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Mar 24 2014

Minor Corrections to Crossley’s Jesus in an Age of Neoliberalism

When Proving History came out, I had cited in it James Crossley’s well-known book Jesus in an Age of Terror as among several astute books criticizing the ideological biases of Jesus scholars–producing Jesuses that conveniently were just exactly what each scholar would have wanted, supporting contemporary political and religious opinions conveniently too well to be historically credible accounts of antiquity. As the abstract for Age of Terror summarizes it:

While owing much also to [a biased] Orientalist tradition, [the modern Arab-Israeli conflict] too is strongly echoed in scholarship of Christian origins where, for all the emphasis on the Jewishness of Jesus and the first Christians, it is extremely common to find Jesus or the first Christians being better than Judaism or overriding key symbols of Judaism as constructed by scholarship, done, ironically, by frequent ignoring of relevant Jewish texts. The end results of contemporary scholarship are not dramatically different from the results of the anti-Jewish and antisemitic scholarship of much of the twentieth century.

Ouch.

But I was not yet aware that Crossley had produced essentially a sequel (as it came out at the same time as Proving History): Jesus in an Age of Neoliberalism. This time his study…

…ranges across diverse topics: the dubious periodisation of the quest for the historical Jesus [based on the brilliant analysis of Bermejo-Rubio; I concur--ed.]; [the rising phenomenon of] ‘biblioblogging’; Jesus the ‘Great Man’ and western individualism; image-conscious Jesus scholarship; the ‘Jewishness’ of Jesus and the multicultural Other; evangelical and ‘mythical’ Jesuses; and the contradictions between personal beliefs and dominant ideological trends in the construction of historical Jesuses.

It was recently pointed out to me that this mention of ‘mythical’ Jesuses included some references to the recent debate over the historicity of Jesus, and even named me. But even besides that, this title would have made a perfect addition to my references on this topic in Proving History. So I bought it and have been skimming it for its utility.

In the process I caught a minor error that I should correct on the record for the benefit of posterity: Crossley cites my report on the Jesus Project conference in January of 2009 (Amherst Conference), and misreports something I said there, which in result misreports MacDonald’s position as well. I also find a problematic eliding of minority and female voices in the same chapter that is too commonly done when attempting to assess the New Atheism movement to go without comment. So I’ll say something on both.
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Mar 22 2014

On Skeptic Fence Live Tonight

Tonight at 9pm Eastern Time I’ll be a live guest on the Skeptic Fence web show. Promo and details here. The show will air here. It starts at 8. But they’ll be covering news items the first hour, then bringing me in for the second hour. We’ll be talking about Hitler Homer Bible Christ and the historicity of Jesus.

Mar 21 2014

Appearing in San Francisco Next Week

Photo of the San Francisco Club Quarters Hotel marquee and overhang at night.On Saturday March 29th (2014) at 4:30pm I will be giving an impromptu talk about my new book Hitler Homer Bible Christ: The Historical Papers of Richard Carrier 1995-2013 and taking questions from the audience. Officially we’ll go until 6pm, although Jen and I will be having dinner at a nearby pub afterward and then grabbing a few drinks at the bar before heading home. Sponsored by the San Francisco Atheists. Details for the event are here. Description:

Dr. Carrier will talk about the contents of his new anthology, Hitler Homer Bible Christ: The Historical Papers of Richard Carrier 1995-2013, which contains essays and academic papers on subjects as diverse as what purpose historians serve in society and how history can actually be an experimental science, to exposing bogus Hitler quotes and demonstrating some early non-Christian references to Jesus are fake. He will also talk about how he was independently funded to research and write about how the Gospels contradict each other on dating the year of Christ’s birth, and how we know the ending of Mark is a forgery, and other topics, including future research now going on in Sweden due to Carrier’s journal publication of his results on those bogus Hitler quotes. He will be selling and signing books and taking questions from the audience.

The talk will be given in the Niantic East meeting room of the Club Quarters Hotel (lower level, take the elevator down to LL), on 424 Clay Street (San Francisco, CA), near Battery (adjacent to the Elephant & Castle Pub, and near the Embarcadero Muni and BART station). You are welcome to bring drinks purchased at the bar. Open to the public. Cash donations will help them cover the room rental. Several of us will likely end up at the Elephant & Castle Pub after (that’s where Jen and I will chow down and then hang out for a bit).

Mar 20 2014

Two Interviews

Two interviews of me have been published online recently. One at anti-theism (on my stance against religion generally). Another in the Washington Times Community (which is not just about me, but quotes me and others on our take on the nativity story and later legends about Jesus): Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, and Part 5.

Mar 19 2014

FTB Now Hosting a Blogger in Iran

We are going to be onboarding some new bloggers in coming months, mostly after we launch a redesign of the site (coming soon), but one has joined us already:

Kaveh Mousavi is the pseudonym of an atheist ex-Muslim living in Iran, subject to one of the world’s remaining theocracies. He is a student of English Literature, an aspiring novelist, and part-time English teacher. He is passionate about politics, video games, heavy metal music, and cinema. He was born at the tenth anniversary of the Islamic Revolution of Iran. He has ditched the Islamic part, but has kept some of the revolutionary spirit.

Kaveh’s blog here is On the Margin of Error. His subjects range widely (he has already posted dozens of entries on his new blog), and he brings a perspective you might not find anywhere else: someone living under a theocracy, who has to hide his identity to save his very life. Maybe start with his post explaining his pseudonym and blog’s title. Then explore from there!

Mar 18 2014

Hitler Homer Bible Christ Now an Audiobook

My recent book Hitler Homer Bible Christ: The Historical Papers of Richard Carrier 1995-2013 is now available in audio format. As for all my other audiobooks, I voiced the text for Pitchstone Publishing. You can buy the audio edition of Hitler Homer now through Audible.com or Amazon.com and (eventually if not already) iTunes.

Since the print edition has a lot of footnotes, I incorporated the commentary portions of all the notes that contain commentary into the text that was read, so you won’t miss anything except bare citations of scholarship and sources. As for most of my other audiobooks, those citations and sources not read into the audio are available in a special online acrobat document designed as best I could for the visually impaired to run text-to-speech on (and hopefully use the hyperlinks in, so you can skip to parts that interest you). That is available here. Of course you can also see these all in situ using text-to-speech on the kindle edition of Hitler Homer.

Mar 17 2014

Google Gameathon for SkepTech Con!

Definitely check this out.

SkepTech is turning out to be one of the more awesome conferences. So definitely worth going, or supporting. And Jason’s March 22nd gameathon looks like a totally tubular way to have fun doing the latter!

Mar 14 2014

Historicity Stuff This Weekend

Two quick notes: (1) Tomorrow (Saturday the 15th, 2014, 8pm Central Time) I’ll be guesting on a Google hangout whatsit with Robert Price to talk about the “Christ myth theory,” with some stop-ins by David Fitzgerald, Neil Godfrey, and Raphael Lataster. Deets here. (And now the video is on YouTube.) And (2) the Society of Non-Theists at Purdue were impressively quick to get the video of my talk online (about why we conclude Acts is historical fiction and not a genuine history of early Christianity). That’s now here.

Mar 10 2014

Appearing in Manteca (California) Next Week!

Picture of the library, small, lots of plants, 70s brick architecture.Next week I will be giving a talk in Manteca, California, on my book Proving History: Bayes’s Theorem and the Quest for the Historical Jesus. I’ll be selling and signing copies of that and Hitler Homer Bible Christ. Admission is free. But they do ask that you bring an item of canned food for Second Harvest.

Event description: “Learn what makes good evidence, how conflicting evidence is examined, and how we can mathematically ascertain the validity of a claim using Bayes’s Theorem. Plus, Jesus.”

Time and location: Wednesday, 19 March (2014), 8pm-10pm. Manteca Library, 320 W. Center St. For more see the official event Facebook page and the SH event page and the SAAF event page.

Brought to you by the Mid Valley Humanist, Atheist, and Freethinker Colloquium (in conjunction with the Stanislaus Humanists and the Stockton Area Atheists & Freethinkers).

I’ll also be in town that afternoon and the next morning. If anyone wants to get a gathering together to chat anytime in that window, feel free to email me. No guarantee I’ll be available, but for this occasion it’s okay to ask. (Just not at the last minute, since I’ll be AFK from that Tuesday night on.)

Mar 06 2014

Appearing Next Week at Purdue!

Photo of an attractive building and lawn on the Purdue campus that looks very old school and Cambridge like.I will be speaking at Purdue University (West Lafayette, Indiana) this coming Wednesday (12 March 2014 at 7pm, Physics Building, Room 203). I will be talking about one of the chapters in my upcoming book, On the Historicity of Jesus, one of the lesser discussed: How We Can Tell the Book of Acts is Fake History. I will survey evidence and scholarship on the point. Details at that link. I will be taking questions from the audience. But not selling books (see below).

Brought to you by the Society of Non-Theists (an SSA affiliate). It’s open to the public. Some members of the Lafayette-Tippecanoe Atheists and Secular Humanists will be there, and their meetup page for the event also has a map link and more description, although their map link doesn’t take you to the specific building, which I believe is this, although I’m not sure.

[Video of this talk is now online.]

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