WHO’s WHO: Mythicists and Mythicist Agnostics (Updated 28 June 2015)

Table 1: Mythicists, Mythicist Sympathizers & Agnostics (and their Religious Backgrounds)

The following updated table was originally posted at

and again at

Further background to what led to this table can be found in those posts.

Only names of those who are or have been alive in this century are included.

The table was originally compiled to test claims by a number of critics that “mythicists” are generally reacting against fundamentalist Christian backgrounds.

Asterisked names appear more than once. They had different religious influences in their earlier life.

Names in the pink shading have not (to my knowledge) published in print or online arguments against the historicity of Jesus but are either open-minded towards the Christ Myth theory (e.g. Hector Avalos) or agnostic. I include myself here because I have not argued a case for mythicism even though I do believe Christianity and the New Testament writings can be explained without any reference to a historical Jesus.

Names in bold black hold doctoral qualifications in either biblical studies, religion or ancient history.

Names in bold maroon are prominent names in other areas.

Ellegård and Wells are professors of English and German respectively who have been recognized for their contributions in peer-review New Testament journals and/or achieved positive criticism among at least some NT scholars.

All names are linked to an identification with more detail about their views or background. All names of those listed as “mythicists” (in the bluish cells) are more fully annotated with their particular mythicist views below.


Fundamentalist Background

Roman Catholic Background

(Note N. American/Australian Catholicism is a notoriously liberal form of Catholicism)

Liberal or No Church Background


David Fitzgerald Joe Atwill
(Source: Caesar’s Messiah)
Richard Carrier
(“Freethinking Methodist”)
Lena Einhorn
(Physician and biomedical researcher, documentary film maker, author of “The Jesus Mystery” and “Jesus and the ‘Egyptian Prophet’“)
Tom Harpur
(very positive towards Christianity)
Thomas Brodie
(Irish Catholic. Very positive towards Christianity)
Herman Detering
(very positive towards Christianity) Writes about Paul- also denies HJ
Alvar Ellegård
Raphael Lataster* Francesco Carotta
(very positive towards Christianity)
Timothy Freke
(Source: ch.3 Mystery Experience) (very positive towards Christianity)
Peter Gandy
(very positive towards Christianity)
Robert M. Price
(very positive towards Christianity)
Earl Doherty Stephan Huller Michael Martin Philosopher, author of The Case Against Christianity.
Charles O. Wilson
(Southern Baptist)
Raphael Lataster* Kenneth Humphreys 
(no church background)
Michael B. Paulkovich
Aerospace engineer and humanist-rationalist writer. Author of “The Fable of the Christ” in Free Inquiry and No Meek Messiah
Frank R. Zindler Roger Parvus
Raphael Lataster*
Jay Raskin
Hector Avalos
(Mexican Pentecostal: HJ agnostic) In The End of Biblical Studies writes “Robert M. Price … provides a devastating critique of historical Jesus studies in his Deconstructing Jesus — and we share many of his conclusions. Earl Doherty’s The Jesus Puzzle outlines a plausible theory for a completely mythical Jesus.” p. 197
René Salm (now Buddhist and atheist) Harold Leidner George Albert Wells
For many years published mythicist books but in recent years has come to argue Jesus existed at some time as a teacher of the Q community and was not crucified
Neil Godfrey* R. Joseph Hoffmann
Up to 2006 published positively of Christ Myth ideas among scholars in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries (“the basic premises were sound” and works by G.A. Wells were “tightly argued” and “worth noting”, pp 20, 39 of Introduction to Goguel). Virulently anti-mythicist since Carrier and Doherty emerged as leading voices.
Sid Martin
(source online email)
Nigel Barber
Evolutionary psychologist and author of “If Jesus Never Existed, Religion May Be Fiction in Huffington Post.
Tm Widowfield Peter Kirby 
(See The Best Case for Jesus)
Developer of several valuable webtools such as Early Christian WritingsEarly Jewish WritingsOnline Books available in English, and CDHistorical Jesus TheoriesChristian Origins and current Peter Kirby blog, the Biblical Criticism & History Forum, the BC&H Archives Search Engine, and maintainer of the Biblioblogs Top 50 site.
D. M. Murdock (Acharya S)
[liberal Congregationalist]
Steven Carr
Roberto Perez-Franco*
(Nominal Catholic until age 15) Mendeley profile. See his review of Doherty’s Jesus Neither God Nor Man and his review of Ehrman’s Did Jesus Exist?
Derek Murphy
Philip R. Davies
Authored Did Jesus Exist? in which he is “inclined to accept” historicity of Jesus but argues that less certainty as to his existence would “nudge Jesus scholarship towards academic respectability.”

Thomas L. Thompson
(Danish/European) Author of The Messiah Mythreviewed by Robert M. Price. See also Thompson’s response to Ehrman.
Michel Onfray
(The Invention of Jesus — Video no longer available, Neil, 24th August 2015)
Arthur Droge
See outline of his paper “Jesus and Ned Ludd” presented at the Jesus Project conference at Amherst
Thomas S. Verenna
Co-edited with Thompson ‘Is This Not the Carpenter’ and contributed chapter on intertextuality and the question of Jesus’ historicity.
R. G. Price Paul Hopper. See A Narrative Anomaly in Josephus.
Pier Tulip Kurt Noll
Author of “Investigating Earliest Christianity without Jesus” in ‘Is This Not the Carpenter?’
Edward van der Kaaij
(very positive towards Christianity)
Clarke W. Owens
Author of Son of Yahweh: The Gospels as Novels.
Raoul Vaneigem Minas Papageorgiou
Author of Jesus Mythicism: An Introduction. See also “The Mythikismos and the historicity of Jesus
Roger Viklund
(Source: comment)
Loren Rosen III
See Mythicism: Two Theories
Christina, Greta
Strongly promotes David Fitzgerald’s book Nailed!
Michael Turton
Noted for his historical commentary on Gospel of Mark

Jerry Coyne
See guest post by Ben Goren, “The Jesus Challenge”. In Once again: Was there a historical Jesus? writes: 
“I have to say that I’m coming down on the “mythicist” side”.
Richard Dawkins
It is even possible to mount a serious, though not widely supported, historical case that Jesus never lived at all, as has been done by, among others, Professor G. A. Wells of the University of London in a number of books, including Did Jesus Exist?.” The God Delusion, p. 97
Neil Godfrey*
Christopher Hitchens
Speaks of “the highly questionable existence of Jesus” in God Is Not Great, p. 114
Gerd Lüdemann 
Though convinced there was a historical Jesus he has said that he “admire[s] Arthur Drews and the Christ Myth theory is a serious hypothesis.”
Burton Mack 
Laments scholarly failure of scholars to take note of G. A. Wells’s views. Article in Christian and Judaic Invention of Christianity
PZ Myers
See Carrier cold-cocks Ehrman
Steven Pinker
Grew up as a cultural Jew but was never religious. In The Better Angels of our Nature “Of course, there’s no direct evidence for anything that Jesus said or did… [T]he story of Jesus was by no means unique. A number of pagan myths told of a savior who was sired by a god, born of a virgin at the winter solstice, surrounded by twelve zodiacal disciples, sacrificed as a scapegoat at the spring equinox . . . symbolically eaten by his followers to gain salvation…” (p.12)
Roberto Perez-Franco*
(Remained a Christian for some years but became an atheist about 2008. Found Price’s and Doherty’s works persuasive.) Mendeley profile. See his review of Doherty’s Jesus Neither God Nor Man and his review of Ehrman’s Did Jesus Exist?
David Oliver Smith
(Episcopalian) In his book on the influence of Paul on the gospels he expresses agreement with Earl Doherty’s mythicist case.

I hope to update this list as I am notified of corrections and additions that need to be made. Feel free to notify me or add comments of anything you see that needs fixing.


Table 2: Contemporary Mythicist Authors

Names in the last column do not argue a case for the non-existence of Jesus but do argue that the Christ myth or Christianity can be adequately explained without any need to introduce a historical Jesus for whom there is no clear evidence. I suspect more scholars could be listed here.

All others present a case that there was no historical Jesus.

Listed below are further details of the thesis each name represents and the extent of their influence and reputation.

All names are hyperlinked to further biographical information.

Did not exist

Originated as a heavenly Christ

(rather than

Gnostic arguments

or pagan cult
origins of Christianity

The Jesus figure lived in a remote past

The Gospel Jesus figure was based on someone else

The historical Jesus is not necessary to explain Christianity or
the Christ Myth

Thomas L. Brodie Richard Carrier Derek Murphy Timothy Freke D. M. Murdock
(a.k.a. Acharya S)
Alvar Ellegård Joe Atwill
(Emperor Titus)
Kurt Noll
(Does not argue for non-existence of Jesus)
David Fitzgerald Earl Doherty Jay Raskin Peter Gandy Tom Harpur George Albert Wells
(from 2009)
Francesco Carotta
(Julius Caesar)
Thomas L. Thompson
(Does not argue for non-existence of Jesus)
Ken Humphreys Pier Tulip Lena Einhorn (‘The Egyptian’)
Raphael Lataster Edward van der Kaaij Stephan Huller
(Herod Agrippa I)
Harold Leidner Roger Parvus
(Simon Magus/Paul)
Sid Martin Daniel Unterbrink,
(Judas the Galilean)
Michel Onfray Charles O. Wilson
(Alexander Jannaeus)
Michael Paulkovich
R. G. Price
Robert M. Price
Raoul Vaneigem
Roger Viklund
George Albert Wells
Frank R. Zindler


Who’s Who . . . What they say about Jesus

Atwill, Joe

A Roman imperial family, the Flavians, had created Christianity, and, placed a literary satire within the Gospels and War of the Jews to inform posterity of this fact. Author of Caesar’s Messiah: The Roman Conspiracy to Invent JesusReview by Robert M. Price

Brodie, Thomas

A highly respected New Testament scholar, at least until he publicly affirmed that much of his research led to the conclusion that the Gospels and epistles knew of no historical Jesus. (See the Wikipedia link from his name above.) The New Testament account of Jesus is essentially a rewriting of the Septuagint version of the Hebrew Bible, or, in some cases, of earlier New Testament texts. Author of Beyond the Quest for the Historical Jesus: Memoir of a Discovery. Reviewed and covered in depth on Vridar

Carotta, Francesco

Julius Caesar was the historical Jesus, the Gospel is a rewriting of Roman historical sources, and Christianity developed from the cult of the deified Caesar. Author of Jesus was Caesar: On the Julian Origin of Christianity. Unable to find major reviews. I have not read it right through because unable to accept its methods of argument.

Carrier, Richard

“I believe this will be the first comprehensive pro-Jesus myth book ever published by a respected academic press and under formal peer review. . . .  I think this will be the first pro-Jesus myth book of any kind published by a university press in the last fifty years.” Source: http://freethoughtblogs.com/carrier/archives/4090. Author of On the Historicity of Jesus: Why We Might Have Reason for Doubt. Contrasts the most credible reconstruction of a historical Jesus with the most credible theory of Christian origins if a historical Jesus did not exist. Reviews and Carrier’s replies listed on Carrier’s blog. My posts on Carrier’s preceding book discussing his method.

Detering, Herman

German pastor in the Dutch radical tradition. Runs Radikalkritik website. Identifies Paul with Simon Magus. Author of The Falsified Paul (or Fabricated Paul). Argues for a second century provenance of the epistles and gospels. His work on Paul implies the nonexistence of the historical Jesus.

Doherty, Earl

Christianity began with belief in a spiritual heavenly Son of God; the Gospels are essentially allegory and fiction; and no “historical Jesus” worthy of the name existed. Owner of The Jesus Puzzle website and author of The Jesus Puzzle, a work expanded in Jesus: Neither God Nor Man. Pioneered the current popular interest in the Christ Myth theory and influenced Robert M. Price and Richard Carrier. My review of The Jesus Puzzle.

Einhorn, Lena

See review by Robert M. Price of The Jesus Mystery: Astonishing Clues to the True Identities of Jesus and Paul, and her article presented at 2012 Society of Biblical Literature Annual Meeting, Jesus and the “Egyptian Prophet“.

Ellegård, Alvar

Swedish Professor of English. Influenced by G. A. Wells.Paul thought Jesus had been a real person though one who had lived in the remote past; Ellegard identifies Paul’s idea of Jesus (who had appeared to the apostles in ecstatic visions) with the Teacher of Righteousness in the Dead Sea Scrolls. So the Jesus of the Gospels is essentially a myth; the Gospels are largely fiction. Author of Jesus: One Hundred Years Before Christ. Review by Doherty.

Fitzgerald, David

Author of Nailed!, “possibly the best ‘capsule summary’ of the mythicist case I’ve ever encountered . .  with an interesting and accessible approach” — Doherty. I have defended Nailed! against certain criticisms on this blog.

Freke, Timothy and Gandy, Peter

Co-authors of The Jesus Mysteries and The Lost Goddess. Robert M. Price’s review of Lost Goddess. Peter Kirby’s outline of the argument in Jesus Mysteries. “Whilst our ideas clearly rewrite history, we do not see ourselves as undermining Christianity.  On the contrary we are suggesting that Christianity is in fact richer than we previously imagined.  According to the original Gnostic Christians, the Jesus story is a perennial myth with the power to impart the mystical experience of Gnosis, which can transform each one of us into a Christ . . .” Source: http://www.exminister.org/Freke-Jesus-mysteries.html

Harpur, Tom

Anglican priest. Christian doctrines — the coming messiah, virgin birth, madonna and child, incarnation of spirit in the flesh — were borrowed from ancient Egypt originally as allegories of spiritual truths. Author of The Pagan Christ: Recovering the Lost Light. Influenced by Alvin Boyd Kuhn. Review by Robert M. Price

Hopper, Paul

Linguist and Paul Mellon Distinguished Professor of the Humanities Emeritus. Personal correspondence confirms his mythicist sympathies hinted at in Narrative Anomaly in Josephus.

Huller, Stephan

Marcus Agrippa believed himself to be the true Messiah with a divine mission and Jesus, until his crucifxion, proclaimed him as such. Marcus Agrippa was the author of the Gospel of Mark. Author of The Real Messiah: The Throne of St Mark and the True Origins of Christianity. Huller responds to a positive review.

Humphreys, Kenneth

Author of the website, Jesus Never Existed, a compendium of a wide variety of material supporting arguments that Jesus never existed. Author of the book Jesus Never Existed.

Kirby, Peter

See The Best Case for Jesus for Peter Kirby’s most positive view of the evidence for Jesus. On the BC&H Forum, 8th April 2015, Kirby wrote of his changing view on the mythicist question: “[It took several years of conversation], by the way, for the skepticism that I have regarding the existence of Jesus. Years. I too was long arguing for, and now I’ve changed my mind about my methods and exact conclusions. Something happened somewhere in there. In fact I mostly tried to hide my change of mind for several years after my actual change of mind. For example, I hid my review of Doherty’s book, and in fact I took a long sabbatical from study immediately after reading his book, because I was distressed at what I had found. I as an atheist felt an emotional hole about losing my belief in Jesus not unlike that which I had when I lost my belief in God. I was also too timid and embarrassed to agree with my own conclusions and to say them out loud, even when they had somehow come to form. Funny, that.”

Lataster, Raphael

A PhD researcher (Studies in Religion) at the University of Sydney. The sources for the Biblical Jesus are so poor they cannot constitute good evidence for his existence and even give us reason to doubt he existed at all. Many methods used by Biblical scholars are spurious and Bayesian reasoning is used to justify scepticism. Author of There was no Jesus, there is no God: A Scholarly Examination of the Scientific, Historical, and Philosophical Evidence & Arguments for Monotheism.

Leidner, Harold

Patent lawyer. The gospels abound with anachronisms and geographical errors, because the gospel writers used the Septuagint as the basis for their historical fiction. New Testament scholarship “creates scenarios and takes over material from the social sciences to give the impression that Christianity has an authentic historical origin. The pose of objective research is used to prop up the gospel story but no hard evidence can be found to support that story” Author of The Fabrication of the Christ Myth.

Lüdemann, Gerd

In 1999 Ludemann was removed from theological studies at the University of Göttingen because of his book, The Great Deception, casting doubt on the authenticity of most of the sayings of Jesus in the New Testament. In Jesus Mythicism by Minas Papageorgiou Lüdemann is quoted as saying: “I do admire Arthur Drews and the Christ Myth theory is a serious hypothesis about the origins of Christianity. However, the criterion of offensiveness and its results still convinces me that there was an historical person Jesus of Nazareth.”

Martin, Michael

Philosopher and Professor Emeritus at Boston University. Author of The Case Against Christianity. “Wells’s argument against the historicity of Jesus is sound, and recent criticisms against his argument can be met. So on the basis of Wells’s argument there is good reason to reject not only Orthodox Christianity but even those versions of Liberal Christianity that assume that although Jesus was not the Son of God he was an ethical teacher who lived in the first century.” (p. 67)

Martin, Sid

A Master of Theological Studies. Jesus is identified with a series of savior figures from Joshua to David to the Teacher of Righteousness—who founded the Essenes, the ancient Jewish sect who wrote the Dead Sea Scroll—to Rabbi Johanan Ben Zakkai, the founder of Rabbinic Judaism, and many others. The Gospel of Mark is ultimately an ingenious myth about the history of salvation in Israel. Author of Secret of the Savior.

Murdock, D. M. (Acharya S)

Author of Truth Be Known website and several books on the Christ Myth theory through Stellar Publishing. Argues that Christianity began as an encapsulation of the ancient wisdom of astrotheology mediated through Egyptian beliefs. Catholic priests subsequently suppressed this truth. My reviews of the early chapters of Christ Conspiracy.

Murphy, Derek

Completing a PhD in comparative literature. Author of Jesus Potter Harry Christ: The Surprising Parallels that Expose the Truth about the Historical Jesus, the Christ Myth, and the Secret Origins of Christianity. “Our question then is not whether Jesus Christ existed, but whether the literary character recorded in the New Testament was primarily inspired by a historical figure or previous literary traditions and characters.” My review and coverage of Jesus Potter Harry Christ.

Onfray, Michel

French philosopher. Author of Atheist Manifesto. “Jesus was thus a concept. His whole reality resides in that definition. Certainly he existed, but not as a historical figure — unless it was in such an improbable manner that whether he existed or not is of little importance.”

Parvus, Roger

Former Catholic priest. Vridar is serialising his series arguing that the original versions of Paul’s letters were penned by the one otherwise known as Simon Magus and that the Gospel of Mark is a reworked Simonian allegory.

Paulkovich, Michael B.

I placed Paulkovich in the “agnostic” group in the table but have since learned he has been more decisive with an earlier book, No Meek Messiah (reviewed here). He writes: “The “Jesus mythicist” position is regarded by Christians as a fringe group. But after my research I tend to side with Remsburg—and Frank Zindler, John M. Allegro, Thomas Paine, Godfrey Higgins, Robert M. Price, Charles Bradlaugh, Gerald Massey, Joseph McCabe, Abner Kneeland, Alvin Boyd Kuhn, Harold Leidner, Peter Jensen, Salomon Reinach, Samuel Lublinski, Charles-François Dupuis, Rudolf Steck, Arthur Drews, Prosper Alfaric, Georges Ory, Tom Harpur, Michael Martin, John Mackinnon Robertson, Alvar Ellegård, David Fitzgerald, Richard Carrier, René Salm, Timothy Freke, Peter Gandy, Barbara Walker, Thomas Brodie, Earl Doherty, Bruno Bauer and others—heretics and iconoclasts and freethinking dunces all, according to “mainstream” Bible scholars.” (See also Open Letter)

Price, R. G.

Creator of rationalrevolution webpage and author of several books. In Jesus – A Very Jewish Myth he argues the case for the Jesus story having developed out of existing Jewish messianic and apocalyptic literature and beliefs, with no historical person at the core of the story. In The Gospel of Mark as Reaction and Allegory he takes an in-depth look at the symbolism and scriptural references in the Gospel of Mark in order to explain how and why it was written.

Price, Robert M.

See the Wikipedia article and his MindVendor webpage for his background and scholarly qualifications and affiliations. His earliest contributions to the Christ Myth debate were The Incredible Shrinking Son of Man and Deconstructing Jesus. He has since published The Amazing Colossal Apostle: The Search for the Historical Paul. He defends and applies the principles of higher criticism that were the basis of much radical scholarship in the nineteenth century.

Raskin, Jay

A PhD in philosophy, adapted his thesis for publication as The Evolution of Christs and Christianities, which analyzes the gospels through the lens of his background in film studies. He writes: “I am doing narratological archaeology…. I use the jumps, contradictions and unusual constructions in sections of the [gospel] narrative to reconstruct the earlier layers of that narrative.” My review on Amazon.

Salm, René

I posted an interview with René Salm on this blog and have regularly addressed his best known book, The Myth of Nazareth. Salm has studied the archaeological reports related to Nazareth in depth and had his own response published in the peer-reviewed Bulletin of the Anglo-Israel Archaeological Society. Among his websites are Mythicist Papers: Resources for the Study of Christian Origins and The Myth of Nazareth. Other writings listed at Author website.

Tulip, Pier

Author of KRST: Jesus a Solar Myth. Concedes the lack of evidence prevents him from “completely proving” his case. “But one result seems to me certain: Christianity of the origins was a solar religion and thus pagan like all those that preceded it, including Judaism.” Lacks the dogmatism and New-Age ideology found in Murdock’s astrotheological case.

Van der Kaaij, Edward

Pastor aligned with Vredeskerk (Peace Church) Nijkerk, banned from preaching at the Reformed Church. Author of The Uncomfortable Truth of Christianity. Van der Kaaij believes Christianity becomes more meaningful once the truth of Jesus is recognized: the Christ is in all believers.

Vaneigem, Raoul

Belgian writer and philosopher. Author of Resistance to Christianity: A Chronological Encyclopedia of the Heresies from the Beginning to the Eighteenth Century. Influenced Michel Onfray.

Viklund, Roger

Swedish. Has some interesting articles linked at The Jesus Character Critically Examined. Published in Vigiliae Christianae an argument disputing Carlson’s claim that Secret Mark is a forgery. Also preceded Carrier’s and Doherty’s argument for the James passage in Josephus. Author of The Jesus That Never Was. See also Bibelkritikern Roger Viklund kritisk granskad.

Wells, George Albert

Emeritus Professor of German at University of London. Published the first of many books on mythicism in 1971 (The Jesus of the Early Christians). The most well-known Christ Myth advocate until Earl Doherty. In his most recent book, Cutting Jesus Down to Size (2009), Wells moved slightly away from his earlier position that Jesus had never existed and concluded that the person given the name Jesus was an obscure teacher whose sayings were recorded in the now-lost document (Q) that many scholars believe was a source for the Synoptic Gospels, but whose death had no redemptive significance for his followers.

Wison, Charles O.

Author of New Testament Origins: The Passover Slaughter of 4 BCE. Influenced by Joe Atwill’s argument that Christianity was an invention of the Flavian Roman emperors. Believes the Gospel of Mark is a coded rewriting of Josephus’s account of events surrounding Jannaeus.

Zindler, Frank R.

Prominent American atheist and professor of biology and geology. See the Wikipedia article for his many roles and publications. Sets out several witty arguments against the historicity of the gospel narratives and characters in the first volume of his Through Atheist Eyes series. Authored The Jesus the Jews Never Knew disputing that Jesus is referenced in the Talmud even through ciphers. With Robert M. Price was responsible for Bart Ehrman and the Quest of the Historical Jesus of Nazareth, a collection of responses by Carrier, Doherty, Fitzgerald, Murdock, Price, Salm, Zindler to Ehrman’s attempt to refute mythicism.

Other lists

Rene Salm has an annotated list of contemporary and past Christ Myth theorists: see Basic Mythicist Bibliography.

Kenneth Humphreys also has webpate listing many Christ Myth scholars with brief descriptions of each one — past and present.

For lists of historical Christ Myth theorists on this blog see


The names of scholars covered in those lists (but see the posts linked here for some account of the particular views of many of them):

  1. Bauer
  2. Bohtlingk
  3. Bolland
  4. Bossi
  5. Brandes
  6. E. Carpenter
  7. Couchoud
  8. Dupuis
  9. Drews
  10. Dujardin
  11. Frank
  12. Hannay
  13. Heulhard
  14. Jensen
  15. Kalthoff
  16. Kulischer
  17. Lindsay
  18. Loman
  19. Lublinski
  20. Matthas
  21. Mead
  22. Naber
  23. Niemojewski
  24. Pierson
  25. Robertson
  26. Rylands
  27. G. Smith
  28. W. B. Smith
  29. Stahl
  30. Van Eysinga
  31. Virolleaud
  32. Volney
  33. Whittacker

Comparable contemporaries

If we add from the list of contemporary names those scholars (from all branches of scholarship as in the above list) who have made clear claims for mythicism:

  1. Brodie
  2. Carotta
  3. Carrier
  4. Ellegård
  5. Harpur
  6. Lataster
  7. Onfray
  8. Price
  9. Raskin
  10. Vaneigem
  11. Wells
  12. Zindler


Do advise me of any errors or omissions.



  • Steven Carr
    2014-09-27 17:27:00 UTC - 17:27 | Permalink

    I’m not sure what my name is doing there, as there is no way I can be considered a scholar or have an opinion which is worth noticing.

    I’m just an observer.

    • Neil Godfrey
      2014-09-27 20:21:52 UTC - 20:21 | Permalink

      Only those in bold type are scholars in a directly related field. You are well-known in the web as a contributor to related discussions and Maurice Casey included you in his book of mythicist targets. I have since added you in a pink shaded area because, like me, you have not published an argument for Jesus being a myth.

  • 2014-09-27 19:19:59 UTC - 19:19 | Permalink

    Armstrongism is definitely a form of fundamentalism, so I think Neil Godfrey should be in the “fundamentalist background” category.

    • Neil Godfrey
      2014-09-27 20:24:55 UTC - 20:24 | Permalink

      My name is in both. My introduction explains why I have included some names more than once. My life has involved more years in a liberal Christian background than in the cult — a minor detail Maurice Casey curiously chose to suppress in his book even though it was made very clear in his main source of information.

      • 2014-09-28 00:09:39 UTC - 00:09 | Permalink

        When I looked at it, “Neil Godfrey” wasn’t (I think) in both places, (certainly) wasn’t with a hyperlink, and (probably) didn’t have an asterisk. So this explains my original comment here.

      • 2014-09-28 00:12:24 UTC - 00:12 | Permalink

        Of course, if your name was already in the first column (which I don’t think it was), I apologize for my first comment.

        • Neil Godfrey
          2014-09-28 00:20:35 UTC - 00:20 | Permalink

          It certainly was in both and you can check web archives of the original posts (also linked here) to confirm this. I do happen to know my own life experience and have been very open about it from the beginning — as everyone has always been able to see in my profile that has been here for everyone to read for several years now. I have even posted many times about my negative religious experience.

          Yes, I did add the hyperlink and asterisk since your and Steve’s comments. Both yours and Steves original comments reminded me that many readers don’t read and I do need to remember to add additional formatting to catch the attention of those who skim.

  • pete
    2014-09-28 00:04:11 UTC - 00:04 | Permalink

    I used to be a frequent reader of Huller’s blog; I recall that he publicized his ancestral
    connection to “Frankish Judaism”, which I assume is part of the larger Ashkenazi division.

    • Neil Godfrey
      2014-09-28 00:58:27 UTC - 00:58 | Permalink

      Thanks, I’ll try to follow up.

  • Giuseppe
    2014-09-28 06:11:40 UTC - 06:11 | Permalink

    Hi Neil, I’m curious.

    I know more or less all the cited people, sufficitently to form an idea. But I don’t know Markus Vinzent. Where he shows to be open to mythicism, or says to be Jesus agnostic? In a published book?

    Thanks for the info.

    • Neil Godfrey
      2014-09-28 06:39:47 UTC - 06:39 | Permalink

      I can no longer recall — and that’s the reason for my question mark. Perhaps I should remove his name if I cannot support it.

      • Giuseppe
        2014-09-28 13:41:40 UTC - 13:41 | Permalink

        I have read about the Markus Vinzent’s view. He is historicist, but his view about the creation of Gospels is very similar to that held from old mythicist Louis Couchoud.

        This serious scholar shows that Paul’s viewpoint of the resurrection of Christ was rediscovered. He claims that it was as a result of Marcion that the resurrection came back into interest within Christianity. According to Vinzent, Paul’s view of Christianity with the resurrection of Christ had faded over time. Many of the fathers, he claims, “remained reluctant” toward Christ’s resurrection and even remained silent about it. The resurrection of Christ became much more prominent in the second half of the second century, thanks to Marcion of Sinope.

        P. L. Couchoud thought that Paul was the first to introduce the idea of a crucified Christ, and of a risen Christ. But the Pillars before him had only the faith in a victorious Christ, coming soon.

        In his treatment of Revelation Markus Vinzent does acknowledge that the resurrection of Christ is present, but he minimizes its importance, stating that other issues about Christ as well as ethics were more important. However, the appearance of the resurrected Jesus who proclaims himself to be alive and resurrected appears at a key point within Revelation in 1:18. The declaration of Christ being raised is a critical basis point, then, for the remainder of Revelation.

        I start to suspect personally a very crucial point:

        that the Pillars had a Risen Christ, but only because that Christ was sacrificed by will of God as a new Isaac, on a celestial altar. Who killed Christ was God himself (and not Satan), as a novel Abraham that sacrificed his firstson Isaac. This can explain why these Judeo-Christians minimized the resurrection and emphasized the sacrifice of Christ: even if the killer of Christ was God, the same God of Jews, that killing was a necessary, metaphysical act. To emphasize excessively the resurrection could risk to mean a revenge, a rebellion against the will of the same God of Jews, as if His will of killing Jesus was wrong an unjustified.

        I think that Chouchoud was right when he wrote that Paul was an innovator about the early christian theology, but not because Paul was the first to talk of a Risen Christ.

        Paul was an innovator because he was the first that talked about a Christ that was crucified by demoniac archons (and not killed from God, by will of God). Maybe that, according the true Paul, the same God of Jews was one of the archons killers of Jesus?

        • Neil Godfrey
          2014-09-29 08:35:43 UTC - 08:35 | Permalink

          Thanks for this.

  • David Oliver Smith
    2014-09-29 19:07:56 UTC - 19:07 | Permalink


    In my book “Matthew, Mark, Luke and Paul” on page 19 I express agreement with Earl Doherty that Jesus was a heavenly being and not a flesh and blood human.

    I am but an amateur scholar, and would be pleased to be included in your list, if you deem it appropriate. My education is not in theology but law.

    I was raised Episcopalian and my father was an Episcopal clergyman. I left the church in the early eighties.

    David Oliver Smith
    La Quinta, CA

    • Neil Godfrey
      2014-09-29 20:23:06 UTC - 20:23 | Permalink

      Done. Your book is still in my “to read” queue on my shelf. Have only dipped into serendipitously till now. Look forward to doing it full justice.

  • Giuseppe
    2014-09-30 20:29:24 UTC - 20:29 | Permalink

    Hi David,

    I like your book (only now I’m aware of it), and I will read it surely.

    But I am very curious to ask you a question (feel free to reply). You write:

    My conclusion is either ”the Lord’s brother” is an interpolation unknown to Mark or it was a title for James, son of Zebedee, and Mark knew that.
    (Matthew, Mark, Luke and Paul, p.74)

    I would disagree with you about the identity ”brother of Lord”=title for only James, since Carrier , in his OHJ, has made a strong case that proves the identity ”brother of Lord”= christian not-apostle.

    But I disagree with Carrier when he doesn’t examine the possibility (and its possible effects) that Mark deliberately cloned the same and unique James (of Galatians) in two Jameses in his Gospel: the ”son of Zebedee” and the ”brother of Jesus” (Mark 6:3). Even if it is only a possibility, it’s equally probable like the other alternative possibility (on which Carrier builds his case): that the two Jameses in Gospel are not literary clones of the same James the Pillar.

    If you are interested, you can read what I think would missing in your book (and in OHJ) about the Mark’s use of pauline costruct ”the Lord’s brother” in his Gospel.



  • FC
    2014-09-30 23:19:36 UTC - 23:19 | Permalink

    Neil, it should be noted that Onfray came to know of (Jesus) mythism from Raoul Vaneigem’s Resistance to Christianity. Last I’ve heard, he hasn’t renounced mythism and is alive and well. That’s another name for your list

    • Neil Godfrey
      2014-10-01 07:46:30 UTC - 07:46 | Permalink

      Thank Buddha his name starts with V. So fiddly trying to insert anyone starting with the early letters.

  • Jon
    2014-10-03 01:43:29 UTC - 01:43 | Permalink

    What about John Allegro. Wikipedia claims “Mark Hall writes that Allegro suggested the Dead Sea Scrolls all but proved that a historical Jesus never existed”.

    • 2014-10-03 02:39:54 UTC - 02:39 | Permalink

      I’ve left him out because he did not fit my definition of “contemporary” mythicists — those still with us this century. Rene Salm and Kenneth Humphreys include Allegro in their chronologically broader lists.

  • Paul Thomas
    2014-10-03 08:25:31 UTC - 08:25 | Permalink

    HI Neil

    I’ve noticed your uncertain reference to Robert Eisenman.
    I’ve seen Robert’s recorded lectures on various subjects, from perhaps around 2005 which he posted onto his youtube channel.
    I vaguely remember someone asking him in one of his ‘Historical Jesus’ lectures about Jesus’s existence, he seemed pretty confident he did exist.

    If I get the time, I’ll look back through these and get a specific video and timecode.

    • Neil Godfrey
      2014-10-03 21:32:18 UTC - 21:32 | Permalink

      Thanks. I’ll remove his name pending further info. For some reason — perhaps the fact he once participated as a guest in the JesusMysteries forum — I had a vague idea he was at least open to the question of mythicism.

  • 2014-10-03 11:35:32 UTC - 11:35 | Permalink

    You should add Michael Martin. He’s a philosopher and treats the subject of Jesus mythicism in his book “The Case Against Christianity.” He also wrote a positive blurb for Earl Doherty’s “Neither God Nor Man.”

    • Neil Godfrey
      2014-10-03 21:42:46 UTC - 21:42 | Permalink

      Wonderful. I would not be at all surprised if there are quite a few more such names out there. It is important to add them to the list here and help bring their stance to a wider awareness. This should make it harder for the McGraths and Hurtados to brand anyone who doubts a fool akin to Young Earth Creationists.

      I have downloaded “Case Against Christianity” from Scrbd.

      I don’t suppose you happen to know Martin’s religious background (past, presumably), do you?

  • Martin
    2014-10-03 21:45:16 UTC - 21:45 | Permalink

    Oh geez Neil, could your biases against Acharya S/DM Murdock be any more obvious? You share links to everybody’s website and book links except hers and you even misspell her name. The only two links you provide, Wikipedia and your so-called “reviews,” are both severely biased against her. We can always count on you to drop the ball anytime she is mentioned. If you have such a problem with her work then allow it to be debunked based on objective arguments not biases.

    You will most likely refuse to allow my post to go through but, here are the links you refuse to share or just can’t seem to find.




    Acharya’s latest book is fantastic but, I’m sure you’ll refuse to read it like everything else of hers.

    Did Moses Exist? The Myth of the Israelite Lawgiver

    Scholars and others who’ve actually read her work are supportive of it:

    “I find it undeniable that many of the epic heroes and ancient patriarchs and matriarchs of the Old Testament were personified stars, planets, and constellations … I find myself in full agreement with Acharya S/D.M. Murdock”
    – Dr. Robert Price, Biblical Scholar with two Ph.D’s

    “Your scholarship is relentless! The research conducted by D.M. Murdock concerning the myth of Jesus Christ is certainly both valuable and worthy of consideration.”
    – Dr. Kenneth L. Feder, Professor of Archaeology
    Review of Acharya’s book “Christ in Egypt”

    “I can recommend your work whole-heartedly!”
    – Dr. Robert Eisenman

    “I’ve known people with triple Ph.D’s who haven’t come close to the scholarship in Who Was Jesus?”
    – Pastor David Bruce, M.Div, North Park Seminary

    I especially love how in the video below you guys trash talk Acharya S while refusing to ever allow her any opportunity to respond. Wow, just wow. I don’t see you do that with anybody else but Acharya S.

    Nuskeptix “Christ Myth Theory” Video Chat

    What are you guys so afraid of?

    • Neil Godfrey
      2014-10-04 02:15:39 UTC - 02:15 | Permalink

      Thanks for responding to my request to be notified of needed corrections. I have corrected the misspelling (only once of the 5 times I mentioned her name in the post). I did indeed link to her website but unfortunately the hyperlink did not show up as a distinct colour and I have fixed that, too.

      I have corrected several other glitches related to other names in the post as well.

      Martin, I have not refused to read Murdock’s work and have in fact prepared a defence of her against Maurice Casey’s attacks. (Casey’s death has naturally put a delay on any motivation to post criticisms of his last work for a little while.) But each time I do begin to express my honest criticisms of her work you guys and Murdock herself viciously attack me with all sorts of outrageous insults and falsehoods. Presumably the purpose is to pressure me enough to shut up.

      Nice try with the promotional blurbs but as you know they do not always tell the whole story or specify the particular book or reason for the positive remark.

      What am I afraid of? I’ll tell you. I am afraid that some people will too easily assume mythicism can be confused with the unscholarly methods and agendas of those who advance something akin to a New Age type spiritualism or religious (and pseudo-scientific) belief in astrotheology. But that fear did not prevent me from linking to her website or spelling her name correctly for the most part.

      Yes, Murdock has been successful in hiding her agenda from some of her recent books — a tactic used widely among religious cultists who want to promote a public image of neutrality with one set of publications but opening up to “deeper truths” among the converted.

      • Martin
        2014-10-04 20:50:11 UTC - 20:50 | Permalink

        Thanks for making the corrections, Neil, and I get it that your “defence of her against Maurice Casey’s attacks” are on delay for obvious reasons (tho now is probably long enough) and I look forward to that. But then, you turn around and maliciously smear her as you did once again here in your comment referring to her as:

        “unscholarly methods and agendas of those who advance something akin to a New Age type spiritualism or religious (and pseudo-scientific) belief in astrotheology” and “hiding her agenda from some of her recent books — a tactic used widely among religious cultists”

        I don’t know a single person in the world who appreciates such malicious lies told about them, Neil, so, from where I stand Acharya and her supporters have every right to get upset and point out the obvious and when they do you attack them for that too. You treat her and her supporters as if they have no right to point out such patently false lies. It’s despicable. You can’t refute her case based on the merits so, you smear her instead. I’m just so disappointed because you do such a good job in your other blogs.

        You are still using complaints from her first book from 15 years ago to bludgeon her to death with and she has come a long way since then. Her current methodology is as good if not better than anything else out there, including Carrier’s Bayes Theorem from the 18th century but, you wouldn’t know anything about that because it’s more convenient for you to just repeat the trash from 15 years ago rather than study her later books.

        “But each time I do begin to express my honest criticisms of her work you guys and Murdock herself viciously attack me with all sorts of outrageous insults and falsehoods. Presumably the purpose is to pressure me enough to shut up. ”

        “Honest criticism”??? Oh Pleeeze, who are you trying to fool? Nobody is trying to shut you up, Neil, it’s the falsehoods, constant derogatory comments and malicious smears that they’re all sick and tired of and I don’t blame them. One thing Acharya S/Murdock does not get from you is objective and fair treatment like most of your other blogs and it’s transparent as glass for all to see. You have different standards when it comes to Acharya S and her work and everybody knows it. They have exposed the sloppy and egregious errors Richard Carrier has been spreading about her work … it’s infuriating and Carrier needs to be held accountable for once: http://www.freethoughtnation.com/forums/viewtopic.php?p=4771#p4771

        I would like to see an objective discussion of Acharya’s mythicist position video youtube.com/watch?v=63BNKhGAVRQ and her book, “Did Moses Exist?” based on the merits not biases. There is good reason she gets support from Dr. Price, Dr. Feder. Dr. Zindler, Dr. Eisenman, Earl Doherty and many other scholars.

        • Neil Godfrey
          2014-10-04 21:18:10 UTC - 21:18 | Permalink

          I demonstrated Murdock’s “spiritual” agenda — that she is just as faith-agenda driven as many Christian scholars — The Confessional Epilogue: Christians and Acharya and how this affects the arguments made at Astrotheology, A Religious Belief System (as per D.M. Murdock/Acharya S).

          I would not bother with Christ Conspiracy if Murdock demonstrated the view that supporters like you want me to take on board, the view that it was deeply flawed and has since been replaced by more truly representative work, IF Murdock herself stopped promoting that book on her website. She still advertises it as “the most important book of our time“.

          It is not smear to call someone’s methods unscholarly when one has repeatedly demonstrated that they fail to apply the four steps of the hypothetico-deductive model and to show that they in fact fall into every fallacious trap raised by Samuel Sandmel in his article Parallelomania.

          If I have lied at all then I won’t ask you to provide evidence I have done so “maliciously” (though you can if you believe you have it) but I would ask you to demonstrate that I have in fact lied or not otherwise presented the truth about Murdock’s methods.

          I have little more to add to my earlier account of the falling out between Murdock, her supporters and me in Falling Out.

          After your comment I was thinking of resuming my reviews of CC or even perhaps doing one on Christ in Egypt but after re-reading my Falling Out post I was turned off the idea of ever touching another one of her books. But then I think, hey, that means all their insults and lies will have succeeded – they will have shut me up.

          • 2014-10-05 15:47:37 UTC - 15:47 | Permalink

            Yes, Neil, I’ve read all of those links, sadly, I was hoping for a non-biased, non-hateful review of her work from you, which I’ve completely given up on at this point. Did you fail to notice that the “The Most Important Book of Our Time” was in QUOTES? The fact is that that book has become a cultural classic and is still one of the best selling books out of all the other mythicist books combined, even though it’s 15 years old. It’s one of AUP’s best selling books.

            All that you have “demonstrated” in those links is that you are not a reliable source of information regarding the work by Acharya S/Murdock due to your biases against her. There’s a complete lack of confidence of ever getting a non-biased discussion of her work here.

            I also can’t help but notice that all the people you like in your “Who’s Who of Mythicists” list get extra links to their websites and book links but, those you are biased against get trash links. Acharya’s latest Moses book should be linked there. Asking you to give her fair treatment is like pulling teeth isn’t it, Neil.

            One can get an idea of what to expect from her 2nd edition of “Christ Conspiracy” by reading her latest book, “Did Moses Exist?” It serves as a type of prequel just prior to the 2nd edition – a brilliant idea.

            Again, there is good reason she gets support from Dr. Price, Dr. Feder, Dr. Zindler, Dr. Eisenman, Earl Doherty and many other scholars who’ve actually read her work.

            • Neil Godfrey
              2014-10-05 19:43:51 UTC - 19:43 | Permalink

              Biased, yes. I believe I can and have justified my biases. I have created an annotated list. I express my views on many of the entries. I don’t believe I would be doing anybody a favour by presenting a list that gave no indication as to what each entry was about. People like yourself who disagree with my perspective will no doubt take my treatment of Murdock’s name as reason to look into her works with more interest.

              Hateful? You guys are at least consistent: you seem convinced that any criticism of Murdock must be the result of hate.

              I’m glad you have confirmed here good reasons for me to have addressed the CC after all.

              Yes, I am biased. I have explained why and what the core of my criticisms are. Not one of you has addressed those core criticisms. Not one — except Robert Tulip who attempted to prove her (and his) methods are indeed “scientific”. Can you actually give a constructive, evidence based response to the criticisms in my reviews? I don’t believe so or you would have done so by now instead of accusing me of hatred.

              Why should I bother with Did Moses Exist? I don’t believe Moses did exist and I have read much in the scholarly literature that leaves no room for doubt in my mind.

              Who is Dr Feder? (There are several things I strongly disagree with Price and Doherty on. And I don’t believe they have “good reasons” for supporting her work. — but I don’t hate them any more than I hate Murdock, by the way, and when it comes to our disagreements on arguments relating to Christian origins I disagree with them without them complaining I hate them.)

              • Philip Wilson
                2014-10-06 19:34:58 UTC - 19:34 | Permalink

                Dr Feder seems to be Dr Kenneth L. Feder, Professor of Archaeology, Central Connecticut State University. There’s an excerpt from a review on one of DM’s pages.

              • 2014-10-07 18:32:28 UTC - 18:32 | Permalink

                Thanks for admitting your biases against Acharya S and her work, of course, it’s so obvious that there’s no way to deny it. Now, you’re just pretending that you’re not as malicious as you really are.

                “Yes, I am biased. I have explained why and what the core of my criticisms are. Not one of you has addressed those core criticisms.”

                Your criticisms have repeatedly been demonstrated to be mendacious to say the least and when others point it out you’re well-known for banning them and deleting their comments for exposing it. Hardly any type of reasonable approach as your criticisms are the equivalent of just calling her a racist, as in your false accusations of calling her a cult leader. It’s a lie plain and simple as she has helped people get out of cults for 20 years and they thank her for it:


                “Why should I bother with Did Moses Exist? I don’t believe Moses did exist”

                It’s not about you, Neil, a link to her Moses book should be there for other readers interested in mythicism to be aware of … same as you provided links to websites and books for those you obviously like. You’re just way over-the-top biased against Acharya S and have no intention of ever giving her fair treatment. You are simply not a trustworthy source on her work.


              • Neil Godfrey
                2014-10-07 20:31:48 UTC - 20:31 | Permalink

                Anyone can still read the criticisms of Murdock’s supporters on this blog where I have posted my views of her work. The only ones I have banned are those who resort to foul language or are needlessly repetitive. In fact I encourage anyone to read my reviews of Murdock’s work, the comments that follow and my own comments explaining why I banned those I have.

                The record is clear on what I have said versus what Murdock and people such as you even here accuse me of having said. You would do better to link to my own comments directly instead of Murdock’s site where her supporters complain about me.

            • Mark Erickson
              2014-10-06 14:03:32 UTC - 14:03 | Permalink

              My own biased view – from reading Neil extensively and only looking at freethoughtnation from time to time – is firmly behind Neil on this count. I’ve read Neil’s posts about Murdock’s work including all the comments back and forth, clicking and reading links where helpful. What Neil has presented is fair and well argued. He has also shown a commendable eagerness to correct his mistakes. It is almost special pleading to try to argue in this one case he is being pig-headed.

              Did you fail to notice that the “The Most Important Book of Our Time” was in QUOTES? The fact is that that book has become a cultural classic and is still one of the best selling books out of all the other homeopathy books combined, even though it’s 15 years old. It’s one of Narayana Verlag’s best selling books.

              That’s not an argument.

              • 2014-10-07 18:33:31 UTC - 18:33 | Permalink

                Mark Erickson “What Neil has presented is fair and well argued. He has also shown a commendable eagerness to correct his mistakes. It is almost special pleading to try to argue in this one case he is being pig-headed.”

                LOL, what have you been smoking?



                Nuskeptix “Christ Myth Theory” Video Chat

              • 2014-10-07 18:45:14 UTC - 18:45 | Permalink

                Here is Dr. Ken Feder’s review of Acharya’s book “Christ in Egypt”

                “My name is Ken Feder. I am an archaeologist and I play one on TV, as a talking head in various documentaries on the National Geographic Channel, the Discovery Channel, the History Channel, ScFi, BBC Horizon, and, as it turns out, even the Weather Channel. I have written several books on archaeology, including Frauds, Myths, and Mysteries: Science and Pseudoscience In Archaeology (about to go into its 7th edition). Frauds is revered by some and hated by others, which is an indication I must have done something right in that work. I will freely admit that I am not an Egyptologist and that ancient Greek is, well, Greek to me. But, having conducted research and written extensively over the course of the last thirty years, I think I have developed a good eye for recognizing valuable research that is worthy of serious consideration when I see it. And the relentless research conducted by D.M. Murdock into the myth of Jesus Christ is certainly both valuable and worthy of consideration.

                Everyone who reads Murdock’s Christ in Egypt should understand that the sources she cites are anything but marginal or questionable. In fact, her sources are, at least as far as I can tell, entirely within the Egyptology mainstream and many are, in fact, revered, and deservedly so, within the community of Egyptologists. The fact that these sources are mainstream, highly respected, or even seminal does not, of course, make them right about the origins of the Christ story. However, it does make them, and Murdock’s thesis in which she incorporates their work, impossible to dismiss out of hand. Read her book. Criticize it if you believe it deserves criticism. Give it five stars. Give it zero stars. Okay, you can’t do that; give it one star, but only grudgingly. Whatever. But to dismiss it or get apoplectic about her thesis simply because it shocks you is pointless.”

                – Dr. Ken Feder


                Dr. Feder has included some work by Acharya S/Murdock in his latest edition of “Frauds, Myths, and Mysteries: Science and Pseudoscience In Archaeology,” which is used in archaeology courses btw.

                Dr. Feder was also her professor of archaeology. So, her work is far better than anybody would ever learn from this blog, that’s for sure.

              • Neil Godfrey
                2014-10-07 20:38:41 UTC - 20:38 | Permalink

                Thanks for the explanation. Anyone can see, now, that I have indeed followed Dr Feder’s advice in my reviews.

                I do not dismiss her work out of hand but take the time to address my concerns and grounds for them.

                I criticize it where I believe it deserves criticism.

                My objections have nothing whatever to do with her thesis having any particular “shock” value of any kind.

                Interesting that you also point out that there was a personal relationship of some kind between Dr Feder and Murdock. I recall Dr Price writing a scathing review of Murdock’s CC but back-peddling after, we were told, he had met with her.

  • Kris Rhodes
    2014-10-04 15:56:22 UTC - 15:56 | Permalink

    I’m afraid people will skim table 1, think “ah, we’re talking about people like Atwill,” and fail to take mythicism as seriously as they might have.

    • Neil Godfrey
      2014-10-04 20:48:30 UTC - 20:48 | Permalink

      Point taken. Have swapped them around.

  • Greg G.
    2014-10-06 03:54:00 UTC - 03:54 | Permalink


    The link to Ben Goren’s article under the Jerry Coyne heading leads to Coyne’s Wikipedia page. That was the first link I clicked.

    I’m not sure whether you wanted to point to




    • Neil Godfrey
      2014-10-06 08:25:35 UTC - 08:25 | Permalink

      Thank you. Fixed now.

  • 2014-10-08 13:40:25 UTC - 13:40 | Permalink

    It is not correct that Tom Harpur came from a fundamentalist background. He was always a liberal. Although he taught at Wycliffe in Toronto, where The Fundamentals were hatched, he states in The Pagan Christ (page 1) that he “was far from following any form of fundamentalism.”

    • Neil Godfrey
      2014-10-08 20:07:41 UTC - 20:07 | Permalink

      No, Tom Harpur’s statement on page 1 in The Pagan Christ is not an account of his former life but of his approach to fundamentalism at the time he was teaching at Toronto’s School of Theology’s Wycliffe College.

      A few years after Tom wrote that book his autobiography, Born Again: My Journey from Fundamentalism to Freedom, was published. The title says it all, but just to be sure on page 23 he writes:

      In retrospect, I see that my childhood, though enviable in so many ways, was a thorough-going indoctrination into the basic tenets of Christian fundamentalism.

      (I am continually amazed at the regular indications of careless reading comprehension among Murdock’s supporters. So many of you jump to the first conclusion you find suits your interests. This is done in your reading of Josephus, Philo, the Bible, even Ptolemy, and in my own criticisms. Yes, I had read Pagan Christ but did not jump to conclusions about Tom’s background until I could get something less ambiguous than the line you quote so confidently.)

  • Giuseppe
    2014-10-09 10:17:37 UTC - 10:17 | Permalink

    Hi Neil,
    I would disagree when you ascribe to Daniel Unterbrink a mythicist view. His views (Jesus=Judas the Galilean or his son) are better qualified as historicist (and Eric Laupot is historicist) and in his book he polemizes clearly against mythicists. Because his use of criterium of Embarassment on Gospels is the same of historicists and his case is based on Testimonium Taciteum (à la Laupot).

    The same Carrier recognizes this subtle difference.


    • Neil Godfrey
      2014-10-09 10:50:36 UTC - 10:50 | Permalink

      It’s a grey area. G.R.S. Mead and Alvar Ellegard both placed the one we came to know as “Jesus” historically around 100 BCE yet have often been considered “mythicists” of a sort. Wells places the Jesus in some vague past but this historical Jesus was never crucified (or at least there was no significance attached to his death by his followers). Then we have others saying Jesus is basically a cipher for Titus or Julius Caesar and so forth.

      So one can say that all of these are “historicists”.

      Perhaps it comes down to what we mean by myth.

      I would think many critical scholars of the New Testament consider the Gospels to be virtually entirely myth. Certainly Spong and Ludemann do. Crossan has called the gospels parables. The main reason for believing in a historical Jesus is the argument that Jesus must have been so very great and marvellous to have inspired others to write about him so fabulously and in no other way.

      I think one could say that such scholars are themselves mythicists. We know nothing about Jesus apart from myths.

      Probably most, certainly many, mythical persons in literature or folklore have been believed to have been real persons. To be a myth a person does not have to have a celestial existence or origin.

      I think so long as I make it clear that certain authors believe the Jesus we read about in the Gospels originated as some other historical person (Titus, Judas the Galilean, whoever) then I can leave it up to each to do his or her own classification and see where names like Carotta and Wells fit in the scheme of things.

      The important thing is clarity in communication. Each conversation will have its own parameters and so long as the participants agree on terminology and meanings at the outset of any particular discussion I see no problem.

  • 2014-10-09 10:28:25 UTC - 10:28 | Permalink

    Okay, Thanks Neil, and sorry for relying just on Harpur’s most well-known book, where he gives no indication whatsoever of a fundamentalist background except for that one brief mention that he had taught at Wycliffe, which he implies had a liberal ethos.

    I don’t accept that this is careless on my part, since Harpur never alludes to any such childhood beliefs in The Pagan Christ. The conversion he describes in this book is from liberal belief in a historical Jesus to non-belief, based on reading AB Kuhn.

    For Harpur to state on the first page that he “was far from following any form of fundamentalism” while in his early years at Wycliffe in the 1960s, considered together with the strident anti-fundamentalism of The Pagan Christ, (see pp 179-180 for example) gives a definite impression of an early commitment to higher criticism. Taking that impression at face value is reasonable, even if he discussed his childhood culture seven years later.

    I would be interested to know if the fact that his childhood was spent in a fundamentalist community produced any more commitment than that of a child believing in the tooth fairy or Santa. He comments (p1-2) that his background was the belief that “there was a profoundly historical core to it all”, a wording far from fundamentalist commitments to inerrancy or creationism. Your quote does not show to what extent he accepted any fundamentalist dogma he was subjected to. Many people grow up in church communities without taking the dogma seriously.

    To say a mythicist scholar has a ‘fundamentalist background’ would normally mean they converted from active support of fundamentalism as a scholar, not just that they grew up in a religious community.

    • 2014-10-09 21:42:10 UTC - 21:42 | Permalink

      You can justify your extrapolation of a conclusion about Harpur’s religious background from taking a phrase out of its context (the paragraph’s opening sentence clearly contextualized his statement) and argue a series of assumptions from what is not said and from what is said about another theme entirely that bears no relationship to his early biographical years (except through groundless assumption), — but when you go down that line of reasoning there is no telling what sorts of insights you will read into all sorts of texts. You could even find the gospel narratives were coded messages for astrotheology and that even Josephus and Philo support your interpretation!

      As for the “normal meaning” of “fundamentalist background” I have explained the context clearly and often enough. I am responding to the presumptions of Casey, “NT Wrong”, West, Hoffmann, Hurtado and others that a mythicist is the product of a fundamentalist type of religious background. It is the understanding and innuendo of such critics of mythicists that I am addressing. I don’t see any point in arguing about precise meanings of what “converted from” might imply in reality.

  • Giuseppe
    2014-10-09 17:19:57 UTC - 17:19 | Permalink

    I find this other academic article (with peer-review) that seems mythicist in conclusion (I haven’t read it, sorry):

    There is not a shred of evidence that a historical character Jesus lived…

  • 2014-10-09 22:25:04 UTC - 22:25 | Permalink

    Very interesting. Fortunately for me Roland Fischer died in 1997 so I am not compelled to pay Wiley publishers to read his article — given that my cut off limit for this page is the turn of the century.

  • 2014-10-09 23:12:10 UTC - 23:12 | Permalink

    Roland Fischer’s article can be downloaded gratis from http://phdtree.org/pdf/31565986-on-the-story-telling-imperative-that-we-have-in-mind/

    His Wikipedia article says of him: “Fischer was formerly professor of experimental psychiatry and associate professor of pharmacology at Ohio State University (1958-1971), and also held academic posts at George Washington University, Georgetown and Johns Hopkins University.” So we can assume he’s not a complete idiot, and his article was published in a peer-reviewed journal.

    It’s an interesting article. Some excerpts:

    The bridge between the two Testaments may be traced back to Luke 24:27 where it is said (in Neoplatonic transliteration) that the Old Testament is the ectype, the image of the idea, while the New Testament is the archetype, the Platonic ideal. — referencing Eco (1984) and Origines the Church Father.

    [T]here is not a shred of evidence that a historical character Jesus lived. The only one passage in the so called Testimonium Flavianum, a brief description of Jesus in book 18 of The Antiquities of the Jews, is a forgery according to Hubert van Gtfifen (Giphanius), a Protestant scholar (born 1534).

    One of the most important publications was in 1655 by Tanaquil Faber (Tannegui Lefebvre), a paper entitled “Flavit Josephi de Jesu Dom. testtmonium suppositum esse T. Fabrt diatriba.” In this, he suggests that Eusebtus, a Christian historian of the fourth century, forged the T. F. to suit his purposes. The debate was maintained between 1600 and 1655 by letters which are reprinted as an anthology by Chrtstoph Arnold in 1661 (Nowell 1991).

    Emil Schiirer’s monumental classic, The History of the Jewish People in the Age of Jesus Christ (1890)—in three volumes—was recently translated by Geza Vermes, University of Oxford. In the following, we are going to refer to the original German edition in which Schiirer has compiled the pros and the cons of the dispute that surrounds the authenticity of the so-called Testimony of Josephus Flavius of Christ. There are seven authors opting for authenticity. Eleven believe that it is an interpolation, and eight bring forth convincing scholarly evidence against the authenticity. . . . . Of course, no absolute certainty can be reached, but the evidence that the passage claiming the existence of Jesus is a fraud is overwhelming.

    Not only is there not a shred of evidence that a historical character Jesus lived, there is none that Paul ever referred to such a character. Everything fits with the view that Paul was trying to put across fundamental mystical teachings concerning the “sonship,” i.e., the mystical transformation, utilizing accepted ideas from ancient India, stoicism, etc. (perhaps being cultivated in the cosmopolitan Stoic university of Tarsus). The gospel story may be wholly explained as the writing down—about 50 years after Paul’s death—of a “mystery play” reflecting the mystical function of “the Son”: God being born in us—as in the Minoan mysteries. This view related directly with the mysteries of Asia Minor in which God died and then rose again, and the Saviour was also called Ieso, one of the Minoan dactyls. Through adoption of the divine titles, along with “Lord,” of “Messiah” (ho chnstos) and Jes(h)u(s) = Joshua = Ieso, all meaning Saviour, Paul’s teaching made immediate contact not only with Asia Minor and Greece but also with Hebrews who had partly adopted Hellenistic mystical ideas (“Jesuists”).1 The teaching itself, in regard to release from the “error” of “the world” is basically Buddhist, though non-Buddhist terms are favored in other regions of mystical thought. There is no authentic reference to a historical Jesus or crucifixion as a historical event in Paul’s letters.

    To a large extent a mammalian species that is to some extent human, we are subject to biologically and socially programmed imperatives that collide head-on with the morality of secular and religious traditions. Hence, guilt of sin is something that takes place in human life, and in this sense, “Christianity is not a doctrine about what has happened or will happen to the human soul but a description of something that actually takes place in human life. For consciousness of sin is a real event and so are despair and salvation through faith. Those who speak of such things are simply describing what happened to them, whatever gloss anyone may want to put on it” (Wittgenstein s apropos of Bunyan, quoted by Cioffi 1993).

    To illustrate that last point a case history is described:

    At one point Madeleine conveys to her Doctor that she has given birth to Christ, whereupon Janet asks her: “Which year do we have at present7” Madeleine: “1897”. Janet: “Then, the genuine Christ was born 2000 years ago; hence, the one who was just born must be another Christ.” Madeleine: “What are you talking about? The birth of Christ takes place each and every year, and it is always the same birth in the same sense as His becoming flesh also happens whenever the holy Communion is taking place.”

    It sounds to me we have precursors here to the concepts addressed by Doherty (had Fischer read Couchoud?) and Freke & Gandy.

    Thank you for alerting us to the article.

  • Tal
    2014-10-11 20:16:17 UTC - 20:16 | Permalink

    There’s also Truthsurge (don’t know what his real name is) creator of the popular pro-Jesus mythicism Youtube series “Jesus: Hebrew Human or Mythical Messiah?”
    He promotes the “Jesus Originated as a heavenly Christ” thesis.

    • Neil Godfrey
      2014-10-11 23:07:49 UTC - 23:07 | Permalink

      There are several problems with my list. One of them is that I have included every publication I know of that argues in some sense for a mythicist case. Is that a particularly valid or useful exercise insofar as anyone can now publish a book online but it is much harder to measure the impact or simply the sales of all such books. I need to find some sort of measure that could be usefully applied to give readers a more usefully informed impression. Till then I have tried to make up for this lack with my annotations on each author.

      Meanwhile I’ll check out “Truthsurge”. Thanks.

  • Giuseppe
    2014-10-11 20:17:06 UTC - 20:17 | Permalink

    On wikipedia page (in English) there is the name of a mythicist, Alexander Jacob, but he does not deserve, with his book, to be included in your table because he is openly anti-Semit. I suspect that to edit wiki and insert his name among other mythicists is some Christian apologist with the intention of defaming the mythicists by the name of a disgusting anti-Semitic.

    • Neil Godfrey
      2014-10-11 23:44:15 UTC - 23:44 | Permalink

      I will excuse myself from entering his name here for the time being at least after having followed up a few links, including a survey of his publications and an online interview of his with Rodney Stark (it’s hard to tell if he’s anti-semitic or just got a lot of screwball ideas about how the world works), and also because of the following excerpt of a scholarly review of one of his books that apparently addresses the Christ Myth question:

      That being said, it is not possible to conclude that Jacob’s study is of comparable quality to scholars such as [Walter] Burkert and [Martin] West, and for the most part Brahman reads as a confusing, over-detailed attempt to identify solar rituals in Vedic texts and read outwards from them to locate related cultural and religious practices in ancient cultures belonging to other language families.

      Jacob employs the biblical Semitic, Hamitic and Japhetic (named for Shem, Ham, and Japhet, the three sons of Noah) and in many cases appears to claim that ancient scriptures (such as the Vedas, the Bible, and the Gathas of Iranian Zoroastrians) are straightforwardly historical and can be accepted on face value.

      Further, strange and erroneous assertions, such as “A branch of the proto-Dravidian stock that seems to have spread through Celtic Europe as its priestly sect is the Druids” (p. 134), “The Iranians may be recognised by their later hieratic name, Magi, in the ‘Magog’ of the Biblical record” (p. 136), and the Scythians are “called Shakas in the Indic literature” (p. 136), abound throughout the text.

      The author’s technique seems to be to line up text upon text from a variety of dissimilar cultures (both in terms of linguistics and historical periods) and expound upon so-called parallels or similarities, and on this weak foundation build precarious superstructures.

      It is not likely that this work will obtain a high degree of scholarly acceptance, and it is also difficult to read, to an extent likely to deter even the best-disposed reader.

      That’s by Carole M. Cusack of the University of Sydney, published in June 2014, Journal of Religion – DOI: 10.1111/1467-9809.12169

      It may not be qualitatively different from Murdock’s or others’ mythicist publications so I need to find a way to create a list of the more solid work.

      Thanks for bringing the name to our notice. I’ll have to continue to think of the best way to address these. Perhaps what’s really needed is a serious discussion of each one the way Albert Schweitzer seriously addressed the mythicists in his day.

  • 2014-11-02 15:26:01 UTC - 15:26 | Permalink

    My website promotes the idea that Jesus Christ was created as the personification of universal reason and explains how Mark’s Passion narrative demonstrates an ethical model in a story format.

    It may be of interest to some



  • 2014-11-10 10:22:11 UTC - 10:22 | Permalink

    I noticed that this list is missing an author dear to me because she propose a possible stand-in for the historical Jesus that also I suppose, but by another way.
    She is Lena Einhorn
    I hope she will be included in the list

    • 2014-11-11 03:53:35 UTC - 03:53 | Permalink

      Thanks for the notice. I see Robert Price has a review of her book, too. I’ll add her name.

      • 2014-11-11 13:41:33 UTC - 13:41 | Permalink

        I do not know her book. I’ve only read the PDF linked in the previous post.
        I wish take this opportunity to say that while of Catholic education, I am an atheist from more than forty years.
        I consider the Egyptian as a good candidate for a historic Jesus as a primitive Grand Master of a mystery religion.
        The clues found by me are: EHEUS II,17,11-12, Acts 21,37-38, Toledoth Jeschu, AJ XX,169-170, Mk 14,58 and Mt 26,61, Royal Masonic Cyclopaedia sect. II, page 538

        • Neil Godfrey
          2014-11-11 20:23:04 UTC - 20:23 | Permalink

          So I should place you in both the Catholic and No Church Background columns?

  • Tim Underwood
    2014-11-19 03:25:02 UTC - 03:25 | Permalink

    Atwill’s work is of a very different quality. His analysis is just the sequence of events in the ‘Gospel According to Luke’ compared to similar events in the same sequence in ‘The War of The Jews’. Draw whatever conclusions you want but the similar events in the same order prevail.

  • 2014-11-19 05:01:31 UTC - 05:01 | Permalink

    I cannot see how a Roman battle at the Lake of Gennesaret in which over 6000 Jews were killed, many of them in the lake itself (it pays to read the original texts that Joe Atwill is describing in his own words if we want to see how similar certain points really are) has any connection with a story of Jesus calling disciples by the sea of Galilee to become fishers of men and with another story of 2000 pigs drowning in the same lake.

    Ditto for all of the other supposed “similar events” and “in sequence” that Atwill declares to exist.

  • Giuseppe
    2014-11-24 18:19:39 UTC - 18:19 | Permalink

    R. G. Price has written extensively about his Fictional Jesus Theory. Very interesting and persuasive.

    • 2014-11-24 22:03:34 UTC - 22:03 | Permalink

      Yes, I’m currently reading his article and when finished I’ll post something.

      • Bertie
        2014-11-25 17:37:39 UTC - 17:37 | Permalink

        Mini-Review from a quick reading: the author makes a grievous logical error in that he seems to think that by demonstrating that Mark is highly constructed, contains rewritten Hebrew Bible, contains self-evidently ahistorical content, has an allegorical reading, and so on that he has demonstrated that there is no historical figure behind it at all. This is false reasoning — one can write a highly constructed allegory composed from rewritten Hebrew Bible with plainly untrue material about a historical person, too. At best, he can claim the same thing Carrier does about Mark, that it supports a historical or mythical reading about equally. Given that the author’s stated aim is a proof of ahistoricity, I think it is safe to say he has failed.

        Now, getting historicity of Jesus down to 50-50 is not nothing, but I don’t really see anything original here — it is a similar reading of the evidence as Carrier along with a expanded Markan Priority such that all Christian writings that are “historicist” on their face ultimately derive from Mark or are just late, unreliable storytelling. But that last point isn’t original or even exclusively mythicist — its more or less what is (decisively) defended by Mark Goodacre (and is pretty much what Carrier believes, too).

        • Giuseppe
          2014-11-25 18:17:16 UTC - 18:17 | Permalink

          Bertie, read more carefully. Your point is already the same point that makes the author:

          But the analysis of Mark merely proves that the Gospel of Mark is not historically true, it doesn’t prove that Jesus never existed.

          And after he writes:

          What proves that Jesus never existed is the fact that every other account of a real life Jesus is shown to be dependent on the Markan story. … The only reason that a fictional story would be the only source of information about someone’s life is if there was no other information about that person because they never actually existed.

          In other terms: if the desire of Christians was to bear witness to the existence of Jesus, Christians would be based on all available sources multiple & independent of his biography. Instead it is a FACT that they are only based on a single story, and moreover fictitious. So Jesus did not exist to the extent that the Christians wanted to talk to him but always and only they repeated the same usual fable.

          if I love a person to the point of writing a lot of stories about him, I’m not going to base myself on a fictional story about that person – and only on that.

          • Giuseppe
            2014-11-25 18:38:27 UTC - 18:38 | Permalink

            in other words: it is useless to look for historical Jesus because Christians had already done the research for us. Finding only Mark.

        • 2014-11-27 12:18:56 UTC - 12:18 | Permalink

          Hi Bertie,

          Thanks for the feedback on my piece. First I have to make a comment about Richard Carrier. I think Richard is great (though he got my position somewhat wrong in his book), and he helped me with my works when I was doing a lot of my original research. What I’m putting forward here is basically an extension the the work in my self-published book Jesus – A Very Jewish Myth, which I published in 2008. http://www.lulu.com/shop/rg-price/jesus-a-very-jewish-myth/ebook/product-17510469.html

          I dedicated that book Richard Carrier, because he worked with me for almost a year off and on helping me with translations and getting up to speed on the state of current scholarship and making my arguments. I put a lot of original arguments in front of him for him to review and help me refine. So yeah, there are some similarities between my positions and what you find in his most recent book. Check my other publications on this subject and see when mine were published…


          I do think the case I make is more decisive than you give it credit, but, you do have to read all of the details. I will grant that I didn’t necessarily provide the best opening summary of my position in this piece, and that in order to really understand the case I’m making you have to read all the details. In fact, in order to really get it you have to not only read all of this piece, but you also have to read my other pieces to, this is sort of built on a foundation of other cases made in prior writings.

          I’m now trying to figure out how to re-write all of this material and put it into a “real” book to to get published, and when I do that I want to make the case as concisely and up front as possible, so this type of feedback is very helpful to me.

          What Giuseppe says is basically correct. The case stands on several legs.

          #1) Mark is fiction – but this doesn’t prove that Jesus never existed
          #2) Key scenes in Mark can be shown to be literary allusions, which proves that their inclusion in other Gospels must have originated from Mark, not some other external source.
          #3) This shows that every narrative about Jesus ultimately is based on Mark.
          #4) The fact that every narrative about Jesus is based on Mark, must mean that there was no other information about Jesus to be had. It was the only source of “information” about a human Jesus.

          #4 is what proves that Jesus didn’t exist, and it is proven on two counts: #1) All of the narratives about Jesus are based on Mark #2) There were significant doubts about the early existence of Jesus among several so-called Christian sects, which 2nd-4th century apologists had to combat. The ONLY evidence that they ever mustered was theological reading based on the Gospels, THAT’S IT.

          The issue is not that we can’t go back today and find evidence because it was too long ago, the issue is that within 100-200 years of this person’s supposed lifetime there was a compelling need to provide evidence for his existence, and we know that early Christians did in fact search for many of the physical pieces of evidence of Jesus’s existence, like his tomb, like the place where he was crucified, etc., but the fact is that THEY NEVER FOUND ANY, within 100 years of his supposed life.

          And the issue is that these guys were trying very hard. The 2nd-4th century apologists had a lot of opposition and they were trying desperately to PROVE that Jesus had in fact been incarnate “in the flesh”, but the ONLY evidence they EVER mustered was the Gospels. The entire case for Jesus having existed “in the flesh”, made by apologists within 100-300 years of his supposed existence, rested entirely on the Gospels. And their case for the “reliability” of the Gospels rested entirely on the belief that what they had was four separate independent eyewitness or second hand accounts that corroborated each other.

          So without the Gospels, the 2nd-4th century case for the “humanity of Jesus” utterly falls apart, and basically the Docetists and Marcionites win.

          And for good measure I throw in an explanation for why Jesus must have been a heavenly messiah to begin with. The failure of Doherty and others, IMO, is that they focused to much on trying to show that Paul’s crucifixion took place in heaven, which I agree with, but its not compelling.

          What I explain is that it only makes sense that Jesus was originally understood to be a heavenly messiah because what sets Jesus apart is the fact that unlike all the other messiahs, who were supposed to create a perfect Jewish kingdom on earth, Jesus was a messiah who was going to create a perfect kingdom IN HEAVEN. This is key undisputable piece of evidence. The reason Jesus was going to create the kingdom of God in heaven, and not on earth is because the material world was hopelessly corrupt. If the material world is hopelessly corrupt, then the last thing you would believe is that a human messiah would be the one to create your perfect kingdom in heaven. Thus, it only makes sense that the perfect kingdom of God in heaven would be create by a heavenly messiah.

          And we see this conflict between the role of the heavenly messiah Jesus and the human Jesus all throughout Christian theology to this day. And this also explains why Marcionites and Docetists existed in the first place.

          I really do think that I’ve taken the position that Jesus didn’t exist from a place of conflusion and loose ends, to a place where it actually makes more sense than the idea that Jesus had existed.

          For me personally, the idea that Jesus never existed was always problematic, and always had a bad taste to it. It always seemed to be reaching and not quite explaining. For me personally, I’m now at a place, which I hope I was able to explain sufficiently and convey through my writing, where I feel like the idea that Jesus never existed makes MORE SENSE than the the idea that he had existed.

          And for me, that position is only arrived at through the arguments I’ve made in my writings. I don’t think that the cases made by others on this topic ever quite get there (Though of course many have made very important contributions to the topic). I feel like I have gotten there. To me, all of the dots never got fully connected. I feel like I’ve connected the dots.

  • 2015-03-04 23:08:18 UTC - 23:08 | Permalink

    I was disappointed that Joseph Wheless (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Wheless) isn’t on this list. Is this because there’s something wrong with his books? He was very influential in my development as a skeptic, particularly his book Forgery in Christianity from about 1928, which is available in its entirety online (see Wikipedia entry).

    • Neil Godfrey
      2015-03-07 07:37:46 UTC - 07:37 | Permalink

      The reason Joseph Wheless is not included is because I had to limit my list somehow and I arbitrarily chose the dividing line at persons alive in the 21st century.

      To prepare a comprehensive list is way beyond what my time and resources can permit. (The “Who’s Who” in the title is to some extent meant to indicate that it serves as a guide to “who IS who” today.)

  • Giuseppe
    2015-04-06 19:04:26 UTC - 19:04 | Permalink

    a 2013 mythicist book, of John Pickard. From initial reading, I find it very concise and useful (very similar to my personal views about the matter). Only, the only error I would see in is no casting doubt on authenticity of pauline ‘epistles’ and Paul’s figure.

  • Pier Tulip
    2015-05-20 10:49:57 UTC - 10:49 | Permalink

    Hello Neil Godfrey
    from a google search I see that there is still present this sentence on the first English version of KRST: (English is not Pier’s first language and the work contains infelicities.)
    A few months ago I published the new edition corrected with the help of Robert Tulip.
    I would be grateful if you update your description

    • Neil Godfrey
      2015-05-22 07:19:11 UTC - 07:19 | Permalink

      Thanks Pier. Done.

      • Pier Tulip
        2015-05-31 07:53:21 UTC - 07:53 | Permalink

        Thanks Neil Godfrey

        I would also point out that the link on my name, in the first table, is interrupted

        • Neil Godfrey
          2015-05-31 09:38:24 UTC - 09:38 | Permalink

          (sigh) … fixed again, I hope.

  • Giuseppe
    2015-09-05 15:30:34 UTC - 15:30 | Permalink

    Hi Neil,
    I think you should add Chris Albert Wells to the list of mythicists.

    He is the author of Jesus: God, Man or Party Label? the Dead Sea Scrolls’ Messiah Code (2010) and Sorting Out Paul: Caught Between Man and Legend (2015).

    He is not among the mythicists who accept the model Doherty/Carrier (with Paul’s letters before the first Gospel).
    He is better understood as a supporter of the ”theory of a fictional Jesus” as already proposed by RG Price (in the sense that everything, including Paul, must be traced back to the first gospel) even if RG Price placed still himself on Doherty/Carrier model. In a certain sense, he is more in right to claim the theory of a fictional Jesus (i.e. the idea that all sources about Jesus are explained by the introduction of the first Gospel) since Paul is later than first gospels.

    A short synthesis of his view is found here.

    Here you can find a comparison between Earl Doherty and Chris Albert Wells.

    I agree with his principal thesis that the first gospel was written in Antioch by renegade Essenes after 70 CE as particular Jewish reaction against traditionalist Essenes (symbolized by John the Baptist).

    I disagree when he still retains the idea of a historical Paul (existed after 70 CE) that divulges the gospel just written, after its reduction to a minimum dying-and-rising god news, to the Greek-Roman world. I think that Price, Detering (and in next future Stuart Waugh) have made a good case against the historicity of ‘Paul’. But I think that Chris is still right when describes the Christian origins even if he is still a ”Paul-post-70” historicist. Chris thinks that ”Paul the Jew” is genuine in his letters, but not ”Paul the dualist” that is a marcionite interpolation in his original letters (as ”Paul the proto-catholic”, also). In this he is doing the precise reversal of Price’s view about Paul: according to Price, ”Paul the dualist”, aka Simon Magus, was historical, but not ”Paul the Jew” neither ”Paul the proto-catholic”. I think that both Chris Albert Wells and Bob Price elude each other by demonstrating indirectly the extreme facility with which one can imagine at the table a historical Paul at the origin of those who wrote and/or drafted the epistles under his name.

    I disagree when he retains still the Markan priority but I think that his case is still valid, even more so, under the hypothesis of Mcn priority (not written by Marcion but used by him).


    • Neil Godfrey
      2015-09-07 20:54:48 UTC - 20:54 | Permalink

      Still catching up with many other real-life distractions at the moment. Will do.

  • 2015-10-20 23:20:24 UTC - 23:20 | Permalink

    By the by: Tom Dykstra, author of “Mark: Canonizer of Paul” can be counted as a sympathizer with mythicism, possibly an agnostic (though I would ask him to be sure, because he hasn’t been explicit about this, though some of what he writes could be taken that way) He’s written a positive review of Brodie’s ‘Quest’ on amazon:

  • Greg Pandatshang
    2015-11-19 04:17:59 UTC - 04:17 | Permalink

    It might be interesting if the table showed somehow which individuals have or had higher education teaching positions, as this is the solidest credential in a lot of people’s estimations. It might also be interesting if it marked active ordained persons. Is Detering still a pastor?

  • 2015-12-17 17:15:22 UTC - 17:15 | Permalink

    How about mentioning the Mythicist organizations? http://www.mythicistmilwaukee.com

  • 2016-02-27 10:08:38 UTC - 10:08 | Permalink

    Per John Bartram and Edwin Johnson, Christianity didn’t exist in the first centuries. Eusebius, Paul, Jesus, and church fathers are fiction.

    My mother raised me Jewish in an occult context like the recent Rock book Season of the Witch. My father was away getting a degree and then taught me newage transpersonal psychology including Eastern spirituality. His parents raised me primitive Christianity restorationist Church of Christ. My other families raised me Protestant. I didn’t have Catholic influence.

    I am highly favorable to esoteric Christianity. I dislike the glorification of Buddhist meditation, especially when used to diminish entheogens.

    — Michael Hoffman, Egodeath.com, the Eternalism-Cybernetics Theory of Ego Transcendence, the Maximal Entheogen Theory of Religion and Culture, Metaphorical Entheogenic Eternalism, the Maximal Ahistoricity Theory of Ancient Religious Founder Figures

  • 2016-08-04 11:43:24 UTC - 11:43 | Permalink

    You have labelled Lena Einhorn’s religious background as unknown. The family is Jewish, of course. They were not Christians (although her father got elected to parliament for the Christ Democratic party – but he did call the rabbi and ask “can I really do this”). If religion was really important for prof. Einhorn, I think he should have mentioned at least something about religion in his autobiography. He doesn’t. Jewishness for him seems to have been largely about ethnic identity. So my guess on the background is “pretty secular Jewish”, possibly even atheist or agnostic. But still there’s a Jewish background, of course.

  • Tertius
    2016-08-09 01:51:12 UTC - 01:51 | Permalink

    The best explanation for the origins of Christianity is that it was the creation of the Flavian emperors with the help of Josephus and other Jews in order to control the rebellious Jews. Cliff Carrington seem to have written about this in 1998 before Josheph Atwill published his book. See links to his website below.

    Cliff Carrington 7-1998
    Joseph Atwill
    As history the gospels fail miserably. But, as literature they work superbly. Every episode in the ‘Lives’ of Jesus can be traced back to a source available in the early second century. Josephus is used for the history. The common Greek translation of the Jewish Scriptures, known as the Septuagint, was used for the prophetic proof-texts of the Messiahship of Jesus. The sayings of Jesus can be traced to first and second century Rabbinical teachings. The eschatology is a combination of early Jewish apocalyptic literature and Greek mysticism. There is nothing original in the Jesus story. But it is well presented. The way the gospels seemingly reinforce each other adds to the feeling, but not the substance, of a true story. This is good literature.

    Grant, M., Roman Myths, Penguin, Harmondsworth, 1973
    Just two quotations to make Dr. Grant’s point about Roman Religion and mythology. “Roman religion was in the employment of the state. The historian Polybius, in the second century B.C., makes no bones about this. In Roman public and private life, he says, religion is dramatized and exploited to the highest possible degree; and he expresses the belief that the ruling class arranges matters in such a way on account of the masses, who need to be impressed and ‘restrained’” [p.249] “One thing that is quite certain is that the Roman stories, unlike, apparently, the mythologies of certain other parts of the world, did not just well up from the masses of the population as collective expressions of its will. On the contrary, these sagas, even if they made use of a certain amount of folklore, were on the whole invented or adapted or adjusted at the top, and steps were then taken to ensure that they flowed downwards.” [p. 250]

    • Neil Godfrey
      2016-08-09 06:18:14 UTC - 06:18 | Permalink

      Romans had much more efficient ways of bringing the Judaeans under control, and after Hadrian they had no more troubles from that quarter without any need to concoct clever myths. Romans were not the only people to adapt myths “from the top” for ideological and propaganda purposes, and those who did so did not produce anything like the sort of literature we have in Christianity. The theories you mention I find to be very problematic in the way they treat and interpret our source material. We have more justification to follow the methods of historians — as distinct from theologians who claim to be historians — in arriving at plausible explanations for the origins of Christianity.

    • Joe Atwill
      2017-06-14 15:06:58 UTC - 15:06 | Permalink

      Hi Tertius,

      Yes, Cliff developed his theory completely independently of me. We were amazed once we became aware of each other in 1999 after he learned about my book and contacted me.

      Cliff did not uncover the overall typology but had made many significant connections. For example, he had recognized the Josephus bar Matthias/Joseph of Arimathea parallel and I always give he co-discoverer status when asked about it. I found it because I was following the parallel sequences between the Gospels and Wars of the Jews and knew exactly where to look for Josephus’ version of the Gospels crucifixion story. Cliff was a great reader and found it simply through his close reading of the text. Below is the passage – the ‘Gold Seal’ of proof that the Gospels are typologically linked to Josephus – which until the publication of CM had never been shown to the public.

      Moreover, when the city Jerusalem was taken by force . . .
      I was sent by Titus Caesar . . . to a certain village called Thecoa, in order to know whether it were a place fit for a camp; as I came back, I saw many captives crucified, and remembered three of them as my former acquaintance. I was very sorry at this in my mind, and went with tears in my eyes to Titus, and told him of them;
      so he immediately commanded them to be taken down, and to have the greatest care taken of them, in order to their recovery; yet two of them died under the physician’s hands, while the third recovered.
      Life of Flavius Josephus, 75, 417, 420-421

      Neal’s statement about the Romans having more “efficient ways to control Judea” misunderstands my theory. The Flavians developed Christianity to slow down the missionary activity by the Zealots to Jews outside of Judea. They created the Gospels/Josephus typology simply for vanity. The typology identifies the ‘son of Man’ Jesus predicts will come during the 66-73 CE war as the Flavian Caesar.


  • 2016-10-28 15:39:37 UTC - 15:39 | Permalink

    You can add Vincent Czyz, author of The Christos Mosaic.

    “A brilliant, deftly crafted, inherently absorbing novel from beginning to end, The Christos Mosaic by Vincent Czyz is one of those truly extraordinary stories that will linger in the mind and memory long after the book itself has been finished and set back upon the shelf. Very highly recommended and certain to be an enduringly popular addition to General Fiction collections.”
    —Midwest Book Review

    “I can’t come up with enough superlatives to express how thoroughly ―completely ―hugely―
    immensely―I enjoyed reading this novel. It’s everything I could have wished for and much more. It must be read by as many people worldwide as possible. I have a gut feeling that it could effect a sea-change in the common understanding of Christianity. It’s a masterful synthesis of solid scholarship and adventure.”
    —the late Paul Palmer, former assistant editor, American Atheist magazine

    “The Christos Mosaic is part Orhan Pamuk, part Elaine Pagels, and part Dan Brown. But it is mostly Vincent Czyz, an irrepressible fiction writer who has the good sense to realize that scholarship is the friend of great stories–and the talent to put that friendship to good use. I must confess that I turned to the novel for fun, and it is fun from first page to last. What surprised me was how very much I learned about the past. A wonderful novel.”
    —James Goodman, Pulitzer Prize finalist & author of But Where is the Lamb?

  • Jay
    2017-06-13 21:40:42 UTC - 21:40 | Permalink

    There’s another historian following Carotta’s theory (Julius Caesar), Arne Eickenberg, author of “Die sechste Stunde”. (Also co-author on a couple of articles with Carotta.) My German isn’t that great, but he seems to speak very positively about Christianity as well. He’s not a scholar in this field, but an engineer according to the publisher’s information.

    Publisher’s webpage: http://www.verlag-ludwig.de/product_info.php?pName=die-sechste-stunde-synopsen-zum-historischen-ursprung-der-wunder-und-naturkatastrophen-in-der-passion-christi-p-1024
    Excerpt: https://www.academia.edu/2552398 (only bibliography etc.)

    Can’t say anything about his religious background, but judging from some things in the book, it’s Roman Catholicism too.
    (Couldn’t find any reviews online.)

  • Michael
    2017-12-26 06:19:12 UTC - 06:19 | Permalink

    Chris Hedges, an ordained Presbyterian minister, has flatly declared: “There is no evidence that Jesus existed.” https://www.truthdig.com/articles/what-christmas-means/ That one was definitely a surprise.

    • Neil Godfrey
      2017-12-26 11:31:52 UTC - 11:31 | Permalink

      Christmas is not about the virgin birth. It is not about angels. It is not even about a historical Jesus. There is no evidence that Jesus existed. To debate these topics is to engage in a theological Trivial Pursuit. The Christmas story is about learning how to be human, about kneeling before a newborn infant who is helpless, vulnerable, despised and poor. It is about inverting the world’s values. It is about understanding that the religious life—and this life can be lived with or without a religious creed—calls on us to protect and nurture the least among us, those demonized and rejected.

      My God! Is that the same Chris Hedges who wrote “American Fascists” and “I Don’t Believe in Atheists”??????

  • Attila Csanyi
    2017-12-29 17:37:28 UTC - 17:37 | Permalink

    Missing from this list is the name of Daniel T. Unterbrink, author of several books and articles, e.g. “Judas of Nazareth: How the Greatest Teacher of First-Century Israel Was Replaced by a Literary Creation”
    (Ref.: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/religionprof/2014/10/mythicisms-methodological-mess.html)
    Unterbrink provides a persuasive (to me) analysis of how the rebel leader Judas the Galilean could have been transformed into the gospel’s Jesus myth.

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