“What would lead people to make all this stuff up – all of it – from scratch? Not just embroidering or adding to existing stories about an existing person, but inventing all of the above, including the bits that clearly work against their purposes? So far, I have not heard an adequate explanation for this. Of the two theories, therefore, the theory that Jesus did actually exist – that, at the start of the story of Christianity, there was an actual Yeshu or Yeshua who preached and had a following and was executed by the Romans – fits the available data a lot better.” – Dr. Sarah
- Last October, Dr. Sarah posted on her Geeky Humanist blog a piece on why she accepts the historicity of Jesus. In essence, she sees the various contradictions and other problematic texts in the Jesus tradition recorded in the Gospels as indicative that this isn’t myth become history but rather the other way around. For example, both Luke and Matthew provide contradictory accounts of why Jesus could be called a Nazarene even though they both have him born in Bethlehem. But why? Dr. Sarah writes that “it would surely have been so much simpler to leave out the Nazareth claim and write Jesus as coming from Bethlehem in the first place.” It makes more sense that Jesus was known to be from Nazareth and that later authors needed to connect him to Bethlehem because of the prophecy of Micah 5:2 – a historical figure become mythic.
- Back in December Andrea Nicolotti posted a piece in ANE Today on the scourging of Jesus. We don’t know much about the intensity of Jesus’ scourging but he surely would have endured some form of it as a victim of Roman crucifixion. But Nicolotti pushes back against anachronistic understandings of Roman scourging that were based upon medieval ideas on it. It is an interesting survey of the data and what the weapon used to scourge Jesus may or may not have been.
- @StudyofChrist continues his series on Isaiah with a discussion of the relationship between an account by Herodotus that explains the Assyrian retreat and the story we find in the biblical texts. I’ve read some Herodotus over the years but never read the section @StudyofChrist discusses. Interesting stuff!
- Pete Enns ruins Exodus on a recent podcast. It’s only part 1 so here’s to hoping more follow soon.
- A common apologetic trope is to claim that because the disciples died for their belief in Jesus that this somehow tells us something about the veracity of Jesus’ resurrection. But how do we even know that the disciples died for that specific belief? @Paulogia0 takes on material produced by pop-apologist Mike Winger on this very issue.
Featured image: Wikimedia Commons.