The Schizophrenia of Jesus Mythicists

It’s also the same problem which plagues other fundamentalists as well. Anyway…

One of the common arguments against the reality of Jesus are his birth narratives in Matthew and Luke. For some reason, they think that because a man who was named Jesus (God will save, etc… ) was destined to save his people, then that points to a made up person, or at least cast doubts on the reality of a historical Jesus.

Several things are wrong with that approach.

Before I go on, let me say that this is a conversation on verifiable proof, not on matters of faith.

Okay, so here we go…

Remember, the birth narratives aren’t in Mark, but were added by both Matthew and Luke. I would say it was added by Matthew and expanded by Luke. Notice Matthew’s pattern of the validation of Jesus by the Old Testament. This is where the idea of prophecy must be understand as employed by Matthew. It wasn’t about making predictions and fulfilling them years, decades or centuries later, but for Matthew, it was validation of the mission of man of Jesus. For instance, the arrival from Egypt is put next to Hosea as a way of validating Jesus as the incarnation of Israel. So then, literally speaking, the naming of Jesus to mimic Joshua could have been ‘invented’ by Matthew as a further validation of Jesus and his mission. This doesn’t take away from the reality of Jesus as a historical person (or even the idea held by Jesus and his disciples that he was to be the second Joshua), but follows Matthew’s actions of validating Jesus through the Hebrew Scriptures. Names signify missions and were a special dispensation of God.

The problem with mythicists, and there are many, boils down to the simple fact that they still take Scripture as if it was written with the same standard of fact which Westerners have and they miss the subtle things which are extremely important in decision making. Simply because Matthew validated Jesus’s mission by various Old Testament passages, this does not take away from the reality of Jesus’ existence. I mean, Vespasian’s reign, and in some ways, his existence, was validated by the Jewish Scriptures as well, and yet, no one doubts that he was actually Caesar. An excellent book on evidence of Jesus outside the New Testament can be found here. I doubt that I’ll get to blog through it anytime soon, but hopefully.

For more, see here.

Enhanced by Zemanta

You Might Also Like

28 Replies to “The Schizophrenia of Jesus Mythicists”

  1. “The problem with mythicists, and there are many, boils down to the simple fact that they still take Scripture as if it was written with the same standard of fact which Westerners have…”

    Perhaps because its peddled that way in the churches. When you say to a Westerner, or rather make him quote from a creed saying “I affirm that the Bible is the inspired, inerrant, and infallible word of God, and that all of it is true” then you are tricking him into thinking you mean it is true in a rational Western sense. If he knew you meant that its true the way any old Eastern fairy-tale is “true” then he would stop attending church and paying you the tithe! So, the “schitzophrenic” who is trying to have it both ways is the Christian pastor, not the mythicist.

    1. Umm…. So because people don’t understand it… then the object itself is wrong? That makes no sense…

      Also, no creed actually says that…. but some evangelical churches believe it. Not all Churches, mind you….

  2. ‘One of the common arguments against the reality of Jesus are his birth narratives in Matthew and Luke.’

    Could we have a statistic about how common this is?

        1. Philippians 2 has interesting things to say about the name ‘Jesus’.

          And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death– even death on a cross! 9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

          It should be pointed out that mainstream scholarship is unanimous in claiming that when Paul says that every tongue will confess that ‘Jesus Christ is Lord’ they will be using ‘Lord’ as a name. You might think ‘Lord’ is a title, but it is not. It is a name.

          Or alternatively that when Paul stresses that it is the name of Jesus that bows every knee, he does not mean the name ‘Jesus’. He means some other name which is not mentioned by him or any other Christian anywhere.

          In fact, any explanation will do which removes any suggestion that when Paul stresses how the name of Jesus bows every knee and that everybody confesses that ‘Jesus Christ’ is Lord, he is talking about the name ‘Jesus’ as being an important name.

          Naturally, Paul has no birth narratives. When he wants an account of the birth of a person that changes things, who brings in a ‘new covenant’, he at once turns to the Old Testament

          1. Do you have a reference? I can’t recall Carrier arguing for a mythical Jesus based on the birth narratives.

            Among this “whole host of others” who else might we recognize?

          2. It is a regular use of the birth narratives by the insane to suggest that the entire figure of Jesus was made up.

          3. Your initial thesis was this: “For some reason, they think that because a man who was named Jesus (God will save, etc… ) was destined to save his people, then that points to a made up person, or at least cast doubts on the reality of a historical Jesus.”

            Who makes this specific argument?

            You linked to a review of Price’s _The Incredible Shrinking Son of Man_ which discusses general NT reliability with respect to the birth narratives (actually with respect to his origins in general), but this is a different argument.

  3. What’s the point in arguing that Jesus actually existed if you freely admit that everythnig the gospels say about him was made up? I guess you want to claim that everything that is said about him is made up except his being God. Lol.

    1. Um…. never said everything was “made-up.” Further, since the Gospels were written after Paul, then they aren’t the basis for our knowledge of Jesus. Given other historical sources, again…

      I hope that you read these comments better from now on.

      1. But Paul doesn’t believe in a historical Jesus. His Jesus never does anything but die on the cross and rise from the dead. He exists only as a dogma to help Paul toss personal responsibility aside. He is entirely mythical.

        1. Oh my…. In other words, you have continued to interpret Paul how you want to see him, which is ironically against actual scholarship, history, and reason. Good luck with that.

          Wow…

      2. “Given other historical sources, again” which only mention Jesus as something believed in by Christians not something verifiable.

  4. Dear Sir,

    You wrote in your blogpost the following: “One of the common arguments against the reality of Jesus are his birth narratives in Matthew and Luke. For some reason, they think that because a man who was named Jesus (God will save, etc… ) was destined to save his people, then that points to a made up person, or at least cast doubts on the reality of a historical Jesus.”

    Since I am new to the debate about whether or not Jesus was real or a myth I wonder if you would like to help me with my investigations by pointing me to those who do argue as you have outlined here. I have only begun reading some “Christ Myth” literature and have not yet seen anyone argue that Jesus was a myth for the reasons you state. Clearly you are far more familiar with the Christ Myth literature than I am (I am only beginning) so I would greatly appreciate a pointer in that direction.

    TJ

Leave a Reply, Please!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.