Resource for Mythicist and Response Documentation

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

Post by Chris Hansen » Tue Jun 30, 2020 5:28 pm

Hi! Thanks for the comment!

The full book is found here: https://www.academia.edu/43141837/THE_Q ... he_Present

The Soviet mythicist chapter starts on page 92. There were a few mythicist works translated from the USSR into English, French, Spanish, and German, but they are unfortunately hard to come by. Of Kryvelev's work History of Religions, I think it was only translated from Russian into Spanish, German, and French. His Christ-Myth or Reality (1987) was translated into English, French, and German. One of Lenzman's books was translated into French. There are also a few summaries (Wipper's thesis was recently summarized in an article by D. I. Weber).

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MrMacSon
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Re: Resource for Mythicist and Response Documentation

Post by MrMacSon » Tue Jun 30, 2020 6:15 pm

Chris Hansen wrote:
Fri Jun 26, 2020 1:10 am

... 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 ...
1. Do you think it is worth including Brodie's academic works in your bibliography? Works which, while not espousing any mythicism per se, supports his ultimate proposition that Jesus did not exist, eg., his books such as
  • The Quest for the Origin of John's Gospel: A Source-Oriented Approach Oxford University Press, USA, 1993
  • The Crucial Bridge: The Elijah-Elisha Narrative, Michael Glazier, 2000
  • The Birth of the New Testament: the Intertextual Development of the New Testament Writings? Sheffield Press, 2004
2. Do you think Jörg Rüpke should be classified as a mythicist? Given what he wrote in Pantheon: A New History of Roman Religion, Princeton University Press, Feb 2018 - that Christianity was essentially the result of of a flurry of increasing popularity of Christian literary works of the 2nd century following texts such as the Shepherd of Hermas and Marcion's Gospel?

Chris Hansen
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Re: Resource for Mythicist and Response Documentation

Post by Chris Hansen » Tue Jun 30, 2020 6:29 pm

1. Perhaps I will include those, since we may impart mythicism on a post-facto basis.

2. Jörg Rüpke is not a mythicist. In that book he implicitly indicates he holds to historicity in the book:

"In about AD 30 there emerged among actors in Palestine a man called Jesus, of a prophetic and apocalyptic stamp, who
was eventually executed." see page 351

Nothing in the book indicates that he rejected the historicity of Jesus.

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Secret Alias
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Re: Resource for Mythicist and Response Documentation

Post by Secret Alias » Tue Jun 30, 2020 9:33 pm

What do you think the combined sales of all mythical writers are to date? Just a ballpark. I'd guess less than 50000 total. Verified sales.
“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

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MrMacSon
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Re: Resource for Mythicist and Response Documentation

Post by MrMacSon » Wed Jul 01, 2020 2:28 am

Chris Hansen wrote:
Tue Jun 30, 2020 6:29 pm
1. Perhaps I will include those, since we may impart mythicism on a post-facto basis.
Yes, that's a good way of framing it ie. they "may impart mythicism on a post-facto basis."

Not that many people are likely to read them, or, if they do, as imparting mythicism (it would be interesting if others proposing a core- or proto- Luke as a pre-Marcion text or even as a 'first gospel'

Chris Hansen wrote:
Tue Jun 30, 2020 6:29 pm
2. Jörg Rüpke is not a mythicist. In that book he implicitly indicates he holds to historicity in the book:

"In about AD 30 there emerged among actors in Palestine a man called Jesus, of a prophetic and apocalyptic stamp, who was eventually executed." see page 351.

Nothing in the book indicates that he rejected the historicity of Jesus
Rüpke uses 'actor' or 'actors' over 200 times in a variety of different ways in Pantheon.

There are aspects of Rüpke's full commentary that could be said to counter your assertion that "Nothing in the book indicates that he rejected the historicity of Jesus." Perhaps the best compact example is on p. 355 where he notes, in relation to the production of Marcion's Gospel in the 2nd century, -

"...the stunning absence of earlier biographical narratives of Jesus’s life is ... the consequence of such earlier narratives being nonexistent..."

The full prior immediate text to that is -

...The god of Jesus Christ, as described in the available texts by Paul, was the positive antagonist of [the evil] ancient figure [of the creator god of the Pentateuch]. The most influential aspect of Marcionism, however, was neither the institutions it created nor any accompanying rituals, but its historiographical groundwork. In outlining a simple biographical schema, replete with current anecdotes and quotations—here I am following the increasingly mooted, even if still radical position of a second-century date for the canonical gospels and the Acts of the Apostles—Marcion’s portrayal of the life of an apocalyptic visionary and peripatetic preacher, from his first emergence to his rather unusual execution, could be seen as the model of a life turning away from Judaism. He thus orchestrated a rupture that he relocated a century into the past, carefully keeping his narrative free of contemporary references. (p. 355)


And Rüpke had previously noted, pp.334-5, -

.
The letters collected under the name of Paul pose their argument against a background of Stoic and Platonic philosophy, while assuming an intensive knowledge of biblical writings, even on the part of noncircumcised recipients. This was another bricolage by intellectuals intent on their own legitimation ...

... The extant [Pauline] corpus, on the other hand, has the character of a pseudepigraphical continuation of writings by Paul, to some extent going so far as to reflect the personal link in theological terms.37 The writers’ motivations were various, ranging from an interest in continuing Paul’s work and providing contentious interpretations of it, to reverence for Paul and instrumentalization of his name (a process taken considerably further outside the corpus of letters, beginning in Luke’s history of the apostles). In this manner, editors engaged in professional exegesis and in the formation of philosophical schools. But it was only with Acts, written deep into the first half of the second century, with its collective biography of the Acts of the Apostles, that we see the beginning of institutional history.38 Here, Paul became the central link in a genealogy of groups that, from the mid-century onward, increasingly wished to see themselves primarily as Christiani.39


37 See Henderson, I. (2012) “ ‘… Hidden with Christ in God’ (Colossians 3:3): Modes of Personhood in Deutero-Pauline Tradition.” In J. Rüpke and W. Spickermann, eds., Reflections on Religious Individuality: Greco-Roman and Judaeo-Christian Texts and Practices. Religionsgeschichtliche Versuche und Vorarbeiten 62. Berlin. 43–67.

38 Thus Cancik (2011) “Hairesis, Diatribe, Ekklesia: Griechische Schulgeschichte und das Lukanische Geschichtswerk.” Early Christianity 2 (3): 312–34.

39 See Arnal 2011, and below. On their designation by others, & then also by themselves, as “Christians,” see Trebilco 2012; 272–311.

  • Arnal, W. 2011. “The Collection and Synthesis of “Tradition” and the Second-Century Invention of Christianity.” Method & Theory in the Study of Religion 23 (3–4): 193–215.
  • Trebilco, P. (2012) Self-Designations and Group Identity in the New Testament. Cambridge; pp. 272–311.


Rüpke goes on to propose -

.
Marcion invented something new. In the literary environment of the Roman Empire as described, nothing was more natural than to write a Greek-language “biography” as a founding document for a new religious network. Marcion’s opponents reacted immediately with a weighty intellectual exchange of the sort that a metropolis like Rome made possible; and, as was usual in historiography, they reacted with competing versions ... Marcion’s competitors were in fact also active in Rome, and, moreover, adopted substantial parts of his model. The author of the text that most plagiarized Marcion was identified a little later, by Marcion himself, as Luke, in an edition that featured the gospel along with some of Paul’s letters. It concentrated on correcting Marcion’s fundamental break with Judaism. With their narratives of Jesus’s childhood, both Luke and Matthew demonstrate how familiar the biographical character of the template was, and also how scant the source background was as soon as one wanted to move beyond that template. Marcion, for his part, criticized their compositions (and that of Mark) as lying close to his own text.

Writings competing with Marcion’s edition of the 140s AD, which was prefaced by his “Antitheses,” could now only continue to accumulate. AD 160 saw a counter-edition that established the core of the future New Testament. The late addition of Luke’s Acts of the Apostles rescued the philosophical core represented by Paul and took a direction that, while no longer avoiding the gray zones of Jewishness, also provided this orientation with a patron. Within the same movement, however, spokesmen such as Luke (in Acts of the Apostles) and Justin (in his Apology)—and perhaps earlier the writer of the Epistle of Barnabas—persisted with the genealogy of exclusion, insisting that the destruction of the Temple in AD 70 was a consequence of the crucifixion of the “anointed one.”

Rüpke, Jörg (2018) Pantheon: A New History of Roman Religion (pp. 356-357). Princeton University Press; p. 356.


Chris Hansen
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Re: Resource for Mythicist and Response Documentation

Post by Chris Hansen » Wed Jul 01, 2020 5:39 am

I still think it would be unsafe based on any of those to make any conclusions about Rüpke's view of the historicity of Jesus. None of those challenge the historicity.

"If the stunning absence of earlier biographical narratives of Jesus’s life is not just an accident of transmission, but rather the consequence of such earlier narratives being nonexistent, the reason might be that there was no interest in biographies of “angels,” “sons of god,” or “names of gods,” the identities most often ascribed to Jesus in Jewish contexts."

That phrase "most often ascribed to Jesus" implies a historical figure.

Other statements throughout make mythicism even less likely.

"In the mid- first century AD, Paul, a Jewish intellectual, associated this figure of Jesus with the idea that Jewish identity might be detached from the practice of circumcision."

I will get in contact Rüpke and just ask him in the coming weeks.

Chris Hansen
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Re: Resource for Mythicist and Response Documentation

Post by Chris Hansen » Wed Jul 01, 2020 5:41 am

Secret Alias wrote:
Tue Jun 30, 2020 9:33 pm
What do you think the combined sales of all mythical writers are to date? Just a ballpark. I'd guess less than 50000 total. Verified sales.
Oh I'd estimate in the millions. There were thousands upon thousands of copies of Arthur Drews' Die Christusmythe sold alone, and given that mythicism has existed since the 1670's (at least), I'm very inclined to make those numbers pretty high.

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Secret Alias
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Re: Resource for Mythicist and Response Documentation

Post by Secret Alias » Wed Jul 01, 2020 8:40 am

I think that's a little high. Tens of thousands is my guess.
“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

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Secret Alias
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Re: Resource for Mythicist and Response Documentation

Post by Secret Alias » Wed Jul 01, 2020 8:43 am

Says here his publisher in the US was "Open Court Publishing." https://books.google.com/books?id=p6m9A ... es&f=false. That's a step above scribbling something on the back of a napkin
“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

Chris Hansen
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Re: Resource for Mythicist and Response Documentation

Post by Chris Hansen » Wed Jul 01, 2020 9:40 am

No it doesn't. I've checked that source. The book that sold the 11,000 copies is "The Winning Barbara Worth" by Harold B. Wright. It does not report how many copies of Drews' book was sold. Furthermore, the publishing year of that paper is 1911 (which is only one year after the English publication and only two after the German in 1909), so 11,000 copies would be actually impressively large for such a short timeframe.

The reality is we won't know with any certainty, because it was published in at least 8 different languages (English, Spanish, French, German, Dutch, Russian, Chinese, Japanese) with numerous publishers, and we know that even his German publisher (Eugen Diederichs Verlag) did not report on the copies of its books sold, at least not to my knowledge. However, given it was widely spread around the USA, UK, China, the USSR, Germany, France, the Netherlands, etc. one could probably estimate anywhere between 80-150,000 copies safely, imo, during Drews' lifetime (died in 1935), considering all of the translations and locations it was sold. Furthermore, that number is probably even higher given that it has been in nonstop continuous print since it was first published, either through reprints, secular movements, or authentic presses. Even into the 90's, Prometheus Books republished it in their line (from what I can tell it was an endorsed reprint by R. Joseph Hoffmann).

I'd estimate that Richard Carrier's work has hit a few thousand at least across his four mythicist books, and Robert M. Price most certainly has. R. Yu Wipper's work in the USSR was widely published and distributed and became a staple among laity and academia alike (especially because mythicism was endorsed by the Soviet State, so we can estimate thousands upon thousands of publications in the propaganda alone that were sold and distributed). G. A. Wells and John Allegro probably hit high selling numbers, especially the Sacred Mushroom and the Cross (1970) due to the international outrage it caused, which no doubt would have brought the "buy for cringe" sensation. Wells' work was well known enough to spark international attention and led to a heated debate between him and Morton Smith at the University of Michigan, and Wells further promoted his views on a BBC documentary in the 80's. So I'm sure he read a lot of individuals and sold work well.

Above all though, we can look at Volney's Les Ruins des Empires (though I wouldn't call him a mythicist, but he is still colloquially lumped in there), which was HUGELY successful, sparking massive international controversy and being one of the most notorious academic books arguably in history. It was translated into English and German very soon after, and we know for a fact it became widely popular and influential in English, French, and American mythicist circles. His book has easily sold thousands and thousands of copies, be it by academics/laity curious in the French Revolution (which his work was supporting) or on the historical Jesus. Heck, it was even so notable that it got referenced in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. And by and large all of the early mythicists (except the Bauerian strains) were reliant on it. We even know it was being illegally published in secular movements. In fact, we even have records of Richard Carlile and Robert Taylor selling serialized copies of it, and then also doing public readings among the secular movements in England.

So yeah... I think at this point we are easily in the millions (at least early millions).

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