The Duke of Hazards
Boz Hawg

Say there, boy! Our good friend and partner Venerable Bede has a "response" to his stuff against the Christ myth, by one "Dan Schneider" (hereafter, "The Duke of Hazards", in honor of our upcoming movie, as well as his last name, and his level of expertise in these matters). Bede says that he sees no reason to respond to someone who cites Acharya S as a source, and he's right, but I'm in a masochistic mood at the moment and also like to emphasize that "there's nothing new under the sun" from the Christ myth crowd, and that they could always use some more public shame, I decided to have my own go at Schneider. Update, August 12, 2005: Schneider has deigned to respond, we have interspersed his new commentary and our replies. Schneider shows that he is not particularly bright and definitely far behind the times, as he claims that Bede "handed over" his article to me for refutation (he did not; I chose to work on it myself); makes the outdated (by 6 years) indication that I work in a prison; repeats all of the comfort canards of the hapless ("That guy uses a pseudonym!" "That guy asks for money!" who can provide no actual answers; postures, whines, stamps his feet, claims "all it takes is an elementary school reading level" to understand the Bible sufficiently; bombasts like a coward ("In his whole site there is not a single factual refutation of the many discrepancies believers in a factual Christ hold."); whines about a lack of a link to his silliness, whines about the pseudonym issue some more, whines about Bede not answering him some more, whines about Acharya S a bit (even putting a period after the "S", which is incorrect) and pleads that she is only "a bit dodgy" as a source. Needless to say, the Duke remains in full Yapping Chihuahua mode, continuing to occupy that nether region belonging to those who are "incompetent and unaware of it."

The delicious irony to be savored in all of this is the contrast between Bede, who is very close to a Ph. D. in history, and Schneider, whose website is mainly about poetry (!) and who has no posted credentials; yet he had the nerve to accuse Bede of "slip up[s]," "deception & ad hominem" when "reality is shown". If he has any credentials to speak of, they are certainly either cherry or grape flavor: In his section on the secular references to Jesus, for example, he yanks out the old "procurator vs. prefect" canard that even the leading atheist historian at has rejected. So as usual, we'll challenge Schneider to show his mettle against own material and then proceed with the spanking.

Response: With the confidence of the blithely ignorant, the Duke whines of "the attempts at marginalization" as he claims that he "showed Bede was wrong time and time again." Inviting the reader to "look at Bede's answer," the Duke's analysis is astonishing in its idiocy: Jesus made no historical impact? Not to hear the Mel Gibson crowd. The Mel Gibson crowd??? Since when is this "crowd" (whoever they are?) any sort of reputable authority for the determination of scoial conditions of the Roman Empire and what place a person like Jesus would have in it? How about a specific claim in response from these alleged "Gibsonians" and a look at what documentation they offer? The Duke offers none, other than the even more idiotic retort: Plus, there are detailed Roman records of crucifixions and executions in all their provinces. No, there are NOT such detailed records, nowhere, not for ANY provinicial governor of the Roman Empire; they certainly did exist at one time, butt NONE at all remain to this day (as Bede says in the very next section, and to which the DoH said nothing). If the Duke of Hazards has some of these records, he needs to inform competent historians of them; as it is, he only here verifies our assessment of his as a deservedly-marginalized incompetent. "Gibsonians" indeed! Who will the Duke turn to for arguments next, the Scooby Doo Fan Club? The allusion to "Gibsonians" is, as Monty Python would say, red and smells moreover of fish. The Duke has no such specific arguments from anyone.

Bede: Occasionally people ask why there is no record of Jesus in Roman records. The answer is that there are no surviving Roman records but only highly parochial Roman historians who had little interest in the comings and goings of minor cults and were far more concerned about Emperors and Kings. Jesus made a very small splash while he was alive and there was no reason for Roman historians to notice him.

The Duke of Hazards: Yet, we have seen how Christians have declaimed Christ’s fame far & wide. Why would Roman historians never notice him if the politicians of the day were in a panic? This is subjective editing of facts that contradict the writer’s POV- & facts presented by those on the writer’s side! This lack of consistency is typical of Christian & other apologists.

What the DoH is trying to prove here is hard to say. The whole issue is that the records we have left are from people who would not give a flying bowl of hummus what Christians declaimed. DoH offers no specifics as to how "politicians of the day were in a panic" (what politicians, where? how much "panic" and on what basis?) and why this should have made a difference, or what historians he thinks ought to have made an issue of this and in what work. There is no "subjective editing" or "lack of consistency" -- the DoH is just, well, stupid and that's a nice way to put it.

Update: Nothing new here; the DoH merely claims I have "no answer" and whines about a typo, oblivious to how his own commentary is shown incorrect, a mere caricature he derives from something he pulled out of his rear end and imaginary "Gibsonians" whose authority is presumed over credentialed historians and scholars such as John Meier (A Marginal Jew) and Bede himself.

Bede:Once Christianity was established as a major cult in the Empire then Jesus became rather more interesting and he is mentioned by Tacitus in the early second century. However, Jesus Mythologists counter this by claiming that he could have got his information from Christians which means his evidence is not independent. So, we have a very convenient situation for the Jesus Mythologists. Until Christianity had spread no one except Christians would be interested in Jesus but all later records are ruled out of court as they are tainted by association with Christianity. This sort of special pleading is one of the reasons that modern historians have no time for these theories as they are set up to be impossible to disprove.

The Duke of Hazards: Again, this is in direct opposition to what the ‘inerrant’ Bible, itself, says. Also, we see that the historical reference is well after JC’s supposed life. In fact, modern historians readily ascribe to logic, unlike the author.

The DoH apparently isn't aware that Bede at least is not a believer in inerrancy; I am one myself, even if not the Bob Jones variety, but since the DoH doesn't say what part of the Bible this is "in direct opposition" to there's not much that can be said. There is nothing in the Bible that is in direct opposition to what Bede says. In terms of "after JC's supposed life" the right answer is, "so what"? The historians of antiquity record many things (most of what many record, in fact) after the life and times of those whose acts they record. What? Could Tacitus write accurately about Nero only while the latter was alive, and then, when he died, did Tacitus and all sources about Nero just draw a blank?

And Bede of course refers not to "historians" but to Jesus Mythologists, who are not historians and never are.

Update: The DoH whines and stamps yet again, claiming deludedly that "Bede's assertion was trounced in my original piece," where all he did was make a wild assertion without documentation about "what the Bible says" (he still offers none) and of course has no answer to the point about the length of time between what historians record and the actual recording. He whinges of no mention of Jesus by sources from his lifetime, but names none (that old canard we expect he will bring up, answered here) and merely babbles on about how "like all myths, it took time to get enough weight to be transcribed..." But then by rights all that Tacitus recorded just as far back as Jesus, and farther, is disposed of in the same way. In the end he opts for the old Ancient People Are Stupid routine ("Mythifiers know how to construct there myths, and this was not modern times, so there were no forensics to worry of." -- interesting how conveniently the DoH posists experts when and where he needs them, and stupid people where and when he needs them; but the forensics of the day were quite sufficient, thank you, to determine at least whether a man existed) and pretends that we have not answered his point.

Bede: In fact, Christian evidence for a human Jesus who was crucified is trustworthy because it ran counter to the myths of the time and suggested that he had suffered a humiliating death. If they made it up and then suppressed the truth with clinical efficiency, why did they come up with a story which even the Christian apologist, Tertullian, admitted was absurd? It seems far more likely that they had a large number of historical facts that they had to rationalise into a religion rather than creating all these difficulties for themselves.

The Duke of Hazards:Yet, we see this is patently false- the JC mythos is so endebted to other myths that to deny this fact is to practice willful blindness to an absurd end.

I'm not sure why we should trust an alleged poet who cannot even spell "indebted." On the other hand, if "other myths" had a bit to do with it we'd like to know which ones. The DoH can turn his blind eye here for a list of "other myths" debunked, and see where "denial" and "willful blindness" as an answer will get him.

Update: The DoH takes some of his meds and then writes, Bede's claim is not true- witness the historical records of the slave rebellions, such as Spartacus's. How this specifically applies to Bede's claim is not explained. Schneider wastes time rather claiming that "the prefixes in- and en- are interchangeable, and perfectly acceptable grammar" and that is entirely false; "endebted" is not an acceptable variant and the DoH is merely offering the sort of skilled rationalizations we would expect from the incompetent who cannot admit their errors. Regarding the linl he saus it is "to claims that I, and many others have roundly debunked," though we are not told who else and where, which is a short way of indicating that the DoH has no idea how to debunk them and has never actually seen anyone do so.

Bede: Sometimes Jesus Mythologists will produce long lists of writers none of whom have the slightest reason to mention an obscure Jewish miracle worker and somehow think this strengthens their point. In fact, it has all the relevance of picking fifty books off your local library shelf and finding that none of them mention Carl Sagan. Does that mean he did not exist either? Jesus was not even a failed military leader of the kind that Romans might have noticed - especially if he had been defeated by someone famous.

The Duke of Hazards: This is so ridiculous- but, again, the Bible itself states that JC was a MAJOR thorn on the Romans’ sides- & was hardly ‘obscure’. Can you say ‘eat my cake & have it, too’?

We once again search in vain for some place in the Bible that "states that JC was a MAJOR thorn on the Romans' side"' Jesus never saw or spoke to an Emperor of Rome, or a Senator, or any member of the upper class; he had barely a few moments of trial with the prefect/procurator of an obscure backwater province, and was undoubtedly one of hundreds of such prisoners processed by Pilate every year. From their point of view he was just another face in the crowd, so what's all this then?

Update: The DoH distracts the audience with his clown act by noting that the phrase major thorn is not in the Bible, and then completes the clown act not by providing something from the Bible that shows what he claims, but instead appeals vaguely to "Mel Gibson and the Vatican" for support. Whatever that means.

Bede: Allegations that Christianity is an adaptation of a pagan religion have been around for ages….With this is in mind I present "Bede's Guide to the Production of a Best-seller that Undermines the Roots of Christianity". With this I can guarantee that you will be able to find all the parallels you like between paganism and Christianity or indeed, properly adapted, between any other two unrelated subjects that you care to name.

1. The first thing to do is ensure you cast your net as widely as possible. So within Christianity you should include every cult, heresy and sect you can get your hands on. Gnosticism will be particularly helpful as they did indeed borrow large chunks of pagan thought which is partly why they were considered heretics in the first place. As for paganism, this can include just about everything. Freke and Gandy comb not only Greek cults (Oedipus) but also Egyptian (Horus and Osiris), Roman (Bacchus) and Persian (Mithras). Elsewhere you will find Celtic deities, Norse beserkers and Indian mystics pulled into the fray. Now, with this vast body of writing, finding parallels will not be too challenging provided you are willing to wade through it all.

The Duke of Hazards: So, this is a refutation- not an endorsement, right?

It's a description. The refutation will be found at the above link of the DoH has the nerve.

Update: And of course he does not have the nerve, merely re-iterating the (unsubstantiated and refuted) claim that parallels between the precursor gods to Jesus are so strong that there is no doubt that they played a role in shaping the Jews' 'new and improved' God named Jesus. The refutations are at the link that the DoH is too chicken to deal with. Maybe he can ask Mel Gibson for help.

Bede:2. But don't restrict yourselves to pagan religions from before the time of Christ. Remember your methodology should be that Christians copied pagans and not the other way around. This is useful because you can now point to similarities between paganism and Christianity after the latter was already widespread. So if, like Freke and Gandy, you can find a picture showing Bacchus on a cross dating from two hundred years after Jesus was crucified you can still claim that the Christians copied the pagans and not the other way around.

The Duke of Hazards: Of course, even assuming that a piece of art post-dates JC it has no bearing on the fact that Bacchus & the other Sun Gods predate JC. So what’s the point? It’s to add verbal heft to a weightless argument. Again, this actually & unwittingly undermines the writer’s claims.

The "point" is that the art that "post-dates JC" is often the only basis upon which any parallel to JC is made. The mere fact that the gods existed is beside the point: a depiction of Bacchus crucified (even if not forged) dated 350 AD means nothing; a picture of Bacchus crucified dated 350 BC would mean a lot; a depiction of Bacchus mowing his lawn means nothing whatsoever, whether it dates to 1000 BC or 1000 AD. The "point" escapes the DoH like the Birdman escaped Alcatraz.

Update: The DoH pulls out the Nanny Nanny Boo Boo Card for this one, says that what we say "is simply not so" and that the "bulk of arguments against a historical Jesus are from prior cultures, not later ones," not once offering a specific before he eases on down the road of incompetent non-answering.

Bede:3. Language is important. Christian terms such as 'salvation', 'Eucharist', 'word made flesh' and 'lamb of god' are common currency today. Therefore when translating or paraphrasing pagan sources always use modern Christian language. Never mind that the ancient pagans would not have known what you were on about - you are not talking to them. In this way you can call a woman being raped by various kinds of wildlife a 'virgin birth', you can call having ones body parts stuck back together a 'resurrection' and you can call just about every Greek hero a 'son of god'. Also it is helpful to use King James Bible phrases and style when quoting pagan texts. It gives them some more gravitas.

The Duke of Hazards: Most of the ‘Virgin Births’ were as ‘Virgin’ as Yahweh’s impregnation of Mary. Just what is so different from the philandering Yahweh & the horny Zeus, anyway, is never detailed. The attempt at semiotics naturally fails, especially considering how poorly the Christians, & predecessor Jews, covered up their steals.

The DoH apparently missed basic sex ed if he sees no difference between the overshadowing Holy Spirit creating the Christ child in Mary's womb by divine fiat, and Zeus getting his jollies turning into geese and raping the unsuspecting as he drips bodily fluids all over the place. Perhaps the DoH thinks babies are found under cabbage leaves as well. In any event, if he wants something to do, he can try this on for size. Maybe he can even name someone besides Zeus and explain why there is actually a parallel.

Update: The DoH makes the odd (and not documented) claim that "many ancient cultures were gun shy on sex" (apparently someone here has never heard of the Song of Solomon, the Kama Sutra, etc.) and merely re-asserts that "Yahweh clearly had sex with Mary" with no effort made to exegete passages to show this, much less make a comparison to the stories of Zeus. After that he excites himself with his own language a bit and then moves on. Needless to say there's no answer given to the link, much less an explanation as requested.

Bede:4. Do try to confuse liturgy and practice with history. For instance the mystery religions and Christianity were both underground movements so they had to operate in similar sorts of ways. Sacred meals and ritual washing are as old as religion itself so the Christianity using them as well as pagans is not surprising at all. Make it sound like a complete revelation.

The Duke of Hazards: Again, this does nothing but inadvertently give pre-lineage to practices supposedly ‘new’ to Christianity. 2 feet & 2 hands have been shot. How many more limbs to go?

"Pre-lineage" is it? So the DoH thinks the pagans had a lock on fellowship meals, and Christians had to say, "Darn, we can't enjoy feelowship meals, these guys already have one"? No one ever claimed that the elemental practice of a fellowship meal was "new". It IS claimed that the Christian fellowship meal has new and different meaning than other meals; but if the DoH wishes to play this game, then every time he and the family go out to eat to celebrate his latest round of dental work, he's imitating pagans.

Update: The DoH pulls his second Nanny Nanny Boo Boo Card and merely answers, This isn't even a refutation. The DoH does not notice his own rug pulled out from under him.

Bede:5. Say totally different things are in fact closely related. For instance, Mithras was sometimes represented by a bull. Say this is the same as Jesus being called the lamb of God (ignoring that one is a symbol of sexuality and strength and the other of innocence and humility). Compare the Mithric ritual of taking a shower in the warm blood of the aforementioned bull with Christian baptism with water. Claim that the thieves crucified with Jesus are the same as a pair of torch bearers that appear on some illustrations of Bacchus.

The Duke of Hazards: Notice this- the author says ‘sometimes’ in reference to Mithra’s being represented by a bull. This implies that sometimes he was not, for we know the lamb & lion (Christ symbols) were also used. The author again unwittingly kills his own arguments. As for Bacchus; rarely identified with JC- this is just distraction, or white noise to set up an easily refuted argument for 1 that was never proposed in the 1st place.

Er, no, the lamb was NEVER used for Mithras; if the DoH thinks otherwise, perhaps he can inform Mithraic scholars, who have never heard such a thing. The lion, on the other hand, was regarded in Roman Mithraism as Mithra's "totem" animal, just as Athena's animal was the owl and Artemis' animal was the deer. Since Mithra was a sun-god, there was also an association with Leo, which was the House of the Sun in Babylonian astrology. But aside from this evidence all being post-Christian, one may ask what the big deal is. Do we expect the Christians or the Mithraists to say, "Darn, we can't use the lion, it's already taken by the other guys?" Should Exxon give up their tiger because of Frosted Flakes? But if you really want to get technical, Jesus owned the rights to the lion symbol as a member of the tribe of Judah long before Mithras even appeared in his Iranian incarnation (Gen. 49:9). There are other associations as well: In the Roman material, one of Mithra's companions in the bull-slaying scene is a lion; the lion is sometimes Mithra's hunting and feasting companion; Mithra is sometimes associated with a lion-headed being who is sometimes identified as the evil Zoroastrian god Ahriman; one of the seven stages of initiation in Mithraism is the lion stage. But Mithra is only called a lion in one Mithraic tale (which is part of Armenian folklore -- where did the writers of the NT pick that up?) because as a child he killed a lion and split it in two.

As for Bacchus, I guess the DoH missed Freke and Gandy's quite public identification of JC with Bacchus -- on the cover of their best-selling book. He also apparently hasn't read Acharya S thoroughly. Bacchus is in fact one of the top three figures these amateurs identfy JC with -- Mithra and Osiris are the other two.

Update: The DoH merely stamps his feet and re-asserts that Mithras was represented as a lamb and lion, and scholars aver this -- not that he names a single one, much less documents the claim over and against the Mithraic scholars who aver no such thing. (The list of these is in the area linked to which the DoH will not confront.) The DoH then offers the skilled rationalization that darn it, the Bacchus is is "marginalized" -- so "marginalized" that it appears on the cover of F and G's book, and all over Acharya's, so sorry, the DoH is plain wrong; if anything it is he who is on the margins of his own camp of Christ-mythers.

Bede:6. For goodness sake do not mention the things that really made the pagan mysteries interesting. After all your work of showing that Jesus and Bacchus are one and the same, you will lose everything if you let on that Bacchus was the god of drunkenness and his worship involved getting plastered and having sex with anything in sight (goats being a particular favourite). In fact, keep sex out of it altogether. Yes, sex was the central feature of an awful lot of these pagan rituals but that is not the point your are (sic) trying to make.

The Duke of Hazards: Nor is that a point that disproves connections since many cultures have variances from core myths. So what?

The "so what" is that the vast differences disprove and effort at connection; appeal to "variances" implies a begged question. Chipping down to lowest common denominators enables all manner of wild fantasies in parallelism; not that this would stop an amateur like the DoH, but he might consider the ease of this and that it has been done before.

Update: The DoH merely claims that we do not address his point and of course ignores the links that destroy it. That's hard work, of course.

Bede:7. Avoid up to date scholarship which will probably pour cold water over your vaunted theories. You will find plenty of nineteenth and early twentieth century writers with a bone to pick that can support your wildest speculations. And do not worry if not everyone agrees with you - you can always dismiss the dissenters as apologists or as those unable to cope with your earth shattering ideas.

The Duke of Hazards: This assertion is actually true- in the inverse! The more detailed the scholarship becomes the slimmer the reed upon which any claims to reality hinge! Then the author details Paul’s non-silence. But, as we’ve seen, Paul (aka Saul) was a nutcase, yet even he admitted he never met Jesus- only had visions! Yet the author parses the writings of this admitted loony tune & non-acquaintance as if they have any relevance! Yet this is so typical of apologists- especially the ever-paranoid Christian Rightists.

Sorry, but the DoH is spinning the General Lee's wheels here -- Bede's assertion is on the mark, his is not, and it can speak for itself that he has no details to offer in reply. The DoH offers no basis for the claim that Paul "only had visions"; 1 Cor. 15 shows otherwise as Paul describes an encounter with a physically resurrected Jesus. The DoH then goes on a long-winded spiel about some other article, and about evolution (?!); we'll skip that and move rather to where he picks up again with Bede's parody "disproving" Hannibal's existence:

Update: The DoH once again alludes to the need to reconcile ourselves with the Gibsonians, pomps that all the evidence has been debunked (but doesn't mention any that we ever use) and appeals to "ABC News specials" as proof that "Paul merely had visions". Never mind the specifics from him; ours are here to show that Paul certainly thought no such thing of what he saw.

Bede: To ask whether or not the great Carthaginian general Hannibal every actually existed might seem rather pointless….In fact, although there is plenty of writing about Hannibal, none of it is contemporary and there is no archaeological evidence for him at all (not surprising given the Romans razed the city from whence he came).

The Duke of Hazards: While there is not as much historical proof for Hannibal Barca as there is for, say, Alexander the Great, it does exist- mention of him exists in contemporary Roman texts, as well as other conquered peoples- with sources, & the ruins of cities he ‘supposedly’ conquered have been found, in acceptable time frames to ascribe to Hannibal. Books & the Internet abound with them.

That's nice. Unfortunately, as Bede says, none of these are contemporary (notice that the DoH does not NAME or cite any of these alleged texts; and Bede, not he, is the historian). Vague references to "Books & and Internet" bespeaks one who has no actual knowledge; fortunately someone has a Hannibal fan site that lists the sources for us. The earliest, Polybius, was around 20 when Hannibal died and was a mere child, if he was born at all, when Hannibal pursued his military career -- which puts his in the same range as Josephus would be for Jesus. The next best source, Livy, is farther for Hannibal than Jesus is from Tacitus. In terms of ruins of cities, so what? We have ruins of cities Jesus "supposedly" preached in, in acceptable time frames. Hannibal is probably just an invention ascribed to cities that really were conquered. How's that for an answer?

Update: Bleeding from all his pores after this beating, the DoH makes excuses for not citing sources ("generally, archaeological and scientific papers are not referenced online" -- that's baloney as it stands, but what it runs down to is that he has no sources, and never had them) and ignores the problem of lack of contemporary record of Hannibal for his own position's consistency. The DoH says of Hannibal, "there is no reasonable reason to doubt his existence, and he was not ever claimed a god." Well, there is no reasonable reason to doubt Jesus' existence either, and that he may have been claimed a god is of no relevance; the same was said of Roman emperors whose existence the DoH likely does not doubt. The DoH then claims (without quoting) that in the site above, a link under Polybius references a work dated circa 200 BC, or nearly 20 years before Hannibal's claimed death in 182 or 183 BC. It does no such thing; it says that Polybius was born in 200 BC.

Bede:Furthermore he is not mentioned in any Carthaginian sources - incredible given he was supposed to be their greatest leader (there are no Carthaginian sources as the Romans burnt their city down)! We find when we actually try to pin him down he tends to recede further into the mists of time. His exploits, such as leading elephants over the Alps, are clearly legendary (the sceptic pretends to be incredulous but seems happy to buy his own amazing theory) and it is not hard to find a motive for the creation of this colourful character by Roman writers (as long we can invent a motive for fabrication we can assume that fabrication exists).

The Duke of Hazards: There have been found Carthaginian works of art that represent Hannibal, & the reality of the elephants/Alps tale is debated, although generally accepted. The calling in to question of something of questionable historicity is odd when 1 considers the writer defends something of no historicity. Again, another example of willful selection of facts to support 1 POV the writer likes & against that he does not! The parenthetical comment is not relevant since Hannibal, unlike JC, had no precursor generals whose life tales were for the taking. Nor was Hannibal a claimed god with worshippers. The attempt to disprove Hannibal goes on in similarly futile & misinformed ways, but we have seen that this is the MO of all apologists. It also is informative that the writer attempts to outline a Hannibal controversy where none exists, while ignoring a real controversy that exists- whether Hannibal was black or not.

The DoH apparently had no idea what to do with this and the result is expected -- a spit in the wind as it were, with little or no relevance to the issue. Works of art? The DoH names none of these; but we do have art of Jesus, so why not say that these too were based on a fiction? The "claimed god with worshippers" bit is a distraction; only those who agreed Jesus was a deity would make a record of this in the first place, and ascribe Jesus such importance, and the DoH presumably rejects the NT as a witness. The "precursor" bit is a rehash of the tired "copycat" thesis we'd like to see the DoH deal with our refutation of if he has the nerve. Finally, "was Hannibal black" is a "real controversy" indeed -- among wacko fringers like Yosef ben-Yochanon, not credentialed and serious historians.

Update: The DoH merely vomits back up his points about Roman records (which again, are not extant) and the alleged need to reconcile with Mel Gibson. Other than that, despite the DOH, I am very familiar with "the claims of the PC Elitists and multiculturalists" about Hannibal; moreso I daresay than he is, and they are the fringers I refer to. To cite what these say as evidence of "controversy" is to grant them a credence they do not deserve (and it is also the fringe who plays that games with Shaekspeare).

Thus the DoH's rambling contortions that "Jesus is different than Hannibal because he was claimed to raise the dead," etc are misplaced. Someone like Tacitus would not believe that Jesus actually did this; nor would a Plutarch, or any pagan historian. The DoH fails to distinguish the two questions: 1) Did a person, Jesus of Nazareth, walk the earth? 2) Did this Jesus have powers, was he deity, etc. The latter does require more evidence, but the former does not.

Update: The DoH makes the irrelevant point that Jesus's godhead is part and parcel of the Jesus believer's repertoire. It doesn't matter in the least with respect to the questions of mere existence, and the DoH failed to make any such point, instead fallaciously ramming the two questions together as though t hey were the same.

The DoH then goes on to deny that the burden of proof lies with his side; but again, it does -- for it is 1), the not-at-all extraordinary claim, that is at issue here. His excessive babbling on in this vain confuses the issue. And thus ends his interaction with Bede, and our own with the Duke of Hazards. We'll wait and see if we make his list of apologists to interact with -- perhaps he'd even like to try his mettle at debating us on TheologyWeb. Not surprisingly, it doesn't appear that he will answer any of our links or appear on TWeb.