Well, if this doesn’t show the sad state of affairs in the world of militant activist atheism, I don’t know what does.
In Chapter 3 of “The God Delusion”, Dawkins cites a professor of German, G. A. Wells, as an authority on the historical claim that Jesus did not exist.
“It is even possible to mount a serious, though not widely supported, historical case that Jesus never lived at all, as has been done by, among others Professor G. A. Wells of the University of London in a number of books, including Did Jesus Exist? Although Jesus probably existed.” – Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion, p.122
Now, there is not one single person in the universe who has a Ph.D in history would take this view in peer-reviewed published work. Not one. Yet Dawkins cites a professor of German to make his case. If this were handed in as part of university assignment, Dawkins would get a big red “F” for FAIL from me.
Rev. Philip Brown comments on Wells’ credibility on historical matters here:
What Dawkins fails to mention is that Professor G. A. Wells from the university of London is NOT a professor of History, Religion, Theology, Philosophy, Literature, or even Anthropology; all subjects that we would be expect him to be an expert in? No! G. A. Wells is the Emeritus Professor of German at Birkbeck, University of London. While Wells does hold a degree in Philosophy his field is in language. Why does Dawkins mention that Wells is a professor and indeed one at the university of London, but fail to mention that Wells is a professor in a field that has noting to do with expertise in assessing validity of historical figures?
Unbelievable. Here is a list of the virtually indisputable facts about Jesus, from respected, skeptical, non-Christian scholars like Norman Perrin and E. P. Sanders. That is how serious people do scholarship. But maybe militant activist atheism is not about scholarship at all.
Here is N.T. Wright’s list from the same page. N.T. Wright taught on the historical Jesus at Oxford, Cambridge, McGill (Canada) and Duke. That is what we call historical scholarship.
- Born in 4 B.C.E.
- Grew up in Nazareth in Galilee
- Spoke Aramaic, Hebrew, and probably Greek.
- Was initially associated with John the Baptist, but emerged as a public figure in his own right around 28 C.E.
- Summoned people to repent.
- Used parables to announce the reign of Israel’s god.
- Conducted itinerant ministry throughout villages of Galilee.
- Effected remarkable cures, including exorcisms, as enactments of his message.
- Shared in table fellowship with a socioculturally diverse group.
- Called a close group of disciples and gave twelve of them a special status.
- Performed a dramatic action in the temple.
- Incurred the wrath of some elements in Judaism, especially among the high priestly establishment.
- Was handed over by this powerful Jewish element to the Romans to be crucified as an insurrectionist.
- Was reported by his followers to have been raised from the dead.
Resources to respond to the proposal that Jesus never existed are here.