In Which James McGrath Reveals That He Is a Fundamentalist Who Has Never Read Any Contemporary Scholarship in His Field

The title of this article is a joke. Sort of. But maybe not as much as you think. As I’ll show. Because James McGrath has added another entry to his bizarrely uninformed critique of On the Historicity of Jesus, and this time is the most dishonest of the bunch. For to get the result he wants, he has to essentially become a Christian fundamentalist, denying there is any mythmaking in the Gospels at all, and reject all non-fundamentalist scholarship of the last fifteen years.

I kid you not.

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Looking for a Literary Agent

Cover image for Audible edition of On the Historicity of Jesus written and narrated by Richard Carrier.Anyone with connections, please do inquire:

I want to produce a mass market book summarizing the conclusions and findings of On the Historicity of Jesus, with a major publisher, one that works often with expanding into foreign language markets. I have been asked by fans throughout Spanish speaking countries especially. But it’s impossible to get a Spanish language publisher on board with something as enormous and footnotey as OHJ. A shorter, popular market book, however, would definitely appeal (I already have translators lined up). And if it meets with success in the English language market, then we can indeed push for a Spanish edition, and maybe others.

But major publishers will only field queries submitted by literary agents.

So if this is to happen, I need a literary agent.

Know any? Who’d be interested? Send them my way.

In case it needs to be said, I do quite well by myself, in my niche market. I have a decent bio and cv. I have published with a mainstream publishing company (one title of my own with Prometheus books, plus several anthologies; they distribute through Random House), another with a major academic publisher (at the University of Sheffield), and have also successfully sold over twenty thousand books entirely on my own (through AuthorHouse, Lulu, and CreateSpace). I have sold all my titles (six so far) successfully as well in Kindle format, and Audio format (through Pitchstone). I’m an accomplished and capable writer. I can produce a good, entertaining popular market abridgement of OHJ without difficulty. I just need a reason to.

OHJ itself, BTW, has already sold over 4000 copies in just a single year. And that’s a 700 page academic monstrosity dense with footnotes. Imagine the potential of a shorter, tighter, mass market edition!

If I can’t find an agent, this idea will simply remain shelved until I do, since I can’t justify the expense in time working on it without that step at least in the works. This is due to how the publishing industry works, sadly. I have other projects I’ll devote my time to instead. But this dream of mine I’ll keep alive until someone comes along who wants to take a chance on it.

Initial business inquiries should be made by email. This includes emailing me the contact info of literary agents whom you think might be interested in this, and thus to whom I could send a query letter. But it can’t just be random agents you picked out of a guide. There has to be noticeable reason they would take on an unusual project like this.

Tim Hendrix on Proving History

Tim Hendrix wrote a critical analysis of my book Proving History two years ago, and recently made it available online. Coincidentally I also just discovered a review of the book in College & Research Libraries Reviews, which had been published in June of 2012 (pp. 368-69). That was only one long paragraph, but I was surprised it understood the book and took a positive angle on it, concluding:

The use of a mathematical theorem to establish reliable historical criteria can sound both threatening and misguided. However, Carrier describes and defends the theorem in layman’s terms, demonstrates that historians actually think in terms of probabilities while rarely quantifying them, shows how all other axioms and rules in historical methodology are compatible with the theorem, and then gives it a practical workout on recent studies on the historicity of Jesus … [in which] Carrier shows how the criteria for judging whether or not Jesus was a historical figure (coherence, embarrassment, multiple attestation, contextual plausibility, etc.) are replaceable by Bayes’s Theorem, which “if used correctly and honestly . . . won’t let you prove whatever you want, but only what the facts warrant.”

Hendrix (who has a Ph.D. relating to Bayesian studies) gives it a much closer look on its technical aspects in applying Bayes’ Theorem. There are some issues of grammar that suggest English might not be Hendrix’s first language (he also uses British spelling conventions), but his writing is good enough to work around that (most of the time).

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Rare Fine Bound Editions of My Books: Special Auction!

Photograph of the three fine bound volumes in dark brown artificial leather with gold lettering and decoration, standing on Dr. Carrier's desk..Yep. You might want. These are fabulous. And presently unique. But even if duplicated, they will remain extremely rare. I’m giddy at the craftsman’s work on them. They are an aesthetic achievement that harkens back to the old days of leather-bound books in private libraries. And I’m auctioning them off to help support my continuing enterprise as an independent scholar. So I have just two simple questions. Do you want an elegant fine bound hardcover edition of my most popular books? And at the same time to help support my continuing work, research, and activism? Then get in on this rare opportunity!

Summer is always slow for paying gigs. So I need to make up a $2000 shortfall in projected revenue for this quarter if I am to hit my target to get through the year. I have several special things in the works to do that. And this is the first: I have commissioned a local master craftsman and bookbinder to convert three of my books into what you see depicted. I have taken one copy each of Sense and Goodness without God, On the Historicity of Jesus, and Hitler Homer Bible Christ, and had them hand-bound in high quality artificial leather by an expert European craftsman, with gold lettering and styling, and stitched pages. Each will be inscribed personally, by me, in pen, to the auction-winner’s specifications (reasonable requests only, of course).

Any of these lovely books will adorn a library in prestigious fashion, old school, reminiscent of the days when monographs were elegantly crafted. It’s why I made them. Aesthetically, this is what books should always look like. But alas, few publishers produce books that look like this anymore.

Same as before, only the books are scattered and at different angles to see their binding and fronts.Four things to note: [Read more…]

Speaking at American Atheists in Puerto Rico!

Photo of the hotel the convention is at, the Sheraton hotel and casino in San Juan, Puerto Rico, with the statement Aug 21, American Atheist Regional Convention 2015 at Puerto Rico.American Atheists is putting on an excellent conference in Puerto Rico this August (21st-23rd, 2015). And I’m one of the honored speakers. Atheists in Puerto Rico wanted me to speak on my work on the historicity of Jesus, and so I will. I’ll also be attending the whole convention and happy to converse with anyone there, so feel free to say hi! (Although, alas, I don’t speak Spanish, I’m pretty sure plenty of folks will speak English well enough to chat or translate.)

I will also be staying in PR after the conference for about a week to do more events locally (whether casual or formal), but for news on that, keep your eye on the Facebook wall that week of Humanistas Seculares de Puerto Rico.

American Atheists may or may not be selling some of my books that weekend. I haven’t gotten confirmation on that, but I’m sure they are making an effort. But no matter what I’ll happily sign anything you buy or bring.

And it’s not just me there. There’s an awesome lineup!

Read on…

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Okay, So What about the Historicity of Spartacus?

Ad poster for Joseph Loduca's soundtrack for the Starz TV show Spartacus, displaying the actor playing Spartacus all covered in dirt and blood and holding a sword and looking menacing.It’s always something. First it was, “We have better evidence for Jesus than for the contemporary emperor Tiberius.” Matthew Ferguson annihilated that one. Then it was, “We have better evidence for Jesus than for Alexander the Great.” Which I annihilated in On the Historicity of Jesus (pp. 21-24). Or it was, “We have better evidence for Jesus than for Socrates.” Which I also annihilated in OHJ (Chapter 8.2, “The Socrates Analogy”). Or it was, “We have better evidence for Jesus than for Pontius Pilate, the guy who allegedly killed him.” Which I’ve also annihilated. And then it was, “We have better evidence for Jesus than for Julius Caesar.” Which I just annihilated. Now the claim going around is, “We have better evidence for Jesus than for Spartacus,” the enslaved gladiator of Thrace (now mostly Bulgaria) who led a nearly successful slave revolt against the Romans in Italy in 73-70 B.C.

Just like Julius Caesar (as I explained in my last post about this), and everyone else in these comparisons, when it comes to determining the probability of historicity, Spartacus differs from Jesus in two respects:

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Want to See Bart Ehrman Debate the Historicity of Jesus?

Yes, Ehrman consistently refuses to debate me (because I’m ‘too mean’). But he has agreed to debate Robert Price, another prominent and well-qualified doubter of the historicity of Jesus. As long as the event gets funded, in order to demonstrate sufficient interest and demand to warrant his time (I do believe that though Ehrman charges a lot to speak or debate, he gives it to charity). So…do you want to see that debate happen? Then help fund the kickstarter. And spread the word to others who might.

(Note that I am not in any way involved in this. But I am certainly curious to see it happen!)

Reminder: Learn How to Question or Defend the Historicity of Jesus

Hey! Want to know how to defend the historicity of Jesus against naysayers? This class is for you. Want to know how to be the most irrefutable naysayer? This class is also for you. Join now. Ask all the questions you want for a month. Offer all the challenges you want. Bend the ear and get the thoughtful responses of an expert with a Ph.D. in ancient history from Columbia University who has extensively studied the subject. Encounter the best attempts to rebut him (me!) and the best arguments pro and con. Class starts tomorrow! Registration will remain open for the next five days. And note that the course text is available not only in print but also on kindle or nook and epub.

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).

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