New Course This June on the Historicity of Jesus!

I have updated my course on Questioning or Defending the Historicity of Jesus to account for the reception it’s had this past year. And now I’m offering it again over the course of June, which means this new class starts under two weeks from now (details and registration here).

Description: [Read more…]

41 Reasons We’re, Like, Totes Sure Jesus Existed!

Photo of James Bishop about town, young rugged man in a blue toque, white t-short and grey vest, hip beard.People often ask me about Christian apologist James Bishop’s “41 Reasons Why Scholars Know Jesus Really Existed.” Because it’s the highest number of reasons anyone has attempted to claim (apart from the 10/42 apologetic, which Matthew Ferguson thoroughly annihilated).

This piece doesn’t try that. Thank the Lords of Kobol! But it is still a travesty of being lost in the bubble of Christian distortion, of course. Bishop is in South Africa studying theology at college, and says enthusiastic things like, “I wish to exercise my faith in a powerful manner to reach as many people as possible.” Aww.

I’ll just be brief and explain where everything he says has already been refuted. So here we go… [Read more…]

The Josephus Testimonium: Let’s Just Admit It’s Fake Already

Stylized and modern iconographic drawing of a bust of Joephus, essentially imaginary.A new article just beats this dead horse deader still. Hat tip to Vridar and Peter Kirby. Honestly. The evidence that the Testimonium Flavianum (or TF) is entirely a late Christian forgery is now as overwhelming as such evidence could ever get. Short of uncovering a pre-Eusebian manuscript, which is not going to happen. All extant manuscripts derive from the single manuscript of Eusebius; evidently everything else was decisively lost.

The new article is by Paul Hopper, Distinguished Professor of the Humanities Emeritus at Carnegie Mellon University, “A Narrative Anomaly in Josephus: Jewish Antiquities xviii:63,” in Monika Fludernik and Daniel Jacob, eds., Linguistics and Literary Studies: Interfaces, Encounters, Transfers,  (2014: de Gruyter), pp. 147-169 (available at academia.edu).

So in addition to all the evidence I and other scholars have amassed (summarized, with bibliography, in On the Historicity of Jesus, ch. 8.9), including the fact that what was once thought to be an Arabic testimony to a pre-Eusebian version of the text actually derives from Eusebius (as proved by Alice Whealey), and the peer reviewed article by G.J. Goldberg that proved the TF was, as a whole unit, based on the Gospel of Luke (and thus even if Josephan, not independent of the Gospels) and my own peer reviewed article (now reproduced in Hitler Homer Bible Christ, ch. 19) that added even more evidence, including proving the other brief mention of Jesus  in Josephus was also fake (an accidental insertion made centuries after Josephus wrote), and the literary evidence produced by Ken Olson that the TF is far closer to Eusebian style than Josephan style, now Paul Hopper shows that grammatical and structural analysis verifies all of this.

For those who want to understand how this new evidence from Hopper works to produce that conclusion, here is a quick summary: [Read more…]

Back in Manteca Next Month!

Logo for Stockton Area Atheists and Freethinkers, with a picture of Richard Carrier, and the word Colloquium, all against a blue-purple graphical background.Last year in I spoke on Proving History. Now I’m back to cover the second half of the story: On the Historicity of Jesus. I’ll survey some key details of ancient history and outline the theory defended in the book. There will also be a preshow dinner, and I’ll be attending, for those interested.

All the details here. In brief… [Read more…]

In San Jose with Fitzgerald & Price!

This April 29 (a Wednesday evening) I’ll be in San Jose on panel for the discussion “Jesus: Mything in Action” alongside the always entertaining David Fitzgerald and Robert Price, at Harry’s Hofbrau at 7pm. There will be a lot of Q&A opportunity for the audience. So this will be awesome. They are encouraging Christians to attend with their toughest questions (in fact they say, “feel free to invite your Christian apologist friends”). And our host will be leading with the toughest questions he can find, too. Want to see us grilled about the claim that Jesus never really existed? Details and tickets here.

Take note: limited seating, so get your tickets early!

Description of what to expect: [Read more…]

Mythicist Milwaukee Con April 25!

Mythicist Milwaukee logo.Saturday this April 25 (2015) I’ll be one of three featured speakers at the new Mythinformation Conference in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, sponsored by Mythicist Milwaukee. I’ll be joining James Kirk Wall and Hemant Mehta. Of course I’ll be featuring the myth that is Jesus. Wall will speak on “Defending Reason From Idiots and Frauds” and Mehta on “Skeptics Can Be Gullible, Too!” I’ll be selling and signing my books. And if you level up your tickets, you can join us at the VIP afterparty! For all the details—and to get tickets before they sell out—check out the conference website.

Live Debate on Unbelievers Radio This Week: Did Jesus Even Exist?

Logo for Unbelievers Radio, tagline is Promoting reason and reality over myth and superstition.This Thursday (April 2), tune in to hear me debate whether Jesus existed with Pastor Vocab Malone (from Urban Theologian Radio). You can then ask questions and get answers in almost real time! Tune in to Unbelievers Radio by 3pm PCT to get hear it go down and get in on the action. It should be amicable and interesting. Spread the news, too. They would love to get lots of audience questions. Details here. Live stream here.

On the Historicity of Jesus Now on Audio!

Cover image for Audible edition of On the Historicity of Jesus written and narrated by Richard Carrier.My book On the Historicity of Jesus is now available in audio format. As for all my other audiobooks, I voiced the text myself for Pitchstone Publishing. You can buy the audio edition of Historicity now through Audible.com or Amazon.com and (eventually if not already) iTunes.

This did come out a week ago or so, but I had to delay my official announcement until I completed and uploaded the bibliography file for the visually impaired to use with text-to-speech software, as I have done with most of my other books before this, all of which you can find on audio as well. See bibliographies for the full list of these companion resources for those books. Or go direct to the OHJ PDF bibliography to get the companion file for Historicity.

Kenneth Waters on OHJ: The Society of Biblical Literature Debate

Cover of Richard Carrier's book On the Historicity of Jesus. Medieval icon image of Jesus holding a codex, on a plain brown background, title above in white text, author below in white text.Earlier this month I presented the thesis of On the Historicity of Jesus to the SBL Western Regional Conference (held this year in Azusa, California). Oliver Eldridge interviewed me over drinks afterward. There I mentioned I kept Waters’ summary handout, which fairly faithfully tracked most of the arguments he tried to present against OHJ at the conference.

This is how that went down…

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Bart Ehrman on How Jesus Became God

Cover of How Jesus Became God by Bart Ehrman.In this latest book from Bart Ehrman we get a mixed bag of results. On the one hand, he is back in form writing a good popular book on a subject often misunderstood by the lay public. In How Jesus Became God, Ehrman demonstrates that Jesus was worshiped as a god from basically day one. The notion that High Christology developed later, false. On the other hand, I am starting to see a trend in his writing now, wherein he gets right anything he simply culls from existing scholarship and distills for public understanding, but doesn’t always get right everything he tries to add of his own or off the cuff. And the problem with that is that lay readers won’t know which is happening, and thus can’t always trust what he says.

The best rule I can advise is, if Ehrman cites scholarship for a statement he makes, he is at least telling you correctly what that scholarship says (which itself may be wrong, but not by any fault of Ehrman’s). If he doesn’t cite any scholarship for a statement he makes, he might be wrong and you should aim to double-check before relying on it. The rest you have to figure out from the merits of his logic, judging from premise to conclusion. And sometimes that’s solid. Sometimes it’s not.

The rest of this review breaks that down, the good and the bad, into the Devil’s details. [Read more…]