Historical Jesus

There’s an interesting debate between Richard Carrier and Mark Goodacre here, two of my favorite scholars, and some post-analysis here (by Carrier) and here (by Vridar). They’re debating the historical nature of Jesus, as in whether or not he was a real person, or a myth.

As for my current thinking on this question, I’ll say what I’ve said for awhile – historical information in the NT is very difficult to come by. If you’re looking for some, you have to do three things. One, look at the probably authentic Paul’s letters – 1 Thess, Galatians, 1 Cor and 2 Cor, and Romans. Two, look at the gospel of Mark. Three, do these things while forgetting about the rest of the New Testament as if it didn’t exist, chiefly because the rest is of later composition and thus suspect.

It’s not critical or important to me whether or not there was a historical Jesus. I sit on the fence on that one. Either way, it doesn’t affect my research that much, since the gospels, which I’m interested in, were written decades after the supposed fact under debate. It’s important to note that at some point Jesus was ‘historicized’ by the gospels, regardless of his earlier status, but the original status pales in comparison to the influence of what came after.

It is nearly impossible to strip the gospel accounts off of Jesus. They aim to, and succeed, in reaching backward in time and confusing us as to what is fact, what is tradition, and what is fiction. The tide is turning, in a scholarly sense, toward tradition and fiction and away from fact and tradition, but there is still a long way to go.

Assassin’s Creed 3

It’s exams week and the essays are piling up on my desk rapidly, waiting for a gentle grader. For some reason one of the exams is scheduled for Saturday, a situation that is unfortunate, but survivable.

I am morose about the holidays so far. The usual perpetual state of mild excitement eludes me completely. I do like the weather, but that’s about it.

I finished Assassin’s Creed 3 the other day. Its attempt to retell the American Revolution through a half-British, half-Native American assassin was only mildly successful, but one part of the game really, really worked, and that was the sea battles. It made me want to play Pirates! all over again.

After sinking a few frigates and thus ahistorically making the patriot navy near invincible, I had to wonder – why isn’t this the entire game? Screw running around on rooftops, dodging musket balls; ducking broadsides while waves crash over the deck is far more entertaining and exciting. I could definitely see an entire game built around AC3-style naval combat. Basically, I’m asking for Pirates! and this section of AC3 to get together.

The rest of the game did have a few moments, but I have to take issue with the introduction to the game, which seemed about ten hours long before I controlled the main character and felt like I was playing an AC game. Designers, you created an enviable sandbox to play in – I just wish you would let some of the plot emerge from that. For example, have whether or not Connor has liberated some of the British forts affect the plot. It would also be notable if someone in the game acknowledged Connor’s propensity to be at every single damned decisive moment in the war. He was five inches from signing the Declaration of Independence below Hancock.

I’m not going to talk about the metanarrative. Well, maybe I will. Frankly, I have to say something. If you’re going to present a up/down choice to a gamer, don’t yank it away in favor of predestination.