This Casciola case in Italy is still going on? I mentioned it a while back, with an ennui-laden tone, I’m afraid—suing the Catholic church to demand they provide evidence for the existence of Jesus is a futile endeavor, I think, and isn’t going to change anyone’s mind.
He also seems to be a bit of a kook. It looks like Anderson Cooper might be doing a show on him, and this sounds wrong.
He says he has dedicated his life to bringing down the Catholic Church, and he’s spent years of his life researching his subject. He says there was, in fact, no Jesus, but a military man named John of Gamala who lived in the time of Christ. And, he claims, it was the gospel writers who turned that mere mortal into the character of Jesus, a figure powerful enough on which to base an entire religion.
I agree that the contemporary evidence for the existence of Jesus is completely lacking, but the evidence is going to be just as weak for this “John of Gamala” guy, and furthermore, the connection between a random John and Jesus is going to be extremely tenuous. He can’t simultaneously argue for the inadequacy of the historical information about Jesus while saying it is sufficient to justify his weird little hypothesis.
Of course, even a kook can be right sometimes.
He calls the Catholic Church leaders “con men,” and says “they take advantage of the popular belief.”
I don’t think it’s a very interesting story, but what is cool are the comments to the article, which give an interesting snapshot of the state of unbelief in this country. There are the usual apologists who insist that it is a matter of faith not fact, and a lot who insist that Jesus’ existence is documented in the historical record (it’s not—all the accounts significantly post-date his reported death. My favorite comment there is the guy who says, “My faith in Christ is based on rock-solid historical evidence…” O Irony!). But it’s much more encouraging that the comments are about evenly divided between the nonsense-spouters and people critical of religion. Either we freethinkers are getting more vocal, or there are more of us in this country than have been reported. Or maybe Anderson Cooper just has a godless fanbase.