2014-03-10

Casey’s Instruments of Demonization

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by Neil Godfrey

Having seen the ratio of ex-fundamentalists to mythicists with liberal church backgrounds it is amusing to review Maurice Casey’s mythic theme. Watch how the old Red Scare themes are echoed here. One poor scholar, Owen, who dared to criticize the work that was built on Casey’s thesis is compared with a mythicist at every point of his dispute and Casey even raises his “unhappy childhood”! But a pummeling also lies in store for that spawn of all evil, the “American” (spit the word) Jesus Seminar!

The first chapter: From fundamentalism to mythicism. (p. 1)

[Mythicism] has three major features. One is rebellion against traditional Christianity, especially in the form of American fundamentalism . . . The majority of people who write books claiming Jesus did not exist, and who give their past history, are effectively former American fundamentalists. . . (p. 2)

Rebellion! Is that not as bad as the sin of witchcraft? You rebellious mythicists, you!

That’s interesting, actually, given that elsewhere Casey laments the “uncontrolled” and “unregulated” nature of mythicism and mythicists (see below). Rebellious, out of control . . .  One wonders what he would really like to do about it all if he had the power.

Here he gets stuck into that poor scholar who had the audacity to disagree and argue against Casey’s thesis:

As a fundamentalist Christian . . . Owen already has the most important faults of mythicists (p. 8)

And what are these “mythicist-like” faults? Casey lists them:

First, he has misrepresented me, accusing me of omitting scholarship which I discussed elsewhere . . .

Second, he has preferred scholarship which is out of date . . .

Third, he has done so because scholarship which is out of date supports the tradition to which he has intellectually arbitrary adherence.

Fourth, he is just one short step away from accusing me of ‘suppressing’ old scholarship that I did not see fit to reproduce. . . .

All these points are central to the mythicist case. Owen had a very difficult childhood. . . .

There are two reasons why this is of real importance . . . Firstly, Owen . . . already has the most important faults of mythicists. (pp. 5-8)

(Actually I thought Owen’s initial review was a very polite and gentlemanly expression of disagreement. Perhaps his logic and evidence did not need any invective to drive his points home.)

It’s quite amusing to read on and find so much of Casey’s book is devoted to attempts to rebut comments from Steven Carr, Tim Widowfield and myself pointing out the logical fallacies of his Aramaic arguments. Mythicists are bad and ignorant because they don’t agree with Casey’s arguments and argue so many points just like mainstream scholars who are also ignorant because they don’t read the language Jesus spoke!

We can now put Doherty’s comments on scholars into their cultural context of American fundamentalism. (p. 9)

[N.T. Wrong], also a proper scholar of a decent cricketing nation, said of another atheist, ‘Once a fundie always a fundie. He’s just batting for the other side now.’ (p. 13)

Mythicists . . . are by and large former fundamentalist Christians. (p. 59)

It is at such points that this mythicist, once a very conservative American Catholic, argues like a fundamentalist. (p. 112)

LOOK OUT WESTAR INSTITUTE — that AMERICAN JESUS SEMINAR:

In a profound sense, the Westar Jesus seminar [yes, the lower case ‘s’ is original] was the predecessor of mythicists. Its most important members were to a large extent former American fundamentalists, or at least very conservative American Christians, as were most of the mythicists. (p. 118)

Mythicists . . . are just like the fundamentalists they used to be. (p. 170)

[Mythicists’] ideas of what is supposed to have happened during Jesus’ life are based on their previous lives as fundamentalists. (p. 203)

These regrettable mistakes appear to have two basic causes. One is the fundamentalism from which mythicists have emerged. . . . They do not believe in evidence and argument any more now than they did when they had fundamentalist Christian convictions. (p. 220)

The most important result of this book is that the whole idea that Jesus of Nazareth did not exist as a historical figure . . . belongs in the fantasy lives of people who used to be fundamentalist Christians. (p. 243)

I therefore conclude that the mythicist arguments . . . have been mainly put forward by . . . former fundamentalist Christians who were not properly aware of critical scholarship then, and after conversion to atheism, are not properly aware of critical scholarship now. They frequently confuse any New Testament scholarship with Christian fundamentalism. (p. 245)

So what follows will not surprise you. In a future post I’ll demonstrate how narrow Casey’s coverage of mythicist arguments really is. He is too preoccupied with propagating his own Aramaic thesis and he gets hung up on pedantic quibbles and confusing humour for serious points of argument to keep readers with him. I can’t imagine a single reader being convinced Jesus existed by this work. His vitriol is too unabashedly puerile for any intelligent reader to take seriously. Though Jim West, James McGrath, Larry Hurtado and Rabbi Joe Hoffmann all love it. But that’s no surprise, is it. They praised it before they even read it.

Now I’ll list here a set of words and phrases that will give you a pretty good idea of the tone of the book. These stand out as some of Casey’s favourite descriptors.

Mythicists never have a single honest argument. Every point of view they express or argue falls under one of these categories below, according to Casey.

The following list is meant to highlight the tone of the book. Thus Casey might not say all mythicists are filled with outpourings of scorn, but such phrases are used of mythicists to contrast them with the purity of decent scholars. This list demonstrates the way Casey demonizes mythicists personally (and by implication mythicism, I suppose.)

Totally unable, incapable, unwilling

Mythicists are invariably “unable”, “incapable” or “unwilling” to learn or understand, do not read major works of secondary literature. Very often the word “unable” is complemented with “totally”:

See pages 6, 24, 27, 30, 33, 34, 52, 54, 118, 127, 135, 140, 147, 153, 178, 179, 200, 209, 244, 248, 257. (Sometimes more than once on the same page.)

Or they are uncomprehending: pages 144, 164.

Unlearned and anti-scholarly

Mythicists are “unlearned” and “anti-scholarly”.

See pp. 2, 4, 10, 15, 22, 29, 31, 32, 33, 35, 41, 59, 64, 76, 105, 127, 128, 169, 176, 182, 201, 204, 206, 208, 221-226 (Thomas L. Thompson is a ‘scholar’ — yes, in scare quotes), 236, 237, 241, 243, 244, 248, 259.

Confusing and confused

Mythicists arguments are confusing. My favourite is one that Casey has pulled at least twice now. When he encounters an argument he has never heard of before then it is wrong by definition. It is confusing. Mythicists are confused because they don’t agree with mainstream views.

See pages 14, 28, 91 (x2), 125, 144, 171, 175, 241, 245 (x2)

They really have “no clue” at all! 31, 211

Ignorant and do not understand

Mythicists never disagree with argument or a different perspective on the evidence. They are always ignorant or simply do not understand. See the Preface and pages 27, 29, 30, 33, 44, 51, 52, 53 (“appallingly ignorant”), 59, 127, 134, 140, 144, 172, 197, 201, 238, 243.

This is fortunate. It saves Casey the trouble of having to rebut them and allows him time to concentrate on peddling his own Aramaic thesis.

Hopelessly inaccurate

Mythicists are wholly or hopelessly inaccurate, or else just inaccurate all the time. See pages 3, 13, 18, 19, 22, 33, 44, 45, 127, (even something by a mythicist that is not inaccurate is said to be “not very inaccurate”!) 147, 159, 209, 215, 220, 236.

(Keep in mind he’s including here several highly respected scholars.)

Mythicists mislead you!

There is never an honestly different perspective with mythicists. They are “misleading” others, or worse “completely misleading”: See pages 6, 26, 33, 62, 77, 78, 106, 118, 144, 162, 168, 177, 179, 192, 196, 209, 215, 230, 249 (a website is “designed” to mislead), 256.

Mythicists trick you!

Six times the arguments of mythicists are called “tricks”. Two names explicitly associated with tricks are Earl Doherty and (non-mythicist) Thomas L. Thompson. Pages 182, 198, 199, 224.

Ludicrous

Mythicist conclusions are regularly described as ludicrous — thus unworthy of honest or serious or any treatment at all: pp. 45, 54, 111, 134, 155, 177 (x2), 186, 195, 199, 204, 207, 221, 229

Conspiracy theorists

Mythicists declare that scholars have conspired to suppress certain works: pp. 8-9

Bloggers are the worst

Mythicist blogs are “ignorant, opinionated, rude and malicious”: p. 27

Rude and lacking sympathy

Normal humanity is beyond mythicists. They can’t sympathize with decent mainstream understanding and wisdom.

For rude, see pages 27, 29, 33, 63, 256; and for lacking sympathy see pages 59, 79, 80, 186, 257

They are also bossy, giving orders (This was when I argued a point of view that Steph did not like.): 44, 64, 65, 66.

Zindler’s humour is interpreted as “making fun” of the Bible or religious scholars. p. 236.

Pointy heads patted by Critical Scholars

Whenever mythicists write something that that is known to scholars — that is, when they get something right in the eyes of mainstream scholars — they are depicted as pointy headed upstarts who think they have discovered something new. How dare mythicists say the same things we superior minds are saying!

So we have: “Critical scholars have known that for years!” See pages 12, 13, 14, 18, 109, 127, 208, 221.

Or, “That was well known to all critical (or “proper”) scholars” or, conversely, “That is certainly not the view of critical scholars”: See pages 140 (x2), 169, 205, 215, 236 (x2), 241, 245.

Critical scholars are always presented as The Autorities and mythicists are depicted as ignoramuses for not seeing eye to eye with them. Mythicists even dare to simply “ignore” them sometimes! See pages 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 10, 13 (x2), 15, 17, 18 (x2), 22, 23, 24, 31 (x3), 36, 37, 51, 59, 62 (x3), 66, 76 (x2), 120, 140, 141 (x2), 147, 156, 182, 203, 206, 208, 209, 220, 236, 241, 243 (x4), 245 (x2)

And in case you missed it the same point will catch you in the INDEX: 245

Or historical Jesus scholars come with the epithet “qualified” while the unwashed are not: See pages 2, 3, 10, 20, 24, 36, 37, 51, 76, 234, 237, 243, 244, 245, 250.

And if you missed it, there is the INDEX 36-37, 243

That is, readers are constantly reminded of who is the authority. Saves detailed argument with details Casey has not read.

Scholars are rarely simply scholars. They are “genuine” scholars and their arguments are rarely simply true; they are “genuinely” true: See pages Preface, 2, 8, 9, 24, 25, 26, 34, 45, 92, 124, 129, 140, 156, 211, 240.

actual scholars — authority: 15,

Disposalists

Mythicist arguments are dismissed as attempts to “dispose” of evidence or “facts”. Mythicists thus don’t really present any serious arguments. They just “dispose” of evidence: pp. 153, 171, 173, 174, 182, 185 (x2), 198, 199, 203 (x2)

“Everything is wrong with this”

See pages 110, 128, 148, 180, 251

Or this might be varied to “everything going wrong”: pages 77, 208

Mythicists are not decent or honest

But critical and genuine scholars, or even non-fundamentalist Christians, are always decent: See pages 9, 12, 15, 26, 27, 35, 43 (Here European scholars are “decent unlike the American ones), 44 (“decent and honest” – unlike mythicists), 66, 107, 243, 256

Nor polite

Scholars are polite, but not mythicists: 27, 35, 38, 247.

Inebriated?

They stand opposed to “sober scholars”: 154, 204, 205, 215.

Uncritical

Mythicists are uncritical: Pages 65, 116, 117, 124, 128, 129, 201, 207

Untrue and spurious

Mythicist arguments are (completely) untrue: 9, 111, 241.

They are also (completely/quite) spurious: 66, 108, 121, 149, 170, 204, 211, 216, 242, 244, 245.

Hopeless

Mythicists are hopeless or hopelessly (or ‘no hope’) wrong: 20, 35, 47, 76, 81, 135, 147, 169, 171, 176, 178, 183, 208, 219, 229, 232, 235, 236, 244

Unconvincing

Their arguments are (quite) unconvincing: 106, 130, 131 (x2), 140, 156, 170, 185, 247.

Again, that’s very useful. Saves having to address them.

Dogmatic

They are dogmatic: 27, 174, 221, 248

Quite/Most extraordinary

Their arguments are really (quite) extraordinary, sometimes even astonishing: 11, 61, 108, 109, 110, 116, 125, 136, 139 (x2), 140, 141, 142, 143 (x3), 144, 149, 185, 201, 203 (x2), 217, 221, 222, 238

Wilfully ignorant!

Mythicists are “determined” (to believe/not to believe/to exclude/to be ignorant. . . ): 3, 22, 79, 130, 130, 148, 148, 176, 185, 188, 207, 248

They also “ignore” or “wilfully ignore” critical information (like Casey’s Aramaic thesis!): page 26, 52, 130, 140, 144, 159, 167, 181, 182, 183, 204, 208, 209, 214, 227, 236, 243, 244, 248.

Incompetent

Of course: incompetent p. 78, 204, 206, 207, 226, 230, 238, 244, 245, 247, 256, 259

Strange, bizarre!

Not as often as one might expect. Perhaps this descriptor’s connotations are too exotic: 20, 51, 154, 156, 166, 171, 173 (Elaine Pagels says “strange” things that mythicists cite),

‘Fantastical’ finds a way in: 33

False, falsehoods

They are false. They “utter falsehoods” and are “conveniently false”: 5, 6, 7, 17, 18, 19, 24, 62, 109, 110, 119, 130, 134, 150, 153, 155, 167, 168, 193, 203, 204, 205, 211, 221, 223, 226, 228, 233, 234, 242, 243, 245.

Nonsense, no sense at all, clean contrary to it

They talk (complete) nonsense: 45, 51, 91, 168, 171, 223, 226, 233, 238

They have no sense at all: 52, 53, 75 (x2), 80, 123 (x2) 155, 179, 182.

They are “clean contrary” to decent views: 71, 103, 111, 142.

Hopelessly / obviously / completely contrary: 82, 137, 219, 238.

Ineducable

Doherty is said to come “presumably” from a “customarily ineducable Catholic” tradition and this explains one of his arguments in his book concerning the lack of interest in Christian holy places (p. 143); and one of Murdock’s views is “part of an ineducable tradition” of exaggerating contacts between Christianity and Hinduism (p. 206).

Unable to cope

Mythicists who argue against a particular interpretation are said to be unable to cope with the historical Jesus or some related evidence: pp. 10, 59 (x2), 176

So regrettable!

Regrettable, simply regrettable: 2, 7, 12, 13, 17, 21, 40, 99, 118, 119, 124, 135, 144, 148, 149, 152, 156, 164, 183, 187, 193, 194, 207, 216, 231, 234, 241, 252 (33 times altogether)

Pseudo-scholars

Casey doesn’t distinguish. Mythicists practice the black arts of pseudo-scholarship: 41, 201, 204, 212, 226, 244 + index = 2, 8, 10-26, 28, 29, 30-31, 35, 36-37, 43-44, 97-77, 131 (i.e. the Q hypothesis!) 205-208, 214, 220, 243

Pour out scorn!

This is getting quite theatrical now. Mythicists pour scorn or they are filled with such outpourings; 21, 24, 36, 51, 63, 165, 239, 241, 243, 256.

Creative fiction

Keeping with the theatrical strain — mythicists are good at creative fiction, or at least at being simply ‘creative’: 17, 48, 50, 64, 78, 111, 128, 131, 166 (x4), 168, 243.

They also are victims of illusions and pretensions: 36, 44, 214.

Blindingly obvious

It’s blindingly obvious. Mythicists are blind for not seeing the obvious: 34, 54, 186, 188, 208

Missing the obvious

Casey uses the word “obvious” 112 times. Most often this refers to what mythicists fail to see and why they are such regrettably appalling creatures. The beautiful thing about presenting your own view as “obvious” is that you don’t have to defend it or bother with any contrary arguments.

Appalling

Mythicists have appalling arguments: 12, 21, 41, 53, 224.

Without excuse

Mythicists are without excuse: 31, 35, 65, 127, 154, 168, 171, 193, 196, 199, 225, 232

(This is beginning to sound like a litany of signs of the last days, isn’t it?)

Improper

Mythicists, unlike critical and genuine scholars, are never proper in their ideas or manners: 6, 9, 10, 13, 20, 22, 32, 38, 39, 46, 52, 65, 75, 80, 106, 113, 120, 123, 128, 135, 140, 149, 152, 155, 157, 159, 169, 176, 179, 199, 204, 205,206, 208, 211, 212, 214, 222, 227, 232, 234, 236, 240, 243, 244, 245, 250.

Contemptuous

They hold sound teaching in total contempt: 8, 17, 27, 31, 32, 35, 36, 59, 170, 208, 218, 220

No sense of reality

They demonstrate no reasonable “relationship with (some form of) reality”: pp. 15, 22, 46, 50, 58, 61, 63, 71, 154, 155, 156, 168.

Mythicists have no historical sense either: 172, 194, 212.

Not just wrong, “quite wrong”

They are “quite wrong”: 54, 57, 74, 76, 100, 120, 130, 238

Belligerent

Mythicists “attack”: Preface, 4, 18, 27.

But Casey depicts himself as attacking others far more often. That’s how he seems to think scholarly debate is to be conducted or how people are persuaded.

Truth or lies

Casey spent his whole life trying to tell the truth. Presumably mythicists are out there trying to tell lies by contrast: 5, 16, 37 (I spent my whole life trying to tell truth as a scholar”), 38, 46, 128, 166, 193, (a sense of a Manichaean contrast between Casey and others).

Entirely unreasonable

Mythicist claims can be dismissed by assertions or surmises of Casey who says his views are “entirely reasonable” by contrast: pp.  12, 29, 46, 91, 96, 103, 107, 118, 175, 183, 185, 196

Prejudiced

Mythicists are prejudiced and biased: 12, 21, 31, 37, 39, 43, 128, 193, 206, 225 (grossly so), 232, 235, 251, 259.

And in case you missed it, it’s also in the INDEX: 43-6, 76, 118, 163, 193, 206, 226, 232

Anti-Christ

Mythicists are anti-Christian: 3, 12, 21, 22, 39, 63, 76, 118, 154, 201, 234 (including here “a gay anti-Christian socialist“!), 259

Again a reminder in the INDEX: 21.

Impious

Piety appears to be the preserve of liberals: 194, 236. INDEX again: 110, 143, 144, 194

Love to misrepresent and accuse!

Want to know what mythicists love? they love to misrepresent. Unlike Casey, they are also accusing types: 27; 5, 7, 8, 37, 164, 196, 197, 251.

They just announce things

Mythicists are often said to simply announce this or that claim, implying that they have no arguments to support their assertions. This would come as a surprise to anyone familiar with any of the works they are addressing: pp. 44, 104, 121, 126 (a scholar quoted by one mythicist is just as guilty!), 170, 177, 179, 180, 196, 199, 205, 218, 227, 232, 241

Malicious

They are malicious types: 27, 37, 50, 164.

Determined beggars

Mythicists don’t just see things differently. They are determined to not accept the conventional wisdom and determined to misrepresent and believe falsehoods: pp. 3, 22, 79, 130 (several times), 148 (x2), 176, 185, 188, 207, 248.

Typical

We can speak of the typical mythicist, of course: 13, 29, 33, 37 (that last page speaks of the typical malice and spite of bloggers and people who comment on blogs!), 197, 198

Anti-Semitic

This is an innuendo throughout Casey’s tract. Mythicists could never stand the Jewishness of Jesus when they were fundamentalists and now they want to get rid of him altogether. They argue for Hellenistic influences on early Christianity in order to get rid of the Jewish Jesus: pp. 21-22, 26, 31, 59 (“In particular, as ignorant Christians they rejected Jesus’ Jewish culture, and they still do. . . . At that stage they could not cope with his Jewishness, and now they cannot cope with his existence at all. . . “), 119, 124, 131, 188, 207, 213-214, 221, 228, 229, 257.

p. 48 implied comparison with Nazi attempts to present a non-Jewish Jesus.

What about Jewish mythicists? They can’t win, either:

The Jew Leidner has a Jewish anti-Christian bias! His book “consists of a massive outpouring of Jewish anti-Christian prejudice.” (p. 21) “This is entirely due to Leidner’s fixed and unchangeable Jewish identity, on account of which he cannot contemplate Paul’s shifting and changing identity.” (p. And Hyam Maccoby is a “biased Jewish maverick”. (p. 226)

Out of control and irresponsible

Their ideas are out there on the “uncontrolled” internet (p. 2) and that Godfrey is “unregulated” (p. 63)

Irresponsible: 205, 206.

What are worse than mythicists?

Americans, of course! USA and America are used with negative connotations: pp. 2, 3-5, 6, 9, 10-11, 12, 14, 16, 17, 24, 43, 54, 65, 81, 110, 112, 114, 117, 118, 119, 120, 128, 148, 176, 177, 182, 222, 223, 226, 237.

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Neil Godfrey

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20 Comments

  • maryhelena
    2014-03-10 13:00:23 GMT+0000 - 13:00 | Permalink

    Oh, Neil, I don’t know how you had the stomach to write this……I did not get past the Introduction….

    That said, I’m glad you persevered with this very much needed response to Casey’s attack upon the ahistoric position on the gospel JC. Whatever are the faults of various ahistoric ideas, these do not invalidate the necessitate of raising questions about the consensus position. ‘Heretics’ are never welcomed with open arms. The old way of thinking becomes as comfortable as an old pair of shoes. While the new shoes may take a while to wear in – their technological advances often reveal new pathways to walk…..

  • Herro
    2014-03-10 13:10:23 GMT+0000 - 13:10 | Permalink

    >249 (a website is “designed” to mislead)

    What website is that? 😀

    • Neil Godfrey
      2014-03-10 21:01:11 GMT+0000 - 21:01 | Permalink

      Actually Casey says it was my quotations from a conservative website that were “designed to mislead” people. He’s on to me. I was calculating through the night now to deceive readers till I hit on that dastardly plan! ;->

      • Steven Carr
        2014-03-10 21:49:27 GMT+0000 - 21:49 | Permalink

        Did you (Neil) really deceive people into thinking there was a big, vital difference between Latinisms and Latin translations of Greek words (as Casey alleges)?

        You swine!

  • 2014-03-10 13:25:52 GMT+0000 - 13:25 | Permalink

    A really fantastic summary. Thanks for that.

    After reading this I might not even bother to read Casey’s book. I see only two reasons for reading scholarship, either to learn or to refute, sometimes both. But I wonder what the point is to refute this libelous pamphlet beyond what’s already been done? And the other reason seems a waste of time.

    Thanks again.

  • Fabrizio
    2014-03-10 14:54:50 GMT+0000 - 14:54 | Permalink

    OMG! Really unbelievable!!

  • Geoff Barrett
    2014-03-10 22:22:04 GMT+0000 - 22:22 | Permalink

    Sounds like the New Heresiologists have some regulating to do. Can’t do with that unregulated, uncontrolled Neil Godfrey on the loose.

  • Tanya Gregg
    2014-03-11 04:03:17 GMT+0000 - 04:03 | Permalink

    Hi Neil,

    Not sure where to post my thoughts, although I imagine this isn’t the right spot.

    I am awestruck by the incredible amount of hard work you have devoted to understanding and analyzing the new testament. My goodness, you are to be commended.

    As I began reading your critique of Mark, I couldn’t help but wonder why would he, Mark, or anyone else, go to such great lengths to write nonsense? You know? I am interested in your thoughts on this.

    • 2014-03-11 04:18:02 GMT+0000 - 04:18 | Permalink

      You’ll have to explain what you mean by “nonsense”. I have never suggested anyone was writing nonsense. It would be better if you replied on any of the posts here that are about some aspect of the Gospel of Mark rather than at this one. Scroll down to the last two or three posts on this page and you’ll see a few on Mark where you can reply.

  • Steven Carr
    2014-03-11 07:55:20 GMT+0000 - 07:55 | Permalink

    How do you get to be a fundamentalist in the eyes of Casey?

    Casey complains that when Mark 14:12 does not refer to the first day of unleavened bread when Mark wrote ‘On the first day of unleavened bread…’

    On page 28,Casey accuses people of ‘fundamentalism’ when they take ‘on the first day of unleavened bread’ to mean ‘the first day of unleavened bread’.

    Is this guy for real?

    Casey really is a very silly boy.

    Incidentally, on the same page Casey claims Jews could have thought Moses issued the 10 commandments (not god…..) because in Matthew 19:7, it is Moses who talks about giving a certificate of divorce.

    What the hell is he on about? Does he think divorce is mentioned in the 10 Commandments?

    • Neil Godfrey
      2014-03-11 09:49:57 GMT+0000 - 09:49 | Permalink

      He does indeed show shock at people interpreting the first day of unleavened bread like that. I should tell him more about the outfit I was part of — we might even begin to bond if I do, since my old cult had a very similar interpretation of the first day of unleavened bread as Casey does here.

      Another area where I know Casey would feel right at home in our cult or in any fundamentalist group is with his assumption that Jesus came to keep the whole law perfectly. He just knows Jesus would never teach or break any of the commandments because he was such a good Jew and all Jews kept the law then so Jesus came to turn them back to the Torah because though they were all keeping the law the weren’t really — but the important thing he agrees that Jesus came to fulfil the law just like the fundies — that’s a fundamendalist doctrine that Casey has inherited from his upbringing no doubt.

      Further, Casey is always at pains to explain that though the Bible is not inerrant all its contradictions can be harmonized through a little bit of ad hoc reflection and application of Aramaic. Thus the mythicists who use the Bible’s contradictions as grounds to argue Jesus did not exist (Casey never gives any references to tell us which mythicists argue this — just like fundamentalists who have only contempt for proper scholarship) are wrong because if they understood they’d know there’s a perfectly correct explanation and therefore Jesus did exist.

      As Tim said in another post — the greater crime is that his peers don’t stand up to him and stop him from embarrassing their profession. West and McGrath and Hurtado and Hoffy and such are to blame for letting Casey getting away with his stupidity and dishonesty.

  • 2014-03-11 12:55:07 GMT+0000 - 12:55 | Permalink

    According to Marc Goodacre, only a few fundamentalists assert that the Gospels were written before Paul.

    Casey asserts this.

    That makes Casey a fundamentalist.

    • Neil Godfrey
      2014-03-11 14:46:17 GMT+0000 - 14:46 | Permalink

      Casey calls himself a serious critical scholar. This serious critical scholar comments on the passage in Galatians where Paul describes Peter fearing messengers from James (“the circumcision party”) and quickly moving himself away from the gentiles with whom he had been eating and going over to eat only with Jews and thereby causing many others to follow. This serious critical and “sober” scholar declares that the real reason was nothing more than a desire to sit with some old friends he hadn’t seen for a long time. Casey declares that Paul was most unfair in blaming Peter and accusing him falsely the way he did of betraying the gospel of grace, etc.

      No evidence. Just arbitrary opinion. This is Casey the independent critical scholar whom West, Hurtado, McGrath and Hoffmann all praise as delivering the ultimate blow to silly mythicists.

  • 2014-03-11 22:18:53 GMT+0000 - 22:18 | Permalink

    But a pummeling also lies in store for that spawn of all evil, the “American” (spit the word) Jesus Seminar!

    The first chapter: From fundamentalism to mythicism. (p. 1)

    [Mythicism] has three major features. One is rebellion against traditional Christianity, especially in the form of American fundamentalism . . . The majority of people who write books claiming Jesus did not exist, and who give their past history, are effectively former American fundamentalists. . . (p. 2)

    Rebellion! Is that not as bad as the sin of witchcraft? You rebellious mythicists, you!

    Excellent, Neil! And I suppose the Jesus Seminar IS the “sin” of “witchcraft!” ;^)

    (Apologies, I felt the need to comment before reading through the rest.)

  • 2014-03-11 22:44:06 GMT+0000 - 22:44 | Permalink

    Well I got to the end of the post, and what an impressive summation! I commened you for having the emotional stability and stamina to slog through this. Me, I would have thrown the book at the nearest wall and then scurrillosly condemned it for being a senseless murder of trees. Proving myself to be just as “out of control and irresponsible” as our British Jesus-historicist — or slightly a bit less than him.

  • 2014-03-12 02:08:22 GMT+0000 - 02:08 | Permalink

    In 1982, I worked on the American Stock Exchange in New York City. One of the specialists was a very religious Jew who not only refused to work on holy days, but would even transfer ownership in his business for the day in order to avoid earning a profit passively. I remember this fact thirty years later and I still find it interesting.

    Casey, on the other hand, doesn’t believe that early Christians could possibly have found it interesting that Jews were prohibited from carrying burdens on the Sabbath. Therefore, a reference to the prohibition in a story about Jesus proves that it really happened to the real historical Jesus. It is hard to express just how silly I find that argument.

  • Neil Godfrey
    2014-03-12 02:43:39 GMT+0000 - 02:43 | Permalink

    Just for the record I’m advising that I have updated the list of Caseyist demonizing words and phrases. Anyone who has browsed through it once will be excused for not taking a second look.

  • Clyde Adams III
    2014-03-12 11:03:10 GMT+0000 - 11:03 | Permalink

    “…Owen’s initial review…”
    You are being uncharacteristically vague and uninformative.
    What is Owen’s full name, what did he review, and where did his reviews appear?

  • Neil Godfrey
    2014-03-12 11:38:59 GMT+0000 - 11:38 | Permalink

    Never let me be intentionally vague and uninformative unless I’m trying to hide a dark secret or am too keen to rush through a painful post as quickly as possible.

    He is referring to The Associate Professor of Biblical and Religious Studies is Dr Paul L. Owen and his review of Casey’s “The Solution to the ‘Son of Man’ Problem” — Review of Biblical Literature, 2nd Sept 2009.

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