Just briefly, here are some things that I (and probably Neil, as well) intend to write about in the coming months.
- How do historians treat possibly legendary or semilegendary figures other than Jesus?
- The search for a common methodology of historicity. How do historians weigh the evidence surrounding characters such as King Arthur and Robin Hood? What steps do we take to evaluate literary evidence?
- Processes historians follow to assess historical authenticity. How do they do it? Spoiler alert: We need contemporary, verifiable, independent corroboration.
- The often quite strong and surprisingly predictable backlash against the suggestion that people’s beloved heroes may never existed. “You’re taking away our history/heritage!”
- Is determining historical existence categorically different from the search for probably authentic deeds and sayings? If so, how does that difference affect our methods and the ways we analyze evidence?
- Is Carrier’s reference class model useful for determining historicity?
- Is it circular?
- What parts of his method can we salvage?
- The perils of amalgamating different, often contradictory stories into a single narrative legend.
- The Memory Mavens: More stuff about ritual memory vs. shared stories.
- William Wrede: His contributions to methodology (now generally unknown and ignored).
Happy Belated New Year!