Just before Christmas a Sydney Ph.D student named Raphael Lataster wrote an article on Weighing Up the Evidence for the ‘Historical Jesus’ which basically argued for Richard Carrier’s version of the view that Jesus did not exist. The problem is that appeared in a reputable Aussie ejournal called The Conversation and it attracted a lot of press.
Any ways, my buddy Rev. Dr. John Dickson does a take down job on Lataster over at ABC Religion and Ethics, while I offer my own critique over at Online Opinion.
Mr. Lataster’s article clearly emerges out of his self-published book, There Was No Jesus, There Is No God – a title that unveils his purposes. Lataster is not writing an independent and unbiased account of Christian origins; he seems to be writing an apologetic tract for his tribe, providing solace to his atheist friends who are concerned that this Jesus thing might be a bit too real for their comfort. To them I say, relax. There are substantial reasons why one might choose to reject Christian belief; but the question of whether Jesus existed is not one of them. Even if there is no God, there was still an historical Jesus.
James McGrath has a good summary of this too (nice to have James on my side for a change!)
I privately emailed Bart Ehrman, who was attacked in Lataster’s piece, to get his view, and he shared my exasperation about having to deal with fruit loops like these.