James McGrath is Finally (Almost) Getting It!

I hope James doesn’t mind the title of this blog.  I have been following the recent discussion of the ‘Social Media’ and ‘Myth’ discussion with interest, though I will have to blog my own thoughts on it soon.  I was pleasantly surprised to see this comment from James:

And even if it were so applied, it presumably wouldn’t convince the mythicists, who are determined to be denialists, while for mainstream scholars it might simply confirm what the evidence already points to.

Was the Historical Jesus on Facebook?.

But James still is using this term ‘mythicist’ in a wide, umbrella-type format that is problematic, since not all mythicists can be lumped into this.  Perhaps he might amend the statement to read something like:

“And even if it were so applied, it presumably wouldn’t convince many mythicists, those who are determined to be denialists, while for the mainstream scholars it might simply confirm what they believe the evidence already points to.”

See the difference?  One is hyperbolic, the other is far more accurate and erudite.  And fair.  So maybe James will consider rewriting that paragraph in a manner akin to what I have rewritten above?

Incidentally, it might also be worth mentioning that simply because someone has a new method, it does not necessarily mean that method is useful or will provide any particular information within a different field of study.  So I am not in agreement with James that by simply applying the method, it would suddenly prove the validity of the historicity of the figure of Jesus.  One does not simply apply the same method the way, across all types of texts.  That is irresponsible scholarship, and I’m sure James would agree.

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7 Responses

  1. “I hope James doesn’t mind the title of this blog.”

    Tom, you are way too nice to a guy who thinks you are a “denialist” comparable to holocaust-deniers.

  2. I’m not a mythicist. And James has never called me anything but a friend. So I’m not sure what you’re talking about.

  3. [...] 26, 2012 Steve DouglasIs Paul a moral relativist in Romans 14:13-23? July 26, 2012 Morgan GuytonJames McGrath is Finally (Almost) Getting It! July 26, 2012 Tom VerennaCollins and Enns on the “historicity” of Adam (Pt. 16). July 26, 2012 [...]

  4. Tom, I think it was you who pointed out once here that when people (in this case McGrath) are lambasting mythicists for trying to deny the “obvious fact” that Jesus existed, the same criticism is also valid against those who are agnostic on the issue.

  5. I’m not sure I would have made that claim the way you present it here. Definitely not within the last year or so. Unless you misread me or I am misunderstanding you. Can you point me to where you think I said this?

  6. I didn’t find it after looking for it, maybe it was someone other.

    But the point is that both mythicists and agnostics agree that there isn’t overwhelming evidence for the historical Jesus.

    When McGrath is talking about Jesus denialism (and comparing it to holocaust denial), do you for a second think that he wouldn’t include agnostics like us in that group?

  7. He has already stated publicly that he does not consider agnostics and doubters in that group.

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