Podcast 37: Joseph Atwill’s Jesus Conspiracy

This week, we take a look at the claim by Joseph Atwill that Jesus was a mythical person created by 1st century Roman Aristocrats. Also this week, Ken Ham responds to recent atheist billboards with a few billboards of his own, and we have an announcement about a new live debate coming soon.

Give us your feedback on this week’s Faith and Skepticism podcast, and as always, let us know if there’s a topic that you would like to hear us discuss on a future podcast.

6 comments on “Podcast 37: Joseph Atwill’s Jesus Conspiracy

  1. Charles Richmond on said:

    There is a novel by Sean Curley “Propositum”. It’s premise is “What if Paul and a visionary ex-senator conspired to change Judaism and the Roman Republic into something… better?” It posits a Christ figure as an amalgamation of the social and philosophical trends of the time with the ideas handed down through verbal history from the Teacher of Righteousness.

    It doesn’t promise any “proof”, but it is similar to what I perceive as Atwill’s premise.

  2. Ryan Gilmore on said:

    Hi Guys,

    I enjoyed the podcast. I’m the organiser of the Joseph Atwill conference in London. If you’d like me to arrange to have Joseph on your show as a guest so that you can go beyond the recent news articles and gain a deeper understanding of his thesis, let me know.

    Ryan Gilmore

  3. Ryan Gilmore on said:

    Mr. Atwill’s response to Carrier has been published on his blog:


    A very knowledgable layman beat Mr. Atwill to the punch, writing a lengthy 5 star Amazon review that also answered Carrier’s criticisms.


  4. Jerry Russell on said:

    For the most part I can dismiss what you say about Atwill on the podcast, as a simple display of ignorance, combined with a need to get the show on the air without doing much prep time. Bygones.

    However, Joe reports that you had agreed to host a follow-up debate between himself and Richard Carrier, but Carrier subsequently backed out of the deal, so now he’s no longer welcome here.

    Surely if Atwill’s thesis is so flawed, you could come up with someone else willing to debate it? Why not debate him yourselves?

    • Nathan on said:

      Carrier did not back out. Ryan approached us with an offer to come on the show, and we offered to host a debate, to which Joseph agreed through Ryan. He sent us a proposed outline that did not seem much like a debate to us.

      You can view Atwill’s proposed outline here:

      We created an outline using Atwill’s outline and some of Dr. Carrier’s suggestions. We updated the outline again with suggestions from Ryan/Atwill. Then we were given an ultimatum that we could either use Atwill’s original outline without any compromises or interview Atwill individually. Neither of these seemed like good options to us and we felt like Atwill was not willing to compromise at all, so we chose not to host the debate.

      Here was our latest proposed outline:

  5. Ryan Gilmore on said:

    Why is interviewing Atwill individually “not a good option for us”? I guess it isn’t if your goal is to rubbish Atwill’s work, and you don’t feel you can without outside help.

    I guess we’ve found the limits of the show “where nothing is off limits”.

    Anyone in media genuinely interested in getting at the truth about something would jump at the opportunity to have a first person interview with a controversial guest, regardless of one’s initial views. That’s the true spirit of journalism and truth seeking. I’m not seeing much evidence of that here.

    I would also point readers to the contradictions in Nathan’s comment above: if Atwill was “not willing to compromise,” why did he suggest different options for coming on the show? Atwill was flexible, but not a pushover. He did insist on certain ground rules for debating someone who had slandered him in public; his condition was that the debate focus on Carrier’s article, point for point. He did not wish to give Carrier license to drift off topic and continue with more slander, as he has a habit of doing. For some reason both the hosts and Carrier shied away from this simple condition, submitting multiple outlines that wouldn’t honour it, and in their own uncompromising way cancelled Atwill’s appearance on the show. He never said he would not compromise on the original outline, but that it that it should cover 7 arguments from Carrier’s article.

    For those who are interested in being informed, Atwill response to Carrier’s article is here:

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