Professor James F. McGrath (Clarence L. Goodwin Chair in New Testament Language and Literature at Butler University in Indianapolis, Indiana) blogs as Religion Prof at Patheos. In a recent post (link), McGrath reviews another blogger’s review of Richard Carrier’s work concerning Saint Paul’s mention of James as “the brother of the Lord” (Galatians 1:19). McGrath alleges
In essence, Carrier’s approach commits the same blunder that undergraduate students sometimes do before coming to grips with how historians work.
Your obedient servant holds no brief from Dr. Carrier, but the essence of Carrier’s approach is that Bayesian methods can and should be applied to historical questions. I agree with that essence (link).
This post considers whether Professor McGrath has identified some hidden incompatibility between “common sense reduced to calculation,” as Laplace described Bayesian techniques, and normative post-graduate history.
Let’s hope not.