Jan 25 2012

David Fitzgerald Defends “Nailed”

About a month and a half ago on my blog, a debate sprouted up in the comments here about David Fitzgerald’s Nailed: Ten Christian Myths That Show Jesus Never Existed at All. Fitzgerald has recently found the time (how and where, I have no idea, his plate is even more crazy full than most people I know) to reply to his chief critic in that debate, Tim O’Neill.

Since some of you were following that discussion (and other discussions on this topic that O’Neill has been engaging in around the Internet), I thought I should do all y’all the courtesy of pointing you in that direction. It’s a mighty screed, full of Biblical historical scholarship and entertaining invective. Check it out!


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  1. 1
    C. Mason Taylor

    Superficial quota for the month time: ugh. Papyrus on the cover? Really?

    Okay, I’m done.

  2. 2


    Sorry, I must be a little slow this morning. Could you explain your comment?

  3. 3

    @Otrame – C. Mason Taylor is referring to the font used for the book title. Like “Comic Sans,” “Papyrus” is a tacky and vastly over-used font. It’s a no-no when it comes to professional typography and print design.

    See xlcd on the subject, lol: http://xkcd.com/590/

  4. 4
    Tim Martin

    Thanks for posting this Greta! I never would have seen it otherwise.

  5. 5
    J. J. Ramsey

    About that Biblical historical scholarship …

    Fitzgerald implies that archon is primarily used for supernatural rulers, citing a couple verses in Ephesians. Trouble is, when New Testament writers use archon, they use it at least as much for earthly rulers as demonic ones. Paul himself uses it in the mundane sense in Romans 13:3. Oh, and Ephesians, unlike Romans, is widely considered by mainstream critical Bible scholars to be pseudonymous, unlike Romans. So Fitzgerald’s argument from Ephesians to justify his claim that O’Neill was wrong to interpret “rulers of this age” to mean “earthly rulers” doesn’t work.

    And I consider that to be the tip of the iceberg. As you can see by other comments I made on Tim O’Neill’s review, I find that Fitzgerald’s rebuttal doesn’t stand up to scrutiny.

  6. 6

    All I know is, whenever I or others would post on a Jesus Myth thread on any number of atheist/skeptical sites, Tim would invariably appear as if by magic and post what I would generously characterize as excessively aggressive attacks on posters.

    I know, tone troll alert and all that. But It was like you could not have a civil discussion on the subject without his inflammatory appearance. I don’t have links to those threads because I haven’t visited the sites in a year or two.

  7. 7

    Okay, anyone who gets hung up on the font used on a cover and can’t move past that? Let’s see… ten years researching the content of the book (ooh, if it were a DVD you’d have SO many extras!) and forty five minutes choosing cover font.

    Yeah… I guess I’d fixate on font too. But it makes a great excuse NOT to read the book!

  8. 8

    Orlando, did you know if you say “Jesus Myth” three times in front of a mirror, Tim O’Neill will materialize with knives and kill you? They made a horror movie about it…

  9. 9
    Francisco Bacopa

    I actually think there was some specific person the Jesus were based on. If Jesus were wholly a myth, there would not be so many contrivances in the Gospels.

    Consider the whole “had to go back to Bethlehem for the census” story. Makes no sense. This is factually wrong, there are are no records of such a census, though there was a later census that would have been in living memory when Luke was written. And a census wouldn’t work like that anyway. I census tries to count people where they are, not where they used to be. This is clearly a contrivance to somehow link a child in Nazareth to Bethlehem.

    Furthermore, the whole John the Baptist and Jesus story does not make sense if Jesus was wholly mythical. Seems to me there was a John faction and a Jesus faction. They fought. The Jesus faction won and the Gospels were written with John being given a second place role as consolation. And do remember that there exists to this day a faith group that rejected this compromise. The Mandaeans regard Jesus as a false messiah and revere John the Baptist as the final prophet.

    I see real conflicts in the Gospels real conflicts and contrivances that would not arise unless they were in part based on real people. I do not think this means that God is real or anything. Jesus and John might have been very much like Brian in The Life of Brian, thats why so many people hate that movie.

  10. 10
    Ace of Sevens

    I agree with #9 and Bart Ehrman. There’s lots of stuff in Jesus’s life where there is no obvious motive to make it up. The most likely explanation is that these parts are true. Peopel took his actual teachings about the coming kingdom of God (which are pretty standard apocalyptic stuff) and worked it into some imported mythologies to create a new religion. It’s doubtful he claimed to be the son of God and the son of man was clearly not meant to refer to him.

  11. 11

    I think arguing from embarrassment of the authors rests on the assumption that authors in the rather distant past would have been embarrassed by things that would have embarrassed an author today. We don’t know that. Maybe having a ridiculously contrived story was considered a plus for them.

  12. 12

    I census tries to count people where they are, not where they used to be.

    Is this definitely so? My understanding is that in the early days of Rome, the census required everyone to come back to be counted and purified. I’m not sure how it changed as they expanded, though.

  13. 13
    Francisco Bacopa

    I think arguing from embarrassment of the authors rests on the assumption that authors in the rather distant past would have been embarrassed by things that would have embarrassed an author today. We don’t know that. Maybe having a ridiculously contrived story was considered a plus for them.

    Can’t say I’ve read much Greek lit that’s contemporary with the Gospels, but I have to say that earlier Greek writers sere sticklers for internal consistency. You might cite Antigone and Oedipus at Colonus as exceptions, but these two plays were written decades apart and both had earlier literature supporting them.

    Greek geographers writing around the time of Luke were very careful to multiple versions of local myths and make their best judgment about them.

    The Gospels, even though they do not agree with each other, each contain some contrivances that persuade me they were based in part on real people. I think the John vs Jesus confilct makes this clear. The Gospels tell a story of a John faction defeated by a Jesus faction. The victors wrote in the story a John who was Jesus’ cousin who as a fetus jumped in Elizabeth’s womb to honor Mary and baptized Jesus.

    And remember, I have real physical evidence of such a conflict. The Mandaeans didn’t accept the peace treaty. They reject Jesus and consider John the Baptist as the final prophet.

    I think the Jesus story and the John the Baptist story are based on real people. This does not mean the God they spoke of is real. I just think we have sufficient evidence to think that the Jesus and John stories were based on real people.

  14. 14
    Tim O

    Given that you were good enough to post Fitzgerald’s reply to my review, perhaps you’d also be good enough to post my detailed response. Especailly since it shows that Fitzgerald’s reply, like his book, is all smoke and mirrors:

    The Jesus Myth Theory: A Reponse to David Fitzgerald

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