Jesus: Man or Myth?

Liverpool Humanist Group presents:-

Jesus: Man or Myth?

a talk by Peter McKenna

Date:     Thursday 11th April 2013
:    7.45pm
The Crown Hotel (upstairs room), 43 Lime Street, Liverpool L1 1JQ
Suggested contribution of £3 (£1 students and unwaged)

The Last Supper by Giampietrino after Da Vinci (circa 1520)

Liverpool Humanist Group are pleased to announce the next in our 2013 season of monthly lectures and discussions with an invited speaker.

Thursday, 11th April 2013 at 7:45pm in The Crown Hotel, 43 Lime Street, Liverpool.

As usual, we will meet in the upstairs room.

Quests for the “historical” Jesus – not the Jesus of faith but a Jesus who actually lived and gave rise to the stories told in the Christian “gospels” – end with a wide range of Jesuses and often with the Jesus that the quester sought from the outset. Most assume that a historical person, clearly identifiable as the gospel Jesus, must have existed, and believers and non-believers alike often fiercely defend their own personal Jesus against Jesus-sceptics and “mythicists”.

Peter McKenna will examine the scant textual evidence available – encompassing the Septuagint, the epistles of Paul, the gospels, other early Christian writings, and Josephus’s histories – in the context of religious belief and the Graeco-Roman world, and will question whether there is sufficient evidence to confidently assert that Jesus existed.

The talk will present original research in an interesting, entertaining and accessible way, and will also discuss what a “historical Jesus” would mean and question whether it matters.

Peter McKenna is well known to many of us as a longstanding member of Liverpool Humanist Group. He is a Senior Lecturer in Computer Science at Manchester Metropolitan University. Originally from Larne in County Antrim, his first degree at  Liverpool University was in Classics and Ancient Greek.

In December 2010, Peter’s paper “Jesus Nazōraios: hidden truths revealed?” received “Honorable Mention” at the awarding of the 2011 “Mythycist Prize”, which was sponsored by The Mythicists’ Forum, a consortium of prominent New Testament scholars, together with American Atheists, Inc.

His short essay reviewed the linguistic issues surrounding the cognates Nazareth/Nazoraios/Nazarene. It attempted to show how the title “Nazoraion” led to the name of Jesus’ New Testament hometown.

Peter is, however, anxious not to over emphasise the importance of his academic or scholarly credentials. He makes the case that argument from authority is itself a fallacy and the question of Jesus’ historicity is accessible to all.

Crucifixion (Corpus Hypercubus) by Dali (1954)

It will be good to see new and old friends at what promises to be a very interesting, stimulating and thought provoking evening.


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