Myths about Christopher Columbus: Why Would Anybody Make Them Up?

What an odd thing to say!* Recently, while catching up with the second edition of James Loewen’s Lies My Teacher Told Me, I noticed something I had missed earlier while reading the chapter on Christopher Columbus. The first time I read the book, now over a decade ago, the grisly stories of conquest and genocide, … Continue reading “Myths about Christopher Columbus: Why Would Anybody Make Them Up?”


The Year of the Nativity: Consensus, Harmonization, and Plausibility

Yes, it does seem odd for Vridar to have so many Christmas posts this year. I normally watch the holidays go by and think to myself, “I should have written something about that.” In any case, I promise this will be my last Christmas post of the year, which should be an easy vow to … Continue reading “The Year of the Nativity: Consensus, Harmonization, and Plausibility”


Shirley Jackson Case: Inadvertent Omissions

When I consulted my reading notes for the recent post on Case’s The Historicity of Jesus, I noticed a couple of things I had meant to comment on, but left out. In this post I seek to atone for my sins of omission.


Did Jesus’ Mother and Brothers Lose Faith in Jesus?

He said, she said, they said Sometimes I like to lull myself to sleep at night by reading obscure books about Biblical Greek. I recently picked up a real snore-fest by Maximilian Zerwick called Biblical Greek: Illustrated Examples. Early in the book Zerwick talks about a phenomenon in Greek, which also exists in English, in which … Continue reading “Did Jesus’ Mother and Brothers Lose Faith in Jesus?”


Defending the Criterion of Dissimilarity

The limits of historical criteria Longtime Vridar readers will recall that both Neil and I view the use of criteriology as employed by historical Jesus researchers with a great deal of skepticism. They consistently ask too much of the criteria. We might be able to say, for example, that applying a given criterion can determine the … Continue reading “Defending the Criterion of Dissimilarity”


Some Thoughts on the Nature of the Evidence and the Historicity of Jesus

You have the right to remain silent Over on The Bible and Interpretation web site, James McGrath once again takes up his jousting lance to do battle against the big, bad mythicists. He raises an interesting point: If we were to combine a number of recent and not-so-recent proposals related to Jesus, we could depict him … Continue reading “Some Thoughts on the Nature of the Evidence and the Historicity of Jesus”


What Do We Mean by “Incompetent”?

Can’t we all just get along? In a recent post, Tom Verenna urged us all to stop using derogatory words to describe people whom we disagree with. He did that hipster thing where his sentence gets broken up into one-word, emphatic, staccato commands: This. Has. Got. To. Stop. That. Is. So. Cool. Wait a second. What, exactly, … Continue reading “What Do We Mean by “Incompetent”?”


“It Is Hard to Imagine” — How Scholars Invent History

Why would anybody make it up? (And other dead horses.) In a recent post over on Exploring our Matrix, James McGrath wrote: The depiction of Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane, in great distress and praying that the cup pass from him, is one that it is hard to imagine being invented by the later church, … Continue reading ““It Is Hard to Imagine” — How Scholars Invent History”


A Profession of Faith — The Historical Jesus Creed

Presumably as a lead-up to the publishing of Is This Not the Carpenter? Thomas L. Thompson (as we mentioned earlier on Vridar) has published a rebuttal to Ehrman’s misleading statements in Did Jesus Exist? You’ve probably already read Thompson’s piece, “Is This Not the Carpenter’s Son? — A Response to Bart Ehrman,” but you may … Continue reading “A Profession of Faith — The Historical Jesus Creed”


Midrash and the Gospels 2: debates in the scholarly sphere

(Added a paragraph commentary in the “proves historicity” section about half an hour after original posting.) New Testament scholars do not speak with one voice when it comes to applying the word “midrash” to the Gospels. Some have resolutely opposed the idea; others take its justification in their stride. In this post I would like … Continue reading “Midrash and the Gospels 2: debates in the scholarly sphere”