“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

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. 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.] Note: For much more extensive information on the Caesarea Inscription, see my 2015 book NazarethGate, Chapter 12, “The Forgery of the ‘Caresarea Inscription.’” (pp. 314-76). Select bibliography is at the bottom of this post.         On July 15, 1962, the excavation season began in Area A of Caesarea—an area north of the Crusader walls … 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

Pt. 5: The case for forgery

In this series of posts, Enrico Tuccinardi and myself have shown that the “Caesarea inscription” never existed except in the imagination of wishful Christians and Jews. Three fragments which do not go together have been assembled into a mythical plaque. That plaque never existed. Furthermore, such a plaque could not have existed where the fragments were allegedly “found,” for M. Govaars has shown that no synagogue existed in the area. Hence, the traditionalist who considers the “Caesarea inscription” (hereafter in quotes) to be a bona fide artifact suffers under a double impossibility: the mutual incompatibility of fragments, and the missing synagogue where the plaque should/would have been housed. The above considerations inexorably lead us to conclude that: – the three … Continue reading