Friday, December 23, 2011

John Loftus' Stale Christmas Cookies

John Loftus keeps repeating bad arguments that have been corrected many times, and he knows the arguments have been corrected. Earlier today, he reposted a 2006 article that I replied to that year. See here and here. Notice that Loftus has been aware of my responses for years, and has been aware that Richard Carrier has contradicted him on multiple points, yet he doesn't interact with the counterarguments. Instead, he just reposts his 2006 article, which concludes with a link to the Carrier article that repeatedly contradicts what Loftus is arguing. And Carrier's article is about the historicity of Luke's census, not the historicity of the Bethlehem birthplace. Even if we were to agree with Carrier regarding the census, it wouldn't follow that Jesus wasn't born in Bethlehem. All that Loftus is doing is reposting some bad arguments that were already refuted years ago, including by one of his own sources, and he's known about those problems with his article since the year he first posted it. And notice that the commenters in his latest thread don't seem to realize what's going on and, instead, add some bad arguments of their own while commending Loftus' terrible article.

It's also worth noting that one of Loftus' colleagues, Paul Tobin, who contributed to one of Loftus' previous books and his blog, has also contradicted Carrier repeatedly on Luke's census. See here.

Loftus and his colleagues make too many misleading claims about the infancy narratives for me to reply to all of them here. For those who are interested, see Triablogue's archive of Christmas posts. I also suggest that people consult some conservative commentaries, like Craig Keener's on Matthew and Darrell Bock's on Luke. Even non-conservative sources, like Raymond Brown and Joseph Kelly, often contradict what Loftus and his colleagues argue about the infancy narratives. When is Loftus going to stop repeating bad arguments that were refuted long ago and start interacting with the counterarguments?

I've been writing about the evidence for Jesus' Bethlehem birthplace for years. You can find a lot of those posts by consulting the Triablogue archive linked above. Loftus has posted in some of those threads, but without interacting with much of what I've said. As I discussed in a post in 2009, Matthew and Luke aren't the only Biblical sources who support the Bethlehem birthplace. And there are many extra-Biblical sources who support it as well, like the ones discussed here. Not only is Loftus' treatment of Matthew and Luke inadequate, but by addressing those two sources he isn't even explaining all of the Biblical data, much less all of the Biblical and extra-Biblical sources combined.


  1. This is just another example of John's intellectual dishonesty, which, I have long maintained, is an expression of his own personal dishonesty in dealing with his family and his former congregation.

  2. Jason, it doesn't matter that their views contradict each other, so long as Christianity is being "refuted". "YAY, ATHEISM!!!!" [said in a sarcastic way]