• April 21, 2024

Ken Humphreys on the ‘New Apologists’ desperately seeking the Son of God

The illustrious Ken Humphreys has spoken on the subject: “Joseph Hoffmann – biblical scholar ‘par excellence’ or arrogant know-it-all? Maurice Casey – out in the sun too long?”

Ken makes many good points here, especially in exposing the bizarre wishy-washy behavior by R. Joseph Hoffman, a “lapsed Catholic” who once stated he did not believe Jesus existed but is now waffling back to his upbringing, apparently.

Like an irrational ex-smoker, this newly re-seduced historical Jesus advocate rages against his former position, not by admitting any error on his own part in his previous perception, or by providing any new information that caused this sudden re-conversion, but by heaping abuse on those with whom he formerly socialized (including me, of course, whom he obviously fallaciously befriended some years ago). Apparently, Hoffman’s new Catholic conscience is causing him to see devils everywhere, especially with the old homeys he used to hang with.

In any event, as Humphreys shows, despite all the vitriol, arrogance, conceit, megalomania, credentialism and what might be construed as misogyny, there’s still no beef in the claims of those relying on God’s Word for their brand of “history.”

In the meantime, my forthcoming mythicist book Did Moses Exist? The Myth of the Israel Lawgiver should get some knickers in a twist. Where there exists one instance of supernatural mythmaking, we can be sure there are others. Those who would deny such a contention are deluding themselves as well as others.

Ken HumphreysThe New Apologists: R. Joseph Hoffmann and friends on a rescue mission for the “Jesus of history”

A trio of Jesus myth denouncers from the world of academe have rushed into the breach opened up by the failure of Bart Ehrman’s final solution to the problem of Jesus’ existence (Listen, he was a small-time deluded doom merchant who thought he was king, so there). Professors Hoffmann and Casey, and a young academic who worked for Casey, Stephanie Louise Fisher, have come to Ehrman’s support with a few dubious arguments in favour of a historical Jesus and a visceral attack on Jesus mythicists as a thoroughly bad crew.

The blogosphere has been enlivened by a potpourri of ego wars, withering sarcasm, aspersions about competence, intellect, comprehension, and honesty. The mythicist who has drawn most of the ire is Richard Carrier, a scholar whose scholarly prowess is matched by an equally impressive opinion of himself.

But what of the “historical Jesus”? Has the posse that has rushed to Ehrman’s side got a leg to stand on? For what it is worth, Hoffmann posted online three essays in what he called “The Jesus Process” on his blog, The New Oxonian.

Increasing numbers of web-savvy enquirers are asking, “What real evidence is there for a historical Jesus?” and are not convinced by the replies. The result is that a paradigm shift is in progress. The mythic Jesus, an idea largely ignored in the 20th century by the vested interests of religion and conservative scholarship, has argued its way back onto the agenda, if only to compel the mandarins to issue contemptuous rebuttals.

Yet whisper-thin defences of a historical Jesus do not cut it in the internet-enabled world – and established academics don’t like that one little bit. The on-line arena can be rude and crude but, as with the printing press six hundred years ago, the power of a cartel has been broken. For some tastes, the wrong kind of people have gained an audience.

One of the most remarkable features of public discussion of Jesus of Nazareth in the twenty-first century has been a massive upsurge in the view that this important historical figure did not even exist.” – Maurice Casey

The endorsement of amateurs by amateurs is becoming a rampant, annoying and distressing problem for biblical scholarship … The disease these buggers spread is ignorance disguised as common sense … the popularity of the non-historicity thesis … now threatens to distract biblical studies from the serious business of illuminating the causes, context and development of early Christianity.” – Joseph Hoffmann

Here I will interrupt Ken’s long dissection to point out that, according to Dr. R. Joseph Hoffman, therefore, mythicists – those rational people who do not automatically believe in a “historical” Jesus based on blind faith and no hard evidence – are “buggers” who “spread disease.” Charming. Bring back the Inquisition to squash these mediums for demons! Perhaps a little witch-burning is in order? Since Hoffman was a mythicist until some weird conversion based on nothing just a few years ago, I guess he is to be included in this category of “disease-spreading buggers.”

But what can we expect from an apparently renewed Catholic who studied at Harvard Divinity School, a Christian theological institution? This type of behavior in viciously attacking and dehumanizing others with such calumny over a theological idea is hardly an improvement over the same cultic frenzy we have been subjected to during the past nearly 2,000 years since the Christ myth was created. Obviously, it would appear to be incautious to entrust such human-pillorying and antisocial individuals with any kind of “humanist” activism.

See the rest of Ken’s lengthy rebuttal here.

17 thoughts on “Ken Humphreys on the ‘New Apologists’ desperately seeking the Son of God

  1. The debate will continue.
    As a former Catholic who practiced that religion with fidelity for many years, I am surprised that there exist people whose doctrinal journeys have lead them from belief, to non-belief, and then back to belief. In the case of R. Joseph Hoffman, maybe his remarks (“[t]he disease these buggers spread is ignorance disguised as common sense . . .”) is not the product of some sea change in his doctrinal views. Perhaps he is indignant that non-experts, such as I, use the Internet to voice my opinion that Jesus of Nazareth never existed whereas his years of work in what is thought to be a highly conservative and deliberative field (i. e., academic research) have led him to conclude that the question of the historicity of Jesus of Nazareth is an open one.

    For now, I will not go into the rationale for my belief. Rather, I will close by stating that, if an adherent to the concept that Jesus of Nazareth was a real person were to proffer some evidence beyond that which is already known, I would consider it. However, as my belief now stands, taking into consideration my understanding of the evidence and taking into consideration my experiences, which include a four-year degree from a Christian fundamentalist college where Bible study is mandatory, I am convinced that Jesus of Nazareth never existed.

  2. Sad to hear that someone who once acknowledged Jesus was fictional has plunged deep into Christian dogma and rejected people he once considered friends.
    I guess this just goes to show how disturbingly influential dogma can be on human behaviour. A person chooses to enter an ideology and ends up uncritically accepting the ideology’s teachings, indiscriminately rejecting any viewpoints that don’t fit the ideology, and making enemies out of people who could have been friends had the person not chosen to demonise all who are different to themselves.

    On another note, I’m very intrigued to hear of this new book criticising the idea that Moses was real. If I may ask, is there currently any idea when this book will be out?

    1. I just read it at the forum:

      Did Moses Exist? The Myth of the Israelite Lawgiver ([url]http://www.freethoughtnation.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=22&t=4182[/url])

      1. Thanks.
        From what I’ve read on that forum page, the book sounds like a very interesting and informative read.

        I also quite liked how Acharya S pointed out some of the flaws in calling research “outdated” just because its old (which is a rather strange attitude when one considers the fact that many of the accepted ideas in modern science are ideas we’ve gotten from researchers living in the Victorian era and earlier).

  3. Let me get this straight …
    So, experts on non-existent entities know more about such than amateurs on same? Well, then, is God behind door number 1, 2 or 3? :woohoo:

  4. He is full of Schlitz
    I’ve found that one of the tactics of the religioso is to feign non-belief and then to claim that they have found god/jesus/invisible pink unicorn etc…It goes a long way with the believers. Lee Stroble’s bullshit is along these lines.

  5. None of them existed. It’s time to face facts. this isn’t about what you might want it to be- it’s time to face reality.

  6. Old Age and Perks vs Resolute Moralism
    Bart Ehrman, Maurice Casey and R. Joseph Hoffmann, according to some computer sources, were, or, are, affiliated with universities. They may also be affiliated with, or working with, or cooperating with, Christian related organizations and businesses – Catholic, Protestant, etc. They may have, throughout their lives, invested money in these entities. Some of their income may come from these entities.

    I don’t know the exact dates and time periods during which Ehrman, Casey and Hoffmann agreed with, or appeared to (support), the Jesus-wasn’t-historical claims, so I can’t line up their current and past non-religious activities with what were then and are now their opinions on the historicity of Jesus. In other words, during the time that Erhman was accepting Jesus’ non-historicity, what were his activities with Christia-related businesses, schools and organizations?

    Follow the money! if you want to understand the decision making policies of some politicians. It wouldn’t surprise me if issues (unrelated) to the subject of the historicity of Jesus are what (really) caused these three men to alter their opinions on the historicity of Jesus.

    I’m talking about real down to earth issues like income after retirement, medical insurance, pensions, physical ailments, crabby wives, offspring problems, etc.

    Also, the universities that they were affiliated with may have sat them down and told them that if they’d return to the fold, the school would press their portraits and names into beautiful bronze plaques that would be mounted in department lobbies forever. They may have been told that if they (didn’t) return to the fold, there’d be no bronze plaques and their names would simply be scribbled in some old attendance books as former instructors.

    Who knows? Big juicy retirement bonuses, cash awards and bonuses may have been dangling before their eyes enticing them to return to the flock.

    I don’t think Erhman, Casey and Hoffmann reversed their opinions on the historicity of Jesus because of any kind of in-depth study that they did.

    I suspect that it was their own (personal) (financial) (welfare) that made them decide to start ridiculing the Jesus Myth movement and its Mythicists.

    I believe they thought, “Hey! This non-historical Jesus idea has popped up a few times over the last few centuries but it hasn’t consistantly stuck to the airwaves. Why should we stick with the Mythicists when their movement will probably just recess itself into the shadows again for another hundred years? Why should we risk losing our pensions, bronze wall plaques, bonuses and friendships over something that probably won’t stick.

    The salesman who’s been selling the Ford Mustang since 1965 would be risking alot of money and security – especially at the age of sixty – by switching to sell the Chevy Electric Volt no matter how exciting it might sound.
    List the universities throughout the USA and Europe that have Christian religion departments.

    Let’s say that Ehrman, Casey and Hoffmann – three prominent writers – would declare that they are absolutely convinced that Jesus (never) existed; and that they are joining the Mythicists’ belief that Jesus never existed. Assuming that Ehrman, Casey and Hoffmann are well known amongst most or maybe all college religion students, what effect do you think Erhman’s, Casey’s and Hoffmann’s permanent bonding with the Mythicists would have on the Christian College Industry? The effect could be, and, I believe, would be, catastrophically bad; financially and philosophically for those schools.

    Make a chart and find out the number of American students that are majoring in some kind of Christian religion program at (all) American colleges.

    On the chart list the dollar amount of tuition paid by these students throughout the USA. If a significant number of Christian-teaching professors were to jump off the Christian ship and onto the Mythicist ship, the Christian college Divinity schools, including the Ivy League schools – would quickly begin to sink.

    After having spent most of their lives talking so positively about Jesus, and living so comfortably at their universities, these aging old men – Erhman, Casey and Hoffmann – have decided to skip the Volt and stick with the Mustang.

    Old Age and Perks vs Resolute Moralism.


    Type “Bibles in China” on your search bar and you’ll see how Christianity is rapidly invading China somewhat like Islam is invading Europe.

    Notice (below) the link ( Asia Harvest.org ) (“Equipping China’s Christians with God’s Word”) and notice that “5,408,241 Chinese Bibles printed and distributed to the house churches of China.”

    Notice on Hoffmann’s website (below):


    “He currently serves while on leave from the New England Conservatory as a professor of linguistics at the Graduate University of the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing and adjunct professor at Beihang University.”


    Equipping China’s Christians with God’s Word
    Current Total: 5,408,241 Chinese Bibles printed and distributed to the house churches of China.

    There is a growing emergency among the house churches in China! Although a limited number of Bibles are now permitted to be printed inside China, they are not enough to meet the need. Because of the tremendous growth rate of the church in China (some say 20-30,000 new believers each day, or approximately 7-10 million per year), there is a serious lack of Bibles…..

    Asia Harvest is able to print and distribute 230,000 Chinese Bibles per month depending on incoming funds.

    DPM-China Responds to the Demand
    “May the Lord Jesus Christ remember every person who has given time, money and effort for these books.” – Brother Li

    “We got off to a good start when we placed an order to print 80000 copies of Derek’s … Two other books are also being prepared for their first print-run in Chinese. …. audio device that contains a contemporary version of the Chinese Bible have …”

  7. To deny that a man like jesus of the bible ever existed all so has another huge impact . In Islam , all the muslims believe in the same prophet isa(jesus) , because they read in the Quran about the man Jesus . So in fact someone who denies the existence of Jesus all so says that Allah(God) lied in the Quran .
    In fact according to the mythicists the prophet Mohammed is a liar too , because he talks about a non-existing man .
    So the mythicists try to kill two flies in one stroke . lol. Now there is another target and that are according to the mythicists the jews . They are the next target . Writing a book that proofs that moses never existed .
    According to democratic laws everybody is allowed to believe in whatever Santa Claus he/she likes .
    It is the same for the prophet miss Acharya s , people are allowed to believe her too .
    All her work and effort however will probably be forgotten after her death because she is not a professor at a normal university . She may be right with her analysis but the religions like christianity and islam are not interested in her at all .

    1. Peter, indeed the credibility of Islam is on the line when they mention Jesus so much throughout the Koran. If they got that wrong then what all else is wrong?

      I don’t see mythicists calling Mohammad a “liar” – they simply see no credible evidence for his existence either – same as with Jesus.

      The Origins of Islam ([url]http://www.truthbeknown.com/islam.htm[/url])

      Mythicists aren’t interested in “killing flies” they’re interested in the truth and if that neutralizes the power of all the Abrahamic religions that have wrecked havoc upon humanity for so long then, too bad. The Abrahamic religions hold humanity back from it’s full potential as humans so, maybe it’s time to kick them to the curb and leave them in the dark ages where they belong. I can understand why those Abrahamic religions live in utter fear of a single female who has the capability to expose them all for what they really are, a fraud.

      Video: The Mythicist Position ([url]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=63BNKhGAVRQ[/url])

      1. Seriously?
        Since when did Islam have credibility to be on the line? They got everything wrong, just like all ideologies of contrived myth. And, Mohammed probably wasn’t a liar because he probably didn’t exist. The [b]men[/b] who wrote the Quran are liars just like the [b]men[/b] who wrote the Bible and Torah are liars. Like, what’s new?

  8. “historical jesus”
    I have no idea of where the people getting a history of jesus. From one source of information – that overblown book called bible?.
    There is no history behind jesus. It was mystical figure in scifi book.

  9. Think of it this way!!!

    If today’s date were really July 4, (1776), and Acharya and all the other Mythicist authors and Jesus-was-fiction authors, and friends, enemies, fans, readers and associates were suddenly and magically living then – July 4, 1776 – King George of England, and maybe the Pope, would probably be having their soldiers running around attempting to capture those instigative authors: Acharya S, Kenneth Humphreys, Robert M. Price, Earl Doherty, Barbara Walker, Thomas Paine, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison – and you know the rest.

    If R. Joseph Hoffmann had also time-traveled back to 1776, his lack of composure today makes me think that he would have been hunting down then those instigative authors with the intention of marching them to some gruesome punishment.

    Fortunately, because George and Martha defeated George the 3rd, today, on July 4, 2012, I can read the genius and truthful works of Acharya S, Kenneth Humphreys, Robert M. Price, Earl Doherty, Barbara Walker, Thomas Paine, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison – and you know the rest.

    In Acharya’s article she asks herself, “…..how could someone who poses as a “humanist” allow theological ideas from 2,000 years ago to cause him to erupt into a hateful frenzy, an ugly attack on another – me – whom he once befriended out of the blue and then unceremoniously dumped with no courtesy of explanation?”

    Acharya seems to be sure that “theological ideas from 2000 years ago” caused Hoffmann “to erupt into a hateful frenzy.” Maybe her assumption is correct. But I suspect that Hoffmann”s “hateful frenzy” (wasn’t) instigated by the “theological ideas from 2000 years ago.”

    Instead, I believe that Hoffmann’s “hateful frenzy” was instigated by his own envy and jealousy. He’s envious and jealous of the Jesus-myth scholars because he didn’t choose Jesus Mythology as a path of study when he was young. Hoffmann’s aware of the increasing popularity of Jesus Mythology as a path of study and that also increases his anger.

    What makes Hoffmann even worse is that if he stopped communicating with Acharya while he knew that she was enduring a “series of awful personal tragedies, then he’s a cold-hearted jerk.

    As described by Acharya:
    “At the time Hoffman first contacted me, I had been enduring a years-long series of awful personal tragedies that had culminated just a year before, and I was traumatized by these events. I had suffered a life-threatening medical emergency, been abused physically, lost my mother and best friend, had to go into hiding and eventually endured the abduction of my 2-year-old child out of my arms by three hired thugs. It was into this atmosphere that the friendly Joe Hoffmann stepped to welcome me into what I thought was a fold of intelligent and erudite individuals who were going to examine a real issue without rancor and biases.”

    “…..to erupt into a hateful frenzy, an ugly attack on another – me – whom he once befriended out of the blue and then unceremoniously dumped with no courtesy of explanation?”

    R. Joseph Hoffmann, a man of religion?

  10. Your projection …
    Acharya doesn’t claim to be a prophet. Men wrote the Quran. Men wrote the Bible. Men wrote the Torah. Therefore, there is no deity to lie. Yeah, she’s not a scholar at a normal university, where dogma, conformity and pedophilia are foremost. I can’t even imagine a person earning a PhD in any university and not sticking to the party line. Anyway, we’re all forgotten when we die (unless we were imaginary to begin with). What does your statement prove?

  11. whats up with that?
    Question?? God created the light! then on the fourth day he created the light source? how does that work?

  12. I’ve been poking around on the internet to find out who Kenneth Humphreys really is and have so far come up empty-handed. Am now facing the worrisome possibility that Kenneth may not really exist! Oh dear!

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