Erich von Daniken rides again!

Jim Davila of Paleojudaica tells us that the old man is back on the road and still asking, “Was God an astronaut?”  The answer was always ‘no’, of course; but he made quite a bit of money asking it.  Compared to all those dreary “God is dead but I’m going to stay a bishop anyway” books of the same period, he was a breath of fresh air.  And the artwork was better too…

There are any number of people trying to sell books falsifying Christian origins.  Most are forgettable.  They have their day in the sun, attract some dimwitted disciples, and then perish utterly. 

I suppose that most of them are just chancers in it for a quick buck.  Nothing wrong with that, I suppose, if you think it’s all rubbish.  Indeed I remember many years ago getting a CD of a couple of UK newspapers, and doing a search for “Jesus”.  What I got was book reviews; one after another, each peddling “the real Jesus”.  Each and every one of them used the same method; find excuses to ignore what the historical record says, then invent some story which is agreeable to comfortable people in the period in which they were writing.  Of course the final fairy-stories varied wildly.  But each was solemnly reviewed, apparently without the reviewers ever saying to themselves, “Hang on.  Didn’t we have another one of these last month?  And the month before?  They can’t ALL be true!”

Then there are the haters, drearily whining about how evil the Christians are, repeating the same old “Well look at the crusades” tosh.  These tend to be less literate than the conmen, and less readable, and less honest.  Hate is a bad guide to anything.  There’s some absurd ex-priest in Canada peddling some whopping lies.  Apparently he was once an episcopalian, but found even that lax organisation was too principled for him.  A couple of writers stopped writing sex books and started writing “Jesus was really Osiris” books.  I’d have thought too many people knew about ancient Egypt for that to sell, but apparently I’m wrong.  There used to be some guy who called himself Roman Piso and asserted that Jesus was actually one of the Calpurnius Piso’s.  Another one says Jesus was Julius Caesar.  Yet another claims that Christianity was made up in the 4th century.  Another one prefers some indefinite date in the late 1st century.  Not all have published, but all have tried!

Yet Erich was different.  He wasn’t a hater, but an enthusiast.  It has always been quite possible to believe in his sincerity, if not entirely so.  Let’s face it, he’s made too much money to listen very hard to his critics. Yet his books are fun!  Tosh, but fun. 

Apparently the Old Testament Apocrypha have now attracted his attention.  Well, I bet the contents are probably about as valuable as a good deal of the low-grade throwaway scholarly work on them.  Hey, I’m waiting to see the cover art.  It’s got to be better than Clarendon Press version of the Revised Standard Version, with hard covers.

Von Daniken asks if the gods are aliens.  Maybe we can get him to ask if certain biblical scholars are aliens.  We’d have to conduct test-tube experiments, repeatable trials.  We want to be scientific, right?

Let’s see if we can get Bart Ehrman in a test-tube, and add some water and see if he turns blue.  If he does, he must be a witch!

The power of nonsense is great, but every fraud gets found out in the end.

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