Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Thoroughness of Acharya S

I have just been reading the CV of Acharya S. For those of you lucky enough to have no idea who this person is, she is an advocate of the Christ-Myth Theory among other conspiracy styled theories.

Throughout her CV, although only possessing an undergraduate degree, she makes reference to her flashing credentials (such as taking part in highly experimental education) as well as "postgraduate studies". She eventually admits to her lacking credentials stating, "As concerns my credentials and continuing education, I would like to consider my books Suns of God and Christ in Egypt in particular a PhD thesis in the subjects of comparative religion and astrotheology."

Her is a challenge - read her books and tell me they are worth an undergraduate essay let alone a PhD thesis. She creates evidence as she sees fit in order to feed her conspiracy theory - namely, that everything is a carbon copy of everything else. Furthermore, if you are playing a serious link between the Son of the Son of God with the English word sun - we know you have no idea what you are talking about.

But lets examine some random chapters of hers, shall we.

She has a chapter in Suns of God titled 'The "Historical" Jesus?'

She begins:

When scrutinized, the Pauline epistles do not reveal any historical Jesus; nor do they demonstrate any knowledge of the existence of the four canonical gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.

When scrutinised, we actually do find a historical Jesus behind the Pauline Epistles. This sort of argumentation, as employed by other non-existent theorists such as Earl Doherty, is simply deceptive at best. I have earlier examined Doherty's argument that the Pauline epistles make no allusion to a historical Jesus - Reviewing the Jesus Puzzle: A Conspiracy of a Conspiracy of Silence.

Now we come to the next point of the very first sentence - namely, that the Pauline Epistles demonstrage no knowledge of the 'existence of the four canonical gospels.' I wonder, is this a very pathetic strawman or does Archaya S really have no idea when the four gospels were composed?

In her second sentence she goes on to say that the Gospels are not seen as history - a claim that the vast majority of New Testament scholars over the past 50 years would wholeheartedly disagree with.

She then moves on to the concept of textual variants. One must ask, is she simply ignorant of textual criticism or is she employing deceptiive creativity. She presents the variants to mean that one knows not what the Bible says unjustifiably concluding, "so much for "God's infallible Word" and his "inspired scribes.""

Dare I ask how the existence of textual variants preclude "inspired scribes" and inspired autographs - or is it that our friend has no idea what these are?

Onto the issue of dating the gospels she makes some more obvious blunders. She assigns a date to the gospels of the end of the 2nd century on the basis of - well, I am not sure. She states that we have no evidence for their existence until then. I guess one could make that argument if we pretend that we do not have Papyrus 52 (an exert of John from the first quarter of the second century) or quotations and references in the early church fathers. (See Metzger's summary on the use of the gospels by the early church fathers in The Canon of the New Testament.)

Archaya makes an interesting statement in claiming that today's dates have been pushed back over the past 150 years. However, as anyone who has observed the dating of the Gospel of John would know the consensus of critical scholarship has actually pushed for an earlier date for the Gospels. The discovery of P52 mentioned above as well as the Dead Sea Scrolls which have shed light on issues such as dualism and messianic expectations have fit John into the Jewish context - most likely with a heavy Palestinian influence.

The chapter ends with an extended discourse on redefining the use of Gospel and the church fathers reference to such to fit her thesis. Such is done by drawing soley on public domain anti-Christian polemic pseudo-scholarship which in the end tells us nothing about the historical Jesus as the title suggests.

And she intends such work to be at the level of a PhD?

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