There is a new Jesus Mythologist in town. Tom Harpur, a Canadian religious affairs journalist, has published a book called the Pagan Christ. It is, by all accounts, unadulterated trash but he has been given an easy ride by many of his friends in the journalism trade and is making quite an impression in Canada. W Ward Gasque has written a devastating and incisive critique which demonstrates that Harpur uses out of date sources that no real scholar would touch with a barge pole. Harpur is either being extremely gullible or deliberately disingenuous by quoting all sorts of stuff that any expert could have told him to avoid. His reply to Gasque here (scroll down), is a study of special pleading and dishonesty. That he complains professional Egyptologists have not yet read his sources would be funny if it wasn't so completely arrogant. It is like complaining that geologists have not made themselves familiar with the latest tract by Graham Hancock. Harpur also says his detractors are only ultra-conservative or fundamentalist Christians. He clearly has no idea about the religion he used to profess or the people who subscribe to it. JP Holding has also attacked the Pagan Christ in his own inimitable style.
Yes, people like Harpur make me angry. He is pompous, disingenuous and out of a quick buck. It is impossible that a reasonably intelligent person who has read as widely as he claims to have done would believe a word he writes - which means he cannot believe it himself. He makes the usual claim that his book was not written for scholars and uses this both as an excuse not to ground his work in facts and sources, and to ignore the objections of those who do. Writing a popular book without bothering to do the spade work is dead easy. Scholarship, as I am rapidly finding, is very hard work.