What is a mythicist?
- N. B.
Just as declaring oneself an atheist does not make one automatically an expert in religion, seeing Jesus as a myth does not make someone an automatic expert in Christian origins. There are many people calling themselves “mythicists” – i.e., someone who views various biblical/supernatural figures as mythical, not historical – who are not experts in the large body of Jesus mythicist literature dating back centuries. In fact, some of these “experts” take glee in deliberately ignoring this scholarship; hence, they cannot be considered experts after all.
“Seeing Jesus as a myth does not make someone an automatic expert in Christian origins.”
Certain individuals act as if they just came up with this notion of Jesus as a mythical figure on their own. They did not, and they obviously are ignorant of the massive mythicist scholarship that preceded them. This ignorance allows for them to make mistakes, not realizing that there have been others – many of them credentialed and professional scholars – who have already investigated the relevant subjects and provided excellent, accurate and/or sufficient analyses of most if not all elements of Christian origins studies.
This lack of study and blatant ignorance do NOT make someone an expert. If you encounter people claiming to be mythicists and experts at Jesus mythicism, feel free to ask them if they’ve actually studied this massive body of scholarship dating back centuries in multiple languages over a period of decades? Or are they simply pretending to be experts, based on cursory scanning of encyclopedias and a couple of mythicist books by others who themselves are ignorant of this scholarship?
Ask also in what other field can one be considered an “expert” if one hasn’t studied the past scholarship and scientific research?
I see far too many people running about giving talks, doing interviews and writing books and articles about mythicism who really don’t know what they are talking about. In fact, the bulk of them have not studied the scholarship and are not experts in this field.
“The bulk of mythicist ‘experts’ have not studied the scholarship and are not really experts on mythicism.”
The same individuals also claim to be experts in comparative religion and mythology, when they clearly are not. Reading about a few parallels in encyclopedias or other books does NOT make one an expert. I see these people try to minimize the parallels, similarities and comparisons, because they themselves are ignorant of comparative religion and mythology, and do not know about the other parallels.
Needless to say, these non-experts on comparative religion and mythology should not be paid attention to when the discussion turns to comparisons between pre-Christian traditions and Christianity. If these “mythicists” had studied the mythicist literature, including my works, they would know exactly where these MANY parallels come from and what they mean. (Below is but one of these series of parallels that most mythicist “experts” are ignorant about. There are many more, some of which you can find by clicking on the image and others in the “Further Reading” section at the bottom of this article.)
I do not consider anyone an “expert on mythicism” or a “mythicist scholar” who has not studied the mythicist literature going back centuries. And, neither should anyone else treat them as such. This study takes YEARS, so one doesn’t just have an epiphany and become an expert overnight based on one’s new-found disbelief. This sort of fallacious pretense sullies the field with a lack of integrity, so I request that it not be allowed to continue unchallenged. Thank you.
“I do not consider anyone an ‘expert on mythicism’ or a ‘mythicist scholar’ who has not studied the mythicist literature going back centuries.”
Furthermore, newcomers to the field of Jesus mythicism also often believe that there is a single, “sexy” solution to Christian origins, such as Constantine inventing the whole religion in the fourth century, or the Flavians doing likewise during the first. However, there isn’t a single source for the gospel story, and such theories ignore the bulk of the mythicist iceberg beneath the water.
The best summary is that the “Jesus Christ” of the New Testament is a fictional compilation of characters, not a single individual. A compilation of multiple “people” is no one. When the mythological and midrashic layers are removed, there remains no historical core to the onion. The gospel story is mythology historicized, not history mythologized.
What is a Mythicist?
What is Mythicism?
9 thoughts on “What is a mythicist?”
I’m reminded of Bart Ehrman and his book, “Did Jesus Exist?” which Dr. Robert Price called a “HACK JOB”:
“Writing Did Jesus Exist was an interesting task. For one thing, before writing the book, like most New Testament scholars, I knew almost nothing about the mythicist movement.”
– Dr. Bart Ehrman, Did Jesus Exist as Part One
“Bart Ehrman also confesses on page two in his book, “Did Jesus Exist?,” that for 30 years he never even thought to consider to question the existence of Jesus as real historical character because it was a question that he “did not take seriously.” Bart goes on to say, “I discovered, to my surprise, an entire body of literature devoted to the question of whether or not there ever was a real man, Jesus … I was almost completely unaware – as are most of my colleagues in the field – of this body of skeptical literature.”
Thank you, Bart Ehrman, for admitting that you knew nothing about mythicism before you started writing your book, ‘Did Jesus Exist?’; having read DJE I can confirm that you STILL know nothing about it…”
Religion and the Ph.D.: A Brief History
I did a search at the forum and there are quite a few threads discussing the errors by Richard Carrier, who loves to proclaim things like:
“The first thing to know is, forget about all the other mythicist theories … So, I say, if you want a simple rule: Basically, if you don’t hear it from me, be skeptical of it.”
– Richard Carrier, “The Historicity of Jesus,” youtube.com/watch?v=XORm2QtR-os (3:10)
Carrier Has No Interest in Studying Astrotheology
“In a 2014 video, Nuskeptix “Christ Myth Theory” Video Chat (53-54m), Carrier admits he has no interest in pursuing or investigating astrotheology, as he finds it “dull.” That’s basically an admission that he has never studied the subject. Therefore, Carrier is not an expert and is unqualified to comment on the subjects of astrotheology and its relationship to mythicism with any authority or competence whatsoever. He says he “could never write a book on the subject” – ain’t that the truth!”
Nuskeptix “Christ Myth Theory” Video Chat
Richard Carrier Exposing His Ignorance and Biases Again
I am most disappointed with Raphael Lataster who appears to be turning into another Carrier fanboy instead of the level-headed mythicist I thought he was going to be. He appears to be following Carrier’s influence by criticizing Acharya S/Murdock’s work without ever having read it. Ask Raphael what books of hers he’s actually read and he’ll never say – because I don’t think he has read any.
I expect Raphael Lataster’s 60 page review of Carrier’s OHJ book to be cheerleading, fanboy review at this point. I hope I am wrong but, from what I’ve seen so far, in Lataster’s eyes, Carrier can do no wrong. It’s just sickening.
“All Carrier has “hypothesized” is what the Gnostics claimed of Christ, and he ignores the pre-Christian mythology that they created their Christ from. His work is shallow and worthless overall, as he has declared gleefully that he has no interest in the actual history of Jesus mythicism and is therefore willfully ignorant … When one traces back the Gnostic ideas and the many other strains of thought that the fictional Christ character was predicated upon, the gospel story resolves itself largely to nature worship, solar mythology and astrotheology, of which Carrier is likewise admittedly extremely ignorant.”
– Acharya S
I’m pretty much aware of these mythicists (e.g. Richard Carrier). They tend to preach that we should discard everything pre-1950s when it comes to history. I think it is only applicable when it comes to hard-core sciences like chemistry, molecular biology, etc, but even then, discarding everything that is old in hard-core sciences is also flawed. By no means I’m a historian, I can only speak four languages (Greek not included), however let’s use Carrier’s logic. I don’t really think it is a majority-consensus of all Humanities departments of every university to trash old scholarship. I’ve read a history book from Cambridge University that uses pre-1950 scholarship, and yet it is peer reviewed. I guess Cambridge didn’t got the memo.
By Carrier’s logic, anything post-1950 is “a okay” because everything before 1950’s is wrong and “hopelessly flawed”. Does that mean Zecharia Sitchin’s Anunnaki theory is correct because it is modern? Another modern works are those from Maurice Casey and Bart Ehrman’s anti-mythicist books, they are modern and allegedly uses modern post-1950 scholarship, are they correct too?
Another thing is the rampant wild accusations of “Parallelomania”. These people shrieking such vile epithets are not qualified to call someone a parallelomaniac because they are not educated therapists/psychiatrists. Secondly, if a scientist noticed a similarity between specie X and specie Y from different places, is he also a parralelomaniac? In Justin Martyr’s apology,he admitted the similarities of pagan gods to Jesus, is he also a parallelomaniac? To be fair, cultures all over the world have so much in common so it shouldn’t surprise anyone that religions will have striking parallels. Furthermore, Acharya did not claimed anywhere that Christianity is a 100% rip off from a single mythology like the Egyptian. All she is saying is that Egyptian myths is just one of the major contributors to Christianity as we have it. Christianity is just another mythology derived from other myths from different parts of the world. In fact, the three Abrahamic cults are the perfect specimens to test Darwin’s evolution theory.
Great points Jon M
I said before that I might write an essay about historical paul, now I’m doing it. Give me a week or two more because I’m quite flummoxed with all the materials sitting in front of me. It’s quite a challenge for me because I have to make all these references linear and maintain parallelism and conciseness, not to mention I have no degree in classics, history or new testament so if there are any instances of errors, I welcome corrections.
Hi Acharya, I have a a of question about therepeuts that have been on my mind. In Paul’s epistle to Colossians 4:14, he said that he was accompanied by Luke the physician. Obviously, neither Paul nor Luke ever lived as they are depicted in the NT. However, do you think it is possible that the “Luke the Physician” is actually a “Therepeut” since Philo describes them as doctors? Is there a possibility or just a coincidence? Because in Suns of God and Christ In Egypt, the “Therapeuts” are the proto-christians.
I could recover it 🙂
I find this quite interesting from a Parnassian perspective, but honestly, does anyone hope to convince people to leave the religion aside? I mean, when you’ll figure out you are mortal and all your research serves no real ideal, what will you do?
When I watch a movie that says “Based on a true story” it makes little difference on my appreciation of it.
There are things I’ll never know and actually I feel fine about that. I’d rather concentrate on my heritage and how I use it, rather than thinking how my ancestors got it.
Whether you want it or not, we are the product of religion and not the opposite. When I see the rest of the world, I’m really happy I was born in this region and not where communism or Islam rule… The ten commandments are a real break through. Christianity by removing the need to have a 1:1 relation between the pain suffered and the punishment is another break through.
What did Engels and co. bring to humanity? Millions of dead. Literally. I will not start criticising other less peaceful religions despite their nicknames. but that was a bad philosophical choice, but maybe a more human rationale choice. We are animals after all.
I find it very good that you compile this information for “would be” interested people. But please, let those people dream, right? Because your progress will just bring about desolation. If we had no gods, we would be back in the stone age, killing each other for food.
This is my understanding of course, but principle that are not connected to an object are just illusions. the best example being seen on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean… Same core values, almost opposed expression. “humanism”. You need to rely on ancestral genetic predisposition of human beings, fear/uncertainty is the one used by Religions. Belonging is used by the state. There is no genetic predisposition to rationalism, except for the payback mechanism.
I’m a mythicist.
I don’t need to explain or expand on that.
I don’t need to justify it.
I don’t need to have read countless works from other mythicist’s or Jesus scholars in an attempt to backup my theories.
I have looked at the evidence for Jesus existence and have found them risible.
Jesus is as much a fantasy character as the Easter bunny. End of.
Comments are closed.