A few days ago I posted If you’re as sick of the Jesus Mythicist/Historicist debate as I am . . .
That discussion has come and gone and is now found on the Miami Valley Skeptics podcast.
H/t the Otagosh blog — Fitzgerald vs Gullotta – Discussing Jesus
I haven’t heard more than a few snippets of it so far.
About an hour after the above: concur with Gavin Rumney (Otagosh) that it ended on a skewed note — with Tom Harpur, Thomas Brodie, van der Kaalj and others (not counting Buddhists) it is a mistake to think that mythicism is the preserve of atheists. (Check the Who’s Who page.)
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4 thoughts on “Jesus Mythicist/Historicist discussion of Daniel Gullotta and David Fitzgerald”
Listened to the apodcast. Really nothing too new. Interesting Daniels apologist veil slipped a couple of times. One interesting thing he said though, was that Mythicists need to go through the academic process, get the degrees, etc, etc. Folks like Tommy Thompson have proven that that’s not that easy if you have contrary opinions. Also, frankly,,why would you want to? I think most would rather be drug behind a pickup than make a life’s work out of this. Also, Daniel says not to discount Christian scholars as sources. I disagree. By definition, a Christian already thinks that Jesus is divine, so of course he lived. They are biased beyond redemption from the get go.
Yes, I was not impressed either with that call for mythicists to “do the hard yards” etc — it sounded like he wanted to get in the obligatory appeal to authority and attack from those hostile to mythicism (not just disagreeing with it) from the likes of McGrath and Hurtado while conveniently overlooking both the mythicists and those genuinely open to the mythicist question who, as you point out, certainly do have “the hard yards” behind them. See the Who’s Who page here for many of their names.
That appeal to “do the hard yards” is really a back-handed way of saying “mythicists don’t know what they’re talking about — they don’t get on top of the scholarship and their arguments are rubbish” — removing from the game any serious amateur or other nonconformist. Unfortunately many mythicists don’t know the literature but sweeping them all together like this testifies more to the scholar’s laziness and lack of interest in engaging seriously with the question.
Then there was the whole “something so amazing happened around the resurrection that people took notice” that he snuck in. Dude is not a neutral scholar.
Having just listened to this broadcast after reading the much-maligned book by Freke and Gandy, “The Jesus Mysteries,” I was taken aback at how the discussion ended. The general agreement, between interviewer and interviewees, was that while only some members of the new atheist movement are interested in mythicism, the subject, by its very nature, skews to atheism because it shares similar views about spirituality and metaphysics.
I’m too advanced in years to be embarrassed to say that I found “The Jesus Mysteries” not only interesting but moving. However mythological itself the book’s underlying concept may be (that “softer” Gnostic forms of Christianity were in hot competition with “harder” literalist forms before the latter became official Christendom), it struck not only an intellectual but a spiritual chord with me–an uplifting thought that an open-minded, inclusive, non-judgmental Christianity may have existed and THRIVED at the very beginning.
I was raised in a typical liberal Protestant church that was, among others in my mid-sized American city, a beehive of social groups and activities for all ages, and where dogma and strict doctrine were virtually non-existent. While my church lacked the prophetic edge necessary for authentic Christianity, it was a nurturing and constructive environment which, along with its mainline kin, slowly gave way to fundamentalism/evangelism on the right hand, and total secularism on the left.
As I look back, it becomes increasingly clear to me that the demise of these strong institutions of liberal religion left a huge gap–or better yet, a deep wound–in American society, which nothing since has even attempted to mend or fill. Freke and Gandy may be stretching when they suggest that the defeat of Gnostic Christianity by Literalist Christianity paved the way for the fall of the Roman Empire, but if so, then I’m guilty of the same when it comes to the empire known as America.