Tuesday, January 30, 2007

New Articles Online

Fans might want to know about two new articles of mine that have appeared online recently. Although for different reasons they aren't exactly "new," I think it fitting to announce them here, in case anyone has interest.

1. Antony Flew is in the News Again

In late 2004 I wrote about Antony Flew's conversion to Deism (Antony Flew Considers God...Sort Of). This article actually made national news. I continued adding updates to it as events transpired over the subsequent years, now five updates in all. All this includes discussions of my personal correspondence and phone conversations with Flew as well as religious and press coverage and other developments. Most recently Christian apologist Lee Strobel released edited portions of a taped interview of Flew, warranting my latest update to the original article, which you can jump to here: January 2007.

2. "Errancy Wiki" Honors My Work on the Nativity

I generally have no taste for discussing biblical contradictions, since I find the matter so boring. Even more boring than bickering over contradictions in Homer. And that's being generous...as literature, in plain aesthetic terms, Homer is quite superior to the Bible, although that's just my opinion. I also find this task largely pointless, since the only people who actually think the bible is inerrant are also insanely dedicated to denying any evidence to the contrary with any baloney hoohah they can pull out of their ass. So what's the point?

Nevertheless, as a history teacher, people who dick around with history piss me off. Consequently, I have devoted my energies to one biblical error, the only one I have the stomach to bother with (and that only barely...apparently I can endure some dry heaves). Which error is that? The date of the nativity. In my
well-known and excruciatingly detailed Secular Web article The Date of the Nativity in Luke (which was originally published in 1999 and reached its 5th edition in 2006), I argue it is beyond reasonable dispute that Luke dates the birth of Jesus to 6 A.D. while Matthew dates the birth of Jesus to 4 B.C. or earlier (perhaps around 6 B.C.). This is an irreconcilable contradiction. I wouldn't give a shit, except that Christian apologists have contrived and spread so many distortions of historical fact in order to "remove" this contradiction that it got my gall up.

Anyway, my work on this has been so extensive--and, apparently, appreciated--that it is now regarded as "legendary" by the editors of the new Errancy Wiki (which is still in development). They hired me to write a summary article, which compresses my original work down to just the
conclusions reached in each section, in plainer and easier English. It's still lengthy (because efforts to deny the contradiction have been numerous and convoluted), but it is considerably shorter and easier to read than the original, to which you can still refer for more evidence and detail.

The new article is called Luke vs. Matthew on the Year of Christ's Birth (2006). It is not directly listed at the Secular Web and isn't easily evident even on the Errancy Wiki page for historical errors in Luke or Matthew (and isn't listed at all under contradictions, although the editors might be reserving the latter for purely internal contradictions). But it is prominently listed as a "legends" piece, and fans might like to know it exists, since it is a nice summary of my work on this issue and, I think, a good read. If, that is, you can stomach hearing so much bullshit ennumerated and gainsaid.


Jac said...

Wow. You're a lot angrier on your blog than you were in The God Who Wasn't There. It's hard to imagine you saying "people who dick around with history piss me off." Thinking of the 6th graders who used to cuss each other out at the back of the bus isn't helping, either. You seemed a lot less menacing than them. Don't worry, though, you're not alone. I, too, look like a 15 year old boy, and I'm a 26 year old woman.

Richard Carrier said...

Yeah. "I'm mad as hell, and I'm not gonna to take it anymore!"

Seriously, though, I employ a different decorum in scholarly (professional) venues than in personal ones. Thus, here I use slang, humor, sarcasm, blue language, and whatnot.

But I'm no angrier, really. It's just a universal phenomenon of email (and web text) that people always see way more emotion in words they read, than in words they hear--even when it's the very same words.

By and large, the emotions you "see" in a text are the emotions you attribute to the words there, rather than the emotions the writer attributes to those same words.

So caution is always in order.