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On the Historicity of Jesus: Why We Might…
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On the Historicity of Jesus: Why We Might Have Reason for Doubt (udgave 2015)

af Richard Carrier (Forfatter), Richard Carrier (Fortæller), Pitchstone Publishing (Publisher)

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804267,782 (4.45)Ingen
The assumption that Jesus existed as a historical person has occasionally been questioned in the course of the last hundred years or so, but any doubts that have been raised have usually been put to rest in favor of imagining a blend of the historical, the mythical and the theological in the surviving records of Jesus. Carrier re-examines the whole question and finds compelling reasons to suspect the more daring assumption is correct. He lays out extensive research on the evidence for Jesus and the origins of Christianity and poses the key questions that must now be answered if the historicity of Jesus is to survive as a dominant paradigm. Carrier contrasts the most credible reconstruction of a historical Jesus with the most credible theory of Christian origins if a historical Jesus did not exist. Such a theory would posit that the Jesus figure was originally conceived of as a celestial being known only through private revelations and hidden messages in scripture; then stories placing this being in earth history were crafted to communicate the claims of the gospel allegorically; such stories eventually came to be believed or promoted in the struggle for control of the Christian churches that survived the tribulations of the first century. Carrier finds the latter theory more credible than has been previously imagined. He explains why it offers a better explanation for all the disparate evidence surviving from the first two centuries of the Christian era. He argues that we need a more careful and robust theory of cultural syncretism between Jewish theology and politics of the second-temple period and the most popular features of pagan religion and philosophy of the time. For anyone intent on defending a historical Jesus, this is the book to challenge.… (mere)
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Titel:On the Historicity of Jesus: Why We Might Have Reason for Doubt
Forfattere:Richard Carrier (Forfatter)
Andre forfattere:Richard Carrier (Fortæller), Pitchstone Publishing (Publisher)
Info:Pitchstone Publishing (2015)
Samlinger:Dit bibliotek
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On the Historicity of Jesus: Why We Might Have Reason for Doubt af Richard Carrier

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A well researched book that is extremely marred by poor writing and pretentious pomposity. The author overwrites, and fails to consider his reader in the use of punctuation, sentence fragments in nearly every paragraph, and just plain boastfulness. His research is good, or at least appears to be so to one who is less versed in history than in science, and he does explain his methods, though sometimes with so much pretentious boasting that you want him to stop. His footnotes are not infrequently 3/4 of a page long, which does have the benefit of making this long book shorter, since you can avoid the footnotes. Most of what is in there does not add enough to make them worth reading; he is no Edward Gibbon. Overall, a mixed bag, sometimes with too much manure and not enough pony. When he does settle down to straight discussion, he gives a decent accounting, and if an editor took a mind to, they could make this a much more readable book, and one that did not annoy readers nearly so much...at least, not those that found his thesis reasonable. For those who are unwilling to be open to the idea that Jesus never existed, this book would be annoying even without the pretentiousness and pomposity. ( )
1 stem Devil_llama | Apr 6, 2020 |
I am a huge fan of Richard Carrier and of this book, but I have a different, albeit amateur, take on the trickiest evidence mythicists have to negotiate, viz. "James, the Lord's brother" (Gal. 1:19), "born/made of woman, born/made under the law" (Gal. 4:4), and "from the seed of David" (Rom. 1:3). Instead of relying on difficult interpretations of these phrases, I would suggest interpolation. I know it is easy to call interpolation on any phrase one doesn't like, and Carrier himself does not like to do it without excellent evidence because it lowers the probability of his theory (relying as it does on unproven tampering with the text). However, I am confident enough in the correctness of mythicism on other grounds that these phrases stand out from Paul's letters as obvious candidates for forgery.

For the following specific textual grounds for arguing interpolation I rely on Peter Kirby's work here: http://peterkirby.com/marcions-shorter-readings-of-paul.html

"James, the Lord's brother" is contained in a passage in Galatians about Paul's supposed first visit to Jerusalem which is suspect in its entirety: it was not in Marcion's text, nor I suspect in Irenaeus'. Of course Catholics accused Marcion of deleting them, but it is no less likely that they added them in. If this line were absent, the figure of James, the human brother of a human Jesus of Nazareth, could still have been invented through a process of imaginative textual reconciliation: in Acts (as Carrier discusses) there is a problem where one James is killed and then another James carries on as the leader of the Church: combine this unidentified James with the brother James named in Mark's Gospel and Paul's remark at 1 Cor 9:5 about "the Lord's brothers", and (voila!) one has engineered a James, human brother of Jesus, who is a Church leader, then written into Gal. 1. Giving Jesus a human brother would also be an anti-Marcionite statement, to interpolate, since Marcion argued Jesus had no human birth (he descended in adult form). This interpolation solution would allow brother to hold its meaning of human siblinghood, while still not bolstering the case for the historical Jesus. This would also explain why, if this is a brother in the human sense, the sentence does not distinguish this kind of brother from the spiritual kind that Paul wrote about much more often: it wasn't Paul writing.

The phrase "born/made of woman, born/made under the law" was not in Marcion's text of Galatians. Marcion did not believe either of these things about Jesus, but they make sense as something Catholics might have interpolated to use against Marcionites.

Nor was "from the seed of David" in Marcion's text of Romans. Marcion believed Jesus had no human birth so dismissing this phrase would spare us having to follow Carrier's argument about sperm implantation.

I know Carrier will not make this argument, and there will be some who are loath to accept or to rely on interpolation arguments. Personally, from my reading I have very little confidence in the faithful transmission of the texts: Catholics were clearly willing to forge documents to bolster their theological positions - hence why several letters attributed to Paul are now regarded as forgeries. I have no problem believing they would have inserted anti-Marcionite interpolations. We cannot prove them interpolations, but readers who baulk at Carrier's most difficult arguments might like to consider this alternative way around his most problematic evidence.

Thanks for reading. ( )
1 stem wa233 | Jul 11, 2017 |
A brilliant piece of scholarship. Tightly argued, comprehensive evidence, and very persuasive. The author concludes that Jesus Christ was highly unlikely to be a historical figure. The evidence, according to Carrier, is more consistent with the conclusion that Jesus was originally a mythic being who, over time, became historicised. Whether you agree with this conclusion or not, this book is a must read for anyone interested in who Jesus was. It was a long haul to read but absolutely worthwhile. ( )
  spbooks | May 2, 2017 |
Carrier says at the end of the book, "I intend this book not to end but to begin a debate about this." This it certainly does. Even if you disagree with him, you have to admire his scholarship and research. Everything is carefully footnoted and cross referenced. It is a great summary for the current consensus on what is considered authentic in biblical writings. This alone argues for keeping the book at hand to use as a reference. ( )
  jimcintosh | May 11, 2016 |
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The assumption that Jesus existed as a historical person has occasionally been questioned in the course of the last hundred years or so, but any doubts that have been raised have usually been put to rest in favor of imagining a blend of the historical, the mythical and the theological in the surviving records of Jesus. Carrier re-examines the whole question and finds compelling reasons to suspect the more daring assumption is correct. He lays out extensive research on the evidence for Jesus and the origins of Christianity and poses the key questions that must now be answered if the historicity of Jesus is to survive as a dominant paradigm. Carrier contrasts the most credible reconstruction of a historical Jesus with the most credible theory of Christian origins if a historical Jesus did not exist. Such a theory would posit that the Jesus figure was originally conceived of as a celestial being known only through private revelations and hidden messages in scripture; then stories placing this being in earth history were crafted to communicate the claims of the gospel allegorically; such stories eventually came to be believed or promoted in the struggle for control of the Christian churches that survived the tribulations of the first century. Carrier finds the latter theory more credible than has been previously imagined. He explains why it offers a better explanation for all the disparate evidence surviving from the first two centuries of the Christian era. He argues that we need a more careful and robust theory of cultural syncretism between Jewish theology and politics of the second-temple period and the most popular features of pagan religion and philosophy of the time. For anyone intent on defending a historical Jesus, this is the book to challenge.

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