Raphael Lataster (born 1984) is an Australian secular teacher of religious studies, and author of books and articles questioning the historicity of Jesus and asserting Christ myth theory, especially There Was No Jesus, There Is No God (2013), and Jesus Did Not Exist: A Debate Among Atheists (2015), with Richard Carrier.
Lataster identifies his main research interests as including "philosophy of religion, Christian origins, logic, Bayesian reasoning, sustainability, and alternative god-concepts such as pantheism and pandeism. Lataster's PhD thesis analyses arguments for the existence of God by philosophers like William Lane Craig and Richard Swinburne.
Lataster passed his Master of Arts (Research), undertaken in the Department of Studies in Religion at the University of Sydney, with Distinction, has published numerous articles, and in 2015 received a teaching award, the Dean's Citation for Excellence in Tutorials in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences of the University of Sydney.
There Was No Jesus, There Is No God
There Was No Jesus, There Is No God was published on September 2, 2013, and was for a time the bestselling book in the atheism category (ranked 10th on September 5th and ranked 12th in July 21st of the following year), displacing Richard Dawkins' The God Delusion. The book questions the existence of Jesus, and was positively reviewed in academic theological journals, including reviews by religious studies scholars Carole Cusack (one of Lataster's mentors) and professor Chris Hartney. In the book, "Lataster re-presents and amplifies the arguments that the fictional dimensions of Jesus are foundational." Hartney found that Lataster "does more than most to argue that Jesus did not exist," and that Lataster "goes through the numerous arguments that demonstrate that the story of Jesus must have taken place" and "does a good job of dismissing all these."
Jesus Did Not Exist: A Debate Among Atheists
Jesus Did Not Exist: A Debate Among Atheists, was published November 12, 2015, with Richard Carrier. The book was positively reviewed by atheist author David Fitzgerald, who wrote that the book "doesn’t just inform and invigorate the debate – arguably, it settles it." Fitzgerald additionally notes Lataster's excoriation of Bart Ehrman, "taking Ehrman to task over his misuse of that same evidence, double standards, outright errors, and most of all, what he terms "Ehrman’s Law," his propensity to uncritically appeal to hypothetical sources (a tendency shared by all too many historicists)."
Lataster has debated Christian apologists, including Randal Rauser. Rauser deemed the discussion "abortive", complaining of the standards of evidence insisted upon by Lataster, as well as personality differences. Lataster presented a program on the opening day of the 2015 Australian Historical Association Conference, "The Gospel According to Bart: The Folly of Ehrman's Hypothetical Sources."
Lataster's December 2014 Washington Post article, Did historical Jesus really exist? The evidence just doesn't add up, drew contentious replies from figures such as Christian authors John Dickson and Michael Bird.
- There Was No Jesus, There Is No God, 2013.
- Jesus Did Not Exist: A Debate Among Atheists, Nov 12, 2015, with Richard Carrier.
- Bayesian Reasoning: Criticising the ‘Criteria of Authenticity’ and Calling for a Review of Biblical Criticism. Published in the Journal of Alternative Perspectives in the Social Sciences (Volume 5, Issue 2, pp.271-293) - May 2013.
- Is There a Christian Agenda Behind Religious Studies Departments? , Jan 2013.
- New Atheists and New Theologians. Published in Alternative Spirituality and Religion Review (Volume 4, Issue 1) - June 2013.
- Did historical Jesus really exist? The evidence just doesn't add up, Washington Post - Dec 18, 2014.
- Pantheistic God-Concepts: Ancient, Contemporary, Popular, and Plausible Alternatives to Classical Theism, Literature & Aesthetics (Volume 25, page 65) - 2015.
- Questioning the Plausibility of Jesus Ahistoricity Theories — A Brief Pseudo-Bayesian Metacritique of the Sources - Apr 2015
- A Superscientific Definition of ‘Religion’ and a Clarification of Richard Dawkins’ New Atheism, Literature & Aesthetics (Volume 24, Issue 2, pp. 109-124).
- A Philosophical and Historical Analysis of William Lane Craig’s Resurrection of Jesus Argument, Think (Cambridge University, Volume 14, Issue 39, pp. 59-71), Spring 2015, doi:10.1017/S1477175614000219.
- The Attractiveness of Panentheism—a Reply to Benedikt Paul Göcke, Sophia, September 2014, Volume 53, Issue 3, pp 389-395.
- Amazon.com author bio for Raphael Lataster.
- "Forget Santa Claus, Virginia. Was there a Jesus Christ?", by David Gibson, Deseret News, Dec 19, 2014.
- There Was No Jesus, There Is No God at Amazon.com.
- Christopher Hartney, review, There Was No Jesus, There is No God: A Scholarly Examination of the Scientific, Historical, And Philosophical Evidence and Arguments for Monotheism by Raphael Lataster, Alternative Spirituality and Religion Review 5, no. 1 (2014): 171-174.
- Jesus Did Not Exist: A Debate Among Atheists at Amazon.com.
- Current Postgraduate Research Projects, University of Sydney (as of December 18, 2014).
- Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences Excellence in Teaching Awards: Current and Past Winners, University of Sydney.
- "Amazon Best Sellers: Atheism". Archived from the original on 5 September 2013. https://web.archive.org/web/20130905230031/http://www.amazon.com/gp/bestsellers/books/12764.
- "Amazon Best Sellers: Atheism". Archived from the original on 21 July 2014. https://web.archive.org/web/20140721123906/http://www.amazon.com/gp/bestsellers/books/12764.
- Carole M. Cusack, review of There Was No Jesus, There Is No God: A Scholarly Examination of the Scientific, Historical, and Philosophical Evidence & Arguments For Monotheism, by Raphael Lataster, Literature & Aesthetics 23, no. 2 (2013): 105.
- Raphael Lataster. "Jesus Did Not Exist reviewed by David Fitzgerald - Raphael Lataster". http://www.raphaellataster.com/musings/JDNE-review-DavidFitz.html.
- Randal Rauser, My abortive Nuskeptix conversation with atheist Raphael Lataster, The Tentative Apologist, June 8, 2015.
- 2015 Australian Historical Association Conference.
- Raphael Lataster, Did historical Jesus really exist? The evidence just doesn't add up, Washington Post Dec 18, 2014.
- John Dickson (December 24, 2014). "It's Beginning to Look a lot Like Christmas … Mythicism's in the Air". Australian Broadcast Corporation. http://www.abc.net.au/religion/articles/2014/12/24/4154120.htm. Retrieved 14 March 2016.
- Michael Bird (December 30, 2014). "Yes, Jesus existed … but relax, you can still be an atheist if you want to". On Line Opinion. http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=16974.