Essenism and Buddhism–Pt. 1

I am indebted to Mr. Klaus Schilling for bringing to my attention a 1980 article by the French scholar, A. Dupont-Sommer, on the influence of Buddhism on Essenism. This article is included here as part of the ongoing discussion—promoted by the late Dr. H. Detering and by myself—concerning Buddhist influence on early Christianity. While that discussion has taken place for over a century in the perennial subfield known as “comparative religion” (see, e.g., Roy C. Amore), it has yet to be taken seriously in the more entrenched domains of Christian scholarship on the one hand, and Buddhist scholarship on the other. Here, however, we begin to tread old and forgotten pathways that ultimately link Christianity up with Buddhism. Readers familiar … Continue reading

The Hermann Detering Legacy/6—Curriculum Vitae 2017–18

The final years Detering and music   No account of Dr. Detering’s legacy is complete without mentioning his deep interest in the music of J. S. Bach. Detering considered Bach “the fifth evangelist”–and this was not simply hyperbole. Being a musician myself (who also esteems Bach most highly), Hermann’s devotion to Bach provided another link between him and myself–in addition to our work in early Christian studies and Jesus mythicism. These three links enabled the two of us forge and maintain a working relationship and long-distance friendship, one strong enough to reach across the Atlantic despite the fact that we never actually met. Until I undertook this recent review of Dr. Detering’s legacy, however, I had no idea of the … Continue reading

The ancient battle over ‘fake news’: the heroes Judas and Thomas become villains

In this post I present some very brief reflections on the Gospel of Thomas. Thomas the Twin. Thomas was the quintessential messenger of truth in early Christian gnosticism. The name appears twice in the Gospel of Thomas, once in the title at the end of the work, and once in Saying 13, where Thomas outshines both Peter and Matthew: Jesus says to his disciples: “Compare me, and tell me whom I am like.” Simon Peter says to him, “You are like a just angel!” Matthew says to him, “You are like a wise man and a philosopher!” Thomas says to him, “Master, my tongue cannot find words to say whom you are like.” Jesus says, “I am no longer your … Continue reading

The Hermann Detering Legacy/5—Curriculum Vitae 2015–16

Detering: Augustine’s Confessions are a medieval forgery! 2015. Publication of Detering’s book, O du lieber Augustin—Falsche Bekenntnisse? The title is a double pun in German. “O du lieber Augustin” [“O you dear Augustine”] is an iconic children’s tune dating from the late Middle Ages. It has nothing to do with St. Augustine but originated when the plague ravaged Vienna (see here). The second part of the book’s title can be translated “False Confessions?” This is a pun on Augustine’s famous tome, which is appropriate for in his book Detering argues that Augustine never wrote the Confessions–it is a medieval forgery by the hand of Anselm of Canterbury. From the back cover: Augustine (354-430) was arguably the most important Church Father … Continue reading

The Hermann Detering Legacy/4—Curriculum Vitae 2010–14

2011. Publication of Detering’s book FALSE WITNESSES (Falsche Zeugen: Ausserchristliche Jesuszeugnisse auf dem Prüfstand; 243 pp., Alibri). In this important book, HD argues in detail that the earliest (first century) mentions of Jesus in the literature (by Josephus, Suetonius, Tacitus, etc) are later Catholic interpolations. Comment: The bogus earliest textual ‘witnesses’ to Jesus of Nazareth are one of the pillars of the Jesus mythicist argument. Due to its significance in any primary database regarding the historicity of Jesus of Nazareth, this terrain has been covered often and exhaustively (also by R. M. Price, F. Zindler, and R. Carrier). However, Detering’s German book probably represents the fullest and most convincing treatment of the issue to date.      Detering defends his book’s conclusions … Continue reading

The Hermann Detering Legacy/3—Curriculum Vitae 2005–2010

2005-06. “Die Gegner des Paulus—Judaistenthese 2. Jahrhundert” (“The Opponents of Paul—Judaists 2nd Century Thesis). This is a significant book-length treatment (270 pp → German PDF). Detering writes: “The thesis that I here expound is new. I attempt to show that the author of the Pauline epistles addresses Judaizers of the second century rather than those of the first century. The inauthenticity of the Pauline epistles necessarily follows” (p.1). In turn, Detering’s arguments lead to the overall conclusion that the New Testament derives not from the first century, but from the second. (HD’s later comment from his website here.) 2006. Article on the biologist Ernst Haeckel and the freethinking pastor and Jesus mythicist Albert Kalthoff, in A. Lenz (ed.), DARWIN, HAECKEL, UND … Continue reading

The Hermann Detering Legacy/2—Curriculum Vitae to 2005

This is the first of several posts that will review Dr. Detering’s life and scholarship according to the available material on- and offline. It is carried out from afar and in an admittedly impromptu manner. I invite readers to add data, links, or corrections—simply send me an email with the information and I will consider adding it to the CV. The Wikipedia article (German here) is a good place to begin, and Detering’s own brief VITA in German is on his website here. These posts are deceptively short. However, they are dense with links that offer the interested reader avenues to explore a good deal of material. If possible, I would like to add a personal impression of Dr. Detering’s … Continue reading

The Hermann Detering Legacy—1

As of this writing, Dr. Detering’s German website is online here. It includes a page that Detering thoughtfully provided for English readers. We shall begin there. Detering’s ‘English page’ contains twenty-two entries. However, only seven were authored by Detering himself. Those are the ones that I will include in this and subsequent posts, to be followed by other writings by Detering available in English. Detering’s inclusion on his website of writings by other authors reveals their importance in his eyes. Those ancillary writings include books by Edwin Johnson (Antiqua Mater), P.-L. Couchoud, and G. Bolland, as well as much material supplied by Klaus Schilling. Perhaps some of this interesting ancillary material will also be uploaded to this website in due … Continue reading

The Hermann Detering Legacy—Introduction

I have decided to devote part of this website to a repository of Dr. Detering’s work, particularly his articles that have been translated into English. Not all of that material is to be found on his German website, and the success and extent of this undertaking will depend in some measure on the help of readers who are able to furnish material or clues to other of his writings. Incidentally, this project will not be a speedy accomplishment but, rather, the result of work carried out ‘as time permits.’ Dr. Detering was arguably the world’s foremost ‘Jesus mythicist,’ one who holds that Jesus of Nazareth is pure fiction, a figure created by the early Church—a ‘myth.’ Detering came to this … Continue reading

In memoriam: Dr. Hermann Detering—Pt. 2

Dr. Detering’s views rendered him a pariah as regards the New Testament guild. This applies mostly, of course, to Europe, where he never held an academic position nor published in any significant academic press. Detering reached out to contacts across the Atlantic beginning about the turn of the millennium. He was a valued and repeat contributor to Dr. Robert Price’s ‘out of the mainstream’ Journal of Higher Criticism. Other scholars, including myself, subsequently translated, promoted, and published his work this side of the Atlantic. The last email I received from Hermann (my translation, dated September 26, 2018) reads as follows: Dear René, I have been yet again in hospital. Unfortunately, the prognosis is not very good. Evidently, the immunotherapy had … Continue reading