Ancient Historiography and Historians — Vridar Posts

For the background to this post see Vridar Maintenance. I am listing here the posts that are categorized or tagged as “Ancient Historiography“. This list is for my own editing purposes but I am making it public because I know it’s a topic that if of particular interest to some readers, so they can share … Continue reading “Ancient Historiography and Historians — Vridar Posts”


Trumpism: No, it’s not the economy that’s to blame

I posted on Facebook a link to an article that challenged my own “liberal” spirit of wanting to believe that racists and other bigots were fundamentally fearful and that a sure cure was to be found in strategically administered education and information. I had long believed that one reason people were sometimes fearful was that … Continue reading “Trumpism: No, it’s not the economy that’s to blame”


Further Daniel Gullotta Disrepresentation of Carrier’s On the Historicity of Jesus

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 Daniel Gullotta criticizes Richard Carrier’s purported argument that the first canonical gospel (the Gospel of Mark) constructs its Jesus primarily as a counterpoint to the Greek hero Odysseus, declaring that … Continue reading “Further Daniel Gullotta Disrepresentation of Carrier’s On the Historicity of Jesus


Reading the Classics and the Gospels Differently

Recently we talked about the Life of Aesop, a biographical novella of the fabulist written around the same time as the gospels: Aesop, Guide to a Very Late Date for the Gospels?; Aesop / 2, a Guide to a Late Gospel of Mark Date; Did Aesop Exist? This post singles out one more point in Tomas Hãgg’s … Continue reading “Reading the Classics and the Gospels Differently”


Evolution of the Gospels as Biographies, 2

The previous post on this topic ended with the following: The first genuinely biographical detail of Jesus arrives when Jesus is twelve years old facing the wise men in the Temple. We learn about the parents’ very natural and everyday concerns and the “adolescent arrogance” of Jesus, his separation from this world, his first signs … Continue reading “Evolution of the Gospels as Biographies, 2”


Did the ancient philosopher Demonax exist?

If the Life of Aesop is riddled with obvious fiction yet it is concluded that Aesop really existed, what does Tomas Hägg (The Art of Biography in Antiquity) do with the question of the historicity of Demonax, a figure whose biography contains only sober and believable accounts and is said to have been written by … Continue reading “Did the ancient philosopher Demonax exist?”


“True stories that didn’t happen” — OMG!, do stop the silly word games

Bart Ehrman has been blogging about the quaint way too many biblical scholars (himself included) play games with the meaning of “myth” in relation to the gospel narratives. The message strikes me as being something like saying Aesop’s fables are true stories because they contain useful lessons. Why can’t they just say, yes, Aesop’s fables … Continue reading ““True stories that didn’t happen” — OMG!, do stop the silly word games”


What Does a “Life of Jesus” Look Like?

I have in the past argued that our canonical gospels are not really about the life and person of Jesus but rather they are a dramatization of core theological beliefs of the early Church. Jesus is a personification, a mouthpiece and a role constructed to play out this dramatization. One could say I have sided with Adela Yarbro … Continue reading “What Does a “Life of Jesus” Look Like?”


Jesus and “The Egyptian”: What to make of the Mount of Olives parallel?

Once more exploring a question raised by Lena Einhorn in A Shift in Time — this time with doubts…. Was Jesus originally the Egyptian prophet we read about in the works of the ancient Jewish historian Josephus? Lena Einhorn seems to think so in A Shift in Time where she lists seven points in common between them. I … Continue reading “Jesus and “The Egyptian”: What to make of the Mount of Olives parallel?”


Why the Anonymous Gospels? Failure of Scholarship in Pitre’s The Case for Jesus

It is an abuse of one’s status as a public intellectual to write dogmatic apologetics for lay readers. Professor Brant Pitre cobbles together a grab-bag of rationalisations to promote Catholic dogma and presents it to his lay readers as a work based on superior scholarship. The title of this post might have as well have begun … Continue reading “Why the Anonymous Gospels? Failure of Scholarship in Pitre’s The Case for Jesus


(“Misrepresenting”) Sam Harris On Progressivism, Torture, Religion & Foreign Policy

Sam Harris is making the news circuit again. (Who is this Sam Harris guy, anyway?) He’d choose Ben Carson over Noam Chomsky for President apparently because Ben Carson has a better understanding of the Islamist threat to the West; Jerry Coyne writes that Sam Harris drains the intellectual cesspool at Salon and sees himself and … Continue reading “(“Misrepresenting”) Sam Harris On Progressivism, Torture, Religion & Foreign Policy”


Truth and History

Come on, Bart. You can do better than this. Think through this postmodernist jargon. In my recent post in which I made a paean to memory – which will be the way I end my current book dealing with memory and the historical Jesus — I said the following. MY REMARK:  “The comment that I … Continue reading “Truth and History”


Evidence for Pre-Gospel Oral Traditions and Related Questions

It’s easier for me to address these thoughts posted as a comment to my previous post with a new post here. I’ll try to take a crack at it. I’m not saying I agree with all of the following, but I think it’s essentially how we got here. How we got here (i.e. to the … Continue reading “Evidence for Pre-Gospel Oral Traditions and Related Questions”


Extracting the Gospels From the Bible

Time to return to one of my favourite books at the moment, Son of Yahweh: The Gospels as Novels by Clarke W. Owens. I have posted on this book five times before but have not yet got to its most interesting ideas. By scholarly training he knows how to read a text. That means he … Continue reading “Extracting the Gospels From the Bible”