Richard Carrier and Mark Goodacre on the Historicity of Jesus


I just finished listening to a conversation/debate between Richard Carrier and Mark Goodacre on a UK Christian radio program called Unbelievable? In that conversation they talk about the possibility that Jesus was never a historical person. Richard takes the view that Jesus was originally a celestial being, while Mark believes that the best explanation of the evidence is that Jesus was indeed a historical person. You can listen to that program with these two here.

I’m glad the conversation was between these two. Richard is a proper historian, and Mark’s scholarship and demeanor is probably the best when dealing with this view. The host of the program seemed to be fair in allowing each side to talk. I do wish there was some more direct back-and-forth between Mark and Richard, but that will have to be saved for later when Richard published his book next year.

Who one in this exchange? That will probably be decided by which side of the fence you’re on, which is the case with most intellectual debates. However, I think both were able to make appropriate statements, and neither of them made howling bad arguments. It should also be a model for how the conversation on this subject ought to be done. I currently have by own way of leaning on this issue, but indeed the evidence isn’t clear-cut. Let the debate continue!

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2 thoughts on “Richard Carrier and Mark Goodacre on the Historicity of Jesus

  1. There’s a third possibility which I think deserves consideration in this debate. That is, that there was both a historical and a mystical Jesus all rolled into one. By that, I mean a physical lifeform named Jesus in which was manifested the mystical (Christ).

  2. In a way, that is the thinking of G.A. Wells, that there was a historical figure but was completely overcome in the later literature by the mythological being that people like Paul believed in. But Wells doesn’t see that mythical being as real. From what you mean, it seems you suggest the mystical Jesus was/is also real.

    But even so with your belief, there is still the binary part: there was or was not a historical Jesus person on Earth that the Christian religion sprang up around.

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