Varieties of Jesus Mythicism: Did He Even Exist? edited by John W. Loftus and Robert M. Price, is an anthology for the general reader. The subtitle indicates that the book is a response to Bart Ehrman’s 2012 book, Did Jesus Exist? The Historical Argument for Jesus of Nazareth.
Loftus and Price include chapters that respond specifically to historicist claims made by Ehrman and two other historicists, James McGrath and Maurice Casey. In addition, there are chapters by 14 contemporary English-speaking Jesus mythicists. Some chapters directly address the question of Jesus’s historicity. Other chapters present mythicist scenarios for the origin of the Jesus figure or the gospels.
Here’s the Table of Contents:
Foreword by Richard C. Miller
Preface “The Jesus of the Gospels Didn’t Exist” by John Loftus
Introduction “New Testament Minimalism” by Robert M. Price
Part 1 Varieties of Jesus Mythicism
1 Why Mythicism Matters, by Dave Fitzgerald.
2 Jesus Christ, by Barbara G. Walker
3 Dying and Rising Gods, by Derreck Bennett
4 Christianity is a Western Branch of Buddhism, by Michael Lockwood
5 The Roman Provenance of Christianity, by Joseph Atwill
6 Pauline Origin of the Gospels in the Wake of the Jewish-Roman War, by R.G. Price
7 Under the Mushroom Tree, by Michael Hoffman
8 Star-Lore in the Gospels, by Bill Darlison
9 The Mythic Power of the Atonement, by Robert M. Price
10 A Sacrifice in Heaven: The Son in the Epistle to the Hebrews, by Earl Doherty
11 The Jewish Myth of Jesus, by Stephan Huller
12 Jesus: Pre-Existent and Non-Existent, by Robert M. Price
13 Mark’s Gospel: A Performed Play in Rome, by Danila Oder
Part 2 Mythicist Rejoinders to Biblical Scholars
14 Is There a Man Behind the Curtain? A Response to Bart Ehrman, by Robert M. Price
15 A Rejoinder to James McGrath’s Case for Jesus, by Neil Godfrey
16 Everything is Wrong with This: The Legacy of Maurice Casey by Tim Widowfield
The authors have taken their task seriously, and miniaturized their theories into chapters targeted at the college-educated general reader. The reader can enter most of the chapters ‘cold’ and read through to the end. Earl Doherty’s (previously published) chapter is more advanced. But worthwhile. Brilliant in fact. It is the work that showed me that a Jesus figure could be created in a Jewish sect. It convinced me to be a mythicist.
I was particularly impressed with the chapters by Derreck Bennett and Bill Darlison, and “Jesus: Pre-Existent and Non-Existent” by Robert M. Price. These are informational, succinct, and perfectly pitched at the reader. I learned something from almost all of them, and I will use them as resources for future research.
This anthology puts Jesus mythicism on a firm scholarly footing. Scholars of comparative religion (mythology, dying-and-rising gods, Buddhism), astrology (a major science in antiquity), Roman history, theology, and Christian and proto-Christian texts, provide approaches that all point to the absence of a human Jesus of Nazareth.
But then how was Christianity created? Four chapters here offer explanations of what did happen (Doherty’s chapter, Huller’s scenario based on Mystic Mark, Atwood’s Flavian conspiracy theory, my scenario of Mark as a playwright in Rome). I’m not sure how much further historians can go, given the untrustworthiness of essentially all of the relevant, extant second-century texts. But at least we’ve made a start.
(Update July 8, 2022: Rene Salm has added to the worthy mythicist proposals his “new account of Christian origins” based on the prophet Yeshu ha-Notsri. Salm’s summary of his very long argument is here. I think his scenario is largely though not entirely plausible.)
As to the physical book, the internal layout and proofreading are adequate. However, the publishers omitted the brief biographies of the contributors. Therefore, they are online at the site of editor John W. Loftus. The publisher did not provide chapter titles as running heads at the top of the page, a standard practice in anthologies. The cover is unprofessional; the contents deserve better. Online commenters have stated that the Kindle edition does not include a table of contents.
The book is available as a trade paperback (400 pages) and Kindle. I recommend it for readers who are familiar with the works of popular historicists like Ehrman and want to know the other side, for people who have always wondered how Jesus of Nazareth started a religion, for mythicists who want to read ‘around’ the subject, and for college or adult education classes (or religion book clubs). 4.5 stars
Updates: (July 8, 2022: added Salm’s argument)
20 thoughts on “Review of Varieties of Jesus Mythicism: Did He Even Exist?”
I just wanted to acknowledge my genuine excitement at the prospect of reading your book, which for me represents the most innovative and new mythicist perspective I’ve encountered for years.
The last time I recall a genuine Ah Ha moment was Ellegard evidencing the probable existence of a nascent Christian Community across the Mediterannean area generations before Paul (or the Epistle Writers).
The reason I find your thesis exciting is that it has been hinted at previously by many researchers but not overtly stated; from Alfaric to G.A.Wells who I used to correspond with.
There are allusions to a nebulous and abstract Christ who was then ‘fixed’ in time and place when Mark ‘Dramatised’ his incarnation and earthly mission.
To push that notion to a fuller conclusion is what I think you are doing and I am so looking forward to the read.
Oh by the way I am an old hand amateur, having taken up the subject some forty years ago and plowing my way through virtually everything from Wells to Tom Harpur, Freke and Ghandy, Ellegard, and perhaps my favourite statement from Arthur Drews.
I like in your Q and A how you are not down on religion per se and leave people to their own experiential response. This is welcome to me as I am not amenable to proselytysing for evangelical Atheism, any more for religion.
Having a firm adherence to a core mythicist case (which seems solid to me) I nevertheless have a soft spot for that ‘unkown’ Galilean preacher possibly revealed in Q and adopted by Burton L Mack and Professor George Wells. I know Robert Price feels this can be accounted for by other scenarios and I get that, but a sentimental holding to that pleases me.
Oh and don’t mistake me; this figure can in no wise be identified with any Gospel character of the same name.
What I find exciting at the prospect of studying your work is that it looks to probe as far as we can get and one has a sense of the veil being lifted ever so slightly, and those archaic and ‘lost’ worlds of Christian origins being revealed a bit clearer.
I’ve dipped into your essays as well and must say that the explication of Pliny the elders statement is the most thorough and compelling I have read.
Interestingly the notion of a play is echoed in modern explications of Gospel narratives from a human potential and inner development perspective; witness ‘Godseed’ by Jean Huston.
Oh and I am rereading bits of Arthur Drews and he mentions dramatisation as a mode of scripture in the chapter The Jesus of the Gospels.
I’ve been casting around briefly for exemplars of the play as a vehicle for scripture; or indeed the two genres morphing in and out of each other. There is scant testimony in the Western traditions but the Indian subcontinent is flush with them; hence mulit perspective performances of the Ramayana (live actors/ shadow puppets etc). So there are precedents.
Having now got the book I am making steady progress; I like the explication for the Proposition as a Heavenly conflict with the subplot the Earthly conflict. Does this not echo the Pauline epistles ‘War in Heaven’ and the Gnostic theology of the Archons and Aeons?
If Mark was indeed a highly cultured Alexandrian then he would have been steeped in Hellenistic modes and that includes drama. As you know part of the Greek Theatre was the masking (the Persona) where true identity is concealed.
In some ways the whole drama of Mark could be read as an elaborate masking and revealing.
There are obvious esoteric and theosophical readings for this which could well have informed the writers explication.
So lots and lots to chew over.
Anyway I wanted to offer genuine enthusiasm up front and acknowledge your new and groundbreaking contribution.
Nick, thank you very much for sharing your enthusiasm for the book and your comments. I couldn’t ask for a better reader. After you finish the book, look around at the other blog posts that build on it.
Some responses: yes, others have seen the Gospel of Mark as dramatic; John M. Robertson in particular, which is not surprising as theater was the mass medium of the West in the early 20th century. Where I differ from other scholars, I think, is that I insist that the author had an ego; he had to be motivated to write a complex text. I provide a real-life situation for him. Some mythicist authors have come up with intriguing theories about Mark’s motivation, but when they have to produce a real-life Mark who wrote a dramatic but not stageable text, they can’t provide any specifics. I am just amazed how often writers refuse to see Mark as a writer himself, motivated by the eternal motivations of money, fame, prestige, creative enjoyment, etc.
As for the inner/outer meanings of GMark, I have to assume that Mark had a text with a series of Scriptural elements/quotations with midrash that he dramatized and then narratized as elements of Jesus’s biography; this text may well have been created decades before by scholars in Alexandria. (Therapeutae? Essenes? I leave that to others.) Wherever it came from, his congregation knew it. They had to know it or they wouldn’t have appreciated a dramatization; they would have asked the unwanted (to a playwright) question: “Where did THAT come from??” Which is why I think they were likely ‘primed’ earlier the day of the performance, or a day or two before, with that text, to appreciate Mark’s dramatization. I really can’t say how “Gnostic” the congregation was, nor am I interested in their religious beliefs; but I can say that if I am right about the time and place, almost all the congregants would have been literate, and therefore Hellenized.
Because of the relative paucity of dialogue, the model for the play seems to be religious/mystery dramas rather than theatrical plays. When you say there are multi-perspective performances of the Ramayana, do you mean that both live actors and shadow puppets participate in the same performance?
Thank you for the insightful reply. To answer your question about the Ramayana; the shadow puppet performances I have seen on TV and are a Balinese /Kerala form of theatre called Wayang Kulit. Other staged performances use live actors and I was just reading that it has been developing since the C14 century CE.
So not in the same performance, but different genres.
Fascinated by your insights into the possible character of ‘Mark’. As contemporary or at least modern comparisons, I have no doubt that the playrights for Godspell and Jesus Christ Superstar enjoyed just the very same aspects of ‘fame and fortune’ that you attribute as likely for Mark.
We can get an overly devout image of how scripture was penned, namely contemplative, silent and somewhat monastic in character. But your attribution of playfulness, artistic prowess and cudos must also have been at play (pun intended).
I think that in the book where you mention that Mark may have been more ‘senior’ then this rings true. As well as the characteristics you have identified I could speculate a certain ‘charisma’ on his part, especially if he did indeed take the central role of Christ.
It is perhaps not unreasonable to speculat that in Mumming this role the actor actually inhabited the part to the degree that he ‘took on Christ’ in theological language and became a representation of that Divine Character to the audience and fellow performers.
This might especially be the case if it was indeed in the genre of Mystery Play as you identify.
This is perhaps going too far in speculation but if Mark was indeed the main creative ‘Genius’ behind the script then he may also have been a religious leader in his own right. Perhaps even a bit of a Polymath in the vein of Pythagoras or Epicurus.
I find the speculations about where the writer (Mark) drew from in terms of sources really compelling. I must say that working through your book this was the growing thought that I had.In other words what were the possible sources and where were they derived from?
The speculation that pre existent ‘meditations’ in a Midrashic sphere on Septuagint scripture had already been mined by Essene initiates is wonderful. There could well have been a ‘bank’ or ‘store’ of ready to go mini story arcs about what the Messiah had said and done.
Mark could then have stiched these together with possible support and encouragement of a ‘project team’ of friends, research assistants and community elders steeped in the Lore of the sect.
This is equivalent to the pearls on a string theory for compliling Scripture.
Hugely compelling and a good fit in terms of the puzzle, with Ellegards speculations about Essene communities dotted around the Med and with central locus in Alexandria.
Yes we really don’t know what the Markan community was like in terms of its Gnostic influence.
Bear in mind that Valentinus was a generation later born approx 100 CE. It could be speculated that the Markan community was proto Gnostic and perhaps not Proto Orthodox, but who knows.
So I am going to keep reading and perhaps if okay could offer occasional thoughts along the way?
In regard to the the authors of the creative works of the New Testament, I find that secular witers often unthinkingly adopt the apologetic obfuscation “they wrote for the glory of god.” Like you say, monastic. A historian should not say “the author is lost in the mists of time” but rather assume that people have the same psychology then and now. (Which, by the way, is why I see the author of Revelation as a science fiction writer motivated at least as much by the challenge of emulating previous apocalypses as by the desire to address contemporary politics.)
Yes, you’re right, Mark had to be charismatic. But I think he was more a creative oddball than the high-profile administrator of a wealthy congregation in the capitol city.
A list of situations/quotations/midrash of Scripture that pertained to “Jesus” could easily have been a genre practiced by several different communities. Basically, an assembly of proof texts. Nobody had yet written a secular story based on these texts. Mark was the first. He could have had a group that assembled or expanded the list. But I think this was earlier the scholarly activity of the (more devout) predecessor congregation to Mark’s.
It occurred to me the other day that one could use the lyrics of a Grateful Dead song “Box of Rain” in the same way, as the inspiration for a short story.
Read on re proto-orthodox; I discuss that late in the book and also in several posts here.
Yes, please continue to offer your thoughts!
Per a post comment by Dr Sarah @ “‘Deciphering The Gospels Proves Jesus Never Existed’ review: Chapter Seven”. Geeky Humanist. 2 September 2022. “Whatever the original text was, how exactly do we get from ‘Mark wrote a deliberate work of fiction’ to ‘multiple people were so convinced this was real that they were writing detailed embroidered versions’?”
Please consider responding @ https://freethoughtblogs.com/geekyhumanist/2022/09/02/deciphering-the-gospels-proves-jesus-never-existed-review-chapter-seven/#comment-9207
There are several points to my answer so I’ll be as brief as possible. First, just because other people wrote gospels and sequel stories based on GMark doesn’t mean they thought GMark was literal history. Rather, they found the basic story useful for their purposes, with some editing. For example, Jesus is not the Davidic messiah in GMark, but Luke adds material to make his Jesus the Davidic messiah. This usefulness underlies GMatthew (in my opinion, a revision of GLuke asserting typical Judean concerns for Law and ethics) and the gnostic GJohn.
Second, the many texts that followed GMark and starred people from GMark are folk tales (or “fan fiction”) written to answer questions posed by the illiterate about the life of Jesus of Nazareth. The key here is that illiterates always think concretely. Once they heard a story about “Jesus” in the gospel context, even if to the elders of their congregation Jesus was a heavenly being, they were bound to take it literally and ask questions to explain it, for example, “Was Pilate right or wrong?” and “Who was Joseph of Arimathea?” I think that a lot of these embroidered stories of the first few hundred years of Christianity were written by the barely literate, including women–people who in our time would be writing speculative/science fiction. These works very likely started off as entertainment; in some cases, they may have become doctrinal because they starred local/ethnic heroes and saints.
• “FAQ”. The Two Gospels of Mark: Performance and Text. “By Mark’s time, his congregation had joined Jesus, the Son of Man (heavenly high priest) and Jesus, the Son of God (national messiah/king but not the Davidic messiah–that comes from Luke).”
‘…How say the scribes that Christ is the son of David?’ Mark 12:35
Per gMark, the “human flesh suit” of second-god (cf. Carrier) appears to be a fulfillment of Davidic prophecy.
Isaiah 11:1-9 A shoot shall come out from the stump of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots. The spirit of the Lord shall rest on him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord. His delight shall be in the fear of the Lord. He shall not judge by what his eyes see, or decide by what his ears hear; but with righteousness he shall judge the poor, and decide with equity for the meek of the earth; he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked. Righteousness shall be the belt around his waist, and faithfulness the belt around his loins. The wolf shall live with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the kid, the calf and the lion and the fatling together, and a little child shall lead them. The cow and the bear shall graze, their young shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. The nursing child shall play over the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put its hand on the adder’s den. They will not hurt or destroy on all my holy mountain; for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea. On that day the root of Jesse shall stand as a signal to the peoples; the nations shall inquire of him, and his dwelling shall be glorious. On that day the Lord will extend his hand yet a second time to recover the remnant that is left of his people, from Assyria, from Egypt, from Pathros, from Ethiopia, from Elam, from Shinar, from Hamath, and from the coastlands of the sea.
Jeremiah 23:5f; 33:14-18 “The days are coming,” declares the LORD, “when I will raise up to David [a] a righteous Branch, a King who will reign wisely and do what is just and right in the land. In his days Judah will be saved and Israel will live in safety. This is the name by which he will be called: The LORD Our Righteousness. . . . . . ‘The days are coming,’ declares the LORD, ‘when I will fulfill the gracious promise I made to the house of Israel and to the house of Judah. ” ‘In those days and at that time I will make a righteous Branch sprout from David’s line; he will do what is just and right in the land. In those days Judah will be saved and Jerusalem will live in safety. This is the name by which it will be called: The LORD Our Righteousness.’ For this is what the LORD says: ‘David will never fail to have a man to sit on the throne of the house of Israel, nor will the priests, who are Levites, ever fail to have a man to stand before me continually to offer burnt offerings, to burn grain offerings and to present sacrifices.’ ”
Ezekiel 34:23f; 37:24 I will place over them one shepherd, my servant David, and he will tend them; he will tend them and be their shepherd. I the LORD will be their God, and my servant David will be prince among them. I the LORD have spoken. . . . . .My servant David will be king over them, and they will all have one shepherd. They will follow my laws and be careful to keep my decrees.
Psalm 89:20ff I have found David my servant; with my sacred oil I have anointed him. My hand will sustain him; surely my arm will strengthen him. No enemy will subject him to tribute; no wicked man will oppress him. I will crush his foes before him and strike down his adversaries. My faithful love will be with him, and through my name his horn will be exalted. I will set his hand over the sea, his right hand over the rivers. He will call out to me, ‘You are my Father, my God, the Rock my Savior.’ I will also appoint him my firstborn, the most exalted of the kings of the earth. I will maintain my love to him forever, and my covenant with him will never fail. I will establish his line forever, his throne as long as the heavens endure.
Isaiah 9:7 Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this.
Psalm 2:2, 6 The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord and against his anointed . . . . Yet I have set my King on my holy hill of Zion.
RE:“By Mark’s time, his congregation had joined Jesus, the Son of Man (heavenly high priest) and Jesus, the Son of God (national messiah/king but not the Davidic messiah–that comes from Luke).” I don’t like to speak about Mark’s theology because, as I have often said, an editor can easily change the theology of a passage with a parenthetical insertion, e.g., “the Christ, *the Son of David,*…” We can be sure that the orthodox have altered GMark to be congruent with other orthodox texts. It’safer to ask, what is Mark’s take on Jesus as the Davidic messiah in GMark?
This question is addressed when Jesus asks the crowd/Chorus in the Temple “How can the scribes say that the Messiah[e] is the son of David?” “David himself calls him Lord, so how can he be his son?” And the large crowd was listening to him with delight.” This is an agon. The Chorus’s delight implies that Mark has bested the scribes. Inference: to Mark, Jesus is not the Son of David, either within the play or within Mark’s theology.
Second, the crowd/chorus shouts during the entry to Jerusalem, “Blessed is the coming kingdom of our ancestor David!” That tells us and the audience only that some of the Chorus are awaiting a Davidic messiah. Not that Jesus is that messiah to them or to Mark.
Comment-9290 by Dr Sarah (September 24, 2022) per “‘Deciphering The Gospels Proves Jesus Never Existed’ review: Chapter Seven”. Geeky Humanist. @ https://freethoughtblogs.com/geekyhumanist/2022/09/02/deciphering-the-gospels-proves-jesus-never-existed-review-chapter-seven/#comment-9290
Thank you for bringing this to my attention and for taking my work seriously.
I don’t engage with people like Dr. Sarah because it’s not worth my time. They wamt to win even if they misrepresent my position.
Let’s take just the first two sentence of her blog post #90.
Dr. Sarah quotes me, “First, just because other people wrote gospels and sequel stories based on GMark doesn’t mean they thought GMark was literal history. Rather, they found the basic story useful for their purposes, with some editing.” Then she comments: “So, if ‘their purposes’ were to present Jesus as a character who’d lived on Earth… why on earth would they have been members of a group that taught he’d only ever lived in Heaven?”
My response: There are so many misrepresentations here. First, my comment refers to gospels *and sequels*, meaning I refer to basically the whole second century. That means by the time some sequels were being written, some congregations–perhaps the homes of the sequels–were teaching Jesus of Nazareth. Second, “their purposes” were not necessarily “to present Jesus as a character who’d lived on earth.” I don’t state what their purposes were, because I don’t know. Their presentation of Jesus as a character who’d lived on earth was ancillary to their purpose of presenting Jesus as a meaningful part of their religion, or of their purpose of writing fan fiction, or of entertaining children, or of answering a pressing question, etc. Third, neither I nor Dr. Sarah can state that these authors belonged to congregations that taught that Jesus had “only ever lived in Heaven.” I think that is true of the Roman congregation, through the second century, and possibly the congregation of Matthew. I do not think that is true of the congregation of Luke; I think Luke ‘allowed’ the simpler (less literate) members of his congregation to believe that Jesus had directly authorized the earliest apostles, with the associated risk that they would take the story literally. Fourth, I state regarding other gospels in my book, p. 145, “Children of the congregation would assume that the Jesus of the story was as historical as Moses, David and Elijah. Even if these children were later told that the gospel story was not objectively true, it remained true in the sense that it was part of the culture’s narrative that their community took seriously. In this way, a ‘historical, human Jesus on earth’ could develop a constituency at the same time that educated adults continued to think of Jesus as a heavenly figure.” Dr. Sarah should read my book if she is going to attack blog material that is based on my book.
That’s just four points, I could speak longer.
Thanks for mentioning the Russian experiment, I think that came from one of Walter Ong’s books.
Some interesting triva and a shout out to G.A. Wells!
FILM: “Jesus: The Evidence” (1984 BFI) for United Kingdom Television, “[40:55] If the Jesus of history is that elusive, can we be certain that he even existed? By definition no Christian scholar has any doubts on that score nor do most historians. Only one man in academic circles is prepared to argue the opposite case. George Albert Wells is professor of German at London University… [41:23]”
In response to the London Weekend Television series broadcast entitled “Jesus: the Evidence”. Dunn wrote, “The alternative thesis… that within thirty years there had evolved such a coherent and consistent complex of traditions about a non-existent figure such as we have in the sources of the Gospels is just too implausible. It involves too many complex and speculative hypotheses, in contrast to the much simpler explanation that there was a Jesus who said and did more or less what the first three Gospels attribute to him.” [p. 29].
• Dunn, James D. G. (1985). The Evidence for Jesus: The Impact of Scholarship on Our Understanding of how Christianity Began. SCM Press. ISBN 978-0-334-00411-0. “This book is an expanded version of public lectures given in Durham in 1984”
Dunn was able to persuade Wells to modify his viewpoint!
I think the Q material was essentially a collection of wisdom, or oracles, or GThomas-like sayings. No need for a real historical human being behind “Q”.
The field has come a long way since Wells!
“Comment-195892 by rgprice (2021-12-03)” per “We’ve Been Published — Varieties of Jesus Mythicism”. Vridar. 1 December 2021.
This year (2022) René Salm revisited his earlier posts on Marcion, and argued that Marcion never existed. I would like to assert Marcion’s existence, because then I could argue that Marcion obtained GMark in Rome, brought it East, revised it, promulgated it, and thereby stimulated Luke to seek out the original GMark to revise for his own purposes. This would conveniently explain how Marcion got an early copy of the synoptic story. But Salm has raised enough doubt in my mind about Marcion’s existence that I won’t pursue this line of thought. I suggest Price also look at Salm’s work.
Carrier, Richard (1 August 2022). “Book Review: Varieties of Jesus Mythicism”. Socio-Historical Examination of Religion and Ministry. 4 (1): 171–192. doi:10.33929/sherm.2022.vol4.no1.10.
Thank you very much. And for your continuing interest in my scenario.
OP: “11 The Jewish Myth of Jesus, by Stephan Huller … But then how was Christianity created? Four chapters here offer explanations of what did happen (Doherty’s chapter, Huller’s scenario based on Mystic Mark…”
Nomina sacra: A nomen sacrum consists of two or more letters from the original word spanned by an overline, viz. we do not “know” what the nomina sacra represent, hypothetically Jesus Christ or perhaps not—all known early MSS use only nomina sacra!
Perhaps our extant Markan text has been through a major redaction(s) in response to Marcion of Sinope, who may of authored the original featuring the Good (chrestos==XS ) a Redeemer (iourgós | ιουργός | ΙΟΥΡΓΌΣ==IS) figure. N.B. There is no extant MS with Greek δημιουργός or dēmiurgós being shortened to just iourgós. It is an unevidenced hypothetical.
[MOOD-MUSIC] “In The Beginning”. YouTube. Hans Zimmer.
Lord IS revealed himself to his first devotee and said many wise thing to him. Said devotee gave Lord IS the cognomem XS, and started a cult called XSians.
In short: Paul believed in the divine Lord IS XS from the very beginning!
It seems the more we actually learn about the gospels and their main protagonist the more we must accept the conclusion that the life and death and resurrection of Jesus is a historicized fable. A religious story meant originally to teach, compete and elevate—eventually became taken as literal fact.
Huller plumps for a different interpretation of the nomen sacrum IS: “The Jewish Myth Of Jesus – Stephan Huller”. YouTube. History Valley.
Carrier addresses Huller’s chapter in SHERM V.4, 1, Summer 2022, pp. 171‒192 as “a lot of interesting, well-referenced discussion—of what ends up being completely irrelevant to Mythicism, owing to a crucial error committed at its very outset….Huller has left out three crucial facts that refute his entire thesis. First, the “bar” over these letters alone disproves his thesis: This was a standard Greek symbol for abbreviation. It always signals that what lies below abbreviates something; it never signals that what lies below transliterates something…”
I do not read Greek and Carrier does, so I refrain from commenting. I look forward to Carrier’s promised longer review of the Varieties book on his own blog.
(By the way, the SHERM review costs $1.99 and is well worth it.)
LOL, I wonder how many times what Brodie has argued—has been seen interdependently by others and then bang! Down come the blinders.
• Adrian Russell (27 May 2014). “If John was Elijah is Jesus Elisha?”. GoThereFor.
Kelly Wellington writes,
A Grecophonic Gentile Provenance Theory. Duly noted.
I just don’t believe that Gentiles would write a story set among Judeans/Galileans, culminating in the Temple, quoting/referring to Psalms. Marcion would have been the only person with the theology to write it (the real god is superior to YHWH), but why bother to try to convert worshipers of YHWH to the other god by using the LXX instead of quoting from Paul (and pre-Pauline) texts?