Tuesday, April 3, 2012

"Ve Haff Vays of Sreatening Your Tenure!"

John Dominic Crossanhas joined Bart Ehrmanin reminding us great unwashed types that the debate about Jesus' historical existence is over, and that the skeptics lost. In his latest screed for Huffington Post, Crossan refers in the first sentence to "the historical fact -- yes, fact -- that Pilate executed Jesus at Passover."

Are Ehrman and Crossan only talking to people like me who don't have PhD's, or are their pronouncements that this debate, which I can't find when it started within academia, although of course several prominent academics have been fired for trying to start it there -- Ah say Ah say are Ehrman and Crossan & Co only talking to us, or are their flat assertions that the debate is over thinly-veiled threats to their colleagues with PhD's and tenure or hopes of tenure, that trying to open the debate within mainstream academia will still, anno domini two thousand and frickin twelve, land the would-be opener quickly outside the mainstream where he or she will be ridiculed and compared to climate-change deniers? Richard Carrier thinks so. Carrier has a PhD, but he also has a big pair of brass balls, and if he cares about the tenure he's not going to get soon in a mainstream faculty, he hides it admirably well.

Not only do I not have a PhD, it's been at least fifteen years since I could remember what it had felt like to care about tenure, so Crossan and Ehrman aren't scaring me. I can very grudgingly understand that other people are cowardly pussies who always want to cover their asses. Hey, it's no secret. People are the way they are. But even cowards can gradually become embarrassed, and this shit is embarrassing. The claim that anybody who doesn't join in the chorus of "it's a fact, yes a fact that Jesus existed, there's no doubt among the educated and non-crazy" is like a climate-change denier is so desperately tired that people ought to be really embarrassed for not speaking up about it. Cowardliness vs this intense embarrassment. Eventually, surely, a few of the cowards will cease to be so cowardly. They'll trade job security for sleeping the sound sleep of the ballsy.

When meterologists and geologists are confronted by climate-change deniers, they don't refuse to discuss climate change, and they don't ask to see the deniers' credentials. They by Vishnu discuss climate change. They refer to data. Surely, by this year of two thousand and for crying out loud twelve, people like Ehrman and Crossan are beginning to make themselves irrelevant in intellectual debate, are beginning to more closely resemble televangelists in the public perception, by continuing to pretend that the question of Jesus' historical existence has been properly debated. Come out, all you people who know better! Trust me: having guts feels good. Point out that the emperors aren't wearing clothes.

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