One thing I would like to highlight in Price’s introduction is the embarrassment of riches of Jesus portraits we have in (i) mainstream historical Jesus portraits, just as we do in (ii) mythicist portraits. Price comments:
- (i) As you are probably aware, today’s mainstream Jesus scholarship is quite diverse. Many theories have attracted dedicated partisans, people who conclude that the historical Jesus was a revolutionist (Robert Eisenman, Peter Cresswell), a feminist (Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza, Luise Schottroff), a Cynic sage (John Dominic Crossan, F. Gerald Downing; Burton L. Mack, David Seeley), a Pharisee (Harvey Falk, Hyam Maccoby), a Hasidic master (Geza Vermes), a shaman (Stevan L. Davies, Gaetano Salomone), a magician (Morton Smith), a community organizer (Richard A. Horsley), an apocalyptic prophet (Bart D. Ehrman, Richard Arthur), and so on.
(W. Loftus, John; M. Price, Robert. Varieties of Jesus Mythicism: Did He Even Exist? (pp. 16-17). Hypatia Press. Kindle Edition)
- (ii) As this book will make absolutely clear, there are just as many Mythicist theories. Some believe that Jesus was a fiction devised by the Flavian regime in order to pacify Jews who had the nasty habit of violently rebelling against Rome. Others argue that Jesus was a Jewish/Essene version of the equally mythical Gautama Buddha. Another option is that Jesus was, like the Vedic Soma, a mythical personification of the sacred mushroom, Amanita Muscaria. Or perhaps Jesus was a historicization of the Gnostic Man of Light. Was Jesus a Philonic heavenly high priest figure? And there are more. I believe you will find yourself surprised and impressed by the cogency of these hypotheses.
(W. Loftus, John; M. Price, Robert. Varieties of Jesus Mythicism: Did He Even Exist? (p. 17). Hypatia Press. Kindle Edition).
Price raises the issue that perhaps the scarcity and ambiguity of the evidence is allowing us to find Jesuses of our own making …