November – Questioning or Defending the Historicity of Jesus – with Dr. Richard Carrier

This webinar is your opportunity to explore Dr. Richard Carrier’s controversial stances on whether a historical figure of Jesus did any of the deeds recounted in the New Testament.

Hone your ability to evaluate debates over Jesus, and other controversies about history, with this course about how to determine what existed or what happened in the past. Dr. Carrier has a Ph.D. in ancient history and specializes in historical methods, and this will be a momentous time to ask him all the questions you may have about how we should investigate and evaluate questions about history.

Description: This course discusses the best arguments for and against the historical existence of Jesus (as the putative founder of Christianity), and we will proceed step-by-step through ways to approach them and evaluate them. Working from the first peer reviewed academic book arguing Jesus might not have existed, taught by the author himself, you will learn how to distinguish good arguments from bad, and about the background and context of the origins of Christianity as a whole. This is the best opportunity to ask Dr. Carrier, who holds a PhD in ancient history from Columbia University, all your questions about his controversial research and the historical(?) figure of Jesus. Main issues to cover: understanding the complex background to the origins of Christianity (unit 1, OHJ chs. 4, 5, & 7); comparing the competing theories of how and why Christianity began (unit 2, OHJ chs. 1, 2, & 3); understanding the Gospels and Acts as mythology and whether historical facts about Jesus can be extracted from them (unit 3, OHJ chs. 6, 9, & 10); and exploring the arguments for and against evidence for a historical Jesus in the authentic Epistles of Paul and literature outside the New Testament (unit 4, OHJ chs. 8, 11, & 12). Also included will be discussion and examination of responses to Dr. Carrier’s book since its publication.

start/end dates – November 1 / November 30, 2017
registration- $79
DEADLINE for registration – November 10th

Schedule: Specific reading and discussion goals are set for every week, completing four units in four weeks, but within that framework you can participate in every element on your own time. There are no live events to be missed. One book by Richard Carrier is required reading (see below). Everything else about the course is provided inside the classroom website. Course lectures, academic papers, links to websites, and forums for discussions with the instructor and students are included in the Moodle website classroom. Visit the class anytime to contribute your posts and receive Dr. Carrier’s replies in discussion forums.

Course Reading: Dr. Richard Carrier, On the Historicity of Jesus: Why We Might Have Reason for Doubt (2014). Students must purchase their own copy (print or electronic) before course begins. Additional readings will be provided electronically inside the online classroom at no cost to students.

GENERAL INFORMATION: Online classrooms and their discussion threads are accessible 24/7, so you can participate at any hour of the day when there’s some time in your busy schedule. Instructors will not be on live video and you won’t be either – there is nothing happening on camera and no particular time of day you have to be present. If an instructor posts a pre-recorded video, you can view it at your convenience. There’s nothing ‘live’ to be missed, and course instructor respond individually and promptly to all questions and comments. Instructors lead everyone through lectures and readings, but no attendance is taken and there are no assignments to complete – instructors are always available when you are ready to engage them about what is on your mind.

Ask Richard about his course by posting on his facebook wall at www.facebook.com/richard.carrier.phd

Richard Carrier
Richard Carrier, PhD, is the renowned author of several books, including Sense and Goodness without God and Proving History, as well as numerous articles online and in print. He received his PhD in ancient history from Columbia University in 2008, and now specializes in the modern philosophy of naturalism, the origins of Christianity, and the intellectual history of Greece and Rome. For more about Richard and his work visit www.richardcarrier.info.



  • March – Biblical Scholarship on the New Testament, with Dr. Richard Carrier

    Richard Carrier (Ph.D., Columbia University) is offering his special seminar, “Biblical Scholarship on the New Testament” during March 2017.

    Dr. Richard Carrier, who has years of training from Columbia University in paleography, papyrology, and ancient Greek, will teach students the basics of how to investigate, criticize, and study the New Testament from the perspective of how its text is constructed from manuscripts, as well as how to work from the original Greek (no prior knowledge of Greek is needed) without learning anything more than the Greek alphabet and the international terminology of grammar, and how to investigate and make the best use of academic and peer reviewed biblical scholarship. Students will learn how to: locate words in the Greek text of the Bible, and find their definitions using online resources, and to use that skill to critically examine English translations; check if the manuscripts disagree on what the text says at that point, and what to make of that if they do; talk and reason about disagreements in the manuscripts, as well as the differing valences of words between modern translations and ancient originals; discern what kinds of errors and deliberate alterations are common in the biblical manuscripts; and how to use scholarship on the New Testament critically and informedly. This course will also be a basic introduction to the contents of the New Testament and its composition, textual history, and assembly. After a month you will have a much better understanding and skill-set for studying, discussing, and arguing over, the content and history of the Christian Bible, as well as learn fascinating and interesting things about ancient history and how we know what we know about it from the perspective of how all ancient writing has been preserved yet distorted in transmission.

    registration- $69
    start/end dates – March 1 / March 31, 2017
    DEADLINE for registration – March 10

    Schedule: Specific reading and discussion goals are set for every week, completing four units in four weeks, but within that framework you can participate in every element on your own time. There are no live events to be missed. One book is required reading (see below). Everything else about the course is provided inside the classroom website. Course lectures, academic papers, links to websites, and forums for discussions with the instructor and students are included in the Moodle website classroom. Visit the class anytime to contribute your posts and receive Dr. Carrier’s replies in discussion forums.

    Course Reading: The required course text (which students must purchase, in print or electronic form) is Richard Carrier, Hitler Homer Bible Christ. All other materials will be provided for free, including research papers discussed, and excerpts from critical scholarly editions of the Bible in the original Greek, public online tools, and other readings and resources.

    GENERAL INFORMATION: Online classrooms and their discussion threads are accessible 24/7, so you can participate at any hour of the day when there’s some time in your busy schedule. Instructors will not be on live video and you won’t be either – there is nothing happening on camera and no particular time of day you have to be present. If a pre-recorded video is posted, you can view it at your convenience. There’s nothing ‘live’ to be missed, and course instructors respond individually and promptly to all questions and comments. Instructors lead everyone through lectures and readings, but no attendance is taken and there are no assignments to complete – instructors are always available when you are ready to engage them about what is on your mind.

    Ask Richard about his course by posting on his facebook wall at www.facebook.com/richard.carrier.phd

    Richard Carrier
    Richard Carrier, PhD, is the renowned author of Sense and Goodness without God and Proving History, as well as numerous articles online and in print. He received his PhD in ancient history from Columbia University in 2008, and now specializes in the modern philosophy of naturalism, the origins of Christianity, and the intellectual history of Greece and Rome. For more about Richard and his work visit www.richardcarrier.info.



  • February – Counter-Apologetics: The Best Ways to Refute Arguments for God, with Dr. Richard Carrier

    Learn how to most effectively dismantle Christian and other theistic apologetics in the public arena from Dr. Richard Carrier, a published historian and philosopher. In this class, Dr. Carrier will include some discussion of arguments unique to Islamic apologetics.

    Dr. Richard Carrier has a decade of experience in formal and informal debate, cross-media counter-apologetics, and the history and philosophy of religion and naturalism. You can ask all the questions you’ve ever wanted about this subject, and get answers from an experienced pro. You’ll also benefit from his instructive commentary on the required course text, which is the little known yet essential guide to the subject, Dr. Malcolm Murray’s The Atheist’s Primer (Broadview Press 2010). Students must purchase this book for the course (purchasing advice is below). Additional course readings will be provided for free, including special lectures on tactics of debate, cognitive science of persuasion, the goals and aims of counter-apologetics, and how to covertly deploy Bayesian counter-apologetics to confound and disturb the defenders of religion.

    registration- $69
    start/end dates – February 1 / February 28, 2017
    DEADLINE – February 10th

    Schedule: Specific reading and discussion goals are set for every week, completing four units in four weeks, but within that framework you can participate in every element on your own time. There are no live events to be missed. One book is required reading (see below). Everything else about the course is provided inside the classroom website. Course lectures, academic papers, links to websites, and forums for discussions with the instructor and students are included in the Moodle website classroom. Visit the class anytime to contribute your posts and receive Dr. Carrier’s replies in discussion forums.

    Course Reading: The required course book is Malcolm Murray’s The Atheist’s Primer, available in print through Amazon and in ebook format from Google Play. Students must purchase their own copy (print or electronic) before course begins. Additional materials are provided electronically inside the online classroom at no cost to students.

    GENERAL INFORMATION: Online classrooms and their discussion threads are accessible 24/7, so you can participate at any hour of the day when there’s some time in your busy schedule. Instructors will not be on live video and you won’t be either – there is nothing happening on camera and no particular time of day you have to be present. If a pre-recorded video is posted, you can view it at your convenience. There’s nothing ‘live’ to be missed, and course instructors respond individually and promptly to all questions and comments. Instructors lead everyone through lectures and readings, but no attendance is taken and there are no assignments to complete – instructors are always available when you are ready to engage them about what is on your mind.

    Ask Richard about his course by posting on his facebook wall at www.facebook.com/richard.carrier.phd

    Richard Carrier
    Richard Carrier, PhD, is the renowned author of Sense and Goodness without God and Proving History, as well as numerous articles online and in print. He received his PhD in ancient history from Columbia University in 2008, and now specializes in the modern philosophy of naturalism, the origins of Christianity, and the intellectual history of Greece and Rome. For more about Richard and his work visit www.richardcarrier.info.



  • December – Will Ryan Bell Remain an Atheist? A Dialogue on Life Without God with Richard Carrier

    Ryan Bell’s Year Without God is soon ending. Can Richard Carrier persuade Ryan to firmly stick with atheism? Don’t miss this exciting December discussion!

    For 19 years Ryan Bell was a pastor, most recently the senior pastor of the Hollywood Seventh-day Adventist Church. In 2013 he resigned due to theological and practical differences. In January 2014, Ryan began a yearlong journey, his Year Without God. Ryan has blogged about this journey all year at http://www.patheos.com/blogs/yearwithoutgod/. In December, as his year comes to a close, Ryan will look back on his experiment with atheism. Dr. Richard Carrier is moderating this thoughtful reflection on what Ryan’s year has meant to him, and what he has discovered about the limits of both theism and atheism. Join us to listen to Ryan’s extraordinary story, and ask him questions about separating from religion and living a nonreligious life. Perhaps the most vital questions will be, “Can Ryan continue on as a nonbeliever? and, What kind of nontheism might Ryan prefer?” Don’t miss his answers!

    registration- $59
    start/end dates – December 1 / December 31, 2014
    deadline to register – December 1

    Schedule: Specific discussion topics are set for each week, but within that framework you can participate in every part on your own time. There are no live events to be missed. Everything else about the course is provided inside the classroom website. Forums for discussions with the instructors and the students are included in the Moodle website classroom. Visit the class anytime to contribute your posts and receive Ryan’s and Richard’s replies in discussion forums.

    GENERAL INFORMATION: Online classrooms and their discussion threads are accessible 24/7, so you can participate at any hour of the day when there’s some time in your busy schedule. Instructors will not be on live video and you won’t be either – there is nothing happening on camera and no particular time of day you have to be present. If an instructor posts a pre-recorded video, you can view it at your convenience. There’s nothing ‘live’ to be missed, and course instructor respond individually and promptly to all questions and comments. Instructors lead everyone through lectures and readings, but no attendance is taken and there are no assignments to complete – instructors are always available when you are ready to engage them about what is on your mind.

    Ryan BellFor 19 years Ryan Bell was a pastor, most recently the senior pastor of the Hollywood Seventh-day Adventist Church. He received a Master of Divinity degree from Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Michigan and a Doctor of Ministry in Missional Leadership from Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California. In March 2013 he resigned his position due to theological and practical differences. As an adjunct professor he has taught subjects ranging from intercultural communication to bioethics. Currently he is a researcher, writer and speaker on the topic of religion and irreligion in America. In January 2014, Ryan began a yearlong journey exploring the limits of theism and the atheist landscape in the United States.

    Richard Carrier
    Richard Carrier, PhD, is the renowned author of Sense and Goodness without God and Proving History, as well as numerous articles online and in print. He received his PhD in ancient history from Columbia University in 2008, and now specializes in the modern philosophy of naturalism, the origins of Christianity, and the intellectual history of Greece and Rome. For more about Richard and his work visit www.richardcarrier.info.