And, in return, self-appointed defender of secular humanism against the hordes of Gnu Atheism R. Joseph Hoffmann, bashes Myers, Carrier, and "mythicism" (a term I reject as much as "accommodationism" when used by Gnus).
And, I've come to the conclusion that what we have is Carrier and Ehrman (we'll see what reply Ehrman may have to Carrier) as authors of dueling books with dueling propositions. Between their stances, there is no room for compromise.
And, above that level, we have Myers willing to give a platform to anyone who might advance the Gnu Atheist agenda and help recruit cadres (his Chairman Mao word from a couple of years ago), while Hoffmann, in part because he's a Jesus historicist, sees P.Z.'s "using" of Carrier as another excuse to attack him.
First, my reply to Hoffmann, since I just wrote it;
I disagree with your take on mythicism, starting with the word. (That said, I'm not a Gnu by any means.) Were I to offer Bayesian-like odds, based on current levels of scholarship, I'd offer 10 percent odds, maybe 20 percent, that Yeshua bar Yusuf never lived. In other words, high enough probability for it to be legitimate discussion. That said, PZ is really ridiculous here. While Ehrman believes in the actual existence of Jesus, he's always, from what I've seen, been cordial about the issue. And, I know that from personal experienceAnd, yes, I believe that is at least in the 5 percent range, if not 10 percent. So, let's discuss it more.
And, quoting Paul? The only thing he says in an authentic letter is that Jesus was "born of a woman." That says nothing about his historicity, and could be interpreted as nothing more than an anti-Gnostic statement. [Calling James "the brother of the Lord" can be seen as nothing but stating his leadership in the Christian movement.]
Q? Q says nothing historically grounded about Jesus' existence other than his baptism, and thousands of people were baptized by him. [Q is the putative source behind the wisdom sayings of Jesus common to Matthew and Luke.]
As for mentions of Caiphas, etc.? Well, Matthew mentions a likely non-historic "massacre of infants." Mark has no birth account. Luke of course botches the historicity of Jesus' birth and in a royal way, enough to argue AGAINST anything else he claims that is alleged to be historical.
Besides, as I've said, there's option 3: Yeshua was the Pharasaic Yeshua crucified by Alexander Jannai. That gives more than a century for the myth to develop and the history to be replaced.
Second, let's look at what Carrier says. The reality? Hoffmann somewhat overstates Carrier's tone vis-a-vis Ehrman (however, per my update, way below, Carrier had more vitriol in another post; dunno why Hoffmann didn't lead with that), and ignores some of Ehrman's own tone in his original article. Carrier notes he has appreciated Ehrman's previous books, and even that many mythicists of the past have been kind of nutso. Otherwise, it's a general argument against some of Ehrman's claims for historicity.
That said, Carrier engages in some degree of special pleading, like insisting that if we had all of Paul's writings, it would be clear what calling James the Lord's brother means. I partially agree with the commenter who says it's strained, but don't think it's AS strained as the commenter claims.
And, , yes, Ehrman DOES overstate his case. And, per my comment to Hoffmann, does so with a vitriol I've not seen from him before. Although, from what I've read, Carrier's now book-to-be is probably very overrated, Ehrman's, which I want to read, may well be, too.
A sampling from Ehrman's blog post:
With respect to Jesus, we have numerous, independent accounts of his life in the sources lying behind the Gospels (and the writings of Paul) -- sources that originated in Jesus' native tongue Aramaic and that can be dated to within just a year or two of his life (before the religion moved to convert pagans in droves).First, the claim that an original written source, a proto-Q, is traceable to within a year or two of his life, is laughable. Second, per the response I made to Hoffmann, Ehrman knows better about Paul.
Then there's this two-edged sword:
And what better way to malign the religious views of the vast majority of religious persons in the western world, which remains, despite everything, overwhelmingly Christian, than to claim that the historical founder of their religion was in fact the figment of his followers' imagination?Yes, Gnus may have motivation behind their actions. But, a Robert Price, for example, isn't identified with Gnus. As someone who's at least more skeptical about Jesus than Ehrman, I know I'm not a Gnu.
And, just as Myers and his ilk are ruining the word "atheist," Gnu or otherwise, Hoffman and his "acoylte," Steph, are coming closer to ruining the phrase "secular humanism" through using this debate as a vehicle.