Five Reasons Why Mythicism is Disappointing

Five Reasons Why Mythicism is Disappointing December 15, 2015

Valerie Tarico, despite saying that she defers to the consensus of experts, nonetheless offers five really bad reasons for thinking Jesus might not have existed.

1) She says that there are no secular sources about Jesus, neglecting to mention that the notion of secularism did not exist in that time, and that one would be hard pressed to find any source that completely disbelieved in all gods of every sort.

2) She points out that things like the virgin birth only appear late, as though that is evidence against the historical value of our earliest sources.

3) She points out that none of the earliest sources are eyewitness accounts, which is probably correct, but surely (to use her example) we do not always disbelieve when our aunt tells us about someone she knows. And Paul does offer an eyewitness account of having met Jesus' brother.

4) The Gospels contradict one another. So what? Josephus contradicts himself, and yet we do not find him to be wrong about everything concerning which he wrote.

5) Scholars come up with very different portraits of Jesus. As I have said before, that is indicative of the crowdedness of the field. It is not as though there is a lack of consensus about key details. And indeed, at this point Tarico and the mythicists fail to consider the explanation they so quickly appeal to when it suits them, namely that a deep desire for Jesus to have been a particular kind of person may be a reason why scholars keep finding a Jesus who suits them. But what about the majority view, one that deeply disturbs and troubles many?

Mythicists think they have great insights, and even those who are not totally persuaded may still believe that mythicists are saying something interesting. But lists like these show that mythicists are like the introductory-level students who are able to think they have figured things out only because they are so superficially acquainted with the evidence and relevant scholarship. It always seems easy to put a puzzle together when you only have a few pieces to work with.



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