Debate: External Evidence for Jesus – Part 5A: Various Points

Some of Hinman's discussions about his five principles of historical investigation provide needed clarification of a principle, and some of his discussions fail to provide clarification of the relevant principle.  But even when Hinman fails to clarify one of his general principles of historical investigation, he often makes some significant or interesting points.  I will examine many of those specific points in this post.Hinman's discussion about (P1) fails to clarify what that principle m … [Read more...]

Debate: External Evidence for Jesus – Part 5A: Five Principles

Joe Hinman's fifth argument for the existence of Jesus is presented in three sections:5A. Historical Methods5B. Big Web of Historicity5C. Jesus Myth Theory Cannot Account for the WebI will comment on, and raise objections to, points in each of these three sections, but this post will only cover part of the section on "Historical Methods".  Specifically, I will cover the five high-level principles of historical investigation proposed by Hinman in his discussion of "Historical … [Read more...]

Debate: External Evidence for Jesus – Part 4

QUESTION 1: What is Hinman's Central Claim about Josephus?There are two famous passages in a book by the Jewish historian Flavius Josephus that appear to refer to Jesus.  Joe Hinman wants to focus on the "brother passage", the passage in Antiquities that mentions a person named "James" and refers to him as "the brother of Jesus the so-called Christ". (Antiquities 20,200).After a brief introductory paragraph, Hinman quotes the "brother passage"But the younger Ananus who, as we said, re … [Read more...]

Debate: External Evidence for Jesus – Post on Part 4 Coming Soon

I have been working on understanding and evaluating Joe Hinman's fourth argument for the existence of Jesus, and I believe my post on this subject will be ready to publish later this week.  This argument is based on alleged references to Jesus found in a book by the Jewish historian Josephus, particularly the "brother passage", where a person named "James" is referred to as "the brother of Jesus the so-called Christ". … [Read more...]

How Theists Can Avoid God-of-the-Gaps Arguments and Still Argue for God

Background: In the context of a review of Dan Barker's book, Godless, Randal Rauser had a very brief, even cryptic, exchange in the combox for his about God-of-the-Gaps (GOTG) arguments. (See here and here.) That exchange led to his latest post, which you can read for yourself here. I've decided to post my response on my own blog here, with some edits for further clarification.I haven't read Barker's book, so I can only comment on what you have quoted: “Many of these [theistic] argum … [Read more...]

Correction to “Are Atheism and Moral Realism Logically Incompatible?”

The introduction to my post, "Are Atheism and Moral Realism Logically Incompatible?", probably gave readers an impression I did not intend, namely, that, in my exchange at Victor Reppert's Dangerous Idea blog, Steve linked arguments from moral ontology (for theism) and arguments from evil (from atheism).  Steve didn't do that there and I'm sorry if I created that impression. My introduction was aimed at other theists, not necessarily Steve, who I think employ a double standard when refuting so- … [Read more...]

Debate: External Evidence for Jesus – Part 3

Question 1: What are Hinman's Central Claims about Polycarp?As with his discussion about the external evidence of Papias,  Hinman begins his discussion of Polycarp with some strong claims:III. Polycarp: Knew the Apostle John and studied with him. He speaks of where the apostle sat when they studied together.The first sentence is lacking a subject.  But the heading just above the sentence implies that the subject of the sentence is Polycarp.  The first sentence uses the pronoun "him" … [Read more...]

Debate: External Evidence for Jesus – Post on Part #3 Coming Soon

I am working on Part 3 of this series of posts about external evidence for the existence of  Jesus.  Part 3 will focus on analysis and evaluation of Joe Hinman's third argument for the existence of Jesus, which is based on historical claims about Polycarp.I have written the opening section of Part 3, and have an outline for the main points I plan to make.  So, I hope to publish Part 3 of this series on Saturday, July 9th. … [Read more...]


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