CNN Covers Mythicism

CNN has an article about mythicism. Here’s a sample: Crossan…says some Jesus deniers may be people who have a problem with Christianity. “It’s a way of responding to something you don’t like,” Crossan says. “We can’t say that Obama doesn’t exist, but we can say that he’s not an American.  If we’re talking about Obama [Read More...]

To Engage or Not to Engage

I had been meaning to blog for a while about the question of whether it is worthwhile engaging with fringe views, whether those that are just barely represented within the academy, or those beyond its pale. It seems appropriate to return to the topic now, since Richard Carrier has offered two blog posts which react to [Read More...]

A Polite Bribe at SBL

There was a showing of the movie Apostle Paul: A Polite Bribe at the Society of Biblical Literature conference in San Diego in November. The video above features Larry Hurtado, Ben Witherington, and Robert Orlando discussing the film after the showing. If you have never seen it, you can rent the movie digitally on Amazon. [Read more...]

Myth and Memory

On his blog Genealogy of Religion, Cris Campbell talks about reading Colin Calloway’s book One Vast Winter Count: The Native American West before Lewis and Clark. The crux of the post can be summed up by quoting Campbell: I have no doubt that indigenous oral traditions are remarkable repositories of deep history and ancient knowledge. They are [Read More...]

When Assyria Conquered Israel

Not only students, but other sources regularly refer to Assyria conquering Israel in 722 BCE. This reflects a misunderstanding of the Bible and other evidence. Assyria was already the dominant power in the region, and had been for a decade or more. Israel and Judah were vassal states within the territory of the Assyrian Empire. [Read More...]

Invaders from the East

They came from far in the East, thousands of miles away. And they took over a land that did not previously belong to them. Their arrival changed the religious, cultural, and political makeup of the territory dramatically. Is this right? How should we view something like this, when it happened hundreds of years ago – indeed, [Read More...]

Identification of Authors in Ancient Literature

A discussion here on this blog brought up the question of whether other ancient works may, like the Gospels, have initially circulated without an author being indicated, with the attribution to the author being added only subsequently to the manuscript tradition. This led to a blog post by Matthew Ferguson, which made comparisons to the works of [Read More...]

Yoda, Buddha, Obi-Wan, and Confucius

AntiquityNow has free materials -ranging from bookmarks to cookbooks to curricula – related to the ancient world. Some of it incorporates science fiction, such as the bookmark below or the curriculum on time travel. Of almost but not entirely unrelated interest, The Toast has a list of courses taken by Lara Croft when working on her Master of Library [Read More...]

A Professor on His Mythicist Former Student

John Dickson writes in response to Raphael Lataster’s recent article: As his former lecturer, I am somewhat embarrassed to admit that Raphael’s 1000 words on Jesus would not receive a pass mark in any history class I can imagine, even if it were meant to be a mere “personal reflection” on contemporary Jesus scholarship. Lataster [Read More...]

Jesus’ Thinking and Theology

While they may have genuinely thought they were being skeptical and critical, from our later vantage point, it seems that those who felt that we cannot say anything about Jesus’ own statements and views, but only those of the later church, were rather giving expression to their reverence for Jesus as a figure who still [Read More...]

Retooning the Nativity

While this uncritically accepts the Biblical accounts as factual, it draws attention to differences between the Biblical material and many traditions, and  does so in a comical way, and so I thought it to still be worth sharing. [Read more...]