An immodest proposal: Lock ’em up!

Some good friends recently sent me the following recommendation: We the People of these United States—319 million of us, give or take a few hundred thousand—should locate the 500 richest Americans and gather them into one place. That shouldn’t be too hard. A single large room will be sufficient to seat those 500 persons. Once they are together, we can ask those wealthiest individuals a few questions. The first is: Why should I work for you? It’s a simple question. Not complicated. The People can listen attentively to the reply from the super-rich, some of whom might, however, respond boorishly: “If you don’t work for me, I’ll cut off your head.” Such a response, of course, would not be a … Continue reading

Truth matters: By the numbers Donald Trump LOST

The “evidence” of the recent election is already almost completely forgotten. By the numbers, Donald Trump LOST. Few people have bothered to inquire into the shenanigans in the swing states that bear out this conclusion. But it’s patent. If there were an accurate count, I have no doubt whatsoever that Hillary Clinton would win—both the popular and the electoral vote. Hands down. But, of course, there wasn’t an accurate count. That fact provides cover for Trump people to object. They taunt: “Prove to me that Hillary Clinton won those swing states.” My riposte is clear: “I’d love to prove it to you. But you won’t let me! An accurate count is precisely what Jill Stein and the Green Party tried … Continue reading

The Price-Ehrman debate—Pt. 6

Links:     YouTube     Post-debate discussion (audio)     Vridar In this series of posts I’ve tried to show that the Price-Ehrman debate suffered largely because the two principals play by vastly different ground rules. It’s hard to have a meaningful (much less an exciting) exchange of ideas if the assumptions, acknowledged experts, and evidence are so dissimilar. This reminds me of the global warming debate, or of the long-standing evolution-creationism debacle. In all these cases what seems obvious to the scientist is contested—inevitably because a very powerful anti-scientific agenda is in play. As James Crossley noted in the post-debate conversation,[minute 49] “Paul” is a case in point. For Ehrman and mainstream scholarship, the Apostle was real, a convert to Christianity only a few years after the … Continue reading

The Price-Ehrman debate—Pt. 5

Links:     YouTube     Post-debate discussion (audio)     Vridar In this post I’d like to comment on a few points in the Price-Ehrman debate that I found particularly important. The following discussions have reference especially to views I’ve presented elsewhere on this website and in the final chapter of my book NazarethGate. Where possible I link to relevant webpages. (a) Dating “Paul.” Ehrman dated Paul to the first century CE on the basis of the First Letter of Clement. However, the reference is invalid. We have recently noted on this website that 1 Clement mentions Paul several times: “It is traditionally attributed to Clement of Rome and dated somewhere between 81 and 98 CE. However, H. Detering (1994:75) has noted that the epistle knows 1 Corinthians … Continue reading

The Price-Ehrman debate—Pt. 4

Links:     YouTube     Post-debate discussion (audio)     Vridar In the debate, Ehrman trumpeted numerous positions that are completely indefensible from an evidentiary standpoint. It is astonishing to me that these fractured positions (below)—like broken vertebrae on a decomposing skeleton—comprise what many New Testament professors still consider the backbone of ‘mainstream’ thought. It is as if mythicist scholarship over the last two centuries—from Bauer to Brodie—simply doesn’t exist. And indeed it doesn’t exist, for no lecture hall in Christendom today admits the works of Jesus mythicists. The contemporary situation in biblical studies resembles that of the evolution-creationism debate. Since the time of Darwin science has proven that God did not create the universe in six days. According to a 2014 Gallup poll, however, over 40% of … Continue reading

Ehrman and Nazareth archeology—1

Links:     YouTube     Cleeng (for those who already paid to view)     Post-debate discussion (audio)     Vridar [Note: This post is also filed under the title “The Price-Ehrman debate—Pt. 3”.] Ehrman’s first order of business in the debate was to tackle the archeology of Nazareth. In the days since then he has also expressed himself more fully regarding Nazareth on his weblog. So, I will address Ehrman’s debate comments on Nazareth here, and his other comments on Nazareth in a separate post to follow this series. Without mentioning me by name, Ehrman asserted at the beginning of his opening statement: “One argument commonly found among mythicists is that since there was no Nazareth at the time of Jesus, it follows that Jesus of Nazareth could not have … Continue reading

The Price-Ehrman debate—Pt. 2

Links:     YouTube     Post-debate discussion (audio)     Vridar Mythicism is not “scholarly”? In the last post I mentioned that Jesus mythcists and historicists are talking past each other, and how I want to examine some underlying assumptions that may be the cause. So, here we’ll begin by looking at one little exchange that occurred in the debate. In the final cross-examination segment, Dillahunty asked “Why is mythicism not taken seriously?” Ehrman’s astonishing answer was simply an argumentum ad populum: “It’s not a question debated among scholars.” Wow. Of course, that has nothing to do with lack of evidence or even with history. The short exchange can be paraphrased like this: Dillahunty: Why is mythicism not taken seriously? Ehrman: Because it’s not [a question] taken seriously. … Continue reading

The Price-Ehrman debate—Pt. 1

Links:     YouTube     Cleeng (for those who already paid to view)     Post-debate discussion (audio)     Vridar      Note: This review is based on hand-written notes taken down quickly during the 3-hour debate hosted by Mythicist Milwaukee, before the debate went online (links above). Lacking time stamps, I have not rechecked quotations against the video. Hence, all quotes (even when quotation marks are used below) should be regarded as paraphrases, not as the exact renderings of words uttered. (Readers are welcome to email corrections, time stamps, and—as always—comments.)      A post-debate discussion among several scholars also took place. The audio of that secondary event is online, and I occasionally reference it (“Post-debate”) below with the applicable time stamp.      To date, Neil Godfrey (Vridar) has uploaded two posts regarding this … Continue reading

Followup on Marcion

Those who have read my recent posts, Questioning the “Gospel of Marcion,” are now aware of my considered view that Marcion never actually had a textual “gospel.” As I have freely admitted, this view is “contra the totality of scholarship in the field”—today and for the last hundred years. If true, however, this breathtaking assessment must give us pause. After all, what does it say about modern theological research? How can ostensibly serious professors, highly educated, paid by prestigious institutions of higher learning, authoring scores (actually: hundreds) of books—how can all these ‘scholars’ get their specialty so wrong as to reconstruct, critique, and argue ad infinitum about a “Gospel of Marcion” that never even existed? In fact, the boondoggle cannot … 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.