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Carrier, Bayes Theorem, and Jesus’ Existence

As most of you know, I’m pretty much staying out of the mythicist debates.   That is for several reasons.   One is that the mythicist position is not seen as intellectually credible in my field (I’m using euphemisms here; you should see what most of my friends *actually* say about it….) – no one that I know personally (I know a *lot* of scholars of New Testament, early Christianity, and so on) takes it at *all* seriously as a viable historical perspective (this includes not just Christians but also Jews, agnostics, atheists – you name it), and my colleagues sometimes tell me that I’m simply providing the mythicists with precisely the credibility they’re looking for even by engaging them.   It’s a good point, and I take it seriously.

In that connection I should say that I can understand how someone who hasn’t spent years being trained in the history of early Christianity might have difficulty distinguishing between serious scholarship that is accepted by experts as being plausible (even when judged wrong) and the writings of others that, well, is not.   But experts obviously don’t have that problem, and the mythicists simply are not seen as credible.   They don’t like that, and they don’t like it when it someone points it out, but there it is.

The other reason for staying out of the fray is that some of the mythicists are simply unpleasant human beings – mean-spirited, arrogant,  ungenerous, and vicious.   I just don’t enjoy having a back and forth with someone who wants to rip out my jugular.   So, well, I don’t.   (They also seem  — to a person – to have endless time and boundless energy to argue point after point after point after point after point.  I, alas, do not.)

Having said that, I should point out that….


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Video: Forgery in the New Testament
Carrier, Bayes Theorem, and Jesus’ Existence (For Members)



  1. RonaldTaska  November 8, 2013

    You have already addressed this question about as well as it can be addressed in “Did Jesus Exist?” In the long run, I am not sure it matters whether Jesus was a mythological creation or a historical person to whom a lot of myth was attached. Isn’t this also a question with Buddha and Confucius? .

  2. SBrudney091941  January 30, 2014

    I am a member. I’m logged in yet I’m told, “FOR THE REST OF THIS POST, go to the Member’s Site. ” I AM in the Members’ Site. This happens all the time. What do I do?

    • Bart Ehrman
      Bart Ehrman  January 30, 2014

      You need to click ONLY on the posts that say “For Members Only.”

      • SBrudney091941  January 30, 2014

        Thanks, Bart. Didn’t study well enough how to use the site.

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