Paul never mentions Galilee or Nazareth, or Pilate or Mary or Joseph, or any miracles Jesus did or any miraculous powers he is supposed to have displayed . . . or anything about the life of Jesus not in the Gospels. Paul never references any event in Jesus’ life as an example to follow (beyond the abstractions of love, endurance and submissiveness), and never places anything Jesus said in any earthly historical context whatever. So far as these letters tell us, no Christian ever asked Paul about these things, either. Nor did any of these things ever become relevant in any dispute Paul had with anyone. Not one of his opponents, so far as Paul mentions, ever referenced a fact about Jesus’ life in support of their arguments. And no one ever doubted anything claimed about Jesus and asked for witnesses to confirm it or explain it or give more details. The interest Tacitus showed in Pliny’s father is never exhibited by any of them, nor is Pliny’s eagerness to talk about his father ever exhibited by Paul in his eagerness to talk about Jesus— and yet Paul talks obsessively and repeatedly about Jesus. That’s all simply bizarre. And bizarre means unexpected, which means infrequent, which means improbable. Accordingly, historicists have to explain why in Paul’s letters there are no disputes about what Jesus said or did, and why no specific example from his life is ever referred to as a model, not even to encourage or teach anything or to resolve any disputes, and why the only sources Paul ever refers to for anything he claims to know about Jesus are private revelations and hidden messages in scripture (Element 16), and why Paul appears not to know of there being any other sources than these (like, e.g., people who knew Jesus). Whatever explanation historicists devise for these curiosities has to be demonstrably true, and not something they just make up to explain away the evidence.
All that from Carrier's book.
Richard Carrier and Earl Doherty build much of their hypothesis on the book of Hebrews. There it talks about Christ entering into heaven itself as a high priest and his blood making atonement for sins there.
We are told in Hebrews that the earthly temple in Jerusalem was patterned on the heavenly one as revealed to Moses.
But Carrier goes a giant step further to argue that everything on earth was believed to have a corresponding reality in this heavenly realm including cats. They supposedly believed in effect in a parallel world in some sublunar zone.
This concept is not found in the Jewish O.T. but some elements of it may be found in pseudepigraphal writings such as 2 Enoch and The Ascension of Isaiah on which he builds a great deal of his hypothesis.
Carrier is quite correct to insist that Paul maintains that much of what he preaches came to him by revelation from Christ and not from man.
And apologists don't give due weight to his argument here. It does seem unlikely that he was entirely ignorant of the beliefs of the religion he was persecuting,and he was present at the stoning of Stephen in Jerusalem according to the writer of Acts.
Nonetheless granting Carrier his premise of revelation he still has a major problem which is that Paul in his teachings does in fact place Christ on earth.
For example in Ephesians 4:9 he says that; "Now this "he ( Christ) ascended"-what does this mean but that he also first descended into the lower parts of the earth?"
Paul also says in 1 Corinthians 12:23-24; For I received of the Lord that which I also delivered to you:that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: and when he had given thanks he broke it and said, "Take, eat this is my body which is broken for you:do this in remembrance of me."
One has to ask did he take bread in the sublunar realm and who was he talking to when he said it is broken for you?
This could hardly have been the demons of Doherty and Carrier's thesis and are we to suppose that there are some mysterious beings who are breaking bread in the sublunar zone in remembrance.
Carrier says Jesus is saying this to Paul in a vision and it's referring to the believers on earth in Paul's time who are the ones he gives the bread and wine.
But the passage is plainly saying that it was on the night he was betrayed he said this to his disciples and gave them the bread and wine. And the Christians in Paul's time are repeating this in remembrance as indicated.
More bad Carrier exegesis.
It's quite absurd of course to read it that way, but that what their thesis necessitates.
Now you can if you like, maintain that Paul believed there were wheat fields and vineyards and an entire populace of parallel humans up there, but clearly Paul is writing to Christians on earth about their doing this in remembrance.
In first Peter he refers to the stone that was laid in Zion and rejected by the builders which became the chief cornerstone.
Again it would be very strained to interpret this as the demons being the builders referred to here.http://www.biblehub.com/1_peter/2-7.htm
And in 1 John referring to Christ, John uses language including "that which our hands have handled" which just goes way beyond hallucinations. http://www.biblehub.com/1_john/1-1.htm
So not just Paul but Peter and John also are speaking of an earthly material Christ, rejected by the builders who are the religious leaders in Israel.
All this aside from the other well known references to his humanity and genealogy. http://www.bede.org.uk/price7.htm
In Hebrews Jesus is of the tribe of Judah and the convoluted explanation by Doherty of his having a "Judaic nature" is a desperate measure to escape the obvious.
Carrier gives his own absurd explanation,that Paul and the apostles believed in a cosmic sperm bank in the sublunar realm where David's seed was stored!
I marvel at the acclamation of Carrier's work lavished on him by his supporters on his book's thread here.
We also have Carrier's strange use of Philo. In Zechariah Joshua the high priest is not in heaven but on earth and is obviously human not angelic. Furthermore Joshua is not himself the branch but another one is,who is said to be yet to come. And it's not even clear that Philo is referring to Joshua at all.
He talks about euhemerization and Islam. But Mohammed did not euhemerize Allah at all.
And on it goes. He has a conspiracy theory that the later mysterious writers of the gospels euhemerised the celestial apparition in order to "control doctrine."
So these are rejecting the original Celestial being believers accounts, and there isn't anyone around to say "That's not what Peter,John and Paul told us,or my dad or uncle!"
These same 'conspirators' accepted Paul's letters as authentic and apparently hadn't noticed that he,as we are told by Carrier, only wrote about a celestial being!
There is also the problem that Hebrews describes him as entering into heaven itself and sitting down on the right hand of the majesty on high. I don't see how this can be said to be the lower sublunar realm.
He makes a big deal about Christ's death and resurrection having already taken place in the sub-lunar realm before his first "appearance" to Peter and the others.
You guys supporting Carrier are just not engaging with the arguments I've twice already linked in this article.https://scienceandotherdrugs.wordpress. ... ure-review
Notice the argument from Hebrews on Christ's "appearances." Carrier thesis forces him to say that Christ's sacrifice comes before his appearances
but Hebrews (their favourite book) says that his first appearance
was to make this sacrifice
! Hebrews 9:26-28
I'm just reposting this to provide a quick summary and reminder of just some of the problems with Carrier's thesis.
I've argued against his interpolation claim in Josephus on another thread and there are other problems also with his thesis which I've provided elsewhere on this thread.