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 [on the dates of the gospels] adopted by most but hardly all such scholars. If we are all mistaken on something so fundamental to the discipline, then how can it be assumed without investigation that the majority of us are correct on anything else?” — James McGrath, The Myth of Mythicism and Undebunkable Skepticism (Sept 30 2016) — James McGrath’s title for his post seems to indicate that he thinks all the fuss about the arguments for the Christ Myth theory today are a hoax and there is no such phenomenon on the web or anywhere, but I don’t think that’s what he meant to convey.
My head is spinning. Didn’t Maurice Casey in his polemic accuse mythicists of rejecting the consensus position of scholars on the dates of the gospels?
ludicrously late dates for the Gospels are central to the assumptions of mythicists . . . (p. 45)
mythicists try to date the Gospels as late as possible, one of the reasons they use is the date of surviving manuscripts. (p. 49)
mythicists try to date the Gospels as late as possible, and one of the reasons they use is the date of surviving manuscripts. (p. 66)
I have already pointed out that the dates proposed for the Gospels by mythicists are seriously awry. (p. 80)
the hopelessly late dates proposed by mythicists. (p. 81)
Apart from the extraordinarily late dates proposed by mythicists . . . (p. 93)
The very late dates for the canonical Gospels proposed by mythicists should be uniformly rejected. (p. 107)
Two major mistakes underlie all the mythicists’ arguments. One is the date of the synoptic Gospels, which they all date much too late, as we saw . . . (p. 133)
Building on their ludicrously late date of the synoptic Gospels . . . (p. 134)
So how can Jonathan Bernier accuse them of mindlessly accepting the consensus position on gospel dates?
There is a very deliberate reason that Bernier does not familiarize himself with the arguments and why McGrath likewise side-steps them. It is not a simple misunderstanding. Nor is it a question of partial information that can be rectified. But first let’s be clear about the gulf between Bernier’s cum McGrath’s attacks on mythicism and reality. read more