2014-09-27

WHO’s WHO: Mythicists, Mythicist Agnostics & Historicists Who Call for Scholarly Debate (Updated 6th August 2020)

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

As of 6th August 2020 only the colour coded table has been updated. The remainder of this page dates from some years earlier. 

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. [But see comment below re this position.] 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.

Below the table I am compiling additional details about each name but this is a work in (slow) progress. I can already see some inconsistencies in my colour coding — e.g. in pink background I have included names that have published works promoting the Christ Myth theory by editing other authors.

I also acknowledge that formatting is inconsistent but this can only be fixed over time given the difficulties of working with tables in WordPress.

Fundamentalist Background

Roman Catholic Background

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

Liberal or No Church Background

Unknown

David Fitzgerald

Author of Nailed! Ten Christian Myths That Show Jesus Never Existed at All and the three volumed Jesus: Mything in Action (The Complete Heretic’s Guide to Western Religion). I have defended arguments in Nailed! here.

Joe Atwill

Author of Caesar’s Messiah: The Roman Conspiracy to Invent Jesus. Review by Robert M. Price

Richard Carrier
(“Freethinking Methodist” background)Author of Proving History: Bayes’s Theorem and the Quest for the Historical Jesus which addresses the method used in his following book, On the Historicity of Jesus: Why We Might Have Reason for Doubt. See Reviews and Carrier’s replies listed on Carrier’s blog, and my posts on Proving History.
Lena Einhorn

Physician and biomedical researcher, documentary film maker, author of The Jesus Mystery: Astonishing Clues to the True Identities of Jesus and Paul and Jesus and the ‘Egyptian Prophet’. See review by Robert M. Price and her article presented at 2012 Society of Biblical Literature Annual Meeting, Jesus and the ‘Egyptian Prophet’.

Paul George

(Raised in “strict Christian household”; moved to “milder version of evangelical Christianity in early 20s; then agnosticism, then atheism. Expresses a compassionate understanding of the historical stresses that forged Christianity.)

Author of Jesus of the Books . Examines the link between the Jewish War of 66-70 CE.

Thomas Brodie
(Irish Catholic. Very positive towards Christianity)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
Hermann Detering
(very positive towards Christianity)German pastor in the Dutch radical tradition. Runs Radikalkritik website. Identifies Paul with Simon Magus. Author of The Falsified (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.
Alvar Ellegård

Swedish Professor of English. Influenced by G. A. Wells. Author of Jesus: One Hundred Years Before Christ. Review by Earl Doherty.

Raphael Lataster*

A PhD researcher (Studies in Religion) at the University of Sydney. Author of There was no Jesus, there is no God: A Scholarly Examination of the Scientific, Historical, and Philosophical Evidence & Arguments for Monotheism.

Francesco Carotta
(very positive towards Christianity)Author of Jesus was Caesar: On the Julian Origin of Christianity.
Timothy Freke
(Source: ch.3 Mystery Experience) (very positive towards Christianity)Co-author 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. . . .” Source: http://www.exminister.org/Freke-Jesus-mysteries.html
Peter Gandy
(very positive towards Christianity)Co-author 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. . . .” Source: http://www.exminister.org/Freke-Jesus-mysteries.html
Robert M. Price
(very positive towards Christianity)See the Wikipedia article and his MindVendor webpage for his background and scholarly qualifications and affiliations. Author of The Incredible Shrinking Son of Man and Deconstructing Jesus. He applies the principles of higher criticism that were the basis of much radical scholarship in the nineteenth century.
Earl Doherty

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. Vridar has hosted many posts by Earl Doherty.

Stephan Huller

Author of The Real Messiah: The Throne of St Mark and the True Origins of Christianity. Huller responds to a positive review.

Michael Martin

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.” (p. 67)

Tom Harpur
(Anglican priest. Very positive towards Christianity)Author of The Pagan Christ: Recovering the Lost Light. Influenced by Alvin Boyd Kuhn. Review by Robert M. Price.
Raphael Lataster*

A PhD researcher (Studies in Religion) at the University of Sydney. Author of There was no Jesus, there is no God: A Scholarly Examination of the Scientific, Historical, and Philosophical Evidence & Arguments for Monotheism.

Kenneth Humphreys
(no church background)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.
Michael B. Paulkovich

Aerospace engineer and humanist-rationalist writer. Author of The Fable of the Christ in Free Inquiry and of the book, No Meek Messiah.

Charles O. Wilson
(Southern Baptist)Author of New Testament Origins: The Passover Slaughter of 4 BCE. Influenced by Joe Atwill’s argumentBelieves the Gospel of Mark is a coded rewriting of Josephus’s account of events surrounding Jannaeus.
Roger Parvus
(Former Catholic priest)His arguments have been hosted on Vridar:

Raphael Lataster*

A PhD researcher (Studies in Religion) at the University of Sydney. Author of There was no Jesus, there is no God: A Scholarly Examination of the Scientific, Historical, and Philosophical Evidence & Arguments for Monotheism.

Jay Raskin

A PhD in philosophy, adapted his thesis for publication as The Evolution of Christs and Christianities. My review on Amazon

Frank R. Zindler

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.

René Salm
(now Buddhist and atheist)See interview with René Salm on this blog Among his websites are Mythicist Papers: Resources for the Study of Christian Origins and The Myth of Nazareth. Archives on this blog defending Salm’s work are here and here.
Harold Leidner

Patent lawyer. Author of The Fabrication of the Christ Myth.

George Albert Wells

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.

Valerie Tarico

Psychologist and author. Articles addressing the Christ Myth theory: Savior? Shaman? Myth? Ink Blot?, 5 reasons to suspect that Jesus never existed, What if Jesus Never Existed?

Mark Craig

Graduate student at Australian Catholic University. Author of Historical Jesus: Thinking the Unthinkable.

 

S.P. Laurie
(Nominally Anglican upbringing; remains a Christian)Author of The Rock and the Tower.
Vincent Czyz

Author of The Christ Mosaic. Reviewed on Vridar.

John Loftus

Not a mythicist but open to the question: see Is the Christ Myth a Threat to the Christian Faith? (If not, what is?), The Christian Reaction to Jesus Mythicism, and his hosting a review of Raphael Lataster’s book: Raphael Lataster’s New Book on Jesus Mythicism

Peter Kirby

(See The Best Case for Jesus) Developer of several valuable webtools such as Early Christian Writings, Early Jewish Writings, Online Books available in English, and CD, Historical Jesus Theories, Christian 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)Author of Truth Be Known website and several books on the Christ Myth theory through Stellar Publishing. My reviews of the early chapters of Christ Conspiracy.
Edwin Herbert

Author of Mythos Christos. See post.

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>
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
(Episcopalian)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. My review and coverage of Jesus Potter Harry Christ.
Jeff Querner

Identifies Jesus with Honi the Circle Drawer in Christianity is Older Than We Think

Neil Godfrey* Thomas L. Thompson

(Danish/European) Author of The Messiah Myth ; reviewed by Robert M. Price. See also Thompson’s response to Ehrman.

Michel Onfray

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.” The Invention of Jesus — Audio

Ryan Murphy

Author of Jesus – The Most Popular Myth

Tim Widowfield 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

Creator of rationalrevolution webpage and author of several books. Author of Jesus – A Very Jewish Myth and The Gospel of Mark as Reaction and Allegory

Alexander Pistofides

Author of forthcoming novel. See post. There are other names in Greece, including academics, who appear open to the question. Some of these names are listed in Greek here and here.

R. Joseph Hoffman

(Up to 2006 published positively of Christ Myth)

Pier Tulip

Author of KRST: Jesus a Solar Myth. Concedes the lack of evidence prevents him from “completely proving” his case. Avoids the dogmatism and New-Age ideology found in Murdock’s astrotheological case.

Stephen Law

Philosopher, editor of Think. See Wikipedia article  and his blogpost, Evidence, Miracles and the Existence of Jesus.

James Barlow L.Th., B.A., M. Div., D.D. Anglican clergy (now retired)

See Ascension of Isaiah and Paul.

James Crossley

Professor of Society, Bible and Politics at St Mary’s University and editor of Journal for the Study of the Historical Jesus. In his Foreword to Raphael Latater’s Questioning the Historicity of Jesus he writes “my take is that more scepticism is indeed needed.”

 

Edward van der Kaaij
(very positive towards Christianity)Pastor aligned with Vredeskerk (Peace Church) Nijkerk, banned from preaching at the Reformed Church. Author of The Uncomfortable Truth of Christianity.
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.”

Raoul Vaneigem

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.

Arthur Droge

See outline of his paper “Jesus and Ned Ludd” presented at the Jesus Project conference at Amherst

Roger Viklund
(Source: comment)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.
Paul Hopper

Linguist and Emeritus Professor at Carnegie Mellon University. See A Narrative Anomaly in Josephus.

Sid Martin

(source online email) A Master of Theological Studies. Author of Secret of the Savior.

Kurt Noll

Author of “Investigating Earliest Christianity without Jesus” in ‘Is This Not the Carpenter?’

Michael Lawrence
(From nonreligious family; has always been an atheist)Author of Contra Ehrman: Jesus Did Not Exist and Astonishing Credulity
Nigel Barber

Evolutionary psychologist and author of If Jesus Never Existed, Religion May Be Fiction in Huffington Post.

Adam Lee
“Raised in a non-religious household, he became an atheist in his first year of college after a series of conversations with Christian and Muslim friends convinced him both that religion was less intellectually benign and that his own vague deistic beliefs weren’t as defensible as he had thought. In February 2006, he founded Daylight Atheism to advance the humanist philosophy he had developed.
Michael Duncan

Associate professor in English at the University of Houston-Downtown. See Bandwagon arguments in academia.

Peter Nothnagle

Author of a paper publicized by Jerry Coyne on WEIT, delivered at Unitarian-Universalist Society of Iowa City and the Secular Humanists and the Secular Students at Iowa.

Clarke W. Owens

Author of Son of Yahweh: The Gospels as Novels.

 

 

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

Minas Papageorgiou

Founder of the Greek Mythicists organization. Author of Jesus Mythicism: An Introduction. I discussed this book here. See also Mythicism in Greece.

Christopher Hitchens

Speaks of “the highly questionable existence of Jesus” in God Is Not Great , p. 114

Loren Rosen III

See Mythicism: Two Theories

 

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.”In 1999 Ludemann was removed from theological studies at the University of Göttingen because of his book The Great Deception.

Michael Turton

Noted for his historical commentary on Gospel of Mark

Burton Mack

Laments scholarly failure of scholars to take note of G. A. Wells’s views. Article in Christian and Judaic Invention of Christianity

John Hudson

See link; also a contributor to the youtube video led by Joseph Atwill, Caesar’s Messiah.

 

 

PZ Myers

See Carrier cold-cocks Ehrman

Steven Carr
Steven Pinker

Grew up as a cultural Jew but was never religious. 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)  Open to mythicist views of R.G. Price.
Justin Meggitt [see comment]

University Senior Lecturer in the Study of Religion, Faculty of Divinity at the University of Cambridge. Author of ‘More ingenious than learned’? Examining the quest for the non-historical jesus.

 

 

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 reviews of Earl Doherty’s Jesus Neither God Nor Man and Bart Ehrman’s Did Jesus Exist?
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”.

Christina, Greta

Strongly promotes David Fitzgerald’s book Nailed!

Additional names contributing to Greek Mythicists (see Minas Papageorgiou below) include Maria Dzielska (historian), Dr. Gunnar Samuelsson (theologian), Rhadamanthys Anastassakis (Founder of Philosophy center “Ideotheatron”), Eurynome Gavras (Lawyer-Minister. Dr. Philosophy), Stratos Theodosiou (Professor Pan / University of Athens), Giorgos Ioannidis (psychologist-writer), George Lekakis (journalist-folklorist), Harita Menes (philologist-writer), John-Parmenides Bousiou (Cultural Sciences), Stefanos Paipetis (om. Professor Pan / Patras), Chris-Pandion Panopoulos (Cultural Sciences)…
David Oliver Smith
(Episcopalian)In his book on the influence of Paul on the gospels he expresses agreement with Earl Doherty’s mythicist case.
Calvin Kelly
(Rising Star Baptist Church) Former pastor; commends Joe Atwill’s thesis.
Noam Chomsky

“There are plenty of genuine scholars of religion whose work examines religious beliefs and sacred texts within their proper framework, such as Robert Price, John Loftus, Daniel Barker, Hector Avalos, Bart Ehrman, and D.M. Murdoch. These are the skeptics who are worth paying attention to.” (Chomsky on New Atheism)

Neil Godfrey *

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.

 

General arguments either that Jesus did not exist or is not necessary to explain Christian origins

Originated as a heavenly Christ

Literary
(rather than
traditional
historical)
arguments

Gnostic arguments

Astrotheology
or
cosmological
or pagan cult
origins of Christianity

The Jesus figure lived in a remote past

The Gospel Jesus figure was based on a historical figure

Joe Atwill
(Emperor Titus)

(based on Titus)

Thomas L. Brodie
Richard Carrier
Francesco Carotta
(Julius Caesar)
Earl Doherty
Lena Einhorn (‘The Egyptian’)
Alvar Ellegård
David Fitzgerald
Timothy Freke and Gandy

 

Tom Harpur
Stephan Huller
(Herod Agrippa I)
Ken Humphreys
Edward van der Kaaij
Raphael Lataster
Harold Leidner
Sid Martin
D. M. Murdock
(a.k.a. Acharya S)
Derek Murphy
Kurt Noll
(Does not argue for non-existence of Jesus)
Michel Onfray
Roger Parvus
(Simon Magus/Paul)
Michael Paulkovich
R. G. Price
Robert M. Price
Jay Raskin
Pier Tulip
Thomas L. Thompson
(Does not argue for non-existence of Jesus)
Daniel Unterbrink,
(Judas the Galilean)
Raoul Vaneigem
Roger Viklund
George Albert Wells
(from 2009)George Albert Wells
(1971-2009)

(from 2009)

Charles O. Wilson
(Alexander Jannaeus)
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, Hermann

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

Physician and biomedical researcher, documentary film maker, author of “The Jesus Mystery” and “Jesus and the ‘Egyptian Prophet’“. 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

Hoffmann, R. Joseph

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.

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.

John Loftus

Not a mythicist but open to the question: see Is the Christ Myth a Threat to the Christian Faith? (If not, what is?), The Christian Reaction to Jesus Mythicism, and his hosting a review of Raphael Lataster’s book: Raphael Lataster’s New Book on Jesus Mythicism

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.

Nothnagle, Peter

Raised nominally Catholic (“to please my grandparents”) but parents were scarcely religious and I considers himself an atheist at least from the age of 12. Peter came to organized atheism via the scientific scepticism movement, and his work in classical music brings into into contact with churches of all kinds.

“I was much impressed with Peter’s success at distilling all the scholarship around the historical “Jesus” (he’s read all the relevant stuff) as well as his ability to present it in a reader (and listener) friendly manner.” — Jerry Coyne

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.

Aerospace engineer and humanist-rationalist writer. Author of “The Fable of the Christ” in Free Inquiry and No Meek Messiah.

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. Most recent, Deciphering the Gospels, presenting a case for the Gospel of Mark being written as a fictional political allegory in reaction to the First Jewish–Roman War of 70 CE, using Paul as a basis for his Jesus character. 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.

Tarico, Valerie

Psychologist and author. Articles addressing the Christ Myth theory: Savior? Shaman? Myth? Ink Blot?, 5 reasons to suspect that Jesus never existed, What if Jesus Never Existed?

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

and

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.

 

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Neil Godfrey

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113 thoughts on “WHO’s WHO: Mythicists, Mythicist Agnostics & Historicists Who Call for Scholarly Debate (Updated 6th August 2020)”

  1. 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.

    1. 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.

    1. 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.

        1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

      1. 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?

  4. Neil,

    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

    1. Smith, David Oliver (2011). Matthew, Mark, Luke, and Paul: The Influence of the Epistles on the Synoptic Gospels. Wipf and Stock Publishers. p. 19. ISBN 978-1-61097-319-9.

      In my opinion Doherty has successfully shown that it is more likely that Paul considered Christ to be a heavenly spiritual being and not a flesh and blood human that walked on earth. The evidence Doherty brings to bear on the issue of Jesus’ historicity from Paul to the gospels to the second century Christian Apologists to the writings from secular sources all demonstrates that an earthly man, Jesus of Nazareth, is the invention of the church fathers of the third and fourth centuries.

  5. 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.

    cordially,

    Giuseppe

  6. 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

    1. 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.

  7. 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.

    1. 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.

  8. 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.”

    1. 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?

  9. 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.

    http://www.stellarhousepublishing.com

    http://www.truthbeknown.com

    http://freethoughtnation.com

    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
    http://www.amazon.com/Moses-Exist-Myth-Israelite-Lawgiver/dp/0979963184/

    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
    http://www.freethoughtnation.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=4640

    What are you guys so afraid of?

    1. 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.

      1. 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.

        1. 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.

          1. 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.

            1. 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.)

              1. 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.

              2. 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:

                http://www.freethoughtnation.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=1959

                “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.

                http://www.freethoughtnation.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=19&t=4316

              3. 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.

            2. 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.

              1. 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?

                http://www.freethoughtnation.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=19&t=4316

                http://www.freethoughtnation.com/forums/viewtopic.php?p=4771#p4771

                Nuskeptix “Christ Myth Theory” Video Chat
                http://www.freethoughtnation.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=4640

              2. 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

                http://www.amazon.com/review/RZO3UWCQT79XT/ref=cm_cr_pr_perm?ie=UTF8&ASIN=0979963117

                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.

              3. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.”

    1. 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.)

  12. 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.

    Thanks,
    Giuseppe

    1. 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.

  13. 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.

    1. 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.

  14. 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…

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

    1. 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.

    1. 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.

  17. 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

    Regards

    Dominick.

      1. 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
        Thanks

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

      1. 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).

        1. 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.

        2. 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…

          Anyway.

          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.

    1. 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.)

  20. 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.

  21. 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
    thanks

  22. 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).

    Thanks,
    Giuseppe

  23. 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:
    http://www.amazon.com/review/R37U9PHOFFQLBF/ref=cm_cr_dp_title?ie=UTF8&ASIN=190753458X&channel=detail-glance&nodeID=283155&store=books

  24. 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?

  25. 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

  26. 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.

  27. 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
    http://carrington-arts.com/cliff/FlavianT.htm
    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.

    http://carrington-arts.com/cliff/FlavBibliog.htm
    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]

    1. 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.

    2. 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.

      Joe

  28. 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?

  29. 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.)

    1. 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”??????

  30. 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.

  31. Surveys of early 20th century scholars:

    • Robertson, J. M. (1932). “VIII. The Making of Christianity”. Courses of study (3 ed.). London: Watts & Co. pp. 77ff.

    • Dujardin, É. (1938). “L’évolution des théories mythiques sur l’origine du christianisme: à propos d’un livre récent”. Revue De L’histoire Des Religions, 117, 90-104.

    • Price, R. M. (2011). “The ‘Pre-Christian Jesus’ Revisited”. The Christ-Myth Theory and Its Problems. American Atheist Press. ISBN 978-1-5788-4017-5. 387ff.

    1. Trocmé, Étienne (July 1978). “Exégèse Scientifique et idéologie: de l’école de Tubingue aux Historiens Français des origines chrétiennes”. New Testament Studies (in French). 24 (04): 447–462. doi:10.1017/S0028688500014478.

      1. As mentioned at the start of the post I have not attempted to list all modern mythicists or mythicist tolerators, but only those alive/active in the 21st century. Just too big a task to take it any further.

  32. Nanine Charbonnel (2017) [now formatted]. “Les Évangiles comme midrash”. “n°172 – Les promesses du commencement”. APPROCHES (in French).

    As a specialist in hermeneutics, Dr Charbonnel published various books among which are:

    • Philosophie de Rousseau (Rousseau’s philosophy), 3 vols., Aréopage, 2006; • Comme un seul homme. Corps politique et Corps mystique (Together as one. Body Politic and Mystical Body), Aréopage, 2010; • Critique des métaphysiques du propre. La ressemblance et le Verbe (Critique of the literal sense in metaphysics. Similitude and Logos), Hildesheim / Zürich / New York: Olms Verlag, 2014, and

    • Jésus-Christ, sublime figure de papier (Jesus Christ as a sublime paper persona), Berg International, 2017.

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    Nanine Charbonnel (2017) [now formatted]. “Les Évangiles comme midrash”. “n°172 – Les promesses du commencement”. APPROCHES (in French).

    As a specialist in hermeneutics, Dr Charbonnel published various books among which are:
    • Philosophie de Rousseau (Rousseau’s philosophy), 3 vols., Aréopage, 2006;
    • Comme un seul homme. Corps politique et Corps mystique (Together as one. Body Politic and Mystical Body), Aréopage, 2010;
    • Critique des métaphysiques du propre. La ressemblance et le Verbe (Critique of the literal sense in metaphysics. Similitude and Logos), Hildesheim / Zürich / New York: Olms Verlag, 2014,
    and
    • Jésus-Christ, sublime figure de papier (Jesus Christ as a sublime paper persona), Berg International, 2017.

  33. “Contre-histoire de la philosophie”. Wikipédia (in French). [NOW TRANSLATED by Google Translate]

    The Counter-History of Philosophy is a work by Michel Onfray which takes the form of a series of books edited by Grasset publishing , putting together a series of lectures given at the “Université populaire de Caen” from 2002 to 2015, then on the France Culture channel and finally in the form of boxes each containing 11 to 13 audio compact discs, edited by Frémeaux & Associés.
    […]
    The Resistance to Christianity [25 courses, from November 4, 2003 to May 11, 2004]
    ◦ Coffret 3 : La Résistance au christianisme — L’invention de Jésus (4 novembre 2003)

    Onfray, Michel. “CONTRE-HISTOIRE DE LA PHILOSOPHIE VOL. 3 – L’INVENTION DE JESUS”. fremeaux.com. [CD:1, TRACK:2 – Jesus a conceptual person]

    “Michel Onfray prisonnier de sa mythologie ?”. La Croix (in French). 26 July 2018. [NOW TRANSLATED by Google Translate]

    [Per Michel Onfray’s summer lectures] Repeating the theses of his latest book “Decadence”, Michel Onfray explains that Jesus did not exist. For Jean-Marie Salamito, historian of ancient Christianity, the lecturer proceeds in a strange way: he comments on purely mythological texts and neglects historically useful documents.

    Cf. Onfray, Michel (2017). Décadence (in French). Flammarion. ISBN 9782081399204.

  34. An interesting list: thanks for assembling it. I have read, and rebutted, many of the authors on it, and debated quite a few in person or on-line as well.

    You don’t seem to have found any genuine heavy-weight scholar in a relevant field who ascribes to mythicism. In some ways, that’s disappointing to me as a Christian scholar: John Gresham Machen predicted many years ago that mythicism would increase out of sheer cognitive dissonance among NT scholars who could not find a plausible way to extract a harmlessly rationalist and liberal Jesus from gospels that present him as both historical and divine. I would kind of like him to be proven correct.

    If you do come across any such heavy-weight, please do add him or her to your list. Someone asked me about mythicists just now, and this was the best answer I could find.

    1. I read your interview with Sean McDowell and also read your book Jesus is no myth and am quite sure you have absolute faith that by the power and wisdom of God you have won every debate with a mythicist! 🙂 No wonder you are now looking for a “real Goliath” to slay.

      Scholar in a “relevant field”? I presume you mean one in biblical studies who employs the sort of “criteriology” that no genuine scholar or ancient history would ever do. For me, the “most relevant field” would be ancient history, and there have been few greater heavyweights in that field than Moses I. Finley. I follow the same methods he did, and have the same criticisms of “historical Jesus scholarship” he had. I am not particularly interested in arguing “against/for the historicity of Jesus” because there is simply no prima facie evidence that would justify either pursuit as far as I can see. But I do prefer to examine the nature and origins of our earliest Christian writings. Whether there was a historical Jesus behind any of them is a question that I don’t believe our evidence will ever allow us to answer in a way that is going to finally settle the question for all, but we can certainly see how our earliest Christian sources arose almost entirely out of a creative engagement with earlier Jewish writings. I may discuss aspects of your book here some time.

    2. MARSHALL: “We should set our sights on positively proving the Christian Gospel.” [“Is Jesus Merely a Myth? Interview with Author David Marshall”. Josh.org. 21 January 2018.]

      IMO Raphael Lataster would the best debate opponent on this issue. Richard Carrier does not appeal to gMark, gMat., gLuke, gJohn per his argument for the ahistoricity of Jesus.

  35. Another addition.

    • Cain, Benjamin (21 June 2020). “Clarifying and Debating the Christ Myth Theory”. Medium.

    I’ll just close by reemphasizing that I’m not saying anyone can prove Jesus didn’t exist. I’m saying the available evidence is too ambiguous or otherwise problematic to establish any particular model of an historical Jesus beyond reasonable doubt. If all such models not just can but must be doubted, there’s no way of knowing, from our standpoint now with the evidence we have, whether anything like the familiar Jesus actually lived. Given that extreme uncertainty, a mythicist scenario becomes at least as plausible and as likely as any of the historicist ones.

  36. Justin Meggitt should not be on this list. His 2017 article “Was the Historical Jesus an Anarchist?” actively argues that mythicism is not convincing, and his 2019 article “More Ingenious Than Learned” finds mythicism epistemologically unwarranted (especially when comparing Jesus to other low class figures, with the comment we mine as well say no lower class individuals ever existed, by mythicist standards).

    Kurt Noll also confirmed to me personally in email that he thought Jesus most likely existed and that there are elements historical about him in Paul. Philip Davies also stated outright he was more in favor of Jesus’ existence.

    I think that you may want to include a different color scheme if you are going to include these figures, that clearly denotes them as historicists.

    You are also missing Emanuel Pfoh and Norman Simms. Also surprised Tom Dykstra is not on here.

    Chris Hansen published a list of academic mythicists who are in relevant fields, and also responses to them: https://www.academia.edu/43005350/LIST_OF_QUALIFIED_ACADEMIC_MYTHICISTS_AND_AGNOSTICS_SINCE_1970

    1. Thank you for the updates. And yes, I am aware of Justin Meggitt’s past comment about mythicism, in particular the 2017 chapter that you mention. I had raised this with someone on Facebook; and further, I advised that I would do a post on his claims, repeated in his most recent article, relating to historical methodology and the existence of ancient persons. On reflection, I wonder if I have come to blur the difference between agnostics and those who are at least willing to discuss the question in a professional manner.

      But do note that I said those in the list include names who are either agnostic “or open-minded” towards the mythicist theory. One can disagree with a theory yet still be professionally open-minded towards it.

      Yes, Davies did say he was “more in favour” of historicity, but he definitely said we should be open to the non-existence hypothesis as a possibility. I myself say that I am “more in favour” of mythicism but at the same time I do not like to be labelled a mythicist. I am open to the possibility of Jesus being historical. Davies was arguing for scholarly scepticism — which is the responsible position to hold.

      Perhaps “agnostic” is too strong a term for what I think needs to be conveyed. It implies a totally neutral position. One can think it “more likely” Jesus existed than not and still be fundamentally sceptical to the question, open to other arguments. That is the important point I want to note and stated was a criterion for the list.

      The function of the table has subtly changed since I started it in response to the charge that mythicists were mostly embittered ex-fundamentalists. A person can clearly post arguments against a theory and still be academically open to it. My opening statement does not include that position and something needs to change, as you point out.

      1. Yeah I dislike using Agnostic because epistemologically it would be a position entirely separate from that of a historicist or a mythicist. Logically we can demonstrate this (P = proposition; B = Jesus most likely existed; ~ = not)

        Historicist: PB (propose Jesus most likely existed)
        Agnostic: ~P~B ^ ~BP (does not propose Jesus did or did not exist, assigns no truth value)
        Mythicist: ~P~B (propose Jesus most likely did not exist)

        To conflate a historicist who is “open” to an agnostic (who assign no truth value) would be a logical category error and therefore fallacious.

        This is a major problem in this debate, because the terminology is exceedingly abused on both sides, such as when Van Voorst tried to place W. C. van Manen and A. D. Loman in the mythicist camps (despite the fact that Loman switched to historicity and van Manen never doubted it), or when Ehrman put Volney in the mythicist camp (despite Volney arguing explicitly in favor of a historical figure).

        We need to keep our terminology more concrete and avoid conflation, because it gets really problematic and confusing otherwise, and leads to scholars being misrepresented (like Lataster in his latest book claiming that Noll and Davies can be considered agnostic, which is in every way just a dishonest attempt to artificially inflate the number of skeptics).

    2. Per a 2019 request to Dr. Justin Meggitt, “Please consider posting a comment on your position (historicity; agnosticism; mythicism)…”

      • Response by Meggitt:

      …my position is that the historical Jesus did exist, so historicity (although minimal – in the sense that there is little that can be said about his life with reasonable confidence). My position is stated at the end of:

      “Popular Mythology in the Early Empire and the Multiplicity of Jesus Traditions.” Sources of the Jesus Tradition: An Inquiry. Ed. R. Joseph Hoffmann. Buffalo: Prometheus, 2010, pp. 55-80, 269-275.

  37. I am jumping ahead of my post on Meggitt’s published arguments re the Christ Myth Debate but want to draw attention to the article I linked with Meggitt’s name in the above table. Readers should read whatever links are posted against names to understand why they are included. Meggitt’s conclusion to the linked article (it is open source):

    The question of the historicity of Jesus is unlikely to go away in the near future, however much some scholars of the New Testament may wish otherwise, and nor should it. The question does not belong to the past and nor is it irrational to raise it. It should not be dismissed with problematic appeals to expertise and authority and nor should it be viewed as unwelcome, as a ‘lurking monster present wherever critical studies are recognized and proceed’. Just as Schweitzer took it seriously in the early twentieth century, so should those working on the historical Jesus today. The limited number of specialists who have engaged in the debate in recent years should be thanked for what has often been a somewhat thankless and fraught undertaking, though clearly, as with any question in the study of the New Testament and the origins of Christianity, there is considerably more to do. Indeed, if we decide, pace Voltaire, that at least some contemporary advocates of the non-historicity of Jesus are indeed, ‘more ingenious than learned’, taking this question seriously may, at the very least, prove beneficial in raising the standard of debate and the wider understanding — indeed, even self-understanding — of what New Testament scholars do and how they do it.

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