Any shoe that fits.

There’s a new post up at Evangelical Realism covering more of Chapter 8 of On Guard by William Lane Craig. Last week, we saw Craig use his 6 criteria of authentic history to try claim that Jesus really did call himself Messiah. As evidence, Craig cited a number of passages in which Jesus did not, in fact, call himself Messiah. Craig cites stories about other people calling Jesus Messiah, and about Jesus allegedly working miracles allegedly associated with Messiah, but having announced that he was going to show that Jesus claimed to be Messiah, he “met” his burden of proof by providing merely what he calls “good evidence that Jesus did…think he was the Messiah.”

That pretty much sums up Craig’s approach to “authentic” history. He “proves” that Jesus claimed to be Messiah by making guesses about what Jesus might have been thinking. Not surprisingly, his guess is that Jesus must have been thinking exactly what modern-day Christians wish he were thinking. And in Craig’s book, that means it’s a historic fact that Jesus claimed to be Messiah. (You see now why I was a tad skeptical when he introduced the criterion about a claim being coherent with “facts” already established about Jesus.)

In today’s installment, Craig takes his mindreading act a step further: he’s going to tell us what Jesus meant by the the things he (Jesus) might have been thinking.

Read more at Evangelical Realism.


  1. Owlmirror says

    There’s a book, Judaisms and their Messiahs at the Turn of the Christian Era, ed.: Jacob Neusner, which may be pertinent.

    The various scholars who contribute to the book examine disparate texts by Jews and early Christians, both canonical and apocryphal, in the period before and after the start of the common era, just to highlight that there was no consensus at all about what messianic or eschatological figures were conceived of, what role they were to have, or whether they should even be called “Messiah”, as opposed to some other title.

    Christians often take it for granted that a prophecy of a single Messiah was known among all Jews of that time, which was supposedly fulfilled by Jesus. But their tacit assumption is repeatedly belied by the textual evidence.

    And the Gospels themselves actually support the point that there was a wide variety of texts and eschatological concepts around at the time. Jesus is often cagey about who he is, or what he should be called, as you note from the citations from Matthew and Luke. It seems likely that the Gospel writers wanted to imply that Jesus was the one single eschatological figure, to be called by all of the titles used for eschatological figures in the texts that might be familiar to those in their audience, but the sheer confusion of figures and roles resulted in Jesus’ claims reflecting that very confusion.

    • Stacy says

      Thanks, Owlmirror. At the Los Angeles (the second largest city in the U.S.!) Public Library, that book is available only as a reference copy.

      Gonna call them and request it.

  2. Azuma Hazuki says

    Owlmirror kinda beat me to it, but to add to that, Carrier has done some very good work on this subject, specifically addressing the Book of Daniel and some of the pesher pieces at the Dead Sea Scrolls.

    Craig is technically correct, at least partly, but is lying by omission; what Jesus said and did isn’t particularly rare. “Messiah fever” was rampant, and careful reading of Josephus and Luke-Acts side by side reveals some interesting if deliberately downplayed insights into this fact of history 🙂

    I wish someone with a good grip on history would take this jerkoff on in debate…and force him to promise, on live recording, not to use any arguments disproved ever again.

Leave a Reply to Azuma Hazuki Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *