http://www.richardcarrier.info/archives/11048 Carrier makes his usual drive-by attacks against Atwill in this essay, and also continues with a somewhat condescending attitude against anyone he considers 'amateur'. This is ironic in view of the fact that Carrier's pretensions to being a bona fide professional are shaky at best. And I'm not saying that he isn't well-trained or hard-working. But, being a professional usually includes being paid a living wage by a respected institution, and Carrier has been somewhat challenged in that regard. He does subject 'professionals' to some criticism as well, but I think he'd be well served if he'd just drop the ad hominems and deal with the issues without being so snarky. Einhorn's book is based on her earlier paper Jesus and the Egyptian Prophet. The paper argues that Gospel Jesus has many parallels to 'The Egyptian Prophet' character in Josephus. The Amazon preview indicates that in addition to the earlier material, she adds an argument that 'the Egyptian' actually is Jesus, and she gives her thoughts about the motivation for the differences between the accounts in Josephus vs. the Gospels. As a review of Einhorn's book, Carrier's blog post does a barely adequate job. Carrier provides a minimal description of her thesis, and offers a few specific criticisms. What's more revealing in the post, is how it describes Carrier's own position on the writing of the Gospels. Carrier says: My overall objection to her paper’s thesis matches my overall conclusion regarding her book, which aims to extend the same thesis more broadly. In her paper she argued that Jesus of Nazareth is actually The Egyptian in the narrative of Josephus (see OHJ, p. 70), and that the Gospel authors were just erasing the militaristic aspects of the truth of their would-be savior and relocating him in time to conceal that fact. Neat idea. And not implausible. But the similarities between Jesus and The Egyptian are too few and too generic to be that telling, and in fact they sooner suggest the Gospel authors were just borrowing “modern” ideas with which to construct their stories of Jesus. [....] The best competing hypothesis is simply: the Gospel authors are making Jesus up. That is, there was no historical Jesus. He didn’t walk anywhere or do anything on earth (in belief there was still a historical Jesus, undergoing historical events in outer space according to ancient cosmology, but not as a part of human history, which is the Doherty Thesis, and the thesis of my book On the Historicity of Jesus). So he didn’t “actually” or “originally” belong to any decade of history. And indeed, there were Christians dating him even to the 70’s B.C., so variable could they be with where to put him (OHJ, Ch. 8.1). So when the Gospel authors created a historical Jesus out of other heroes and prophets (from Moses to Elijah to Jesus ben Ananias and, we may even suppose, John the Baptist), they were not particularly concerned with chronological precision. They saw the whole period from the 30s to the 60s as simply one and the same time, and borrowed from all those decades whatever resonated for them the most. And for this they all drew on Josephus (particularly Mark on the Jewish War and Luke on the Jewish Antiquities), who is also Einhorn’s only source for comparison, thus explaining all the convenient agreements. The end result would be exactly the same evidence Einhorn points to. The remark that "similarities between Jesus and The Egyptian are too few and too generic to be that telling" is all too typical of Carrier's cynicism regarding striking parallels. But in this case, aside from the snide insinuations that Einhorn's work is too amateur to be bothered with, Carrier really doesn't try very hard to deny the parallels. Instead, his response is based on the claim that this 'Egyptian' is no historical Jesus. In his book 'On the Historicity of Jesus', Carrier defines what he means by a 'historical Jesus': This gets us down to just three minimal facts on which historicity rests: 1. An actual man at some point named Jesus acquired followers in life who continued as an identifiable movement after his death. 2. This is the same Jesus who was claimed by some of his followers to have been executed by the Jewish or Roman authorities. 3. This is the same Jesus some of whose followers soon began worshiping as a living god (or demigod). That all three propositions are true shall be my minimal theory of historicity. As Tim Hendrix pointed out, there are huge mathematical problems with doing a Bayesian analysis comparing one carefully designed hypothesis against another equally elaborate compound hypothesis, ignoring an entire universe of other possibilities. For example, what if someone met all the criteria in the list, except that his name was not Jesus? Or, what if the movement was not identifiable as such on a continuous basis both before and after his death? In either case, wouldn't we feel that we had found 'historical Jesus' in spite of those minor problems? Also, the definition contains many weasel words: how many followers does Carrier mean by "some"? What does he mean by "identifiable"? How much time is allowed for "soon"? And, how is this "identifiable movement" supposed to connect with Christianity? Putting mathematical concerns aside -- if we interpret these open questions fairly liberally, it's hard to avoid the conclusion that 'The Egyptian' probably does meet Carrier's requirements for a 'Historical Jesus'. Regarding the three criteria: 1) We have no reason to doubt Josephus in the claim that 'the Egyptian' was a real man. Josephus doesn't tell us his name, but we can't rule out that it was Jesus. Josephus says he acquired some 30,000 followers in life. There's no evidence that his movement was self-conscious as such (holding meetings, choosing officers, etc.) but these people were, in general, nationalist Jews who would have belonged to various sects including Zealots, Essenes, and so forth. Among the membership of all these various groups, 'The Egyptian' would have been remembered as a historical character, and some traditions about his teachings must have survived. It's highly likely that at least some followers of 'the Egyptian' recognized him as the Jewish Messiah. 2) Josephus' account is clear, that 'The Egyptian' escaped. But considering the circumstances, his followers certainly would have had cause to be concerned, and 'some' probably thought the worst, that he must have been killed. 3) At the time the Gospels were first written and publicized, it seems reasonable that some of its audience would have recognized that 'The Egyptian' (that is, a historical Jewish messiah candidate) was being represented or caricatured in the Gospels. But, many of those same people didn't know much about the details of the Egyptian's life; possibly not even as much as Josephus described. Surely at least 'some' would accept the Gospel version of events, and thus worship this person, who they understood to be 'The Egyptian', as a living God. They were inclined to respect any Messianic candidate as a sort of divine being, anyhow. QED. By his own definition, Carrier really ought to accept 'The Egyptian' as a Historical Jesus. For that matter, there's absolutely no reason why there couldn't be more than one such person.