Re: Carrier on historical methodology
I would explain it as Carrier disliking Christianity as he describes in his book where he evinces an extreme distaste for biblical Christianity. He seems to have been attracted to the idea that Jesus was not an historical person and the mythicist explanations of the gospels.He was impressed with Earl Doherty's thesis and has adapted it somewhat but it's mostly the same.
He accepts the views of some scholars that the gospels were written much later and therefore not eyewitness accounts and applies his "euhemerisation" theory to this.
So he only accepts some letters of Paul as authentic and a few other books like Hebrews which could superficially fit the Doherty thesis of a sacrifice in heaven.
Based on Paul's visionary conversion and his description of appearances of Christ after his death to others he assumes these are all hallucinatory cultic apparitions of the same kind.
His views have evolved somewhat and I think at this stage he would say that there was no actual crucifixion of Jesus on earth but some imagined idea by early Christians of a heavenly being crucified in sub lunar space as Doherty might put it
In his debate with Lane Craig from a few years ago he seems to willing to debate as if the crucifixion and burial took place in Jerusalem.So it has a surreal quality.
Doherty's thesis derives from the fact that Paul says very little about Jesus earthly existence. Paul mainly gives theological explanations of it's significance and deals with whatever problems were relevant in the churches he writes to.
However Paul doesn't entirely fail to mention Jesus being of human descent and of course says he was born of a woman.
Mythicists like Carrier tend to allegorize everything and it can be amusing to see them this do this, from the sublime to the ridiculous. So they contest the statements of Paul that can be found, such as where he says Christ was of the seed of David pertaining to the flesh.
Carrier will argue that the greek means made or manufactured in order to avoid the problem of his thesis coming undone by it's referring to a physical descendant of David.
In mythicist fashion he allegorises the "born of a woman" statement.
I think Paul's writings simply don't fit the interpretation and that's why I gave the examples of his being a descendant of Israel and Judah as well as David. And Paul's using the same expression of himself as of the seed of Abraham.
I think if he was impartial he would see this, but he seems to want his thesis to explain Christianity or else he'll have to find a less appealing one.
I think his preferences are blinding his scholarship here. He also describes in his book his personal experiences of hallucinatory visions when he was into eastern religion,and I think this makes him think Christianity can be explained on the same basis. It's a kind of extrapolation. And though I know you will want to disagree with me on this I think it's very hard to apply this to the various peoples, times and places involved.
Ph.D holders are human like the rest of us, I'm afraid Interbane.