Michael Paulkovich is an easy target because his ‘research’ is so poor, I’d never heard of him before the internet started fanning the flames of his terribly historically inept work on the historical Jesus. You can find one such article here and it even made it to the lofty heights of the Daily Mail. I can’t find out any information but I truly doubt that he has any historical training whatsoever, in fact I’ll close my blog if he has a PhD in History!
Please have a read of the article I linked to and see if you can spot some of the obvious problems with his conclusion (and premises) about Jesus not being mentioned in the sources he examines. I tend not to respond to such tripe but Paulkovich has the rare talent of making me both laugh and cry at the same time so I wrote a brief comment pointing out just a couple of problems with his hypothesis. What is more frustrating is that the press give such silly ideas space, for goodness sake at least present the strongest argument for the mythicist position, alas something you have to get used to as a Christian.
It seems all too popular today for many atheists to think that they can undermine the historical method because…well..they are atheists, training… smaining. However, at least some atheists are willing to pull others up on their bad arguments and sources, see a great short article here! Let Paulkovich show you how it’s done.
Here was my comment.
Just a few points in response so we can all see how poorly researched this piece of work is.
‘The few mentions of Jesus in The Jewish Wars, Paulkovich argues, were added by later editors, not by Josephus himself.’
No, there are no mentions of Jesus in ‘The Jewish Wars’, what you meant was his book ‘Antiquities of the Jews’! This is basic stuff so it doesn’t give me confidence regarding the rest of the article.
‘Paulkovich says that only one of the 126 texts he combed through contains any mention of Jesus — and that, he says, is a forgery. That text is the first-century history book The Jewish Wars by the Roman historian Josephus Flavius, who wrote his work in the year 95 CE.’
You can carefully comb through the whole book mate he ain’t in there, wrong book son.
‘Advocates of the “Mythical Jesus” theory have been around for years, arguing that the story of Jesus bears a close resemblance to numerous other mythological stories of ancient gods who were born of virgin mothers and performed miracles.’
Yeah and serious historians have demonstrated it to be nonsense, that’s why only one trained historian, Richard Carrier advocates it and why someone like Bart Ehrman who is no friend of Christianity can write a whole book defending a historical Jesus against such inept tripe. It’s like saying Holocaust deniers have been around for ages saying their thing, but now we ought to take them seriously. The author is alluding to alleged parallels such as Horus and Mithras which although stated ad infinitum don’t actually exist off the internet, please quote a primary source? A deathly silence follows.
So what about those sources in Josephus that mention Jesus? Well in Book 20, 9, 1 (Antiquities not Jewish Wars) the execution of Jesus’ bother James is mentioned which is almost universally accepted as authentic. The key passage also known as the Testimonium Flavianum is where we find Jesus mentioned, most scholars admit that there has been some alteration to the text by a misguided scribe but very few would argue that the originally didn’t include any mention of Jesus. Actual historians have discovered that different and independent transmissions of the text in Arabic and Syriac have helped scholars to observe what the original text would have included, which still included Josephus mentioning Jesus!
‘The Dead Sea Scrolls, also known as the Qumran texts, also contain no mention of Jesus. Even the Apostle Paul, the New Testament figure credited with spreading the new religion that came to be called “Christianity” shortly after the supposed death of Jesus, never says that Jesus was a real person — even in the Bible itself.’
Great, except most of the dead sea scrolls predate Jesus so it’s not a surprise there is no mention of Jesus there, there is a reason no trained historian would attempt to make such a historical inference.
“When I consider those 126 writers, all of whom should have heard of Jesus but did not…”
Yeah but the vast majority have no reason to mention him, it’s like looking at nineteenth century gardening books and not finding Abraham Lincoln mentioned and arguing that he therefore didn’t exist.
Soranus was a gynaecologist, so why would we expect to find Jesus mentioned in his writings lol? Yes he is one of the 126 ancient writers he examined. Lesbonax died before Jesus was even born, so how could he mention Jesus? With some difficulty I imagine!
Please go and read a proper historian and go to a library, tripe like this is only taken seriously because some atheists think an internet connection makes them a historian. I could go on but this is a serious hack article as is the writings it’s based upon.