Remember when Jerry Coyne promoted the internet atheist Richard Carrier (a man who labels himself “renowned” and brags he has “avid fans” across the globe) as “an expert on history and a Biblical scholar?” Well, a real expert on history and a Biblical scholar has weighed in – R. Joseph Hoffmann.
According to Hoffman’s blog:
He began his teaching career at the University of Michigan as Assistant Professor of Near Eastern Studies where he developed the undergraduate and graduate program in Christian origins. From 1991 to 1999, he was Senior Lecturer in New Testament and Church History at Westminster College, Oxford. Hoffmann has also taught at Cal State Sacramento, the American University of Beirut and Wells College, where he was Campbell Professor of Religion and Human Values until 2006 and Distinguished Scholar at Goddard College in 2009.
And if it matters to you, it also looks like he is an atheist, who was also Associate Editor of the skeptic’s journal Free Inquiry from 2003-2009.
Anyway, Hoffman wrote a reply entitled, “Mythtic Pizza and Cold-cocked Scholars.”
Choice excerpts below the fold:
Over at the Freethought Blog Ghetto, Atheist blogger and part-time Jesus-denier Richard Carrier has recently been applauded by atheist blogger and full-time loudmouth P Z Myers for “coldcocking” New Testament scholar Bart Ehrman. This suggests that the sewer of internet-facilitated nastiness that exists, among other places, in the US Congress is also fully flowing into what used to be called academic discussion.
Except this isn’t discussion and it certainly isn’t academic.
The reason for the cheering? Professor Ehrman had the audacity to suggest that Jesus actually existed.
For those of you not paying attention, the New Atheism has a new postulate: Not only does God not exist but Jesus didn’t exist either. It is a theory that zips past Planet America every fifty years or so, like a comet, then fades away until a new generation of nutters tries to resuscitate it. Lucky us: We are living at the right time. (emphasis added)
As for Jerry’s “expert”:
The free thought rabble have chosen Carrier as their standard bearer, without any reason to put their trust in his inane conclusions and methods—a man who has never published a significant piece of biblical scholarship, never been peer reviewed (peers?), never been vetted, and never held an academic position. His “reputation” depends on deflecting his mirror image of himself as a misunderstood, self-construed genius onto a few dozen equally maladroit followers. This billboard for poor method, we are now asked to believe by freethought’s bad boy, PZ Myers, has cold-cocked a senior New Testament scholar for saying something as reasonable as “Jesus existed.” Only in the age of instant misinformation and net-attack is this kind of idiocy possible. Only in the atheist universe where the major premise– “religion is a lie so the study of religion is a study of lying”—infects everything is this kind of lunacy possible. Unfortunately, we have Richard Dawkins to thank for the original formulation of that premise.
I think you’ll enjoy the rest. If you have any favorite quotes from that essay, feel free to post them in the comments.