Re: historicity of Christ

From: Dan Eumurian (
Date: Mon Jun 11 2001 - 11:17:00 EDT

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    New Testament Studies was not my major in grad school, but you might
    look at:

    William R. Farmer, _The Gospel of Jesus: The Pastoral Relevance of the
    Synoptic Problem_. Louisville, KY: Westminster/John Knox Press, 1994,
    ISBN 0-664-25514-0, and:

    John Wenham, _Redating Matthew, Mark and Luke: A Fresh Assault on the
    Synoptic problem_. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1992, ISBN

    Several years ago, Christianity Today magazine ran an article critiquing
    the Jesus Seminar, a group of scholars who critiqued the biblical view
    of Christ. CT is available at and
    through AmericaOnline (keyword: ChristianityToday). Otherwise, call
    1-800-999-1704 for subscription information.

    For a couple of years I was mostly a lurker on a listserv called
    Synoptic-L, which would generally be categorized with the Jesus Seminar
    and with the skeptical authors you mentioned. One point that was helpful
    to me was that if one or more of the Gospel writers drew on Paul for
    some of their Christology, that Christology would be supported by the
    fact that Paul's conversion was probably in 34 or 35 AD, not long after
    the crucifixion of Christ. I'll be interested in what other listmembers
    have to say.

    Regarding the pagan and mythical analogies to Christianity, see Don
    Richardson, _Eternity in Their Hearts_. Ventura, CA: Regal/Gospel Light,
    1981, rev. 1984, ISBN 0-8307-0925-8.

    I know you're looking for serious research, but perhaps you'll pardon my
    including a little parody I wrote after putting up with the Synoptic-L
    folks for quite a while:

    “Discovered and Translated” by
    Dan Eumurian, B. Mus. in Mus. Ed., Kent State University, 1974
    M. A. in Theological Studies, Theology Concentration,
    Wheaton College Graduate School, 1978

    Joy to the world, but not to us.
    We’re much too smart to pray.
    We’ve analyzed the facts, and with our holy axe,
    Explained them all away,…
    [Manuscript becomes illegible. Unknown dialect.
    Cannot be discerned.]

    No more let sin, the concept, grow,
    Nor thorns infest our side.
    We come to make the season go
    With intellectual pride,…
    [Question of authorship allows us to disregard any personal implications
    of remainder of verse.]

    We rid the world of truth and grace,
    And steer them off the path.
    They’ve nothing left but doubt, because we’re throwing out
    The Baby with the bath,…
    [High Christology makes next lines an obvious late recension.]

    “Joy to the earth!” Creation cries.
    The prophecies will win.
    True faith will heal the schism with higher criticism.
    Ye must be born again.…
    [Remaining material deemed not germane to scholarly colloquy.]

    [May be copied as a whole. Attribution appreciated. Discussion

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    Charles Carrigan wrote:
    > All,
    > This is probably not the most appropriate forum for this question, but
    > I can't think of a better place.  So here goes......
    > A very good friend of mine has recently rejected his Christian faith. 
    > He has done this, so he says (and I have no reason to doubt him),
    > because after researching the historicity of Christ and the gospels
    > and Paul, he can no longer believe that the person of Jesus Christ as
    > proclaimed by traditional Christianity was an historical figure. 
    > Instead, he now believes that Christianity has its roots in pagan and
    > mythical cultures, combined with neo-Platonism and Judaism of the
    > time.  I'm not an apologist, nor am I a scholar of biblical literature
    > or history or whatever else that might be appropriate.  He has given
    > me a laundry list of literature on the subject, which I have neither
    > the time nor the energy to pursue.  (He has mentioned writings by
    > Robert M. Price, Charles Templeton, and many others).  So I'm looking
    > for someone who has seriously researched these issues and can perhaps
    > provide some information for me to pass along. 
    > Thanks,
    > C
    > *********************************************************************************************
    > Charles W. Carrigan
    > Univ. of Michigan - Department of Geological Sciences
    > 2534 C.C. Little Bldg.
    > 425 E. University Ave.
    > Ann Arbor, MI  48109-1063
    > "The point of having an open mind, like an open mouth,
    >                 is to close it on something solid."
    >                                 -G.K. Chesterton

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