One reader asked for an easier way to review the various posts on Thomas Brodie’s Beyond the Quest for the Historical Jesus: Memoir of a Discovery. So here it is. Posts directly dealing with a chapter by chapter overview of the book, those in the “Making of a Mythicist” series, are in bold font. Other posts in which the same book had a key focus are right-aligned. All are in chronological order of posting.
I have not included here several other posts on Brodie’s ideas that have been posted on this blog. These can be found through the “Index of Topics / Select a Category” button in the right hand margin.
“Jesus did not exist as an historical individual”: Beyond the Quest for the Historical Jesus
Quest for History: Rule One — from Brodie’s Beyond the Quest for the Historical Jesus
Mythicism and Positive Christianity
Thomas Brodie’s Review of Bart Ehrman’s Did Jesus Exist?
Sowing Doubt That An Emotional Paul Authored Galatians
What Did Luke’s Eyewitnesses See?
Questioning Paul’s Letters. Were they really “occasional”? Or rhetorical fictions?
The Inevitable Catches Up With Thomas L. Brodie
Thomas L. Brodie: Two Core Problems with Historical Jesus Arguments
What They Are Saying About The Brodie Affair
1. The Making of a Mythicist, Act 1, Scene 1 (Thomas Brodie’s Odyssey)
2. Making of a Mythicist, Act 1, Scene 2
McGrath’s Review of Brodie’s Memoir: Incompetent or Dishonest?
Ongoing Disregard for Facts and Denials of Old Criticisms (yes, McGrath again, sorry)
Brodie’s Argument that Jesus Never Existed
What Do We Mean by “Incompetent”?
Joel Watts Acclaims Thomas Brodie a Scholarly “Giant” and His Work “A Masterpiece”
3. Making of a Mythicist, Act 2, Scene 1 (Brodie’s Odyssey)
4. Making of a Mythicist, Act 2, Scene 2 (The Verdict Falls)
5. Making of a Mythicist, Act 2, Scene 3 (“That is an important thesis”)
Brodie’s Mythicist Case: The Facts
6. Making of a Mythicist, Act 3, Scene 1 (Too Strange!)
Thomas Brodie Illustrates The New Testament’s Dependence On the Old
Parallels, Drum Majorettes and Brodie
7. Making of a Mythicist, Act 3, Scene 2 (Discovering the Crucial Bridge) — With a note on “Parallelomania”
8. Making of a Mythicist, Act 3, Scene 3 (“It is original, but not off the wall”)
9. Making of a Mythicist, Act 3, Scene 4 (The Dominican Biblical Institute, and its Research)
10. Making of a Mythicist, Act 4, Scene 1 (“We need a gentle funeral”)
11. Making of a Mythicist, Act 4, Scene 2 (“What Is Rule One?”)
12. Making of a Mythicist, Act 4, Scene 3 (Deeps Below, Storms Ahead)
13. Making of a Mythicist, Act 4, Scene 4 (The Crumbling Evidence for Paul)
14. Making of a Mythicist, Act 4, Scene 5 (How Paul Was Made)
15. Making of a Mythicist, Act 4, Scene 6 (Two Key Problems with Historical Jesus Studies)
16. Making of a Mythicist — ch 17 . . . Unreliable Criteria
17. Making of a Mythicist — ch 17 . . . Did Jesus Model Himself on Elijah?
18. Making of a Mythicist — ch 17 . . . Was Jesus a Carpenter?
19. Making of a Mythicist — ch 17 . . . The Evidence of Josephus
20. Making of a Mythicist — ch 17 . . . Jesus in Greco-Roman Sources & General Conclusions
21. Making of a Mythicist, Act 5, Scene 1 (Explaining Christian Origins Without Jesus)
22. Making of a (Christian) Mythicist, Act 5, Scene 2 (Staying Christian With a Symbolic Jesus)
23. Making of a (Christian) Mythicist, Act 5, Scene 3 (What Christianity Can Mean If Jesus Did Not Exist)
24. Making of a (Christian) Mythicist, Act 5, Scene 4 (To Believe Or Not To Believe the Parable) — Conclusion
Theology and the Historical Jesus
Peter Kirby has posted thoughts on the meaning of the question of the historical Jesus for Christian theology: see Theology and the Historical Jesus. What he writes dovetails with recent posts here explaining why Thomas Brodie believes Christianity can and should thrive with a Jesus figure who stands beyond history. Peter shows Brodie is not alone in this view. He goes further, however, introducing readers to what the question means from different faith/theological perspectives.
All posts in this series are archived in the O’Neill-Fitzgerald Debate.
The Ambiguity and Difficulty of the Evidence
Tim O’Neill in his initial review:
No-one except a fundamentalist apologist would pretend that the evidence about Jesus is not ambiguous and often difficult to interpret with any certainty, and that includes the evidence for his existence. This, of course, merely means the idea he did not exist is simply valid, not that it’s true. (O’Neill 2011)
Dave Fitgerald’s response:
So much of what I argue should not sound controversial. O’Neill admits as much when he dismisses Myth No. 1 (“The idea that Jesus was a myth is ridiculous!”) as “not really controversial” and that: “After all, no-one except a fundamentalist apologist would pretend that the evidence about Jesus is not ambiguous and often difficult to interpret with any certainty, and that includes the evidence for his existence.” He and I are in almost in perfect agreement here. (Fitzgerald, 2012)
In the following series of posts it might be worth keeping this little exchange in view.
Which one of the debaters does in reality concede that any point relating to the historical existence of Jesus might indeed by “ambiguous” or “difficult to interpret with any certainty”.
In the following post we will see TO accuse DF of framing the debate in a black and white manner, but readers should note the ensuing exchange and decide which of the contestants is taking a dogmatic stance and denying any possibility of ambiguity or “uncertain interpretation” in the evidence under discussion.
All posts in this series are archived in the O’Neill-Fitzgerald Debate.
I don’t imagine very many people interested in the debate over the historical existence of Jesus would have the time to read Tim O’Neill’s 12,000+ word response David Fitzgerald’s response (10,000 words) to Tim O’Neill’s review (7,500 words) of David Fitzgerald’s Nailed: Ten Christian Myths That Show Jesus Never Existed At All. Even fewer interested readers, I am sure, would have the time to stop and compare each of O’Neill’s points with its related Ftizgerald passage. However, it is only by comparing point by point claim and counter-claim that one can make a fair assessment of the validity of each of O’Neill’s responses.
Well, it has been a very quiet set of rainy days here so I have had time to set out the three articles side by side in columns and colour-code the matching sections of the discussion. So that makes it a little easier for me to follow and evaluate the arguments that have spanned tens of thousands of words and two full years.
But I promise I will not attempt to cover it all in a single post. I’ll do it in small chunks — I really will try to keep every post to around 1000 words — one point at a time.
I will attempt throughout these posts to censor O’Neill’s language to make it fit for readers who prefer exchanges to be civil and respectful in tone. And as usual all bolded font is my own emphasis. I’ll be adding my own perspective from time to time, too.
One of the first points O’Neill made against Fitzgerald was that he represents a group of Christ Myth theorists who are driven by a desire to undermine Christianity. Continue reading “The O’Neill–Fitzgerald Debate over the Christ Myth: Round 1, the Agenda”