Talk:Christ myth theory

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Former good article Christ myth theory was one of the Philosophy and religion good articles, but it has been removed from the list. There are suggestions below for improving the article to meet the good article criteria. Once these issues have been addressed, the article can be renominated. Editors may also seek a reassessment of the decision if they believe there was a mistake.

First Christian communities[edit]

Joshua Jonathan wrote: Within a few years after the proposed death of Jesus in ca. 33 CE, a large number of proto-Christian communities seem to have been in existence. In the article, the source is given as Price 2003, with no page reference. I can't find where Price said that, and also I question whether it's true. From the entire first century, the only archaeological evidence of Christian communities that I know of, would be the catacombs of Flavia Domatilla in Rome. Whereas in Palestine, outside the New Testament, the evidence indicates that there were sects of Nazoreans, Zealots, and maybe Mandaeans, none of whom could be considered Christian. JerryRussell (talk) 22:14, 19 April 2017 (UTC) (talk) 23:34, 19 April 2017 (UTC)
IP74, look at the sources given for those articles about the spread of Christianity in the 1st century. One of them, "Geography of Religion", says 40 churches by 100 AD. That would be consistent with New Testament claims, but not any archaeology I'm aware of, or any other sources aside from the NT. Besides, 100AD is a long time after Christ's death allegedly 33 AD. Another source given is "A Concise History of the Catholic Church", which clearly bases its conclusions on the New Testament. That Stark estimate is a computation based on the number of Christians at the time of Constantine, projected backwards with uniform growth rate. I don't believe any CMT theorist would take any of this seriously. JerryRussell (talk) 00:32, 20 April 2017 (UTC)
@JerryRussell: fair point. My point is that Paul preached for (to?) proto-Christian which already existed. It may also have been Mack who wrote this; I'll have to look it up. Meanwhile, I've changed it into Within a few years after the proposed death of Jesus in ca. 33 CE, already before Paul started preaching, a number of proto-Christian communities seem to have been in existence. Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 04:33, 20 April 2017 (UTC)
Carrier, Richard (11 August 2016). "Dating the Corinthian Creed - Richard Carrier". Richard Carrier Blogs. Retrieved 12 August 2016. [The Corinthian creed (1 Corinthians 15:3-5)] distinguishes Christianity from any other sect of Judaism. So it’s the only thing Peter (Cephas) and the other pillars (James and John) could have been preaching before Paul joined the religion. And Paul joined it within years of its founding (internal evidence in Paul’s letters places his conversion before 37 A.D., and he attests in Galatians 1 that he was preaching the Corinthian creed immediately thereupon: OHJ, pp. 139, 516, 536, 558).  - (talk) 05:22, 20 April 2017 (UTC)
There we are again too: "according to the scriptures" ;) Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 08:06, 20 April 2017 (UTC)
Apparently my statement above about "No CMT Theorist" was just another example of the "No True Scotsman" fallacy. If we can't give Price as the source for the claim that Christian communities were cropping up within a few years after 33AD, then at least we can cite Carrier. As per "according to the scriptures." JerryRussell (talk) 14:44, 20 April 2017 (UTC)
Carrier is a mythicist, but I agree that he's reliable for this. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 15:09, 20 April 2017 (UTC)

Per "according to the scriptures", elaboration may be required as to how this may relate to Paul's possible sources:

Per Angels in Judaism §Second Temple period texts - The Dead Sea Scrolls, Biblical apocrypha, pseudepigrapha and the Book of Enoch are Second Temple period texts which have not been considered authoritative in Judaism. (talk) 19:29, 20 April 2017 (UTC) & 01:40, 21 April 2017 (UTC)

Not true: they were considered authoritative in Second Temple Judaism. Judaism has changed over the centuries, as have all religions.PiCo (talk) 07:17, 22 April 2017 (UTC)

As I understand, per Carrier et al.:

  1. Philo is a synthesizer of new Judaic theological content for Hellenized Jews. Whether or not it became inculcated is irrelevant —rather it is a “Proof of Concept”.
  2. The extent of Paul's sources when he states "according to the scriptures" is indeterminate, nor is it definitively known how Paul may of been interpreting said sources per Pesher/Midrash Exegesis, Second Temple period texts, Jewish mysticism, Jewish angelic hierarchy, etc. - (talk) 00:03, 23 April 2017 (UTC)

Per ["Philo of Alexandria - Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy". Retrieved 27 April 2017. Citing Entries ]:

h. The Angel of the Lord, Revealer of God

Philo describes the Logos as the revealer of God symbolized in the Scripture (Gen. 31:13; 16:8; etc) by an angel of the Lord (Somn. 1.228-239; Cher. 1-3). The Logos is the first-born and the eldest and chief of the angels.

i. Multi-Named Archetype

Philo's Logos has many names (Conf. 146). Philo identifies his Logos with Wisdom of Proverbs 8:22 (Ebr. 31). Moreover, Moses, according to Philo called this Wisdom "Beginning," "Image," "Sight of God." And his personal wisdom is an imitation of the archetypal Divine Wisdom. All terrestrial wisdom and virtue are but copies and representations of the heavenly Logos (LA 1.43, 45-46).

Per [Doherty, Earl (30 July 2012). "Bart Ehrman vs. Earl Doherty. Part 29 of Earl Doherty’s Response to Bart Ehrman’s Case Against Mythicism". Vridar. ]:

[Per Philo] His thought-world resided within the Hebrew scriptures, but he brought some very non-Jewish principles to their interpretation, principles which permeated the air of the time. There is scarcely a stronger Middle Platonist in this era than Philo, who in his own mind was thoroughly a Jew.

Paul may not have been the saturated Platonist that Philo was, and his dependence on the scriptures is undeniable, but his christology contains some very un-Jewish ideas. Was the concept of eating and drinking the body and blood of Christ related to Jewish tradition? —Not that I’ve heard of. How about the concept of the believer entering into joint carnality with the body of Christ? —No connection there with Second Temple Judaism that I know. Dying with Christ through baptism? —That was hardly right up the Jewish traditional alley.

Per [David Chumney (April 26, 2017). "Jesus Eclipsed: Part 3". David Chumney, over three posts on John Loftus’s Debunking Christianity site (part 1, part 2, part 3). ], Chumney writes that per "according to the scriptures":

The earliest formulation of this belief is found in the letters of Paul, where he tells readers that the death and resurrection of Jesus took place “in accordance with the Scriptures” (1 Cor 15:3-4). As Robert Miller has shown, “The belief that Jesus fulfilled scripture…goes back as far as anything historians can trace in early Christianity” (Helping Jesus Fulfill Scripture, 1). (talk) 00:56, 27 April 2017 (UTC) & 01:07, 2 May 2017 (UTC) & 23:50, 2 May 2017 (UTC)

A spiritual Revealer Son who saves by bestowing knowledge of God[edit]

Separately from Carrier, Doherty asserts that the following second century figures:

  • Theophilus of Antioch
  • Athenagoras of Athens
  • Minucius Felix
  • early Tatian

Evidence no sacrificial Son of any sort, nor an incarnated one. And they only knew a Celestial Christ/Lord more akin to the Logos of Philo. Doherty contends that Paul's minority cult also worshipped this same Celestial Christ/Lord, but with an additional incarnation & sacrificial feature —thus becoming the Jesus of Paul.

A majority of early Christians worshipping a Celestial Christ/Lord more akin to the Logos of Philo accounts for the peculiarity of Gnosticism and the The Shepherd of Hermas. —Ref. Doherty, Earl (11 May 2012). "10. Earl Doherty’s Response to Bart Ehrman’s Case Against Mythicism: Listening to the Sounds of Silence". Vridar. Retrieved 27 May 2017.  - (talk) 06:18, 27 May 2017 (UTC)

"Minicius Felix" probably stands for Marcus Minucius Felix, a Roman writer of Berber origin. Felix's only extant work is a dialogue called Octavius. Perhaps too small a sample to get a clear understanding of his views? Dimadick (talk) 09:44, 31 May 2017 (UTC)
Per the Octavius (dialogue) by Marcus Minucius Felix, Doherty notes three false and slanderous attacks made against the Christian belief of Minucius Felix:
  • A religion of lust and fornication. They reverence the head of an ass . . . even the genitals of their priests.
  • Some say that the objects of their worship include a man who suffered death as a criminal.
  • During initiations they slay and dismember an infant and drink its blood . . . at their ritual feasts they indulge in shameless copulation.
Per Doherty, it is peculiar that the allegation of criminal execution on Earth is considered by Minucius Felix to be just as ridiculous as the other allegations. —Ref. "JESUS PUZZLE: Preamble - Century of Apologists". Retrieved 31 May 2017.  - (talk) 17:15, 31 May 2017 (UTC)

Per [Boyarin, Daniel (24 November 2010). Border Lines: The Partition of Judaeo-Christianity. University of Pennsylvania Press. p. 119. ISBN 0-8122-0384-4. ]:

While in general I find Hurtado’s argument [of no specific evidence of direct worship] bracing and important, his exclusive reliance on only one criterion, worship, to determine the divine nature of a given intermediary seems to me overly narrow and rigid. There may be no gainsaying his demonstration, I think, that worship in the incarnate Logos is a novum, a “mutation,” as he styles it, introduced by Jesus people, but the belief in an intermediary, a deuteros theos, and even perhaps binitarian worship was common to them and other Jews.

—Ref. Godfrey, Neil (3 July 2014). "The Pre-Christian Jewish Logos". Vridar. Retrieved 7 June 2017. 

Per [Lataster, Raphael (4 January 2017). "Review Essay: Bart Ehrman and the Elusive Historical Jesus". Literature & Aesthetics. 26 (1): 184. ISSN 2200-0437. ]:

Unfortunately for the historicist, there is not a single piece of evidence, pre-New Testament, for the mundane Historical Jesus. This is not the case with the Celestial Messiah, who some pre-Christian Jews did honour, as even Ehrman now acknowledges. (talk) 21:28, 7 June 2017 (UTC) & 01:19, 9 June 2017 (UTC)

A wide range of beliefs and ideas in early Christianity[edit]

Per [Ehrman, Bart (Feb 14, 2013). "Incarnation Christology, Angels, and Paul". The Bart Ehrman Blog. ]:

I have argued that different Christians in the early decades of the Christian movement maintained that Jesus had been exalted to a divine status at some point of his existence – at his resurrection, at his baptism, at his birth. I have called this a christology from below, or an “exaltation” christology; it is sometimes called a low christology because it understands Jesus to have started out as a human (down here with us) and to have been raised to a divine status. In this view he was not God from eternity past or a pre-existent being. He was a human being who was taken up to the level of divinity at some point (or, in the case of the Virgin Birth, that he came into existence at a point in time as a person who was partially human partially divine).

But there was another kind of Christology which was also very early – earlier, in fact, than our earliest surviving Christian writer, Paul. This is the view that Jesus was a pre-existent divine being who became a human, did the Father’s will on earth, and then was taken back up into heaven whence he had originally come. If the other view is an “exaltation” Christology, I’ll call this one an “incarnation” Christology. The term “incarnation” literally means something like “being made flesh.” The idea is that a spiritual divine being (however “divine” is understood – more on this later) becomes a human being as a part of the divine plan of salvation. This is a view that can be considered a Christology “from above” (since the divine being comes from heaven to earth in bodily form) and is more commonly thought of as a “high” Christology, since in it Christ starts out up there, way up there, in fact, with God.
—Ref. Ehrman, Bart D. (2005). Lost Christianities: The Battles for Scripture and the Faiths We Never Knew. Oxford University Press. pp. 125, 225. ISBN 978-0-19-518249-1. [Most Gnostics claimed] that Christ was a divine emissary from above, totally spirit, and that he entered the man Jesus temporarily [...] Gnostics were saying that Jesus literally died "apart from God," in that the divine element within him had left him. 

Per [Lataster, Raphael (4 January 2017). "Review Essay: Bart Ehrman and the Elusive Historical Jesus". Literature & Aesthetics. 26 (1): 186. ISSN 2200-0437. ]:

Ehrman’s solution [of low (adoptionist) Christology] is that different Christianities developed differently and at different times; an opinion he shares with the mythicists.

Per [Noll, Kurt. "Investigating Earliest Christianity without Jesus (Chapter 13) - Is This Not the Carpenter?". Cambridge Core. Retrieved 12 June 2017. ]:

My thesis is that any quest for a historical Jesus is irrelevant to an understanding of the earliest social movements that evolved into the religion now called Christianity. This is the case even if a historical Jesus existed and made an effort to found a movement of some kind. [...] Jesus was functionally irrelevant to the earliest stages of what contemporary researchers call the Jesus movement, or the Christ cult, or the Jesus-confessing communities (and that I will call early Christianity). (talk) 11:30, 12 June 2017 (UTC)

IP 74, please see WP:TPG "The purpose of an article's talk page to provide space for editors to discuss changes to its associated article or WikiProject. Article talk pages should not be used by editors as platforms for their personal views on a subject....Do not use the talk page as a forum or soapbox for discussing the topic"Smeat75 (talk) 13:43, 12 June 2017 (UTC)

Academic bias and secret agreements[edit]

I add ""academic bias and secret agreements to ignore the Christ myth theory"." to the article, not because I know it to be true that scholars are biased and signing secret agreements, but because mythasists are making this claim. you can find several youtube videos where this claim is explicitly stated as researched and documented. You can also find people like Price and Carrier stating that they were biased until something changed their attitude towards just looking into it.Jiohdi (talk) 13:42, 24 April 2017 (UTC)

Hello Jiohdi, I hope you won't mind that I moved your comment to a new section, so that people can easily find it. I would be interested in seeing those youtube videos, if you could post a link here. We aren't normally able to use youtube videos as sources, but there might be clues about where to find these same claims in print. And depending on notability and qualifications of the researchers, it might be appropriate to discuss this somewhere in the article. Maybe not in the lede, though. JerryRussell (talk) 20:00, 24 April 2017 (UTC)
Fama, Ben (Sep 28, 2016). "Reality Trip (Podcast, Episode 040) - Featuring Dr. Richard Carrier". (Closed Captioning via YouTube) 

>> FAMA: And I think the reason why I bring it up to, because I know there's a lot of debate and I know you debate a lot of people about it, about you know, the validity of it and I feel like you're up against a lot of people maybe you can describe a little bit about what religious scholars and other people debate why are they insistent that there probably was a Jesus and why is that you know in relation to you saying that there probably isn't what's what's challenge there.

>> CARRIER: Yeah it's the difference is like I said, if this is any other religion I wouldn't have this problem but the thing is Christianity is so entrenched in our culture that it's dangerous ~ it's still dangerous to go this far against it certainly like a third of biblical scholars at least somewhere around a third of biblical scholars are actually employed by institutions that contractually obligate them to believe in historicity, if they were even to suggest that it was possible that Jesus didn't exist they could get fired we actually have evidence of scholars denying the historicity of much less relevant important things in the Jesus story getting fired so if you were to go all the way to Jesus, then that would just doom you and we have examples of Thomas Brodie for example was essentially quietly shuffled off to retirement for declaring that Jesus didn't exist so there's intense pressure to not admit and certain ~ not even, not only admit that it's possible Jesus didn't exist, but to not even admit that it's a plausible theory because if you could do that, it does to much damage to the religion and to much offends their employers and to much offends their funding sources and so on. Then you have the secular scholars you have some of the more liberal Christian scholars who wouldn't care so much and I've even talked to some of them, some of them who won't go public with their own agnosticism when they're actually agnostic about the historicity of Jesus but won't say so in public, for a lot of the same reasons where they fear the backlash, they fear that they're gonna be ridiculed, they fear that they're gonna lose grant money, they fear that it might affect their department even if you're a secular scholar at a secular school oftentimes a lot of the money that comes into that is still coming from religious people either religious institutions religious donors who are supporting biblical studies because they want to learn stuff about the religion, they want to further their religion, they're not supporting it because they're atheists right there's not a lot of atheists money in biblical studies so even secular scholars have this tremendous pressure to convince the public or even themselves that we really need to marginalize the idea that Jesus didn't exist because this is a threat to our incomes as a threat to our way of life essentially On top of that I think there's institutional inertia I think there's this tendency to assume that what they've been taught has to be true and everything else is ridiculous and they only allow like small changes around the corners of this and even then they argue intensely about them but really fundamental change that's, that's really dangerous and very much opposed and the classic example of this is that outside historicity which is the so-called Q hypothesis, the Q hypothesis was formed in the early 20th century to explain how it was that we know Matthew and Luke copied Mark so we know that because they copy passages verbatim from Mark but there are also passages in Luke and Matthew that aren't Mark that are identical between Luke and Matthew so how do you explain that well the obvious explanation would be that Luke is copying them from Matthew but someone came up with another explanation which is there's this Q this hypothetical document that this other gospel that's been lost and that's what ~ just like Mark but they were using that Luke and Matthew were independently using ~that ah~ that document and they call it Q it's for "Quelle" which is German for source so it's just the generic term the source document the source whatever it was and so this Q hypothesis was very popular for a while until certain scholars started to go wait a minute this actually doesn't make a lot of sense and they started pointing out a lot of evidence that goes against the Q hypothesis and pointing out that all the evidence for the Q hypothesis is invalid it's logically invalid and their arguments are really really freaking good if you look at ~ well Mark Goodacre is the most popular defender of this now there have been many others, you know, Goulder and various other scholars have written on this and when you look at their arguments, it's like why is this not the mainstream view it doesn't make any sense that they're clearly right but there's this institutional inertia pushing against it that Q hypothesis has been so popular and it's so entrenched in the field and a lot of scholars have built their careers out of hypotheses that assume the existence of Q so they're actually dependent on the existence of Q so there's this tremendous resistance to even the idea ~ that's like, Oh that there's no Q is ridiculous we can't accept that possibility. Now that's starting to change it's been decades of pressure finally I think as younger scholars enter the field they start to realize, Aw this Q hypothesis is ridiculous I'm not buying it and so then you have more and more people at least being Q agnostics and more people just rejecting Q altogether but it's probably going to be decades more before it really takes over the field as a mainstream view there's this kind of intense resistance and the same thing happened with the "Patriarchs" in the 70s when Thomas Thompson started pointing out evidence that Moses and Abraham and stuff were all fictional that they were ~ these are myths, that they could not possibly have existed there was intense resistance like to the point of even trying to get him fired, trying to prevent him from ever getting a job, getting him kicked out of conferences it's actually an infamous story within the field of biblical studies to a lot of people's shame and embarrassment, of course now it's the mainstream view ~ the mainstream view, certainly among non fundamentalist scholars is that yeah Thomas Thompson was right Moses and Abraham and so on that's all mythology it didn't actually happen but it took decades to convince people even though the evidence was pretty clear it took decades to push against institutional inertia long enough for things to change and that maybe ~with with jes~ with historicity of Jesus my book which came out in 2014 is the first time anyone has published a book defending the non-existence of Jesus that has passed mainstream peer review within the field so it's the first peer-reviewed literature to argue this and so really it sets the clock now like 2014 we could be decades from now before that really starts to impact people before that people were dismissing all arguments for the non-existence of Jesus as being outside the field as being fringe amateur and so on even though it wasn't often it was nonetheless not meeting their peer reviewed standard so they had to sort of excuse to not even review it and to dismiss it very lightly. Now they can only dismiss it in a very illogical way they basically have to say that I'm going to refuse to read the peer-reviewed literature of my own field and insist that this possibly has to be with has to be ridiculous can't possibly be true even though I've not read it, even though I've not written a critique of it and that you see again and again and again that happened with me and the Craig Evans debate recently, I blogged about this, people can check the blog on that at and the Craig Evans debate was a classic example of it that the book has been out for two years and he had a copy of the book, I made sure he had a copy the book many months before the debate and we got up there to do the debate and It was very clear throughout the debate that he had never even read my book he was completely unprepared for my presentation he had no idea what my theory was or what my evidence was for it and this astonishes me and it really represents what I'm talking about this institutional inertia there's this intense desire to not even entertain the possibility that it could be true and to sort of convince themselves that they can rationally deny it from the armchair without even looking at the evidence without even considering it and I think that's a fundamental problem in the field and it might take decades to get past it.
[57:45] (talk) 23:40, 24 April 2017 (UTC)

This Carrier interview is definitely talking about institutional bias. I don't see anything about secret agreements, though. I think he's simply giving his own description of the fact that there is a mainstream consensus that historical Jesus did exist. The consensus is a circular reinforcing pattern, with money and prestige flowing to scholars who endorse and support the historicity of Jesus, and all of that scholarly research and opinion encouraging the flow of money and prestige. I don't see this as a conspiracy theory. And as Carrier notes, the enterprise has a lot of inertia, and it takes a lot of time for things to change. It's very possible that the historicists are right, that Carrier is wrong, and that the field never will change. Only time will tell. Here at Wikipedia, we can't predict the future. We only report what all the various theories say, in proportion to their prominence in the field. JerryRussell (talk) 04:31, 25 April 2017 (UTC)
Per [Richard Carrier (26 April 2017). "Why Do We Still Believe in Q?". ]:
"Christians like Q because it allows them to claim there were traditions earlier than Mark (even though the Q hypothesis entails nothing of the kind; even if Q existed, there is exactly zero evidence that it predated Mark). And they like it because the alternative entails Luke and Matthew are bald-faced liars..."
"Non-Christians like it because it allows them to build careers out of guessing what was in Q, who wrote it, why, what their agenda was..." (talk) 04:07, 27 April 2017 (UTC)


Per [Tarico, Valerie (3 May 2017). "Fabricating Jesus — An Interview with Former Minister David Chumney". ] While not making an institutional criticism, Chumney opines:

[Per Robert M. Price and Bart Ehrman] First, let me say that I have tremendous respect for both men and have learned a great deal from each. Second, I have no qualms about challenging either man’s position when he assumes facts not in evidence or he labels as probable what is merely plausible. For example, Ehrman admits that the story known as the cleansing of the Temple is “completely implausible” given the vast dimensions of the area involved, but insists nonetheless that “Jesus may well have caused a small disturbance” (Did Jesus Exist, 326). I suspect that if he had written something like that in a graduate school term paper, his professor would probably have given him a C-. [...] If Price would concede that there probably was a historical Jesus, he would undoubtedly have the stronger case. A scholar who defended that position could get a teaching post in any public university.

Per the example of Ehrman's historicity of Jesus noted above, IMO this is part of the circular reinforcing pattern, with money and prestige flowing to scholars who endorse and support the historicity of Jesus, and all of that scholarly research and opinion encouraging the flow of money and prestige. (talk) 20:52, 5 May 2017 (UTC)

Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed, reversed. Tgeorgescu (talk) 02:55, 6 May 2017 (UTC)
Oh, the irony: the thesis that Christ is a myth (meaning the Christ of faith and tale about gods/supernatural, respectively) would count on virtually unanimous assent from Bible scholars. However, the "Christ myth theory" is not content with Christ being a myth, but says that Jesus would be a myth, too. Tgeorgescu (talk) 00:08, 6 June 2017 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Per [Lataster, Raphael (2013). "Is There a Christian Agenda Behind Religious Studies Departments?". Retrieved 6 June 2017. ]:

Hector Avalos argues that even many non-Christian scholars are influenced by the political power, and finances, of pro-Christian organisations (Avalos 2007). Avalos claims that positive attitudes towards the Bible, Christianity, and religion in general, is often seen as necessary in order to keep these academic disciplines relevant, and funded. (talk) 11:23, 6 June 2017 (UTC)

A fundamentalist wrote "Bible scholars and higher critics sow the seeds of unbelief; deceit and apostasy follow them wherever they go." If the Inquisition were still active, you would see burnings of Bible scholars. Tgeorgescu (talk) 00:41, 7 June 2017 (UTC)
David Chumney (May 27, 2017). "A Review of David Fitzgerald's Jesus: Mything in Action". Debunking Christianity. Retrieved 7 June 2017. [Fitzgerald has identified that] arguments advanced in support of the mythicist position rely on negative [scholarly] findings of historical Jesus research concerning which there has been broad consensus for over one hundred years. As Fitzgerald observes, “The final conclusion reached by mythicists may be controversial, [but] not the evidence cited and the methodology employed to get there” (38). So, it is unfair to suggest that mythicists have taken a stance entirely outside the mainstream of historical Jesus research. 
And for the many, many, many "Bible scholars" to be subjected to the "Inquisition", see Carrier's sources in the PDF Bibliography for On the Historicity of Jesus (2014). - (talk) 01:41, 7 June 2017 (UTC)
Bible scholars (starting with Hermann Samuel Reimarus, David Friedrich Strauss, Ernest Renan, Julius Wellhausen and followed by Michael Coogan and Bart Ehrman) have been routinely called Antichrist, Satanic or apostates by true believers (although Ehrman pleads no contest to the apostasy charge). Accepting JEDP is still seen by many Christians as a token of apostasy, since it would be "liberal attack on the Bible". Tgeorgescu (talk) 02:37, 7 June 2017 (UTC)


Per Robert M. Price:

It is obvious from even a surface reading of the Old Testament that Israelites worshipped a pantheon of divinities even under the roof of Solomon’s temple: Yahweh, Asherah, Zedek, Shalman, Shahar, Nehushtan, etc. The Deuteronomic and Priestly redactors would have us think that the people who worshipped other gods than Yahweh were syncretists, picking the forbidden fruits of Canaanite pantheons; but modern research has shown that these redactors were only reshaping the past in accord with their own theological preferences: in their view Israel and Judah should always have been monotheistic, so in retrospect, they are believed to have known that standard, albeit constantly falling away from it. Likewise, our picture of Judaism in New Testament times has until very recently been under the control of Rabbinical apologetics. It was in the interest of the Jewish faction prevailing after the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans to appeal, as a credential, to an imaginary past in which their own ideological for(e)bears constituted the mainstream, the basic stock, of a unified Judaism.[YAR 1]

"Price references"

  1. ^ Price, Robert M. (2011). "The “Pre-Christian Jesus” Revisited". The Christ-Myth Theory and Its Problems. American Atheist Press. pp. 388f. ISBN 978-1-57884-017-5. 
    Davies, Philip R. (1 April 2016). "Early Judaism(s)". On the Origins of Judaism. Routledge. p. 15. ISBN 978-1-134-94502-3. Ancient Israel and Judah were not “communities of faith” as distinct from any of their neighbours, all of whom had their own deities also. We cannot know in much detail what the religions of these ancient societies were, but the books of Judges—Kings and the archaeological evidence agree that much religious practice in these two kingdoms largely conformed to local patterns (“worshipping the Baals”). 

Expecting modern Bible scholars to promote the "Radical Criticism" that the first five books of the Bible, called the Pentateuch (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy), were not written completely by Moses may be a case of Captain Obvious.

However, I would certainly like to know if a scholar does not hold some form of the Documentary hypothesis, Supplementary hypothesis or Fragmentary hypothesis as they likely can be ruled out of the CMT debate as Christian believers too biased to consider, per Lataster (12 November 2015). Jesus Did Not Exist: A Debate Among Atheists. ISBN 978-1-5148-1442-0.  - (talk) 03:34, 7 June 2017 (UTC)

Every mainstream study which has examined the methods for Jesus historicity has concluded they are fallacious[edit]

  • Chris Keith and Anthony LeDonne (eds.), Jesus, History and the Demise of Authenticity (New York: T. & T. Clark, 2012)
  • Dale Allison, 'The Historians' Jesus and the Church', in Seeking the Identity of Jesus: A Pilgrimage (ed. Beverly Roberts Gaventa and Richard Hays; Grand Rapids, Ml: William B. Eerdmans, 2008), pp. 79-95
  • Hector Avalos, The End of Biblical Studies (Amherst. NY: Prometheus Books, 2007), pp. 185-217
  • Gerd Theissen and Dagmar Winter, The Quest for the Plausible Jesus: The Question of Criteria (Louisville. KY: John Knox Press, 2002)
  • Stanley Porter, The Criteria for Authenticity in Historical-Jesus Research: Previous Discussion and New Proposals (Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 2000VictoriaGraysonTalk 17:51, 6 May 2017 (UTC)
You are totally misrepresenting your sources. First of all, the sources listed here are not the only studies that have ever been published on the subject of the historical Jesus. The notion that they are is absurd. Second of all, none of these source deal with the question of 'historicity"; they are all dealing with the question of what the historical Jesus was like. None of your sources cited here even come remotely close to arguing favor of the Christ Myth theory. In fact, all of these sources, except for Avalos, accept that most of the criteria used to determine aspects of the life of the historical Jesus are helpful and constructive; they only criticize certain, specific methods of reconstruction, particularly those associated with the Third Quest of the Historical Jesus. Avalos is the only one who reaches the conclusion that all of the criteria are flawed.
The first two sources on your list are largely criticizing historical Jesus scholarship for being too Reductionist. In other words, they argue that some researchers have been too dismissive towards some portions of the gospels. These sources are written partly in response to the humiliating catastrophe known as the Jesus Seminar, whose methods and conclusions have been criticized by numerous other authorities for being arbitrary and absurd. Your third source--Avalos-- is essentially just a nihilistic diatribe arguing that we can never hope to learn anything for certain about ancient history as a whole (including, I might add, even about secular figures; he uses Julius Caesar as an example.) Even Avalos, however, does not conclude that Jesus never existed; instead he merely argues that we cannot possibly know anything about his life for certain. Your fourth source only criticizes the criterion of dissimilarity, arguing that the criterion is too restrictive (i.e. too Reductionist) because it only accepts material that is dissimilar from the views of early Christians. Theissen and Winter therefore argue that any material which could plausibly fit into the context of first century Judaism and first century Christianity must therefore be accepted as genuine. Your final source--Porter--merely criticizes some of the more outdated criteria based on linguistics and argues that three new criteria based on Greek language and its context, textual variance, and aspects of Greek discourse are more helpful for determining the true personality of the historical Jesus.
As I have previously stated at Talk:Historicity of Jesus, criticizing the specific methods used by some scholars to attempt to determine what the historical Jesus was like is not at all the same thing as arguing that Jesus himself never even existed at all. Let me use an anology to demonstrate: imagine there are a whole bunch of biographers who write books about Charles Darwin portraying him as a romanticized heroic genius incapable of any fault for anything. I criticize those biographers, saying that their portrayal of Charles Darwin is inaccurate and based on what they themselves would like for him to have been rather than the man he actually was. Does that mean that I do not believe Charles Darwin was a real person? No. Of course not. It just means that I think his biographers are biased and are using flawed methods. It is the same thing here. None of these authors are arguing in favor of the Christ Myth theory. In fact, for most of them, they are only criticizing very specific criteria while accepting all the other criteria as methodologically sound. Ironically, in fact, over half of these sources are criticizing the criteria for being too strict rather than too loose. --Katolophyromai (talk) 06:01, 9 July 2017 (UTC)

Bayesian Analysis[edit]

—Refs. (talk) 17:07, 9 July 2017 (UTC)

"Angelomorphic Christology"[edit]

A sentence was added to the "research questions" section with the edit summary "Angelomorphic Christology"-

"Another question among scholars is the extent and significance of Jewish belief in a chief angel acting as a heavenly mediator during the Second Temple period."

I don't think that is a "question among scholars", it is an idea put forward by only one person, Richard Carrier, who has no academic position or any academic credibility. It is already referred to in the article at "Jewish celestial Jesus" - "According to Carrier, originally "Jesus was the name of a celestial being, subordinate to God." According to Carrier, "This 'Jesus' would most likely have been the same archangel identified by Philo of Alexandria as already extant in Jewish theology." Having the same thing near the start of the article and attributed to "scholars" rather than the single individual who says that is WP:UNDUE imo so I am removing it.Smeat75 (talk) 16:29, 9 May 2017 (UTC)

Smeat75, do you think that the material would be suitable to include in the section about "Jewish Celestial Jesus"?
The connection between the Jewish belief in a chief angel, and early Christian beliefs about Jesus, has also been made by Margaret Barker in "The Great Angel: A Study of Israel's Second God" (1992). She wrote: "Several writers of the first three Christian centuries show by their descriptions of the First and Second persons of the Trinity whence they derived these beliefs. El Elyon had become for them God the Father and Yahweh, the Holy One of Israel, the Son, had been identified with Jesus." JerryRussell (talk) 17:44, 9 May 2017 (UTC)
I have no objection to Barker's material being cited in that section.Smeat75 (talk) 18:38, 9 May 2017 (UTC)
I'd intended the "Research questions" sections for a broad, general overview, to show that the CMTheorists are interested in the same basic questions, and to give a 'starting point', so to speak. Angelic theories may be too specific. Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 05:45, 10 May 2017 (UTC)
Note: the info was removed, and then re-inserted, but at the Christ myth theory#Similarities to Jewish celestial Jesus section. Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 04:27, 11 May 2017 (UTC)

Citation needed: scholarship - fringe - support[edit]

Per Requested a citation:

[55:59] >> CARRIER: With On the Historicity of Jesus my book which came out in 2014, is the first time anyone has published a book defending the non-existence of Jesus that has passed mainstream peer review within the field so it's the first peer-reviewed literature to argue this and so really it sets the clock—now like 2014—we could be decades from now before that really starts to impact people. Before that people were dismissing all arguments for the non-existence of Jesus as being outside the field as being fringe amateur and so on, even though it wasn't often. It was nonetheless not meeting their peer reviewed standard so they had a sort of excuse to not even review it and to dismiss it very lightly. [56:35 - Fama (Sep 28, 2016).]

While the CMT is WP:Fringe, The popular reception among seculars may not be ? - (talk) 23:37, 12 May 2017 (UTC)

Richard Carrier's advertisement for himself quoted above, trying to make a big deal out of the fact that his book underwent a form of peer review, does not change anything. Scathing review of Carrier's book by Christina Petterson of the University of Newcastle, Australia, in the academic journal Relegere- [1] - says his methodology is "tenuous", was "shocked" by the way he uses mathematics,and that he uses statistics in a way that seems designed "to intentionally confuse and obfuscate", statements in the book "reveal Carrier's ignorance of the field of New Testament studies and early Christianity", etc."Relegere: Studies in Religion and Reception is a journal dedicated to the study of reception history, broadly conceived, in the fields of religion and biblical studies. Relegere is published online two times a year and is open-access. All articles undergo blind peer review". [2].Smeat75 (talk) 01:03, 15 May 2017 (UTC)
See Carrier's response here.VictoriaGraysonTalk 02:47, 15 May 2017 (UTC)
And per the historicity of Jesus, Petterson has precious-little scholarly peer-reviewed material to work with—outside evangelical/fundamentalist works—other than [Case, Shirley Jackson (1928) [1912]. The Historicity of Jesus Christ: A Criticism of the Contention That Jesus Never Lived, a Statement of the Evidence for His Existence, an Estimate of His Relation to Christianity (2 ed.). University of Chicago Press. pp. 306 pages. 1st ed. 1912. 352 pages. ]. Thus she concludes:

In sum, it is not that I disagree with some or all of his representations of the material; it is more [1.] the lack of insight into New Testament scholarship, [2.] the mathematics which replace careful argumentation, and above all, [3.] the evangelical commitment to truth —that I find so tremendously off-putting. (talk) 18:11, 15 May 2017 (UTC)
In other words she has no qualifications to criticize Carrier, and wants to criticize Carrier for no reason.VictoriaGraysonTalk 19:51, 15 May 2017 (UTC)
Someone collected a long list of quotations of scholars indicating, in various ways, their view that CMT is mistaken.
The quote from Carrier above shows that he also recognizes that most scholars have rejected CMT, at least up until now.
At Wikipedia, it's not our job to determine who is right or wrong in an academic controversy. It is our job to recognize when a viewpoint is held by only a minority, and to present the minority view appropriately according to NPOV and due weight guidelines. JerryRussell (talk) 20:23, 15 May 2017 (UTC)

Argument from hearsay[edit]

The main article is clearly written by gullible believers rather than skeptics. Quote: "The seven undisputed Pauline epistles considered by scholarly consensus to be genuine epistles are generally dated to 50–60 AD". We have no manuscripts from that date but only from centuries later (with many contradictions between them as Bart Ehrman shows, with the earliest copies having the most contradictions) so while we can accept some of the manuscripts attributed to Paul were written by the same person, we cannot know the date they were written or who wrote them.

Paul is missing from important places in history ( and the Saul story is obviously fake as the Romans were very tolerant of the many religions in their Empire and there were few, IF ANY christians about at the time, so christians would not have been persecuted.

It became necessary for christian forgers like Suetonius to put lies into the works of Josephus to try and claim Jesus existed (again, we do not have early original manuscripts but only from centuries later) as despite the article's claim, people have always doubted Jesus existed as they increasingly do now. Probably the fact that christians imprisoned, tortured and murdered non believers had something to do with an open lack of skeptical claims about Jesus.

Bible aside, there is no TRUSTWORTHY evidence Jesus existed from contemporary writers ( The stories are not dated, not eye witness as in personal accounts, and do not match up with history. In bible stories, the writers seem to be omnipresent and have perfect memories. Had the stories of Jesus been of an ordinary human being, it might be argued that he could have existed, but to claim that an IMPOSSIBLE magical being existed without hard evidence is not valid. It is like claiming that Superman really exists because there are comics about him.( (talk) 04:12, 14 July 2017 (UTC))

"christian forgers like Suetonius" hahaha. You clearly lack knowledge of this subject. Please also note that blogs such as are not WP:RS and neither is the Daily Mail [3].Smeat75 (talk) 04:48, 14 July 2017 (UTC)

"the writers seem to be omnipresent and have perfect memories"

You mean they are omniscient narrators? "A story in this narrative mode is presented by a narrator with an overarching point of view, seeing and knowing everything that happens within the world of the story, including what each of the characters is thinking and feeling."

Plausible enough description, with at least some passages of the Gospels. Remember the Agony in the Garden episode? Jesus is alone, his three apostles are asleep, and we get a description of his "overwhelming sadness and anguish". Hod did the Gospel writers know about this sadness? Dimadick (talk) 09:10, 14 July 2017 (UTC)

Such issues as "how did the Gospel writers know" what Jesus felt while alone are matters for the Historical reliability of the Gospels article, not this one, which is about the fringe theory that there was never such as person as Jesus at all. Also "bear in mind that article talk pages exist solely to discuss how to improve articles; they are not for general discussion about the subject of the article".WP:NOTFORUM Smeat75 (talk) 13:15, 14 July 2017 (UTC)