Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Thoughtful posts on mythicism

I am currently on an unplanned but effective hiatus from writing about many of the issues I've been much concerned with, including Jesus mythicism. But a hiatus is exactly that -- it's temporary.

In the meantime, I've come across a blog post by an agnostic who has taken, not just a critical line against Jesus mythicism (I've seen that before), but a critical line that is exceptionally thoughtful and even-toned. Even so I might not mention it, except that it directly touches on some questions that I was writing about in the earliest days of this blog: the relationship of Jesus mythicism to politics; the question of whether Jesus mythicism can be referred to, particularly by its proponents, as a general thing with a common goal; and the potential that Jesus mythicism holds, or does not hold, to make a practical difference in our society.

Check it out.

I also do try to keep up with new debates at IIDB. In the past I've linked to some threads filled with too much rancor and too little real content, so I was pleased a few weeks ago to find a debate that was primarily an intellectual discussion -- with skill on both sides -- about historical methodology. The specific question was how, or whether, a responsible historian could take the text of Josephus, known to have been changed by Christian scribes, and discern what parts are genuine. From there the thread sank its teeth into a detailed discussion over whether Origen has quoted Josephus.

It will be no shock that I hold with the historicist position in that debate: that of course, discerning between the various levels of usefulness in the evidence at hand is the very business of being a historian. Throwing up one's hands is not skepticism per se, so much as rejectionism, OR the inability/unwillingness to move forward with work that is sometimes tremendously difficult and always demanding. To move forward fruitfully, and skeptically, you need training and tools, and plenty of help; otherwise you will find yourself stalled.

We all know the feeling.


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home