Bart Ehrman on the Existence of a Historical Jesus

Bart Ehrman on the Existence of a Historical Jesus March 20, 2012

Preparing for the appearance of his new book, Did Jesus Exist?: The Historical Argument for Jesus of Nazareth, which is now in stock on Amazon.com, Bart Ehrman has published an article on the topic in the Huffington Post. His conclusion is “Whether we like it or not, Jesus certainly existed.” To see how he gets there, click through and read the article.

Bart Ehrman also now has a blog: Christianity in Antiquity: The Bart Ehrman Blog.

It is disappointing to see the discussion on Jerry Coyne’s blog, where a group that has banded together at least in part to combat those who introduce nonsense into science in the name of religion, and do not realize they are doing the same thing with respect to history: buying bogus claims found online, misunderstanding the methods and arguments of experts, and manufacturing controversy where none exists. Shame!

There are other posts about the book around the blogosphere, The most interesting is probably John Shuck, who got an advance copy of the book and has a review. That’s the first post in a series that is planned as part of a blog tour about the book. There is also a review at The Passive Habit, which I am linking to since it is relevant, even though it disturbingly recommends something by JP Holding! But it deserves a link if for no other reason than this great line: “It won’t deter the hardcore proponents of the [mythicist] hypotheis [sic], but perhaps some readers will be spared acceptance of such a moronic point of view because of Ehrman’s book.”

Also relevant to this topic is Tom Verenna’s review of Richard Carrier’s new book on historical methodology and Bayes’ Theorem, and Mike Kok’s post on Dale Allison’s treatment of the passion narratives, and how Paul’s letters provide evidence for the existence of that story well before the Gospels were written.

UPDATES: Since I originally posted this, a few other blog posts have appeared about this. Tom Verenna shared some agreements, and indicated that he will be posting a much longer list of disagreements on a later occasion. Neil Godfrey’s post provides some indication of how mythicists are reacting to Ehrman’s article and book.

Answers in Genesis BUSTED posted on a number of misconceptions and untenable arguments, and includes Jesus mythicism, concluding with the following:

What’s sauce for the creationists is sauce for the Jesus mythicists; Have your doubts and questions, but be humble and don’t assume you know it all, and especially don’t present a fringe viewpoint as a reason for someone else to accept your conclusion.

Let me also mention Mark Goodacre’s podcast which addresses historical Jesus criteria and methodology.


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