In several comments on this blog doctoral student Stephanie Louise Fisher alerted me and others to future publications by the University of Nottingham’s Emeritus of New Testament Languages and Literature Professor, Maurice Casey.
My copy of “Jesus of Nazareth: an Independent Historian’s Account of His Life and Teaching” by Maurice Casey has now arrived. I will post on specific points made in this book, but one point I can address now as a general introduction is what appears to be the meaning of Casey’s term “independent historian”.
From the first two chapters and footnote-directed readings to later pages, my first impressions are that an “independent” historian is one who does not need to explain his or her own viewpoint, but merely needs to pronounce that he or she is not an apologist for any particular Christian religious agenda, nor a Moslem, nor a Jew, nor an atheist. Casey also has words to say about the “academic independence” of British universities, pointing out to his American peers that they hire without regard to religious or racial affiliation. Further, Casey singles out names who are known to be “atheist”, and regularly repeats the “atheist” epithet when he mentions them, and associates these names as “atheists” with “Christ-myth” views.
The implication is clear. It is atheists (especially from America) who are on some sort of agenda to declare Jesus Christ a mythical character. (I will be detailing specific quotations in future posts.) On the other hand, Casey suggests that it is “independent scholars” like himself who are above Christian apologetics and atheistic anti-Christian agendas, as if those are the only two viable alternatives.
I hope in future posts to quote specific citations to show that publicly proclaimed atheists (including names from mainstream scholarship) are among the most vociferous opponents of the Christ-myth idea. I will also refer to what I have learned of Christ-myth theorists and scholars who are “religious” and even “pro-Christian” in their sentiments.
In the meantime, as for my own supposedly “anti-Christian vendetta”, I invite anyone interested enough to refer to my profile in the right margin of this blog and follow through the links in my profile.
Till I get the opportunity to address Casey’s arguments in more detail, I will leave this post with this observation:
Casey comes across as one who applauds names who agree with his views as being “brilliant” and as having “completely independent minds” (and he cites here specifically Stephanie Louise Fisher and James Crossley); and by contrast, any scholar who has decided Jesus is not as fully “Jewish” as he, Casey, feels fits the bill, is by definition influenced by the politics of anti-semitism, or, in the case of “atheists”, the interest of anti-Christian vendettas.
I will also show in future posts that Casey, like Crossley and Fisher, is not nearly as “independent” as he likes to think, but has in fact fallen in line with the very assumptions of New Testament scholarship that most need to be questioned if the discipline is to emerge as a serious historical discipline on a par with nonbiblical historical studies.
Anyone interested in understanding the minds of those whom Casey applauds as “brilliant” and “independent” might be interested in observing how those minds express themselves in comments on the following posts:
The most improbable history of Christian origins
“Partisanship” in New Testament scholarship
Why would the Gospel authors have made it up?
The Gospel of Mark’s unrecognized “birth” narrative of Jesus Christ
Biblical historians make detectives look silly
How (most) biblical “historians” work: a case study
The Dark Side of Jesus: His call to hate one’s family to be his disciple
Dating Mark early
Biblioblogs peddling bigotry and ignorance
Okay, just one more early-dating of Mark critique, but quickly
How and Why Scholars Fail to Rebut Earl Doherty
End the levity of the previous post. These are my comrades.
Why might a study of the Bible benefit someone “not of the faith”?
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