Miguel Conner

Miguel Conner is a writer of science-fiction novels. He is peripherally relevant to a discussion of mythicism, not because he is a scholar exploring the issue per çe, but because he is an active online broadcaster whose Aeon Byte Radio podcast, which has been going on for more than a decade now, often features in-depth interviews of many of the pertinent personalities in the discussion of Christian origins and the historicity of Jesus.  

The Good

With one caveat (see below), the Aeon Byte podcast is usually pretty good. The strength of the show rests on the quality of its guests, a veritable "who's who" of New Testament and/or mythicist scholarship (both good and not-so-good): Bart Ehrman, Joe Atwill, Elaine Pagels, Robert Price, Karen King, Bruce Chilton, D.M. Murdock, Richard Carrier, etc. In addition to featuring such an impressive roster of guests, the show also displays a production standard that is on par with many professionally produced programs. As a media broadcaster, Conner obviously works hard. He is diligent and resourceful. His interview style may not be particularly incisive, but this limitation is made up for by the quality and variegation of his guests, who don't need much prompting in order to be interesting and informative. I have been a semi-regular listener for some years and recommend this podcast to anyone interested in some of the more esoteric and/or contentious aspects of Christian origins.

The Bad

Conner begins each episode of his podcast with a stylized segment which is a kind of audio mosaic or collage. It consists of a mashup of desultory audio clips from popular films and television programs (mostly films) interwoven with his own cryptic "gnostic" musings (which at times venture into diatribe territory). These introductory collages range from fifteen to twenty-five minutes in length. Although I honestly enjoy the interviews that follow them, I invariably find myself skipping right over these dreadful intros. They are excessive, irrelevant, incoherent, self-serving, narcissistic, at times paranoid ... they are simply bad. Mixed metaphors and non-sequiturs abound, as well as facile citations of pop songs offered up as wisdom sayings.

By way of example, consider the opening paragraph of his Amazon bio page:
Miguel Conner is a garage philosopher, hedge theologian, and general madman across the waters. His life quest is to take his audience from ancient connections to modern meaning. As a wise meme once said-- Don't be the change you want to see in the world, be the strange you want to see in the world.

This kind of post-modern pop mysticism leaves me cold. It doesn't help that he seems to think that there is some kind of conspiracy to trivialize or silence the "gnosticism" that he sees everywhere around him, especially in pop culture, which is of course oxymoronic, considering how much of it he tacitly admits is not being repressed (else it would not be so pervasive in pop culture).

Despite this strange idiosyncrasy, once one skips over each opening babble-fest (cutting off the bruised unappetizing part of the apple), the show is usually rather enjoyable.


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