Form Criticism: Modern Scholarship’s Blind Spot

In a recent post, Neil discussed Helen Bond’s paper, “The Reception of Jesus in the Gospel of John.” I can’t find a print version of the paper, but the video released by Biblical Studies Online on my birthday, brings me both pain and pleasure. Pleasure, because I also believe the author of the Fourth Gospel … Continue reading “Form Criticism: Modern Scholarship’s Blind Spot”


Bart Ehrman: Jesus Before the Gospels, Basic Element 2: Form Criticism

In my previous post, I discussed the basic element of Bart Ehrman’s understanding of Maurice Halbwachs, the founder of the study of collective memory. This time, I’d like to focus on his remarks concerning Formgeschichte (form criticism) as it applies to the New Testament in general and memory theory in particular. Basic Element 2: Form Criticism “Forget … Continue reading “Bart Ehrman: Jesus Before the Gospels, Basic Element 2: Form Criticism”


9. Earl Doherty’s Response to Bart Ehrman’s Case Against Mythicism: Form Criticism and the Sources of the Gospels

* Earl Doherty’s Response to Bart Ehrman’s Case Against Mythicism – Pt.9 Form Criticism and the Sources of the Gospels . COVERED IN THIS POST: Form Criticism and Oral Traditions About Jesus The Fallacy of Form Criticism The Written Evidence of Common Patterns Versus the Oral Hypothesis Literary Construction out of Scripture, not Oral Traditions … Continue reading “9. Earl Doherty’s Response to Bart Ehrman’s Case Against Mythicism: Form Criticism and the Sources of the Gospels”


Much More Fully Informed History for Atheists — A Scholarly Introduction to the Two Jesus Parallels

In mid-March this year James McGrath alerted readers to a new post by Tim O’Neill of History for Atheists, Jesus Mythicism 4: Jesus as an Amalgam of Many Figures, commending it for its take down of “amalgam Jesus” theorists for supposedly uncritically and emotionally concocting excuses to disbelieve in a historical Jesus. O’Neill inferred in … Continue reading “Much More Fully Informed History for Atheists — A Scholarly Introduction to the Two Jesus Parallels”


Even Better Informed History for Atheists: The Lincoln – Kennedy Parallels Fallacy

Along with his contradictory rationalizations to (1) declare the parallels between Jesus son of Ananias and the gospels’ Jesus to be “hopelessly flimsy”, yet at the same time are real and strong enough to (2) point to real-world parallel historical, socio-political, religious and onomastic events and situations anyway, Tim O’Neill further adds a common sophistical … Continue reading “Even Better Informed History for Atheists: The Lincoln – Kennedy Parallels Fallacy”


Better Informed History for Atheists — Scholars assess the Two Jesus Parallels

A week ago James McGrath alerted readers to a new post by Tim O’Neill of History for Atheists commending it for its take down of “amalgam Jesus” theorists for supposedly uncritically and emotionally concocting excuses to disbelieve in a historical Jesus. It has taken me a week since that alert but I have finally caught … Continue reading “Better Informed History for Atheists — Scholars assess the Two Jesus Parallels”


Continuing Gullotta’s Criticism of Carrier’s Use of the Rank-Raglan Archetypes

For an annotated list of previous posts in this series see the archived page: Daniel Gullotta’s Review of Richard Carrier’s On the Historicity of Jesus Criticized for being Euro-centric and male-centric, these holistic-comparative theories have been almost universally rejected by scholars of folklore and mythology, who instead opt for theories of myth that center on … Continue reading “Continuing Gullotta’s Criticism of Carrier’s Use of the Rank-Raglan Archetypes”


Rank-Raglan hero types and Gullotta’s criticism of Carrier’s use of them

The focus of my response will center on Carrier’s claim that a pre-Christian angel named Jesus existed, his understanding of Jesus as a non-human and celestial figure within the Pauline corpus, his argument that Paul understood Jesus to be crucified by demons and not by earthly forces, his claim that James, the brother of the … Continue reading “Rank-Raglan hero types and Gullotta’s criticism of Carrier’s use of them”


Clarification needed for my reply to McGrath’s criticism of the use of Bayesian reasoning

McGrath does not tell his readers in the post we are addressing what he has in mind as the “clear-cut” evidence for the historicity of Jesus but from previous posts and comments I am convinced that it is the “brother of the Lord” passage in Galatians 1:19 that he has in mind. If I am … Continue reading “Clarification needed for my reply to McGrath’s criticism of the use of Bayesian reasoning”


Reply to James McGrath’s Criticism of Bayes’s Theorem in the Jesus Mythicism Debate

James McGrath in a recent post, Jesus Mythicism: Two Truths and a Lie, made the following criticism of the use of Bayes’s theorem in the Jesus Mythicism debate: . . . . as I was reminded of the problematic case that Richard Carrier has made for incorporating mathematical probability (and more specifically a Bayesian approach) … Continue reading “Reply to James McGrath’s Criticism of Bayes’s Theorem in the Jesus Mythicism Debate”


Atheism and Fundamentalism: Why atheists don’t understand religion and why believers don’t like atheist criticisms

I recently lamented in a comment that some atheists appear incapable of understanding any argument about religion that is neither attacking nor defending it. Atheism, fundamentalism, liberal Christianity, religion generally — they do not all seem to be equally well understood as many heated arguments testify. Are ex-fundamentalist atheists still very often fundamentalists at heart as some … Continue reading “Atheism and Fundamentalism: Why atheists don’t understand religion and why believers don’t like atheist criticisms”


For and Against the Anonymity of the Gospels — without table format

Here I have copied the previous post without the table format (which can only be fully seen on certain browser settings). Ever since my earlier post Why the Anonymous Gospels? Failure of Scholarship in Pitre’s The Case for Jesus I have intended to address Brant Pitre’s grossly misleading suggestion that all our earliest canonical gospel manuscripts come with the titles … Continue reading “For and Against the Anonymity of the Gospels — without table format”


Evangelical Scholars and the Limits of Historical Criticism

Two evangelical scholars declare as an article of faith that historical criticism has a place in their study of the Bible: The scholars in this volume believe that we should approach Scripture as a collection of historical texts. . . . As evangelicals, we believe that there needs to be space for an approach to Scripture … Continue reading “Evangelical Scholars and the Limits of Historical Criticism”


Gospels As Historical Sources: How Literary Criticism Changes Everything

This post is best read in the context of the earlier posts on Clarke Owens’ Son of Yahweh: The Gospels as Novels, in particular Jesus Is Not “As Historical As Anyone Else in the Ancient World”. This post considers the different genres qualities (verbal categories, discourse types) between Gospels and historical writings and concludes the … Continue reading “Gospels As Historical Sources: How Literary Criticism Changes Everything”