Proving History: Bayes's Theorem and the Quest for the Historical Jesus (Hardcover)

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ITEM# 14004509
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    ITEM#: 14004509

    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.
    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.

    Specs

    ISBN 9781616145590
    Genre HISTORY / Historiography
    Format Hardcover
    Pages 340
    Publisher Date 2012-04-24 00:00:00.0
    Publisher Prometheus Books
    Copyright Year 2012
    Unit weight 1.3 lb
    Height 9.5 in
    Wdth 6.25 in
    Thickness 1.0 in
    Language English
    Subtitle Bayes's Theorem and the Quest for the Historical Jesus
    Audience General/trade
    Authors Carrier, Richard C.
    Country of Origin United States

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