Sunday 2 September 2012

Mythicism and messiahs

Here's yet another aspect of the "mythicism" discussion recently getting attention in the media. National Geographic have a 45-minute TV documentary on their website entitled The First Jesus, examining the proposition that Jesus based his messianic mission on a previous messiah named Simon. The evidence for this idea is an inscription, in ink, on a stone tablet, and rests on the interpretation of an indistinct word with a possibly missing letter. The tablet gets subjected to a series of high-tech tests in order to establish the existence — or not — of the missing letter.

(Apologies for autoplay. Click the pause button to stop.)

The conclusion? Well, as might be expected not all participants in the documentary come to the same one. But no matter what evidence is uncovered, there will always be sufficient indeterminacy to allow scholars to continue arguing for their own point of view.