Appearing in San Jose Next Week

I will be speaking and taking questions on the best case to be made that Jesus didn’t exist, for the Atheist Community of San Jose next week, Wednesday, 2 April 2014, from 6:30 to 9:30pm (although I’d love to hang out later with anyone who’s free to do so, even though it’s a weeknight). Details here. We’ll be meeting in a banquet room at Harry’s Hofbrau (390 Saratoga Avenue, San Jose, CA).


Dr. Carrier’s new groundbreaking book On the Historicity of Jesus: Why We Might Have Reason for Doubt is the first book extensively challenging the historicity of Jesus to be published by a peer reviewed academic press (at the University of Sheffield). He also has several peer reviewed academic papers on the subject, which are now reprinted (along with many other papers of interest) in his other new book, Hitler Homer Bible Christ: The Historical Papers of Richard Carrier 1995-2013.

Dr. Carrier will briefly summarize his thesis and argument, explaining why he suspects Jesus never even existed as a historical man but was always imaginary. He will then answer questions from the audience.

The latter as well as Proving History: Bayes’s Theorem and the Quest for the Historical Jesus will be available for purchase. The latter demonstrates the invalidity of the methods and arguments used to argue for historical facts about Jesus, and presents a more reliable and testable way to argue for historical facts, using Bayes’ Theorem (in a way explained for non-mathematicians).

I will of course sign anything you bring, too.

Unfortunately, Sheffield-Phoenix is running behind in its production, so I won’t have copies of On the Historicity of Jesus to sell yet. But I will be talking about it.


  1. Andrew Hermetet says

    Do you have any knowledge of when an ebook will be available? I’ll buy as soon as it’s available.

    • says

      The e-version will be very much delayed, I am certain. Sheffield does not ordinarily do them, and they have not done anything I am aware of to prepare one, so I will probably have to commission it independently with a side contract after the print release. It could take six months to a year from that point (depending on what complications arise from my contract with Sheffield; I’m not yet sure they are aware of what is involved).

  2. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Wait… An event close enough that I can actually attend in person without being stupidly expensive? Sweets. I know what I’m doing that Wednesday night. I’m telling all of my friends too.

    • says

      No idea. Not only has the publisher not given me a release date yet, the release date won’t be when it ends up in “shops” (if it ever does at all; “shops” can only take in a tiny fraction of books released in any given year), though it will be close to when it’s able to be ordered via Amazon in the US, and beyond that I know even less. I can at best only guess that, based on where they are now in the production process and how delayed they’ve been in the past, that we are looking at early Summer.

  3. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    I am new to such things. In the links, I don’t see anything immediately obvious referring to tickets, entry practices, sign-ups, etc. Is the event free, open to the public, and seating is first-come first-served?

    • says

      Yes, yes, and yes–so far as I know.

      (Although they might reserve some seating for the disabled; and they might have a sign-in sheet; but I’m just guessing.)

      If it’s anything like San Francisco, you might be expected to order a meal or a drink (as compensation to the establishment).

    • moarscienceplz says

      I’m pretty sure the event is free, but ACSJ has to pay $400 for the room, so if you come prepared to donate a few bucks it would be appreciated.
      I’ll be there, Richard.

    • says

      Yes! That!

      Hopefully they will ask for donations during the event. I would appreciate everyone giving what they can, to support more events like this in future, and the community.

  4. b. - Order of Lagomorpha says

    Any idea of when the print version will be available? I’ve been haunting Amazon (they’re usually pretty good about posting coming releases) and haven’t seen a proposed date yet.

  5. CJO says

    Hm. Well, I’m planning on making the SF event, but I’d rather catch the talk in San Jose… too far to go on a weeknight though. How are you planning on getting there, car? I could drive, but I never take the car into SF for work and I can’t see going back to the East Bay and driving all the way south. Ah well, life’s tradeoffs. I’ll see you Saturday in any event.

  6. Giuseppe says

    Hi Richard,
    I am reading the book of old mythicist Edouard Dujardin, Ancient History of the God Jesus. According to his principal thesis, ”the death of Jesus was originally, not a judicial execution, but an expiatory sacrifice practised ritually and periodically in a sacred drama” (p. 26). Then only the (rite of) crucifixion happened on terra firma, repeated thousands of times by adepts of cult, but the resurrection of god Jesus (and of his adepts) happened in heaven. This ”docetic” view is not the same of Roger Parvus, because the ”historical” crucifixion for Dujardin is only a rite practised ritually and periodically more than a time from many ”Jesuses” on earth, while for Parvus the crucifixion was historical from start and was a judicial execution for who saw the anonymous.
    The myth of crucifixion is based on the rite of crucifixion, that comes first. ”Believers in Jesus represented him as crucified because they practised the rite of the crucifixion of their god. They did not crucify him because they represented him as crucified; they represented him as crucified because their rite was to crucify him, a perennial rite of expiatory sacrifice, which had its base in the totemic sacrifice and its completion in the sacrifice of the Mass.” (pag.25)

    Earl Doherty sees this possibility:
    While Paul provides us with no graphic visions or descriptions pertaining to Christ’s death at the hands of the rulers of this age (although he may have alluded to such a thing in Galatians 3:1), the New Testament Epistle to the Hebrews does give us a fairly detailed and graphic description of Christ’s sacrifice of his blood in the heavenly sanctuary. (Jesus: Neither God Nor Man, p.151)

    For Dujardin, some traces of this old rite are found in Luke 22:36-38, the ”two swords” representing the knifes of the sacrifice, ”used by the priest to slay the victim” (p. 42), and in Matt. 27:24-25, the sprinkling of blood ”in origin a sacrificial ritual” (p.43), at least simbolically.

    What do you think about this thesis? It’s true that the rite precedes the myth?


    • says

      No. At least, not as there proposed.

      The earliest Christian crucifixion ritual was baptism. It did not involve any actual acting out of a crucifixion. And Hebrews is not describing such a thing, but explaining cosmologically what Jesus actually did.

      And citing Galatians 3:1 is a major mistake, looking at English translations and not the original language: the word in the Greek is fore-written, not “openly set forth” or “displayed publicly” or any of the translations in print. Paul is simply referring to the fact that he personally showed them the scriptures foretelling the crucifixion (i.e. they saw the verses with their own eyes).

      But still, one thing is correct: the first Christians almost certainly regarded the crucifixion of Jesus as an expiatory sacrifice just as Hebrews 9 explains. That was in fact fundamental to the gospel, without which there would have been no Christianity. And Christians shared in that through baptism, which for them was a symbolic death and resurrection.

  7. moarscienceplz says

    Richard, I literally had a ton of fun talking with you at the ACSJ meeting last night (yes, I weighed it). 😉
    Please do visit us again when Historicity is available, I want an autographed copy.