Originally posted by twhitehead
That is not what I am asking. I am not asking for statements of belief. I am asking if anyone has counter arguments to what Richard Carrier says, or if they can point to anything he gets wrong.
I am not motivated to watch the video but found this in an Amazon review:
5.0 out of 5 stars The book Jesus Mythicism has been waiting for. July 2, 2014
[review by ] By Quentin D. Jones
Format: Paperback | Verified Purchase
This is an excellent book, highly recommended for anyone interested in the historical vs mythical debate over Jesus.
Firstly - my paperback version is of generally good physical quality, both in the printing and the binding - and survived a first read and some wide opening for scanning just fine.
The book is well argued and his points are logical and well supported with plenty of foot-notes, and a comprehensive bibliography. It is a companion volume to his work "Proving History" where he argues for using Bayesian probability in the study of history, especially Jesus. This methodology is breath of fresh air in Jesus studies - instead of ad hoc or even apologetic arguments, Carrier has a method that is based on probability and not just possibilities and wishful thinking.
First carrier sets up two mininal Jesus theories to test :
1. At the origin of Christianity, Jesus Christ was thought to be a celestial deity much like any other.
2. Like many other celestial deities, this Jesus 'communicated' with his subjects only through dreams, visions and other forms of divine inspiration (such as prophecy, past and present).
3. Like some other celestial deities, this Jesus was originally believed to have endured an ordeal of incarnation, death, burial and resurrection in a supernatural realm.
4. As for many other celestial deities, an allegorical story of this same Jesus was then composed and told within the sacred community, which placed him on earth, in history, as a divine man, with an earthly family, companions, and enemies, complete with deeds and sayings, and an earthly depiction of his ordeals.
5. Subsequent communities of worshipers believed (or at least taught) that this invented sacred story was real (and either not allegorical or only 'additionally' allegorical).
1. An actual man at some point named Jesus acquired followers in life who continued as an identifiable movement after his death.
2. This is the same Jesus who was claimed by some of his followers to have been executed by the Jewish or Roman authorities.
3. This is the same Jesus some of whose followers soon began worshiping as a living god (or demigod).
Then, in a lengthy and valuable section, he explains the background - both of Christianity, and of it's the general context. I found this one of the best parts of the book, having many concepts laid out in detail that formed the matric from which Christianity formed. Some may disagree with parts of this material but I found it well argued and well sourced.
Then he discusses the prior probability that Jesus existed, including Jesus' fit for the Rank-Raglan Hero Archetype, concluding that Jesus has a 33% prior chance of existing.
Next he describes the primary sources and their value - extrabiblical, Acts, Gospels and Epistles - then goes on to evaluate each in detail by comparing the probabilities that each piece of evidence would look as it does, given each theory.
He concludes Acts has little historical value, nor do the Gospels, nor does the extrabiblical evidence, and the Epistles contain at best some small historical evidence.
He comprehensively discusses all the items usually cited as evidence for Jesus such as the Gospels, 'seed of David', 'born of woman' and 'brother of the Lord' and many more.
Finally in conclusion he brings all his probabilities together and concludes that Jesus had at best a 32% chance of existing by taking the highest possible historical probabilities, with a more likely figure being a 1 in 12500 chance of existing - i.e. essentially zero.
This book is the one that Jesus mythicism has been waiting for - with a logical methodology that is well supported by facts and should set the new benchmark for all Jesus studies. Apologists will no doubt hate it, but it will hopefully inform a whole new look at the question of Jesus. Carrier certainly knows and cites the relevant material very well - both the Bible and the various extra-canonical works.
It has 3 helpful indexes - scripture, author and subject, making it handy for reference.