“Jesus,” the rebel against Judaism

For the last several decades a wrong-headed and tiresome refrain has emanated from the theological podiums (or is it podia?) around the USA: “Jesus was a Torah-observant Jew.” So I myself learned on the first day of a New Testament course at the University of Oregon some years ago. The professor—Daniel Falk, a respected specialist in Qumran studies—quickly elaborated a little: Christianity was “a very significant modification of the religion of ancient Israel… It and Judaism are two offshoots of ancient Israel. Both came from rabbinic Judaism. Later, Christianity became a gentile religion.” The bottom line was clear: Jesus brought nothing radically new. He was in fact quite orthodox! What was “new” was Paul’s mis-interpretation of Jesus’ Jewish message…   … Continue reading

Thomas Brodie, mythicist priest:
Beyond the Quest for the Historical Jesus—Pt. 1

I have just finished reading Thomas L. Brodie’s Beyond the Quest for the Historical Jesus: Memoir of a Discovery (Sheffield Phoenix, 2012). A friend gifted me his copy (thanks Alan) and that prompted me to immediately read this important monograph and to delay the rest of the “to read” pile on my desk. Being a painfully slow reader, I spent several weeks on the book and now offer my extended comments on this signal publication in the history of Jesus mythicism. Beyond the Quest is a mixture of two things: autobiography and historical-theological analysis, all (except chp. 7) written in an accessible style—like having an extended cup of coffee (p. xv). Jesus mythicists may not be that interested in the … Continue reading

80+ mythicist responses to B. Ehrman’s Did Jesus Exist?

A collection of links compiled by Dave Mack and René Salm. The articles below are listed alphabetically by last name. The number of entries are in brackets. Please report any broken links. Thank you! THOMAS L. BRODIE On his Vridar blog, Neil Godfrey offers a resumé of Brodie’s DJE? review, which appears as an epilogue in Brodie’s recent bookBeyond the Quest for the Historical Jesus (Sheffield Phoenix Press, Sept. 2012). RICHARD CARRIER Ehrman on Jesus: A Failure of Facts and Logic Ehrman Trashtalks Mythicism Ehrman’s Dubious Replies (Round One) Ehrman’s Dubious Replies (Round Two) [Carrier on the failure of methodology in Historical Jesus studies] JERRY A. COYNE Bart Ehrman says that Jesus existed. [Several additional entries] HERMANN DETERING Prof. “Errorman” … Continue reading

Frank Zindler

Biographical note Frank R. Zindler has been an Atheist activist since 1959 when he began publicly to defend the teaching of evolution and to criticize religious encroachments upon the public sphere. A professor of biology and geology at SUNY for almost twenty years, he was forced to give up teaching when he joined Madalyn Murray O’Hair in a lawsuit that attempted to remove “In God We Trust” from American currency. A linguist and editor of scientific literature, he is a former member of The Jesus Seminar and the current Jesus Project and is the author of The Jesus the Jews Never Knew: Sepher Toldoth Yeshu and the Quest of the Historical Jesus in Jewish Sources (2003). Zindler is a veteran … Continue reading

B. Ehrman’s “Misquoting Jesus”

A critique of Bart D. Ehrman’s Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why (HarperOne 2005) Chapter Six: “Theologically Motivated Alterations of the Text” by René Salm Even the avid reader will have a hard time keeping up with Bart D. Ehrman. By my count he’s written twenty-three books and his next, “Did Jesus Exist?” (of particular interest to Jesus mythicists) appears this March. Yet, I have heard it declared that Ehrman has not written many books but has written one book many times. Perhaps I can be excused then for not having read all of his oeuvre, and for critiquing but one chapter of this book, with the modest hope that what I have to say … Continue reading

A short response to B. Ehrman’s Did Jesus Exist?

By René Salm Some people have asked me why I have not offered a response to Bart Ehrman’s Did Jesus Exist? My reply—a full (and probably long) chapter—will appear in the forthcoming book (edited by Frank Zindler) from American Atheist Press. In the deluge of responses to Ehrman (here), I felt it unnecessary to add a prompt rejoinder as so much of value has been supplied virtually on a daily basis. The following several paragraphs will perhaps suffice for now. To my knowledge, no one has specifically countered Ehrman regarding his pages 191–97, which deal with the existence of Nazareth at the turn of the era. I can say here that Ehrman is evasive, tendentious, and entirely wrong. He is … Continue reading