Logical confusion on the historical Jesus side of the debate

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by Neil Godfrey

Various commenters have referred me to a list of pre-recorded responses, any one of which can be prompted to “reply” to any question raised that seeks a justification of an argument in favour of Jesus being historical. That sounds like a very efficient way for a Jesus historicist to completely avoid addressing the question of mythicism altogether. I am sure there are still plenty of self-help type books on the market that continue to advise readers that the best way to persuade someone against their point of view is to seriously listen to what they are really saying and avoid the trap of having a prepared response in your mind that you are simply waiting for the chance to release and end the discussion.

But recorded response number four is the one I want to address in particular because I simply do not understand it. This worries me a little because it appears to be an attempt to explain something major about the strength of the historicist argument, and if that is the case then there is something seriously askew in either a mythicist’s or a historicist’s grasp of logic.

This is “Beep: Recorded Response #4”:

#4. The quest for the historical Jesus and the criteria of authenticity do not presuppose the historicity of Jesus. They seek to demonstrate it in the only way possible. One cannot demonstrate the historicity of Alexander the Great in fashion separately from all evidence for things he may have said, done, or had inscribed. The same is true in the case of Jesus.

How can I search for the Yeti if I do not presuppose, even if only hypothetically, that it exists? I have never gone looking for a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow because I presuppose it does not exist. I suppose if I ever came to believe that there is a possibility that there might be a pot of gold there then I just might think I have nothing to lose and go looking for it. Continue reading “Logical confusion on the historical Jesus side of the debate”