A writer whose recent article claiming that Jesus never existed ignited an emotionally charged controversy last week has fired back at critics who accuse him of shoddy historical research and leaps of logic in his argument that Jesus was a mythical figure. Michael Paulkovich posted a pointed message on a blog whose author wrote him an “open letter” blasting Paulkovich’s work — even though the writer of the “open letter” claims to be an atheist himself.
In an article recently published on the subscription-only Free Inquiry site, but summarized here on The Inquisitr and in other media outlets, Paulkovich said that he had combed through the work of 126 historical writers who, he said, lived around the time and place that Jesus supposedly existed — and none of them mentioned Jesus.
Since the article appeared, critics have taken Paulkovich to the woodshed, saying that most of those 126 writers would have had no reason to write about Jesus whether Jesus was real or not. Many lived before Jesus was born, the critics said, while others were physicians, philosophers or writers in other genres that would have seen no cause to include mentions of Jesus in their own works.
Writer Steven Bollinger, a self-proclaimed atheist and author of the blog The Wrong Monkey, posted a lengthy argument which he said that Paulkovich was, in effect, full of it.
“I’m not a Christian, I’m not picking on you for theological reasons. I’m an atheist, and I’m far from certain that Jesus existed,” wrote Bollinger. “I’m picking on you because I take history seriously, and I’ve read some ancient literature untranslated, and I don’t go around talking out of my ass like you do, and it’s embarrassing that some people think of me in the same breath as clowns like you, because of my doubts about whether Jesus existed.”
Like most of Paulkovich’s attackers, Bollinger runs down a list of historical authors cited by Paulkovich, and argues that they had no cause to mention Jesus. For example, “Titus — is it strange that we kind find no mention of Jesus in his writings? Well, no. Because, you see, none of Titus’ writings are known to us. Which means that what’s strange here — in my humble opinion — is that you’re talking about examining his writings.”
“This is not true,” shot back Paulkovich in his reply. “As one example, we have some of his letters to Apollonius. In one letter Emperor Titus wrote: ‘… I have indeed taken Jerusalem, but you have captured me.'”
In concluding, Paulkovich rips Bollinger for, he says, failing to read the very article he attacks.
“It would behoove you to read the article before attempting to refute it, and even do some research,” Paulkovich wrote. “That’s how I came up with the list of silent writers and evidence against claims that Josephus and others wrote of Jesus: research.”
The full text of Paulkovich’s reply to critics who tore apart his “Jesus never existed” article can be read at this link.
Paulkovich is far from the first author to argue that Jesus never existed, of course. The “Christ myth theory,” that is, the argument that there is no historical evidence to prove that Jesus was real person, even has its own Wikipedia page, and the JesusNeverExisted.com website says that the emergence of Christianity “owed nothing to a holy carpenter. There were many Jesuses but the fable was a cultural construct.”
In fact, that site’s author, Kenneth Humphreys, not only argues that Jesus never existed, but that “scholars have known this for 200 years,” and that the myth of Jesus is kept alive because the Christian religion is “a highly profitable business.”