The prophet Yeshu—Pt. 3: A brief historical overview c. 140–100 BCE

Christians as well as researchers into the origins of Christianity are very familiar with the historical dynamics and events in Palestine around the turn of the era—the Herodian dynasty, the Roman occupation, events leading up to the First Jewish War… The canonical gospels and later Church literature supplement (generally with unreliable or even invented material) the works of Josephus which, unfortunately, scholars are finding to be not always accurate. Those of you who are following my hypothesis regarding Yeshu ha-Notsri (and I thank you for that interest) must, however, completely redirect your focus to a period about one century earlier. This post is not going to be a history lesson—I’m just going to furnish some basic historical facts available anywhere, … 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

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

In memoriam: Dr. Hermann Detering—Pt. 1

With great sadness I learned yesterday of the passing of Dr. Hermann Detering, an event that took place already over three months ago. In translation from the Italian, the post from Pier Tulip reached my FaceBook timeline as follows: For those who may be interested: Dr. Hermann Detering, one of the great scholars of the New Testament, died on October 18, 2018. I only learned of it today. His work is only readable in German and English.Let me say that I’ve had several exchanges of ideas with him—one of the very few who, like me, proposes the Buddhist origin of Christianity.For those who read English, there is a long commentary written by René Salm on his page.Here is the link to … Continue reading

Folly 3: Bakunin on “God”

[In the early 1970s Madalyn Murray O’Hair, the late founder of American Atheists, instituted a series of talks on the American Atheist Radio Series. One of the talks dealt with the anarchist Bakunin and became a chapter in O’Hair’s subsequent compilation book, Atheist Heroes and Heroines. The text is reprinted here by permission.—R.S.] Good evening,      This is Madalyn O’Hair, American Atheist, back to talk with you again.      I have been trying for some time to get some of the works of the anarchists, for this was a group of persons absolutely dedicated to Atheism.      In America we have the unusual phenomenon of the largest anarchist group being Roman Catholic. Headed by Dorothy Day and putting out a small newspaper, this … Continue reading

Jesus mythicism on the upswing…

NOTE: Only days after this post’s appearance, Father Thomas Brodie (see below) has been removed from his position at the Dominican Biblical Institute in Limerick which he helped set up, according to The Irish Sun (Jan 21, 2013). The influential Irish scholar has also been “banned from any lecturing, teaching or writing while a probe is under way.” The newspaper article subheading reads: “A TOP priest has been forced to quit a Bible-teaching job after writing a book claiming Jesus did not exist.” In his book Beyond the Quest for the Historical Jesus: Memoir of a Discovery (Oct. 2012), Fr. Brodie makes public the fact that he has questioned the existence of Jesus since the 1970s.—R.S. (Added Jan 22, 2013.) … Continue reading

My journey as a “spiritual atheist”—Pt. 2

Reason from the East My doubts regarding the existence of god received surprising validation about this time through the discovery of Buddhism. While some call Buddhism a religion, others look upon it as a philosophy. Buddhism is atheist and teaches that each person can (and should) find his or her own answers through a combination of effort and reason. I liked Buddhism’s self-reliance, its non-corporatism, and its emphasis on ethics and understanding. It resonated with my desire to live a moral life while searching for ultimate answers. In the 1980s I returned to Oregon and worked for some years at the State Psychiatric Hospital. The work was dangerous and I eventually transferred to a private hospital where admissions were on … Continue reading

My journey as a “spiritual atheist”—Pt. 1

The search Long ago as a college music major I spent most of my time practicing piano in “the catacombs”—a series of windowless, graffiti-lined cubicles under the University of Oregon School of Music. The walls were paper thin, and the din from neighboring musicians usually insufferable—but also sometimes fascinating. Practicing required unique non-musical skills: the ability to stop reading the graffiti; the ability to tune out the sonic competition; and (the hardest one for me) the ability to stop writing music on the walls. I wasn’t good at these, and my lessons and grades suffered accordingly.   Under such distracting circumstances I practiced hard and somehow also managed to compose reams of music, dreaming of the day when I would … Continue reading

Basic Mythicist Bibliography

Note: Though these books are not all “mythicist,” all provide scholarly support for that point of view. “I soon learned how little it mattered that the serious student agree with every point, even the main point, of a book. The thing is to find fresh food for thought and to encounter new perspectives not presented in the stale tomes of the orthodox and conventional.”—Robert M. Price. Thanks to Dr. Price for links to many of his reviews below, and for a number of (sometimes irreverent) comments that follow, variously by him and by myself.—René Salm. ALLEGRO, John. – The Sacred Mushroom and the Cross (1970) – The Dead Sea Scrolls and the Christian Myth (Prometheus, 1984) Jesus was nothing other … Continue reading

Paul-Louis Couchoud

Born in Vienne (Isère) in 1879, Couchoud entered the École Normale Supérieure in 1898 and received a diploma in philosophy. He also studied medicine in Paris, receiving his doctor’s certificate in 1911 for his work L’Asthénie Primitive. Appointed lecturer at the University of Göttingen, Couchoud benefitted from a Kahn Foundation scholarship. This permitted him to visit China and Japan, resulting in his book Sages et Poètes d’Asie (1916). He translated several works from Japanese and published, in 1924, Luciole, Conte Japonais, Raconté à Marianne Couchoud par son Père. Dedicating himself particularly to the research of Christian origins, Couchoud made a name for himself among exegetes and historians in the field, leaving an abundant legacy which includes the following, all book-length … Continue reading