Though it apparently came out last summer, I just recently caught wind of a book called The Myth of Nazareth by a fellow named Rene Salm. In it, Salm attempts to argue that the town of Nazareth did not come into being until after the time Christ, which would in turn make a powerful argument that Christ was merely a mythological figure. Apparently this is the first volume of series of books that Salm is cooking up that question the traditional origins of Christianity. It's all very interesting if true, but I'm troubled that I seem to find can't find any credentials for Salm save for a few notes here and there that refer to him as "a historian" and a composer.
If it is indeed the case that this Salm fellow has no formal archaeological training and is in fact just an amateur historian, this book ceases to be especially intriguing. Granted, Robert M. Price certainly seems to be excited by it, but there's a paucity of what I would consider to be unbiased reviews floating around out there. It is (rather predictably) being fiercely attacked on religious sites like Theology Web*, and while the sole review on Amazon says that it's the best thing since toast, said review was written by an author who is featured prominently on Salm's website.
Still, I think I may have to order this book, if only for curiosity's sake.** That's not to say that I don't find a rather large bit of Salm's thesis, that there's some kind of conspiracy amongst archaeologists to promote incorrect dating for the founding of Nazareth, pretty freakin' hard to swallow. After all, books that purport to offer stunning new insights (from a laymen, especially) into a well-studied field should be treated with caution (see here), and philosophically attractive theses should be treated with even more caution. I'm not especially bound up in the idea of a purely mythological Jesus (Unlike, I should note, Robert M. Price) so I'm not going to cry if Salm turns out to be mistaken.
That's a good thing too, because at this point I think there's even odds that Salm has his head up his ass.
*Actually, a large percentage of the unfavorable reviews floating around out there trace back to a Theology Web user called J.P. Holding, aka Robert Turkel, aka the guy that runs that Tektonics apologetics website. He's not held in high regard even for an apologist, and a Google search for "Robert Turkel intellectual dishonesty" returns nearly 900 hits.
** The same reason I own this book, written by a fellow who apparently thinks trolls are real...