By Richard Carrier in his Introduction to a new book, Jesus Did Not Exist: A Debate Among Atheists:
In early 2014 I published On the Historicity of Jesus: Why We Might Have Reason for Doubt. It passed professional peer review. It was published by a major, well-respected academic press that specialized in Biblical Studies, Sheffield-Phoenix, the publishing arm of the University of Sheffield. And it is the first book of such tested merit to argue that Jesus probably did not exist. It argues instead that Jesus began life as a revelatory archangel, and was transferred to human history decades later through the writing of myths for educational, missionary, and propagandistic purposes. This would have proceeded, in both cause and procedure, much like the invention of the life and teachings and miracles of Moses, whom the mainstream Academy now concedes probably did not exist.
Now late in 2015, the book you hold in your hand, Jesus Did Not Exist: A Debate Among Atheists by Raphael Lataster, contains the first thorough and expert treatment of my argument in print. In fact his chapter summarizing my book is the best brief summary I have read anywhere. . . .
And his book as a whole is the first analysis of its argument from anyone of graduate status or above in a relevant field that does not ignore or lie about its contents. Its motivation is evident from its author’s argument: Biblical studies is inhabited by experts too close to the material to approach so controversial a question critically. Someone who hasn’t settled their careers and access to grants and conference invites on there being a historical Jesus is indeed needed, to look objectively at what’s going on.
That there is a problem is widely acknowledged within the field itself. It has been remarked on by numerous observers, from John Crossan, who would write the famous line describing most historical work on Jesus “a disguise for doing theology and calling it history, doing autobiography and calling it biography, doing Christian apologetics and calling it academic scholarship”, and who then ironically did pretty much the very same thing himself, to James Crossley, who has argued that historians keep constructing a historical Jesus that conveniently agrees with who they want Jesus to have been, even writing two whole books on the point: Jesus in an Age of Terror and Jesus in an Age of Neoliberalism.[ 2] That the problem is even more extensive than this is demonstrated by Hector Avalos in The End of Biblical Studies. These are all leading insiders, well qualified in the subject.
Lataster, Raphael (2015-11-12). Jesus Did Not Exist: A Debate Among Atheists (Kindle Locations 37-59). . Kindle Edition.
First heard via John Loftus of Debunking Christianity: New Book by Raphael Lataster and Richard Carrier: “Jesus Did Not Exist: A Debate Among Atheists”
I’ll no doubt be writing more about this book.
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