What does Joseph Atwill, Ralph Ellis, and mythicists have in common?

They are nuts. Every last one of them. They have hatched, in one way or another, some various scheme to suggest Jesus is not a historical person, but created as part of this-or-that conspiracy.

Ralph Ellis has recently published a book proposing that Jesus is the King of Edessa. His publisher is one of the finest, no, I mean, oddest conspiracy publishers on the marketTom does a good job of taking him down, so read his post too.

Update: Tom has a second post up now

But, this is just another in a long line of mythicist tripe using baseless “notions,” boundless imaginations, and conspiracy hacks to peddle this or that drug-induced idea. Joseph Atwill suggests Jesus is a figment of the Roman imagination, whereby the authors conspired to use a created Jesus to subdue the Jews. Others suggest that all of recent history is under the control of the Piso family, the remnants of the Flavians. This one, recently pointed out to me (HT to DM via FB), is completely crazy. Wait, I mean, I’m looking at Atwill and Ellis and Piso together… all are completely crazy.

And here’s the problem. My book, I am afraid and I admit so in the book, suggests that the Gospel is used to counter Flavian imperial ideology. But, I believe we can tag this to a real, live, historical Jesus. While Mark uses literary sources (Matthew uses Mark and some undefined sources, Luke used Matthew and Mark while John takes a heavy shot of theological reflection and uses the Synoptics) this doesn’t mean that the story of Jesus if made-up from the ground up. What this means, I would propose, is that the choices of literary sources indicate Mark’s theological or ideological implication.

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Post By Joel Watts (10,113 Posts)

Joel L. Watts holds a Masters of Arts from United Theological Seminary with a focus in literary and rhetorical criticism of the New Testament. He is currently a Ph.D. student at the University of the Free State, analyzing Paul’s model of atonement in Galatians. He is the author of Mimetic Criticism of the Gospel of Mark: Introduction and Commentary (Wipf and Stock, 2013), a co-editor and contributor to From Fear to Faith: Stories of Hitting Spiritual Walls (Energion, 2013), and Praying in God's Theater, Meditations on the Book of Revelation (Wipf and Stock, 2014).

Website: → Unsettled Christianity

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12 thoughts on “What does Joseph Atwill, Ralph Ellis, and mythicists have in common?

  1. .
    Tom Verenna managed to write a review of this book without even reading it. Every criticism he made was either nonsensical or fully explained in the book.

    You will also notice that Tom Verenna is a fraud himself:

    • I know Tom – I’m presenting a paper with Tom in the fall — and all you’ve done is to quote a blog ran by someone anonymously about some youthful indiscretions. Further, Tom didn’t write a review, as he has stated.

      Among other things you lack, you also lack reading comprehension.

    • Ralphie boy, if you keep leaving comments attacking my colleague and friend, Tom Verenna, I will not allow your comment and instead continue to remove them.

      Before you post again, please leave an apology for Mr. Verenna.

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