-- wacky and weird
Humphrey Dumpty Had a Great Fall

Once again, since I am in a masochistic mood, and also since I was asked, we now have a look at another one of those wacky Christ-mythers, this time one Kenneth Humphreys, owner of "". No, there's nothing new here; all we really have is a lot of yelling and screaming of outdated, irrelevant, and just plain stupid arguments; so we'll pick three areas to work over to show just how incompetent Humphrey Dumpty is and how little attention he needs.

Fall #1: The Secular References. Nothing much here not already pounded to dust in our extensive series. We'll pair what we have from there with what Humphrey Dumpty offers here:

It speaks for how badly out of touch Humphrey Dumpty is with modern scholarship that he quotes Gibbon as his primary source! Gibbon's idea that "Christians could have been identified as a group distinct from Jews at so early a date" is an absurdity that no present-day scholar of history or Biblical studies would stand for.

Fall #2: The Lost City of Nazareth Humphrey Dumpty stumps for the idea that Nazareth did not exist in the first century. Let us note first the positive rebutting data, as Miller provides:

"Despite Nazareth's obscurity (which had led some critics to suggest that it was a relatively recent foundation), archeology indicates that the village has been occupied since the 7th century B.C., although it may have experienced a 'refounding' in the 2d century b.c. " ([MJ]A Marginal Jew--Rethinking the Historical Jesus, (vol 1), p.300-301)...cites Meyers and Strange, Archeology, the Rabbis, and Early Christianity, Abingdon:1981. pp.56-57
Although I do not have the Meyers/Strange work, more detail from it is given by Paul Barnett[BSNT], Behind the Scenes of the New Testament, IVP:1990, p.42:
"Despite the Hellenization of the general region and the probability that Greek was known to many people it seems likely that Nazareth remained a conservative Jewish village. After the Jewish war with the Romans from AD 66-70 it was necessary to re-settle Jewish priests and their families. Such groups would only settle in unmixed towns, that is towns without Gentile inhabitants. According to an inscription discovered in 1962 in Caesarea Maritima the priests of the order of Elkalir made their home in Nazareth. This, by the way, is the sole known reference to Nazareth in antiquity, apart from written Christian sources... (next paragraph) Some scholars had even believed that Nazareth was a fictitious invention of the early Christians; the inscription from Caesarea Maritima proves otherwise."

The Anchor Bible Dictionary also reports evidence of Nazareth being settled at the time of Jesus in the form of Herodian tombs.

Humphrey Dumpty makes issue of Nazareth not being mentioned in the OT or the Talmud or by Paul, though he fails to explain why any of these ought to mention it, and why this is an issue (as if there were not dozens of comparable sites also not mentioned in any or all of these soruces; see here for an illustrative point). Humphrey Dumpty says, Josephus mentions 45 cities and villages of Galilee – yet Nazareth not at all. Yes, and so what? Galilee would have had literally hundreds of cities and villages; Josephus fails to mention all but 45 of them. Humphrey Dumpty makes much of that Josephus does, however, have something to say about Japha (Yafa, Japhia), a village just one mile to the southwest of Nazareth where he himself lived for a time (Life 52). Well, if Josephus had not lived there, we'd have only 44 villages mentioned and Humphrey Dumpty could argue for a "lost city of Japha". He is aware as well that Nazareth is argued to be a very small place, but creates objections for this out of his miseeucation:

  1. For example, the whole 'rejection in his homeland' story requires at a minimum a synagogue in which the godman can 'blaspheme.' Where was the synagogue in this tiny bucolic hamlet? Sorry, but a "synagogue" required only TEN Jewish men to exist, and it did not even have to have a building -- it was able to meet outdoors. That's fine for the village of 300 people Humphrey Dumpty doesn't want to hear about.
  2. If JC had grown up and spent thirty years of his life in a village with as few as 25 families – an inbred clan of less than 300 people – the 'multitude' that were supposedly shocked by his blasphemy and would have thrown him from a cliff, would not have been hostile strangers but, to a man, would have been relatives and friends that he had grown up with, including his own brothers. Presumably, they had heard his pious utterances for years. Duh, what? No, a male typically did not "come out" as a man until the age of 30. There would have been no "pious utterances" prior to this time. In fact, it is their familiarity with Jesus as a nobody like themselves that caused the problem.
  3. Moreover, if the chosen virgin really had had an annunciation of messiah-birthing from an angel the whole clan would have known about it inside ten minutes. Just to remind them, surely they should also have known of the 'Jerusalem incident' when supposedly the 12-year-old proclaimed his messiahship? To put it simply, NO. We might here correct Humphrey Dumpty's bigoted claim of Nazareth being an "inbred clan" -- intermarriage with people from other villages and cities in Galilee, hello? This is merely a bigoted, racist commentary.
  4. If Nazareth really had been barely a hamlet, lost in the hills of Galilee, would not the appellation 'Jesus of Nazareth' have invoked the response 'Jesus of WHERE?' Yes, and it did -- see John 1:46, and that from a fellow Galileean. Outside Palestine, say in Macedonia, that is also the reaction that would have been gotten.
  5. Then again, if Nazareth had really been a tiny hamlet, the nearest convenient 'mountain' from which the god-man could have been thrown – a cliff edge – would have been 4 km away, requiring an energetic climb over limestone crags. That's more ignorance at work. Nazareth was and still is situated in a hollow "high up against the slopes of a mountain" so that it is enclosed on three sides by portions of the mountain. The "brow" in Luke refers to a 30-40 foot limestone cliff at the southwest corner of city, and Humphrey Dumpty reads Luke incorrectly as implying that the city was built ON the brow of the hill, when it is actually saying that it was built on the hill, and the brow is part of the hill also.

Other than this, Humphrey Dumpty whinges about "a dearth of suitable evidence of habitation," though the typical rural habitation of this time would hardly be made of imperishable materials. Issue is also made of tombs in the area, and it is claimed that "Jews, according to their customs, would not build a village in the immediate vicinity of tombs and vice versa", which is true, but it is not shown that the tombs of Nazareth were "inside the line" with which Jews would find intolerable proximity. He also notes the inscription we have referred to above, but makes nothing of it, only implying, it seems, that this was the actual "founding" of the town (though it is not explained why pious Jewish priests, as above, would settle so close to tombs; and he wrongly dates the inscription to after Bar Kochba). Conveniently, it is also claimed that references to Nazareth in the Gospels were interpolated. The disgrace of these contrivances speak for themselves.

Fall #3 -- Jesus and Bob. A final section we will note, briefly, makes issue thus: Was there a Jesus? Of course there was a Jesus – many! Humphrey Dumpty names several people named "Jesus" from the ancient Jewish world around the first century, and then pretends this is some sort of strange thing, too strange "to be a coincidence!" It isn't, in fact -- it is an artifact of the fact that Jews of this day didn't have baby name books. Just a few names (Simon, Judas, Jesus, etc) were given to the bulk of the male population; they were more common than Bob and James are today among men. Likewise "Mary" was the name given to at least a fourth and possibly a third of Jewish women. Thus Humphrey Dumpty marvels at the spectre of his own ignorance here.

Offered as well in the same vein is a canard we have once addressed:

According to the Biblical account, Pilate offered the Jews the release of just one prisoner and the cursed race chose Barabbas rather than gentle Jesus. But hold on a minute: in the original text studied by Origen (and in some recent ones) the chosen criminal was Jesus Barabbas – and Bar Abba in Hebrew means ‘Son of the Father’! Are we to believe that Pilate had a Jesus, Son of God and a Jesus, Son of the Father in his prison at the same time??!!

Uh, yeah. For one thing, as noted, the name "Jesus" was as common as Bob today. For another, the name "Abba" (and therefore, "Bar-abba" as a patronymic) was a known, and indeed common, name among the Jews; it was even carried by rabbis (Samuel bar-Abba and Nathan bar-Abba are two examples; cited by Mann in his Markan commentary [637].) Brown [Brow.DMh, 799] even records a Talmudic joke about a man who enters a room "looking for Abba" to be told "there are many Abbas here." He then asks for "Abba bar Abba" and is told there are a bunch of those, too! In addition, a pre-70 burial records the name [800]. (Also note that "Bar-abbas" actually translates as "son of father" -- there is no article (a, the) involved.) So, nice try; it's a coincidence, sure, but no more stunning than that Kennedy was assasinated while in a Ford and Lincoln was assassinated in Ford's theater.

In terms of showing the Gospel story an oddity, Humphrey Dumpty has little to throw off the wall: The old census issue is the first specific, and then after some vainglorious, non-specific and undocumented babble about alleged "copycat" practices (no names, dates or documents offered in support), a claim that the "Lord's Prayer" was a late invention, merely because "none of the Christian Apologists, for example, even mention it by name!" (Though it is never explained, of course, in what context it is lacking in any of those Apologists, where it ought to have neen mentioned.) Humphrey Dumpty does not even bother to check for allusions to the prayer in patristic works (he fails to see that the Didache is doing just this; that the Didache is not in the canon is interesting, but of no relevance, and it does not need to mention the virgin birth, etc. and Humphrey Dumpty does not explain why it ought to). A claim is made as well that "[o]lder Jewish devotions provide even earlier antecedents for the prayer" but no evidence is provided for an actual pre-Christian date; it is said that they were "according to tradition...composed during the Second Temple period (6th century BC - 70 AD)" but if we accept this, then why can't we also accept "tradition" that dates the Gospels early? Humphrey Dumpty wants to have his cake and eat it too. On the other hand, why ought not the Lord's Prayer by Jesus, a Jew, be different than a Jewish one like the Kaddish? What delusion leads him to believe that Jesus ought to have composed a completely original prayer just to make him happy?

Back to history; we are told that Many elements of the 'Passion' make no sense historically but examples are few and far between and generally useless:

And that's it. We have our Whitman's Sampler, and from it, we have a clear picture that Humphrey Dumpty is broken and won't be put together again.

Tekton Research Assistant "Punkish" alerted us that Humphrey Dumpty has offered a "reply" which, as expected, has all the credibility and detail of Jell-O brand pudding. Not surprisingly, Humphrey Dumpty ignores the numerous links and arguments and instead dawdles down to the standard issues of the frustrated Skeptic:

  • "That guy uses a pseudonym!" (What will these guys do with themselves when I legally change my name, I wonder?)
  • "That guy can't type!" (Actually, we'll leave some of those typos intact for a bit, just so that Humprhey Dumpty can give his self-esteem a few more boosts.)
  • "That guy argues by authority!" (Like most Skeptics of his level, Humphrey Dumpty has not grasped that "argument by authority" is not a fallacy if indeed the person cited is a true expert. As it is, this is merely his excuse for not being able to actually answer what is presented.)
  • "Waaaah, that guy called me 'wacky'!" (Of course, it is quite all right for Humphrey Dumpty to use such terms as "Jesus bile" in his "response" -- and it is not as though we have not proved that he is wacky.)

    And that's basically it -- the usual exercise in projection of ignorance and insecurities from the Christ-myth crowd. It doesn't win a vial of wrath, but it does win a Golden Screwball Award, that's for sure.