Thanks for the kind words and sentiments, HP. I do appreciate them. I regret that I have only posted one other time to these forums since 2008. However, as a fan of Acharya S' work, I have posted to some of her other venues in the interval.
I hadn't intended on commenting on anyone's post here, as I came to this particular forum because I was troubled by what I had read here: http://stellarhousepublishing.com/jesusmyth.html
, which is a way too short Excerpt from the "The Jesus Myth" chapter of Barbara G. Walker's Man Made God
(I don't know about anyone else, but I find it difficult to part with what little money I have if I don't get a chance to watch an author develop an argument over a chapter, or at least for a good chunk of an excerpt. Luckily you have the book already.)
I only have these few paragraphs to go by, so when she remarks that,
And according to Acts 4:13, the apostles were all "unlearned and ignorant men" who could not have been responsible for writing the gospels or anything else. Therefore those who put apostles’ names to their gospel writings were forgers, and all the gospels are essentially fakes.
I'm seeing a leap here. I hope that this is not typical of the erudition I've been led to expect from this work.
First, as a probable B
wannabee, I would agree that the Gospels are wholly fiction. This means that even if the "apostles" were depicted in these works as super-geniuses, they could still not write anything, because they did not exist! It's the "therefore" that bugs me. Christian scholarship distinguishes between pseudepigraphia ("false-writings"), i.e., universally accepted gospel forgeries, and "authentic" gospels.
What's the difference? A supposedly ex-Christian scholar Bart Ehrman, who should receive an award as the modern era's most profficient special pleader, in a podcast
I listened to yesterday, remarked that gospels such as the "sayings gospel" of Thomas, and others, are considered forgeries because someone did exactly what Walker is complaining about. Namely, these mostly gnostic and other "heretical" writings were deliberately "signed" by real disciples, apostles, alleged eye-witnesses, what have you. The Gospel of Thomas begins: "These are the secret sayings that the living Jesus spoke and Didymos Judas Thomas recorded." (see: THE GNOSTIC SOCIETY LIBRARY
.) Ehrman says, and I agree with him, that the "canonical gospels" (as far as can be determined) are anonymous works. Names were assigned only by "tradition," after some time had elapsed, so you can't consider them forgeries in Walker's sense. I, as a secularist, would consider them all (from internal and external evidence) on an equal footing as clever fictions, based on a wide range of criteria too numerous to go into here.
Therefore, as aforementioned secular freethinker, in essense I agree with her conclusion, but I'm not sure that it is a strong argument, because it lumps the two categories together without any of the background. I said that all gospels are fictions, and she would probably agree, but to me not all gospels are "forgeries." Now, perhaps she did elaborate on these points before the excerpt. I don't know, but I am concerned about what may be some superficiality of scholarship.