PZ Myers's anti-mythicist censorship

Discussion about the New Testament, apocrypha, gnostics, church fathers, Christian origins, historical Jesus or otherwise, etc.
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Giuseppe
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PZ Myers's anti-mythicist censorship

Post by Giuseppe »


You could make a fair case that I have flung myself as far away from these people as I could, on the basis of issues other than an objective analysis of their mythicist case, and I’d have to concede that that is true in part. On the other hand, my counterargument would be that it suggests a deep problem in their theory, that it mainly seems to attract fringe scholars, pseudo-intellectual bible worshippers, wanna-be nazis, and misogynists and conspiracy theorists. I don’t like these people, making my opinion of their ideas

https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula ... more-68886

Never seen in action a such anti-mythicist argument moved by "emotional reasons"!
So one, in order to be a serious mythicist in the eyes of this moral censor, has to be a 100% conformist in all the other matters. Absurd! :(
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Giuseppe
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Re: PZ Myers's anti-mythicist censorship

Post by Giuseppe »

I read somewhere that Isaac Newton devoted only 1 or 2 years in true Physics, while the rest of his time was wasted in irrational biblical esoterism, the old equivalent of conspiracy thinking. PZ Myers would have ostracized even him, according to his strange logic!
dbz
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Re: PZ Myers's anti-mythicist censorship

Post by dbz »

PZ Myers writes, “…the most reasonable explanation for the start of Christianity, only weirdly deluded fanatics argue otherwise.” @ "I had to say what I think of Jesus Mythicism". Pharyngula. 25 December 2022.

The less obvious problem an early date for 1 Clement creates is that it means we have no records concerning what happened in the Christian movement not just for thirty years but nearly half a century between the time of Paul and the first time Christians are reliably mentioned outside the Bible—which then would be in correspondence between Pliny the Younger and Emperor Trajan around 112 A.D. (on this “mini-dark-age” in Christian history see OHJ, Ch. 4, Element 20, pp. 148-52; cf. How Did Christianity Switch to a Historical Jesus? and its expansion in Jesus from Outer Space). That Josephus mentioned Christians in the 90s A.D. is not believable anyway; but even the passages he would offer give us no information about Christianity from this period either. Apart from the Gospels of Mark and Matthew and the Book of Revelation (and maybe the forgeries of Colossians and Ephesians; everything else is either pre-War or more likely second century), none of which explicitly discuss events of their day (we can only try to infer or guess at their motivating contexts and other data of their own time), we don’t have anything reliably dated in between Pliny the Younger in 112 A.D. and 1 Clement and Hebrews (which both for the same reasons can date no later than 66 A.D., per OHJ, Ch. 11.5), which is a span of 46 years, then almost an average human lifetime (Element 22, Ibid.).

So we have no idea what Christians were saying about these new Gospels, or any disputes over doctrine or claims about their own history, or anything else usable for reconstructing the very decades in which a historical Jesus is being invented. Indeed, from later sources (like Papias: OHJ, Ch. 8.7; and Eusebius: How To Fabricate History: The Example of Eusebius on Alexandrian Christianity), it is clear Christians had lost access to all documentation, all reliable information, from this period themselves. Which collapses a lot of arguments against doubting the historicity of Jesus, keeping a doubt of it well within the realm of the plausible (again, see How Did Christianity Switch to a Historical Jesus?, which was expanded in Jesus from Outer Space). Of course, “the evidence of ecclesial events for the whole three or four decades after 95 is not what one would characterize as robust, either” (OHJ, p. 148). It’s pretty crappy. But there is at least something. Still, significant documentation and history for Christianity only really picks up toward the end of the second century. Whereas in the prior period, there is essentially nothing, “a thirty-year black box in which we can’t reconstruct what happened,” beyond the vaguest or most minimal of things (like, Jewish Christianity still existed and was futilely arguing against the legitimacy of its Gentile branch). But that’s if 1 Clement’s traditional date is correct. If it’s not, then it’s not a thirty year black box, but a nearly fifty year black box. Half a century.

Why was an entire lifetime of Christian history erased from the record, precisely when a historical Jesus and all the novel myths and tall tales about him were first being decidedly promoted? And even if it was all just lost from happenstance, how can we make claims about what “didn’t” happen in that lifetime? The evidence we would need to rule anything out—is gone. Even the Christians of the second century had lost access to it. Even they could not speak authoritatively about their own history. So they fabricated one. This leaves the door wide open to many possible sequences of events. Including sequences known to be routine for all savior cults of the era, in which a revelatory gospel is transformed into a pseudohistorical tale of each founding hero.

Carrier (19 December 2022). "How We Can Know 1 Clement Was Actually Written in the 60s AD".Richard Carrier Blogs.

Paul the Uncertain
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Re: PZ Myers's anti-mythicist censorship

Post by Paul the Uncertain »

@Giuseppe

I didn't follow where "censorship" fits into the topic. The comments section below the transcript seemed as lively as most webside discussions of the HJ-MJ controversies.

I agree that PZM's stated reasons for his conclusion break no new ground and include more-irrelevant-than-usual ad homs.
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Giuseppe
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Re: PZ Myers's anti-mythicist censorship

Post by Giuseppe »

Moral censorship, more than concrete censorship. However the same PZ concedes his own exaggeration. What sounds offensive is his considering the mythicism a new school of thought when really it is old just as historicism. What is new is only the use of Internet for his diffusion, so really PZ fears the complexity of the Internet more than mythicism.
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Re: PZ Myers's anti-mythicist censorship

Post by dbz »

Giuseppe wrote: Wed Dec 28, 2022 3:11 am What is new is only the use of Internet for his diffusion, so really PZ fears the complexity of the Internet more than mythicism.
Earl Doherty like Prometheus (who is best known for defying the gods by giving knowledge to humanity) published the magazine article:
  • "The Jesus Puzzle: Part One: A Conspiracy of Silence". Humanist in Canada. 114: 20–24. Autumn 1995.
On 11 May 1996, Doherty then posted "The Jesus Puzzle" articles (that had been previously published) on his website: The Jesus Puzzle: Was There No Historical Jesus?

In 1999 Doherty published the content of his website as a book:

The Jesus Puzzle: Did Christianity Begin with a Mythical Christ? - Challenging the Existence of an Historical Jesus. Ottawa: Age of Reason Publications. 2005 [First published 1999]. ISBN 978-0-9689259-1-1. 4th print [1st print Ottawa: Canadian Humanist Publications].

The book went through 4 printings (selling out every time). Circa 2016 it cost over $100 dollars to purchase a used book as all the new books were sold out.
VinnyJH
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Re: PZ Myers's anti-mythicist censorship

Post by VinnyJH »

I don't understand why Myers considers historicism inherently more plausible than mythicism. When considering the origins of any religion, I think that a good default hypothesis would be that some half-a-whack-job convinced a bunch of gullible followers that the fantastic stories he invented were actually messages from God. If the evidence is insufficient to refute that hypothesis, I cannot see much justification for positing actual historical people or events that cannot otherwise be established.
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