Thursday, April 14, 2016

Carrier's limp reply

Richard Carrier attempted a brief response to my post:

I don't know if he was responding just to me, or if his reply took in some of my commenters. For comparison, let's recall his original claim:

And all specialists on John agree this was written in the early to mid second century, by authors unknown.

Now for his new comment:

Richard Carrier saysApril 13, 2016 at 4:11 pm
Wow. That’s weak. They actually aren’t embarrassed that’s their rebuttal?

So Carrier's own views are dictated by fear of embarrassment. That's very revealing. 

I especially like how he insists there are specialists on John alive today who date it before 100 AD. And then doesn’t name a single specialist on John alive today who dates it before 100 AD.

Notice that Carrier didn't name any "specialists" who date John to the mid-2C. 

Also observe how he's now scaled back his original claim by saying "alive today". Why does he add that belated qualification? 

Ironically, his own radical dating scheme is a throwback to old dead liberals like Bruno Bauer, W. C. van Manen, and Alfred Loisy, so his restriction to living scholars is selectively inconsistent.  

Since he didn't define "specialist on John," I'll provide own definition. That would include authors of scholarly commentaries on John and scholarly monographs on John. That would also include scholars who write NT introductions that necessarily give specific attention to sifting the evidence for dating the NT documents. Some scholars write both. By that definition, specialists who date John's Gospel before 100 AD include:

Craig Blomberg (80s-90s), D. A. Carson (80s), E. E. Ellis (c. 80), Donald Guthrie (90s or sooner), Donald Hagner (90s), Craig Keener (90s), Andreas J. Köstenberger (mid-80s-early 90s), Joseph Lightfoot (90s), J. Ramsey Michaels (any time within the latter half of the 1C), Leon Morris (60s), Stanley Porter (90s), J. A. T. Robinson (60s). Theodor Zahn (80s).

I will assume he means fundamentalists. 

Which he doesn't define. Does he mean anyone who doesn't superimpose the filter of methodological atheism onto John's Gospel? 

I don’t count fundamentalists as reliable scholars. 

And I don't count secular fundamentalists like Carrier as reliable scholars. His conclusions are foreordained by motivated reasoning. 

Incidentally, notice how he makes himself the standard of comparison ("I don't count…"), as if his mere approval or disapproval is the arbiter of truth. 

Any more than I count astrologers as reliable astronomers.

An argument from analogy minus the argument.


  1. What an arrogant little prig of a man Carrier comes across as being. Don't muss his finely coiffed, highly stylized methodological-naturalist mane or else he'll sniff indignantly and disapprovingly in your general direction.

    But alas the emperor has no clothes.

  2. For those interested, the recent Craig Evans vs. Richard Carrier debate has just been posted online:
    I've read from Christians who were at the event that Evans unfortunately did poorly. I'm going to listen to it now.

    The recent Mike Licona vs. Shabir Ally debate:
    I'm waiting for it to be upload on YouTube because it seems buffering for me.

    The recent John Loftus debate:
    Loftus is known for losing badly in live public debate. Here he does better, but still too many strawman arguments. Plus, the Christian defender doesn't seem to be a seasoned debater as yet.

    1. Thanks for the links. I wouldn't say Evans did poorly, but he did seem unwilling to engage in the details with Carrier, and so Carrier won points by default. But he was open about that--as he said, he didn't consider this the proper venue for specifics.