Weaknesses of traditional anti-mythicist arguments

This post addresses R. Joseph Hoffmann’s discussion of Maurice Goguel’s 1926 defence of the historicity of Jesus in response to the early mythicist arguments, initially launched by Bruno Bauer in 1939, and developed in particular by Reinach, Drews and Couchoud. Hoffmann divides Goguel’s defence (Jesus the Nazarene: Myth or History?) into the following six sections. … Continue reading “Weaknesses of traditional anti-mythicist arguments”


“It is highly unlikely . . . “

Following on from the 17+ mantras of biblical scholarship —- It is highly unlikely that the Church went out of its way to create the cause of its own embarrassment. [i.e. the account of the baptism of Jesus] Once again, it is highly unlikely that the Church would have taken pains to invent a saying … Continue reading ““It is highly unlikely . . . “”


Why Christianity Happened: Origins of the Pauline Mission” (reviewing ch. 5 of James Crossley’s book)

Earlier I reviewed chapter 2 of Why Christianity Happened by James Crossley, and here I look at his final chapter (5), “Recruitment, Conversion, and Key Shifts in Law Observance: The Origins of the Pauline Mission“. I was curious to understand what Crossley had to say in favour of a social history approach to explaining how antinomian … Continue reading “Why Christianity Happened: Origins of the Pauline Mission” (reviewing ch. 5 of James Crossley’s book)”


A common meaning behind Gospel of Mark’s cornplucking and divorce controversies

Though Crossley and Casey have written many thousands of words to show how these two episodes (sabbath cornfield dispute and divorce controversy) can be used to date Mark before 40 c.e., I find their arguments circular, convoluted and ultimately speculative. If I thought they had a widespread impact I would take the time to address … Continue reading “A common meaning behind Gospel of Mark’s cornplucking and divorce controversies”


Engaging E. P. Sanders point by point: John the Baptist

Of John the Baptist Professor E.P. Sanders (Jesus and Judaism) writes: That John himself was an eschatological prophet of repentance is clearly implied in Josephus’s account. Further, the depiction of John and his message in the Gospels agrees with Josephus’s view: the preaching in the desert; the dress, which recalled Elijah; the message of repentance … Continue reading “Engaging E. P. Sanders point by point: John the Baptist”


Ten myths about mythicist arguments, as advanced by James McGrath

Myth #1 Mythicist arguments do not reflect an understanding of the historical enterprise James has said he believes mythicists are wanting absolute certainty before they will accept the existence of Jesus, but that the historical enterprise by its nature only deals with probabilities, not certainties. (See Mythicist Misunderstanding) It is clear that James has not … Continue reading “Ten myths about mythicist arguments, as advanced by James McGrath”


The diverse Jewish religious environment of Paul outmatches the imagination of Borg and Crossan

Following on from this previous post . . . . . Borg and Crossan (B and C) (The First Paul) attempt to argue that despite Paul’s clear assertions that he sought to preach only “Christ crucified” and that “Jesus is Lord”, that this could not possibly have been true: [W]e think the notion that Paul’s … Continue reading “The diverse Jewish religious environment of Paul outmatches the imagination of Borg and Crossan”


The “oral tradition” myth of gospel origins

Bart Ehrman (BE) in Jesus, Interrupted, summarizes the standard view of how a long period of “oral tradition” preceded the writing of the first gospels. The Gospels of the New Testament, he writes, were written thirty-five to sixty-five years after Jesus’ death by people who did not know him, did not see anything he did … Continue reading “The “oral tradition” myth of gospel origins”


Cuckoo in the nest, 3 — why ALL proposed TFs are unJosephan

Back into Josephus and the TF. I think my original draft really began at the heading Continuing the context of TF in Book 18 below — that is probably the best place to start for continuity with my previous post. I can scarcely recall where I left off now, and the first part of this … Continue reading “Cuckoo in the nest, 3 — why ALL proposed TFs are unJosephan”


Marcion and Luke-Acts: The Body of Luke – Luke 3-23

Tyson has argued that there are good reasons for regarding Luke’s Infancy Narratives (Luke 1-2) [discussed here] and most of the Resurrection appearances (Luke 24) [discussed here] “as additions by a post-Marcionite author to an earlier text.” (p.116) Without attempting to reconstruct an “original Luke” upon which Marcion and the canonical author appear to have … Continue reading “Marcion and Luke-Acts: The Body of Luke – Luke 3-23”


Luke’s Infancy Narratives (Luke 1:5-2:52) as an integrated response to Marcionism

Broken links fixed — 25th November 2009 The Infancy Narratives of Luke, the first 2 chapters of this gospel, are well integrated into the larger narrative of the rest of Luke and Acts (Tannehill). But that does not preclude the possibility that they were added later to an original Luke, with the final redactor reworking … Continue reading “Luke’s Infancy Narratives (Luke 1:5-2:52) as an integrated response to Marcionism”


The Call of Levi not to be one of the Twelve

The Gospel of Mark contains a story about the call of Levi, a tax collector, to follow Jesus as one of his disciples, but then mystifies readers by not listing this person in the ranks of the famous Twelve. The reason this omission is so mystifying is that the call of Levi is described in … Continue reading “The Call of Levi not to be one of the Twelve”


The wrong questions to ask about myths — and the gospels

Ancient myths and the gospels are not modern novels but it’s tempting to ask questions about their characters and plots as if they were. Questions like, Why did such and such a person do this and not that? Are there not too many unlikely coincidences in this story to make it plausible? Ancient myths are … Continue reading “The wrong questions to ask about myths — and the gospels”


Mark, The Embarrassing Gospel

The criterion of embarrassment is a “rule” commonly appealed to by scholars to argue that certain events must be historical because they were so well-known and undeniable that, although gospel authors were clearly embarrassed by them, they nevertheless could not avoid addressing them. One example is the baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist. Why … Continue reading “Mark, The Embarrassing Gospel”