Scholars who question the historicity of Jesus’ baptism and why they “do not persuade”

I was struck by a sentence by Dale C. Allison in his Constructing Jesus that began as follows: Indeed, Jesus seems to have submitted to John’s baptism. . . . (p. 53) Only “seems”? I did not know that any theologian and biblical scholar who accepted the historical reality of Jesus doubted it. So catch … Continue reading “Scholars who question the historicity of Jesus’ baptism and why they “do not persuade””


Response 3: that Jesus’ baptism implies historicity

Continued from Response (2): the Bethlehem-Nazareth fallacies . (iii) he was baptised by John This is another of those awkward elements. Mark and Luke tell a story about Jesus going with other people to be cleansed of their sins by being baptised by John. But this story clearly caused problems for early Christians, as it … Continue reading “Response 3: that Jesus’ baptism implies historicity”


The Incarnation of The Name – Continuing Nanine Charbonnel’s Sublime Paper Figure Jesus Christ

All posts in this survey of Nanine Charbonnel’s book are archived at  Charbonnel: Jesus Christ sublime figure de papier. Getting Real The striking difference between pre-Christian Jewish concepts and those of Christianity is that the latter eschewed abstract notions of messiahs and divine messengers and fleshed them out with names and personalities. Where we read … Continue reading “The Incarnation of The Name – Continuing Nanine Charbonnel’s Sublime Paper Figure Jesus Christ”


John the Baptist in Josephus — What was his baptism?

I conclude* continue here my posts presenting Rivka Nir’s case for the John the Baptist passage in the Antiquities of Josephus being a Christian interpolation. All of these posts are archived at Nir: First Christian Believer. (* I had expected to conclude the series with this post but as usual, checking sources and being sure … Continue reading “John the Baptist in Josephus — What was his baptism?”


Jesus embodies all the Jewish Messiahs — continuing Jésus-Christ, Sublime Figure de Papier

Continuing the series Charbonnel: Jesus Christ sublime figure de papier . . . A Messiah to combine the different messianic visions Nanine Charbonnel [NC] has been exploring various ways the Jesus figure of the gospels was drawn to embody certain groups of people and now proceeds to discuss the way our evangelists (gospel authors) also found … Continue reading “Jesus embodies all the Jewish Messiahs — continuing Jésus-Christ, Sublime Figure de Papier”


Jesus Created to Embody Two Peoples in One New Man — continuing Jésus-Christ, Sublime Figure de Papier

Continuing the series Charbonnel: Jesus Christ sublime figure de papier . . . The figure of Jesus Christ is first and foremost the personification of his people Most of us have little difficulty imagining that the authors of the gospels conceptualized Jesus as a personification of the people of Israel. In Nanine Charbonnel’s words, the gospel … Continue reading “Jesus Created to Embody Two Peoples in One New Man — continuing Jésus-Christ, Sublime Figure de Papier”


Jesus and an Embarrassment-Free Baptism

A widespread understanding in much of the literature about the historical Jesus is that Jesus’ baptism by John the Baptist is an indisputable fact. The reason for such certainty is said to be that no follower of Jesus would fabricate a story in which Jesus appeared to submit to the authority of John; the event … Continue reading “Jesus and an Embarrassment-Free Baptism”


Jesus’ Baptism in the Context of the Myth of Water, Flight and Wilderness

An important consequence follows. If a myth is made up of all its variants, structural analysis should take all of them into account. — Claude Lévi-Strauss (435) The structural analysis developed by Claude Lévi-Strauss invites one to compare the variants of a myth so as to define the rules that led to their transformation. . … Continue reading “Jesus’ Baptism in the Context of the Myth of Water, Flight and Wilderness”


A Response to Dr Sarah, Geeky Humanist, on the Jesus Question

Dr Sarah of FreethoughtBlogs.com Geeky Humanist has posted two interesting posts in favour of the historicity of Jesus. It makes a wonderful change to read arguments on this topic that are expressed in a civil and calmly reasoned tone. Her first post is Jesus mythicism vs. Jesus historicity: an argument in favour of the latter; her … Continue reading “A Response to Dr Sarah, Geeky Humanist, on the Jesus Question”


How a historian approaches the question of the historical Jesus: concluding the PZ and Eddie Marcus discussion

Previous posts: PZ Myers interviews a historian about Jesus mythicism (2018-09-05) How do historians decide who was historical, who fictional? (2018-09-06) How do we approach the question of Jesus being historical or mythical? (2018-09-07) I have as a rule paraphrased main points that each person spoke in their exchange. –o– PZ: You (Eddie) say it is unlikely … Continue reading “How a historian approaches the question of the historical Jesus: concluding the PZ and Eddie Marcus discussion”


“How did traditions of the sayings of Jesus and the events of his history reach the writers of the Gospels?”

How did traditions of the sayings of Jesus and the events of his history reach the writers of the Gospels? That is the opening question of Richard Bauckham’s chapter, “Gospel Traditions: Anonymous Community Traditions or Eyewitness Testimony?”, in Jesus Research: New Methodologies and Perceptions — The Second Princeton-Prague Symposium on Jesus Research, Princeton 2007. His … Continue reading ““How did traditions of the sayings of Jesus and the events of his history reach the writers of the Gospels?””


An Embarrassing Fallacy in Many Historical Jesus Studies

Recently I was discussing some of the criteria of authenticity that have been used by historical Jesus scholars to supposedly sift the more likely historical events in the gospels from those that are pious fabrications. I was using David Hackett Fischer’s Historians’ Fallacies as my yardstick. One criterion I did not get to then was … Continue reading “An Embarrassing Fallacy in Many Historical Jesus Studies”


6 More Reasons to Question Josephus’ “James the brother of Jesus” passage

Josephus does, in Jewish Antiquities, have two passages on the emergence of Christianity and the persecution of its followers, involving Jewish jurisdiction, but both are suspected of being interpolations. (Efron 1987, p. 333) Warning: this post addresses a small section of a work by Jewish scholar, Joshua Efron, Studies on the Hasmonean Period, that was … Continue reading “6 More Reasons to Question Josephus’ “James the brother of Jesus” passage”