The Gist of Jesus

It has been interesting teaching my course on the historical Jesus again. Even in the few years that have passed since the last time I taught it, the strong shift in the academy away from an older approach to the subject has been very noticeable. Much of this is due to the impact of the work [Read More...]

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Patterns of Evidence: Exodus

In my class on the Bible we recently covered the story of the Exodus. Just before we reached that point, I noticed a mention of a new documentary, which seemed to be recycling old ideas, called Patterns of Evidence: Exodus, which in turn is based on the book Exodus – Myth or History? by David Rohl. [Read More...]

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Epiphany and History

Having attempted to do away with contradictions between Matthew and Luke for Christmas, Ian Paul has now offered a blog post claiming that Matthew’s story of the arrival of the magi can be treated as historical. I am not persuaded. Infancy stories featuring miracles are a common feature in ancient literature, and are consistently devoid [Read More...]

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Five Reasons Why Mythicism is Disappointing

Valerie Tarico, despite saying that she defers to the consensus of experts, nonetheless offers five really bad reasons for thinking Jesus might not have existed. 1) She says that there are no secular sources about Jesus, neglecting to mention that the notion of secularism did not exist in that time, and that one would be [Read More...]

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Discussing Mythicism

My recent posts about mythicism, responding to Larry Moran and Jerry Coyne, has sparked discussion on other blogs. See the posts by Don Burrows, Tim O’Neill at a brand new blog called “History for Atheists,” and Chris Eyre. I also had a piece by Brent Lyons drawn to my attention, in which he discusses the [Read More...]

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Sandwalking with Jesus

Larry Moran posted on his blog an excerpt from a conversation we had on Facebook. The conversation showed that he is confused about what historians investigate, because he (like conservative Christians) thinks that “the Jesus of the Bible” – the one who performs miracles and so on – is the only one that matters. I am [Read More...]

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How Widespread is Mythicism?

An English conservative Christian website drew on Barna research and put together a study, which includes the statistic that about one in five people without a church background in England think Jesus was a myth, and roughly the same number are uncertain whether there was a historical Jesus. Conservative Christians are concerned for different reasons [Read More...]

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Misattributed Sayings and the Historical Jesus

I’ve blogged in the past about sayings which were attributed to various figures – Mother Teresa and Reinhold Niebuhr – while others have addressed Albert Einstein and Josh Groban. One thought that struck me is that we tend to have saying gravitate from less famous people to more famous ones, and new sayings fabricated and attributed [Read More...]

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Review of Jodi Magness, Stone and Dung, Oil and Spit

I am long overdue to review Jodi Magness’ book Stone and Dung, Oil and Spit: Jewish Daily Life in the Time of Jesus on my blog. It is so full of interesting detail that it simply wouldn’t do to skim through it quickly. Many readers will have encountered at some point a picture book which children [Read More...]

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Horus Manure

I’m not sure how I missed it, but a few years ago, Catholic apologist Jon Sorensen came up with a very clever title for a post about alleged Jesus-Horus parallels: Horus Manure. Whatever you think of the post, that’s a pun that was too good not to share. More up to date, Gakusei Don (who [Read More...]

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The Historical Jesus Goes To University

I recently had a mythicist troll ask for evidence that Jesus is taught as a historical figure at any secular university. I could have merely offered Butler University and been done with it – and perhaps added the University of North Carolina for good measure. But despite the question coming from someone who was clearly a [Read More...]

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