A mythical Jesus, or a “nobody” Jesus.
I would like to know why the second would be so much preferable and acceptable to so many here than the first. I would like to have someone who so prefers to present us with the actual evidence for the second which is so much superior to the actual evidence for the first.
I would like to know just how one defines a “nobody” Jesus. Obviously, such a Jesus can be assigned virtually nothing that is portrayed of him in the Gospels, not just because it is now recognized that there is no history remembered in the Gospels, but if he were assigned anything remotely like we find in the Gospels, he wouldn’t be a “nobody.” If he is a “nobody” then he does not constitute the Jesus of Christianity, and would serve no purpose for it.
So why does everyone seem to get all warm and fuzzy for a “nobody” Jesus (at least, that’s what they convey), and foaming at the mouth against those who would postulate a mythical Jesus?
Or is this all a smokescreen? Will James McGrath tells us openly whether he subscribes to and finds acceptable the idea of a “nobody” Jesus? Will Mike Wilson? Tim O’Neill? Anyone else who regularly craps all over mythicism?
And by way of rejoinder to McGrath who wrote:
@Earl, what do you mean by a “nobody” Jesus?
Why, if the Gospel authors were not of the same caliber as professional historians, do you assume that they therefore couldn’t manage to do a poor job of writing history rather than assume that they must therefore have been writers of pure fiction?
Why do you accept Christian apologists’ claims about Jesus being prefigured in Isaiah 53, rather than the arguments of critical scholars as well as Jews in general pointing out that the alleged prefigurement is not as evident as Christians claim when they read their beliefs about the atonement and about Jesus back into that text?
Ask those who speak about a “nobody” Jesus (or with that implication) what they mean. I did, and am awaiting an answer. Generally speaking, though, I would define it as a figure who did some preaching (no one knows exactly what), talked about the end of the world, got himself killed (no one knows in what circumstances), performed no miracles, did not attract large crowds (therefore couldn’t have troubled the authorities overly much), did not have any great number of followers either before he died or afterwards, and certainly stayed dead. Nor do we even know his name. (Gee, and I wonder what led to the almost immediate conviction and preaching of him as the very Son of God, creator and sustainer of the universe, redeemer of mankind by walking out of his grave, and the abandonment of all interest in the earthly life of such a cosmic paragon. But I’m sure there must be some explanation lurking somewhere. Maybe Kris has one.)
So now, given that the Gospels contain no identifiable history, you fall back on the suggestion that, oh well, they tried, but the dummies were just too poor at it??? (I’m too floored to have anything I can say about that.)
I’m not accepting Christian apologists’ claims about anything, including Isaiah 53. But even I can read that passage and find a crucified Messiah in it, given the proper influences in the time of the earliest Christ cult and a disposition to want to come up with some kind of dying and rising salvation figure for my own circles. No one is saying that the earliest Christ-ers were justified in doing so, or that modern 21st century critical scholars would themselves to do so. Like I said, just because WE would not believe in something doesn’t mean the ancients wouldn’t.
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