McGrath to Research Communist Christ Mythicism

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Paul the Uncertain
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McGrath to Research Communist Christ Mythicism

Post by Paul the Uncertain » Thu May 09, 2019 8:01 am

McGrath posted a call for documents in the Romanian language on his blog.

https://www.patheos.com/blogs/religionp ... iisus.html

Maybe you can help, but don't read Romanian, or maybe you're just curious what the religion prof is up to. Here's what he posted in English (courtesy of Google, of course, with slight editing and emphasis added):


Research in the History of the Communist Propaganda on Jesus

I hope that most readers of my blog (who do not know the Romanian language) will forgive me this Romanian interlude. This message is for you who understand Romanian and I pray for your help. I start with the story of a happening. During the time we lived in Romania, I visited the antique shops whenever I had the opportunity. Once (I think in Sibiu) I entered an antique shop that had some books on religion from the communist period. I found them interesting but strange, presenting Jesus as a purely mythological person with traits and characteristics taken over from previous mythological people and gods. Then I did not foresee any occasion in which I would need communist propaganda like this and so I left the books on the shelf and did not buy them.

Now, I'm sorry for that decision.

Since then, among English speakers, this idea of communist propaganda has become very popular in Internet communities. It would be interesting for somebody (either I or others) to write a history of this idea that involves the crusade against Christianity during the Cold War.

I would start this project, but I encountered a problem. I do not have access to the necessary books because of the mistakes made many years ago in an antique shop in Romania.

I did not write this blog post just to advise you not to make the same mistake. I hope that some of my relatives and friends in Romania, or your friends and acquaintances, have some books like this, or to guess where I can find them either in a library or in an antique, in a personal collection. It would be enough to photograph the relevant pages about Jesus and send them to me in the form of pdf, jpeg, or something like that. It would be good if you could include the necessary bibliographic information along with the pictures of the pages, so as to know where they came from. Otherwise, I will not be able to quote these sources if I write something on this subject.

There are also relevant articles that have been published in academic journals such as the Philosophy Magazine. I hope I can get those articles - with just the date I can even find the content somewhere. Some potentially interesting results appear if I'm looking for Google Books, but only in the "snippet view" that does not give me the name of the author or the title of the article. I hope they can find them in a library somewhere in Romania if they do not get them somewhere here in the US. Relevant books, however, pose other problems because I do not remember the details of the book I found then and also do not find any results in books in Google Books when I enter the same words (although "books" are even in the title of the site !).

If someone has any advice - an author, a title, a library where you think it is worth looking, it will be a great help.

Thank you in advance for your help!

Giuseppe
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Re: McGrath to Research Communist Christ Mythicism

Post by Giuseppe » Thu May 09, 2019 9:13 am

I am expecting this book.

https://www.persee.fr/doc/assr_0003-965 ... 197_0000_2

Effectively, if mythicism was left as a communist thing, probably I would have ignored even the idea. But I think that it is not a honour for the historicists the fact that there was not even a mythicist Nazi ideologue, the "historical Jesus" working again and again only as a mere propagandistic logo.
Nihil enim in speciem fallacius est quam prava religio. -Liv. xxxix. 16.

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MrMacSon
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Re: McGrath to Research Communist Christ Mythicism

Post by MrMacSon » Thu May 09, 2019 2:25 pm

Jame Mcgrath wrote: During the time we lived in Romania ... I entered an antique shop that had some books on religion from the communist period. I found them interesting but strange, presenting Jesus as a purely mythological person with traits and characteristics taken over from previous mythological people and gods. Then I did not foresee any occasion in which I would need communist propaganda like this and so I left the books on the shelf and did not buy them.

Now, I'm sorry for that decision.

Since then, among English speakers, this idea of communist propaganda has become very popular in Internet communities. It would be interesting for somebody (either I or others) to write a history of this idea that involves the crusade against Christianity during the Cold War.
ie. McGrath is seeking to portray Jesus mythicism as a communist plot

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Secret Alias
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Re: McGrath to Research Communist Christ Mythicism

Post by Secret Alias » Thu May 09, 2019 2:55 pm

He's ok. He has an eclectic list of interests. I don't want to surround myself with like-minded people.
“Finally, from so little sleeping and so much reading, his brain dried up and he went completely out of his mind.”
― Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Don Quixote

Paul the Uncertain
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Re: McGrath to Research Communist Christ Mythicism

Post by Paul the Uncertain » Fri May 10, 2019 12:43 am

McGrath is, as Secret says, OK. Many of us here already know part of how his research is going to turn out. "Presenting Jesus as a purely mythological person with traits and characteristics taken over from previous mythological people and gods" is not an unusual or distinctive position to take, and didn't originate in any "Communist plot."

He may not readily believe the non-conspiracy aspect if one of us tells him so, but he will if he digs it out on his own. It's the truth and he is a competent researcher. I recommend encouraging him to dig. Rosy scenario: He'd make a fine addition to Godfrey's List of the mythicist or undecided :) .

This weekend, I'll be sending out a Mothers Day (American) email blast. That will reach most of the Romanian families I know. I'll include his query in the missives sent to my Romanian friends. At a minumum, they'll get a kick out of it, and perhaps one of them will supply a lead.

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Re: McGrath to Research Communist Christ Mythicism

Post by perseusomega9 » Fri May 10, 2019 6:20 am

Despite the accolades from SA and PtU, we all know McGrath is going to use this opportunity to conflate communist propaganda with current mythicism in his unhealthy obsession of stamping out mythicism wherever he finds it.

Paul the Uncertain
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Re: McGrath to Research Communist Christ Mythicism

Post by Paul the Uncertain » Sun May 12, 2019 2:12 am

In an interesting devlopment, Neil Godfrey has joined McGrath's inquiry.

https://vridar.org/2019/05/11/looking-f ... lications/

In all seriousness, the ragtag mythicist community of misfits is likely to be more widely taken seriously as scholars if more of them behaved as scholars behave. Scholars cooperate with each other, scholars honor one another's reasonable requests for assistance. Scholars do not necessarily agree, nor think well of one another in the absence of direct experience of collegiality.

perseusomega9
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Re: McGrath to Research Communist Christ Mythicism

Post by perseusomega9 » Mon May 13, 2019 8:20 am

Let us know when the guild stops acting like paradigm police and maybe things will change

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Peter Kirby
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Re: McGrath to Research Communist Christ Mythicism

Post by Peter Kirby » Mon May 13, 2019 9:38 am

This is a good development. Hopefully some of this history can be preserved before it's lost. I don't have time to research propaganda from the USSR in the 20th century, but I wouldn't mind getting an overview of what they were saying about Jesus.
"... almost every critical biblical position was earlier advanced by skeptics." - Raymond Brown

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DCHindley
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Re: McGrath to Research Communist Christ Mythicism

Post by DCHindley » Mon May 13, 2019 4:08 pm

Peter Kirby wrote:
Mon May 13, 2019 9:38 am
This is a good development. Hopefully some of this history can be preserved before it's lost. I don't have time to research propaganda from the USSR in the 20th century, but I wouldn't mind getting an overview of what they were saying about Jesus.
I got the impression that McGrath wanted the kind of home grown Romanian style anti-Christian derivations of classic works by

1) Engels:
"Bruno Bauer and Early Christianity," in Sozialdemokrat, 1882. Bauer's legacy - he died in April of that year - was that "he irrefutably proved the chronological order of the Gospels and their mutual interdependence, ... by the very contents of the Gospels themselves. ... And, if almost nothing from the whole content of the Gospels turns out to be historically provable — so that even the historical existence of a Jesus Christ can be questioned — Bauer has, thereby, only cleared the ground for the solution of the question: what is the origin of the ideas and thoughts that have been woven together into a sort of system in Christianity, and how came they to dominate the world?"
"The History of Early Christianity" in Neue Zeit, 1894. He says that for Bauer "the New Testament accounts of Jesus and his disciples are deprived ... of any historical background: they are diluted in legends in which the phases of interior development and the moral struggles of the first communities are transferred to more or less fictitious persons. Not Galilee and Jerusalem, but Alexandria and Rome, according to Bauer, are the birthplaces of the new religion;

2) Karl Kautsky:
"Origins of Biblical Primitive History" in Kosmos, 1883
"Origins of Christianity" in Neue Zeit, 1885.
The Forerunners of Modern Socialism, vol. 1, 1895. Contains an analysis of "primitive Christian" development in a socio-economic perspective. Not a word about B. Bauer or Kalthoff, although he does credit Plato's utopian republic with setting the stage for later communistic societies, including Essenes and early Christianity.
The origins of Christianity, 1908. Mentions B. Bauer and A. Kalthoff's determination that we cannot really know the historical Jesus from the scant records available to us, only what the writers about him wanted him to be. However, Kautsky says we can learn something of the economic situation of the writers about Jesus.

Almost all of this was published in German. Essentially, there were ideas already in the air such as the Utopian city state of Plato, and the myths about the Gods, which came together in Christian communities of Rome and maybe Alexandria, who projected that moment all back into the time of Pilate and the city of Jerusualem. They have actually done a lot of study to get to their conclusions, and cannot simply be waved away.

An alternative movement among Liberal Christians (Monists and Unitarians in those days) was championed by A. Kalthoff.

The rise of Christianity. New contributions to the problem of Christ. Leipzig 1904.
What we know about Jesus? A statement by W. Bousset. Berlin 1904. Wilhelm Bousset (1865-1920) was one of the pioneers in the Religionsgeschichtliche Schule or "History of Religions School," which established the scientific and comparative study of Hellenistic Judaism and Early Christianity.

Kalthoff agreed that philosophical and mythical precedents set the way, but placed the birth of Christianity in Jerusalem, not Rome. I think he was open to the idea of it actually having come together in Pilate's time.

There used to be ETs of many of these articles or even chapters of books on H. Detering's Socialism site (he was not just a Dutch Radical).

DCH

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