- Κέλσος is a blog that discusses secular approaches to topics of science, philosophy, and history, especially on issues that overlap with religious apologetics. In recent decades, several religious apologists have attempted to use academic arguments to justify or prove their religion in higher education. For example, many Christian apologists argue that “cosmological evidence” can be used to prove the existence of God, or that “historical evidence” can be used to prove the resurrection of Jesus.
- Despite these bold claims, however, the majority of scholars in secular academia tend to have very different views, and there are many experts on the same issues that apologists raise who do not interpret them as pointing to the truth of theism or any particular religious tradition. When apologetic arguments are presented to general audiences, however, many are not aware of these secular scholars. Κέλσος is thus an online resource designed to introduce open-minded believers, agnostics, and skeptics alike to the views and arguments of secular scholars. The goal of this blog is not primarily to attack religion itself, but instead to provide alternative views to apologetic arguments, especially when they are used aggressively to target non-believers.
- I also write about other areas of my academic research in Classics, Mediterranean history, Greco-Roman religion, and ancient literature, when it is of related interest to this blog.
In-Page Footnotes ("Ferguson (Matthew) - Κέλσος")
Footnote 1: See About Κέλσος and civitas humana (Defunct).
"Alter (Michael J.) - 'Follow the Money': Faith-Based Education and Publishing"
Source: Κέλσος - Matthew Ferguson Blogs
- Below is a guest blog by Michael Alter, author of "Alter (Michael J.) - The Resurrection: A Critical Inquiry", which is a 912 page tome offering one of the most important contributions to challenging historical apologetics for the resurrection. During his research, Alter learned a great deal about the vast amount of resources that are invested in Christian apologetics – spanning universities, organizations, and publishers – which eclipse the scattered authors and handful of organizations that engage in counter-apologetics. In this post, Alter provides a researched summary that offers just a glimpse at the tip of the iceberg for how much money and resources are invested in Christian apologetics.
- I’ve been talking about problems with how faith-based universities distort critical biblical scholarship for years now, due to doctrinal statements that their faculty are required to sign, which force them to adhere to predetermined conclusions that are friendly to Christian dogma. As someone who works in Classical Studies, researching ancient texts from the same historical period, written in the same ancient languages, and using the same historical methodology, I am not aware of any Classics department or university that requires professors to sign doctrinal statements asking them to affirm tenets of Pagan theology or Greco-Roman religion. The fact that the Christian religion is treated in an abnormal manner in this regard is very disturbing, therefore, and a bad sign for the health of higher education.
- As a note, while the essay below discusses faith-based universities with doctrinal statements, not all institutions of higher education that have a Christian affiliation fall into this category. While the University of Notre Dame has a Catholic affiliation, for example, the school still fosters a secular research environment and its religious affiliation is more traditional. While I do not think that a religious affiliation is beneficial for the structure of any university (even if it can be relatively innocuous), it should not be assumed that a loose religious affiliation based on a school’s history implies that it belongs to the apologetic-type campuses discussed below.
"Ferguson (Matthew) - Bart Ehrman and Jodi Magness on the Burial of Jesus and the Empty Tomb"
Source: Ferguson (Matthew) - Κέλσος, 20 January 2018
- It’s been almost four years since Bart D. Ehrman’s How Jesus Became God was published, and one of the points of controversy that arose when the book was first released is the fact that Ehrman does not endorse the historicity of Joseph of Arimathea’s burial of Jesus, nor the discovery of Jesus’ empty tomb as a “historical fact” surrounding the earliest beliefs in the resurrection. Ehrman is hardly the only biblical scholar to hold this view, since as I have discussed before, there are several scholars who doubt these claims, showing that there is nothing like an academic consensus agreeing that they are “minimal facts” about the origins of Christianity.
- One of the biggest criticisms of Ehrman’s book was his discussion of Jesus’ burial, and that he did not interact with his colleague Jodi Magness at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in the bibliography of the book, despite Magness’ expertise on burial practices in Palestine during the time of Jesus. As Greg Monette writes:
“One could only wished for Ehrman’s sake that he knocked on professor Magness’ door down the hall from his own at the University of North Carolina. His book would have greatly benefited from it.”
- Based on Ehrman’s arguments for doubting the historicity of Joseph of Arimathea’s burial, however, and from what I have read of Magness’ own scholarship, I will argue that Ehrman’s thesis can be only slightly modified to still argue that Jesus was given an anonymous ground burial. To be sure, I agree with Monette that Ehrman’s discussion would have benefitted from Magness’ scholarship. But it is not to defend the empty tomb tradition in the Gospels.
COMMENT: For the full text, follow this link (Local website only): PDF File1.
"Ferguson (Matthew) - Numismatic Evidence that Corroborates Suetonius’ Life of Otho and Contradicts the Gospels"
Source: Ferguson (Matthew) - Κέλσος, 12 January 2018
"Ferguson (Matthew) - Κέλσος"
Source: Ferguson (Matthew) - Κέλσος
"Ferguson (Matthew) & Luke (Trevor) - Dialogue with Classicist Trevor Luke on Roman Imperial Ideology and the Miracles of Jesus"
Source: Ferguson (Matthew) - Κέλσος, 17 December 2017
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- Blue: Text by me; © Theo Todman, 2021
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