A Christian scholar says he’s so certain that Jesus was a real historical figure, he’s willing to eat a page from his own Bible if someone can prove otherwise.
John Dickson, who teaches Jewish and early Christian studies at Macquarie University, doubts claims made in a recent book that a “wave of contemporary historians … question the authenticity of Jesus.”
The wager isn’t entirely phony-baloney.
Dickson lays out ground rules that are specific and fairly objective: “I will eat a page of my Bible if someone can find me just one full Professor of Ancient History, Classics, or New Testament in an accredited university somewhere in the world (there are thousands of names to chose [sic] from) who thinks Jesus never lived.”
One such professor, Dr. Richard Carrier, argues in his new book, “On the Historicity of Jesus,” that no contemporary writings provide reliable evidence that Jesus actually existed, and was instead later “written into history.”
Dickson admits some disagreement among scholars on the existence of Jesus, but he places those skeptics on a continuum – “from hyper-sceptical to hyper-credulous.”
He said he would even include Carrier’s book in his course next year as “the exception that proves the rule,” but he doubts it will change the consensus on whether Jesus was any less real than ancient figures such as Alexander the Great and Julius Caesar.
The Friendly Atheist notes that Dickson appears to be impressed by Carrier’s credentials, but he’s seeking evidence that full professors at credentialed universities agree with the atheist scholar before he rips any pages from his Bible.
“I'm thinking Matthew chapter 1, chopped up nice and small, on my breakfast one morning - if they find such a professor!” Dickson says on Facebook.