Daniel N. Gullotta is not a mythicist. He believes in the historicity of Jesus. So his blog post on Richard Carrier’s argument for the Christ myth theory, Why You Should Read Carrier’s On the Historicity of Jesus, is especially interesting.
Throughout the centuries, the Jesus/Christ Myth has found few, but notable, adherents such as Constantin François de Chassebœuf, Bruno Bauer, and Arthur Drews, noted as the forefathers of the Mythical point of view on the historicity of Jesus. More recently, G.A. Wells[*], Earl Doherty, Robert M. Price, and Richard C. Carrier have become the most prominent figures within the school of thought. Now with Carrier’s publication of On the Historicity of Jesus: Why We Might Have Reason for Doubt and Proving History: Bayes’s Theorem and the Quest for the Historical Jesus, he now stands as the most dominant voice in favor of this thesis.
Daniel Gullotta agrees with Stevan Davies, another “historicist” that mythicism ought to be addressed seriously:
[L]ike Stevan L. Davies, I believe that “the Mythicists have discovered problems in the supposed common-sense of historical Jesus theories that deserve to be taken seriously.” Many scholars have simply opted to completely ignore the Jesus Myth theory (and with some understandable reasons), however I do not think that is the right approach, especially for people who do wish to assert the historicity of Jesus.
What is special about Carrier’s contribution?
While all of their studies deserve attention in their own way, Carrier’s contribution to the Jesus Myth theory is particularly noteworthy for several reasons. Firstly, Carrier holds a PhD in a related field. . . . Yet more remarkable is the significance of Carrier’s work, On the Historicity of Jesus, as it represents the first comprehensive peer-reviewed text published by a reputable academic press (Sheffield Phoenix Press) in favour of the Jesus Myth theory. Therefore, as an academic text, it does deserve scholarly attention, including criticism and praise, where all are due. . . .
Most noteworthy is his methodological approach and use of Bayes’s Theorem in the question of Jesus’s historicity. Remarkably, through Bayes’s methodological process of evaluating the primary evidence and background information, Carrier comes to the astonishing conclusion that “there is only a 0% to 33% chance that Jesus existed.”
For all of these reasons, the academic community committed to the study of the New Testament and Christian origins needs to pay attention to Carrier and engage with his thesis (even if they end up rejecting his conclusions); and if for no other reason than that he has the attention of the public.
As Carrier puts it, the ball is now in our court.
Read the full article with more detailed discussion and bibliography on Daniel’s blog.
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