Wednesday, July 11, 2007

How to Loose All Your Credibility in One Easy Step

It’s easy when you know how. A group of disaffected junior scholars decided to set up a panel called the Jesus Project. It is supposed to be launching a fearless investigation into whether or not Jesus existed. Now, when you are launching a fearless investigation into a question that almost nobody takes seriously anyway, you should be careful whom you associate with.

The Jesus Project is run from something called the Center for Inquiry which is an atheist pressure group whose main activity seems to be to run summer camps for the offspring of sceptics (no brainwashing there, then). The Project is to have fifty fellows and provides a list of them on its website. It is one of the funniest web pages I have ever seen.

Aficionados of Jesus Mythicism will recognise a few of the names – Robert Price, Richard Carrier, Herman Detering and Earl Doherty among them. Then we have the lunatic fringe – Freke and Gandy, who is hilariously described as “a renowned writer and an authority on world mysticism and classical civilizations” and Frank Zindler. With these names, it is quite clear that the Jesus Project is not to be taken seriously as a scholarly enterprise.

Then there are several real scholars. Sadly, they don’t all seem to approve of the project of which they are fellows. As shown here, John Kloppenborg, was listed as a fellow but not had any contact with it and April DeConick has ‘mixed feelings’. I see that Kloppenborg has now been removed from the list of fellows. I wonder how many of the others are fictitious as well.

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