Critiques of Richard Carrier


Lately I’ve been looking at the works of historian Richard Carrier concerning the Historical Jesus (he attempts to argue that it’s highly unlikely that Jesus ever existed), especially his most recent work on the subject.*  While doing so, I just so happened to come across some critiques made by two other apologists (that are almost definitely more qualified to speak on the topic than I am), and I would like to share them with you with the hope that you’ll find them to be beneficial.

The first set of critiques I want to share come from historian and theologian David Marshall:

“An Impressive, but Complete, Failure” (Amazon review)**:

“Is Jesus a Rank-Raglan Myth-Hero? (Or is Carrier a Scholar-Legend?)”:

“Marshall: Liar, Lunatic, or Historian?”:

“Richard Carrier’s bizarre preemptive personal attacks: my response”:


The second set comes from philosopher and historian Tim McGrew:

“Does Richard Carrier Exist? A Bayesian Analysis”***: does_richard_carrier_exist

“On Richard Carrier on the Gospels”:


*The work I’m examining right now is the popular-level version of Carrier’s most recent book, On the Historicity of Jesus: Why We Might Have Reason for Doubt (2014), as presented by Raphael Lataster in Jesus Did Not Exist: A Debate Among Atheists (2015).  I am also thinking about purchasing either the scholarly-level version or Carrier’s other book, Not the Impossible Faith: Why Christianity Didn’t Need a Miracle to Succeed (2009) (or both).

**I’ve been told that Marshall will be coming out with a new book soon that will deal with this topic in more detail (as well as provide more citations).

***This is a parody of Carrier’s Bayesian argument against the historicity of Jesus.  The point of such a parody is to show that the same exact reasoning applied in Carrier’s argument can also be used to argue against the existence of Richard Carrier (Note: this piece was apparently written in 2012, before On the Historicity of Jesus was published; therefore, this primarily concerns Carrier’s argument as it was presented previously, and may or may not reflect the exact same argument published in his most recent book).


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