How Mythicism can Lead to Trump Support

Before anyone suggests otherwise, let me emphasize that I am not claiming that mythicism always or even regularly leads to support of Trump. Most people manage to keep their problematic reasoning compartmentalized. But as William Clifford warned long ago, once one believes something on insufficient evidence in one area, one is setting oneself up to [Read More…]

The Myth of Mythicism and Undebunkable Skepticism

Jonathan Bernier noted in a recent post “the special pleading involved in rejecting a consensus position adopted by virtually every New Testament scholar (that Jesus existed) while accepting without reflection a consensus position adopted by most but hardly all such scholars. If we are all mistaken on something so fundamental to the discipline, then how [Read More…]

Bayesian Jesus

For those who may not get it, the meme above is poking fun at the fact that two apologists on the fringes of academia – Richard Carrier and William Lane Craig – have both attempted to introduce Bayesian reasoning to bring rigor to the subjects that interest them. In the one case, it supposedly proves [Read More…]

The Crackpot Index

John Baez came up with a “Crackpot Index” for those who think they are geniuses with revolutionary ideas in physics. What do you say we adapt the list for the field of historical Jesus? How do you think the list below – adapted ever so slightly from Baez’s – works? What changes would you recommend? How [Read More…]

“What I Received From The Lord”

I received this question via e-mail and thought it might be useful to share it publicly together with my answer: I was listening to a YouTube video when this came up. Paul says in 1 Cor 11:23 “For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you”. I never really thought about this [Read More…]

Pilate Mythicism

This meme was drawn to my attention in a comment on an earlier post. It focuses too broadly on atheists in general, and it is simply incorrect about what the coins say. But its main point retains some validity nevertheless. While it may be appropriate to withhold judgment about a matter if the evidence seems [Read More…]

The Case of the Historical Jesus

I’ve appeared on the online show Talk Gnosis before, speaking about the Mandaeans. In this week’s episode, they talked with me about the historical figure of Jesus and mythicism. I hope you enjoy watching it as much as I enjoyed recording it! [Read more…]

Can Mythicism Kill Your Scholarly Career?

Can mythicism kill an academic career? Making a reasoned case as a scholar for that viewpoint won’t. But that’s not what I’m talking about here. I’m asking about the way the behavior – the insults and illogic that characterizes online mythicism – might train one to mistake the modes of self-expression that are passable on [Read More…]

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…]

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…]