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PostPosted: Fri May 25, 2012 3:02 pm 
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Here in this thread we will respond to Joseph Hoffmann's blog where he has published a post by Maurice Casey entitled The Jesus Process: Mythicism: A Story of Bias, Incompetence and Falsehood, attempting to defend Bart Ehrman's "hack job" (Dr. Price) of a book on mythicism, 'Did Jesus Exist?' and specifically his comments regarding Acharya S and her work:

Mythicism: A Story of Bias, Incompetence and Falsehood

On a side note, here are responses by Neil Godfrey and Earl Doherty:

Neil Godfrey’s response 1 to Maurice Casey and Stephanie Fisher

Earl Doherty’s Response to Maurice Casey

And for a good laugh be sure to read the comments.

The New Apologists by Kenneth Humphreys

From the FAQ: Acharya's Response to Bart Ehrmans' Book 'Did Jesus Exist?'

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PostPosted: Sun May 27, 2012 6:37 pm 
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Here's Joseph Hoffmann's assault against the case for mythicism:

Controversy, Mythicism, and the Historical Jesus

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 18, 2012 5:01 pm 
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At Joseph Hoffmann's blog where he has published a post for Maurice Casey entitled:

The Jesus Process: Maurice Casey

Mythicism: A Story of Bias, Incompetence and Falsehood


by Maurice Casey, Emeritus Professor of New Testament Studies, University of Nottingham. Here's Maurice Casey's Wiki page

Maurice Casey's blog 'Mythicism: A Story of Bias, Incompetence and Falsehood' begins by saying:

Maurice Casey wrote:
"One of the most remarkable features of public discussion of Jesus of Nazareth in the twenty-first century has been a massive upsurge in the view that this important historical figure did not even exist."

We agree.

From there Maurice Casey says:

Maurice Casey wrote:
"The presentation of this view has changed radically in recent years, led by hopelessly unlearned people. It has two major features. One is rebellion against traditional Christianity, especially in the form of fundamentalism. The second is the massive contribution of the internet ...

"...The internet audience is ‘lay’, but it is not open-minded. It has both ‘Christian apologists’, whom mythicists love to hate, and atheists who are determinedly anti-Christian. Both groups consist largely of people with closed minds who are impervious to evidence and argument, a quite different world from the critical scholars among whom I am happy to have spent most of my life, whether they were Christian, Jewish or irreligious."

I love how Maurice Casey claims that everyone on the internet are: "hopelessly unlearned, lay, not open-minded, impervious to evidence and argument" all while Maurice Casey posts a blog ON THE INTERNET!!! Talk about irony. Sure, there are plenty of knuckleheads on the internet but, the internet is not reserved just for them. It's long passed time for academics like Maurice Casey to step outside of those ivory towers of academia and join the rest of the world. We now know that New Testament scholars are NOT experts on mythicism due to the fact that it is not a requirement for students to study the case for mythicism in order to receive their Ph.D. So, why on earth would we look to them as experts when they know very little about it beyond how to do the typical hand-waving dismissal of it in toto? For more on the mythicism topic give this thread a very good going over.

Skipping down to where he mentions Acharya, Maurice Casey says:

Maurice Casey wrote:
"... when she gets to dating the Gospels, Murdock declares that ‘all of the canonical gospels seem to emerge at the same time – first receiving their names and number by Irenaeus around 180 AD/CE….If the canonical texts as we have them existed anywhere previously, they were unknown, which makes it likely that they were not composed until that time or shortly before, based on earlier texts.’[24]

Maurice Casey wrote:
"The criterion of not being mentioned in other texts is an important mythicist weapon. It embodies the fundamentalist assumption that the Gospels should have become sacred texts immediately, and therefore quoted by all extant Christian authors as fundamentalists quote the New Testament."

Seriously? That's the type of comment I'd expect from the "hopelessly unlearned, lay, not open-minded, impervious to evidence and argument." These types of hyperbolic comments are dripping with biases and misleading rhetoric that one should consider unbecoming of a highly respected and highly credentialed scholar. Facts are facts, either the gospels were clearly mentioned prior to Irenaeus or they weren't and Maurice Casey has given us absolutely no credible reason to believe otherwise. Acharya has never said or even implied Maurice Casey's utterly ludicrous claim "...that the Gospels should have become sacred texts immediately, and therefore quoted by all extant Christian authors." That's worse than dumb. After comments like that, Maurice Casey is surprised by the lack of respect towards academia? Perhaps academia needs a shake-up? The work in this area by academia is less than impressive so, it takes more objective and honest independent scholars such as Acharya S, Dr. Robert M. Price, Earl Doherty, Kenneth Humphreys, Frank Zindler, G. A. Wells, René Salm and many more, to point out these glaring holes like an elephant in the room that academia has always had trouble with.

Maurice Casey wrote:
"...It follows that by ‘the memoirs of Peter’ Justin meant something at least very like what we call the Gospel of Mark."

So, Maurice Casey knows what Justin Martyr "meant" in around 150 ad? No, the "memoirs" were NOT the gospels. Most everyone who's looked into the matter already knows that - even the "hopelessly unlearned." So, who's Maurice Casey trying to fool here? It's pathetic and sounds like Christian apologetics and special pleading.

Maurice Casey wrote:
"Mythicists also presuppose that the attestation of the Gospels somehow ought to be similar to the attestation of modern documents written in cultures where writing is normal, and books are printed. This is why, as mythicists try to date the Gospels as late as possible, one of the reasons they use is the date of surviving manuscripts. In doing this, however, they show no understanding of the nature of ancient documents and their transmission, which was very different from the writing of books in the modern world."

Mythicists propose a late date for the Gospels simply because there's no credible evidence for dating them any earlier. If Maurice Casey read a single book by Acharya S he'd already know how much he just embarrassed himself with the above claim. It's so utterly pathetic that that's why Acharya S doesn't waste her own time responding to such sloppy and egregious claims. When it comes to the work by Acharya S, Maurice Casey simply doesn't know what the hell he's talking about. His arguments are as bad as any knucklehead I've come across on the internets.

Acharya S does NOT "try to date the Gospels as late as possible" she dates them in accordance to the historic and literary records based on credible evidence (you might try it sometime). One would think a high ranking scholar such as Maurice Casey would understand that but, it appears his attacks tossed at Acharya S are based on Bart Ehrman's cliff notes by his assistants. Neither Bart Ehrman nor Maurice Casey actually read Acharya's books and their very own comments prove that - that is intellectual dishonesty.

Maurice Casey wrote:
"There are in fact far more copies of the Gospels surviving from relatively soon after they were written than is the case of most works from the Greco-Roman world, or ancient Judaism."

Meh, so what?

The Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible, remarks:

Quote:
"The NT [New Testament] is now known, in whole or in part, in nearly five thousand Greek MSS [manuscripts] alone. Every one of these handwritten copies differs from every other one ... It has been estimated that these MSS and quotations differ among themselves between 150,000 and 250,000 times. The actual figure is, perhaps, much higher..."

"...A study of 150 Greek MSS of the Gospel of Luke has revealed more than 30,000 different readings ... It is safe to say that there is not one sentence in the NT in which the MS tradition is wholly uniform."

"...Many thousands of the variants which are found in the MSS of the NT were put there deliberately. They are not merely the result of error or of careless handling of the text. Many were created for theological or dogmatic reasons… It is because the books of the NT are religious books, sacred books, canonical books, that they were changed to conform to what the copyist believed to be the true reading."

- Who Was Jesus?, pages 48/49

* The TID is a conservative Christian authority "Text, NT," v. 4; 594-595

Regarding the canonical gospels, Dr. Bart Ehrman remarks:

Quote:
"We don't have the originals! We have only error-ridden copies..."

- Who Was Jesus?, page 50

Quote:
"The only definite account of his life and teachings is contained in the four Gospels of the New Testament, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. All other historical records of the time are silent about him. The brief mentions of Jesus in the writings of Josephus, Tacitus and Suetonius have been generally regarded as not genuine and as Christian interpolations; in Jewish writings there is no report about Jesus that has historical value. Some scholars have even gone so far as to hold that the entire Jesus story is a myth…"

- The Universal Jewish Encyclopedia

Maurice Casey wrote:
"Eusebius helped to build up an excellent library in Caesarea.[27] Eusebius had there a copy of the work of Papias, Bishop of Hierapolis in the early second century, An Exposition of the Lord’s Oracles (Logia), and he quotes important information from it (Eus., H.E. III, 39, 1-7, 14-17). The library was however destroyed. The last reliable mention of it is by Jerome, though it may not have been destroyed until the Arab invasion in the seventh century. In a world where there were not many copies of old books, this destruction was a major disaster, and there should be no doubt that many Christian books were lost in this way. We should contrast the creative fiction of Acharya, who comments on the disappearance of Papias’ work: ‘It is inexplicable that such a monumental work by an early Christian father was “lost”, except that it had to be destroyed because it revealed the Savior as absolutely non-historical.’[28] This comment has no connection with the reality of the ancient world, and Acharya’s ‘reason’ for its destruction is nothing better than malicious invention."

LOL, that's a embarrassingly fallacious argument. We know full well that early Christians went on destruction rampages because it's well documented. They were so proud of their destruction that they often boasted of what they had destroyed - that's how we know about some specifics.

Lets assume for sake of argument that Maurice Casey is correct above about Eusebius, that doesn't mean that that's how it all went down. It's a fallacy to hold up this one model as an example and base huge assumptions on it.

Pagan Destruction Chronology (314-870 C.E)

Maurice Casey wrote:
"The American Christian scholar Ward Gasque consulted a number of modern Egyptologists, and discovered that the Egyptian KRST is the word for “burial”, so it is a very appropriate word to turn up on Egyptian coffins, and has no connection with the Jewish and Christian term ‘Christ’.[31]"

Once again Maurice Casey demonstrates that he nor Gasque know what they're talking about. This is another illustration of the complete incompetence and biases of Casey. Maurice Casey apparently didn't actually READ Acharya's book Christ in Egypt or he would understand the different determinatives in Egyptian hieroglyphs where one is certainly for burial but, another determinative for KRST is to be rubbed with oils - specifically with frankincense and myrrh precisely the same as was said of Jesus no less. What is the definition of "Christ" or "messiah" - anoint with oil. KRST was part of the Egyptian mummification process (CIE 317) a popular and well known concept.

On Ward Gasque

Osiris the Christ?

Maurice Casey wrote:
"This is only one of myriad examples of mythicists creating havoc with supposed ‘parallels’. Murdock put the central point in a nutshell without realising that from a scholarly point of view, it is not merely sinful, but a mortal sin rather than a peccadillo. Commenting on the notion that Horus was ‘baptised’ by Anup/Inpu, she notes that the comparison ‘between Anup and John has been extrapolated for a variety of reasons’, and adds that ‘“Christian” terminology has been utilized to describe what was found in the ancient Egyptian texts and monuments, as well as elsewhere around the Roman empire during the era.’[34] This is central to the way in which most of the so-called parallels to the life and teaching of Jesus have been manufactured by mythicists. In actuality, Horus was not thought to have been baptised by Anup/Inpu, who was supposed to have been a jackal-headed Egyptian deity, not a Jewish man, and Inpu was not beheaded either."

And again Maurice Casey proves his utter incompetence and biases. Christ in Egypt includes a 30 page chapter on that subject alone starting on page 233. Anup WAS beheaded, which is how he ended up with a jackal-head and Horus was baptized. This is sooooo pathetically bad that I have to just stop.

I'm done wasting my time on this response for now. Maurice Casey exemplifies what's wrong with academia today and demonstrates he is one of the dumbest "scholars" I've seen since historian Dr. Chris Forbes:

Rebuttal to Dr. Chris Forbes concerning 'Zeitgeist, Part 1'

It's not just theists either as there are many prominent atheists who don't appear to fully grasp mythology:

Richard Dawkins on Zeitgeist part 1

Richard Carrier on Zeitgeist part 1

Skeptic Magazine Critique of Zeitgeist Part 1

For more background on Joseph Hoffmann read these:

Another Nasty "Atheist Experience"

Jesus Project and Jesus Seminar

The Mythicist Position:


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 18, 2012 9:02 pm 
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Thank you for doing that. Even reading such rubbish sullies my brain. To quote the immortal Clara Peller, "Where's the beef?"



If you listen to the great minds of academia on this subject, you will be left squarely in the dark. You can tell the efficacy of a thesis by the degree of fury in a criticism - I must be very effective for someone to become this unglued, irrational and unscholarly. Despite all the frantic hand-waving, vitriolic personal attacks, malicious derogation, sneering credentialism, mind-numbing pedantry, sleazy sophistry and the rest, the following statement remains the most accurate, based on all the evidence: The "Jesus Christ" of the New Testament is a fictional composite of characters, real and mythical. A composite of multiple "people" is no one.

Compare the Bible-thumper and anti-mythicist's foolish bilge with the genius of Gerald Massey, writing over a century ago, without benefit of a formal education and raised in abject poverty. How embarrassing for the educated bibliolater who cannot approach this man's brilliance.

Quote:
"A professed Egyptologist has written respecting the passage of the Red Sea: 'It would be impious to attempt an explanation of what is manifestly miraculous.' To such a depth of degradation can Bibliolatry reduce the human mind! Such is the spirit in which the subject has been crawled over.

"These impotent attempts to convert mythology into history, dignified with the astounding title of the Book of God, have produced the most unmitigated muddle of matter ever presented to the mind of man. There has been no such fruitful case of misconception as this supposed source of all wisdom, designated the Book of God, ignorantly believed to have been communicated to man orally by an objective Deity."

Gerald Massey, A Book of the Beginnings (2.176)

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 28, 2012 10:34 am 
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Freethought Nation Blog: Ken Humphreys on the 'New Apologists' desperately seeking the Son of God

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Christ in Egypt: The Horus-Jesus Connection
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 28, 2012 5:41 pm 
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Hoffmann, CSER, 'Disease-Spreading Buggers' and Humanism

Regarding the debacle with R. Joseph Hoffmann and Maurice Casey, who, apparently after deciding that Bart Ehrman's book Did Jesus Exist? was pathetic, have decided to enter the fray with a rabid historical-Jesus defense, I had to say something on my blog:

Ken Humphreys on the 'New Apologists' desperately seeking the Son of God

There I briefly mention that the renowned "humanist" Joe Hoffmann had befriended me at one point, only to have him attack me viciously all these years later, completely unprovoked except that I do not share his blind belief in a Jewish messiah and supernatural savior-god as "historical."

My personal story with Hoffmann began in 2005, with the later, nasty developments occurring in early 2006. I have said little about this rude treatment since that time, but in consideration of the disgusting calumny with which Hoffmann has painted mythicists - labeling us "disease-spreading buggers," fighting words that evoke extermination - the gloves are coming off.

Constructive, Not Destructive

Unlike others who have proved themselves quite antisocial if not sociopathic, I tend to be constructive in pursuing my passion of examining religious and mythological origins, actually doing the research rather than wasting my time engaged in base derogation of others. Hence, I endured in silence the abuse outlined here, and moved along to continue my scholarly pursuits. In light of the current environment of the New Apologists and their Inquisition, however, I need to put this situation on record.

It needs to be emphasized that I do not go around attacking individuals in any way, shape or form. I have only on rare occasion defended myself when others have personally attacked and insulted me. Anyone who actually understands my work knows it does not revolve around criticizing and personally attacking others, especially other skeptics and freethinkers! In contrast, I have been relentlessly attacked personally, including by other skeptics and freethinkers, such as Hoffmann, Carrier and Ehrman. (There are others in the skeptical field, very conceited, arrogant and sexist individuals who will receive the same exposure at some point if they continue on their antisocial warpath.)

As someone who was raised around a number of human beings we styled "retarded and handicapped" in pre-PC times, I am used to defending innocents against bullies, which I have done on many occasions since childhood. At times, I was the only one of my peers to provide such a defense. I have been dealing with bullies for a very long time, and I've frankly had enough of this disgusting behavior.

Religionists Behaving Badly

It should be noted that one of the main reasons I do what I do - at great risk and exposure to constant abuse that often smacks of sheer misogyny - is because religious fervor makes people behave badly and inhumanely to their fellow humans and animals. I observed this appalling behavior at a young age while reading LIFE, TIME and National Geographic magazines, for example, and listening to the genocidal stories of the Old Testament.

In fact, I spent the first decade of my life becoming physically ill whenever I encountered examples of cruelty, suffering and especially man's inhumanity to man. I noticed that, whereas little children hold no automatic discrimination against others based on color, race, religion, gender or other difference, adult human beings are divisive for irrational and, ultimately, disgraceful reasons, such as race, gender and religion. I knew that one couldn't easily change one's race or gender, but religion is an ideology, and there is little reason to cling to any ideology that makes people hate and commit violence against their fellow human beings.

Few ideologies have been more divisive and violent than religious fanaticism. Hundreds of millions have been tormented, tortured, robbed, raped and murdered in the name of numerous gods since remotest antiquity. The fact is that, while religion can bring much meaning as a cultural artifact that has inspired great civilizations like those of the Egyptians and Incas, again, religious fanaticism makes people behave badly towards each other. It makes them hate people they might otherwise like or love; religious fanaticism makes people behave sociopathically, turning them against each other, even their own loved ones and friends.

Thus, I endeavored to help end this violent and hateful divisiveness based on poorly devised or understood ideologies. My effort is to get to the root of the issues, which to me is the blatant mythological nature of these supernatural philosophies. I have no problem with mythology per se - in fact, I absolutely love it, which is why I have been studying it for decades. I was weaned not only on Protestant Christianity but also on Greek mythology in significant part. Few interests thrill me like ancient Greece, and I spent many moons there in my youth over a period of more than a decade of trips to that beloved land. These facts mean that I have been immunized to blindly believing in supernatural prophets or saviors of one or another ethnicity and that I can smell a myth a mile away.

From Born Again to Mythicist

For the past nearly 20 years, I have been studying and writing about the Christ myth in particular, after having been raised a Christian and briefly been a born-again so I could have the experience of that nasty hair-shirt, which came off fairly quickly. I studied many other religions, sects, cults, philosophies and so on. Having been raised in an activist family, I am inclined to do things meaningful to humanity and the world as a whole. Again, I noted that religious bias was causing strife and discord all over the place, including not only between people but also as concerns their views of the planet.

After much soul searching and discovering the Christ-myth body of literature - which turned out to be massive - I determined that I had the skills and knowledge to expose this important information to the public as much as was possible. Hence, I wrote my book The Christ Conspiracy.

Swapping One Nasty Mentality for Another?

Naturally, when I hung my shingle out online beginning in 1995, I was attacked by Christian fanatics on a regular basis for years on end. I was surprised, however, at how vicious were the skeptics as well. I realized at that point that I was pretty much on my own and that the divisiveness and sociopathy I was objecting to extended to nonbelievers as well. What was the point to these skeptics' efforts, I wondered, if they are as hostile, angry and ill-behaved as the religious fanatics? I am not interested in replacing one nasty cult with another, whether it's believing or disbelieving. My whole goal is to help alleviate the tension and hatred on the earth, and to reduce tyranny, wherever it may be found. Otherwise, I have no business hanging out my shingle - and neither does anyone else.

Which brings me to Joe Hoffmann. What is his point in attacking mythicists with such invective? How is his view of reality better than that of the Inquisitors? And how could someone who poses as a "humanist" allow theological ideas from 2,000 years ago to cause him to erupt into a hateful frenzy, an ugly attack on another - me - whom he once befriended out of the blue and then unceremoniously dumped with no courtesy of explanation?

After my experience with him, outlined below, R. Joseph Hoffmann absolutely does not deserve to be called a "humanist" in any sense of the word. Is this how he treats his family members and friends in "real life?" Does he spew bile at them - and endanger them by exposing their personal information against their will on the internet? Is this misbehavior really what we want to replace the old guard with? Or is it just the same old guard coming unglued at the seams?

First Contact

I was used to the angry abuse by the time Joe Hoffmann first emailed me in July 2005. I almost deleted his message because I frankly thought it was a joke from one of my Christian apologist ranters trying to trap me. They were always doing that - you see, I'm just not allowed to live, not allowed to mind my own business, not allowed to write books that reflect my research. I was subjected to YEARS of daily abuse by these fanatics. I was also spewed upon by a number of skeptics, as I say, so when Hoffmann wrote me from the Center for Inquiry and asked me to be a Fellow on their new project, the Committee for the Scientific Examination of Religion ("CSER"), I was also cautious.

Indeed, my response to Hoffmann was so surprised that he seemed tickled at my innocent skepticism. He insisted he was really R. Joseph Hoffmann - whose Celsus book I had read and quoted - and the fellowship was real. Over a period of months, during which I was under the impression that he was very friendly and cordial, some interesting things came to light, including that Robert M. Price had purportedly recommended me to Hoffman. Although I have become friendly with Price after he too initially assailed me, at the time his behavior had been causing me tremendous difficulty, so I did not expect any such endorsement at all. I thought the idea was a great one: The Jesus Project, designed to investigate the case for Jesus mythicism, or so I thought that's what it would be about. I was wrong, and the JP died - exactly as I predicted, because it took a sudden turn that killed it. It became useless by ignoring the 800-pound gorilla in the room. Ultimately, I was glad I had been excluded, which is exactly what happened after about five months of corresponding with Joe, when, without a word of courtesy to me, I was unceremoniously shunned.

Rude Awakening

Fast-forward to January 2006. During the last months of 2005, Hoffmann and I communicated several times, working out logistics of appearing at the JP gatherings. He even asked me to do a presentation at Wells College, where he was a professor. He was very enthusiastic and encouraging, and I ended up confiding in him about a number of issues, since he presented himself as a caring, humanist authority interested in ongoing interaction. Needless to say, I regret trusting him in this manner, as he has proved himself to be untrustworthy, erratic and irrational.

At the time Hoffman first contacted me, I had been enduring a years-long series of awful personal tragedies that had culminated just a year before, and I was traumatized by these events. I had suffered a life-threatening medical emergency, been abused physically, lost my mother and best friend, had to go into hiding and eventually endured the abduction of my 2-year-old child out of my arms by three hired thugs. It was into this atmosphere that the friendly Joe Hoffmann stepped to welcome me into what I thought was a fold of intelligent and erudite individuals who were going to examine a real issue without rancor and biases.

Non-Humanist Hypocrite

Here we are six years later, and the entire exercise with CSER has been an utter waste of time. In reality, the effort has produced rotten fruit. As I say, I've gone along on my merry way, continuing to research into what I find to be the most fascinating subjects. I let it all go - but to have this non-humanist come roaring back with even more extreme abuse is the last straw. It is intolerable, and I will not be abused any further.

I am not a "disease-spreading bugger," thank you very little, R. Joseph Hoffmann, but YOU, sir, are a charlatan and hypocrite. You are not a humanist by any stretch of the imagination. Your behavior of the past several years is a clear indication of that fact, and I suggest you stop trying to fool people in the humanist world. You are the non-violent equivalent of the fire-snorting Inquisitor who cannot tolerate the thoughts of others that do not agree with yours. Instead of being a friendly humanist pal, you have allowed mythical religious ideas to destroy your friendships. That situation to me represents the complete opposite of humanism! In fact, such inquisitorial, friend-betraying behavior is the exact reason why humanism developed, in Europe, largely by the Dutch, and I find your representation as the face of humanism to be insulting to me and these pioneers.

BORG and Bugs

Following are emails I received from R. Joseph Hoffmann during 2005. Usually I am absolutely loathe to expose my private correspondence, and most people can trust me explicitly, But, like I say, I've had enough of the abuse. I have no problem being friends with people who don't think exactly like I do. We all think differently - that quality is what makes us individuals, instead of BORG. If Hoffmann's bizarre perceptions were not clouding his mind and behavior, he would probably find that I am a very nice, honest and decent human being who would give him the shirt off my back. Yet, he has chosen to turn me and many others into adversaries, dehumanizing us in a manner that evokes an image of bugs to be squashed. Again, such a person is no humanist, and it's too bad that he and others allow religious ideology to cause them to be so hateful and nasty to their fellow human beings. To reiterate, such behavior is the precise opposite of humanism, so let us hear none of that fallacious association.

A major point to all philosophizing should be not whether or not we all believe exactly the same, like a hive mind, but how we treat each other in spite of our different perceptions of reality. The abusive mistreatment of fellow human beings in this humanist field has been frankly sociopathic, disgraceful and embarrassing.

Tossed Like Trash

Below is our (edited) exchange over a period of approximately five months. During this time, I confided some concerns, and eventually, when it appeared we would be doing a seminar, I told Joe that I had issues with security because, during the previous year, I had gone into hiding from a violent stalker who had beaten me and abducted my son. I sent Joe that email in January 2006, a year after the abduction. After months of cordial exchange, I never heard back from him. Because of the stigma associated with people who have crimes committed against them - believe me, I was treated to much fearful discrimination before I finally wised up about not discussing my situation - I figured I'd blown it by being so forthright, but then I wondered, why would a so-called humanist hold such a dreadful experience against me (and my little child)?

At that point, around February 2006, I finally checked the CSER website, where I had been listed as a Fellow, and to my chagrin I discovered that I had been unceremoniously removed from the site, apparently thrown off the committee, without a single word of courtesy to me. On my end, nothing other had transpired than me informing Hoffmann that I had security issues. Thinking that security may be the reason for my rude disposal, I noted that on the committee was Bangladeshi freethinker Taslima Nasrin, who has death threats against her for speaking out about Islamic fundamentalism, so Joe couldn't possibly be worried about my security issues. It had to be something else.

Suspicions and Tantrums

As you can see from our exchange, I was suspicious of Joe's emails at the time, because I felt that someone else might be sending them and, whoever he was, he might be trying to set me up. I was right to be suspicious, because the reasonable-sounding and interested Joe Hoffman has now yielded to some very strange views. His Jesus Project utterly failed - as I predicted it would, specifically because of my shabby treatment, which showed that the project wasn't serious about examining Jesus mythicism and would therefore be entirely purposeless. It was a fiasco, in fact, and nobody cares. So, that fact of not gathering attention may be at the heart of this "terrible twos" tantrum. Whatever the real issue is, it ain't about Jesus mythicism, which has rock solid reasoning and research behind it.

The Correspondence

Quote:
RE: Nomination to CSER
FROM: R. Joseph Hoffmann
TO: acharya_s@yahoo.com
DATE: Sunday, July 31, 2005

Dear Acharya S:

My friend Bob Price has suggested I contact you with respect to our work on the Committee for the Scientific Examination of Religion, a part of the Center for Inquiry and the Council for Secular Humanism in Buffalo. I am currently chair of the committee and we share interests in the history and mythology of early Christianity. A conference in April, "The Myth of the Historical Jesus," scheduled to take place at Stanford, will bring together some of the leading lights and leading critics of the myth theory of the development of Christian origins. I would be grateful if you would let me know whether you would be able to participate in this conference as soon as possible. Expenses for invited speakers will be paid by CFI. Further information about CSER is available at http://www.centerforinquiry.net/cser/

I look forward to hearing from you.

R. J. Hoffmann

R. Joseph Hoffmann
Professor of Religious Studies
Wells College
Aurora, NY 13026
(315-364-3294 O) (315-364-5454 H)
-----------------
CSER @
Center for Inquiry International
PO Box 741
Amherst, NY 14226
(716) 636-7571
http://www.centerforinquiry.net/cser/

"Do well and you will have no need for ancestors."
Voltaire

Needless to say, I was gobsmacked and thrilled to be invited to what appeared to be a very worthy and respectful effort.

Notice here Hoffmann is saying that fellow mythicist Robert M. Price is his "friend." Yet, Hoffman has been raging disrespectfully against mythicists, categorizing them, among many other vile insults, as "disease-spreading buggers." What an utter disgrace to say such a thing about your friends! How disappointing that theology is causing this professional scholar to behave so antisocially.

Again, at the time, Bob Price and I were not friends, and, to reiterate, his prior behavior towards me had caused me considerable difficulties. Joe and I had discussed this issue as well, because Price was included on the committee, and I wanted to thwart any possible tension at the CSER gatherings. I have chosen to edit out that particularly discussion, however, as it is currently irrelevant, although an unpleasant assertion about my abrupt removal from CSER did raise up the issue again.

This email exchange happened at a time I could not save my responses. Fortunately, most are included in Hoffman's replies, so I have reconstructed them.

Quote:
===== Original Message From Acharya S =====

Prof. Hoffmann -

I am very honored by your inquiry and would be interested in participating. I am, of course, curious as to the reason why Robert Price would be interested in my presence.

I also earlier offered to have my publisher send you a copy of my latest book "Suns of God," which was specifically written to address the criticisms of my earlier book, such as those so fervently made by Robert Price.

In any event, both of my works were very favorably reviewed by Barbara Walker, who is a well-esteemed scholar. Her review of "Suns of God" includes the following:

"Acharya S deserves to be recognized as a leading researcher and an expert in the field of comparative mythology, on a par with James Frazer or Robert Graves--indeed, superior to those forerunners in the frankness of her conclusions and the volume of her evidence."

The entire blurb may be found at http://www.truthbeknown.com/sunsofgod.htm

Thank you for your attention to this matter. I look forward to hearing from you.

Quote:
RE: Nomination to CSER
FROM: R. Joseph Hoffmann
TO: Acharya S
DATE: Friday, September 16, 2005

Hi

Robert Price has no special influence either way; you were nominated by the fellows and accepted and that's the end of it! I myself am critical of aspects of Bob's work, but I do admire a lot of what you have done. The conference is still in the planning stages and we have had to move the date to May (rather than April); will be precise asap. I hope we'll also be able to get to Wells for a lecture soon. I'm actually very much looking foward to meeting you--and sorry that my inattention has caused you any concern at all.

Joe

PS we are updating the CSER website this week; you should be listed in November.

(Emphasis added.)

Quote:
===== Original Message From Acharya S =====
Hi Joe -

I was a bit stunned to receive your message, as I had not fully understood the first one, apparently. Are you saying that I am also now a Fellow of the Committee and will be listed on the masthead on the site you provided? Please advise, as we are just finishing editing an important video interview (of me) that will be posted online next week.

Such a credential would be most impressive to include.

Most thrilling, if I got the gist of this message.

Quote:
RE: Nomination to CSER
FROM: R. Joseph Hoffmann
TO: Acharya S
DATE: Saturday, September 17, 2005

Yes, that's right--you are indeed, sorry for the pun, one of the chosen. Your first official gig is the Myth of the Historical Jesus conference in May 2006, and will send info in the next month about that. But I should mention, there is a major meeting of the international Academy of Humanism in Buffalo 27-30 October with a small CSER session. That was planned before the last intake of fellows, but you would be welcome to attend and we'd love to have you if you can make part or all of the meeting. Here's the link: http://www.centerforinquiry.net/events/csh-2005.html#sp

Best wishes,

Joe

Quote:
===== Original Message From Acharya S =====
Hi Joe -

First of all, I appreciate your comments very much. I knew there were academicians "out there" who at least recognized part of my effort. Such recognition, however, has not been forthcoming.

I've already lost a "good friend," who foamed at the mouth because he thought I had become a CSICOP. CSICOPs, as you might know, are considered [by some] unpleasant and hypocritical pitbulls as vehement in their fanaticism as religionists. Anyway, I think it is important to distinguish between CSICOP and CSER, although some of the same people are involved. I also feel it is myopic not to look at the big picture of this significant and welcome nod from CSER. I personally am thrilled to consider that some of the Fellows are familiar with my work. (I knew Eisenman was)....

In the meantime, if you have to time and internet capacity, perhaps you'd like to watch a video presentation/interview of mine now appearing online at:

http://bblc.tv/rebels.htm

(NB: I didn't write the copy there, which is inaccurate.)

I would be delighted give such a presentation at Wells and elsewhere.

Quote:
RE: Nomination to CSER
FROM: R. Joseph Hoffmann
TO: Acharya S
DATE: Sunday, September 25, 2005

I wouldn't worry too much--I have little use for CSICOP's stance and the projects, as the membership indicates, is radically different. In the spring we will also form a subgroup through the American Ethical Union simply called the Religion Forum in which you might want to be involved as well. ThaNKS

Joe (and will also look at the link) Thanks--

At this point, I discovered that I had been added to the CSER masthead, which was at this link, before the whole page was deleted, as is the page's index link provided by Hoffmann in his messages above. However, in a discussion of this issue some years ago, others saw that page and noted the fact that, by that time, my name was gone. The Wayback Machine for the CSER page remains online and has me listed.

At the bottom of this post is a reproduction of the current CFI/CSER page, which continues to have my name on it.

Quote:
===== Original Message From Acharya S =====
Hi Joe!

My name on the CSER masthead was just pointed out to me. Thank you! I'm thrilled to be in such august company, and I look forward to a fascinating experience.

[Here I discussed various concerns with the Price issues previously noted, which included Christian apologists who had glommed onto his criticisms and become extremely nasty and personal with me.]

So YOU won't have the same difficulties with fanatics, I would like to have a phone conversation.

Thanks again!!

P.S. I am quite interested in anything you come up with, such as the subcommittees.

Quote:
RE: Nomination to CSER
FROM: R. Joseph Hoffmann
TO: Acharya S
DATE: Tuesday, October 4, 2005

Hi,

Don't worry about XXXX. He should worry about his own credentials, but yes--let's talk next week--is Monday any good?

Joe

Note that we never did have that phone conversation, but I did call him after I had been removed from CSER. As he did not with my later emails, Hoffmann never returned my call. When Bob Price and I became friendly some months later, he asked Hoffmann what had happened, and, I was told, the latter was surprised to hear that I had been removed from CSER. However, by that point Joe knew that I had been removed, as I had told him through a number of emails and left a phone message. Again, no courtesy ever of a reply to any of my queries, and here we are, six years later, still with no explanation and with Hoffmann essentially calling me a "disease-spreading bugger."

Quote:
CSER and your Itinerary
FROM: R. Joseph Hoffmann
TO: Acharya S
CC: nbupp@centerforinquiry.net, pkurtz@centerforinquiry.net, sjordan@centerforinquiry.net
DATE: Sunday, September 25, 2005

Thanks for the link; a good interview which I will share around and see what we can do. I'll forward this to Sarah Jordan and to Nathan Bupp; it may be we could get you to Wells in Aurora and to Buffalo in November for a lecture.

Quote:
===== Original Message From Acharya S =====

Hi Joe!

I wanted to get back to you about a couple of things.

[Because I used a pseudonym exclusively at that time, I took it upon myself to give Hoffmann some personal data that I thought other participants must have likewise provided to him about themselves, including my name and educational background. The following is redacted.]

I graduated from Franklin & Marshall College a BA in Classics, Greek Civilization. Under the tutelage of Dr. Ann Stein at F&M, I was accepted into the American School of Classical Studies at Athens. We excavated at Corinth under Dr. Charles Williams.

Since then I have worked completely independently and have no further "official" credentials, first studying religions in general and then Christianity in specific. (I was born and raised a Congregationalist, so I knew Christianity pretty well already.)

I look forward to meeting you.

Quote:
RE: [BULK] Hello!
FROM: R. Joseph Hoffmann
TO: Acharya S
DATE: Saturday, November 5, 2005

I wanted you to come to the conference last week but we missed each other and I have been recuperating ever since. I will get you to Wells for a lecture before conference. The Int Acad of Humanism event drew 1000 people --of all persuasions-- and still the national press called it an "atheist" convention, the bastards. What do I call you/what do you want me to call you--clearly for CSER you have to be your nom de plume. I'll write more next week. Also wanted you to meet Sam Harris and a few other CSER fellows--but you will...

Joe

Needless to say, at this point I was very excited, especially at the thought of meeting Sam Harris.

Next, I sent him my perennial-favorite article about Christmas, which he received rationally enough.

Quote:
RE: The Christmas Hoax: Jesus is NOT the "Reason for the Season"
FROM: R. Joseph Hoffmann
TO: Acharya S
DATE: Friday, December 9, 2005

Thanks--seasonal and necessary! I'll be emailing just after the Feast with Jesus conference information.

Joe

At this point, everything seemed fine. But, to my recollection, the above was the last email I received from Hoffman. Because of my situation, which was extremely stressful and traumatic, I felt the need to provide more information for full disclosure. Hoffmann had gained my confidence with his alluring missives. I regret placing such confidence in him, considering the treatment I received.

Below was one of my last communications to Hoffman, in which I told him of my personal details and to which he never responded. I did not divulge private details to him so that he could pass them along to Maurice Casey or anyone else to endanger me and my family further. Such behavior is highly unethical.

Quote:
Hi Joe -

[Here I went into some detail about all the trauma that I had endured, including my baby's kidnapping and the rest described above. I confided in the man as a matter of courtesy, from one humanist to another. Again, my trust was sadly misplaced.]

I have just now been recovering from the shock. My mother died less than a year earlier, and I hadn't even recovered from that shock when this awful thing happened.

Anyway, our lives were shattered, and I have been trying to pick up the pieces. This reconstruction includes wondering what I'm doing with myself and how I will sustain myself and my son. Since your cordial overtures towards me have inspired me, I thought I'd run a couple of things by you. One of these is that there is a need for "credentialed" persons who take a strong stance in the mythicists camp.....

[private details edited but unethically used by Hoffmann and his assault team against me]

I look forward to hearing from you.

I never heard from R. Joseph Hoffmann again, and I was stunned to discover a mere two weeks or so later that I had been removed from the CSER website, without a word to me.

At the time I wrote that last email, I also had been going through yet another ordeal with a heinous Christian fanatic on Wikipedia who had created a page there on me and was using it to harass me with all manner of vile commentary. This individual even threatened to expose my private data online, by committing identity theft against me. For that threat, the Christian fanatic was eventually banned from editing my Wikipedia page, but it took a YEAR to get Wiki to act, during which time I had been in hiding after my son was abducted. The pain this person added to my ordeal was incalculable but expected from a Christian fanatic. I did not, however, expect a supposed "freethinker" and "humanist" to pile on as well.

Like I say, not much of a humanist. Fortunately, my parents raised me better than to allow theological or philosophical differences destroy my common decency and humanity.

I have never done anything to Joe Hoffman, except to trust him as a friend and compadre in an important endeavor. Apologies are in order for the disgraceful non-humanistic and antisocial conduct, but I will not be holding my breath.

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