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Goodbye Jesus

The Arguments for Mythicism


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Arguments from silence:

  1. Paul does not corroborate any of the narrative details about Jesus' life as described in any of the Gospels.
  2. Paul does not cite Jesus' teachings when it would be beneficial for his arguments if he had done so.
  3. The Testimonium Flavianum is a suspect interpolation, with the implication that the Jewish historian Josephus was unaware of Jesus' ministry, as well as several historical details mentioned in the Gospels.
  4. Contemporary pagan historians are unaware of any individual Jesus, and any reports (Tacitus, Pliny, etc.) are distinctly second-hand (i.e., refer to circulating stories and rumors).

Arguments from similarity:

  1. The character of Jesus shares many archetypical characteristics with previous and contemporary mythical figures (Osiris-Dionysus, Tammuz, Attis, Adonis, etc.)
  2. The essential Gospel narrative shares many narrative elements with previous and contemporary mythical and fictional stories (The Odyssey, The Illiad, Chaereas and Callirhoe, etc.)
  3. The deeds of the character Jesus are very similar to previous and contemporary legends about great men (Apollonius of Tyana, Pythagoras, Asclepius, etc.)
  4. Many aspects of the character of Jesus are very similar to those of previous Jewish literary characters (Moses, Joshua, Elijah, etc.)

Arguments from Biblical Ahistoricity:

  1. Matthew and Luke base their accounts on Mark, and add extravagant details in a manner that suggests legendary development.
  2. Key details in the Gospels do not conform to established historical facts germane to their setting.
  3. There is evidence of later orthodox revision and redaction in the Gospels, Pauline Epistles, and Pastoral Epistles.
  4. Paul's conception of Jesus was that of a spirit-being, rather than as a historical person, who became a savior through deeds performed in pre-historical celestial time.


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