Ehrman and Nazareth archeology—2

In a prior post I discussed Bart Ehrman’s comments on Nazareth archeology made during the Price-Ehrman debate. Here I rebut a number of Ehrman’s errors regarding Nazareth expressed recently on his semi-private weblog. General considerations I’ve often wondered why Bart Ehrman expresses any opinion at all on the archeology of Nazareth. After almost a decade (my first book came out in 2008) he obviously has not taken the time to acquaint himself with my work or with the subject. And yet he expresses himself on both counts with ill-founded confidence. His training was “in the study of the Greek manuscript tradition of the New Testament” under Bruce Metzger, among others. There is nothing in Ehrman’s background, training, or personal study … Continue reading

New Nazareth video (October 2016)

This data-rich video presents a concise review of the Nazareth (non-)evidence for a town in the time of “Jesus.” The power-point format with 18 slides (beginning at minute 10) includes the bogus 2009 claim of a “house from the time of Jesus” (even with an astonishing invented wall); the forgery of the Caesarea Inscription mentioning Nazareth (universally considered authentic and often dated to the first century CE); the shockingly early dating of scores of tombs, pottery shards, and oil lamps; water worn (and completely unreadable) coins from Mary’s Well groundlessly attributed to Hellenistic times; and other remarkable material from both my Nazareth volumes. A must see, particularly for those who have not yet read my books. (1 hour.)—R.S.

Forthcoming anthology: “Christianity in the Light of Science”

This is to alert readers to the upcoming anthology, “Christianity in the Light of Science: Critically Examining the World’s Largest Religion” (Prometheus Books, Fall 2016), edited by John W. Loftus. One of the chapters is by yours truly. About a year ago John emailed me the following all-inclusive message: “I’m looking for authors to write chapters on cosmology, evolution, how evolution impacts Christianity, the scientific method, the Bethlehem star, biblical archeology, the existence of Nazareth at the time Jesus, the genetics of the virgin birth, biblical prophesy, the shroud of Turin, miracles and science, the existence of God and the task of science, the origins of the religious impulse…” My contributory chapter is now complete and delivered: “Pious Fraud at … Continue reading

The book NazarethGate

Please click here to order. This explosive sequel to The Myth of Nazareth documents astonishing scandals on the ground and a desperate race to create evidence for the nonexistent hometown of Jesus. With a bonus final chapter addressing the question: Was any prophet at the source of Christianity?   In softcover and Kindle editions from American Atheist Press by René Salm with a Foreword by Frank R. Zindler.   From the back cover:

Nazareth archaeology causes breakdown in peer review system – Pt. 2

My preceding post reviewed the background involved in submitting an article to the prestigious British journal, the Palestine Exploration Quarterly (PEQ). That article deals with Ken Dark’s adventurous conclusions regarding the Sisters of Nazareth Convent site, and with his several “interim” publications relative to the site. The Sisters of Nazareth Convent is about one hundred meters from the Church of the Annunciation. It has long been known that kokh-type tombs are on the premises (one with a surviving rolling stone), as well as above-ground structural remains. Dark proposes a novel and complex theory which my article shows to be totally indefensible. He argues that an habitation was constructed on the site, that it was abandoned, and that the site was … Continue reading

Nazareth archaeology causes breakdown in peer review system – Pt. 1

The peer review system is broken in Biblical Studies. Three scholars on both sides of the Atlantic have recently been unable to elicit a reasoned (not to mention appropriate or fair) evaluation of the Nazareth archaeological evidence from one of the most prestigious British journals in the field of Biblical Studies, the Palestine Exploration Quarterly. The scholars in question are Philip Davies, noted “minimalist” at the University of Sheffield; Frank Zindler, biblical researcher and past president of American Atheists; and yours truly, René Salm, manager of this website and author of The Myth of Nazareth: The Invented Town of Jesus. Readers of my nazarethmyth website will know that for some years I have contested Ken Dark’s work at Nazareth. Dark … Continue reading

Latest News from Aleteia

I am now approaching the midpoint of writing my forthcoming book, NazarethGate (Fall, 2015). Chapter Ten deals with the Nazareth house allegedly “from the time of Jesus” which was touted to global media back in December 2009—just a few days before Christmas. A couple of years ago I dedicated a Scandal Sheet to this bogus claim on my Nazarethmyth website. There, I pointed out that the claims in the popular press do not tally with the Israel Antiquity Authority’s own very terse report which makes no mention of first-century remains, much less of evidence from the turn of the era. But the media has a momentum of its own—so much so that the desires of Christians to authenticate their precious … Continue reading

Pt. 8: The chronology of a crime (final)

Reconstruction of Vardaman’s activity during the 1962 Caesarea excavation season [This is a July 2014 update of the original post which was uploaded in Sept. 2013. Included here is new information on Vardaman’s field notes published in BASOR 371 (May 2014) in an article authored by O. Storvick and M. Govaars. Older entries from Vardaman’s notebook can be found at Govaars 2009:185-86. Suspicious facts are in red.]         On July 15, 1962, the excavation season began in Area A of Caesarea—an area north of the Crusader walls and near the seashore. The director of the excavation was Michael Avi-Yonah, with the support of Avraham Negev. Assisting were E. Jerry Vardaman from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (SBTS, Louisville, Kentucky), as well … Continue reading

Pt. 7: The perfect storm

The unscrupulous archaeologist Over the last several months, my understanding has grown regarding the context of the “Caesarea inscription,” and also regarding Professor Vardaman’s central role in its genesis. As a Baptist minister notably employed by several conservative southern institutions, the late Dr. Vardaman’s values aligned strongly with the evangelical strain of Christianity, including belief in the inerrancy of scripture and in the personal call to act in defense and advancement of the true Christian faith. Jerry Vardaman was an evangelical activist. Unfortunately, he was also unprincipled, as we learned here and here. More correctly, he was a ‘super-committed’ Christian who apparently thought nothing of breaking man’s law for the higher law of Jesus Christ. From the microletters to the … Continue reading

Pt. 6: Biblical archaeologist “Jerry” Vardaman – an unprincipled lawbreaker

It seems that every week brings a new development in this deepening intercontinental collaboration researching the “Caesarea inscription”—the ancient Hebrew inscription (which is not ancient at all) mentioning Nazareth which scholars routinely consider “proof” that the hometown of Jesus existed in Roman times. This series of posts on Mythicist Papers is now in its third month (the first post to this website regarding this inscription was back on June 10). Mr. Enrico Tuccinardi in Italy, an anonymous colleague in Israel, and myself in the U.S. have assiduously followed up numerous leads with the result that an entirely unsuspected background has come to light regarding the “Caesarea inscription” (in quotes because readers of this blog now know that the inscription never … Continue reading