Ephesians 4:21 and Mythicism

Ephesians 4:21 and Mythicism December 5, 2014

Mythicism claims that the lack of details about Jesus in the epistles are an indication that their authors did not think Jesus was historical. I’ve pointed out before that this is silly nonsense – the relative silence in the epistles is silence about a celestial Jesus myth, if there was such a thing, every bit as much as about a historical life of Jesus.

Ephesians 4:21 rarely gets discussed in this context, despite its relevance. It says, “For surely you have heard about him and were taught in him, as truth is in Jesus.”

And so it is clear that the author expected Christians – including ones in churches which he had not planted, as the author suggests the recipients are – had received teaching, had heard about him previously. The author reminds them of having learned such things, but doesn’t spell out in detail what the specific stories were that had been told.

And so can we put this to rest once and for all? The silences in the epistles is no less puzzling for mythicists than for mainstream historians and scholars. And occasionally the authors of epistles make reference to the fact that teaching about Christ is something that always happened, and which could be taken for granted even when writing to a church one had not founded.

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