Remembering Without Recording

Judy Redman has posted a reply to my own post about memory and orality yesterday. Judy writes: I agree that having composed something doesn’t mean that you will remember it word for word. I do think, however, that when a person has composed a story to illustrate a particular point, s/he is much more likely [Read More...]

Verbatim Memory, Orality, and the Historical Jesus

Judy Redman has been offering a wonderful series on memory and the historical Jesus. In the most recent post, part 4, Judy wrote the following about verbatim memory: In addition, having been quite pessimistic about our ability to prove the authenticity of any Jesus tradition or to have the actual words of Jesus, both here [Read More...]

Memory Studies in Historical Jesus Studies

The folks at The Jesus Blog announced the good news that the exciting session on memory studies and the historical Jesus at SBL this year was recorded. Here they are: I am really sorry that more of the presenters and panelists did not follow Rafael’s lead in trying to reenact in reverse Da Vinci’s Last [Read More...]

Victor Paul Furnish on Mythicism

New Testament scholar Victor Paul Furnish wrote the following in the conclusion to his review of a volume featuring mythicist and minimalist scholars’ perspectives on Jesus: The mythicists, in particular, summarily dismiss prevailing views about Jesus and the Gospels as governed by religious interests; arbitrarily apply paradigms derived from the study of ancient Near Eastern [Read More...]

Dreaming of a White Jesus

The recent statement by a Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly illustrates well why historical Jesus research is so important. Jesus has become a powerful myth, indeed more than one, and has been coopted in the service of a great many ideologies. Nothing provides as effective a counter to the infinite range of things that Jesus [Read More...]

A Mythicist Sympathizer’s Case for a Historical Jesus

A new article in The Bible and Interpretation concludes in the following way: Precisely because I am quite aware of the extent to which the Canonical Gospels are the result of a process of doctoring the historical figure of Jesus – a process which has had wide-ranging distorting effects –, I think I can better [Read More...]

Chris Keith on Social Memory Theory and the Gospels

Chris Keith shared a link to the above lecture on social memory theory and the Gospels, his inaugural lecture at St. Mary’s University College, Twickenham. See also Chris’s own post as well as Mike Kok’s and Tyler Stewart’s posts about a session at SBL in which Chris and others addressed the same topic.   [Read more...]

Studying Jesus without Religion?

Richard Carrier gave a talk which is on YouTube, “Imagining the Study of Jesus without Religion.” Historians have worked hard to set aside those demands and desires arising from religious convictions out of the picture when looking at the figure of Jesus. They have done so so successfully that time and again they have produced [Read More...]

Jesus’ Obituary

Tom Verenna shared a really interesting assignment from a class about the historical Jesus that he is taking. It asked students to write an obituary for Jesus. He did something even more interesting with it, creating an epitaph on the model of ancient funerary inscriptions, rather than a modern-day type of obituary. I won’t summarize [Read More...]

Just How Bad is Mythicism?

Neil Godfrey posted about peer-reviewed journals and how the peer review process is imperfect, if not indeed deeply flawed, and thus even problematic studies manage to get through into peer-reviewed journals in the sciences. And if that is true in the sciences, surely it is also true in the domain of history. And so what [Read More...]

Selective Skepticism

An op-ed piece I wrote about the attention Joseph Atwill has been getting lately has appeared on The Bible and Interpretation website. The title is “Selective Skepticism.”   [Read more...]


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