Submitted by Gregory Doudna on Wed, 03/24/2021 - 08:50
Richard, at first I was taken aback by the combination of (a) total rejection of and disinterest in even looking at a book directly and integrally material to your "On the Historicity of Jesus" work and niche in scholarship, sight unseen--on the stated grounds that it was written in the 19th century, combined with (b) the over-the-top bludgeoning, name-calling, and lecturing posture as if to a student when I am a colleague and a peer in a closely-related field to yours.
To get one thing out of the way quickly, scholars in collegial settings discuss unpublished work all the time. Scholars informally and formally routinely consider, respond to, and discuss ideas and proposals on the basis of experience with primary sources with no conscious restriction in conversation to "only what has been peer-reviewed published". Most papers presented at scholarly conferences, and much of the informal conversations at such and otherwise, concern work that has not yet been published. Comments to articles on this site at their best are something like those informal conversations and feedback at conference presentations.
The fact is your lack of knowledge of the argument of the George Solomon 1880 book, let alone addressing it, is a material omission in "On the Historicity of Jesus". It was a good-faith material omission since I have no doubt you, like I until recently, had never heard of it at the time you produced "On the Historicity". That however is not the case now, you have heard of it, and have given every indication that it is beneath you to look at it, or to understand its argument.
Whether after looking at it--if you do five years or ten years from now if ever--you do not find it convincing or that you disagree with it is beside the point here. The point is Solomon 1880 is not crank. It is as materially relevant to your niche of work as a published piece of work can be, but it was missed by you because not in the world of discourse with which you were familiar when you did that work.
The over-the-top bludgeoning response combined with "I will not even look at it" (paraphrase) comes across as a reaction of perceived vulnerability. It is especially odd given what you wrote in "On the Historicity of Jesus", pp. 428-429, in which you yourself say that the Gospel of Mark's Passion Story of Jesus is drawn directly from Josephus's figure Jesus b. Ananias of the 60s:
"So the entire narrative of Mark is a fictional, symbolic construct, from beginning to end (. . .) Indeed, even how Mark decides to construct the sequence of the Passover narrative appears to be based on the tale of another Jesus: Jesus ben Ananias, the 'Jesus of Jerusalem', an insane prophet active in the 60s CE who is then killed in the siege of Jerusalem (roughly in the year 70). His story is told by Josephus in the Jewish War, and unless Josephus invented him, his narrative must have been famous, famous enough for Josephus to know of it, and thus famous enough for Mark to know of it, too, and make use of it to model the tale of his own Jesus. Or if Josephus invented the tale, then Mark evidently used Josephus as a source. Because the parallels are too numerous to be at all probable as a coincidence. Some Mark does derive from elsewhere (or matches from elsewhere to a double purpose), but the overall scheme of the story in Josephus matches Mark too closely to believe that Mark just came up with the exact same scheme independently. And since it's not believed that Josephus invented a new story using Mark, we must conclude Mark invented his story using Josephus--or the same tale known to Josephus."
That is reasonable and accurate analysis. But what you have not realized and evidently have not the least interest in learning, is that the stories of Jesus of the Gospel of Mark also draw no less substantially from Jesus b. Sapphat of the 60s, and are no less compelling as direct derivation, as you acknowledge in the case of Jesus b. Ananias of the 60s.
Again, the Jesus b. Sapphat source of Jesus stories of the Gospels is absolutely not crank. I know crank and this isn't. It is no more crank than Jesus b. Ananias as source of Jesus's trial and apocalyptic. Yet Jesus b. Saphat does not even appear in the index to your 696 pp "On the Historicity" addressing the question of whether the Christian Jesus was or was not a figure in history--not even mentioned in that entire study. With respect, failure to even mention, let alone address, Jesus b. Saphat in 696 pages addressing every other conceivable aspect to the question in "On the Historicity" is sort of like missing the barn door, or not seeing an elephant in the room. This is why I say your lack of discussion of the content of Solomon 1880--I do not mean agreement, but understanding and addressing the Jesus b. Saphat connections at all--is a material omission in your otherwise highly worthy discussion.
Both my m.a. advisor at Cornell, Martin Bernal, author of Black Athena, and then Thomas Thompson at Copenhagen with my dr. degree, talked a lot about the sociology of scholarship, not simply the content of scholarship. My first publication foray crossing over from Qumran to Christian origins is, "Was Josephus's John the Baptist Passage a Chronologically Dislocated Story of the Death of Hyrcanus II?", published in the 2020 Thomas Thompson festschrift and accessible on my page on academia.edu.
Back to tone, I will leave this discussion since the bludgeoning and threat-attack mode is so offputting. You can have any last word if you like. You will get no war from me.
https://bibleinterp.arizona.edu/comment ... mment-1048
Well done Greg Doudna - spoken like a gentleman .