Here's another critique by Tim O'Neil. This one is of David Fitzgerald's self-published book, Nailed: Ten Christian Myths that Show that Jesus Never Existed at All. Tim argues that Fitzgerald isn't even sure if he is arguing against a historical Jesus or just against the idea of Jesus that is defended by conservative (fundamentalist?) Christians. Fitzgerald argues as if the Christian writers got anything at all wrong (like the claim of a Empire-wide census), then that is somehow proof that Jesus didn't exist at all.
Here is how O'Neil concludes his article:
A major part of the problem with most manifestations of the Myther thesis is that its proponents desperately want it to be true because they want to undermine Christianity. And any historical analysis done with one eye on an emotionally-charged ideological agenda is usually heading for trouble from the start. Over and over again, Fitzgerald does what most of these Mythers do - plumps for an interpretation, explanation or excuse about the evidence simply because it preserves his thesis. Their biases against Christianity blind Mythers to the fact that they are not arriving at conclusions because they are the best or most parsimonious explanation of the evidence, but merely because they fit their agenda.
The overwhelming majority of scholars, Christian, non-Christian, atheist, agnostic or Jewish, accept there was a Jewish preacher as the point of origin for the Jesus story simply because that makes the most sense of all the evidence. The contorted and contrived lengths that Fitzgerald and his ilk have to resort to shows exactly how hard it is to sustain the idea that no such historical preacher existed. Personally, as an atheist amateur historian myself, I would have no problem at all embracing the idea that no historical Jesus existed if someone could come up with an argument for this that did not depend at every turn on strained readings, ad hoc explanations, imagined textual interpolations and fanciful suppositions. While the Myther thesis is being sustained by junk pulp pseudo scholarship like Fitzgerald's worthless little book, it will remain a curiosity on the fringes of scholarship good for little more than amusement. This book is crap.
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