Comments for Richard Carrier https://www.richardcarrier.info Announcing appearances, publications, and analysis of questions historical, philosophical, and political by author, philosopher, and historian Richard Carrier. Mon, 15 Jan 2018 17:41:14 +0000 hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.1 Comment on Was Roman Science in Decline? (Excerpt from My New Book) by Richard Carrier https://www.richardcarrier.info/archives/13477#comment-25620 Mon, 15 Jan 2018 17:41:14 +0000 https://www.richardcarrier.info/?p=13477#comment-25620

I reread Russo’s book to remember his arguments. Do you have the quote from Hipparchus that says he is geocentric? It would go a long way to establishing that heliocentrism wasn’t dominant in Hellenistic Alexandria, and it would refute Russo’s idea about Hipparchus.

That’s in my book The Scientist (pp. 74-75).

Your comment is assuming a notion of automatic progress in science, it is assuming that progress only requires preservation of literature, and not continuity of scientific culture.

The results are in the literature. Culture has nothing to do with this. One does not “forget” the discovery of Newtonian dynamics when one has all the texts that discoveries were written in. If that was discovered by Hipparchus or employed by him in any way whatever, everyone reading the works of Hipparchus two centuries later would know about it. Even if all scientists in between were abducted by aliens and no one became a scientist again for a hundred years.

Russo’s thesis is “regress”.

For which there is exactly zero evidence.

His claim is that to have scientific progress, people don’t just need access to the written work, they need a culture that allows them to be able to understand and expand upon it.

Yeah. Which happened in the Middle Ages. Not ancient Rome. Then, everyone had all the requisite skills to understand all the relevant mathematics and were actively building on it. This is very well attested. There is zero…literally zero…evidence that any relevant ability to understand the requisite mathematics was “lost” before the 4th century.

Even in the 1980s and 1990s, people in modern times forgot how to read some of the recent science of the 1960s.

Um. No. Not in any sense analogous to what we are talking about. Newtonian dynamics involves no mathematical understanding not abundantly present in Roman times and even employed by Ptolemy. So there is no possible way Ptolemy “wouldn’t understand” a treatise on the subject, much less any of the hundreds of other engineers, astronomers, and mathematicians of the day. Most specially as it was the particular custom of ancient scientific treatises to teach the reader the skills they needed to understand the treatise itself.

Russo’s thesis is that nobody in 100BC knew how to read Archimedes well, or Appolonius. They cited these works like you cite Newton.

And that’s bullshit he just made up. Based on no evidence whatever. Historians don’t accept things people just “make up” about the ancient world. That’s called pseudohistory.

…knowing the enormous gap between Hellenistic and Roman era mathematics by reading a sample

And who are you “comparing”? There are shit mathematicians in Hellenistic times, too. So are you comparing the best with the best? Because you might be starting to see where Russo is conning you with an invalid procedure.

The difference looks like what Russo describes it, as the difference between a science-aware Hellenistic society and a Roman society that is only aware of technology, and doesn’t understand the subtleties of scientific modeling.

No one who actually read Ptolemy’s Mathematical Syntaxis or the spherical trigonometry of Menelaus or the catoptics of Hero could make such a ridiculous claim.

The reification of visual-rays is a case-in-point for Russo, Euclid is clearly using these to model units of visual perception associated to light propagation, not in the absurd view that visual stuff is emitted by the eyes (although they might have thought light travels instantaneously).

Ptolemy actually discusses that very point, and why the debate continues in his day. Read his Optics. And there were still astronomers in his day who agreed with you on the fact. And they were well aware, for example, that Hipparchus advocated an atomic rather than a visual ray theory of light, and astronomers still debated his theory (see Plutarch’s On the Face in the Moon). Yet another example refuting Russo’s ridiculous claim that the theories of Hipparchus were forgotten. Again, zero evidence of any loss of knowledge here.

Similarly, the gap of centuries in astronomical precision measurement between Hipparchus and Ptolmey is evidence.

Zero evidence of that.

The evidence that Ptolmey is copying something else is that he says the epicycle-deferent-equant model is due to Appolonius

Nope. We have multiple attestation Ptolemy is using the model developed by Hipparchus. Hipparchus corrected the Appolonian model. And Ptolemy’s own model is partly his own innovation. He is very explicit about all of this. The discussion on Wikipedia is actually pretty good. And it’s based on peer reviewed literature.

Archimedes, who is definitely a heliocentrist (he popularized heliocentrism in “The Sand Reckoner”).

Nope. He merely mentions that Aristarchus posited heliocentrism. Archimedes himself did not say it was correct, but that even if it were, his own result regarding volume would hold. There is no evidence Archimedes ever adopted, endorsed, or argued for heliocentrism himself.

The only persons we can confirm by name as heliocentrists are Aristarchus and his pupil Seleucus. It was well known in Roman times that Seleucus actually presented an argument for heliocentrism that was considered in need of address (Plutarch cites the fact as being debated in his own day); and we can infer it was probably the same tidal theory Galileo fell in love with, only to eventually discover it was invalid (since Seleucus famously discovered lunisolar tide theory and posited universal gravitation to explain it, a fact attested and discussed, again, in Plutarch).

We don’t get to hear the names of the heliocentrists in the Roman era, but they were still around, as attested by Seneca, and Ptolemy himself, whose opening chapters of the Syntaxis take aim at two camps of competitors: heliocentrists, and dynamic geocentrists (for whom we have abundant independent attestation as well: proponents that the earth spins, but is still the center). Which is how we know no one invented Newtonian dynamics. Because that would have settled the argument for heliocentrism, and Ptolemy would be forced to address it in his first book of the Syntaxis.

It would be most natural for Appolonius to invent equant-deferent-epicycle models to mechanically describe true elliptical sun-centered orbits using Earth-centered clockwork gears.

That’s what Ptolemy is doing, too. He is literally describing the construction of a physical device. Which requires combined circular motions. In Planetary Hypotheses Ptolemy explicitly says that in the real world, you can do without the circular mechanisms and just propose the planets move in quasi-elliptical orbits, and he speculates on how we could find out which it was (which way nature actually produced the motions) and he settles for crystalline gearing only because he considered it parsimonious.

Appolonius…was a heliocentrist

Zero evidence of that.

…he for some reason knew everything there is to know about conics. He looks like an ancient Kepler, although perhaps he wasn’t as far along.

Nope. No evidence he ever linked his conics with planets at all, much less planetary laws of motion. We don’t have any evidence anyone ever did. Not Hipparchus. Not anyone. Russo is just making that up. Thereby confusing hypothesis with evidence. Which is why he fails so badly at this part of his work.

I know Ptolmey isn’t doing things right, because he isn’t a heliocentrist, and even the most modest exposure to the data will turn any honest scientist into one

False. Almost all experts in antiquity were geocentrists, including Hipparchus. It’s actually not so obvious that heliocentrism is true. It requires a lot of research to establish numerous counter-intuitive premises to get there. This is why everyone rejected Copernicus. He had no evidence. And his system actually under-performed against Ptolemy’s. Ptolemy’s system made more accurate predictions; because Copernicus obsessively rejected noncircular orbits and inconstant velocities, two features abundantly employed in Ptolemy’s model (and as it happens necessary to any correct model). Until Kepler advanced on Ptolemy by updating Ptolemy’s planetary motion law and linking it to conics. And even then most experts still rejected the idea; it didn’t actually win consensus approval until Newton. Read Kühn on this point.

(the three outer planet epicycles all have a period derived from the Earth year, a ridiculous coincidence — why should Saturn retrograde once a year? Jupiter?).

It’s not ridiculous when the earth is the center of the system and doesn’t spin. The year then only exists in that system precisely because of linked planetary annual motions.

Remember classical relativity: phenomenologically, geocentrism and heliocentrism are actually mutually identical. Because motion is relative. Whether the earth or the universe is spinning, is a question of not-directly-observable physics that can’t be determined by merely observing the relative motion between the two. You need some underlying physical reasoning; hence Newtonian dynamics, which finally showed that you can explain two observations (rate of fall of objects on earth; and the motion of the earth relative to the planets and sun) with a single theory. Which coincidence is indeed too improbable to posit; but to get to that point, was enormously difficult. Even Kepler and Galileo didn’t see it. Kepler couldn’t even imagine it. Galileo at least thought it might have to do. But he never produced a demonstration. That didn’t happen until Newton uncovered the mathematical proof. Galileo never discovered anything about this that wasn’t already discussed in Roman times, e.g. Plutarch attests his friend and astronomer Menelaus was still debating whether universal gravitation could explain, for example, the lunar orbit, and hence all other orbits (with their motion pushing them out, and gravity pulling them in, producing a combined orbital motion). To get to the additional step that the sun’s gravity is so much larger as to be a better explanation of planets orbiting it, rather than they and it orbiting the earth, would be a long time in coming. Because it’s not obvious at all.

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Comment on See Me in Canton, Michigan, with Robert Price! by Richard Carrier https://www.richardcarrier.info/archives/13407#comment-25619 Mon, 15 Jan 2018 16:46:56 +0000 https://www.richardcarrier.info/?p=13407#comment-25619 They will order it for you. But it’s too obscure for actually stocking on shelves in brick and mortar stores now (they are vanishing and shrinking, and with it, what they can stock). You can sometimes find a hard copy of Proving History on shelves at B&N. But usually advanced academic monographs don’t make the cut.

Also, hard copies of OHJ are extremely expensive (I have no control over that). So I wouldn’t recommend them. And I can never afford to stock them myself. So I’ll never have those at events to sell. Unfortunately.

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Comment on Was Roman Science in Decline? (Excerpt from My New Book) by Ron Maimon https://www.richardcarrier.info/archives/13477#comment-25618 Sun, 14 Jan 2018 10:53:34 +0000 https://www.richardcarrier.info/?p=13477#comment-25618 I reread Russo’s book to remember his arguments. Do you have the quote from Hipparchus that says he is geocentric? It would go a long way to establishing that heliocentrism wasn’t dominant in Hellenistic Alexandria, and it would refute Russo’s idea about Hipparchus.

Your comment is assuming a notion of automatic progress in science, it is assuming that progress only requires preservation of literature, and not continuity of scientific culture. This is an unjustified assumption. Russo’s thesis is “regress”. His claim is that to have scientific progress, people don’t just need access to the written work, they need a culture that allows them to be able to understand and expand upon it.

Even in the 1980s and 1990s, people in modern times forgot how to read some of the recent science of the 1960s. Things like “Forcing” and “S-matrix theory” were still cited and occasionally used in a ritualized form, forcing was used in Solovay’s ritualized poset form as a standard method, but without reference to Cohen’s philosophy, which only reappeared in print a year or so ago, right after Cohen’s death, in the book “Forcing for Mathematicians”. To see what the problem was, you can read about the notion of an “open exposition problem” in the article “Forcing for dummies” of more recent years. S-matrix theory was used in string theory, but as a ritualized ill-understood “Regge limit” part of a precise model, so, for example, Mandelstam’s double-dispersion relations are a major cited thing in the 60s, and disappear from the literature entirely from 1980 until 2015.

The main philosophical ideas motivating both, which were clearly evident in the literature of the 1960s, completely left the mainstream of what scientists were trained in or understood, just because of the way scientific philosophy regressed (slightly). “The Pomeron” (something everyone in physics understood in 1960 which dominated high energy physics until quarks took over) disappears from the literature entirely around 1980, only to reappear in the late 2000s. In that time, which was my time, nobody talked about Pomerons, nobody even remembered what a Pomeron was, aside from moderately bad analogies to closed strings in string theory, and we not only had the original literature, some of the people who discovered it were still alive! They also stopped talking about it, mostly, except for a brief period when p-p and p-pbar total scattering were shown to be equal at high energies in the mid 90s, the central prediction of Pomeron theory. It’s really weird how forgetting happens when a dominant social order suppresses another one, in this case, anti-positivist mystical philosophies replacing logical positivism.

Russo’s thesis is that nobody in 100BC knew how to read Archimedes well, or Appolonius. They cited these works like you cite Newton.

Having witnessed an analogous event of (very minor) regress (which was fixed by the internet), and knowing the enormous gap between Hellenistic and Roman era mathematics by reading a sample, it is much less persuasive that the difference is small or that there is any continuity. The difference looks like what Russo describes it, as the difference between a science-aware Hellenistic society and a Roman society that is only aware of technology, and doesn’t understand the subtleties of scientific modeling. The reification of visual-rays is a case-in-point for Russo, Euclid is clearly using these to model units of visual perception associated to light propagation, not in the absurd view that visual stuff is emitted by the eyes (although they might have thought light travels instantaneously). Similarly, the gap of centuries in astronomical precision measurement between Hipparchus and Ptolmey is evidence.

The evidence that Ptolmey is copying something else is that he says the epicycle-deferent-equant model is due to Appolonius, and Appolonius is in correspondence with Archimedes, who is definitely a heliocentrist (he popularized heliocentrism in “The Sand Reckoner”). It would be most natural for Appolonius to invent equant-deferent-epicycle models to mechanically describe true elliptical sun-centered orbits using Earth-centered clockwork gears. It’s a good approximation. Then Ptolmey would just be reifying the clockwork Earth centered model, while jettisoning the challenging heliocentric philosophy. This is a normal process when you don’t understand, it’s like the Pomeron or Forcing. It is very difficult to analyze this in a Bayesian way, because it involved the internal logic of the models, which demands certain features, but also properties of the people involved, who are not the perfect logicians of mathematical puzzles, they make logical mistakes.

I don’t know if Appolonius knew elliptical orbits, he might have had the orbits around the sun be equant-deferent circles (that’s good enough for government work). But he studied astronomy, he was a heliocentrist, and he for some reason knew everything there is to know about conics. He looks like an ancient Kepler, although perhaps he wasn’t as far along.

I know Ptolmey isn’t doing things right, because he isn’t a heliocentrist, and even the most modest exposure to the data will turn any honest scientist into one (the three outer planet epicycles all have a period derived from the Earth year, a ridiculous coincidence — why should Saturn retrograde once a year? Jupiter?).

The difference between “ellipse” and “approximate ellipse” is that the ellipse has a focus, and that’s where the body causing the motion is. The ellipse associates motion with a gravitational cause. The “approximate ellipse” is just a squooshed circle, and it’s not really close philosophically (although it’s better than a bad fit to data). A circle on a deferent with an equant is an approximate ellipse too.

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Comment on The Details of My Defamation Case by Richard Carrier https://www.richardcarrier.info/archives/10967#comment-25617 Thu, 11 Jan 2018 16:57:42 +0000 http://www.richardcarrier.info/?p=10967#comment-25617 Update: As of now the defendants have asserted there are six “accusers.” One is a person they never spoke to and who has never issued any complaint about me (the defendants are merely citing an account of a learning experience I myself wrote about years ago; that person hasn’t accused me of anything). Another is someone supposedly saying something about my behavior at a private party; the defense still refuses to supply any details. Another is someone I stayed with and politely propositioned and then politely took no for an answer and never brought it up again (there was no harassment or coercion). And the other three are those I already discuss in this article: Lauren Lane, Heina Dadabhoy, and Amy Frank.

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Comment on See Me in Canton, Michigan, with Robert Price! by Reid charboneau https://www.richardcarrier.info/archives/13407#comment-25615 Wed, 10 Jan 2018 18:34:04 +0000 https://www.richardcarrier.info/?p=13407#comment-25615 Will you be selling hard copies of “On the Historicity of Jesus” at the Canton event? Barnes and noble don’t carry your work.

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Comment on Ehrman and James the Brother of the Lord by Richard Carrier https://www.richardcarrier.info/archives/11516#comment-25614 Tue, 09 Jan 2018 17:19:00 +0000 http://www.richardcarrier.info/?p=11516#comment-25614 Paul actually does not say he received any information from the Christians he persecuted. He is in fact denying it. He may be lying, but his whole argument is that he is “not lying” (he even swears he is not lying).

You may be unaware, but Christian teachings affirming one an apostle were secret, and not told to outsiders (see OHJ, Element 13). So the Galatians would assume Paul could not have learned those secrets from persecuted Christians (and Paul avoids discussing it; he just swears he didn’t). And Paul says he learned nothing from Cephas and the others. And that he never even met them until he had already been preaching the revealed gospel for three years.

More importantly, Paul never mentions anyone (not even Cephas or James) getting information from Jesus before his death; and Paul never seems aware that that was how anyone learned anything; because he is, again, arguing against the reliability of any information received about Jesus that didn’t come directly from Jesus by revelation. He is unaware of any argument such as “but you didn’t meet Jesus in life and they did.” To the contrary, Paul only knows the argument “anyone who gets the gospel by means other than revelation is a fake.” How do we know that’s the only argument he knows? Because that’s the only argument he rebuts. Yet he would have lost the argument and been expelled as a demonstrated fake, if he was ever posed with the other argument and never rebutted it, especially here.

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Comment on Ehrman and James the Brother of the Lord by Richard Carrier https://www.richardcarrier.info/archives/11516#comment-25613 Tue, 09 Jan 2018 17:08:22 +0000 http://www.richardcarrier.info/?p=11516#comment-25613

In 1 Cor 9:2, Paul makes quite clear that some other apostles have rejected him as a genuine apostle.

And his response is, that he saw Jesus just like they did. He conspicuously does not have to answer here any such argument that his seeing of Jesus was different than theirs. To the contrary, he is clearly unaware here of that even being the case. So it evidently wasn’t.

If he is claiming his message is only of direct divine revelation, then other apostles who witnessed a historical Jesus figure may be rejecting his gospel for this reason.

If so, he’d have to answer that argument. Yet he never does. So no one ever posed that argument against him. To the contrary, everywhere, he assumes visions is how everyone saw Jesus (1 Cor. 15; Gal. 1; Rom. 16:25-26; and as well 1 Cor. 9).

Again, nowhere in these chapters does it say the other apostles ONLY received information from visions or direct revelations to them personally. In 1 Cor 15, he specifically says that visions they received appeared after Jesus died, but nowhere says that is the only time they ever met or witnessed him.

And yet, it’s weird that in the entire gospel account there, the first time anyone ever “sees” Jesus is after his death. That’s weird. Never once does Paul ever mention anyone ever seeing Jesus before his death. Not in any of the many creeds he describes, not in any discussion he ever makes of how anyone learned things from Jesus, not in any arguments against him that he has to answer. And that is improbable. Unless revelation is the only way Jesus was seen.

And even then, these supposedly divine “visions” likely still contain information actually taught to them from a historical Jesus figure, or information they witnessed such a figure telling to others, which they remembered, and then claimed to be from an otherworldly dream or vision.

There is no evidence in Paul that argues this is “likely.” And “possibly” does not get you to “likely.”

That’s the problem. You are confusing what you want to be the case, with what actually is the case in the letters of Paul. That you want Paul to have meant a certain thing, is not evidence he did.

It’s impossible to say if he was ever posited such an argument.

No, it isn’t impossible at all.

It’s precisely the argument he’d have had to address in Galatians 1 (and in 1 Cor. 9 and many other places). Yet he argues exactly the opposite. Paul is repeatedly accused of being a lesser apostle, yet never once is the reason given, that he didn’t know Jesus in life. So it’s clear he never had to address that argument. He isn’t even aware that that’s an argument to address.

That’s simply improbable.

That you want that argument to have existed yet improbably never be posed against Paul forcing him to reply, not ever in 20,000 words of answering arguments posed to him, only betrays your bias, not your objectivity.

The “other gospel” being taught to the Galatians very well may have been from someone who saw Jesus when alive…

“Possibly, therefore probably” is a logical fallacy. Please stop being illogical.

And to the contrary, the only source Paul ever mentions anyone having for these false gospels, is angels and spirits (Gal. 1:8; 2 Cor. 11:4). Or other persons who aren’t themselves Jesus. He never mentions anyone having met Jesus in person preaching any gospel, neither the actual one, nor a false one; indeed, that would be a serious problem for him, which he would have to address. Because if these people he is saying were preaching a false gospel were people who knew Jesus in life, they would have the better claim to teaching the true gospel, and he would then be accused of teaching the false one, having not met Jesus in life. So if these other gospels were being taught by persons who met Jesus in life, Paul would be forced to address that argument or else be refuted and repudiated as the false apostle. Yet Paul is wholly unaware of this. He instead argues no one who receives a gospel from a human is telling the truth; and he has to swear he never learned it from a human, not even a human Jesus. That makes zero sense if anyone was claiming to have better information from him because they knew Jesus in life. That’s why we can know no such argument was ever made against Paul. Because he absolutely would have to respond to it. Yet he responds in exactly the opposite way. Which means he never heard any such argument.

And that’s weird.

Hence the problem.

Paul already makes clear Jesus did pass on information directly to followers in verses like 1 Cor 11:23.

Paul does not there mention anyone receiving that from Jesus except himself. Which means, by revelation.

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Comment on Why Do We Still Believe in Q? by Richard Carrier https://www.richardcarrier.info/archives/12352#comment-25612 Tue, 09 Jan 2018 16:51:11 +0000 http://www.richardcarrier.info/?p=12352#comment-25612 It’s how Ehrman frequently defines Q. As does pretty much everyone else. That this is how Q is defined field-wide is discussed in the very expert sources I cite, and there discussed as indeed a fallacy just as I say (e.g. Goodacre). But if you want a direct quote of Ehrman specifically defining it that way: read page 80 of Did Jesus Exist.

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Comment on Ehrman and James the Brother of the Lord by Richard Carrier https://www.richardcarrier.info/archives/11516#comment-25611 Tue, 09 Jan 2018 16:42:26 +0000 http://www.richardcarrier.info/?p=11516#comment-25611

1) Nowhere is it claimed in the epistles of genuine Pauline authorship that the contents of the gospel of the other apostles were “only” received directly from God through some supposed divine revelation. It is clear that they did receive it divinely, but never is it only said to all be of direct divine revelation and not from the earthly Jesus.

I never say Paul said they only received it that way but that Paul only says they received it that way. So please learn how adverbs work. Get my argument correct:

Pre-death communications from Jesus are conspicuously omitted everywhere it should be mentioned. It is, in other words, bizarrely absent. Paul never has to address it (even though he repeatedly should), and never knows about it (even though that should be impossible). See my discussion in Chapter 11 of OHJ of every instance where Paul should be mentioning it yet weirdly doesn’t.

2) Paul is claiming his gospel is divinely received in Galatians in his effort to defend its authority against another gospel being taught to them. It is impossible to deduce from what Paul says in Galatians what exactly this other gospel was, or if its authors claimed it only to be of direct divine revelation like Paul claims his to be.

It certainly is possible. Paul explicitly says the other gospel was being received by (evil) angelic communications or human traditions and neither should ever be trusted. Indeed, most importantly, Paul has to swear he never got it from people, which means the Galatians distrusted anyone who claimed to have gotten the gospel from people. Only a revelation counted. That’s what tells us what I’m using this point to illustrate. That, and the fact that this is the argument being made against him; rather than what historicists should expect the argument against him to be: that he, unlike the other apostles, didn’t receive it from the human Jesus when he was alive. Not the other way around. Paul is never faced with that argument, ever. Not in any of his letters. Which is bizarre. Unless Jesus didn’t really exist and was only known through “revelations.”

3) Paul himself mentions to the Galatians that he DID receive information from Peter directly (Galatians 1:18). Thus he already is admitting that some of his knowledge about Jesus was not from his sole divine revelations/visions. Paul himself mentions in a few places, such as at 1 Corinthians 11:23, that Jesus was a person on earth with earthly followers, whom he passed teachings/information to.

No. Paul is denying that he learned anything from Peter. That’s the whole argument of Galatians 1. He is not saying he got the gospel from any human being, but swearing he didn’t; he didn’t learn it from Peter, nor a flesh-and-blood Jesus either. And his argument entails both he and the Galatians never trusted any gospel learned from flesh and blood people. That’s why Paul has to try so hard to deny he did.

As for 1 Cor. 11:23, that does not mention any earthly followers. Paul says he received it in a vision (direct “from the Lord”), and accordingly describes no one being present, does not call it a last supper, and quotes Jesus speaking to all future Christians, not his disciples. Many experts concur Paul is not describing a real historical event in this passage (e.g. Gerd Lüdemann, one of the world’s leading experts on Paul: see pp. 96-97 of Jesus). See my entire section on this passage in OHJ, Ch. 11.7.

4) You also need to realize that just because Paul or any other Christian at the time is saying their message or gospel is ultimately of divine origin, it does not mean that the information contained did not involve actual information passed on from those who witnessed or followed a historical Jesus figure circa 30 – 45 AD, or from that Jesus himself. A claim of divine revelation does not necessarily mean it had to be received solely in a supposed vision, dream, message from God, etc. Given they thought Jesus to be in part divine, then something said by a historical Jesus to followers like Peter, or witnessed by Peter, would still in their view be a godly revelation.

You have made three errors here.

  1. “Possibly, therefore probably” is a logical fallacy. So we still then have a 50/50 which it is; so we have to look at the other evidence to determine which more probably it is. Hence the point of my book.
  2. The word “revelation” never meant being told by a human in person; it was a word that explicitly denied that. So you can’t even get to “possibly.”

  3. And Paul is explicit that he only means revelation in Galatians 1 and 2 Corinthians 12. And based on the laws of physics, he can only mean revelation in 1 Corinthians 9 and 15. There are no other possible places he can mean anything else (other than, again, at best 50/50 either way, which gets us nowhere).

5) Just because Paul is claiming the supposed divine authority of his gospel, it does not mean that he had a need to rebut information received directly from a historical Jesus to apostles like Cephas.

Yet he never does. He is never ever faced with such an argument. Not in 20,000 words of his responding to arguments.

That’s what’s weird. And telling.

Paul says that Jesus’ followers received information from him directly (1 Corinthians 11:23)

Wrong. Paul says there he received that information directly. No mention of followers involved in any way.

We again aren’t even aware what this “other gospel” was which was being taught in Galatia. Galatia was a region far from Jerusalem, in the northwest remote interior of Anatolia. The Galatians themselves originally spoke a Celtic language, and were thus not even ethnically Greek or Anatolian in the same way as other peoples like the Corinthians, Thessalonians, Ephesians, etc.

I don’t know what that has to do with anything here. It’s also false. By the time Paul is writing, the Galatians had been Hellenized for hundreds of years. Though they did continue to speak a modified Celtic, they were also facile in Greek. That’s why he is writing to them in Greek (and they would have written to him in Greek). And Greek is the only means by which they could access the Scriptures Paul cites and that they relied upon for confirming their faith (e.g. Gal. 3).

Yes, we don’t know what these other gospels were. Only that people were claiming to have received them by revelations and Paul was accusing them of thus having received them from misbehaving angels (Gal. 1:8) pretending to be Jesus (2 Cor. 11:4). And that none of the people Paul calls Apostles were teaching these other gospels (e.g. Cephas, James, John, Paul all acknowledges as teaching the true Jesus, not one of the fake ones). True spirits had to be tested by proving yourself with miracles, moral behavior, and chronological priority. But our not knowing what these other gospels were, and our not knowing who was teaching them, has no relevance to whether anyone ever met a Jesus in earthly life or if he was only ever met by revelation.

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Comment on C.H.R.E.S.T.U.S. for Christmas! by Richard Carrier https://www.richardcarrier.info/archives/13632#comment-25610 Tue, 09 Jan 2018 16:02:08 +0000 https://www.richardcarrier.info/?p=13632#comment-25610 You can quote my remarks as long as you link to the original.

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