In January 2013, biased New Testament scholar Maurice Casey published an anti-mythicist rant called Jesus: Evidence and Argument or Mythicist Myths? The book contemptuously misrepresents my work in a string of ad hominem attacks and fallacies. Of course, I’ve addressed a significant portion of his arguments already, but he’s willfully ignored me in order to present his rebuttals as something new, brilliant, decisive and not discussed before.
In this book, the now-deceased Casey is simply shoring up the faith at all costs. The fact will remain that the “Jesus Christ” of the New Testament is a fictional composite of characters, and that a composite of multiple “people” is no one.
Not ‘Did Jesus Exist?’
In this regard, it is inaccurate to represent the debate as “whether or not Jesus existed.” There were MANY Jesuses in antiquity, so, yes, one or more Jesus existed. It is none of their stories being told in the fictional gospel tale, however. What IS being told in the gospel story are the MYTHS of preceding cultures reworked to revolve around a particular ethnicity.
No matter how many times one regurgitates the same debunked arguments trying to “prove Jesus existed,” one will fail because that’s not the proper debate, and these weak efforts at providing historicity for a fictional character will be as effective as proving Gulliver existed.
Here is Casey’s book summary:
Did Jesus exist? In recent years there has been a massive upsurge in public discussion of the view that Jesus did not exist. This view first found a voice in the 19th century, when Christian views were no longer taken for granted. Some way into the 20th century, this school of thought was largely thought to have been utterly refuted by the results of respectable critical scholarship (from both secular and religious scholars).
Now, many unprofessional scholars and bloggers (‘mythicists’), are gaining an increasingly large following for a view many think to be unsupportable. It is starting to influence the academy, more than that it is starting to influence the views of the public about a crucial historical figure. Maurice Casey, one of the most important Historical Jesus scholars of his generation takes the ‘mythicists’ to task in this landmark publication. Casey argues neither from a religious respective, nor from that of a committed atheist. Rather he seeks to provide a clear view of what can be said about Jesus, and of what can’t.
Thanks for admitting that in recent years “there has been a massive upsurge in public discussion of the view that Jesus did not exist.” And that “many unprofessional scholars and bloggers (‘mythicists’) are gaining an increasingly large following” and that this view “is starting to influence the academy.” “THE academy?” You mean, the one full of believing New Testament scholars who won’t allow others into the debate?
Glad to know we’re now so influential. However, there are a number of PROFESSIONAL scholars as well, obviously. How else could there be an influence in “the academy?” Note also that it is perfectly respectable within mainstream academia to aver that Moses and Abraham are myths, so why should we not apply the same scientific analysis to the most supernatural character in the Bible, Jesus Christ?
As concerns the title of Casey’s anti-mythicist screed, it is not we mythicists who have come up with unsustainable myths, but those purveyors of religious fairytales who are engaged in mythography. We are simply lifting the veil that Casey and others keep trying to shove back down, to keep humanity in the dark about its religious heritage that dates back many thousands of years prior to the past couple of millennia.
It is too bad that a quality publisher like T&T Clark is involved in shoring up the fallacious faith in this deleterious manner.
In any event, if one wishes to read the facts and truth about ancient religion and mythology, and how it has been reworked to produce the fictitious gospel story, please feel free to study my books, ebooks, articles and forum posts:
For any particular subject/argument such as might come up in Casey’s book, feel free to do a search across all my sites at the last link above.
The Alleged Evidence for a Historical Jesus of Nazareth
The Jesus Forgery: Josephus Untangled
Does Josephus prove a historical Jesus?
Josephus forgery on Jesus
Pliny, Tacitus and Suetonius: No Proof of Jesus
Is Suetonius’s Chresto a Reference to Jesus?
Does Suetonius refer to Jesus?
See also my book Who Was Jesus? for more on these sources and Phlegon, Thallus and Mara Bar-Serapion.