The Arguments for Mythicism
Arguments from silence:
- Paul does not corroborate any of the narrative details about Jesus' life as described in any of the Gospels.
- Paul does not cite Jesus' teachings when it would be beneficial for his arguments if he had done so.
- The Testimonium Flavianum is a suspect interpolation, with the implication that the Jewish historian Josephus was unaware of Jesus' ministry, as well as several historical details mentioned in the Gospels.
- Contemporary pagan historians are unaware of any individual Jesus, and any reports (Tacitus, Pliny, etc.) are distinctly second-hand (i.e., refer to circulating stories and rumors).
- The character of Jesus shares many archetypical characteristics with previous and contemporary mythical figures (Osiris-Dionysus, Tammuz, Attis, Adonis, etc.)
- The essential Gospel narrative shares many narrative elements with previous and contemporary mythical and fictional stories (The Odyssey, The Illiad, Chaereas and Callirhoe, etc.)
- The deeds of the character Jesus are very similar to previous and contemporary legends about great men (Apollonius of Tyana, Pythagoras, Asclepius, etc.)
- Many aspects of the character of Jesus are very similar to those of previous Jewish literary characters (Moses, Joshua, Elijah, etc.)
- Matthew and Luke base their accounts on Mark, and add extravagant details in a manner that suggests legendary development.
- Key details in the Gospels do not conform to established historical facts germane to their setting.
- There is evidence of later orthodox revision and redaction in the Gospels, Pauline Epistles, and Pastoral Epistles.
- Paul's conception of Jesus was that of a spirit-being, rather than as a historical person, who became a savior through deeds performed in pre-historical celestial time.