Review part 9: Questioning the Historicity of Jesus / Lataster (Case for Mythicism – the Evidence)

The third part of Raphael Lataster’s Questioning the Historicity of Jesus is where he presents his case for mythicism, and since his case is essentially a review of Richard Carrier’s arguments in On the Historicity of Jesus, this post is a review of a review. Lataster has is differences from Carrier and several times points … Continue reading “Review part 9: Questioning the Historicity of Jesus / Lataster (Case for Mythicism – the Evidence)”


Addressing James McGrath’s Arguments Against Mythicism — 1

I’m travelling again so am pulling out the occasional post I’ve had in store for such times. If circumstances do not permit some of my planned posts I’ll post another one of these. McGrath would appeal to the variables shaping “cultural memory” and theological tendentiousness and the tradition of Jewish authors rewriting “Old Testament” scriptures; … Continue reading “Addressing James McGrath’s Arguments Against Mythicism — 1”


Scholarship and “Mythicism”: When the Guilty Verdict is more important than the Evidence or Argument

I recently wrote in a blog post: Roger Pearse, for instance, goes even further and without any suggestion that he is aware of Doherty’s arguments says they are “all nonsense, of course.” A theme I come back to from time to time is the gulf between many biblical scholars and scholars of early Christianity. We … Continue reading “Scholarship and “Mythicism”: When the Guilty Verdict is more important than the Evidence or Argument”


Catchup — for you latecomers the history-basics lecture

Just for the record and for easy future reference I want to post here two more points Leopold von Ranke is famous or infamous for as the “father of modern history”. Not that this is some mere antiquarian interest on my part; my real interest is in the way historical studies are practised in biblical … Continue reading “Catchup — for you latecomers the history-basics lecture”


The Basics of History — They’re Still the Basics

Postmodernism has been making its inroads into historical Jesus studies with what I think are most convenient results. This post is a plug for the old-fashioned rules for the proper way to do history. We can’t get any more old-fashioned than the nineteenth century founder of modern history, Leopold von Ranke, who has become a … Continue reading “The Basics of History — They’re Still the Basics”


Understanding Historical Sources: Primary, Secondary and Questions of Authenticity

There is no need, when I have found the source, to follow the streams (John Bolland in Acta Sanctorum 1845: vol. 1, xx). — cited by Henige (2005) . In fact, the historiography of historical Jesus scholars is eclectic and often unconscious or uninformed of a specific historiography. (McKnight 2005, p.16) . In my recent … Continue reading “Understanding Historical Sources: Primary, Secondary and Questions of Authenticity”


The Memory Mavens, Part 4: The Analytical Power of Failure

Another lifetime ago, back when I was a U.S. Air Force field training detachment commander, one of our instructors came into my office with a worried look. He told me he had been teaching basic circuitry to a group of enlisted students. “Lieutenant,” he asked, “when you were in school what did they teach you … Continue reading “The Memory Mavens, Part 4: The Analytical Power of Failure”


The Secular Approach to Christian Origins, #3 (Bias)

The previous two posts in this series: Why Christianity Happened — Toward a Secular Approach to Christian Origins Why Christianity Happened – The Secular Approach, 2 The Necessity and Problem of Bias in Christian Origins Studies James Crossley (Why Christianity Happened: A Sociological Account of Christian Origins (26-50 CE)) examines the role of bias in … Continue reading “The Secular Approach to Christian Origins, #3 (Bias)”


Maurice the Pedant Learns Five More Lessons — Tuesday

Maurice has handed in a problematic essay assignment. Continuing from after school Monday . . . . . Come in Maurice. Sit down here and we’ll continue to go through your essay and hopefully you’ll understand what you need to do for your next effort. Show me the work I set you to complete last … Continue reading “Maurice the Pedant Learns Five More Lessons — Tuesday”


How Can We Know If the Jesus Narratives Are Memories Or Inventions? (Revised)

Anthony Le Donne has written a book that I find is both chock-full of many fascinating nuggets in the Gospel narratives and riddled with startling revelations (if only discerned between the lines) about the foundations of “Gospel Narrative Origins” studies, The Historiographical Jesus: Memory, Typology, and the Son of David. (This post does not address … Continue reading “How Can We Know If the Jesus Narratives Are Memories Or Inventions? (Revised)”


The Day Theologians Reacted with Great Seriousness — Use and Abuse of the Bible, Part 3

Continuing from Part 2 of this series. . . . In the previous post we followed the way theologians accommodated themselves to the challenges the natural sciences presented the belief in the infallibility of the Bible. They didn’t find it too difficult. After all, the Bible has very little to say about the structure of … Continue reading “The Day Theologians Reacted with Great Seriousness — Use and Abuse of the Bible, Part 3”


Carrier’s “Proving History”, Chapter 3(a) — Review

I have been studying the first half of Richard Carrier’s chapter 3, “Introducing Bayes’s Theorem”, in his recent book Proving History: Bayes’s Theorem and the Quest for the Historical Jesus. I mean studying. I want to be sure I fully understand the argument before tackling the second half of the chapter, headed Mechanics of Bayes’s … Continue reading “Carrier’s “Proving History”, Chapter 3(a) — Review”


How Historians Work — Lessons for historical Jesus scholars

Recently a theologian kindly advised me to do a bit of background reading on how historians work (specifically to read chapter one of From Reliable Sources: An Introduction to Historical Methods by Martha Howell & Walter Prevenier) in order to come to see that historical Jesus scholars do work by the same principles that all … Continue reading “How Historians Work — Lessons for historical Jesus scholars”


Scholarly attempts to “explain” historical methods for Jesus studies (1)

Scot McKnight of recent controversial article fame, devotes an entire chapter in his book Jesus and His Death to a discussion of the historiography of New Testament scholars, and writes: In fact, the historiography of historical Jesus scholars is eclectic and often unconscious or uninformed of a specific historiography. (p.16) Biblical scholarships’ ignorance of the … Continue reading “Scholarly attempts to “explain” historical methods for Jesus studies (1)”