A week ago (22nd June) I posted a draft list of points one might expect a historical Jesus hypothesis would explain or predict. I have still to make the time to work on that list along with some suggestions that were posted to it. But here is a similar list for what might be seen as the strengths of the mythical Jesus view:
A mythical Jesus theory
1. Would expect to find either no account of the eye-witness or authoritative transmission of words and deeds of Jesus in the early record, or vague/contradictory/politically-theologically-tendentious (only) accounts of such a transmission to fill the gap between Jesus and the earliest written accounts;
2. Would expect to find teachers claiming authority through, or simply teaching with reference to, a mystical or heavenly or vaguely historical Jesus;
3. Would expect to find detailed and variable accounts of Jesus almost entirely explicable in non-historical terms, e.g. of theological interest and/or literary borrowings or artifice;
5. Would expect to find historical details of Jesus appearing later than other accounts of Jesus, and would expect to find the earliest such details contradictory or inconsistent if coming from diverse types of Christianity;
6. Would expect to find earliest evidence for Christianity explicable in terms of, and consistent with, known philosophical, cultural, religious features of the time;
7. Explains the relative lateness of historical details, and the even later widespread acceptance of these, in the record in contrast to the earlier non-historically-specific accounts;
8. Explains the absence of historical details across a wide spectrum of types of the earliest Christian data;
9. Explains the absence of indisputable independent external corroboration of the Christian historical narrative.
I’m sure I’m biased and the above list is in strong need of healthy criticism.
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