Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Five best books that debunk pseudohistory

Damian Thompson is Editor of Telegraph Blogs, a columnist for the Daily Telegraph, and the author of Counterknowledge: How We Surrendered to Conspiracy Theories, Quack Medicine, Bogus Science and Fake History.

He was once described by The Church Times as a "blood-crazed ferret." He is on Twitter as HolySmoke.

In 2008 Thompson named a five best list of books for the Wall Street Journal. His subject: books that "emphatically debunk pseudohistory and spurious 'knowledge.'" One title from the list:
Lost Christianities
by Bart D. Ehrman
Oxford University, 2003

"Lost Christianities" is the book you need to read before you are next assailed by a raging bore insisting that Jesus married Mary Magdalene and that a giant Catholic conspiracy suppressed hundreds of scriptures revealing that Christ and his wife moved to France, founded a dynasty, etc. Yes, there were dozens of alternative versions of Jesus' life circulating among the Christians of the second and third centuries, and these works often were wildly heterodox -- suggesting that Jesus was one of many gods, for instance, and even proposing that he was followed out of the tomb by monsters. But as Bart D. Ehrman ably demonstrates, the stories were all bogus, confected by the pseudohistorians of their day.
Read about another title on Thompson's list.

--Marshal Zeringue