Richard Carrier addressed in peer-review for the first time

Richard Carrier’s mythicist theories have been, for the first time, addressed in a peer-reviewed setting. Daniel Gullotta has published a paper titled On Richard Carrier’s Doubts: A Response to Richard Carrier’s On the Historicity of Jesus: Why We Might Have Reason for Doubt in the most recent issue Journal for the Study of the Historical Jesus (Brill). I think this issue came up in the last few days. I unfortunately do not have access to this paper but might consider purchasing it.

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Can’t your public library obtain it for you at no charge?

How would that work? I had never tried doing something like that. Institutional access to journals only happens through academic institutions that are affiliated with the publishers of the journal i think.

A really good public library will offer access to services like “Academic Search Premier” and others. I’ll try to get this paper for you.

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btw, the abstract of this paper mischaracterizes the LDS understanding of Moroni. Moroni becomes an angel only after his life as a mortal on earth ends.

At an academic library, it would be Interlibrary Loan or a service offered by the same office/department. At a municipal/public library it might have a different name. In the old days, the library would arrange for a partner library to make a photocopy, accompanied by legal warnings about reuse and so on.

No, that’s wrong. Access to journals is by subscription. If a library doesn’t have a subscription, it can obtain an individual article from a partner library that does subscribe, subject to copyright rules and such. There are no “affiliations” between libraries and publishers.

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@Korvexius I have asked my public library for a copy of that article. They won’t charge me anything (which is unusual for a public library, but my library is awesome). I’m happy to help you kick some mythicist @$$!

Thanks a lot for clarifying that up for me.

!! You’re too nice. I really appreciate you helping getting that paper for me. Looks like I wont need to pay out of pocket. Next time I’ll try going to a library and seeing if I can get access to these papers.

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Realistically, however, what can Daniel Gullotta offer that Richard Carrier has not been aware of? I think the case for Jesus Myth is very strong, personally.

The point is not to offer things that Carrier doesn’t know, but to offer readers information about just how bad Carrier’s argument is. I haven’t read the whole thing, but frankly I was surprised at just how badly Carrier handled the evidence.

What, in your opinion, was the worst way (or top 5 bad ways) in which Carrier handles evidence? I think the opposite is the case. I think most historical Jesus scholars (such as Bart Ehrman) would agree that much of what is attributed to Jesus is fictional. Bart Ehrman, a historicist, doesn’t think the Jesus really raised the dead or performed truly supernatural feats. The only question is in how much of Jesus’ story is fictional. Mythicists say “ALL of it” is fiction, where as secular historicists say that “MUCH of it” is made up, while evangelical Christians say… NONE of it is fictional.

I suppose you would be wrong in that case. Trying to misrepresent scholarly opinion to make it sound like it coincides a bit more with mythicism is something I see terribly frequent with mythicists, almost as if they genuinely can’t believe that historians don’t take them seriously. Since you want to mention Bart Ehrman, have you read his book Did Jesus Exist?

“I think the evidence is just so overwhelming that Jesus existed, that it’s silly to talk about him not existing.” -Bart Ehrman
“None of them [specialists in the field], to my knowledge, has any doubts that Jesus existed. …The view that Jesus existed is held by virtually every expert on the planet.” -Bart Ehrman

You also asked about some of the worst ways Carrier handles the evidence. That’s an easy one, although I’m obviously not going to try to order some kind of “top 5”. When Paul writes that Jesus gets crucified and buried, his excuse is that, what Paul really meant here, rather than the obvious and what anyone would assume anyone else meant had it been them writing and not Paul, is that Paul is really saying Jesus was really killed in the celestial realm by demons and buried in space. That is so preposterous that it really makes me wonder how Sheffield published his book. He claims there is evidence that people could have been thought to be “buried in space” from the 1st century BC apocryphal document The Life of Adam and Eve, where Adam is buried in space. In fact, I’ve read this document and it flat out says Adam was buried on Earth. It outright says that. When Carrier was confronted with this in his debate with Trent Horn, and how Horn pointed out in fact all the scholarly commentaries also point out it clearly says the burial is on Earth (in fact there’s not even discussion of Carrier’s mythical space burial) Carrier’s counterargument to Horn was that … this was all made up by Christian commentaries. Horn was so befuddled by the stupidity of this response he almost couldn’t say anything. He got out the words of the academic publisher of the commentaries he was referring to, and Carrier again unashamedly responded in less than half a second “those publishers publish Christian commentaries”. The dishonesty was even too much for me but I managed to watch the entire debate. Carrier’s reasoning is equally outrageous in everything else he talks about.


So taking a completely secular view, why should we listen to mythicists over professional secular historians?


One really bad way: silently adjusting the criteria for the Rank-Raglan hero to fit the facts about Jesus. Even picking which set of criteria to use while knowing what facts you’re trying to fit (and then using the goodness of the fit in a Bayesian calculation) makes the calculation invalid, but changing the criteria post-hoc is outside the pale.


No it’s not. If Jesus himself is a fiction, the entire story is definitely invalidated. If he lived as recorded, a lot of things can potentially be contested. There’s not necessarily perfect equality of value in a given range of information.

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I think there is an issue of money today. There are clergy members, who cannot find comparable jobs outside religious institutions and so they will remain closeted in their true opinions. It’s the same with mythicists. Any secular Christian professor who admits to hold a mythical Jesus view will likely lose their job. Historicism just pays better and will, therefore, skew the publicly voiced opinion.

But lets be frank. Bart Erhman does not believe a miracle working Jesus existed and would concede that stories about Jesus, that portray him in a miracle working light, were embellished at best and made up completely at worst.

On the other hand, there were plenty of Jesuses who existed. I admit to it freely. Jesus (Joshua) was a very common name among Jewish people 2000 years ago. Josephus even talks about Jesus ben Ananias who shares similarities with a Christian Jesus

Who was Jesus’ grandpa, according to the professional historians?

Can you provide any examples of this?

Can you provide any evidence of this either?

That depends on who you ask. Is there a reason why you didn’t answer my question?


It’s not clear to me what this has to do with the subject of the thread. “There was no historical Jesus at the origin of Christianity” is a very different claim than “Accounts of the historical Jesus were embellished.” The latter is a mainstream historical view, while the former is not. The former is what Carrier is promoting and what you are defending.

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