For anyone who was too lazy or too busy or too technically challenged to listen to the discussion between David Fitzgerald and Daniel Gullotta on the historicity of Jesus here are my notes.
Of course things said on the fly are not always what we would exactly say in more considered writing so I welcome any corrections from both speakers. And we can always think of what we “should have said” in hindsight. (In a couple of places I have changed the original where an obvious slip of the tongue was made and in others added an amendment in square brackets without colour coding]. Daniel G has posted some corrections or clarifications on his blog.)
DF = David Fitzgerald [in bluish text]
DG = Daniel Gullotta [in reddish text]
HJ = Historical Jesus
JM = Jesus Myth or Jesus Myth theory
NT = New Testament
TF = Testimonium Flavianum
1:24 = approx time on audio file in minutes and seconds
Bold — the questions asked by the interviewer.
This is not really a transcription. Most of it is my own paraphrasing and precis. Only sections in quotation marks are actual “transcription”.
What led to your interest in the historicity of Jesus?
2:30 DF: Never considered possibility of no historical Jesus until took an interest to know what he really said and did. Then red flags arose and discovered other people were also having same questions. Two years later realized he did not exist at all. Then wrote Nailed.
3:30 DG: Doing Undergrad degree in Theology specializing in Biblical Studies. Began with interest in how Jesus fitted in with his time historically, became bored with that so turned to Paul. In his undergraduate years the Zeitgeist documentary was making the rounds. That was his first intro. Then “3 Christmases ago” his younger brother re-introduced him to the to HJ notion — “If he existed!”
In same year Bart Ehrman released Did Jesus Exist? and Carrier was about to come out with his book, released a few months later.
With scholar Roland Boer at University of Newcastle (Australia) DG was more interested in studying the question of the reception of the JM.
6:30 Who has burden of proof?
DG — Burden of proof is on the one making the claim. Having said that, Paul’s letters, the Gospels, the writings of the later church and the sheer explanatory power are very weighty, so to argue against HJ is to go into an entirely different paradigm and for that one needs good evidence and the JM theory doesn’t have it.
DF – Agrees regarding burden of proof. It’s not really about HJ but about how Christianity started. It’s to make the best sense of the evidence we have.
9:00 Without HJ how could Christianity begin? read more