent claims regarding the Talpiot tombs on the one hand, and New Testament historical criticism on the other, has appeared on the ASOR blog. Click through to read it. [Read more...]

Is the New Testament Evidence Compatible with Jesus having been Buried in Talpiot?

Many news outlets and blogs are talking about the second first-century tomb in Talpiot that James Tabor and Simcha Jacobovici have investigated and written about in The Jesus Discovery. Having recently discussed the subject of Jesus’ burial in my book The Burial of Jesus: What Does History Have to Do with Faith?, I have my own [Read More...]

Creationists, Mythicists, and the Schroedinger’s Scholar Fallacy

One feature that young-earth creationists, mythicists, and other proponents of pseudoscholarly ideas have in common in the way they treat the writings of actual experts in the field in question. On the one hand, they will mine the writings of experts for sound bites and quotes that seem to support their viewpoint, and will pepper [Read More...]

Mythicism as Conspiracy Theory

That’s the title of an article in Slate by Evgeny Morozov, and there are a couple of quotes in which a simple substitution can be made so that they apply equally well to creationists, mythicists, and other denialists. Here’s an example: “In other words, mere exposure to the current state of the scientific historical consensus [Read More...]

The New Testament Scholar Who Stole Christmas?

An op-ed piece I wrote, with the title “The New Testament Scholar Who Stole Christmas?”, has appeared in The Bible and Interpretation. Click through to read it, and feel free to share any thoughts you may have about it in the comments section here! [Read more...]