Venturing Outside One’s Area of Expertise

Everyone is talking about Neil de Grasse Tyson’s problematic tweets – see the recent blog posts by Jerry Coyne, Hemant Mehta, and P. Z. Myers. But I think the most important post on the topic is that by Jonathan Bernier. He points out that, once someone moves outside of their field of expertise, no matter how [Read More…]

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…]

Craig Evans and Richard Carrier to Debate

It seems that Craig Evans and Richard Carrier will be having a debate about whether Jesus existed. I’m glad to see that it is co-sponsored by two organizations, one Christian and one non-religious or anti-religions, although there is a sense in which that co-sponsorship may simply foster the sense that Carrier’s is the natural or [Read More…]

Stylometric Analysis of Pliny’s Letter about Christians

Larry Hurtado blogged about a new article by independent scholar Enrico Tuccinardi, which argues that stylometric analysis can be used to identify interpolations into the letter in which Pliny mentions Christians. This is, as Hurtado points out, a problematic use of a method the reliability of which has not gained universal acceptance even when applied in the [Read More…]

Mythicism and Mysticism

Mythicism has done a pretty good job of spreading the idea that all the information Paul and others had about Jesus was gleaned from visions. That claim doesn’t fit the evidence. We certainly do have evidence that the genre of the apocalyptic vision was popular among Christians as among other Jews. But that is a literary [Read More…]

Mythicism: As Unlikely on Earth as it is in Heaven

I recently received a question in a comment on an older post about mythicism, and thought I would share my answer in a post, since I doubt that many people are still following the post in question, which is from three years ago. Mythicists often emphasize that Paul never explicitly says that Jesus was crucified [Read More…]

Jesus, Sherlock Holmes, and Hercules

Internet apologists for mythicism are always ready to point to Sherlock Holmes and Batman and say “look, here we have stories, so these prove the existence of fictional detectives and comic book heroes, don’t they?” Can they not see that this is absolute silliness, that one could respond with the same trite comeback about anyone [Read More…]

No Evidence for Jesus

I have heard once again the ridiculous claim that there is “no evidence for a historical Jesus.” Once again, I must point out that young-earth creationists say the same thing, “there is no evidence for evolution.” In both cases, either the individuals really mean “there is evidence, but I do not accept the conclusions experts [Read More…]

The Continuing Adventures of Space Jesus

Richard Carrier is clearly scraping the bottom of the apologetics barrel once again. In his most recent post, he starts off by insisting that I am badly wrong – for making a point that he himself agrees with, but which I made in words that he decides to interpret in an unnecessarily narrow and frankly [Read More…]

Mythicist Defenders of Christian Orthodoxy

It never ceases to amaze me, when I talk to Jesus mythicists online, how eagerly they embrace and defend Christian orthodoxy. They do not accept that Christian orthodoxy is true, of course. But they accept that it gets the facts right – an odd stance for such so-called skeptics to accept uncritically, never mind do battle about. But they [Read More…]