Proving History by Richard C. Carrier
Bayes's Theorem and the Quest for the Historical Jesus

No critic rating

Waiting for minimum critic reviews

See 1 Critic Review

unrated

Synopsis

This in-depth discussion of New Testament scholarship and the challenges of history as a whole proposes Bayes’s Theorem, which deals with probabilities under conditions of uncertainty, as a solution to the problem of establishing reliable historical criteria. The author demonstrates that valid historical methods—not only in the study of Christian origins but in any historical study—can be described by, and reduced to, the logic of Bayes’s Theorem. Conversely, he argues that any method that cannot be reduced to this theorem is invalid and should be abandoned.

Writing with thoroughness and clarity, the author explains Bayes’s Theorem in terms that are easily understandable to professional historians and laypeople alike, employing nothing more than well-known primary school math. He then explores precisely how the theorem can be applied to history and addresses numerous challenges to and criticisms of its use in testing or justifying the conclusions that historians make about the important persons and events of the past. The traditional and established methods of historians are analyzed using the theorem, as well as all the major "historicity criteria" employed in the latest quest to establish the historicity of Jesus. The author demonstrates not only the deficiencies of these approaches but also ways to rehabilitate them using Bayes’s Theorem.

Anyone with an interest in historical methods, how historical knowledge can be justified, new applications of Bayes’s Theorem, or the study of the historical Jesus will find this book to be essential reading.


From the Hardcover edition.
 

About Richard C. Carrier

See more books from this Author
Richard C. Carrier, an independent scholar with a doctorate in ancient history from Columbia University, is the author of Why I Am Not a Christian: Four Conclusive Reasons to Reject the Faith, Not the Impossible Faith: Why Christianity Didn't Need a Miracle to Succeed, and Sense and Goodness without God: A Defense of Metaphysical Naturalism. He has also contributed chapters to The End of Christianity, edited by John W. Loftus; Sources of the Jesus Tradition: Separating History from Myth, edited by R. Joseph Hoffmann; The Christian Delusion: Why Faith Fails, edited by John W. Loftus; and The Empty Tomb: Jesus beyond the Grave, edited by Robert Price and Jeffery Lowder.
 
Published April 3, 2012 by Prometheus Books. 345 pages
Genres: History, Religion & Spirituality, Education & Reference. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Proving History

Publishers Weekly

See more reviews from this publication

The author of this dense and complicated volume is an independent scholar, a self-professed nonbeliever, and author (Why I Am Not a Christian) and editor. However, he comes to his subject as very much

Mar 19 2012 | Read Full Review of Proving History: Bayes's Theo...

Reader Rating for Proving History
67%

An aggregated and normalized score based on 55 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes


Rate this book!

Add Review
×