John Mackinnon Robertson was a prolific journalist, advocate of
rationalism and secularism, and Liberal MP for Tyneside from 1906
was born on the Isle of Arran and left school at the age of thirteen
to become a clerk and then a journalist. In 1878 he became a follower
of secularist leader Charles Bradlaugh and became active in the
secularist cause in Edinburgh, before moving to London to become
assistant editor of Bradlaugh's 'paper National Reformer, subsequently
taking over as editor on Bradlaugh's death in 1891. The National
Reformer finally closed in 1893. Robertson was also an appointed
lecturer for the freethinking South Place Ethical Society from
1899 until the 1920s.
political radicalism developed in the 1880s and 1890s, and he
first stood for Parliament in 1895, failing to win Bradlaugh's
old seat in Northampton as an independent radical liberal.
was an advocate of the Jesus-Myth theory, and in several books
he argued strongly against the historicity of Jesus. According
to Robertson, the character of Jesus in the New Testament developed
from a Jewish cult of Joshua, whom he identifies as a solar deity.
Frederick Cornwallis Conybeare wrote a book The Historical Christ
directed specifically against Robertson and two other Jesus-myth