20 Jul 2014 
#97 Carrier's biased and faulty definition of "minimal theory of historicity"

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This is how Carrier defines his "minimal theory of historicity" on page 34 of OHJ:

An actual man at some point named Jesus acquired followers in life who continued as an identifiable movement after his death.
Yes, Jesus had some followers during the last year of his life but they abandoned him after his arrest. Later, when a community of hellenized proto-Christians came into existence in Jerusalem, they resurfaced here & then. Still later (after the Greek dispersion in 35), they continued Jesus' prophetic message (the kingdom of God coming soon on earth for the benefit of poor Jews), but with no added speculations & beliefs.
Explanations here and here
This is the same Jesus who was claimed by some of his followers to have been executed by the Jewish or Roman authorities.
Yes, they were claiming that, but in these days, Jesus' crucifixion could be easily confirmed in Jerusalem. Actually, at first, "Christ crucified" was a sore point for Paul in his preaching (1 Cor 1-2).
This is the same Jesus some of whose followers soon began worshiping as a living god (or demigod).

Did any non-believer historicists accept that? Apparently Bart Ehrman did. But some others (including myself) did not. Therefore, that would not count for minimal historicity. Carrier is making a straw man here.
Certainly, according to my analysis, this is not true: the "Nazarenes" (brothers & former followers of Jesus in the church of Jerusalem) never became Christians, and that was because they did not witness in Jesus' life (or after his death) anything in that direction: see here
In conclusion, Carrier is defining the minimal theory of historicity in such a way it does not look plausible, which makes his minimal mythicism looks like a more valid alternative.

Carrier wrote next:
That all three propositions are true shall be my minimal theory of historicity. As occasion warrants I might add features on to test the merits of more complex theories, but unless I explicitly say otherwise, the above is the theory I shall be testing against the minimal Jesus myth theory. Because if any one of those premises is false, it can fairly be said there was no historical Jesus in any pertinent sense.
[well, the third premise is false, as I shown above: does that make the historical Jesus theory false? Not at all]
 And at least one of them must be false for any Jesus myth theory to be true. One thing that will become clear in the course of this book is that this minimal theory is unsustainable.

A few lines later, Carrier wrote:
Hence anyone who will wish to continue denying the claim that Jesus never really existed will have to advance the field of Jesus studies with a theory of historicity that not only somehow maintains a high enough prior probability to have any chance of being true, but also successfully explains all the evidence, including a lot of evidence that is not so easy to explain (surveyed in Chapters 8 through 11). If such a theory can be successfully developed, I welcome it.
This is why I did on my website, but after several requests to Carrier for reading it, he always turned me down (in one case, he said he would do it in exchange of payment).

Cordially, Bernard

Tags: {Carrier} {Carrier's OHJ} {Jesus' historicity} {mythicism} {ultra minimalist}
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