Historicity Apologists: Their Own Worst Enemy

Brian Bethune has published a good article on the historicity question for Macleans, a leading Canadian magazine. Titled Did Jesus Really Exist?, his article presents a pretty fair assessment of the debate (after summarizing recent developments in the field calling into question the reliability of memory). He doesn’t delve into the deeper levels (principally, what did Paul mean by “Brothers of the Lord” or being “made of a woman” or “of the sperm of David”?). But he summarizes where things stand. And like me ten years ago, he finds the historicity defenders have a surprisingly, indeed perplexingly weak case.

Around the same time, doctoral candidate in religious studies Raphael Lataster published a peer reviewed journal article summarizing the case in more detail. Titled It’s Official: We Can Now Doubt Jesus’s Historical Existence, and published in Think (by The Royal Institute of Philosophy), Vol. 15.43 (Summer 2016), pp. 65-79, it’s a good summary of his book Jesus Did Not Exist: A Debate among Atheists. None of his more speculative stuff is in there. Every point he makes is entirely correct.

In both cases, the truth of what they report significantly rests with the extremely poor responses of historicity defenders. Once again it’s starting to look like they have no good responses to make (this became evident even in my debate with Craig Evans in Georgia a few weeks ago, which I’ll blog about soon). Ehrman seems not to have given Bethune any good answers. And the only books the entire field has produced in defense of historicity really do phenomenally suck—and in all the ways Lataster documents.

The responses to these two articles so far are absurd. They even make the defense of historicity look embarrassing and ridiculous. Which shouldn’t be so easy to do. But alas, two authors definitely accomplish said marvel… [Read more…]

Affordable One-Month Course on the Science & Philosophy of Free Will…and a whole lot of other things going on!

If you haven’t already, do consider taking my online course next month on the science & philosophy of free will—or recommend it to anyone you think might be interested! It starts in just two days. You can get in within its first six.

Meanwhile, a brief update and foreshadow:

  • I’ve been spending the last week starting a new relationship, so I’ve been AFK a lot. She’s a noted polyamory activist and all-around kickass, known by her handle Joreth Innkeeper. And I confess I’m very smitten. I am now meeting someone else in the next few days who might smite me as well. She practically already has. And all the while staying with a girlfriend who already smote me. So I’ll be AFK a bit more.
  • Further consuming my time is all the work I’ve been engaging in planning several upcoming tours (Southern California in April and Florida in May), two major debates, and one big move. Yes, by this summer I shall no longer be living in California. Stay tuned for that news. Because I’m going to do something fun with it.
  • Of course I consumed a lot of time prepping and engaging in the Carrier-Bass debate a week ago. The video is now up. IMO, that went badly for him. He’s a very competent presenter. He did well on all the skills of debate. Except for what gives you a technical win. So given his confident and charismatic presentation, you might not have noticed that he didn’t really rebut most of my arguments; and those he even properly took on, he ended up relying on argument by assertion. Assertions any fact-checker will be able tell aren’t all that credible. I’ll blog more on that in coming weeks. But that’s even more time to task!
  • Now I have the Kennesaw debate with Craig Evans coming up, on the historicity of Jesus. Don’t forget that! If you can make it, you may want to. It will be an important one. And of course, prepping for that, is also consuming my time.
  • In SoCal I’ll be speaking on why they invented Jesus and what’s up with feminism. There may be even more. Stay tuned.
  • In Florida I have two events of considerable interest going. I’ve announced one. Stay tuned for the other! [To be announced here.]
  • I’ll also be at Frolicon in Atlanta, Georgia. Just FYI. Not as a presenter. Just among the invisible happy masses attending, with my new paramour. But if you happen to see me, do say hi! And don’t worry, I won’t out you. Not without your enthusiastic consent.
  • I’m near to completing my first of two books on ancient science. Yep. If all goes to plan, Science Education in the Early Roman Empire will be released before the end of this year. I’ll announce that, and what it’s about, as soon as it can be pre-ordered. But needless to say, this is also consuming a lot of my time! Since I finished my fan-funded Jesus project (which resulted in three books, Proving History, On the Historicity of Jesus, and Hitler Homer Bible Christ), I’ve been able to blow the dust off of my dissertation and start turning it into some books. It just needs updating (since much has been published in the last six years I’ve been spending on the funded project). So I’m on that now.
  • I also have contracts for at least two other books to come (and am working on a fourth). More on that later. But I’m eager to get to them.
  • And on top of all that I have more things I want to blog than I’ll have time for! Including two new important articles on Jesus mythicism, one in a major Canadian magazine (Macleans), another in a major academic journal (Think).

So I’m a very busy man. Now taking a brief break. With his CostCo Jameson.

Photo of Richard Carrier's Apple computer screen, keyboard, and mouse, mostly out of frame, but more centered is a giant Costco style bottle of Jameson Irish Whiskey, and a whiskey glass with a shot of Jameson in it, all by the soft light of evening lamp, on a blond wooden desk.

 

 

All Kinds of Awesome Is Happening!

We are growing and multiplying!

We have split into two blog networks with a common cause. And both are adding many new bloggers. The new independent network The Orbit will focus even more on feminism and social justice (as well as activism). Though we will still do a lot of that here too, we also will cover many other interests, and will bring in and showcase more new bloggers from diverse backgrounds. I highly recommend you bookmark or draw feeds for both!

In fact I have a particular recommendation for you. For over a year now, nearly every day I have gone to the FtB front page, which organizes the latest posts on all the blogs on our network by subject category, and I read everything that catches my interest. This has exposed me to more bloggers and more perspectives than if I just read specific blogs everyday. I learn a great deal more, and I have a much more exciting experience! So you might like doing this, too.

Especially because at FtB we have just onboarded over a dozen new bloggers! And we have even more coming over the rest of the year. If you follow our front page, you’ll discover more of them you might like, as well as occasional posts you’ll want to read even from yet others you wouldn’t read regularly. Of course, you should still follow the specific blogs you are most keen on (as I do), since their entries might only appear on the front page briefly, since so many posts are cycling in and out. But following the FtB front page will add to your experience tremendously.

The Orbit, meanwhile, has a fantastic array of bloggers, too, gathered up from Freethought Blogs, Skepchick, and Patheos (and beyond). Currently the blogs that will be located there include those of: Alex Gabriel, Alix Jules, Alyssa Gonzalez, Ani, Ania Bula, Aoife O’Riordan, Ashley F. Miller, Benny Vimes, Brianne Bilyeu, Chris Hall, Dana Hunter, Dori Mooneyham, Greta Christina, Heina Dadabhoy, Jason Thibeault, Luxander Pond, Miri Mogilevsky, Niki M., Sincere Kirabo, Stephanie Zvan, Tony Thompson, and Zinnia Jones. If you want to follow any of them specifically, you can find their blog in the lineup page here. And for their whole network’s daily latest (where you can see all the latest posts from any and all) is here (just not organized by subject).

Freethought Blogs, meanwhile, has onboarded a bunch of really awesome new bloggers. You definitely will want to check a bunch of them out! I’m already loving many of their feeds. Reading them I’ve been getting that warm fuzzy feeling like the cat that got love-touched in Earth Girls Are Easy. The new blogs so far include:

Check them out. There is stuff for every interest and taste. Enjoy!
-:-

Typos List for Sense and Goodness without God

Cover of Sense and Goodness without God, showing a spaceman in a red space suit descending from a dodecahedron shaped white landing ship onto a strange grasland under blue sky, image on a black background, author name Richard Carrier in white against red on top and title below in blue over black for Sense & Goodness and White over red for Without God and then subtitle white over black A Defense of Metaphysical Naturalism. The image is Richard Carrier's One and Only Oil painting, so titled and mentioned in the book. More about that at http://www.richardcarrier.info/coverart.htmlMy first book, Sense and Goodness without God, was completed in 2003 and published in 2005. Since then I have collected a long list of corrections (mostly typos, a few clarifications or improved wording, and updates to all the bibliographies) that I would certainly make if I ever do a second edition. I likely won’t, because I’m planning a new, shorter, popular market version—which will simply reference this one. And further updates will likely be separate volumes by subject (epistemology, ethics, etc.).

Nevertheless, Sense and Goodness still holds up as a really good and solid worldview survey. Nothing like it exists (by me or anyone). It’s still the place to start if you want to examine and build a complete worldview. After twelve years, none of it is relevantly incorrect, and even though its bibliographies could be updated, those updates (all the new science that has happened since 2003) simply confirm further the conclusions already reached in the book. The only thing it lacks is more attention to feminism and social justice as an integral part of moral and political philosophy, and the integration of Bayesian epistemology. But there are many minor corrections worth making.

In this post I will survey the substantive ones, then list all the known typos I and others have caught. I will also update this article as I get further notions or discover more typos. [Read more…]

Correction: Yesterday’s Thunderf00t Post Revised

I made an error in the use of data yesterday. Sincere apologies to Thunderf00t. And kudos to his fans who finally sussed it out. My post has been revised, with all substantive corrections and additions made clear within the text. The background section is unaffected and unaltered. The sinking ship section revised in key places with a new graph added. The conclusion slightly reworded to reflect that.

Thunderf00t still did 70% of everything I caught him doing. And the remaining 30% he was still manipulating, just not in the way I originally noticed. My conclusions are not greatly affected. But somewhat.

The principal change-of-state is that what I actually showed is that my blog is not a sinking ship. And what Thunderf00t actually showed was our network just returning to level, due to offboarded bloggers last year. When we add new bloggers this year, we may see another swell.

The narrative changes slightly in result. In particular, Thunderf00t saw the highpoints of three years (2012 through 2014) cut in half in 2015. His “falling ship” narrative thus stemmed from that. It’s just that that’s actually just a return to where things were in 2011. We shall see whether we stay level here on out, or catch another swell.

But still no sinking ship.

Sex & Sexism in Ancient Rome (Transcript)

Cover of John Clarke's book Roman Sex, with a big red X on it, and the backside of a marble statue of a naked woman.Following is a transcript of my Columbus talk earlier this year on Sex & Sexism in Ancient Rome (video and bibliography and backstory here). Much thanks to Jacob Aliet who did most of the work putting this together.

[Read more…]

Sex & Sexism in Ancient Rome (Video)

Clipped photo of an actual ancient Roman silver dinner cup depicting in elegantly realistic relief a well built man lifting a boy lover up and having anal sex with him in the air. The cup shows all genitalia and the whole act, but because the internet is a prude, I have cut the image off just above that part.My talk for PolyColumbus last month has now made it to YouTube! It is age restricted due to its sexual content. A transcript is underway. I will add a link for that to this post (and announce it in comments, so if you want, subscribe to comments below to be alerted when that happens). But you can read the bullets or a full transcript, and for those who want to study further, I have provided my bibliography. Note also that this event was co-sponsored by the Humanist Community of Central Ohio and PolyColumbus, and a talk on this subject might never have happened but for them.

The full title of the talk is “Sex and Sexism in Ancient Rome: Crossroads of Sexual Freedom & State Oppression,” and the official talk description is:
[Read more…]

Typos List for On the Historicity of Jesus

I will update this page as I find more. But over the past year I and readers have caught dozens of typos in On the Historicity of Jesus that slipped through even our excessive editorial process (a common experience I find). Some of these may require corrections to the indexes as well (e.g. the scripture index). Please email me any you have caught that aren’t already listed here. Sorted here by page and then paragraph and/or line number (or note number):

[Read more…]