“Jesus has a Nazareth problem” (interview transcript)—Pt. 3

The Nazarene is “the enlightened one” (See also here.) René: …Everything is showing that Marcion’s was in fact the first gospel and that Capernaum was the original hometown of Jesus.      The reason “Nazareth” was invented—that would be by Matthew, now, and taken up by Luke—is to change “the Nazarene,” because “Nazarene” was objectionable to the Catholic Church. “Nazarene” had some strong religious and theological meanings at the time, and it would be very valuable if scholarship looked seriously at this question, because this brings us to the heart of the issue: What does “Nazarene” mean? René: Jesus in the earliest gospels is called “Jesus the Nazarene.” But nobody seems to know what that meant. Now, “Nazarene” means the enlightened person, … Continue reading

“Jesus has a Nazareth problem” (interview transcript)—Pt. 1

“Don’t miss this incredible interview!”—Mythicist Milwaukee      The recent Mythicist Milwaukee podcast (April 12, 2016) covered a surprising number of important topics: a review of the term “mythicism”; the recent emergence of Jesus mythicists within the academy (T. Brodie, and several teaching scholars known to me who resist public acknowledgment of their position); the gospels’ incompatibility with Nazareth archeology; Marcion as a formative influence on the canonical gospels; the term “Nazarene”; my views regarding Yeshu ha-Notsri (early first century BCE) as the real prophet underlying the Christian religion; and the remarkable resemblance of sayings and parables in the gospels with Buddhism, especially as regards the common doctrine known as “karma.” I decided to transcribe and upload the interview to this website … Continue reading

Closed and open minds

Provocative work by fully credentialed specialists in New Testament studies is now quietly being conducted ‘behind the scenes’—that is, out of the general view of the public. An increasing portion of this work is supportive of Jesus mythicism, and a partial list of names quickly comes to mind: Thomas Brodie (recently), Hermann Detering, Matthias Klinghardt, Dennis MacDonald, Robert Price, Markus Vinzent… The historicity of Jesus is now seriously being undermined by these and other fully-accredited scholars. However, one wouldn’t suspect this by reading popularizing literature emanating from the pens of noted scholars such as Bart Ehrman. For that academic, the case is not merely closed—it was never open. Ehrman now has come out with yet another potboiler directed at the … Continue reading

J.P. Holding is sued for libel, and the increasing polarization of biblical studies—Pt. 1

The recent lawsuit against the rather notorious Christian apologist J.P. Holding (aka Robert Turkel)—whose tone and language have been anything but “Christian”—gives me an opportunity to invoke a little Buddhist ethics by applauding this recent manifestation of the mighty law of karma: what goes around comes around or, if you prefer, ‘as you do unto others, so also it will be done to you’ (cf. Mt 7:12 etc). It appears that Holding has been rather egregiously abusing the Golden Rule since the inception of his “Tekton Ministries” (a play on the Greek for “carpenter”?), and that the spiritual law of karma—more subtle than air and more predictable (IMHO) than the law of gravity—suddenly struck. As a result, the Tekton Apologetics … Continue reading

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

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. 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

The Natsarene Religion – Pt. 1 (Salm)

The thrust of Jesus mythicism is to establish that Jesus of Nazareth did not exist—he was an invented figure. Much ink is now being spilled demonstrating this and—even in the unlikely case that the question were settled by scholarship in the next decade or so—acceptance of Jesus mythicism by the general populace will probably require several more decades. However, showing that Jesus of Nazareth did not exist as an historical figure is not the end of the road. There are some, myself included, who strongly suspect that a human prophet was ultimately behind various Christian, Mandean, and Gnostic writings of late antiquity. I call this view semi-mythicism. Perhaps the prophet in question was John the Baptist. Perhaps he was the … Continue reading

My journey as a “spiritual atheist”—Pt. 4

Ongoing Nazareth shenanigans   One might suppose that the problems with Nazareth archaeology which my book raised have, in the last few years, been assiduously ignored by the religious mainstream—whether we are speaking of the academic establishment, the media, or the public. After all, the Tonight Show has not invited me on as a guest, my book has not sold millions of copies, and not even a single tenured professor has explicitly endorsed my work. This is all quite true, yet curious events soon began occurring in Nazareth after the 2008 publication of The Myth of Nazareth: The Invented Town of Jesus. Within a year, an archaeologist working for the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) was touting the discovery at Nazareth … Continue reading

My journey as a “spiritual atheist”—Pt. 3

Motive, means, and opportunity Reflecting upon Jesus’ virgin birth, resurrection, and everything in between, I was now convinced that his various biographies as presented in the gospels are pure fiction. Liberal scholarship has amply confirmed this and shown, for example, that the birth stories in Matthew and Luke are incompatible and preposterous as history. King Herod did not murder the babies of Bethlehem—no Roman writer noted such an atrocious act. No star stood still over the village. No census required people to return to their birthplace—a prescription for social chaos, otherwise unknown, that the practical Romans would never have mandated. In other words, Christianity is founded on an invented story—indeed, upon a “lie.” That is a harsh word, but no … Continue reading