The Infidel Guy had Richard Carrier on his radio show again (link
) and they were discussing The Jesus Project (link
), Carrier's new book, "Not the Impossible Faith
," and his recent debate with William Lane Craig (link
). Strokeofthought here on xanga had brought up the issue of how Carrier had addressed the Habermas study at length rather than Jacob Kremer on scholarly consensus on the historicity of the empty tomb story in the gospels. I thought I would give Carrier a chance to respond directly to that point. I'm caller number 3 (see 39 minutes, 32 seconds).
As you can see from the quote below (after listening to Carrier's response to my follow up question), great minds think alike: I said (link):
Anyway, it would be very convenient to have a comprehensive peer review survey polling serious scholarship on all these issues as a general guide to laypeople where they stand and what the actual consensus is on every attribute that tends to come up. Oh well. Put that on the wish list.
History of this conversation:Strokeofthought (link):
I'm surprised you didn't mention how Carrier needlessly responded at length to the study done by Habermas on scholars who hold to the story of the empty tomb when Craig had not even referenced it. It's especially painful when all Craig has to say in return is, 'I didn't cite Habermas, my authority was Jacob Kremer.'
Yes, apparently Carrier went on about Habermas because he knows that WLC and many apologists do in fact tend to use him.
I didn't mention the Habermas thing, because it could be understood to stand as Rick's evidence against the consensus on the empty tomb point. Yeah, it's convoluted. Yeah, I would have liked to see Rick address the Jacob thing (and I did notice that), but all things considered, it turned out not to be one of the bigger mistakes. It could be added though.
It appears I was right in that addressing that issue did serve Carrier to make his own positive case for other purposes.
The cite is from his work "Die Osterevangelien--Geschichten um Geschichte" which was published in 1977. It strikes me as odd that Craig continues to use such a dated quote - although it is true that people like New Testament scholars tend to not die, and many of the scholars Kremer was referring to as accepting the statements about the empty tomb may still be alive. Although Kremer is not still one of them apparently, per this link. In an interview with the author of the work, Kremer indicates he is now an agnostic about the tomb, but still holds to a metaphorical interpretation of the resurrection.
It is rather ironic (see the quotes below from the link Strokeofthought gave me) that the authority WLC cites against Carrier (link) actually espouses Carrier's basic view on the empty tomb now. Oopsie.
Excerpt from that dissertation Strokeofthought provided:
..... my position is: Jesus is resurrected yes, in the moment of His death. Death and resurrection at the same time. And then the picture of the explanations. And many Christians come to this .. and this is my position.
If somebody would ask you, let say, you do an interview on the radio and somebody asks you the question: prof Kremer, did Jesus rise with a body, and does it mean that the grave is empty? What would your answer be?
Ahh, maybe possible that the grave was deserted, but it is no proof, no proof. Because when Jesus resurrected, he was resurrected with His body, and the distinction between soul and body is a distinction out of the Greek philosophy, and in the Holy Scripture nothing is written about it. For instance, a critic of mine professor ‘Schubracht’, he is very against me, because I said ‘I don’t know if the grave was empty .. it is not important, no’. And then he had the interesting problem too .. years ago Ratzinger had written an article about the distinction between ‘leichaam’, body und libe. The leichaam isn’t the same as the body. Because ‘lichaam’, that is a symbol of the dead .. I think it’s in the Protestant churches too .. the dead are in the grave untill the last day of the resurrection, no. In the grave the lichaam, but it is a symbol of the dead. And therefore we say in German ‘das lere Grab’ .. the grave are without body, it’s looking for the resurrection.
So the empty grave is not that important?
No, no, it’s got nothing to do.
Probably it is an expression of the church, but we know nothing” (Kremer, J. 2006. Interview with Mulder, F. Evangelische Fakultät, Vienna, 5 July 2006). [emphasis mine]
Gee, that sounds a lot like Richard Carrier here (The Empty Tomb: Jesus Beyond the Grave, pg. 157):
...on my theory the empty tomb story originated as a symbol, not a historical fact. It then became the subject of legendary embellishment over the ensuing generations, eventually becoming an essential element in the doctrine of a particular sect of Christians...
Mulder (link, pg. 180):
...it is significant that he [Jacob Kremer], generally known for his staunch defense of the empty tomb, revised his position on the empty tomb and resurrection of late. This is significant as Craig and Habermas continue to use Kremer to support their belief in the empty tomb.
Apparently William Lane Craig needs to reevaluate some of his sales pitch. I suppose they could say that Kremer's opinion at the time was still an accurate assessment of the scholarly circles and they could merely cite him as a reluctant or "hostile witness" these days. hehe Update:
Craig claims that Mulder has misinterpreted Kremer
. I don't know German, so I can't say much. The evidence Craig presents is this translation of another part of the interview:
From the differing and in part unharmonizable, even contradictory, data about the discovery of the empty tomb it can at most be inferred that the tomb on Easter morning was probably empty, but nothing more. [emphasis mine]
"At most" and "be inferred" seems hardly worth granting the historical fact status Craig seems to need for his case and is compatible with the interpretation already given in this post. Craig's quote doesn't seem to magically negate all the other quotes, so I'm not really sure what he hopes to accomplish. He doesn't provide an alternate translation of what I quoted and it seems implausible that the reverse conclusion could be derived. I see that Craig relies more on his intuition and poisoning the well in some general sense without getting specific and then taking the conversation in an irrelevant direction. And his counter-quote doesn't show what he says "couldn't be more clear." Sounds like confirmation bias to me.