“Hammer’s gonna be the death of me!”

What does John Henry have to do with “John Henry” and which matters more? It’d be obvious we can do without John Henry since few know about him and fewer care to find out. What’s not so clear is that we can do without “John Henry”. I suspect nothing would change for anyone if there were no John Henry at all. “John Henry” would survive unscathed.

The only difference between John Henry, “John Henry”, Jesus of Nazareth, and “Jesus of Nazareth” is that “Jesus of Nazareth” cannot work without Jesus of Nazareth. Not because the legend at all depicts the man, but that in order for some versions of Christology to work, the man must have existed and we must demand “Jesus of Nazareth” is Jesus of Nazareth; which is very dubious indeed.

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