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8 of 123 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Misses the Target, May 16, 2012
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This review is from: Proving History: Bayes's Theorem and the Quest for the Historical Jesus (Hardcover)
FIRST...there are a number of secular historical references to a real, living Jesus that Christian apologists love to quote. "Proving History" never mentions them. Presumably, Mr. Carrier will attack those in his next book but, until he does, he's just another atheist with a gimmick.
SECOND...Mr. Carrier touts Bayes Theorem as a "Swiss Army knife" for all historical research. I find it hard to believe that mainstream historians will seriously attempt to reduce their work to a series of mathematical equations.
THIRD...Mr. Carrier quotes scripture with the best of 'em, but it is clear that he has a very shallow and self-serving understanding of what the scriptures mean. The gospels are not hard to read in modern translations, and even reading all four of them won't take long. A cursory reading of the gospels, even by an atheist, is sufficient to cast doubt on most of Mr. Carrier's conclusions.
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Showing 1-6 of 6 posts in this discussion
Initial post: May 17, 2012 1:20:45 PM PDT
Darby M'Graw says:
"FIRST...there are a number of secular historical references to a real, living Jesus that Christian apologists love to quote."
Such as? I am not aware of any secular references at all written during Jesus' alleged lifetime. Comments made by later writers (Josephus, et al) can be dismissed as references to an early Christian church, not to Jesus himself. The existence of an early Christian church is not controversial, and is not the question under consideration at present.
Just one example would be enough to prove your point; please enlighten us.

Posted on May 29, 2012 10:53:18 PM PDT
You said, "A cursory reading of the gospels, even by an atheist, is sufficient to cast doubt on most of Mr. Carrier's conclusions." Would that be like a cursory reading of THE DESCENT OF ISHTAR proves that Tammuz was a historical character? Would that be like a cursory reading of the Ugarit Baal Epic proves that Baal was a historical character? Would that be like reading Ovid or Hesiod proves that Hercules or Adonis is a historical character? How does reading obvious Aretology and Mythology like the sensational gospels (supernatural events and miracles every page) cast doubt on historical method?

Posted on Jul 12, 2012 12:52:31 PM PDT
Paul Doland says:
FederalGuy, I believe YOU seemed to have missed the point. This book is not about whether Jesus existed or not, per se, it is about methodology. Carrier didn't discuss "the usual suspects" for evidence of historical Jesus in this book because this book is about how one would go about evaluating those sources -- not the sources themselves.

Now, true, in this book he does happen to use a lot of Christianity related issues for points of reference. And, personally, I think that the book would have been improved if he chose to use nothing but secular issues in this book, just so that the methodology could be evaluated without the associated Christian baggage. You are simply giving the knee-jerk Christian response to the associated Christian baggage without actually trying to understand what this book is about. Carrier could believe that Jesus Christ was an actual historical person, and still nothing in this book would be any different.

However, as it happens, Carrier has an article coming out soon in regards to one of the "usual suspects" for historical Jesus, the "James, brother of Jesus" reference in Josephus. I've read a draft of that article. It argues forcefully that the "brother of Jesus" is an accidental interpolation. "Accidental" meaning that no deceit was intended. Not all interpolations of texts were done with intentions of deceit.

Posted on Aug 4, 2012 3:38:26 PM PDT
Johnny P says:
This is a terrible review that shows either that the reviewer had not read the book, or that they gave it a mere cursory read, or that they simply did not get it. Way out.

Posted on Jan 28, 2013 12:49:09 PM PST
bdw000 says:
Having read the book, I found this review to be totally meaningless. I suggest reading more reviews before making a decision.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 11, 2014 6:57:44 PM PST
A. Luongo says:
Why do Christians call everyone who feels Jesus is a myth an atheist?
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