Dustin Smith on the Evans-Carrier Debate

Dustin Smith has shared his account of the debate that took place yesterday between Craig Evans and Richard Carrier. Click through to read it. [Read more…]

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It’s Time to Think about whether Evolution Really Happened

I’m always surprised at how much rancor is directed toward “creationists”—those who deny that evolution, whether on the macro or micro level, is the best explanation for the diversity of life on our planet. I’m also surprised at how certain many biologists are that evolution occurred (Jerry Coyne, to give a prominent example). Yet although I am the first to [Read More…]

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Holy Week History

I spent quite a while simply believing the Gospels. And I have spent quite a while being as skeptical of them as I think is reasonable. Now I am at the point where I recognize the pitfalls at either extreme, and seek to be open to what the evidence suggests – and what the evidence [Read More…]

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Without Using the Bible

Hemant Mehta shared this cartoon from The Atheist Pig: On the one hand, if the point of the cartoon is that one cannot prove a historical point simply by appealing to the Bible as authoritative scripture, then of course that is true. But appealing to Paul’s letters, or other early Christian writings, which happen to have ended up [Read More…]

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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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