Resource for Mythicist and Response Documentation

Discussion about the New Testament, apocrypha, gnostics, church fathers, Christian origins, historical Jesus or otherwise, etc.
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Chris Hansen
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Resource for Mythicist and Response Documentation

Post by Chris Hansen » Fri Jun 26, 2020 1:10 am

Hello all,

So, just for the aid of fellow scholars and laity alike, I've been working to document academic mythicist material, as well as responses to it by other academics. Though my mythicist book (work in progress) has been kindly shared here, I thought I would share the bibliography I've been developing, which lists numerous peer reviewed works on both sides.

https://www.academia.edu/43005350/LIST_ ... SINCE_1970

I wish to particularly note that there have been three (3) peer reviewed mythicist books, published in relevant houses, before Carrier's, including two comprehensive arguments for it (along with Brodie's memoir), all published between 1987 and 2012. This proves that Carrier's claim to be the first to publish a comprehensive peer reviewed mythicist book in fifty years is ostensibly false.

This bibliography is continuously updated as I find more content. So please check in on it if you wish to use it for a resource.

Thank you for all the hard work I've seen on this website.

Best,

Chris Hansen

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Giuseppe
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Re: Resource for Mythicist and Response Documentation

Post by Giuseppe » Sun Jun 28, 2020 8:27 am

Chris Hansen wrote:
Fri Jun 26, 2020 1:10 am
This proves that Carrier's claim to be the first to publish a comprehensive peer reviewed mythicist book in fifty years is ostensibly false.
to my knowledge, Carrier has always specified that his book is the first :
  • to be peer reviewed
  • to be complete and persuasive.
This is 100% true, since possibly only Jean Magne's case may be more persuasive than Carrier's case, but after all they both agree about the paradigm: a deity Jesus (crucified in outer space) in the epistles being later euhemerized by the gospels (with both epistles and gospels written by Jews).

Also Roland Fischer (see his On The Story-Telling Imperative That We Have In Mind) preceded Carrier with a peer-reviewed mythicist article where he also shows the same paradigm: a god Jesus who was later euhemerized. Carrier's merit is only to have made the paradigm more clear for the great public, but it was already clear in Smith, Drews, Couchoud, etc, only they were not peer-reviewed.

To my knowledge, Brodie is different from Carrier insofar he has not that same paradigm in mind: he thinks that the Gospel Jesus was invented ex nihilo, without a previous deity being adored with the same name and mentioned in epistles.
Nihil enim in speciem fallacius est quam prava religio. -Liv. xxxix. 16.

Chris Hansen
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Re: Resource for Mythicist and Response Documentation

Post by Chris Hansen » Sun Jun 28, 2020 8:34 am

Brodie is different, but not without parallel. He is not the only one throughout history to think Jesus was invented wholesale.

But we also have Iosif Kryvelev in the academic peer-reviewed series by the USSR Academy of Sciences. The book was entitled "Christ: Myth or reality" (1987) and was a case for a mythical Jesus, who was a hypostatization of Jewish messianism and socio-political culture (i.e. along the lines of Kalthoff).

Also, Carrier doesn't call it complete, he calls it "comprehensive." Jean Magne and Kryvelev are both rather comprehensive peer reviewed works. Maybe less so than Carrier's, but Carrier is sloppy enough that I wouldn't call him comprehensive as much as just having a jumbled mess (like including the highly contentious dying-rising gods and the pre-Christian suffering Messiah and the "celestial Jesus" in Philo, all of which are intensely disputed).

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Giuseppe
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Re: Resource for Mythicist and Response Documentation

Post by Giuseppe » Sun Jun 28, 2020 8:44 am

I would consider Kryvelev, as any Russian mythicist, as a follower of Drews, hence it would be not correct to distinguish him too much from Carrier's paradigm. As to his book being peer-reviewed, it was not in a democratic state so the operation is not so worthy of attention, I think.

Possibly Lenzman is another peer-reviewed Russian writer who was translated in French and is mentioned often in marginal notes of academic books.

Obviously I disagree with you about Carrier. I think that he is the best living mythicist author, precisely because an instance of his paradigm (I insist: the paradigm) is well described by Jean Magne. In line of principle, one may give in future a good instance, but Carrier has given the paradigm.
Nihil enim in speciem fallacius est quam prava religio. -Liv. xxxix. 16.

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Giuseppe
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Re: Resource for Mythicist and Response Documentation

Post by Giuseppe » Sun Jun 28, 2020 9:20 am

Hence I find wise the Carrier's decision of not adding his chapter in the future book edited by John Loftus on mythicism.

By that decision, he remarks what is his qualitative difference: to have described the paradigm under which any serious mythical theory has to place itself, beyond if his/her author is more erudite than Carrier or not.
Nihil enim in speciem fallacius est quam prava religio. -Liv. xxxix. 16.

Chris Hansen
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Re: Resource for Mythicist and Response Documentation

Post by Chris Hansen » Sun Jun 28, 2020 9:22 am

I would actually consider Kryvelev actually more distinct, since Kryvelev actually did not think that Drews' theories were tenable. Drews was far closer to Bruno Bauer and Albert Kalthoff than he ever was Drews. Having read Kryvelev's work, I can say he is not remotely similar to Drews' thesis. Soviet mythicists largely abandoned Drews' theory for mythicism around the 60's, especially as the Dead Sea Scrolls became more available.

And if we are going to get technical on the peer-review status, Carrier's book's peer reviewed status has been highly questioned as well, as we are all aware. And Lenzman I would consider one too, but he would be outside of the 50 year mark that Carrier generally claims.

I think that Price is the best living mythicist author. He has a far better interpretive grasp on the material, and is far more consistent. Carrier has no consistency in his application to his own parameters or Bayesian analysis, nor any consistency in what he regards as a convincing or ad hoc argument (half of his interpretations of Paul are completely ad hoc, but because they fit his opinions, he doesn't care). Other figures who are well acquainted with Bayes' theorem and its application to history think he is not consistent and overlooks a lot of things and also assigns unfair values to historicists.

I think that people are just overly generous to Carrier because he has a large community presence, but the reality is that I think even Earl Doherty was better than Carrier.

I'd add that, Price has gone on at length about how the paradigm should work for mythicism as well... he actually speaks on method at length.

Chris Hansen
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Re: Resource for Mythicist and Response Documentation

Post by Chris Hansen » Sun Jun 28, 2020 9:29 am

As a case in point: the cosmic sperm bank has no prior probability in favor of it, and is completely unevidenced. But Carrier assigns it an inexplicably high value on Mythicism and says it is "so easily read out of scripture" when it is in fact one of the most ad hoc interpretations of Rom. 1:3 ever conceived.

He does this regularly throughout the book. He also regularly is uncareful of those he cites. Citing Mircea Eliade on a "dying-rising Zalmoxis" is nonsense, as every interpreter of Eliade's work has noted. His claim that Baal was resurrected in the myth of Zeus Dolichenus he never cites anything on, and is also nonsense. His claim that Marduk is resurrected was disproven by Tikva Frymer-Kensky (one of his own sources) and Wolfram von Soden. His claims about Romulus dying and rising is also nonsense and based on him harmonizing two different accounts of Zalmoxis (one where he dies, and one where he is taken up into Heaven while still alive).

He is regularly lacking care and his work is exceedingly rudimentary at times. As Petterson once described, "undergraduate."

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Giuseppe
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Re: Resource for Mythicist and Response Documentation

Post by Giuseppe » Sun Jun 28, 2020 9:48 am

Chris Hansen wrote:
Sun Jun 28, 2020 9:29 am
He does this regularly throughout the book. He also regularly is uncareful of those he cites. Citing Mircea Eliade on a "dying-rising Zalmoxis" is nonsense, as every interpreter of Eliade's work has noted. His claim that Baal was resurrected in the myth of Zeus Dolichenus he never cites anything on, and is also nonsense. His claim that Marduk is resurrected was disproven by Tikva Frymer-Kensky (one of his own sources) and Wolfram von Soden. His claims about Romulus dying and rising is also nonsense and based on him harmonizing two different accounts of Zalmoxis (one where he dies, and one where he is taken up into Heaven while still alive).
I disagree strongly here. Even if Carrier is not informed about these details as you explain, his general thesis that the dying and rising god was a hellenistic theme is 100% correct. To think otherwise means to fall in the fallacy of distinction without a real difference. If Darwin had made that fallacy in his field, then there would be no evolutionistic theory.

I disagree about Kyrelev being not an instance of Carrier's paradigm. He says clearly (I go to memory) that the god comes before the Gospel legend. Insofar he writes so, his case is a mere instance of Carrier's paradigm.

As to Doherty, he is more erudite than Carrier, but again Carrier has the merit of having derived the paradigm, removing the speculations, even if interesting.

To fix the correct paradigm is more important than be accurate in the details. As a Latin adagio said:

Rem tene, verba sequentur.
Nihil enim in speciem fallacius est quam prava religio. -Liv. xxxix. 16.

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Giuseppe
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Re: Resource for Mythicist and Response Documentation

Post by Giuseppe » Sun Jun 28, 2020 10:11 am

About Robert M. Price: he is erudite ok, but I can't forgive him for:
  • having never mentioned Couchoud/Stahl on Barabbas (the bizarre thing is that I have known the latter's article via internet and not reading Price);
  • having never really realized the importance of Jean Magne's case for his same thesis about Gnostic origins of Christianity. For a thing, Magne was fixed on Barabbas just as Price was fixed on Simon Magus: but the former reached a lot of better results than the latter.
Nihil enim in speciem fallacius est quam prava religio. -Liv. xxxix. 16.

Chris Hansen
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Re: Resource for Mythicist and Response Documentation

Post by Chris Hansen » Sun Jun 28, 2020 10:19 am

What it means to die and rise is distinct in various societies. Case in point, Egyptian "resurrection" does not happen physically. Osiris' corpse was believed to be buried in Egypt (as Metzger noted). That is completely distinct from a Christian conception of resurrection: bodily. It is a fallacy to lump these together into the same category, i.e. parallelomania. And Carrier does it frequently. Regardless, even if I granted the dying-rising god, it is irrelevant to Jesus' historicity because parallels cannot determine history. It is epistemic fallaciousness.

It isn't "Carrier's paradigm." Carrier is not the inventor of this and it is retroactive anachronism to apply "Carrier's paradigm" to Kryvelev is just anachronistic at best. It would be more accurate to say that Carrier's thesis is actually more from the French schools of mythicism following from Couchoud. Doherty has claimed that more of his inspiration comes from Couchoud and there is a lot of influence that can be seen in his thesis, and Doherty's work was basically just copied in a less erudite fashion by Carrier.

Also, I'm not sure how you are using the term paradigm here. Could you define it as you are using it here?

---------------

In fairness, that article by Couchoud/Stahl is not particularly well known at all, and I'm sure he'd adopt more of that if given the chance. Also, why hold that against Price? Carrier doesn't know 99% of the history of mythicism.

And Carrier doesn't even know that Jean Magne exists either. All of your criticisms there apply to Carrier. Carrier doesn't know the first thing about past mythicist theories except for Price, Doherty, Murdock, and Zindler.

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