I blogged a short time ago to alert readers about this book. Maurice Casey was a New Testament scholar and Aramaic specialist. He was also nowhere close to being a “Bible believer” – the sort of people that Jesus mythicists love to mock. It’s Casey doing the mocking here. All the familiar mythers (e.g., Acharya S) are in the cross-hairs and fare rather poorly.
Dr. James McGrath recently reviewed Casey’s book. The review (and of course the book) tracks through all the well-worn bogus methods and argumentation made by the tiny-but-vocal Jesus mythicist clique (think the Zeitgeist nonsense). Here’s one of McGrath’s concluding paragraphs:
I suspect that many will find the tone of Casey’s volume rather too acerbic—especially if they have never had to deal with online mythicists themselves. One must keep in mind the risks that were involved in writing a book like this. As scientists and historians who have tackled pseudoscholarship of other sorts have often learned, the very act of engaging proponents of these views, even in the interests of debunking them, can seem to add credibility to their claims, since they are being deemed “worthy of engaging with.” It seems to me that Casey’s approach, while not above criticism, strikes an important balance. He took the highly problematic character of mythicism seriously enough that he thought it worth showing unambiguously why it does not deserve to be taken seriously. Casey shows in detail the ways in which mythicism is not merely wrong in the ways that scholars are often wrong but rather grossly incompetent, shoddily argued and evidenced, utterly lacking in plausibility, and often seeming to willfully distort the evidence, all while its proponents maliciously malign mainstream scholars.
Amen. Been there many times.
McGrath’s review is an excellent overview of the book, which is must reading for anyone who’s been annoyed or disturbed by the claims of those who insist Jesus never existed.