Today I'm gonna respond to this article.
My lengthy posting in which I explained why the “mythical Jesus” claim has no traction among scholars (here) drew (predictably) an attempt to refute it from the “Vridar” blogsite.I have discussed a bit before why this sort of analysis fails, because it only exists as a second-hand report in every case, and every case draws from the same works that went on to become the bible. There's no extra-biblical accounts of Jesus as we would expect.
If I wanted to find information on other people alive at the time, I can look in multiple places for it. I don't have to confine myself to just one book to justify my reasoning.
For example, if I wanted to find information on Pontius Pilate, I can look at the Pilate Stone. I can find that he was mentioned by Tacitus and Philo, and I can even find mention of him in other apocryphal works not associated with the bible.
We don't have anything like this for Jesus. The only mentions of him we have are in copies of stories alleging to be from earlier. Considering all of these stories claim he was an incredibly well-known fellow with a trial that had every single person in the crowd calling for his death, we would expect someone other than the authors of the gospels to have written about him at some point doing the things attributed to him.
I don’t think it succeeds, but readers will have to judge for themselves.I certainly did. Again, there may well have been someone he was based on, who had similar philosophies and what not. If I told you that Paul Bunyan was a real person just because he's probably based on Fabian Fournier, would you accept that as accurate? No, I don't think so.
The fellow in the gospels named Jesus is not the same guy as he's based on. There may indeed have been some fellow he was based on, but that's where the connection ends.
I’ll content myself with underscoring a few things that remain established from my posting.Well, they would remain established, if you had other historical data to represent it. Currently your assertion is just that the Jesus of the gospels is based on someone who lived then, not that it's actually their life story.
That's like if I said that Fabian Fournier was literally Paul Bunyan and therefore everything attributed to Paul Bunyan actually happened in the real world.
I focused on three claims that Richard Carrier posits as corroborating his hypothesis that “Jesus” was originally a “celestial being” or “archangel,” not a historical figure, and that this archangel got transformed into a fictional human figure across several decades of the first century CE.I guess we can agree on that, I don't believe some guy ascended into heaven or and came back to earth or whatever.
I showed that the three claims are all false, which means that his hypothesis has no corroboration.Again, I agree with you, but that's because Paul's entire narrative is that Jesus appeared to him after he died in a blaze of light. I don't think this happened at all. I don't think some ancient dude even appeared to him. I think he hallucinated or lied or something, to give his story embellishment, so that he could explain his change of heart or whatever.
- There is no evidence of “a Jewish archangel Jesus”. All known figures bearing the name are portrayed as human and historical figures. Furthermore, contra Carrier, Paul never treats Jesus as an archangel, but instead emphasizes his mortal death and resurrection, and mentions his birth, Davidic descent, and Jewishness, cites teachings of Jesus, and refers to his personal acquaintance with Jesus’ siblings.
Harry Potter is probably based on someone, but I bet you he never appeared to J K Rowling and used magic in real life for her. Just because he's based on someone doesn't he was real.
Same with Paul. Believing he's not some celestial being, but also believing he came back from the dead in a blaze of light and appealed to some old guy to change his ways also is equally unbelievable.
If you don't believe that part of Paul's story, what makes you believe the rest of it?
Sorry about the numbering, Blogger isn't preserving it for some reason. I do agree though, a lot of myth at the time involved gods taking human form, and many stories were made up about those gods. Zeus allegedly became a swan once. It's almost like people can make stuff up and share stories and things.
- There is no example among “all the savior cults” of the Roman period of a deity being transformed into a mortal being of a given time and place (such as he asserts happened in the case of Jesus). Carrier claims a pattern, but there is none.
So which one is it? You claim the Gospel writers and Paul were both talking about the same guy, even though you admit here they clearly seem to be talking about two different people.
- From earliest extant Christian texts (Paul) to the NT Gospels, “Jesus” is a genuine human figure. To be sure, Paul and other early Jesus-followers believed also that Jesus had been raised from death and exalted to heavenly glory. They also then ascribed to him a back-story or “pre-existence” (e.g., drawing on Jewish apocalyptic and Wisdom traditions). But for Paul “Jesus” wasn’t simply a “celestial being”. And for the Gospel writers, he wasn’t simply a bloke.
Again, I'm not saying there wasn't some guy it's based on. Kinda like Uncle Sam, lots of people believed for a long time, and perhaps still do, that he was based on a real person. We are fairly certain he wasn't, even though lots of people alive at the time wrote to the contrary.
My posting was intended simply to illustrate, especially for “general” readers outside the relevant fields, why the “mythical Jesus” view is regarded as bizarre among scholars in the relevant fields, scholars of all persuasions on religious matters, and over some 250 years of critical study.
If it's this difficult to determine the origins of some myth that we literally have good documentation for in modern times, what makes you think people two thousand years ago acted much different?
It is a sad and desperate move for “Vridar” to dismiss this fact by impugning this huge body of scholarship as either gullible or prejudiced, when the only “crime” is a refusal to endorse the “mythicist” notion.I think the main takeaway is that, at least in my case, I have some agreement. I think Jesus was a mythical figure because being based on someone doesn't make a character real. Jesus is a character just like any other.
Just like when Joseph Smith claims the angel Moroni visited him, it doesn't mean he did. We have exactly the same kind of story for Moroni visiting Joseph Smith as we have for Jesus visiting Paul.
I can use your argument to explain that Moroni is real also, since Joseph Smith claims it, therefore it must be true. People wrote about Joseph Smith in his own lifetime, after all. There were at least 15 other people we can confirm who also have accounts of interacting directly with and observing Moroni.
According to you, the simple fact that some texts exist confirming his existence means that he was, in fact, real. In fact, this means we actually have more 'evidence' for the existence of Moroni than we do for Jesus, and it's exactly the same kind of evidence.
Are you going to tell me that Moroni was based on someone, and completely dismiss the mythicist notion, I wonder?
The scholarship that I point to has been shaped by the critical impulses from the Renaissance and “Enlightenment,” all texts, whether biblical or Christian or whatever, subjected to the same critical tests and procedures. In what other subject would a solid body of scholarly judgement be treated to such foolish disdain?Steady state universe, flat earth, geocentrism, anti-vaccination, homeopathy, the historicity of prometheus actually getting fire from the gods, and so on.
So, ignoring the various red-herrings and distortions of the “mythicist” advocates, the claims proffered as “corroborating” their view have been shown to be erroneous.Not really, though.
And this is why the view has no traction among scholars.Scholars also claim he was a mythical figure because he is only loosely based on someone who probably lived. Most people, yourself included, seem to accept that whoever Jesus is based on didn't do miraculous things, or anything even out of the ordinary. The fellow in the works of literature appear to be someone completely different to the person he's based upon. The fellow he's based upon doesn't appear to have done most of the things attributed to him in the gospels, like cursing a fig tree, or turning water into wine, or raising himself and others from the dead, or healing blindness and disease, or being tranfigured, or feeding the multitude, or walking on water, or causing the oceans to still, or so on.
I mean, people did believe that famous people, gods in human form, demigods, and others could perform these actions, though. We do have accounts of that also, like people seeing Pythagoras calming the seas, for example. That doesn't mean he did it, though. It just means people wrote about him doing it.
There’s no conspiracy. It’s not because scholars are gullible or lazy. The view just doesn’t stand up to critical scrutiny.Yeah, that's why there's no mythicists at all in the academic community...