[PS, 31. December 2014: I'm a mythicist: I'm not at all sure whether or not Jesus existed. I mentioned that at the end of this post. I'm saying it again here because people don't always read other people's blog posts all the way to the end, and because it's the reason I wrote this: I wrote it because I'd like to see quality research being done on the question of Jesus' existence. It's not being done, because the experts, the academics, aren't doing it.]
It seems that your article in Free Inquiry is open to subscribers only. [PS, 31. December 2014: It's been moved to the public part of Free Inquiry's website. ] But I can see the header on the Free Inquiry website:
If the story of Jesus were true, ancient writers should have commented on it—yet 126 (and counting) who might have done so, did not.
And I would just love to see a list of those 126 (or more) writers. You see, I've been studying ancient history and literature for a long, long time, and had been under the impression that the number was more like 0. You obviously have a huge brain and know many things which I do not. I've found some of the 126 on a website which quotes you as having said "in a recent interview,"
"Emperor Titus, Cassius Dio, Maximus, Moeragenes, Lucian, Soterichus Oasites, Euphrates, Marcus Aurelius, or Damis of Hierapolis. It seems none of these writers from first to third century ever heard of Jesus, global miracles and alleged worldwide fame be damned"
Great, I finally found the names of some of the 126 (or more) writers whose failure to mention Jesus is downright strange. Okay then, let's take a look at those 9:
Titus. Okay, good: Titus was actually in Judea, he led Roman troops against the Jewish uprising, which he successfully crushed in AD 70. Is it strange that we kind find no mention of Jesus in his writings? Well, no. Because, you see, none of Titus' writings are known to us. Which means that what's strange here -- in my humble opinion -- is that you're talking about examining his writings. Very strange. The primary sources of information about Titus are Josephus (who mentions Jesus), Tacitus (who mentions Christians), Suetonius (ditto), and the 2nd name someone claims you listed off in an interview,
Cassius Dio. Actually, I've more often heard him referred to as Dio Cassius, but why rag on that and imply that you got all this off the back of some cereal box? Let's just call him Dio for the sake of brevity. (And so that people who are familiar with his work, if any such are reading along, will know what we're talking about.) Dio writes a couple of lines about Titus and the Jewish War, in which he makes no mentions of any Jews alive at that time, let alone decades before during the supposed time of Jesus, or Pontius Pilate either. In fact the only near-contemporary mentions of Pilate known before the 20th century, when an inscription was found which seems to have been made by him, are in the New Testament, and the Jewish authors Josephus (mentions Jesus) and Philo, and Tacitus (mentions Christians). But yeah, it's strange that Dio doesn't mention this one particular Jewish preacher who had 12 whole followers.
Maximus. There's a 2nd-century Athenian philosopher named Maximus. Show me he had ever heard of Judea or Galilee, and then we can talk about why it would be strange for him not to have written about Jesus. The other people I've heard about named Maximus are even more ridiculous in this discussion. (Do you mean the general and gladiator Maximus, who killed Commodus? You know that Maximus is entirely fictional, right?)
Moeragenes. Never heard of him.
Lucian. Now here we have an ancient author from whom an unusually-large volume of work has survived. The closest any of his works come to Jerusalem or Nazareth is that Adversus Indoctum mocks a Syrian book-collector. What the fuck, Michael? (What the fuck, Free Inquiry? You don't have any fact-checkers?)
Soterichus Oasites. A Soterichus who lived around AD 300 wrote poems about Alexander the Great and Dionysus. Hm, yeah, very strange that he didn't toss any mention of Jesus into those.
Euphrates. That's a river, not a writer.
Marcus Aurelius. He was relatively friendly toward Jews. This may be the strongest straw you have to grasp at. (Why should the religious be the only ones who can grasp at straws and take rhetorical short-cuts?)
Damis of Hierapolis. A Damis was a pupil of Apollonius of Tyana. None of this Damis' work has survived, and none of this Apollonius' either, but Apollonius has sometimes been compared to Jesus so I can see how you got confused.
I'm not a Christian, I'm not picking on you for theological reasons. I'm an atheist, and I'm far from certain that Jesus existed, and I think it's shameful the way that the vast majority of mainstream Biblical scholars avoid any suggestion that there could ever be any reasonable doubt that Jesus existed, and I'm picking on you because I take history seriously, and I've read some ancient literature untranslated, and I don't go around talking out of my ass like you do, and it's embarrassing that some people think of me in the same breath as clowns like you, because of my doubts about whether Jesus existed and the way the academics treat the subject and therefore frame the discussion.
PS, 29. September, 3:50 PM: I found the list! Of all 126, or is it more by now? 3/4 of the way to the bottom of the linked page: The Silent Historians, he calls them. Stayed tuned, readers. This is gonna be fun.