Would I Be Personally Upset if the Mythicists Were Right (That Jesus Never Existed)?
Ever since I wrote my book Did Jesus Exist (where I argue that, well, yeah--whatever else you say about him, however much legend you think is in the Gospels, there certainly was a historical figure, Jesus), I have had people ask me if I have an axe to grind on this one or if it would be personally painful or professional ruinous to admit that the "mythicists" -- those who claim that Jesus is a *complete* myth (never existed) were right. I don’t address this in the book, and I think it is a terrific question! The reason I do is this. I think every historian of religion who makes a case for one thing or another needs to be queried: what is at stake for you in the matter? Did Jesus Exist, Historically? For example, I have participated a number of public debates with conservative evangelical Christian scholars who have wanted to insist that they can PROVE, historically, that Jesus was raised from the dead. Now I should state with vigor and emphasis – [...]