Talk:Jesus myth theory

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[edit] New Article: Modern Mythicism

I. Gospel Skepticism - Thomas L. Thompson

  • Robert M. Price
  • Thomas L. Brodie
  • Randel Helms
  • Michael Vines
  • Dennis R. MacDonald

II. Semi-Mythicism (Christ Mythicism): Plausible alternative for the origin of an historical Jesus and Christianity

  • G. A. Wells

III. Neo-Mythicism: Plausible alternative for the origin of an ahistorical Jesus and Christianity - Richard Carrier

  • Kurt Noll

IV. Atrocious methods used by mainstream Biblical historians - Raphael Lataster

  • Neil Godfrey
  • Tim Widowfield
  • Frank Zindler
  • Richard Carrier
  • Tom Dykstra
  • Emanuel Pfoh
  • René Salm (talk) 01:39, 27 February 2017 (UTC) & 15:41, 27 February 2017 (UTC) & 17:37, 8 March 2017 (UTC)

Gospel Skepticism existed long before Thomas L. Thompson. Sir James George Frazer and before him David Strauss come to mind. Furthermore, a new article would not address the fact people who accepted Jesus existed as a flesh and blood person (Frazer and Strauss were called "mystists")--BruceGrubb (talk) 13:59, 27 February 2017 (UTC)
I am thinking that it should be more of a current report along the lines of the following reports:
With the Jesus myth theory and Evidence for the historical existence of Jesus Christ articles as reference sources. - (talk) 15:41, 27 February 2017 (UTC)
The only issue is that most (but not all) Modern Mythicism borrows heavily from older theories and premises. For example Remsburg was arguing against the Gospel Jesus rather then a flash and blood man and concluded that there was a man behind the myth but the Gospels and Paul told use nothing about that man (other then he existed). This "Christ Myth" (Remburg identifies it as such) is becoming (or has become depending on where you draw the line) mainstream.--BruceGrubb (talk) 11:57, 28 February 2017 (UTC


  • A Semi-Mythicism section and Notes section could address the interaction of previous/legacy theories and premises.
  • Neo-Mythicism begins with Couchoud: "[Per the Writings of Paul-Louis Couchoud] The controversy as to the historical existence of Jesus ..appeared [in France] under a new form, entirely distinct from the theories of Drews, J. M. Robertson, and W. B. Smith. It is of some interest to describe this new aspect of the thesis that the history of Jesus is a myth, and to try to explain the genesis of the contention." [Goguel, Maurice (April 1926). "Recent French Discussion of the Historical Existence of Jesus Christ". Harvard Theological Review 19 (02): 115. ]
  • Content from the following talks could also be incorporated:

Per Aaron Adair,
"Some time back, for my local Secular Student Alliance (SSA) group, I gave a talk about what we can know about the historical Jesus, and perhaps he was originally a non-historical figure made flesh. This proposition is not the least bit popular among academics, let alone Evangelicals, but it isn’t necessarily crazy either. You will find some comparing it to Holocaust denial or creationism, but the evidence that Jesus existed is nowhere near as strong as it is for evolution or the Nazi-led Holocaust. There is significant evidence for Jesus, prima facie, but things get hairy when you look again."

"The basic points: the only independent sources we have about the life of Jesus are Christian, there is only one such source (the Gospel of Mark), and it is written in a way that is more fiction than anything else. There are also difficulties in understanding how a Galilean Jew went from nice bloke to god-made-flesh very early on as seen in the letters of Paul, and why the first Christians who followed a Roman criminal were not harassed by the pagan authorities early on as attested by Christian sources (namely, Acts). There is also the weird issue of why there were many that believed Jesus lived and died a century earlier than is the standard chronology; how did that happen? After these points, I get into the most plausible Jesus myth hypothesis (there are plenty of crappy ones) which can answer these problems, though it has its own hurdles."

Per Peter Nothnagle,
"The too-long, didn’t-read version: When lined up in the order in which they were composed, the accounts of the life and works of Jesus reveal that he was originally worshipped as a celestial being who never had a body, never had a ministry or disciples, and never appeared in person to anyone. Later writings brought him “down to earth” in physical form, adding increasingly fantastic story elements as time went on, in tales which were carefully set in a time and locale conveniently inaccessible to verification. While Christian writings all show signs of continual reworking as the theology evolved (an activity that continues to this day!), there are no independent accounts of Jesus or any of his supposed disciples from the entire century during which the religion supposedly began."

"I conclude that the figure of Jesus was invented by one faction in a diverse religious landscape in an effort to create an “apostolic succession” of authority – ‘our priests were taught by priests that were taught by followers of Jesus Christ himself, in person’. But even if I’m completely wrong about that, it is undeniable that the only evidence that exists for a living, breathing, walking, talking Jesus is weak, contradictory, or simply fraudulent. Therefore no one can be justified in believing that such a person existed." (talk) 17:37, 8 March 2017 (UTC)

Perhaps I am missing something but I don't see how this really differs from the two related but also parallel lines of thought formed by Constantin-François Volney and Charles François Dupuis. I noticed that Couchoud covers some of the same area as Drews and Remsburg:
"That a man named Jesus, an obscure religious teacher, the basis of this fabulous Christ, lived in Palestine about nineteen hundred years ago, may be true. But of this man we know nothing. His biography has not been written." - Remsburg, The Christ (1909)
"If in spite of this any one thinks that besides the latter a Jesus also cannot be dispensed with; but we know nothing of Jesus. Even in the representations of historical theology, he is scarcely more than the shadow of a shadow. Consequently it is self-deceit to make the figure of this 'unique' and 'mighty' personality, to which a man may believe he must on historical grounds hold fast, the central point of religious consciousness." (Drews, Arthur (1910) The Christ Myth)
"Jesus is an unknown historical figure. It is possible that he may have lived, since millions of people have lived without leaving a trace. It is not enough to declare 'We know nothing about Jesus, except that he existed'. On the contrary, we must boldly assert that 'We do not know anything about him, not even whether he existed'. - Couchoud, The Enigma of Jesus (1923)
Am I missing something obvious here?--BruceGrubb (talk) 21:27, 8 March 2017 (UTC)
Per Earl Doherty, "It was at the opening of the 20th century that the first serious presentations of the Jesus Myth theory appeared. The earliest efforts by such as Robertson, Drews, Jensen and Smith were, from a modern point of view, less than perfect, lacking a comprehensive explanation for all aspects of the issue. Pre-Christian cults, astral religions, obscure parallels with foreign cultures, even the epic of Gilgamesh, went into a somewhat hodge-podge mix; many of them didn’t seem to know quite what to do with Paul. It wasn’t until the 1920s that Paul-Louis Couchoud in France offered a more coherent scenario, identifying Christ in the eyes of Paul as a spiritual being. (While not relying upon him, I would trace my type of thinking back to Couchoud, rather than the more recent G. A. Wells who, in my opinion, misread Paul’s understanding of Christ.)" [ref. Earl Doherty’s forerunner? Paul-Louis Couchoud and the birth of Christ by Neil Godfrey 2011-12-15] - (talk) 22:24, 8 March 2017 (UTC)
Per Couchoud, "[Jesus as Presented by Paul] A divine Being, in humility without parallel, assumes the human condition. He is crucified by supernatural agents, the Princes of this Age, who are, in Paul's language, Satan and his acolytes. ...The crucifixion, as presented by Paul, is that of a super natural being executed by beings who are also supernatural."
First published: "The Historicity of Jesus" in The Hibbert Journal 37, (1938). p.193-214
Couchoud, Paul Louis (1939). "The Historicity of Jesus". The Creation of Christ: An Outline of the Beginnings of Christianity ; Tr. by C. Bradlaugh Bonner. 2. Watts. p. 438.  - (talk) 04:33, 9 March 2017 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Ok, Couchoud tried gave the disjointed mess called "Christ Myth" a focus rather then the shot gun approach (hope something...anything hits) but as with many things the pieces were already there:

"The corporeal existence of the Christ of the Evangelists receives slight confirmation in the writings of Paul. His Christ was not the incarnate Word of John, nor the demi-god of Matthew and Luke. Of the immaculate conception of Jesus he knew nothing. To him Christ was the son of God in a spiritual rather than in a physical sense. ...The Christ that Paul saw in a vision was a spiritual being—an apparition; and this appearance he considers of exactly the same character as the post mortem appearances of Christ to his disciples." - Remsburg The Christ (1909)

[Per the Writings of Paul-Louis Couchoud] The controversy as to the historical existence of Jesus ..appeared [in France] under a new form, entirely distinct from the theories of Drews, J. M. Robertson, and W. B. Smith. It is of some interest to describe this new aspect of the thesis that the history of Jesus is a myth, and to try to explain the genesis of the contention. - Goguel, Maurice (April 1926). "Recent French Discussion of the Historical Existence of Jesus Christ". Harvard Theological Review 19 (02): 115. DOI:10.1017/S001781600000763X

So did Couchoud question the man himself or the history presented of that man?--BruceGrubb (talk) 20:03, 10 March 2017 (UTC).

"[Per Paul-Louis Couchoud] The salient fact about Jesus that he is a God. Paul, the earliest extant Christian author (eight of whose reputed epistles Couchoud regards as basically genuine, though much edited and interpolated), treats Jesus as God." [Robertson, Archibald (1946). Jesus: Myth or History?. London: Watts & Co. p. 58. ]
Couchoud, Doherty, and Carrier share the same viewpoint that the Pauline epistles are positive evidence that Jesus was originally a god, who was later historicized. Per Goguel, this viewpoint should be labelled as "Neo-Mythicism". - (talk) 23:00, 10 March 2017 (UTC)
The term "Neo-Mythicism" is used in the 1890s and was (in some works) connected with Neo-Kantism which goes back to Immanuel Kant and was formalized in Arthur Schopenhauer's critique The World as Will and Representation (1818). More over looking for "Neo-Mythicism" and "Christ myth" got me a grand total of one work. Now Neo-Mysticism and "Christ myth" was a little better result but not by much. Also I had to weed out an results for "Neo-Mysticism" in this search. This is less then ideal.--BruceGrubb (talk) 22:20, 11 March 2017 (UTC)
The label, be it: "Jesus Neo-Mythicism", "Celestial-Jesus Neo-Mythicism" or "Couchoud, Doherty, Carrier Mythicism" is secondary to the point that the Couchoud, Doherty, Carrier viewpoint is radically distinct as attested by Goguel and Doherty. And in regards to "Modern Mythicism", it is is the strongest case for Jesus ahistoricity (with positive evidence given in support) thus it should be presented as such in a new article. The historical nuance and problems of terminology are already covered in the article Jesus myth theory and should be noted as a reference for elaboration of the problem. - (talk) 00:15, 12 March 2017 (UTC)

[edit] Creative Commons Attribution

Per, Neil Godfrey's work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. Does that mean that Godfrey's content that may appropriate for an article may be cut and pasted with proper attribution ? - (talk) 01:49, 10 March 2017 (UTC)

[edit] Reversing the question

What was the cultural-political climate in Judea 'during the second half of the reign of Tiberius'? How many 'stand in the street "repent now or else" street preachers/blockers of the footpaths, conventional preachers, and anti-'Roman imperialism' preachers and activists were there?

To what extent does the 'historicity' section in Wikipedia's article on Robin Hood apply to Jesus?

As another example of material jumping from fiction to myth [1]. (talk) 16:01, 3 March 2017 (UTC)

IMO any conclusion of a legendary Jesus is untenable. Since legendary stories deform real facts, as R. M. Price writes, "I realized, after studying much previous research on the question [of Jesus], that virtually every story in the gospels and Acts can be shown to be very likely a Christian rewrite of material from the Septuagint, Homer, Euripides' Bacchae, and Josephus. ...A literary origin is always to be preferred to an historical one in such a case. And that is the choice we have to make in virtually every case of New Testament narrative. [...] There may once have been an historical Jesus, but for us there is one no longer. If he existed, he is forever lost behind the stained glass curtain of holy myth. At least that's the current state of the evidence as I see it." - (talk) 00:03, 6 March 2017 (UTC)
The problem is that "legendary" has the same definition problem "myth" does; it doesn't that the stories of King Arthur and Robin Hood have varied from being called myths to being called legends. The definition of "A legend is presumed to have some basis in historical fact and tends to mention real people or events." (Legend vs. Myth) doesn't help as the Gospels mention real people and real places. Personally I think Robertson's idea of Jesus being a composite character is the most likely; it would go a long way to explaining why you have stories of Jesus living outside the normally accepted c6 BC - c36 CE period.--BruceGrubb (talk) 12:19, 12 March 2017 (UTC)
Robert M Price - The Bible Geek Podcast 17-006 (Tuesday, February 14th 2017, 57m) - What constitutes a historic Jesus @ time 01:10 - (talk) 00:07, 14 March 2017 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Price's "For even if we trace Christianity back to Jesus ben Pandera or an Essene Teacher of Righteousness in the first century BCE, we still have a historical Jesus." appears in the Evidence for the historical existence of Jesus Christ and is the reference for the "Jesus was historical but lived around 100 BCE." point in this article.--BruceGrubb (talk) 13:20, 18 March 2017 (UTC)

IMO this is Price rejecting semi-mythicism as Jesus ahistoricity theory (mythicism) and rightly noting it as dissident historicity theory. - (talk) 16:14, 18 March 2017 (UTC)
"Scholars such as Bruuno Bauer, Arthur Drews, and G.A. Wells have argued that the Jesus tradition is virtually--perhaps entirely--fictional in nature (i.e, "legendary" as we are using the term)" (sic) - Eddy-Boyd (2007)
I might add that Carrier puts G.A. Wells in the ahistoricity camp while as per above Eddy-Boyd put him in the Christ Myth camp. More over Eddy-Boyd put Price's Jesus Agnosticism into this category as well.
If that wasn't enough Eddy-Boyd expressly includes Wells' Jesus Legend and Jesus Myth as examples of this...despite both works accepting that there was a historical Jesus behind the Gospel accounts (Wells actual argument was that the account was altered to fit Paul's vision and Jesus actually lived to an old age and died in obscurity)
So the term "legendary" is totally useless as it has entered into the same Humpy Dumpty Through the Looking Glass land that the term Christ Myth as been sitting in for more then a century.--BruceGrubb (talk) 20:01, 20 March 2017 (UTC)
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