Response to Bart Ehrman Part 1: Agreements

I don’t have the time for a full fledged article at the moment, but I do have some time to offer some quick thoughts in passing  (background here).  The best way for me to do this is to break the response down into two distinct parts: agreements and disagreements.  Because I always try starting off a conversation with a positive note, I’ll start with agreements which I hope will also convey something about my biases and my feelings as a student.

First, Bart is actually directly responding to the sort of mythicists that I constantly try to correct as well.  These are the Zeitgeist mythicists, or followers of Acharya S/D.M. Murdock.   His summation of them is spot on:

This unusually vociferous group of nay-sayers maintains that Jesus is a myth invented for nefarious (or altruistic) purposes by the early Christians who modeled their savior along the lines of pagan divine men who, it is alleged, were also born of a virgin on Dec. 25, who also did miracles, who also died as an atonement for sin and were then raised from the dead.

Yep, definitely spot on.

I also agree with his contention that many mythicists are indeed wrought out of the atheist movement.  There is no doubt in my mind.  And he is also correct that few mythicists hold the credentials necessary to come to informed decisions about the historicity of the figure of Jesus.

I was exceeding glad to see that Ehrman acknowledged the lack of evidence for the existence of a figure like Jesus from Roman and Jewish sources.

And when it comes to agreements that is really it.  The rest of Ehrman’s post must be delegated to the ‘crap’ file and I’ll explain why in my next post about this on our disagreements.  But that will have to wait until I have the time to address these claims later this afternoon.

More anon.

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4 Responses

  1. “First, Bart is actually directly responding to the sort of mythicists that I constantly try to correct as well. ”

    I might be misunderstanding you, but it sounds like you are saying that he’s only responding to the crap-side of mythicism. But he mentions two mythicists with a phd in a relevant field (certainly Carrier and Price), so he’s also talking about the saner side of mythicism.

  2. Absolutely. But he is forgetting Thomas Thompson as well, who has held an academic position in Biblical Studies (specifically OT) for decades.

  3. Do we, as Ehrman claims “have numerous, independent accounts of [Jesus'] life in the sources lying behind the Gospels,” or do we have hypothetical reconstructions of those sources which themselves are premised on an assumption of historicity? We might reasonably think that there were such accounts behind the gospels, but I’m not sure that we can cite them as evidence that we have.

  4. Yeah I saw that and I have no idea what the hell he is talking about. I really think that he is talking out of some other orifice in this post. From what I’ve heard, his book is a lot different than this article. It is almost borderline delusional at some places.

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