James McGrath on Mythicism and Cultural Memory

James McGrath writes:

To state the point more directly in relation to mythicism: The recognition that traditional tools and methods of historical criticism do not provide us with certainty does not demonstrate that the mythicists are right, but that they are every bit as wrong-headed as the fundamentalists on the opposite end of the spectrum.

And he is absolutely correct; but the line is not drawn between ‘mythicism’ and ‘fundamentalism’ since, as it were, the opposite of ‘fundamentalism’ is ‘liberalism’ or ‘progressivism’ as they are the answers to a separate question (how one feels towards their beliefs).  If mythicism is one side of the coin, the other is historicism.  Both James and I know that there are degrees to ones affirmations over historicity (I’m an agnostic that recognizes that evidence is lacking, which doesn’t necessarily mean it isn’t there), but if James posits that ‘the other side’ is wrong-headed, he is correct, in as much as the opposite side is historicism.

As a gentle nod, though, I would state that having a background in logic would have quickly corrected James’ equating of fundamentalism as an opposite of mythicism.  ;-)

4 Responses

  1. Thanks for posting and discussing this! I was thinking of “fundamentalists on the opposite end of the spectrum” in the sense of those who affirm the historicity of everything in the way mythicists deny the historicity of everything. But you are certainly right that as I worded it, the contrast is at best awkward.

  2. Good point, James, and thanks for clarifying! I hope you look at the new discussion I posted a few minutes ago as well.

  3. […] As always, McGrath’s way of handling mythicists of the Doherty type is entertaining and well thought out. Doherty and company produces tripe. While I would agree somewhat that evidences can be thrown either way, I have to believe in the historicity of Christ due to certain logical reasons. […]

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