It turned out the kind of reading order I wanted to create would’ve taken way too much time. DC’s publishing history is just way too long and complicated for a week or two of effort. So I wrote a procedure for how someone could go about it if they wanted to take up that project. There are also existing resources, so I included some comments about those.
As for my own reading, I’ll probably follow the easy plan I suggested on that page. I’m a lot less ambitious than I was years ago when I first thought of this reading project. I’m more aware of how much time my other projects will take.
Half the reason for this project is to help me make decisions on the one day a year that I actually buy comics, Free Comic Book Day. Learning a little more about the events has helped me decide which ones are worth owning. If I buy something from DC, it’ll probably be DC Rebirth, Flashpoint, or something Convergence related. But maybe Legends, the event after Crisis on Infinite Earths, since I happened to see it in the store.
I have one more set of reading suggestions to make about comics, and they come in the form of my current project. The Routledge Companion to Experimental Literature has a chapter on comics, so they get a section in my page of links. Once that section is posted, I’ll link to it from my comic reading strategy guide.
Last week I collected links for a few more sections, but I haven’t posted them yet. This week I’ll finish the work I’m doing for this sprint. Then I’ll move on to the next project, which will be my coding project generator.
I finished Michael Licona’s The Resurrection of Jesus: A New Historiographical Approach, which argues that Jesus’ resurrection happened. The book clarified the issues for me, and it helped me whittle them down to the ones I care about. I already agree that we can say things about the past and that miracles can happen, so fortunately I don’t have to argue with myself about those.
Licona’s argument takes a minimal-facts approach. He uses the term “historical bedrock” to refer to the facts historians widely grant. When it comes to Jesus’ resurrection, the key facts in the bedrock are that Jesus was crucified and that people saw him alive afterward.
Using a consistent set of criteria, Licona evaluates several attempts to explain the historical bedrock. Mostly what we have to explain is Jesus’ appearances. We can dismiss the idea that he survived the crucifixion. Surviving crucifixion was very unlikely even with medical attention. So apart from the resurrection hypothesis, we’re basically left with the questionable idea of group hallucinations. Licona’s response to this explanation seemed ambiguous to me. Overall the psychological literature doesn’t support group hallucinations, but he gave a couple of examples that sort of do. So I want to look into that.
In response to Licona’s arguments, one obvious step a skeptic could take is to deny the historical bedrock. As I listened to the book, a post by John Loftus along those lines kept echoing in my mind. He basically argues that because the Gospels as a whole are unreliable, their resurrection narratives are too.
So now I’m listening to The Jesus Legend by Paul Rhodes Eddy and Gregory Boyd, which defends not only the reliability of the Synoptic Gospels but also Jesus’ historical existence itself. I like to make sure my bases are covered. This book is turning out to be more interesting to me than the resurrection one, since I’m less familiar with the arguments.
I’ve been weighing the idea of tackling Craig Keener’s large 2-volume work Miracles. Skeptics have some decent criticisms of it, which makes me hesitant to give it all that time. But the existence of modern miracles keeps coming up in these other books, and it makes me think a treatment like Keener’s is at least worth hearing. So that’ll probably be my next one after The Jesus Legend.
Easter is this coming weekend. My brother is making his annual trip to my place for our traditional round of church services. Should be fun.