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Faking Jesus

Faking Jesus

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Published by Mogg Morgan

Robert Conner's review essay of Richard Carrier's book "Proving History, Bayes Theorem & the Quest for the historical Jesus" . Robert Conner is author of "Magic in the New Testament" & "Jesus the Sorcerer" both available from Mandrake.uk.net website and usual outlets

Robert Conner's review essay of Richard Carrier's book "Proving History, Bayes Theorem & the Quest for the historical Jesus" . Robert Conner is author of "Magic in the New Testament" & "Jesus the Sorcerer" both available from Mandrake.uk.net website and usual outlets

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Categories:Types, Reviews
Published by: Mogg Morgan on Feb 18, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Faking Jesus
“And that’s not even a complete list. We also have Jesusthe Folk Wizard (championed most famously be MortonSmith in
 Jesus the Magician
 , and most recently by RobertConner in
 Magic in the New Testament
Richard Carrier
 , Proving History: Bayes’s Theorem and the Quest for the Historical
 , 13.
Robert Conner2
That Jesus Studies is rife with flawed scholarship, special pleading,fideism, rank speculation, manufactured relevance, careerism, homo‑phobia and the misogyny that homophobia implies, sectarian alle‑giances, personal agendas, fraud and simple incompetence shouldcome as no surprise to anyone conversant with the field. Indeed,whether Jesus Studies is even an academic discipline as usuallyunderstood is debatable, and that Jesus Studies has precious little todo with history is certain.Mainstream scholars have understood for quite some time that thegospels are not history by any modern definition. It is widely con‑ceded that the gospel authors were writing decades after the eventsthey purport to relate, that the writers were pseudonymous, that theywere not eyewitnesses, that both the provenance and intendedaudience of each gospel is a matter of conjecture, and that the pri‑mary sources on which the gospels are ultimately based are un‑known and unknowable. It is universally conceded that no originalexists for any gospel and that the gospels that have survived arecopies of copies that preserve variant wording.The gospels were not even written in Palestine where the events of Jesus’ life took place. In the year 66 C.E., long‑standing tensions between immiserated Jews and pagan gentiles exploded in the First Jewish‑Roman War, one of three such conflicts. From the Jewishperspective the war got off to a promising start
 Jewish revolution‑aries initially inflicted heavy casualties on Roman troops. However,Vespasian invaded Galilee in 67 C.E., moving steadily south toward Jerusalem after subjugating town after town, and after Vespasian wasrecalled to Rome, his son Titus laid siege to Jerusalem and utterlydestroyed the city in 70 C.E. The war smoldered in the hills to thesouth for three additional years before the last Jewish garrison atMasada fell. All in all, over a million Jews were killed in the fightingor died from disease and starvation and according to the historian Josephus some 97,000 were captured and enslaved. In fact, it appears
Robert Conner3
many thousands of those slaves were put the work quarrying thestone for the Flavian Ampitheater, generally known today as theColosseum.In short, the cities of Jewish Palestine were defeated, the capitol de‑stroyed, and the population decimated and dispersed before the firstcanonical gospel was written. It is conjectured that the gospel ofMark was composed in Rome, Matthew in Syria, and John perhaps inAsia Minor. Given that an average lifespan in the 1
century likelyamounted to less than fifty years, that decades had passed since Jesus’ crucifixion, and that a devastating war had supervened, wherewere the eyewitnesses to Jesus’ life and career? Dead, quite likely, orenslaved and scattered abroad.
is a compensatory mechanism observed in subjects withessentially intact mentation but with serious gaps in memory. Con‑fabulators fill in missing memory with invented narrative thatchanges with each retelling, thereby revealing the lacunose nature oftheir memory, and interrogation of the gospel accounts reveals thatthey are confabulations in this technical sense. The writers of the gos‑pels were basically faking it, but lacking eyewitnesses, what choicedid they have?The early communities of believers for whom the gospels werecomposed had a very imperfect memory of Jesus of Nazareth. Thegospels contain no account of Jesus’ physical appearance, a scant,almost certainly apocryphal, record of his early life, and no coherentexplanation of his thinking, assuming, of course, that Jesus’ thinkingwas coherent to begin with.The incompatible infancy narratives of Matthew and Luke are clearexamples of confabulation; the inconsistencies large and small be‑tween the gospel accounts also betray defective institutional memory.The fact that Mark is quoted nearly in its entirety by Matthew and

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