In a followup to his article, he writes:
In an article (‘The Historiography of the Pentateuch: 25 Years after Historicity’ Scandinavian Journal of the Old Testament 13, 1999, 258-283) I have discussed why I think it is very difficult to establish the historicity of figures in biblical narrative, as the issue rather relates to the quality of texts one is dealing with. I work further on this issue in my Messiah Myth of 2005. Here I argue that the synoptic gospels can hardly be used to establish the historicity of the figure of Jesus; for both the episodes and sayings with which the figure of Jesus is presented are stereotypical and have a history that reaches centuries earlier. I have hardly shown that Jesus did not exist and did not claim to. Rather, I compared our knowledge about Jesus to our knowledge of figures like Homer. As soon as we try to identify such an historical figure, we find ourselves talking about the thematic elements of stories.
I do not distance myself from ‘mythicists’ as I do not see this term as referring to any scholars I know.
Thomas L. Thompson
Professor emeritus, University of Copenhagen
And he followed up criticisms with the following:
I do not deal with it–and am neither negative nor positive about it. Normally, I work with what is going in biblical scholarship and generally do not have any opinion about bloggers–whether or not you disagree with them.
You are quite right that I do not recall our previous discussion, but I am aware of the difference of such a question in regard to the New Testament and it is therefore that I have been involved in publishing the book with Thomas Verenna, Is This Not the Carpenter?, which takes up the issues you refer to.
In choosing elements which might deal well with questions of whether the narratives reflect historical realities, I purposely chose elements which New Testament scholars saw as unequivocally historical–taking up the Jesus seminar’s certain ipsissima verba of Jesus. I think I have shown that they are obviously not what these scholars have claimed.
I think he is quite clear and this directly supports what I have said elsewhere. We have to be careful with the labels we use; using labels in a manner that is akin to McCarthyism. But what cannot be ignored here is Thompson’s underlying position that our sources have serious limitations. In that I believe he is absolutely correct.