Today we are talking to Dr. Robert Price about the historicity of Jesus. Dr. Price is a former Baptist minister and current Professor of Biblical Criticism at the Center for Inquiry Institute. He has written and spoken extensively on this topic. In this part 2 we cover the references to Jesus found in Josephus. Find out Dr. Price’s response!
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7 thoughts on “AS286: Dr. Robert Price on Jesus Mythicism, Part 2”
Seems like he was less dismissive than Tim was. More detail no real mudslinging, he stuck to the arguments and not the people giving them. It would be interesting to have them both on at the same time.
I’m a bit hesitant to accept some of Price’s examples of historicist arguments, like that they say that Superman was real, he was just Clark Kent. In his Dogma Debate episode defending Donald Trump, he threw out quite a few strawmen, like women getting abortions so they could go on vacation. I know it’s not really an argument against him, I just have trouble taking him seriously on occasion when I’ve heard him grossly misrepresent people he disagrees with in the past.
Good episodes overall though. I’m looking forward to the debate with Ehrman..
Thomas seemed so wedded to the historicist point of view that he didn’t realise how much he was looking at the evidence through that lens.
When talking about the gospels, he was frequently asking why they would have made up some particularly story and didn’t seem to realise that the same question applied whether or not Jesus was historical.
Many of the stories (the crucifiction, flight to Egypt and return, feeding of the multitudes as examples) are clear re-telling of Old Testament passages, which most secular scholars accept. Others, such as cursing of the fig tree are clearly written to impart a theological message – I doubt any non christian scholar really thinks Jesus cursed a fig tree because it didn’t have fruit.
Either way, we have a book full of stories that didn’t happen. We then need to ask
1) If Jesus was real, are any of the stories based on things that he actually said or did?
2) If the stories aren’t based on what he did, how many of them come from oral tradition that had developed by the time the gospels were written? conversely how many were constructed by the author of Mark (or for stories not present in Mark, by the later authors)
3) How much of the differences as the gospels developed (Mark-Mather-Luke-John) are due to successive writers wanting to make different theological points?
Price seemed a little overconfident that the stories weren’t just made up, and his justification for that wasn’t really convincing.
I also don’t think he answered the “Nazarene” question well. Most of the birth narrative is obviously made up, probably by the authors, but we do get the question of why they needed him to be from both Bethehem and Nazareth, which I don’t think he managed.
I get the same impression. It’s like everyone is starting from the position he must have existed and working backwards. Look at the consensus on Moses it just changed not too long ago and now he is considered a myth.
I thought he answered the Nazarene question well, by indicating that it was based on Jesus the Nazarene and not jesus of Nasareth. So jeaus the good was made into jesus of Nasareth in stories, so they made him from there.
No, see, Jesus survived the crucifixion, but just barely. Some people think it was an accident. Others think Joseph of Arimathea paid off the Romans. Either way, The Magdalene took the kids and headed for France. Jesus and his mother, were spirited away to Damascus, where Jesus convalesced for almost two years. His survival was kept secret for a long time to keep the un-bought-and-paid-for authorities from coming after him. That’s at least partly why the existing documentation is such a hodgepodge: the real story wasn’t told for decades and then mostly only by yahoos who weren’t actually there. They were piecing together what “must have happened,” just like scholars do today, which wasn’t very close to what really happened. The truth was unbelievable, which was exactly how Jesus’ co-conspirators liked it.
When he could travel, Jesus and (Mother) Mary headed east to where Jesus had spent quite a number of years in his youth, where, at least at the time, the locals were far more civilized than the Romans or the Jews in Palestine. Mary died along the way (the journey took more than a year in those days). She is buried in a place called something like “Maryah,” which is in Afghanistan or Pakistan and is still revered as a shrine by the locals who don’t advertise it to keep it from being overrun by pilgrims and assholes.
Jesus made it to Northern India where he lived into his eighties as a revered swami. He is buried beneath a Muslim saint near where he lived. Again, the locals really don’t want any publicity. They don’t want the truth known any more than the established Western religions want to know it.
I think Price did a very good breakdown on the Josephus passage. It’s like most of his argument, why would the passage exist with the jesus parts.