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Jul 17 2013

Update on Historicity of Jesus

My new book, On the Historicity of Jesus, has passed peer review and is now under contract to be published by a major academic press specializing in biblical studies: Sheffield-Phoenix, the publishing house of the University of Sheffield (UK). I sought four peer review reports from major professors of New Testament or Early Christianity, and two have returned their reports, approving with revisions, and those revisions have been made. Since two peers is the standard number for academic publications, we can proceed. Two others missed the assigned deadline, but I’m still hoping to get their reports and I’ll do my best to meet any revisions they require as well.

I have sent this information and more to my donors who funded my research for this project (which also produced my last book, Proving History, which set the stage for On the Historicity of Jesus). If any donors did not receive that email, please contact me right away (via [email protected]) and I’ll make sure you get a copy of that.

This is mostly good news.

The bad news is that academic publishing houses have long production timelines, so even though the book is done, it still won’t be available to the public until maybe February 2014 (six months being a common production schedule for an academic press). Also, I cannot predict when the electronic or audio editions will be available. (I’m still trying to get the audio rights for Proving History, so I can get that out on audio before the end of this year.) So even though the book is done, there will still be a long wait for it.

The publication title might also differ from the working title of On the Historicity of Jesus, and unlike some Sheffield-Phoenix releases, which come out in hardback at extreme prices and then in softback a year or two later (if ever), this will come out immediately in softback (either in lieu of or simultaneously with a hardback edition). Although that’s actually not bad news (in fact I requested it). Any hardback release will be priced over a hundred dollars; softback should be available at around thirty.

The good news is that I believe this will be the first comprehensive pro-Jesus myth book ever published by a respected academic press and under formal peer review. That lends considerable weight to the work and will gain it significant academic attention in the field. Indeed, apart from Brodie’s brief confessional treatise supportive of myth (but not comprehensively arguing for it), which was also published by Sheffield-Phoenix (Beyond the Quest for the Historical Jesus, released last year–see my review: Brodie on Jesus), I think this will be the first pro-Jesus myth book of any kind published by a university press in the last fifty years.

This is a big deal. And I have my donors to thank, who by getting me out of student debt made it possible for me to concentrate my energies on researching and writing these two books. They would not have been written otherwise. I would have wandered off onto some other project instead. This project has been rewarding and I’m very happy with the results.

118 comments

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  1. 1
    larryknight

    Your efforts are of tremendous collective benefit to humanity. Thank you for your time and dedication. Looking forward to the read.

    Larry

  2. 2
    gshelley

    How does this kind of (apparently) voluntary peer review work? In science, when we submit an article, there will almost always be revisions required. Often, they will be valid, picking out things we missed, or didn’t do well enough, but occasionally, (more often than we would like), comments are irrelevant and the reviewer may even have not understood some of the work. I suppose if you pick your own reviewers, you can at least make sure they will understand the work, but what do you do if you feel they make bad recommendations?

    That said, I am looking forward to the work and hope that being at an academic publisher won’t make it prohibitively expensive. Hopefully, it will get honest responses from the historicists, rather than the usual dismissals from people who have either not read the work and think to refute it they need only use arguments from fifty years ago, or from those who may have read the work, but take any “refutation” from someone on their side at face value, such that if it is claimed you mistranslated a word or phrase, they accept that and make no effort to see who has the stronger argument.

    1. 2.1
      Richard Carrier

      How does this kind of (apparently) voluntary peer review work? In science, when we submit an article, there will almost always be revisions required. Often, they will be valid, picking out things we missed, or didn’t do well enough, but occasionally, (more often than we would like), comments are irrelevant and the reviewer may even have not understood some of the work. I suppose if you pick your own reviewers, you can at least make sure they will understand the work, but what do you do if you feel they make bad recommendations?

      It works the same way in history as in science. An academic press will often even ask you, as standard procedure, whom you think would be best suited to peer review your submission (they will ask for as many names as possible, because being unpaid, most when asked will decline). They might not go with names you recommend, but they will consider them. And the process after that is usually triple-blind (not just the public but even you won’t know who the actual peer reviewers end up being, while the reviewers won’t be told who the author is, either, although in practice that can sometimes be guessed).

      There are almost always revisions required in their reports, and often they will list a lot of non-required suggestions as well. Generally you do your best to satisfy all requirements, even if it requires some sort of compromise. If some requirement is truly unreasonable, you can appeal to your editor, you might consult the other peer reviewer as to the merits of the first reviewers’ demands. If both reviewers say you must do it, you must do it. If one says you must and the other says you don’t, it’s the editor’s call.

      (For example: I had one paper with a peer reviewer saying I must do x but I had a whole paragraph in the article already doing that, which I can only conclude the reviewer didn’t read, and they didn’t respond to the editor’s request for clarification when I pointed this out, so the editor asked the other reviewer if my existing paragraph satisfied the first reviewer’s demand, the answer was yes, and editor agreed I wasn’t required to do anything further.)

      Occasionally (although this happens more often with journal papers than books) you will get a stubborn dogmatic douchebag of a reviewer who fails to understand (or even actually read) half of what you said and is on a tear to defend some pet thesis of his/her own and makes unreasonable demands etc. (once I an editor agreed with me that a reviewer was out of line and should be replaced with someone else, although that didn’t happen in this case). This is one reason there was a brief push to un-blind peer review so people could call out peer reviewers pursuing vendettas (since often a reviewer can tell who wrote the work they are reviewing, and personal grudges enter in; or they have some irrational bias against the thesis that no evidence could ever persuade them out of, and authors often complained of not having been assigned a more reasonable reviewer). But there is a reason that fashion didn’t catch on…

      It is the most common procedure in academic publishing to have peer review be at least single-blind (the public won’t know who peer reviewed a work, the editor will simply ensure they have adequate credentials etc., while the author might know who the peer reviewers are and the peer reviewers might know who the author is). The reason peer review is kept anonymous to the public (and as much as possible to the authors as well) is to ensure academic freedom, since peer reviewers must be free to give honest judgments without fearing attacks on their career or reputation (as for example Ehrman and others have threatened to do, and has actually happened before: see my discussion of this here and here). For that very reason I won’t be naming my reviewers unless they give me permission (and I’m not inclined to put them on the spot by asking).

      My own effort to line up formal peer reviewers (which I started before I got a publisher in order to speed up the pipeline to publication) was to find peers who held diverse opinions of the thesis but whose work in the field is exemplary and whose judgment I highly respected (and who held ranking professorships in the field). Before reading the manuscript, one was sympathetic to the thesis, one was undecided as to its merits, and two others were actively opposed to the thesis (but not irrationally).

      I am looking forward to the work and hope that being at an academic publisher won’t make it prohibitively expensive.

      It won’t be. It would have been, but I talked them into the economical course (even though that will reduce my royalties). The book will likely list in the vicinity of thirty five dollars (US), give or take, which is high for a paperback but unavoidable due to the low return expected for academic monographs.

  3. 3
    Myself

    February?!? Damn. Well, kudos nevertheless. But oh the anticipation…

  4. 4
    Reginald Selkirk

    Congrats.

  5. 5
    Sid Martin

    Congratulations. This is indeed a major advancement. The title could be more engaging, perhaps. My own book, Secret of the Savior: The Myth of the Messiah in Mark, is due out in August. Perhaps you would care to review it. My view is that Jesus is a composite character. There are many historical Jesuses, from Joshua on. There is little to suggest a specific person named Jesus who lived at the time and place of the Gospel. The Gospel of Mark is a myth about history. Jesus is the personification of divine salvation, which is what the name “Jesus” means. I hope this book, as well as yours, will make significant contributions to the study of the Jesus question.

    1. 5.1
      Richard Carrier

      Tell your publisher (either your editor or, if there is one, the assigned publicist for your book) to contact me at [email protected] to arrange sending me a review copy (I will only deal with an official at a publisher).

      I can’t guarantee I’ll review it, but I’ll certainly read it.

  6. 6
    Steve Watson

    Super news, congratulations. 100$ an extreme price? For a unique work, the first of it’s kind? For platinum quality scholarship that, on past evidence, will be engagingly and entertainingly written? The price is more than acceptable.

    Cheers, I look forward to an absorbing read.

  7. 7
    Antoinette Osmena

    I look forward to reading this book.

  8. 8
    Ben Holman

    How many pages will the book be?

    1. 8.1
      Richard Carrier

      I don’t know. Too many factors affect that (formatting, font, paper type). But it will be large. Twice the size of Proving History. This is mostly due to an extensive examination of the Gospels in one chapter, and two chapters surveying background evidence, which three combined make about half the book.

      The latter was necessitated by so many scholars I’ve discussed the thesis with revealing to me that they don’t know basic things; any one scholar might know most but not one or two, and every scholar lacks knowledge of a different one or two, so adding up all the things I was going to rely on as established background knowledge that at least some scholar won’t know, filled a third of the book. But I’ve created a very clean organization for those chapters, so it won’t just be endless pages of undemarcated prose. I break it all down into 44 numbered claims about ancient religion, literature, etc., and the origins of Christianity, which should be agreed upon. And then prove them.

      Then, as one might imagine, about half the rest of the book is taken up by chapters surveying the evidence of the Epistles and the Extrabiblical evidence.

      Incidentally, the TOC is:

      (Preface)

      1. The Problem
      2. The Hypothesis of Historicity
      3. The Hypothesis of Myth
      4. Background Knowledge (Christianity)
      5. Background Knowledge (Context)
      6. The Prior Probability
      7. Primary Source Material
      8. Extrabiblical Evidence
      9. The Acts of the Apostles
      10. The Gospels
      11. The Epistles
      12. Conclusion

      (Index)

    2. 8.2
      Mark Erickson

      Looks like you took the biblical evidence in reverse chronological order? Any reason? Do you address all epistles and/or concentrate on some?

    3. Richard Carrier

      I concentrate. Generally throughout the book I bracket the evidence into useful and useless: evidence that can’t actually logically affect the conclusion is not analyzed (like, for example, the Pastoral Epistles, which nearly everyone agrees are second century forgeries).

      I originally had the evidence chapters in chrono order but the flow of argument didn’t work. Interpretation of the Epistles is so heavily laden with assumptions about how we interpret the Gospels that it simply isn’t possible to discuss the Epistles without having first covered the Gospels. And likewise the Gospels are surprisingly often interpreted with assumptions about Acts and then the extrabiblical evidence. A bonus effect is a more building, suspenseful read (as we go further back in time).

      Amusingly, of course, we can expect my opponents to accuse me of doing it this way as a nefarious evil tactic to corrupt innocent minds.

    4. 8.3
      Manoj Joseph

      Re: 8.1

      Hello Richard,

      Earl Doherty in the Jesus Puzzle mentions the parallels between the wisdom sayings in Q and the teachings of cynic and stoic philosophers. Not sure if this is important for your case, but in your book, do you try to establish these parallels? If not, can you point to a book I could read about these parallels. I have been curious about it since I read Doherty’s books. :)

      Thanks!
      Manoj

    5. Richard Carrier

      In On the Historicity of Jesus (the book due out this February) I have a paragraph on the scholarship pertaining to that claim, with a footnote that gives an extensive bibliography. It is not essential to my argument, but it’s an example of the sort of thing one needs to consider (and that experts in the field seriously do consider), for a number of different reasons I spell out there. In short, Doherty is not making that up; he’s referencing a real and significant debate among experts in the field (a debate that Christian apologists often mischaracterize, with black-and-white thinking; the bibliography I present will clue people in to the real nuances of how that debate is actually proceeding in the field).

  9. 9
    Roland Tignor

    Who are the four major professors that reviewed your book?
    Thanks

    1. 9.1
      Richard Carrier

      See comment above.

  10. 10
    David John Wellman

    Congrats, Richard, and I can’t wait to give it a read. :-)

  11. 11
    Sili

    Now we just need someone to present an honest and coherent case for the historical Jesus. Ehrman obviously couldn’t be bothered.

    I fear the only one with the honesty to do it is Mark Goodacre.

  12. 12
    didgen

    Congratulations, looking forward to the read.

  13. 13
    marella

    I do hope it’s going to be available on Kindle. Shipping costs to Australia being what they are, to say nothing of running out of house-space, I have sworn a vow only to buy Kindle books unless it’s absolutely necessary.

    1. 13.1
      Richard Carrier

      It will be available in some e-format, which should mean kindle. I won’t know specifics until the end of the year. My publisher is still discussing it in-house.

  14. 14
    Rick Sumner

    This is good news. Sheffield, no less. Congratulations. I have to say I certainly didn’t expect to find such an esteemed imprint on the volume. Were you expecting an academic press to pan out? Or had you presumed you would have to self-publish?

    1. 14.1
      Richard Carrier

      I had some other publishers interested, but they were smaller and not academic presses.

      My donors and I have all wanted academic publication if possible. Even when I did Proving History with Prometheus, I insisted my contract include that it be formally peer reviewed by a professor of mathematics and a professor of biblical studies (just as would have been the case at any academic press), and I was expecting the same for On the Historicity of Jesus. But when I realized my reviewers were impressed by the work (and they are names of some renown), I asked Sheffield-Phoenix (and, with permission, put them in touch with my reviewers) because they dared to publish Brodie’s work, so I thought mine might have a chance. The rest is history.

      Had they said no, I had some other academic presses in mind to try. But I didn’t need to.

  15. 15
    Randall Johnson

    Any chance for an audio version? Easily tired old eyes with inquiring minds want to know.

    1. 15.1
      Richard Carrier

      There will definitely be an audio version. Eventually. The only question is when.

  16. 16
    PeadarMacCionnaith

    When you ‘prove’ claims, will the proof relate to probability involving the theorem of a certain Reverend Bayes?

    1. 16.1
      Richard Carrier

      Oh, most definitely.

      But I only do that explicitly for the overall argument to ahistoricity. The background evidence I only defend with implicit Bayesian logic (and explain that general point in a single note).

  17. 17
    Drew

    If the hard-cover version is over $100, please tell me it will leather bound with gilt edges. I could imagine paying the fee for such a tome.

    1. 17.1
      Richard Carrier

      Ironically, I could probably get a paperback bound in leather with (albeit faux) gilt edges for less than $100. No, seriously. I know an actual bookbinder in Berkeley and I’ve priced his work before.

  18. 18
    Ray Staroof

    I caught Reza Aslan on the Daily Show promoting his new book “Zealot.” Just wondering if you have any opinions on this work or Aslan in general.

    1. 18.1
      Richard Carrier

      I haven’t read his book, but the Zealot thesis has had many a respectable proponent before. It’s one of the stock “versions of the historical Jesus” among the dozens defended.

    2. 18.2
      RParvus

      I suspect that the Son of God had no real sympathy for the zealot cause but—-in order to trick the powers that be into killing Him—-He descended one day and surreptitiously switched places with a zealot who was being led away for crucifixion. Like Paul, we should not blame the Romans for that deed. They were just doing what they were supposed to be doing: punishing apparent evildoers. Mere humans cannot be expected to see through the disguise of the Son of God.

      But the guilt of the spirit powers that were behind Roman rule is another matter. They were so blinded by pride that they were even unaware of any power above them: “For they have denied me and said, ‘We alone are and there is none beside us” (Ascension of Isaiah 10:13). It was that culpable pride that allowed the Son to slip by them and play his terrible trick unnoticed. Thus, the responsibility for the Son’s crucifixion fell squarely on them, and they were accordingly punished by being stripped of their dominion over man.

      Thank God that his Son decided to disguise himself as a zealot for a few hours!

  19. 19
    Rick Sumner

    re:14.1

    Glad that it panned out. I’m a Jesus as literary construct-ist myself (to steal Verenna’s clunky term), so am eager to see the conversation the current atmosphere promises for this. Congratulations, and thanks for eliminating an excuse not to take it seriously.

  20. 20
    jaliet

    Congratulations. I will actually set aside some cash for this book.

  21. 21
    Li Francucci

    Dr. Carrier, is there any chance this book will be published in spanish?

    1. 21.1
      Richard Carrier

      Probably not. Most of my books I own outright so I can distribute foreign language rights very generously. But the last two (that one and Proving History) are controlled by publishers who would have to be negotiated with. And that often hits a wall. Which is out of my hands, unfortunately.

      Basically, if you know anyone willing to undertake the thankless and arduous task of translating any of my books (books I am sole author of), and they have the skill to do it (since this would be college level work I think), they should contact me directly to discuss it (at [email protected]), unless it’s Proving History or Historicity of Jesus: in those cases, they need to contact the respective publishers and negotiate a foreign language rights contract with them (which can sometimes be frustrating and might get nowhere, so I sympathize if that happens; I don’t have any control over it).

      So far I have not received any requests from translators keen to take on the task of translating the other books I control into Spanish. But let me tell you what I generally offer as a contract (in any foreign language): I grant the right to translate and publish the translation on your own for free (which means you pay me nothing, but everything else is still entirely at your own expense; these days, publishing through Amazon via CreateSpace is essentially free, but the chore of translating is time consuming and formatting and producing the book through CreateSpace has a learning curve, and I don’t know to what extent this can be done from other countries). Until your gross returns become substantial (if they ever do; benchmark is maybe five thousand American dollars equivalent) then after that I take a 5% royalty (on list price) on all further sales. You keep all other returns (and that’s really a small compensation for all the labor of translating and producing an edition). I also require any such edition to have a caveat at the front explaining that the translation was produced with the permission of the original author but he can’t vouch for the accuracy of the translation.

      My other publishers won’t be as generous, and they might be stuffy about who the translator is.

  22. 22
    Uncle Ebeneezer

    Can’t wait to read this. You probably address this in the book, but if I may ask: why do you think it took so long for anyone to really approach this subject from a solid historical perspective? I mean 2 millenia is a pretty long time for such a question to stand unexplored (with academic vigor) on such a popular subject. What prevented other historians from approaching this subject in a similar way many years earlier? I assume the protective bubble of religion and the smear-campaign/stigma usually aimed at challengers has played a pretty big role in deterring this avenue of inquiry. Along with the only-theologians-understand-this-stuff mentality. And restricted access to information in the past.

    1. 22.1
      Richard Carrier

      I’m not sure I understand the question.

      In the first century no one cared about Christianity enough to write about it except Christians (or if otherwise, all such literature has been destroyed, including even mentions of it), and by the time objective observers became interested, all information had been lost (as we can tell from Celsus, for example, the critic of c. 160 AD, who had no information relevant to the origin of Christianity other than the canonical Gospels and Jewish polemics against them, so the information by then was effectively lost or inaccessible to anyone whose works still survive).

      After that the Christian sect that prevailed in the middle ages controlled all documents to survive into the present day, and thus destroyed or let rot all other information. So we only have the work of gullible fanatics in the Christian church like Eusebius (and it is evident from his history of the church, written in the 4th century, that he had no sources for the first century other than our New Testament, and after that only scattered sources of such dubious reliability that sometimes even he questions them).

      Beginning in the 17th or 18th century objective historians started taking up the question again in a more rigorous manner, but their access to sources was limited by what (mainly) Catholics let survive the middle ages, and their methods were relatively primitive. Historical methods only became sufficiently rigorous to be heedable around the middle of the 20th century. By then, Christians had framed the debate and defined the mainstream and policed anyone who tried to deviate from it (squabbles could only succeed around sectarian divisions, and not really challenge the core narrative of Christian origins). Gradually, decade after decade after that, more academic freedom and creativity prevailed, until we ended up where we are now. Fighting to topple the last wall of resistance to objectively considering the evidence for Christianity’s origins.

    2. 22.2
      Uncle Ebeneezer

      Sorry for the confusing question, but you answered it perfectly. Thanks.

  23. 23
    Ozymandias, King of Kings!

    Looking forward to reading On The Historicity of Jesus. I thank your supporters as well, because their generosity has made it possible for me to read a logically rigorous discussion on a subject I find fascinating :)

  24. 24
    Eric Rodvan

    I will probably buy your book even though I disagree with your conclusions. However, did you convince any of the professors to become mythicist?

    1. 24.1
      Richard Carrier

      Ask me that question in ten years.

  25. 25
    Afzal

    This and the Graham Oppy (who flays Bill Craig in ‘Arguing about Gods;- book ought to be translated into Arabic. One of these days I’m going to write the islam delusion….)

  26. 26
    kellie

    I am really looking forward to this book- I just wish I didn’t have to wait until February! I found your website via Amazon. Seriously, all I have been looking for is a non biased, well grounded, strictly historical study on Jesus Christ. I don’t want religious rhetoric or atheist condescension- I just want it laid out for me: what do we KNOW, historically, about the man called Jesus of Nazereth. I thought I would find it in Bart Ehrman’s book, but apparently not. I hope to find out in yours.

  27. 27
    Barry

    Congratulations on the book. I think this is a work whose time has come but needed a capable author., and as they say “cometh the hour, cometh the man.” This is the most anticipated title on my reading list by a wide margin.

  28. 28
    lreadl

    I look forward to the Kindle edition which I intend to buy upon release . A couple of questions: 1) will you be teaching a course based on the book at CFI after it becomes available? 2) Do you plan a review of Reza Aslan’s new book; and if not, what do you think of it?

    1. 28.1
      Richard Carrier

      (1) I don’t know. That would be late next year at the earliest, so that’s a long time off.

      (2) No. There are hundreds of books on Jesus (even several on the Zealot thesis). There isn’t any more reason to read this one than any other. Unless Aslan proposes a new methodology (which reviews indicate he doesn’t), his will be just one more flawed application of the same methodology I’ve shown to be invalid in Proving History.

  29. 29
    Will

    I just heard Maurice Casey is offering up a rebuttal to the mythicist conclusion..
    http://www.bloomsbury.com/us/jesus-evidence-and-argument-or-mythicist-myths-9780567592248/

    Any thoughts on his work in general? I know he is a respected scholar in the field and that he is also part of the Hoffmanian triumvirate, which from what i’ve read seems like alot of axe-grinding vitriole. Do you expect this to be a better effort than Ehrman’s?

    1. 29.1
      Richard Carrier

      By some inside knowledge, I hear it is multiply flawed, but better than Ehrman’s attempt. I have no access to a copy yet. But it looks like it will be generally available this month to libraries in e-format only. The physical book is slated for March of 2014. That will be too late for me to respond to it in my own book. But I’ll see if I can find any library copies I can access in the meantime.

      Casey is known for a bit of grandiosity (he thinks his theory of an Aramaic source strata behind Mark is unquestionable, whereas the field generally has been lukewarm and frequently critical of it). And he can rage write (his book against the historical reliability of the Gospel of John angered a lot of people because of its tone, although I’m not endorsing that reaction to it myself).

      From the Table of Contents and official description, it looks like he over-generalizes (he seems to be lumping all mythicists together), and just attacks naive forms of the syncretism hypothesis and over-trusts the Gospels and apologetical readings of the Epistles. But we’ll see.

  30. 30
    Peter Stanbridge

    Thank you for the update, this is very good news as I am very keen to understand the arguments in depth. Although I do hope it is printed in hardback as I prefer them to a softcover (even if it means buying less books).However, in whatever format, I will be purchasing this one as proving history has been so helpful to me.

    On Will’s mention of Casey, I am struggling to find anything substantial about exactly what the Aramaic source strata behind Q really means or implications are?

    I am finding the whole Q question quite confusing. I am just finishing Burton Mack’s book on Q, which seems a reasonable (but not very technical) argument for the 3 tiered sources in the Jesus Movement but have since realised that there are several theories still going around. Do you have any comments on Tuckett’s book on Q (I am thinking of buying that too, since I have read it argues against Mack).

    1. 30.1
      Richard Carrier

      I haven’t bothered with those. I read Kloppenborg vs. Goodacre (and camp). Team Goodacre wins hands down. All Kloppenborg has in rebuttal is “I don’t think Luke would act like that” (which is basically a historian playing time-traveling psychic and not a real argument).

      As to the Aramaic argument, you’d have to read Casey’s book, but he sort of wants to argue that an Aramaic source collection was composed in the 30s or 40s AD and therefore some narratives about Jesus go back to eyewitnesses. (Note that Casey argues for an Aramaic source behind Mark as well as Q. He has separate books on each.)

  31. 31
    Mikael Smith

    Hi Richard!
    Could it be possible that I could send you a private e-mail about the arguments in the Not the impossible faith? I am debating a Christian, and I used lots of your arguments. Now I need your help with them, because I don’t know how to answer that Christian, who seem to debunk my every claim.

    1. 31.1
      Richard Carrier

      You can, but I can take weeks or months to answer email (my in box typically has a backlog of many hundreds of emails at any given time). Facebook messages can get a quicker response, taking me maybe a week to get to.

    2. Peter Stanbridge

      And I think it would be good to open up some of the arguments Richard. Keeping it private doesn’t really help other people needing to see the types of responses and arguments given by Christians people like yourself (and all of us over time) are actually meeting and discussing with.

    3. Richard Carrier

      I’m not a “Christians people” so I don’t know what you mean by that. And whether someone wants to contact me privately is their business, not yours.

    4. 31.2
      Mikael Smith

      Ok, maybe I contact you via FB. I think lot of the arguments are not unfamiliar to you.

    5. 31.3
      Mikael Smith

      Hi again,

      I send you an FB message, but I think you don’t have to respond to that in anyway. I think I can handle this situation on my own. There seems to be couple of difficult argument from the Christian, where I would need your expertise to debunk those arguments, but I’ll post them later here so anybody that has encountered them or will encounter, shall have already a good response to them.

      I think I just had a little bit a panic attack when he answered my claim with a 50 page response (mine was 10 pages). But it seems that there is very little new things that I have not read.

    6. 31.4
      Peter Stanbridge

      Ops, sorry Richard, I didn’t write that very well at all. What I meant is your responses to the arguments of Christian people (I wrote “Christians” when I meant “Christian”). Thus how you would respond to the arguments of the Christian who responded to Mikael’s use of your books. Of course it is Mikael’s business if he wants to speak with you privately, I hadn’t suggested otherwise. But I hope perfectly legitimate for me to suggest that it would be helpful for others here to see the arguments and responses to them.

    7. Richard Carrier

      I must not understand the context. What “Christian who responded to Mikael’s use of your books” are you referring to?

      Oh wait…

      I see Mikael has filled me in somewhat. That’s a debate between him and you (or whoever).

  32. 32
    Peter Stanbridge

    Mikael said originally “…..about the arguments in the Not the impossible faith? I am debating a Christian, and I used lots of your arguments. Now I need your help with them, because I don’t know how to answer that Christian, who seem to debunk my every claim” – so when I read that, I was thinking that if he is having problems with a Christian making debunking counter claims, probably many others like myself could learn something from how you might respond.

  33. 33
    per-olov

    Hallo dr Carrier. Good luck with your book. But I do have a question. I had been said that you describe euhemrisation as a process there mythological goods are transfered to actual persons in a historical context. Is this an accurate description.

    1. 33.1
      Richard Carrier

      I would word it this way (and you can read more about this on Wikipedia): to Euhemerize a cosmic or mythical person is to assume they began as an actual historical person and invent a real time period and place and biography for them and promote that as the truth (in some sense or other); but in reality they were never that.

  34. 34
    Mikael Smith

    1. You wrote at NIF p. 297, that “there is no evidence Christians ever used any female testimony to promote the Gospel”. By this do you mean some specific Gospel, like Mark or do you mean the whole picture about the “good news” of Christianity?

    2. NTReliabilitySlideshow.PDF. I would like to have some sources to your arguments in that slideshow:
    A) You talk about harmonizations. You said: “We can identify at least a hundred such harmonizations in the first five hundred years for which we have manuscripts”. Have you written somewhere about these harmonizations? What is your source to say there is over hundred of those?

    B) You talk about interpolations. You said that “four examples out of maybe a hundred we know of:” Is there a list that would show all the interpolations we know of?

    C) What is your source for spelling mistakes in 1 Cor. 15:51?

    3. If we talk about interpolations in the Gospels, what do you think is the reason for those? Why writers would insert text to what they were copying? If they thought that what they insert is important, then why they would not make Jesus say something, for example, concerning relationship between Gentiles and Jews, or circumcision, or what kind of food can Gentiles (that turn to Christianity) or Christian Jews eat, or concerning food offered to Idols (1. Cor. 8), or whatever the letters in NT are discussing of. Those kind of things were crucial from year 30 forward. Letters show us that what kind of problems and questions early Christian groups had. So it would be strange if those kind of things would not be solved by making Jesus say something about those.

    Second important thing here are the Gospels themselves. We know that Matthew and Luke used Mark as their source (+ Q and M and L). They are not making major changes to what Mark wrote. Why would they use Mark as their source if they could just invent everything? If we are claiming that writers made Jesus say something he did not say we would have to answer that why Matthew and Luke did use Mark as they did (meaning, didn’t change a lot of things and did not put words in Jesus’ mouth). If Matthew and Luke didn’t change much of what Mark said and did not put words in Jesus’ mouth, then doesn’t this show that this kind of inventing were not taking place at least when Matthew and Luke were written? What actually is the evidence that this kind of things (putting words in Jesus’ mouth) happened in the Gospels?

    Have you written about these thing somewhere that I could read?

    4. What kind of evidence is there for different kinds of competing Christianities? How many sects we know of?

    1. 34.1
      Richard Carrier

      1. You wrote at NIF p. 297, that “there is no evidence Christians ever used any female testimony to promote the Gospel”. By this do you mean some specific Gospel, like Mark or do you mean the whole picture about the “good news” of Christianity?

      I mean what the context says: we have no evidence anyone ever walked up to a non-Christian and cited a woman’s testimony in their effort to convert them to Christianity.

      2. NTReliabilitySlideshow.PDF. I would like to have some sources to your arguments in that slideshow:
      A) You talk about harmonizations. You said: “We can identify at least a hundred such harmonizations in the first five hundred years for which we have manuscripts”. Have you written somewhere about these harmonizations? What is your source to say there is over hundred of those?

      My own personal count, from the apparatus of the UBS Greek text. And that turns out to be a significant undercount, since I have since acquired the Swanson series, which documents many variants inexplicably omitted from the UBS apparatus (and Swanson never even completed his series–nor was he collating all available manuscripts, either).

      B) You talk about interpolations. You said that “four examples out of maybe a hundred we know of:” Is there a list that would show all the interpolations we know of?

      Ditto (both points, in fact).

      C) What is your source for spelling mistakes in 1 Cor. 15:51?

      The same UBS text (p. 606, n. 6). And again, I now know Swanson documents even more variants than are included there.

      3. If we talk about interpolations in the Gospels, what do you think is the reason for those? Why writers would insert text to what they were copying? If they thought that what they insert is important, then why they would not make Jesus say something, for example, concerning relationship between Gentiles and Jews, or circumcision, or what kind of food can Gentiles (that turn to Christianity) or Christian Jews eat, or concerning food offered to Idols (1. Cor. 8), or whatever the letters in NT are discussing of. Those kind of things were crucial from year 30 forward. Letters show us that what kind of problems and questions early Christian groups had. So it would be strange if those kind of things would not be solved by making Jesus say something about those.

      The texts already say what Christians needed on those points. They could pick and choose or interpret as needed. What motivated specific individual scribes to make specific individual changes to the text, and not others, is multivariable and not terribly predictable. For example, why the many weird changes to the ending of Mark, but not other more obvious ones (like adding in the more impressive resurrection material of John)? We’ll never know. All we do know is that many scribes tried changing the text in all sorts of weird ways and we can only speculate on why. Ditto every other change.

      One might theorize that when they wanted to really change things a lot, they just forged a whole document (e.g. 3 Corinthians), but when they wanted to get away with little changes, they felt comfortable trying to sneak changes into an existing text (e.g. meddling with the wording or sneaking in a verse or two). And possibly selection effects then decided which examples survive for us to know about them: e.g. Marcion’s vast revisioning of the NT canonical texts has not survived at all, evidently too much meddling to gain enough people’s approval, whereas small changes could be more acceptable or unnoticed or persuaded to be authentic. Thus possibly some scribes did all the things you wonder about, and those versions of the text simply weren’t selected for transmission.

      But that’s all just idle speculation. We can document the meddling regardless. Why they did it (and why they didn’t do other things) is not relevant to that evidence.

      Second important thing here are the Gospels themselves. We know that Matthew and Luke used Mark as their source (+ Q and M and L). They are not making major changes to what Mark wrote.

      They are by adding to it and changing it around (and leaving things out–not everything Mark wrote is in Matthew or Luke). Matthew is what is called a redaction of Mark. Matthew simply liked what he borrowed, and simply left out what he didn’t like, and then added what he wanted. Although even the text of Mark Matthew sometimes changed. Ditto Luke.

      Why would they use Mark as their source if they could just invent everything?

      That’s what the author of the Gospel of John did.

      Some people just wrote their own Gospels (e.g. GJohn, GJudas, etc.). Other people revised an existing Gospel they otherwise liked or knew was respected but thought they could improve on (e.g. GMatthew, GPeter).

      Matthew, for example, may have been trying to say his is the true Gospel and Mark is just a crappy redaction of it (when we know it’s most probably the other way around), that’s one possible reason why he uses Markan material, so it would look like Mark is a reduction of Matthew. Or possibly he did it because it was easy and Matthew was lazy (there is actually evidence for the latter hypothesis, called copyist fatigue: Matthew’s borrowing from Mark is more creative at first but gradually becomes more verbatim as the text continues, indicating Matthew was getting tired of revising the text he was redacting and started just copying verbatim because it was easier).

      If we are claiming that writers made Jesus say something he did not say we would have to answer that why Matthew and Luke did use Mark as they did (meaning, didn’t change a lot of things and did not put words in Jesus’ mouth). If Matthew and Luke didn’t change much of what Mark said and did not put words in Jesus’ mouth, then doesn’t this show that this kind of inventing were not taking place at least when Matthew and Luke were written? What actually is the evidence that this kind of things (putting words in Jesus’ mouth) happened in the Gospels?

      But they all did change what Jesus said. A lot. They changed what Mark said and put words in Jesus’ mouth by not only sometimes actually altering Mark, but most often by adding to Mark (and selectively deleting from Mark). So this shows widespread and unchecked invention. Not the other way around.

      4. What kind of evidence is there for different kinds of competing Christianities? How many sects we know of?

      Too many to count, even from the evidence we have (because many sects are discussed without being named, while others were conflated, so we don’t know how to make an exact count); and the evidence we have suggests there were many more than even get mentioned in any fashion at all (e.g. we’ve uncovered texts attesting to sectarian views nowhere else mentioned in extant literature). The attempts of Christian patrists to count them (e.g. Irenaeus, Hippolytus, Epiphanius) are gross undercounts because they don’t count them all (as we can tell by comparing the different counts, and seeing that the lists aren’t identical; as well as by noticing discussions of sectarian views in other literature, that are nowhere discussed in the counted lists; and so on).

      I don’t know if there is any modern book that attempts anything like as complete a count as we can muster (which for reasons noted above we already know will also be an undercount). But perhaps a place to start is Lost Christianities. That’s certainly not comprehensive. But it will give you an idea of how large the count is even when not comprehensive. Then compare what he doesn’t discuss with what’s in Early Christian Heresies, and understand that the latter is not even comprehensive either, and you’ll start to get the picture.

  35. 35
    per-olov

    Thanks for the answer dr Carrier. But I have all ready read wiki and other sourced as well.

    Actually euhemiration seams to be the quite opposite yo ehat you says.

    That mythical gods originally were real persons transfered into divine myths. zThid is really confusing.

    1. 35.1
      Richard Carrier

      I don’t know where you get the idea of euhemerization being “mythical gods originally were real persons transfered into divine myths,” since the -ize means to transform into, to make into. Thus, a mythical god is made into a historical god, via euhemerization. Euhemerus did this, and then it became a trend to do it. That the people who do it think they are getting factual results is besides the point that the gods in question started mythical and were only made historical later–they were euhemer-ized.

  36. 36
    per-olov

    And please pardon the poor spelling. I am using a very small iphone.

  37. 37
    per-olov

    Lets clarify my point. Euhemeros speculated that gods like Zeus Osiris and Mithras originally were real persons. As far as we know they were never actually portrayed as that.

    1. 37.1
      Richard Carrier

      Oh no, Euhemerus explicitly portrayed them as that. He did not theorize. He actually wrote a historical account, in which they were historical. I don’t think he mentions this being a speculation. Likewise everyone thereafter (e.g. Plutarch does not say his assumption that Romulus was historical is speculation; he assumes it’s correct and then writes his biography, simply assuming he was historical, even though we know he was not originally so).

  38. 38
    Keith Berman

    Really looking forward to a truly modern scholarly work on this subject.
    You may need to give us a teaser on Youtube in the meantime!

  39. 39
    per-olov

    It is quite clear that the wiki article says,correctly i believe, that euhemrization is a process there historcial persons are mythologizised as gods. Its not the other Way round.

    1. 39.1
      Richard Carrier

      If a wikipedia article says that (I didn’t see such a statement), it’s incorrect. That would be confusing what Euhemerizers thought was true, with what was actually happening. It would also be exactly not what Euhemerus did (he started with a mythical Zeus and invented a historical Zeus out of that) and thus getting exactly the wrong way around what “doing what Euhemerus did” would be doing.

  40. 40
    per-olov

    Moore crucially were do we find stories there Zeus Osiris and Mithras are portrayed as humanbeings. Romulus were all ways understood as that, all though mytological.

    1. 40.1
      Richard Carrier

      Euhemerus was the first to make Zeus a human being (hence doing that is called “Euhemerization”). It’s unclear when Osiris was first made into a historical human (the stories appear in the Greco-Roman period, but not in the preceding Egyptian period). It’s much harder to determine this for Mithras since we lack almost all relevant texts, but the best we can make out he began a mythical deity in Zoroastrianism and probably acquired a historical framework upon the adaptation of his cult into a Hellenistic mystery religion (which was most likely around the same time Christianity began). But we can’t test that due to the paucity of surviving data.

  41. 41
    per-olov

    And of course I do mean stories from the believers. Not speculative stories from an atheist like Euhemrods.Who tried to find natursl causes certalnly not promote the cults.

    1. 41.1
      Richard Carrier

      Euhemer-IZING is making a mythical deity historical. That worshippers then believe the Euhemerization is not itself Euhemerization. It’s just religion.

  42. 42
    per-olov

    Actually i have to correct my self. E. is not a process there factual persons are transformed to gods. Neither is it that mytological persons are transformef to factuals.

    E. is an attempt to interpret myths as history.

    1. 42.1
      Richard Carrier

      Correct.

  43. 43
    per-olov

    The crucial poin there is that the beliehers in the pagan gods never believed their gods to have beeen human beings. Therefore youre theory about about Jesus if true is not an example of euhemirzation.

    Interpretationd among naturalist philosophers of gods as human beings must not bee confused with an,unproven, praxis among believers to have done such transformations.

    Therefore the process of ehemerization is kot an argument in favor of the ahistorical Jesus hypothes.

    1. 43.1
      Richard Carrier

      Huh? Euhemerus took mythical cosmic gods (Zeus and Uranus) and made up a history for them and put that history as occurring on earth, and presented them as mere men, later deified. That is exactly what my theory holds the Christians did to Jesus. Doing exactly what Euhemerus did is by definition “Euhemerizing.”

      And this is nor an argument for my thesis. It is a description of the thesis.

      Can you not tell the difference between describing a hypothesis and the evidence for that hypothesis?

  44. 44
    per-olov

    No Euhemeros did what he did as an atempt to explain the origin of the pagan myths. He himself was not a believer in those cults.He was certainly not trying to promote the cults. He tried to prove that the gods actually never were gods at all.

    To assume that religous sect should have transfered their spiritual god to an eartlhly but still divine messias is obviously somehing completely different.

    1. 44.1
      Richard Carrier

      That doesn’t matter. What Euhemerus did is still what it means to be doing what Euhemerus did. Who believes it is irrelevant.

      You will find a nice discussion of this fact in Plutarch’s On Isis and Osiris.

  45. 45
    per-olov

    As for the difference between describing a hyphothese and making arguments för it. I am aware of this difference.But I understand you as you arguing thatvit was a colmon practice among religious sects to transfer there divintys into human beings. Perhaps I get you wrong.

    1. 45.1
      Richard Carrier

      It was a common practice. And someone had to do it at some point (e.g. transfer Romulus from myth to history). And people bought it at some point. There are a variety of different reasons why someone will euhemerize, and a variety of different effects it can have on a cult. But there’s a difference between the causes and effects of euhemerization, which can be various, and actually doing the euhemerizing itself.

  46. 46
    per-olov

    So what you are saying is basically that the difference between natural philosphers dissmising gods as mythological but real persons and a religious cults transforming their spiritual gods into earthly but divine human beings.

    Well then god name any certain example then a religious cult were doing what you call euhemirisation.

    Or could you give us any example then an euhemirization carried out of atheists were accepted of the believers. Neither Osiris or Romulus may be said to match this requirement.

    1. 46.1
      Richard Carrier

      The first sentence is a sentence fragment (it lacks a predicate). So I can’t answer it.

      As for Osiris and Romulus, we know for a fact both started as cosmological beings (the Romulus story was originally told of a Greek deity in a foreign land, while the god in Rome was a totem spirit; the Osiris story was originally told of a sky god, embodied in but not identical with all Pharaohs, not any specific one), and then later became euhemerized (placed in a definite time in history and narrated as historical men later deified). We do not know who did the euhemerizing originally or why. It doesn’t matter who, or why. It was done. Period. The evidence proves it. Osiris and Romulus were once non-historical cosmic gods, and then centuries later were transformed into historical men later deified. That is euhemerization. That cult believers then embraced both is also well in evidence, so again it doesn’t matter why or how that happened, we still know it happened.

  47. 47
    per-olov

    Romulus were always portayed as a human being. As far as we know he was always understod as a factual person of the romans.

    Therefore you could hardly say that he was euhemirazed.

    1. 47.1
      Richard Carrier

      Incorrect. Romulus got a historical story no earlier than the 4th century. But he was then placed as living in history in the 8th. In the intervening centuries he was a totem spirit (the spirit-guardian of the city of Rome), not a man. When he was placed in history, story elements of Greek mythical heroes were borrowed and redacted to fit Roman interests, along with Etruscan mythology, and then mapped onto Romulus, thus transforming him into a historical person.

      See Gary Forsythe, A Critical History of Early Rome (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2005), pp. 93-102; Robin Hard and H.J. Rose, The Routledge Handbook of Greek Mythology (New York: Routledge, 2004), pp. 600-602; Timothy Wiseman, The Myths of Rome (Exeter: University of Exeter Press, 2004), pp. 138-48; Dylan Saylor, ‘Dirty Linen, Fabrication, and the Authorities of Livy and Augustus’, Transactions of the American Philological Association 136 (Autumn 2006), pp. 329-88.

  48. 48
    per-olov

    I most certainly find it hard to imagine that the romans believed their city to have been founded of a totem spirit.

    Neither seems that to be a commonly approved theory. But moore crucially in whqt ancient source is RomulUs described as that.

    1. 48.1
      Richard Carrier

      You are confusing later myths with the original cults. Romulus is simply “Little Rome” (the predecessor to Roma, the female aspect, who was developed as a goddess only after Romulus became equated with Quirinus, Son of Mars). In antiquity all physical entities were assumed to have celestial or supernatural deities attached to them as their guardian spirits. Thus for every city, there is a “God” who represents it in heaven or who resides within it like its soul, or both (likewise often regions and continents, e.g. the Goddess Africa). The notion that the earliest guardian spirit of Rome was a historical person didn’t exist until the 4th century, when Greek and Etruscan stories (about completely different people and deities) were adapted into a new tale of the city’s founding, which made Romulus into a historical founder with a family and stories.

      For sources, I gave you a whole bibliography.

  49. 49
    per-olov

    I asked about the ancient source. Nöt modern books hovever interesting they may be.
    A
    A

    1. 49.1
      Richard Carrier

      Ancient history doesn’t work that way. It’s not like we have newspaper archives from the period. What happened has to be reconstructed from bits and pieces of evidence from diverse origins, some archaeological some literary, some accurate some inaccurate. That’s what scholarship is for, and why you have to read scholarly reconstructions of what happened in the ancient world, because that’s the only way you can ever know.

  50. 50
    per-olov

    So it is basically a theory. Is it a mainstream theory and why is it hardly mentioned in any kind of encyclopadia if so.

    1. 50.1
      Richard Carrier

      Euhemerism is mentioned in all major encyclopedias I know. Euhemerization is even in standard dictionaries like Merriam-Webster: to euhemerize is “to interpret (mythology) on the theory of euhemerism,” and the theory of euhemerism is:

      [The] attempt to find a historical basis for mythical beings and events. It takes its name from Euhemerus (fl. 300 BC), a Greek scholar who examined popular mythology in his Sacred History and asserted that the gods originated as heroes or conquerors who were admired and later deified. Though modern scholars do not accept euhemerism as the sole explanation for the origin of gods, it is thought to be valid in some cases.

  51. 51
    per-olov

    I Do know what euhemirization means and Yes it could be found in all the major encyclopedias. My question was about Romulus as a totem.

    1. 51.1
      Richard Carrier

      Oh, I see. All that matters is that Romulus did not have a history before the 4th BC. Before that, he was just a celestial/animistic god like any other genius spirit in Rome. If you want to know why we conclude that, I gave you the bibliography.

  52. 52
    Noel Joslin

    Congratulations Richard. Looking forward to reading.

  53. 53
    Manoj Joseph

    You might be interested in this:
    http://ehrmanblog.org/carrier-bayes-theorem-jesus-existence-2/

    1. 53.1
      Richard Carrier

      Thanks. But it’s behind a paywall. If he makes specific statements you’d like to know my response to, feel free to quote him here and ask.

  54. 54
    lreadl

    FYI

    I have a “membership” at Ehrman’s site. (It involves a $25 charitable donation.) So, FYI:

    After pointing out that the first time he encountered a (Bayesian) mathematical argument relating to Jesus, it was made by W.L. Craig at their debate as evidence supporting his belief in the resurrection. He asks, how can it be useful if each opposing side of the issue can cite it in support of their antithetical positions? However, he also relates that after debating with Craig, he consulted some colleagues who pointed out to him the ways in which WLC “botched the proof”.

    In support of his contention, he refers the reader to a post by R Joseph Hoffman which can be found here: http://rjosephhoffmann.wordpress.com/tag/bayes-theorem/. I have only just started reading Hoffman’s piece, so I won’t comment on it yet.

    1. 54.1
      Richard Carrier

      Just FYI, I already commented on Ehrman’s ill-considered reliance on Hoffmann before here. He supports inept criticisms of my Bayesian argument like this (on Hoffmann’s website). When you read Hoffmann himself, you’ll catch the same bizarre logical gaffes. He clearly doesn’t know how Bayes’ Theorem works or that it governs all arguments in probability (he somehow thinks you can talk about probabilities without following Bayes’ Theorem…a mathematically absurd notion, and at any rate something I directly and formally refute in chapter four of Proving History, a refutation he never mentions or addresses or even seems aware of).

      Anyway, someone forwarded Ehrmann’s remarks to me earlier. They are indeed that vacuous (just a punt to Hoffmann, with no actual criticism or interaction with my work or arguments at all; and Hoffmann never really interacts with my actual work or arguments either, and I think he’s insane, per above).

      Notice that Ehrman, by his own reasoning against Bayes’ Theorem, would have to believe that because theists use logic to prove God exists, therefore “there must be something wrong with logic.” If Ehrman can’t see what’s wrong with that reasoning, he’s not very smart. Obviously logic can be abused (fallacies) and misused (validly used but with false premises). Ditto Bayes’ Theorem. That does not discredit the valid and sound use of BT any more than it discredits the valid and sound use of logic.

  55. 55
    Jess

    I find this subject facinating and would like to read your book. However, I haven’t done much bible study since middle school:) Do you present some sort of primer or review of the Bible and Christianity in the ‘Background Knowledge’ chapters (or any chapter) to help bring us lay folks up to speed?

    1. 55.1
      Richard Carrier

      For New Testament studies, you want Jesus Interrupted, by Bart Ehrman. For that, and more to help get up to speed on origins of Christianity research, see my recommended reading list in my Amazon store.

      That’s if you want to catch-up with what the mainstream views currently are (some of which my book will build on, and some of which it will challenge). But my book does include two large chapters surveying background knowledge, which may cover all the things you actually have in mind. You would need Ehrman’s book only if you need an even more basic primer.

  56. 56
    Lindsey

    Is the book still on schedule for February or could it possibly be sooner? I’m so impatient!!

    1. 56.1
      Richard Carrier

      No sooner. Publisher even says later, like late March. I’m hoping we can beat that, but it’s all out of my hands, and I’m not optimistic. It’s their production schedule.

    2. 56.2
      Mikael Smith

      Soooo… Any dates out yet? The book will come out in this month, right? RIGHT? :D.

    3. Richard Carrier

      As I’ve said elsewhere, it is now expected in April (according to my publisher; it’s wholly out of my hands now). But I can’t be sure, as I have yet to receive the galleys.

  57. 57
    thomasschueller

    Dr. Carrier, I was a student of your on-line class in July 2012. It was fantastic. (And I appreciate your many responses to my comments/questions during that class).

    Looking forward to your new book.

  58. 58
    Mario

    I would like to know when this book comes out, specially the kindle ed. Is there a way to get a notification or something? By the way, is there a way to subscribe to this blog? (Not the comments, the blog)

    Thanks

    Mario

    1. 58.1
      Richard Carrier

      Follow my blog (search “subscribe” somewhere on this page) or my Facebook account. You’ll catch the announcements that way.

  59. 59
    Dave Smith

    Congratulations. I hope it’s a total sell out. Personally I can’t wait to read it.

    Thank you for your efforts and leadership in this endeavour!

    David

  60. 60
    Gregory McElvy

    I looked on the Sheffield Phoenix website for indications on when your book will be available. They have a search for future titles. Your name or the tentative title didn’t show up. Is this the right publisher? How soon will the audio book be out if it is March before the paper version is out. I just got through listening to Not the Impossible Faith and really enjoyed it. I had read parts of it in the infidels website but I like this a lot better. I have a big commute and this proved to be just the thing to pass the time and get smarter on this very interesting area.

    What do you think about David Fitzgeralds’d “Nailed”. I thought it was pretty good but I hear apologists have answers for all of his assertions.

    1. 60.1
      Richard Carrier

      (1) Yes, right publisher. But they haven’t gotten to that stage of production yet (though IMO they should have, academic presses don’t always operate efficiently). I’m told the proof is coming to my desk soon, and that everything proceeds rapidly after that. But we’ll see. I’ll only announce on my blog when the book can be purchased.

      (2) Sheffield Phoenix has told me they want an audio edition, but hasn’t discussed anything with me yet about how they will produce it. I suspect either of two things will occur: they will want to produce it in-house (in which case it will be entirely out of my hands and could be many months to a year after the print release before it’s available) or they will let me subcontract it with my usual audiobook publisher (in which case it will be approximately four or five months from when they discuss this with me that it will be available, since I need time to get the contract and find time to record, and the audio publisher has a long production track in engineering the product and getting it into sales channels; and possibly they won’t negotiate this until the print release).

      (3) Nailed does not prove Jesus didn’t exist, but that the Jesus of faith didn’t exist. Seen in that light, it’s a solid summary of the facts. Christian apologists always claim they have refutations of everything. Usually that’s just an empty claim. What they usually have are just fallacies. As for everything else, so for this.

  61. 61
    Matt Gerrans

    Are we getting close to the release now?

    1. 61.1
      Richard Carrier

      I don’t know. They should have sent me the proof a month ago. I’m prodding them again (as I’ve done several times already) to see what’s with the delay. I have no control over this, though. Unfortunately I’m just twiddling my thumbs waiting along with everyone else.

  62. 62
    Greg Frey

    Hi Richard, dying to get my hands on this book. Is it out yet? Can’t seem to find it anywhere.

    1. 62.1
      Richard Carrier

      Expect it this June.

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