Bart Ehrman meets The Jesus Myth Guy

March 26, 2010

Here is an example of why I have trouble taking “Jesus myth” people seriously.

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11 Responses to “Bart Ehrman meets The Jesus Myth Guy”

  1. Mr Z Says:

    The question I have is this: The NT has a vested interest in saying Jesus was an Historical figure. If we discount this in the interest of argument. What other historical evidence is there for the Jesus who worked miracles, or of his miracles?

    The Josephus mentions are in question, and nothing dates to the time of his death. Even if the historical figures whose burials have been found were in the Christ story, we have only to look at Dan Brown’s novels to see that including real names and people in a fiction give it more believability and sex appeal.

    I’ve seen nothing found in evidence of Jesus than cannot be also seen as having a vested interest in talking as though he had lived, enough interest that clearly old documents were tampered with in many cases through history.

    Am I missing something?

  2. Chucky Says:

    Hi Mr Z,

    First up, why do you discount the Bible? As you probably saw from the video, even atheist historians don’t do that. There are real historical questions here, that whether you’re an atheist or a Christian you can’t just ignore them.

    I guess there are also the early Christian writings from just after the Bible, people like Clement, Ignatius, Polycarp, Barnabus, or the Diache. There’s also a sort of a combined gospel written by Tatian which I’m meaning to read sometime, but that’s a bit later (written 160 or so).

    If you’re going to discount those guys because they’re Christians and demand non-Christian sources, then there’s Josephus as you say. He’s got two references to Jesus, one of which is likely been tampered with to make Jesus look good. There’s also Tacitus, and a bunch of references from other sources to early Christians.

    I guess if you think Jesus didn’t exist you have to explain Christians, and Christian beliefs as they split off from Judaism.

    I believe altogether there something like 42 early authors who write about Jesus.

  3. Mr Z Says:

    The point in discounting it was only to ask what evidence was there other than it. It is only Christian writings that say there was a man named Jesus who did miracles and is himself a God. None of these writings are solid eyewitness accounts of the miracles. The bulk of the evidence says there was a Jesus who was a good man and holy man. I was simply asking if I had missed something. All the writings and records that say he was more than that have a vested interest in doing so.

    The reason to ask such a question in such a way is to try to figure out why the Jews, (and later) Muslims, and Romans of the day were able to ignore God walking among them as though there was not one thing special about him. Not only ignore God, but crucify him as a false god and blasphemer.

    It has a sense of logic to it to think there were no true believers in his miracles at the time or that perhaps they were no more convincing than what was on view in many other places at the time.

    You have to admit that there is a conundrum here. How did it happen that there is precious little evidence of the miracles of God if God went to such efforts to actually visit the Earth and its people in the flesh? Why is it that the evidence was never written about in his lifetime? Clearly the NT shows that Jesus had interacted with people who had resources. Tax collectors would have known how to write or known those who knew how to write. His life was not spent hiding from the literate.

    Ignoring the Bible in order to examine what else is available is one way to avoid misdirection in the search for answers to that conundrum. The various efforts to collect writings into a single book for the church and to establish a church and doctrine seem to have been opposed to any view that Jesus was not equal to God, and any such evidence would have been destroyed or killed. Despite that there is no contemporary records of his divinity and miracles. It’s a conundrum.

  4. Chucky Says:

    Hi Mr T,

    It seems obvious to me – correct me if I’m wrong – that anyone who saw Jesus miracles and was convinced enough to make the records you want then they *would be* a Christian.

    Paul was not a Christian before he saw the risen Jesus. He was actively persecuting Christians. Isn’t that an example of exactly what you’re looking for?

    You’re right there were literate people in Judaea, tax collectors and officials and so on who would have written about what happened. But we don’t have these writings now, so we don’t know what they did or didn’t say. We can only go off what we do have: Matthew may well have been a tax collector.

  5. Mr Z Says:

    That’s kind of what I mean, but I was thinking more like first person eye witness accounts. There are other things that beg such a question than just where are such accounts. Where are The ten commandments and the Ark of the Covenant? Why didn’t Jesus just take a stroll around town witnessing to folk after his resurrection? If Jesus’ message was that important, why did Mohamed get such a different one a few hundred years later? The list goes on and on. If it was a movie no one had ever heard before, I’d refuse it funding because the plot is broken. There are hundreds of questions that 10 year olds can ask for which there are no good answers. As a Jewish man, Jesus would have been a very odd duck to not have been married, very odd indeed but no mention of this was made. What was Jesus like as a teenager? The incompleteness of the story begs further questions, like why is the story incomplete? What happened that we shouldn’t know about? Too many questions, not enough answers. It’s hard to eat your dinner when it doesn’t smell like something you want to eat, if you can see what I mean. That’s why I ask questions like that.

  6. Will Says:

    I appreciate Mr. Z’s sentiment. I personally tend towards the myth hypothesist, but the evidence seems inconclusive either way. In any rate this audio of the Infidel Guy makes me embarrassed for him…. If anyone is truly interested in Mythicism they should check out Richard Carrier’s upcoming books on it….or his online interviews. he is submitting a more rigorous version of the theory for academic peer review. and also Earl Doherty is good. I would stay away from Achary S’s stuff.. it seems pretty shoddy for the most part. but Robert M. Price is pretty good.

  7. Mr Z Says:

    I don’t think there is any reason to feel embarrassed for him. He’s trying to make a point that is not being answered. Paul wrote quite a different tale than is in the first four books of the NT. The NT has some serious storyline issues. Paul talked of jesus’ relatives but kinda had a completely different take on the whole thing. From

    ==The apostle Paul wasn’t even present at the crucifixion of Christ, yet he declared that this act was an act of cosmic and supernatural proportions. This was a real drama of theological redemption. Here the curse of God’s law was visited on a man who bore the sins of His people. For Paul, the crucifixion was the pivotal point of all history. Paul was not satisfied to give an account of the event. While affirming the historicity of the crucifixion, Paul added the apostolic interpretation of the meaning of the event. He set forth propositions about the death of Christ.

    The issue before the church is this: Is the apostolic propositional interpretation of the cross correct or not? Is Paul’s view merely a first-century Jewish scholar’s speculation on the matter, or is it a view inspired by God Himself?

    What difference does it make? This is not a trifling matter or a pedantic point of Christian doctrine. Here nothing less than salvation is at stake. To reject the biblical view of atonement is to reject the atonement itself. To reject the atonement is to reject Christ. To reject Christ is to perish in your sin.

    Please let us not soften this with an appeasing dance. Let us be clear. Those teachers in the church who deny that the death of Christ was a supernatural act of atonement are simply not Christians. They are enemies of Christ who trample Jesus underfoot and crucify Him afresh.

    Taken from “Accepting the Atonement of the Cross” by Ligonier Ministries (used by permission).==

    Paul added stuff that others did not. Paul drove the ideology in a direction it was not going before. The conversion from sun worship to worship of the son of god was driven by Paul. He wasn’t even there, but he knows the ‘true meaning of Christianity’ (TM) Where the rest are telling stories. There are definitely problems with Paul’s version when compared to the rest. Paul’s writings are both logically and theologically problematic.

    Now, that is allowing that there is reason to believe any of the Bible. I don’t think there is. Enough of it is either morally repulsive of questionable efficacy to make believing the overall story less than a useful way to spend your time.

  8. Mr Z Says:

    I have trouble understanding why evangelical Christians cannot see their religion as nothing more substantive than voodoo and witchcraft that we find in other countries. Where curses and magic are thought real, where their gods have possessed their shamans the ability to strike a person with convulsions or heal them of diseases with a fetish or talisman. How is it different?

    Here’s a link:

  9. R.J. Moore II Says:

    Ehrman is a great scholar, but when he claims to know all about the Jesus Myth hypothesis and says he has hardly heard of Robert Price he is showing that he is full of it on this subject. The guy is publishing for an audience that wants to believe in a historical Jesus so they can repaint Jesus however they want him to be. Between the Nag Hammadi library and the huge range of virtually identical myths before, during and after the supposed life of Jesus there is absolutely no way to credibly say he existed; not merely because no textual or higher evidence exists but because the Gospels are such a bunch of mythology and propaganda that they literally bear no relation to any historical persons other than the established Christianities existing when they were written.

    Even if there was some guy named Jesus wandering around preaching the Apocalypse or Hellenized Judaism he has jack-all to do with the Jesus of the Gospels. That one is pure myth and fantasy.

  10. R.J. Moore II Says:

    Also, Ehrman doesn’t mention Rene Salm; the guy who definitively proved that Nazareth was a myth and who also believes Jesus was a myth. Ehrman is apparently defining ‘serious scholar’ as ‘those who don’t doubt the historical Jesus’.

  11. Jeff Dixon Says:

    They Should Have Noticed

    John E. Remsburg, in his classic book The Christ: A Critical Review and Analysis of the Evidence of His Existence (The Truth Seeker Company, NY, no date, pp. 24-25), lists the following writers who lived during the time, or within a century after the time, that Jesus is supposed to have lived:
    Pliny Elder
    Dion Pruseus
    Pliny Younger
    Justus of Tiberius
    Silius Italicus
    Valerius Maximus
    Florus Lucius
    Quintius Curtius
    Aulus Gellius
    Dio Chrysostom
    Valerius Flaccus
    Pomponius Mela
    Appion of Alexandria
    Theon of Smyrna
    According to Remsburg, “Enough of the writings of the authors named in the foregoing list remains to form a library. Yet in this mass of Jewish and Pagan literature, aside from two forged passages in the works of a Jewish author, and two disputed passages in the works of Roman writers, there is to be found no mention of Jesus Christ.” Nor, we may add, do any of these authors make note of the Disciples or Apostles – increasing the embarrassment from the silence of history concerning the foundation of Christianity.

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