60 For instance, when John M. Allegro wrote a rather bizarre work (The Sacred Mushroom and the Cross[London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1973]) to argue that Jesus probably never lived, he was greeted by intense criticism from his peers, even though he admitted that his views were only speculation on his part. Norman Anderson reports that, in England, Allegro’s thesis was dismissed by fifteen experts in Semitic languages and related fields who lodged their protest in a letter that was published in the May 26, 1970 issue of The Times(apparently referring to the American edition). They judged that Allegro’s views were “not based on any philological or other evidence that they can regard as scholarly.” The book was also “met with scathing criticism in review after review.” See Anderson’s Jesus Christ: The Witness of History(Leicester: InterVarsity, 1985), p. 15, fn. 2. John A.T. Robinson concurs, mentioning Allegro’s volume in a section of his book entitled “The Cynicism of the Foolish.” Robinson asserts that if such reasoning was found in other disciplines, it “would be laughed out of court.” See Robinson’s Can We Trust the New Testament?p. 15.

61 Charlesworth, Jesus Within Judaism, p. 98.