Immanuel Velikovsky’s name is, for many, synonymous with paleobabble. I can think of a few other candidates I’d move ahead of him for such an honor, but Velikovsky indeed belongs to the “modern classical period” of wacky stuff related to study of the ancient world. You can read his Wikipedia page if you’re unfamiliar with him.
I recently came across this link: “Top Ten Reasons Why Velikovsky is Wrong About Worlds in Collision.” The essay at the link is long, dense, and technical. It’s also got terrible formatting (as in no formatting) so it’s hard on the eyes. I link to it because of the pedigree of its author, Leroy Ellenberger, who describes himself as follows:
This Top Ten list is based on 30 years exposure to Velikovsky’s ideas which includes 8 years as an insider at the Velikovsky journal Kronos (1978 – 1986), confidant to Velikovsky (4/78 – 11/79), invited “Devil’s Advocate” at Aeon (’88 – ’91), and 13 years as a turncoat/critic interacting with Velikovsky’s defenders and/or successors at conferences, in private, and in Usenet (’94 -’96) & list-serve forums.
In other words, he knows Velikovsky’s material really, really well. So all the haters can just email him to defend Velikovsky. And good luck with that.
I’m currently in Chicago attending the annual meetings of the American Academy of Religion and Society of Biblical Literature (along with satellite meetings by scholarly organizations like the American Schools of Oriental Research). These meetings are also attended by dozens of major academic publishers. Consequently, there are hundreds of books available here at “once a year only” discounts that help those of us who care about data and coherent thinking battle paleobabble. I came across what apparently looks to be an important one today, “Jesus: Evidence and Argument, or Mythicist Myths” by Maurice Casey (T & T Clark, 2013).
Yes, that’s 2013.
You won’t find the title in Amazon in any form. However, Professor Casey has published other items on Jesus as a historical figure. I’m guessing this work will be something of an update or perhaps fuller presentation. The book will be important because Casey is not what anyone in the academy would call an evangelical or “Bible believer” in the pop religion sense. He’s a high profile scholar of New Testament and Christian origins.
PaleoBabble readers know that I haven’t had positive things to say about the work of pseudo-archaeologists like Ron Wyatt and Robert Cornuke. The Bible Places blog recently posted some critiques of the latter. I think readers will find it informative and useful. (And for those wondering, I wouldn’t be in lock-step with points of the critique, though I agree that Wyatt and Cornuke ought to be ignored since they both fail to provide their “findings” to scholars for peer review, and at times fabricate findings). Real archaeologists (and I know a good number of them personally) within the evangelical community don’t embrace Wyatt and Cornuke. They only impress the non-specialists who are interested in the Bible and archaeology.
This is a very worthwhile link on the 2012 silliness. It features an upcoming book, an interview with a Mayan specialist, and a link to an academic paper (but it isn’t free). The book may be quite expensive, too (Equinox titles usually are). But at least you get the interview.
Despite my enthusiasm, I expect that the new-agers or ancient astronaut theorists will make sure this good scholarly deed gets punished (or ignored).