Once more on Jesus’ humble origins and that presumed criterion of embarrassment

Concerning Aesop’s lowly origin: While Aesop is defined βιωφελέστατος in the incipit of the Vita, meaning ‘very useful for life’, ‘great benefactor of mankind’, he is, in effect, an ugly and misshapenslave of Phrygian origin who, throughout most of the biography, is at the service of his master, Xanthus. In his case too, it is … Continue reading “Once more on Jesus’ humble origins and that presumed criterion of embarrassment”


The Criterion of Embarrassment: Origins and Emendations

A Long-standing Tool While searching for other things, I stumbled upon this paragraph in a Wikipedia entry. The criterion of embarrassment is a long-standing tool of New Testament research. The phrase was used by John P. Meier in his book A Marginal Jew; he attributed it to Edward Schillebeeckx, who does not appear to have … Continue reading “The Criterion of Embarrassment: Origins and Emendations”


Criterion of Embarrassment

Tim Claason responds to the “criterion of embarrassment” by listing several reasons why the gospel authors would want to depict the disciples of Jesus as blockheads. See his post Criterion of Embarrassment on Tim Stepping Out.  


Is the Criterion of Embarrassment an Embarrassment?

Dr McGrath posts a brief comment on the criterion of embarrassment at Is the Criterion of Embarrassment an Embarrassment? He makes the following statement that I believe strikes at the core of the methodological flaw in scholarly inquiries into the historical Jesus and Christian origins: As with a trial in a courtroom, the fact that … Continue reading “Is the Criterion of Embarrassment an Embarrassment?”


Jan Vansina and the Criterion of Embarrassment

Insults and a failure to comprehend Awhile back our favorite historicist doctor posted a comment on his own blog: One can see a similar mythicist combination of insult and failure to comprehend those with whom they disagree at the blog Vridar. Seriously, it is as though I had never written anything about [Jan] Vansina and … Continue reading “Jan Vansina and the Criterion of Embarrassment”


Oral History does NOT support “criterion of embarrassment”

Contrary to the understanding of a few theologians oral historian Jan Vansina does NOT use the “criterion of embarrassment” in the same way as a number of historical Jesus scholars do. His discussion of embarrassment in fact supports the arguments of those scholars who argue the criterion is invalid! I asked Dr McGrath for a … Continue reading “Oral History does NOT support “criterion of embarrassment””


Embarrassing failure of the criterion of embarrassment

So I hear from commenters that a new foray into demolishing mythicism has been launched by James McGrath with yet one more account of the “criterion of embarrassment”. The curious — yet tedious — thing about this is that while McGrath in particular has faulted mythicists for (supposedly) failing to engage with the scholarship on … Continue reading “Embarrassing failure of the criterion of embarrassment”


Jesus, the ideal Greek-Roman hero? (No embarrassment criterion here)

I pulled out again my copy of “Mimesis and Intertextuality in Antiquity and Christianity” (ed. by Dennis R. MacDonald) thinking to write a layman’s review of its collection of contributions but got sidetracked (again) on re-reading Gregory J. Riley’s chapter, “Mimesis of Classical Ideals in the Second Century”. Some of Riley’s work totally rivets me … Continue reading “Jesus, the ideal Greek-Roman hero? (No embarrassment criterion here)”


The Myth of Embarrassment over a Humble Hometown Like Nazareth

It has become a mantra in almost any book that raises the question: Why did the evangelists insist Jesus was from Nazareth unless it happened to be an undeniable historical fact known to all? The mantric response: Because no-one would make up such a datum; no-one would make up the notion that the great and … Continue reading “The Myth of Embarrassment over a Humble Hometown Like Nazareth”


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”


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”


Jesus Not Being Good Is No Embarrassment

Matthew was embarrassed by Mark’s Gospel that had Jesus effectively saying that he was not good. Only God is good ‭ And . . . . a person ran up to [him], and kneeling to him asked him, Good Teacher, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life? But Jesus said to him, … Continue reading “Jesus Not Being Good Is No Embarrassment”


Once more on Nazareth, Relevance and Salm versus Carrier

A comment by VinnyJH has led me to rethink and plan to add a paragraph to my recent post on Nazareth. Of course, Nazareth is a significant factor in the historical Jesus debate. True, it is not necessary for Nazareth to have been settled to support Richard Carrier’s “minimalist historical Jesus” figure that he uses … Continue reading “Once more on Nazareth, Relevance and Salm versus Carrier”


Is the Nazareth Question Important? A Response to Richard Carrier

In his review of the GRC eConference on the historicity of Jesus Richard Carrier wrote with respect to the claim that the town of Nazareth did not exist in the early first century CE There is no good case to be made that Nazareth did not exist as a town in the early first century, … Continue reading “Is the Nazareth Question Important? A Response to Richard Carrier”