Wonka vs. Mythicists (plus the Historical Jesus, Unicorns and Atlantis)

Joel Watts – sorry, Willy Wonka – makes an apt comparison on Joel’s blog: Joel also links to my response to Carrier, and emphasizes in the process that, while matters such as whether Jesus was the Messiah are questions that depend on faith, the question of whether there was an ancient human being around whom [Read More…]

Responding to Richard Carrier’s Response to Bart Ehrman

I linked previously to Bart Ehrman’s piece on whether Jesus existed in The Huffington Post. A response has been written by Richard Carrier (also discussed by Tom Verenna and Neil Godfrey), and I want here to point out some problems with that response. Let me begin by emphasizing that when scholars write op-ed pieces for [Read More…]

Bart Ehrman on the Existence of a Historical Jesus

Preparing for the appearance of his new book, Did Jesus Exist?: The Historical Argument for Jesus of Nazareth, which is now in stock on Amazon.com, Bart Ehrman has published an article on the topic in the Huffington Post. His conclusion is “Whether we like it or not, Jesus certainly existed.” To see how he gets [Read More…]

Review of Earl Doherty’s Jesus: Neither God Nor Man chapter 10 part two

I’ve finally found some time to post my second blog entry about chapter 10 of Earl Doherty’s book Jesus: Neither God Nor Man – The Case for a Mythical Jesus. Here’s a link to my first post about this chapter. Ironically, even though I have written far more already on the first 1/6 of the [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…]

Is Mythicism Falsifiable?

As Neil Godfrey helpfully drew attention to in a comment, there seems to be no agreement among Jesus-mythicists about when the earliest Christian sources were written, which sources are the earliest, or which ones are authentic. This ought to raise suspicion that mythicism is a preordained conviction in search of any arguments that can be [Read More…]

Funny Mythicist Quote of the Day (Neil Godfrey)

“Recently one theologian who teaches an undergraduate historical Jesus class recommended to me two works on historiographical methods. When I quoted back to him key sections that contradicted the most fundamental processes of historical Jesus scholars he was enraged. I was misrepresenting them. It turned out that he was the one who had simply failed [Read More…]

Paul Mythicism?

There certainly are those Jesus mythicists who would also deny that there was a historical Paul. But for many mythicists, perhaps the majority, the historicity of Paul and the authenticity of Paul’s letters is in fact important to their argument, since their case for mythicism focuses much attention on what Paul allegedly did not say [Read More…]

Mythicism as Selectively Critical: The Example of Couchoud’s Treatment of John the Baptist

That mythicism is selectively critical, and selectively applies rigorous skepticism to sources, is easy to illustrate. Take  Couchoud’s treatment of John the Baptist as summarized in a recent post on the blog Vridar. There is no skepticism expressed about the words and views attributed to John the Baptist in the New Testament, no suggestion that [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…]