Saturday, December 12, 2009

Richard Carrier on the Historicity of Jesus

Richard Carrier has been doing extensive research on the historicity of Jesus. Generally he seems to reluctantly but tentatively lean in favor of the supposedly "extremist, wacky, clownish" view that perhaps Jesus wasn't a historical figure at all. I'm very interested to read the results of his research. For now, via AIG Busted, you can watch a talk he gave on the subject via youtube starting here and in 6 additional segments. I'm just now starting to listen. He mentions an anonymous psychologist friend that had this to say about the information Paul provides regarding the historicity of Jesus:
Imagine for a moment that one of your friends writes you a 20 page letter passionately wanting to share his excitement about a new teacher. This letter has only one topic; your friend's new teacher. Yet by the end of his letter, after all 20 pages of it, you still don't know one thing about his teacher. Paul presents the central figure of his theology in just this way. For those of us not lost in delusional worlds it might seem impossible to imagine how Paul could avoid telling even one story or parable or fail to note one physical trait or personal quality of Jesus. But Paul's lack of interest in or even curiousity about the life of this Jesus does fit a characteristic pattern of paranoid delusions.

On a totally unrelated note I want to mention one thing that I've always paid attention to. Swearing. I have a theory. Some people got it. Some don't. These guys can swear. So can this guy (yes, the link is right. Give it 20 seconds. Listen a couple of times to fully appreciate). Others sound totally unnatural. I was raised in a very evangelical family and never developed my swearing capacity. Now as an adult that doesn't feel like there's a huge moral problem with it I still find that it's difficult for me to do it without sounding like a nerd. Seems to me Richard has the same problem. He seems to swear occasionally perhaps to elicit laughter but to me it's seems unnatural for him.

Anyway, he's done some great work and I've learned a lot from him.


Ben said...

Yeah, he should really swear about half as often. A for effort though.

Unknown said...

I would not believe anything Richard Carrier says: he does not even know that Jesus is mentioned many times in the Talmud. But Jesus is mentioned as Yeshu the Nazarene in Sanhedrin 43, and called Balaam in many other locations. If Carrier does not even know this, then of what value are his other pronunciations?

If you want to find the real historical Jesus - the person, not the demigod - the complete evidence for this is contained in the books ‘King Jesus’ and ‘Jesus, King of Edessa’.

Jesus was a king of Edessa called King Izas-Manu (while Jesus was called King Jesus Em-Manu-El). And all the kings of Edessa wore a ceremonial Crown of Thorns.