Michael Paulkovich is the author of No Meek Messiah and a rather foolish person. I suspect, given how trendy atheism is these days, he is trying to snag his portion of atheist revenue. But even at the Daily Beast he is being dismissed for the lack of seriousness in his arguments.
I don’t know who Candida Moss and Joel Baden are, but they do a great job showing how silly Paulkovich is and point out that, using his own methodology, Paulkovich does not exist.
I do think there is one more thing to add though — the eyewitnesses.
The gospel accounts of Matthew, Mark, and John were authored by eyewitnesses. The apostles Matthew and John wrote theirs and Mark is Peter’s account.
Likewise the books of James and Jude are written by Jesus’s brothers.
Then there is Paul who claims Jesus revealed himself to Paul and there is Luke who, though not an eyewitness, interviewed the eyewitnesses.
But just focus on Peter and John.
We know John wrote his gospel account based not just on him, but on the testimony of Ignatius and Polykarp, both of whom there is no dispute that they existed. They both claimed John was their teacher.
Maybe John was just a really good conman.
Well then we’d have to add that Peter too is a great conman because he convinced Ignatius, Polykarp, Clement and others that the same Jesus existed who John knew.
If you want to say they are just really good conmen, add Paul to the mix. Paul, based on his writings and the writings of Luke, Clement, and others convinced Peter, John, Luke, James the brother of Jesus, Matthew, and more that he had seen Jesus. The guys who had gone into hiding because of Paul then embraced Paul.
We sure have to write a lot of other people out of history to write Jesus out of history or we have to consider that there were some mighty impressive conmen all colluding to convince a lot of people, themselves included, to die believing a lie.
Or we need to consider that Jesus was real. And if we consider he was real, we need to wonder why so many, including his brothers who had rejected him in life, were willing to die claiming he had risen from the dead.
It is simply not true that people will not die for a life. But those who know the liar the best would not. Yet, those who knew Jesus best all were willing to lay down their lives to proclaim that he was alive.
Paulkovich, I think, is just cashing in on trendy atheism. He will, like that Reza Aslan guy, make a good bit of money selling to the trends of the day. But that does not mean he has any new or exciting insights.
The most insightful thing is that so called Bible scholars can become scholars of a work they consider fiction.