Now, there is no doubt that such claims are being made by (here unnamed-I wonder who they might be?) Internet bloggers, but Strobel presented this argument by pointing out that it was initiated by scholars themselves! Named are Tom Harpur, Timothy Freke, Peter Gandy, and Hugh J. Schonfield! Who exactly is ‘this leading scholar’s analysis’ a sharp rebuke to exactly? It looks to me like the context should suggest Strobel here call out other scholars, but instead he singles out “popular-level authors and Internet bloggers.” Granted, some of these authors were popular level, but these all have some credentials. But what Internet bloggers were referenced exactly? It wouldn’t be-Carrier and Lowder, would it?
Now, I have no great love for Richard Carrier or Jeffrey Jay Lowder. I’ve never found their arguments to be compelling, but having read some of their essays I can see why people find them persuasive. And I certainly don’t have a problem giving scholars their due weight. They’ve worked hard, and it is true, I don’t know Aramaic. I don’t have access in most cases to primary sources. I depend on them to bring me the data. It does not follow though, that I depend on them to interpret the data. No, my real concern here is that the attitude expressed in my quotes (and a handful of others) does two things: 1. It undercuts thoughtful and hard-working Christians striving on the Internet to further the cause of Christ and 2. It does not appreciate the fact that the democratization of the Internet is an asset for us, and even if we preferred that people defer to sober scholars (that we agree with) the fact is that people are going to turn first to sources on the Internet, and only later will they possibly consult some of these more scholarly works.