Appearing in Kamloops

I will be speaking at the Imagine No Religion 3 conference in Kamloops, British Columbia (Canada) this May 17th through 19th (2013). For details (including registration, on-site daycare, entertainments, venue, speaker lineup, etc.) click the previous link (or to just look at registration options right away, click here). The event will be held at the Kamloops Coast Hotel and Convention Centre (where there may still be rooms available at the special convention rate). I am presently scheduled to speak in the 1:30pm slot on Saturday the 18th (but that can often change).

My talk will be “Imagining the Study of Jesus without Religion: Bayes’ Theorem and the Quest for a Historical Jesus.” This will summarize key elements of my book Proving History: Bayes’s Theorem and the Quest for the Historical Jesus but with added emphasis and details on what it might mean to study Jesus if there were no religious assumptions built up even in secular scholarship–if Jesus were treated the same way as Hercules, for instance. Copies of my book will be sold at the event. I’ll be happy to sign any you buy or bring. I’ll be at the whole conference.

There is also a special free banquet and meet & greet for CFI members Sunday night, which I will likely attend.

[Update: the video of my talk is now available online.]


  1. Jason Goertzen says

    It was interesting for me to realize, just now, how much more open I am, now, to the possibility that Jesus never existed. A year or two ago, I would have found a comparison to Hercules as begging the question, or biased… but now it seems pretty appropriate. I think reading Ehrman’s book, finding it terrible, and finding the responses to it compelling, had the opposite effect he intended.

  2. Vince Hart says

    How about Socrates for an analogy? Historians are pretty confident that he existed and that they have writings from three people who knew him personally. Nevertheless, no one seems to be at all confident that it is possible to distinguish what he actually said from what was attributed to him by those who wrote about him. Various criteria have been proposed, but none seem to withstand close scrutiny. There doesn’t seem to be any way to eliminate the possibility that Plato simply used Socrates as a mouthpiece for his own ideas.

    HIstorical Jesus scholars, on the other hand, seem to be quite confident that they can identify the genuine nuggets of Jesus’s teachings in the gospels despite having no writings from people who knew him and knowing next to nothing about the authors of the gospels, the communities for which they wrote, or the sources upon which they drew. Even assuming a historical Jesus, the author of Mark could have relied upon a tradition that developed in a community founded by Paul where no one had any access to anyone who knew Jesus personally. Or like Plato, Mark may simply have used Jesus as a mouthpiece for his own ideas.

    The material for the historical Socrates would seem to be much more promising than the material for the historical Jesus, but Classicists are much more circumspect than New Testament scholars.