Thursday, July 10, 2014

Bad Theories Die Hard

Bill Maher helped to popularize the claim that the Resurrection and other Christian "myths" were plagiarized from early "mystery religions". By the turn of the century, this theory was for the most part abandoned by scholars,[1] although some skeptics will continue to peddle this theory on the Internet and in popular culture. The moral of this story is that it isn't just conservatives or the nominally religious who, from time to time, deny the scholarly consensus (e.g., on climate change).

[1] See Archetypes and Motifs in Folklore and Literature (Garry and el-Shammy), and the Riddle of Resurrection: Dying and Rising Gods in the Ancient Near East (Mettinger) (the author, by the way, accepts the dying-and-rising-gods category, although he acknowledges the scholarly consensus against it).