@ Bradley Bowen ON http://goo.gl/IgEpZ. Hyperskepticism appears to be and attempt to say "I don't like your idea". There is nothing "hyperskeptical" about a person asking for another person to demonstrate their hypothesis. If one does not demonstrate their hypothesis it is unreasonable for one to expect another to buy one's hypothesis.
Few people actually study Christianity as history. And those that do, don't often study it as a whole.
For example. Few people know that we have no primary of secondary material regarding Jesus. And few people know that we have no primary or secondary material regarding the characters we know as Paul and the Apostles. All the material we do have is anonymous, and of an unknown time period.
At a certain point Christianity does come on the historical scene, but this is not until the times of Irenaeus. And this during a time that there were a variety of Christian groups battling each other, accusing each other of falsifying texts, and making stuff up. At this time we find quotes that appear to be of documents we are familiar with, being quoted differently than the form we have them now. In addition, we know that these texts have occasionally been altered, both accidently, and with purpose. We also know that the group promoting these documents was in effect a marketing company promoting a particular supernaturalistic view. And in the late 300's this group was adopted by the Roman government. This gave the group legal authority, and it further promoted it's supernatural view, now with the force of law.
It is only in the 1800s that these texts and beliefs began to be examined. At this point historians began to realize that many, if not all out prior beliefs about Christian history were legendary, and understandable without supernaturalism, and as part of understandable political motives.
The blow back from supernaturalists, and the society in general, that wished to believe in the supernaturalism and historicity of Christianity, inspired I believe, a number of institutions that were created to appear to be academic, but are in fact supernaturalisticly apologetical. Institutions that allow supernaturlaists to get Ph.Ds in "Religion" or "New Testament" studies so that the Ph.D. next to their name will imply some academic authority, while writing essays and book that defend supernaturalistic dogma.
Today, you are more likely to see articles about "the historical Jesus" from Religion and Theology professional, than History professionals. In fact, it is very difficult to find people with History degrees writing on the subject. This results in many people feeling that they are reading works of History professionals, when they are in fact reading the works of supernatural apologists.
One must remember that we have no primary or secondary material regard the legendary Jesus character, or almost any of the characters in the gospel legends like the apostles and other characters. It is difficult to wade through the mass of works that attempt to promote the legends as historical facts, but slowly there are a few historians that are beginning to address this topic, and I think over time, we will get a clearer picture on the origins of Christianity.
Bradley Bowen has left a new comment on the post "Victor on Weird Stuff":
Rich Griese said...
I think that until someone demonstrates that there even was an actual Jesus, talking about Jesus attributes, or events in Jesus life is mere speculation. Jesus legends have come down to us from Church dogma...
Your comments stike me as being hyperskeptical. Hyperskepticism is just as much a threat to science and scholarship as religious and supernatural bias.
New Testament documents about Jesus date to the 2nd half of the first century (60-100 CE). The authentic letters of Paul show that there were followers of Jesus who believed he had died and risen from the dead and were preaching this new religion by 50 CE, only a couple of decades after the crucifixion. Paul claims to have met with some of the disciples of Jesus, such as Peter.
Given that we have very early documents that provide details about the life and minstry of Jesus, the burden of proof falls on you and other Jesus mythicists to prove that Jesus was a myth. The burden of proof that Jesus was a real historical person has already been met with clear prima facie historical evidence, so it remains to skeptics to show that there is good reason to believe that these early documents are (contrary to appearances) fictional.
Christian belief was very diverse in the first few centuries, so the existence of "Church Dogma" was too late to provide an historical explanation for the existence of the accounts of Jesus in the gospels and the authentic letters of Paul.