07 Aug 2014 
#99 Another "conversation" with Dr. Carrier about his use of the Rank-Raglan scale for Jesus in OHJ

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a) If you want to see the complete "raw" discussion, click here.
b) Carrier's writing (violet),  my writing (black). Italics: from previous posts

How it started:

Dr. Carrier,

“yet the first apostles started right out of the gate claiming everything in the Gospels really happened in Jerusalem and Galilee.”

From where did you get that? It is a straw man in my view, which certainly makes your mythicism highly probable, and historicity out of question, except if Jesus was very much according to the Gospels. And we know it was not the case.
Are you addressing fundies’ beliefs? Certainly it cannot be minimal historicity.

“I demonstrate there that even starting with other reference classes gets you the same result–because you always have to put the Rank-Raglan data back in.”

You use a gospel (gMatthew) written two generations after Jesus’ crucifixion. Sure, we are going to see a lot of mythical accretions. But gMark, written earlier, would score fairly low on your Rank-Raglan list.


Cordially, Bernard
Carrier replied:  

Mark alone gives Jesus a score of 14. So I don’t require Matthew. Although by mainstream opinion they differ in date by as little as ten years. 

Again, if you would actually read the book you are talking about, you would know this. You would also know I discuss the accretion model and the issue of pace of legendary development. And the fact that sometimes this happens to historical persons. And so on. 

You are just acting like the crank that you are and ignoring all my actual arguments and discussion. 

Indeed, you are so clueless you don’t realize that I actually said “And we know it was not the case” in re: what you call a straw man. You seem not to grasp the logic of what we are even discussing here: Hallquist confusingly thought even absurd theories like that should lower the probability of non-absurd theories. My point in giving an example of an absurd theory was to show the error in his thinking. That you actually thought I was proposing such a theory as plausible shows me that you don’t have a clue what we are talking about here. 

As usual.

I then criticized Carrier about his rating of Jesus on his Rank-Raglan scale:
Hi Dr. Carrier, 

Here is my comment where I disagree with you on this Rank-Raglan scale for Jesus according to Matthew’s gospel: 

9 On reaching manhood he returns to his future kingdom. 

Actually, well after he became an adult, he went to Jerusalem (not really returned) and as long as he was still alive, that was never his future kingdom. So a big 0 on that one. 

11 He reigns uneventfully (i.e., without wars or national catastrophes). 

But he did not reign whatsoever in Jerusalem. He never was a ruling king in Jerusalem during his lifetime. He was hailed as a king outside Jerusalem but that’s about it. Another 0 

14 He is driven from the throne or city. 

How could he be driven from a throne if he did not have any? And “Matthew” did not even say that the crucifixion was outside the city. It might be implied in Mark’s gospel (15:21) but not in Matthew’s gospel. More, the opposite is stated: Jesus is driven from outside the city to within it after his arrest. So another 0 for that one. I would even go for -1 if it was allowed. 

16 He dies atop a hill or high place. 

Where does it say Jesus was crucified on a hill in Matthew’s gospel? And Golgotha means place of the skull, not hill of the skull. Another 0 for that one. 

17 His children, if any, do not succeed him

He had no children, and no throne to be succeeded from, so the result had to be a 0 

19 Yet he still has one or more holy sepulchers (in fact or fiction). 

If his body disappeared, how could he have a sepulcher? The fact that a tomb was selected as a place of worship centuries later does not count. Another 0 

20 Before taking a throne or a wife, he battles and defeats a great adversary (such as a king, giant, dragon or wild beast). 

Well, again Jesus never took a throne or a wife. And the temptations from the devil/Satan cannot be described as a battle, and the devil/Satan is not defeated but just leaves him. Another 0 

On the two last points, I agree with you for a 0 of both counts. 

So the score for Jesus according to the gospel of Matthew is 22 – 9 = 13 not 20 

And for Mark’s gospel, that would be 8 not 14. Changes from my rating of Matthew’s gospel: 0 for 1, 2, 3, 5, 6 & 7; 1 for 14 

I think you have grossly exaggerated your rating. 

Cordially Bernard

Carrier responded. Here is my answers to his reply: 

Dr. Carrier, 

RC: “Returns to future kingdom: The entire Triumphal Entry story is a paradigmatic example of a king returning to his kingdom. This is admitted by all mainstream scholars. And that’s even in Mark, not just Matthew. The criterion has nothing whatever to do with this happening “immediately” upon hitting puberty. You are acting like a Christian apologist and ignoring the data and making a fuss over hyper-specific definitions no one but you uses…which we call “Straw Man” argumentation.” 

BM: You are interpreting, as apparently all (unnamed) mainstream scholars (why don’t you name a few since you obviously know what all mainstream scholars wrote on the matter). But how do you know “Matthew” wanted the triumphal entry interpreted that way?
If he did, he would have indicated Jesus had a kingdom based on Jerusalem (to return to).
If he did, he would have indicated that Jesus went to Jerusalem prior to his last days, so a return of some sort. But none of the above.
And “Matthew” had Jesus going to Jerusalem well after he reached manhood. 

RC: “He reigns uneventfully: He was hailed a king by the people, and even declared so by the Roman governor (As Jesus points out: “You said it”; it’s even officially written above him on the cross). Only Christian fundamentalists (and cranks like you) read texts absurdly hyper-literally. The rest of us can plainly see Jesus was hailed king by the people, and the remaining authorities considered illegitimate. When Jesus proclaims laws, he is doing so in his capacity as the true king of Israel, telling everyone about his kingdom. This is undeniably the entire point even in Mark, much less Matthew.” 

BM: Being hailed as somebody does not mean the one being hailed thinks that or pretends to be that.
For example, you hail me as a crank (or if you would hail me as a genius), but that's not what I think of myself or pretend to be. “Matthew” had Jesus, just like “Mark”, saying “you said it”, but at 27:23, Pilate does not consider that answer as an admission Jesus is king of the Jews, because he thinks Jesus committed no crime. And one thing is certain: “Matthew” never wrote Jesus reigned during his days in Jerusalem.
As far as proclaiming laws. “Matthew” had not Jesus doing that. The law that Jesus wants for Jewish Christians to follow is the whole law of Moses (8:17-18).
But most orthodox Jews would want the same for other Jews. In other words, you did not have to be a king of the Jews to say the entire law should be kept.

RC: “He is driven from the throne or city: He loses favor from the people who hailed him king, and is thus condemned to be crucified by them. In result he loses his reign, is driven outside the city by the mob, and killed. That’s a hit. Only a fundie or crank would not think so. This is how literary allusion works. It’s not ridiculously absurdly hyper-literal. But it’s still obvious to everyone except to fundies and cranks.” 

BM: you are combining two Rank-Raglan points together:
I disagreed with you on point 14 “He is driven from the throne or city.” but not on point 13 “He then loses favor with the gods or his subjects.”
Again there was no reign to loose, no throne to be led away, and “Matthew” never even suggested (unlike “Mark”) that the crucifixion was outside the city. 

RC: ““And “Matthew” did not even say that the crucifixion was outside the city.”
Yes, he does. Mt. 27:31-33. It was common knowledge that crucifixions were held “outside” the city, not just outside the court, and Matthew’s intended Jewish readers certainly knew that Golgotha was a hill outside the city.
Only cranks try to turn that into a claim that Matthew relocated the crucifixion inside Jerusalem.”

BM: Mt 27:31-33:
“And when they had mocked him, they stripped him of the robe, and put his own clothes on him, and led him away to crucify him.
As they went out, they came upon a man of Cyre’ne, Simon by name; this man they compelled to carry his cross.
And when they came to a place called Gol’gotha (which means the place of a skull),”

“out”, according to the context, is outside the praetorium (27:27), not outside the city. 

RC: ““Where does it say Jesus was crucified on a hill in Matthew’s gospel?”
Golgotha was well known to be a hill. Every Christian author of the era knew this. 

Just because you are a 21st century foreigner doesn’t allow you to project your ignorance onto a people who knew their world a far sight better than you do. 

But more to the point, the word (as all Gospels say) refers only to the top part of the skull (the kranion, not the skyphion)…in other words, the name is a description of the place: a hill.” 

BM: How do you know Golgotha was a hill, and not a small rocky outcrop? and every Christians of the era knew? Evidence please.
If “Matthew” wanted to add up another so-called mythological element, he would have specified a hill. He did not (as every other gospel authors, even “John” who seems to know about pre-70 Jerusalem). 

RC: ““He had no children, and no throne to be succeeded from, so the result had to be a 0.”
Since he could have had children, who could indeed have succeeded him (hailed by the people as their true king, or headed the church, explicitly referred to as his kingdom), your statement is false. 

BM: The Rank-Raglan point is “His children, if any, do not succeed him.” He had no children, so this point do not apply, so zero. Why do you hypothesize he could have had children, and then hypothesize again from that hypothesis these children could indeed have succeeded him? And then, score a 1? 

You want to rate Jesus as described by “Matthew”, but many times you go outside his gospel to find evidence, assumption or hypothesis you need when there is no evidence in the gospel in order to support your case. 

RC: ““If his body disappeared, how could he have a sepulcher?”
Weird, huh? And yet, he does…even in the Gospels (all of them, even, gasp!, Matthew).”

BM: Early Christians did not have a holy sepulcher to go to (contrary to Osiris, who had many). The holy sepulcher “discovery” and worship came much later. 

RC: ““Well, again Jesus never took…a wife.”
He could have. Therefore, that he didn’t, scores.”

BM: Confusing statement: but it looks to me. “he could have had a wife” (a supposition) is equivalent to, in your view, “he had a wife”. If it is so, that’s unacceptable by me. 

RC: ““And the temptations from the devil/Satan cannot be described as a battle, and the devil/Satan is not defeated but just leave him.”
Like a fundie, being a crank, you again can’t see anything except hyper-literally. Sorry, literature isn’t absurdly ridiculously hyper-literal. Oedipus defeats the Sphinx by answering a riddle. 

This is another case where your embarrassingly irresponsible refusal to read and respond to the book you claim to be criticizing makes you look like an utter fool to everyone who has read it (p. 233). 

The Gospels clearly regarded the Temptation as a spiritual battle. Jesus confronts and defeats the Devil. He overcomes his temptations and is triumphant. Consequently the Devil has no power over him.”

BM: Oedipus really defeats the Sphinx, because after answering correctly the riddle, the Sphinx, in rage, kills himself. This is not the case of the devil/Satan after the temptation. Satan is still alive and well, just that he failed to corrupt Jesus. Later, in the gospel, Satan is victorious by having (through Judas) Jesus arrested, which led to the crucifixion. 

Cordially, Bernard
Carrier's final answer:  

This isn’t even worth a response, Bernard. This is just endless crank bullshit. Which is what you always do. Over and over and over again. You just answer every refutation by dumping tens of thousands of words repeating the same crank, quasi-fundamentalist garbage. This is a waste of everyone’s fucking time. 

Go Away.

Cordially, Bernard

Tags: {Carrier} {Carrier's OHJ} {mythicism} {Rank-Raglan}
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