Daily Archives: 2011-09-27 19:41:27 GMT+0000

Mark Goodacre on Jesus mythicism

I have finally caught up with Mark Goodacre’s podcast “Did Jesus Exist?”

For the benefit of others who don’t always find the time or opportunity to listen to a podcast and whose interests may overlap with some of mine here are some of the points he makes.

He asks of a mythicist (Timothy Freke):

Was it just Jesus as a first century figure that he was sceptical about or was he sceptical about other figures that are mentioned by the sources of the first century, by people like Josephus and so on? Is he sceptical about the existence of Herod or Caiaphas or Pilate or some of these characters.

In a follow up comment to the podcast Mark Goodacre made explicit the intent of his question:

When I put the question to Tim Freke, I was more interested in finding out if he was also sceptical about the existence of other first century figures from that region than anything else. In other words, I was trying to get to the root of the hyper-scepticism. Is it a general scepticism about ancient history and the limits of our knowledge, or is it something else?

Goodacre’s question assumes that the evidence for Jesus is comparable to what we find for other figures in ancient history generally. (I have argued that if this were the case there would be no debate about the existence of Jesus at all.) It also infers that there is something wrong with the one asking the question, but I return to this at the end of the post. read more »