2015-07-06

“5 good reasons to think Jesus never existed”

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by Neil Godfrey

Valerie Tarico

Valerie Tarico has been at it again:

5 good reasons to think Jesus never existed

And the good five are?

1. No first century secular evidence whatsoever exists to support the actuality of Yeshua ben Yosef. . . .

Actually I think using the Jewish form of the name began among historical Jesus scholars who were attempting to recreate some distinctive “Jewishness” of the historical figure. On the other hand, the Greek form “Jesus” has its own unique message: See

Gospel Puns on the Name Above All Names
Creativity with the Name of Jesus the Healer in the Gospel of Mark

2. The earliest New Testament writers seem ignorant of the details of Jesus’ life, which become more crystalized in later texts.

3. Even the New Testament stories don’t claim to be first-hand accounts.

4. The gospels, our only accounts of a historical Jesus, contradict each other.

5. Modern scholars who claim to have uncovered the real historical Jesus depict wildly different persons.

 

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9 Comments

  • Lowen Gartner
    2015-07-06 15:05:54 GMT+0000 - 15:05 | Permalink

    and….most of the stories in the Gospels could not possibly be true.

  • Greg G.
    2015-07-06 19:32:09 GMT+0000 - 19:32 | Permalink

    For #2, the little information the early epistle writers have about Jesus can be found in the Hebrew scriptures of the day, ie, the Old Testament.

  • Blood
    2015-07-06 20:35:34 GMT+0000 - 20:35 | Permalink

    4. The gospels, our only accounts of a historical Jesus, contradict each other.

    This isn’t a good reason to suspect Jesus didn’t exist.

  • James Chapman
    2015-07-06 23:33:20 GMT+0000 - 23:33 | Permalink

    FYI, it may be worth mentioning that Valerie Tarico’s article is not new. It first appeared on her own blog in August 2014, and then on Salon/Alternet the following month. Curiously, the original title was “Five Reasons…”, without the word “good”.
    The original blog article had the following postscript, which does not appear in the Salon/Alternet versions:

    Author’s note: Not being an insider to this debate, my own inclination is to defer to the preponderance of relevant experts while keeping in mind that paradigm shifts do occur. This means that until either the paradigm shift happens or I become a relevant expert myself, I shall assume that the Jesus stories probably had some historical kernel. That said, I find the debate fascinating for several reasons: For one, it offers a glimpse of the methods scholars use to analyze ancient texts. Also, despite the heated back and forth between mythicists and historicists, their points of agreement may be more significant than the difference between historicized mythology and mythologized history. The presence of mythic tropes or legendary elements in the gospel stories has been broadly accepted and documented, while the imprint of any actual man who may have provided a historical kernel–how he may have lived, what he may have said, and how he died–is more hazy than most people dream.

    • Neil Godfrey
      2015-07-07 02:16:11 GMT+0000 - 02:16 | Permalink

      Thanks for reminding me. I thought it had a ring of deja vu.

  • Jonathan Rutherford
    2015-07-07 06:48:24 GMT+0000 - 06:48 | Permalink

    All her reasons are valid, so not a bad effort but I would (writing quickly) put the following reasons front and centre

    1) The earliest Christians don’t seem to know a Jesus of Nazareth and, it seems mostly likely they worship a celestial/heavenly Jesus

    2) The first narrative we have about Jesus, the gospel of Mark, can be demonstrated to be – via analysis of intertexutuality – a work of theological allegorical fiction NOT an historical biography

    3) ALL other information about Jesus post-Mark can be shown to be derived from Mark. Nobody else, whether Christian or non-Christian, has any other independent evidence. All rely on the first source Mark…which contain no reliable historical information.

    Jonathan

  • Neil Godfrey
    2015-07-08 21:58:23 GMT+0000 - 21:58 | Permalink

    The real significance of this article is not the details of the arguments themselves but the fact that it is published by Salon.com. And of course it has been published in other comparable online sites (eg Alternet), too. These are not the sorts of publishers who are noted for propagating anti-intellectual nonsense. On the contrary, they expose the nonsense of agenda driven conservative antipathy towards science, etc.

    The only come-back hostile anti-mythicists have is to appeal to the authority of their profession.

    Sure, the details of some of the arguments themselves can be debated. They are not all watertight under close scrutiny. But they do make sense enough to be put on the discussion table. That’s what the hostile anti-mythicists want to avoid — genuine debate and discussion. They want to close down any suggestion that their professional interests are based on questionable — debatable — assumptions.

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