Appearing in San Luis Obispo

On Saturday, April 19 (2014), at 4pm (until 6pm), I will be presenting my case that a historical Jesus probably didn’t exist for Atheists United of San Luis Obispo (California), and taking questions from the audience. They say seats are limited, so it would help to join their meetup group and RSVP or let the organizers know you are coming (details for either here). Donations will be greatly appreciated (they rely on them to cover expenses). This will be held at the Senior Citizens Center-San Luis (1445 Santa Rosa Street, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401: map).

I will be selling and signing copies of Proving History and Hitler Homer Bible Christ. (Unfortunately On the Historicity of Jesus will not be printed until June.) Of course I’ll also sign anything you bring. See you there!


  1. caroline kelly says

    I wasn’t planning on joining Atheist United but I am now a member and will be attending your talk Richard. I am a avid lurker of FTB and am looking forward to hearing you and meeting like minded people in my own community.

  2. Marten says

    I have a theory that the four “gospel” material is composed of negative reactions to the magical thinking of Saul of Tarsus; but when Saulism began to dominate and achieve “power”, those formerly negative criticisms of Jesus were “edited” and cropped up as four versions of an imagined life-story. Spin doctoring is nothing new.

    It’s fairly easy to see that Jesus was accused of being in league with the devil (by the orthodoxy, most likely) and his casting out of a demon (who then inhabited some pigs – we have no real knowledge of what might have taken place) was no-doubt originally leveled against the (assumed to be misguided) followers of this itinerant preacher. Probably the original story has the demon destroying someone’s sheep, which would have been far more damning in the eyes of a Jewish community. Just one small change and, presto, a curse has become a compliment, sort of.

    I’d be interested to know if anyone has ever run across a theory such as this.


  3. Giuseppe says

    Hi Richard,

    do you recognize the possibility that the ”Christ crucified” of Paul was an anti-imperial Gospel? In words of Crossan

    To proclaim “Christ crucified” was to signal at once that Jesus was an anti-imperial figure, and that Paul’s gospel was an anti-imperial gospel. The empire killed Jesus. The cross was the imperial “no” to Jesus. But God raised him. The resurrection was God’s “yes” to Jesus, God’s vindication of Jesus — and thus also God’s “no” to the powers that had killed him.
    (The First Paul, p.131)

    If so, it’is still possible a mythicist reading of Paul’s ”Christ crucified”? By his death, Christ won and will destroy the celestial powers and their human surrogates, i.e. the Romans, and then Paul impliciter challenged the Roman rule. The last thing that I have some difficulty to doubt about stories attached to entity ”Jesus” is the exclusively Roman character (or implicit allusion to Roman character) of crucifixion, but maybe your next book…

    Very thanks,

    • says

      Crossan is usually wrong. About pretty much everything. The only book he has written that gets everything (or most everything) right is Power of Parable. Everything else is Crossan looking in a mirror and seeing Jesus.

      Paul argues that the powers that be are chosen by God (read Romans 13). That is not anti-empire. He (and as he imagines, God) opposes sin everywhere, not just at the top.

      Jews also practiced crucifixion, BTW (hence the Babylonian Christians taught Jesus was stoned and crucified, i.e. hung up on planks, as was Mishnah practice). And on Jesus myth theory, Paul imagined Satan crucified Jesus in outer space, as a common universal practice (crucifixion was known in the OT, in ancient Greece, and in ANE cultures everywhere, it was not uniquely Roman). The reason the Gospels use a Roman crucifixion is allegorical (collusion by the powers that be was the complaint the Gospel authors had come to have against the Jewish elite and was a stand-in for the influence the Devil was having on the world order; that’s why Jesus never voices a complaint against the Emperor and even says we should keep paying him taxes, and the Gospels portray Pilate as fulfilling God’s plan, albeit ignorantly). Combining Jewish and Roman authorities in this way was probably inspired by the Jewish War (since that’s the first we hear of it).