I’m sure almost no one reads my published research. It’s nothing against me (right? right??); almost no one reads any published research. I can’t care too much, since I can join the throngs of similarly-unread, ego-injured scholars the world over who think their ideas so important as to inspire the illiterate masses of some unknown land to “take up and read.”
Far be it from me to hit the streets and get the word “out there” that I’ve just published some new paper on an interesting-but-obscure-to-most topic, the style of which oozes a general disregard for all but the most motivated reader (read: long, probably self-involved at points, probably redundant at those same points, probably at once too technical and too shallow, etc.).
Curious thing, then, to hear my name and a paper I wrote (a ~50 page one!) discussed on a YouTube channel called Mythvision, a channel with some notoriety (a subscriber-base in the vicinity of many 10s of 1000s). It was even more curious a thing that these were lay historians (? I don’t mean it pejoratively) who, while they seem to be nice guys, would be decidedly cool to my own warm Christian faith—I perceive them to be skeptics and/or atheists and/or Jesus Mythicists.
I’m not complaining, however. I was quite happy that someone was reading and and finding academic benefit in something I wrote.
When I heard the same paper quoted on the same channel in a subsequent discussion between its proprietor (one Derek Lambert) and Michael Jones of Inspiring Philosophy, I was once again surprised and happy to hear the paper cited. But this time I thought I should get around to reaching out to Michael Jones (him being a fellow Christian) just to let him know that—while I was not cited out of context—I of course did not agree with the general position of Derek who cited me (or the others), and the paper cited includes those very comments in support of a rather different conclusion.
There is an understandable desire among advocates for one position or another to find advocates of a second, traditionally-opposing position, who nonetheless argue points in favour of the first position (e.g., the naturalist-materialist who argues against the prevailing views of materialistic naturalism is a darling to non-naturalists and raised as important evidence against naturalism—consider Thomas Nagel and his Mind and Cosmos).
But in my case, while I would agree with my intelligent skeptical/atheist/mythicist readers in their refusal to accept the tenuous conclusion of many apologists and other Christian scholars that “Greeks did not believe in resurrection,” and while I would agree that the collection of entities that have been called “dying and rising gods” should be seen as such, should be seen as pre-Christian, and can be fruitfully considered as contextually important for understanding the New Testament in its world (this was what my paper was about!)—I nonetheless believe (and suggest in the paper) that similarities only go so far, and that where similarities end, the uniqueness of Christianity as the only real live option (then and now) can most properly be seen.
So I did contact Michael Jones (I had actually interacted with him years ago, briefly, on an unrelated matter), and informed him of who I was and the situation as described. Unbeknownst to me, he had quickly texted something to Derek Lambert of MythVision, who rather cordially and kindly wrote to me with great concern that there was some misunderstanding. I assured him there was not (that is, I suggested to no one, at no time, that I was misquoted, or quoted out of context)—but simply that I had reached out to Michael Jones to let him know of my views on the matter.
It has turned out that Michael Jones/Inspiring Philosophy will interview me on the subject on Monday, May 29. The link to the live show is here. We were to have the discussion months ago at this point, but some personal issues on my end prohibited that.
I hope you enjoy it.
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