Front Page Mythicist Campaign Info
To be brief, the mythicist position holds that Jesus, the historical and supernatural, never existed.
You can watch the video of my presentation "Misquoting Scripture" at the Freethought Society of Greater Philadelphia here.
The historical Jesus quests (there have actually been three!) have all failed to provide a historical Jesus. What they have shown is how easy it is for scholars to look down the well of history and see their own reflections staring back at them—and then assuming that reflection is Jesus. Each quest set out with the goal of demythologizing the Gospels; that is, they intended to remove all the supernatural, legendary, theological, and political embellishments added by the authors of the four Gospels. (Later quests attempted to remove them from deuterocanonical books as well!) What was discovered is that it is impossible to do so without infecting your search with your own personal goals as a scholar.
Paul did not believe in a historical Jesus, but instead believed in a spiritual Jesus which he considered to be both a mediator between God and man as well as a revealer of knowledge and the mysteries of God. Paul is the only link between the time period that is generally thought of to be the lifetime of Christ (c. 5-3 BCE – 30-33 CE), yet Paul seems to know nothing at all about this historical man, Jesus, who would have only died a few decades earlier. Paul even says that he has talked to some of the apostles, but not only does he still remain ignorant, he flat out disagrees with Peter on doctrine and the message of Christianity! You would think that, as somebody converting into a religion like Christianity, Paul would grant authority to the people who supposedly knew Jesus. But he doesn’t. Paul was interpreting scripture, and his savior came from scripture—not from a historical person.
The Gospels tell us nothing of a historical Jesus. They are not biographies at all, unless you redefine biography to mean “a fictional representation of a legend”. (Or something very close to that) The Gospels are exactly what their authors intended them to be. Mark intended his Gospel to be read as edifying fiction, as scripture reinterpretation, much like that of the author of Job and the author of Tobit did. Matthew, writing later and copying Mark, added new plot lines to his narrative, like a birth story and a short snippet of Jesus as a youth – both of which come from scripture. But even Matthew was probably writing allegory and fiction. The canonical Luke was writing a polemical Gospel against Marcion, probably around the beginning or middle of the second century. Luke changed Matthews birth narrative, and added more extravagance to Jesus’ resurrection story, including a scene which imitates the story of