Daniel Gulotta recently posted on his blog about the need to take Richard Carrier seriously. I agree, and have begun engaging his book in what promises to be a lengthy and detailed series. I knew from the outset that if I didn’t do that, mythicists would complain that I was simply painting with a broad brush and not doing justice to the details, and that if I did do that, they would complain that I was dealing with preliminaries and ignoring core arguments. No surprises, and as time permits I will continue to publish review articles. But reviewing mythicist claims is not my top priority, since Carrier’s book is simply not so significant or persuasive that it needs to take precedence over other things I am working on.
And that’s why I thought I would share my comment which I left on Daniel’s post:
As a scholar who has sought to take Carrier seriously and engage his claims, arguments, and methods, I agree with the overall point. But I disagree with the suggestion that somehow the mere fact that he has published a work – one which those experts who’ve read it find unpersuasive and problematic in a very large number of respects – puts the ball in our court. I have heard that from ID proponents and others who argue for fringe ideas, and how are trying to avoid the more difficult but necessary scholarly processes of persuading the majority of scholars – to not see it for what it is, namely a rhetorical ploy at odds with how scholarship actually works. It is far more insidious, in my opinion, when it comes from someone who has studied at an advanced level, as Carrier has, and so probably knows better, but is hoping nonetheless to dupe a gullible public that may not.