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New Mythacist literature being published in response to Ehrman
Posted: 02 March 2013 05:08 PM   [ Ignore ]
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As many of you may have known (or perhaps not) that when Ehrman responded to the Mythacists they ended up responding back. Now whether or not you believe there was an historical Jesus (I sure do), after one looks at the responses to Did Jesus Exist? you would have to come to the conclusion that Ehrman’s book is downright horrible. But new developments have come about in a release of two works being published (one is currently in the process of publishing while the other is currently being written) as responses to Ehrman’s work.

The works are as followed:

Bart Ehrman and the Quest of the Historical Jesus edited by Frank Zindler and Robert Price. The paperback version of the book can be found here

Bart Ehrman Interrupted by Robert Price.

Edit: I have added a hyperlink to the first book listed as it has finally become available. Also as of 4/17/2013 I have added the paperback version of the book in question.

[ Edited: 17 April 2013 11:24 PM by Voice of Reason467 ]
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Posted: 02 March 2013 05:54 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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You might also read “The Historical Jesus: Five Views”. It includes Price’s contention as well as Crossan (one of my favorites) and others pro and con.


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Posted: 02 March 2013 08:27 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Thevillageatheist - 02 March 2013 05:54 PM

You might also read “The Historical Jesus: Five Views”. It includes Price’s contention as well as Crossan (one of my favorites) and others pro and con.


Cap’t Jack

Yah, it was one of the volumes I was reading when attempting to learn about the mythacist position to see why the scholarship seems to marginalize their view so much. I have come to the conclusion that that the marginalization is more reactionary than research oriented.

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Posted: 02 March 2013 09:08 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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after one looks at the responses to Did Jesus Exist? you would have to come to the conclusion that Ehrman’s book is downright horrible.

I don’t have to do anything of the kind. All I need to do is acknowladge that his is one view among many held by a diverse range of professional scholars then go on from there.

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Posted: 02 March 2013 10:56 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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My belief is that Jesus is a mythical amalgamation. Since I don’t believe he was a divine son of a non-existent deity, it really doesn’t matter to me, other than this mythology’s influence on western civilization.

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Posted: 03 March 2013 05:48 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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My belief is that Jesus is a mythical amalgamation. Since I don’t believe he was a divine son of a non-existent deity, it really doesn’t matter to me, other than this mythology’s influence on western civilization.

Same here. I ruled that out ages ago. My main concern is the historicity of Jesus and Ehrman includes compelling evidence to back his claim. I have BTW read all of his refences and have copies of them including the Q gospel, so I’m not just taking his word for it. I’m be no means a apologist for Ehrman and Price does bring out interesting points but there’s just too many sources IMO to justify jesus’s existence. plus, if it wasn’t for Paul the religion may have been localized or died out. He began the mythologizing plus all the bishops who had their own interpretation of Jesus.


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Posted: 03 March 2013 06:13 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Thevillageatheist - 03 March 2013 05:48 AM

My belief is that Jesus is a mythical amalgamation. Since I don’t believe he was a divine son of a non-existent deity, it really doesn’t matter to me, other than this mythology’s influence on western civilization.

Same here. I ruled that out ages ago. My main concern is the historicity of Jesus and Ehrman includes compelling evidence to back his claim. I have BTW read all of his refences and have copies of them including the Q gospel, so I’m not just taking his word for it. I’m be no means a apologist for Ehrman and Price does bring out interesting points but there’s just too many sources IMO to justify jesus’s existence. plus, if it wasn’t for Paul the religion may have been localized or died out. He began the mythologizing plus all the bishops who had their own interpretation of Jesus.

question

It sounds like you’re suggesting Ehrman accepts the mythicist line, when he very clearly and loudly does not. (He wrote a whole book about it).

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Posted: 03 March 2013 07:11 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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It sounds like you’re suggesting Ehrman accepts the mythicist line, when he very clearly and loudly does not. (He wrote a whole book about it).

Read my opening sentence again, Doug. I stated that IMO Ehrman’s contention that Jesus existed was backed by compelling evidence presented in both books and other scholars bare this out with similar evidence, e.g. John D. Crossan’s books “The Birth of Christianity” and “The Historical Jesus… “. So no that was not my intention at all. With all due respect to the mythicists, like Price, I’m with Ehrman. Jesus was an historical figure wrapped in mythology and evolved to fit into more modern societies post Empire.

 


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Posted: 03 March 2013 11:22 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Oh OK, sorry. No worries.

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Posted: 05 March 2013 02:46 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Thevillageatheist - 03 March 2013 05:48 AM

Same here. I ruled that out ages ago. My main concern is the historicity of Jesus and Ehrman includes compelling evidence to back his claim. I have BTW read all of his refences and have copies of them including the Q gospel, so I’m not just taking his word for it. I’m be no means a apologist for Ehrman and Price does bring out interesting points but there’s just too many sources IMO to justify jesus’s existence. plus, if it wasn’t for Paul the religion may have been localized or died out. He began the mythologizing plus all the bishops who had their own interpretation of Jesus.


Cap’t Jack

The problem with Ehrman and his book has more to do with methodology and how he misrepresented several mythacist arguments and libeled them by stating that they either made it up or that they created their own evidence (as in the case of Murdock’s supposed handwriting). He uses things like the criterion of dissimilarity which makes very little sense in establishing what Jesus actually said, because even if it did go against the grain of proto-orthodox views, all that establishes is an early saying or deed that he did is found in the tradition strata about Jesus, not what Jesus actually said/did. The criterion of embarrassment suffers from similar issues, where it doesn’t even establish what most people say it does because we have no idea what the first century Christians that wrote the gospels would find embarrassing to begin with (unless you presuppose what first century Christian group wrote the gospels, and even then you’re only working with an hypothesis).

In other words, he attempts to give forth flawed methodologies from the get go, without giving any kind of information regarding the debate on methodology or even alternative methods he might disagree with. He is attempting to educate the public but how is he supposed to do that if he just puts forth views that he already agrees with and doesn’t even discuss the larger debate’s going on regarding the issue and pretending throughout the book as if they do not exist. It’s like when he said that Judaism is a religion of the book, this completely discounts the rabbinic debate’s found both in the Talmud and Mishna. He doesn’t even tell anyone that Judaism was not just a religion of the book, but also a religion of rich oral tradition and rabbinic debate’s. I like Ehrman don’t get me wrong, but his popular works are either downright boring or just downright horrible to read because they contain so much inaccuracies and very few gems one can actually find if your even remotely knowledgeable with the subjects. He should just stick to his academic publications because those work better for him.

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Posted: 05 March 2013 06:07 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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In other words, he attempts to give forth flawed methodologies from the get go, without giving any kind of information regarding the debate on methodology or even alternative methods he might disagree with. He is attempting to educate the public but how is he supposed to do that if he just puts forth views that he already agrees with and doesn’t even discuss the larger debate’s going on regarding the issue and pretending throughout the book as if they do not exist. It’s like when he said that Judaism is a religion of the book, this completely discounts the rabbinic debate’s found both in the Talmud and Mishna. He doesn’t even tell anyone that Judaism was not just a religion of the book, but also a religion of rich oral tradition and rabbinic debate’s. I like Ehrman don’t get me wrong, but his popular works are either downright boring or just downright horrible to read because they contain so much inaccuracies and very few gems one can actually find if your even remotely knowledgeable with the subjects. He should just stick to his academic publications because those work better for him.

While I’m definitely not an apologist for Ehrman, readers of his books must be aware that they aren’t written for a scholarly audience but for the general public, curious to find out if Jesus actually existed. In that respect I found no flaws in his methodology and he freely admitted any errors, minor though they may be, and his critics have used these to attack his thesis. I believe this form of critique to be nitpicking and not a scholarly approach to a seriously researched topic. And why should he not put forth views he already agrees with and use any additional research to bolster his claim? When writing a monograph the writer must focus his evidence on the thesis, to do otherwise leads to digression and confusion. And as to Judiasm being a religion of the “book” he is synthesizing the rabbinic writings and the Talmud as commentaries on what later became the OldTestament. Readers relate more to the familiar references beyond their understanding. I admit that reading a popular work written by a scholar can be tedious at times as they have a tendency add details that may confuse the merely curious reader not bent on obtaining a PhD. In the field, but I found his writing very consise and his evidence backed his thesis. I also found his critics to have taken an anti-scholarly approach by descending into name calling and personal attacks, e.g. Richard Carrier’s diatribes are an example. Ehrman speaks for himself here:


http://ehrmanblog.org/fuller-reply-to-richard-carrier/

 

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Posted: 06 March 2013 05:19 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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Thevillageatheist - 05 March 2013 06:07 AM

While I’m definitely not an apologist for Ehrman, readers of his books must be aware that they aren’t written for a scholarly audience but for the general public, curious to find out if Jesus actually existed. In that respect I found no flaws in his methodology and he freely admitted any errors, minor though they may be, and his critics have used these to attack his thesis.

There were not just replies about minor errors, there were huge things wrong with his book. For example, he accused Murdock of fabricating evidence regarding the statue in the vatican when he flat out said it did not exist and stated that it was a hand drawn by D.M. Murdock, this was her reply:

Over the years since The Christ Conspiracy was published, this image has been the periodic focus of interest. Of late, in his new book Did Jesus Exist?, Bart Ehrman has raised up this image in my book and appears to be accusing me of fabricating it. Quoting me first, he comments:

        “‘Peter’ is not only ‘the rock’ but also ‘the cock,’ or penis, as the word is used as slang to this day.” Here Acharya shows (her own?) hand drawing of a man with a rooster head but with a large erect penis instead of a nose, with this description: “Bronze sculpture hidden in the Vatican treasure [sic] of the Cock, symbol of St. Peter” (295). [There is no penis-nosed statue of Peter the cock in the Vatican or anywhere else except in books like this, which love to make things up.]

(The “treasure” typo is Ehrman’s, while the “sic” is mine. The other comments in brackets and parentheses are Ehrman’s.)

In insinuating that I drew the image myself, Ehrman is indicating he did not notice the citation under it in my book, clearly referring to Barbara Walker’s work. He is further implying that I simply make things up, and he is asserting with absolute certainty that no such bronze has existed in the Vatican, essentially stating that I fabricated the entire story. Contrary to these unseemly accusations, the facts are that I did not draw the image, the source of which was cited, and that, according to several writers, the image certainly is “hidden” in the Vatican, as I stated.

In The Woman’s Dictionary (397), Walker cites the image as “Knight, pl. 2,” which, in her bibliography, refers to: Knight, Richard Payne. A Discourse on the Worship of Priapus. New York: University Books, 1974.

Consulting an earlier edition of Knight’s book (1865), we find a discussion of the object in question:

      ...the celebrated bronze in the Vatican has the male organs of generation placed upon the head of a cock, the emblem of the sun, supported by the neck and shoulders of a man. In this composition they represented the generative power of the Ερως [Eros], the Osiris, Mithras, or Bacchus, whose centre is the sun. By the inscription on the pedestal, the attribute thus personified, is styled The Saviour of the World…, a title always venerable under whatever image it be presented.

Here Knight references the image as “Plate II. Fig. 3.” Turning to the back of the book, around p. 263, we find the image (right), which is hand-drawn because of its age, printed when photography was still not entirely feasible for publishers.

On page 35, Knight mentions the “celebrated bronze” again:

    ...Oftentimes, however, these mixed figures had a peculiar and proper meaning, like that of the Vatican Bronze…

Another source, Gordon Williams in A Dictionary of Sexual Language and Imagery (258), comments about this artifact:

    The relationship of cock and phallus is ancient. A bronze bust in the Vatican Museum, bearing the Greek inscription “Redeemer of the World” (Fuchs, Geschichte der Erotischen Kunst [Berlin 1908] fig. 103), is given a cock’s head, the nose or beak being an erect penis.

Doing our scholarly due diligence, we find the pertinent figure in Fuchs on p. 133. Hot on the trail, we discover more information in Daniela Erlach’s Privatisierung der Triebe? (1994:203) about the “small bust known as the Albani bronze, still housed in the Vatican’s secret collection…” There, we read further: “Its plinth is inscribed ‘Saviour of the World’ in Greek, and it is possibly of Gnostic import.”

In another mention of the “notorious Albani bronze said to be held in the Vatican Museum,” we learn that such Roman phallic representations are called priapi gallinacei. (Jones, Malcolm, The Secret Middle Ages, 75) As we can see, this bronze image is “celebrated” and “notorious,” which means many scholars have written about it, also stating that it is “housed” and “held” in the Vatican Museum.

Source: http://www.freethoughtnation.com/contributing-writers/63-acharya-s/669-the-phallic-savior-of-the-world-hidden-in-the-vatican.html

This is not a minor issue, this is accusing someone of fabricating evidence. But it’s worse than that, because if you read the article you will find out pretty quickly that he also misrepresented her argument to begin with. Now if you had kept with the various replies which are 80+ then you would note that this is what is at issue here, I would post the link myself but apparently the thing registers it as spam. But just search Rene Salm into google and click on Rene Salm hub page then go to mythacist papers and then click on the tag Ehrman and it’s the first link there. I guarantee you’ll be singing a different tune if you do this.

Thevillageatheist - 05 March 2013 06:07 AM

And why should he not put forth views he already agrees with and use any additional research to bolster his claim? When writing a monograph the writer must focus his evidence on the thesis, to do otherwise leads to digression and confusion.

Except he is not writing a monograph, a monograph is something for which you publish and present to the scholastic field. He was writing a book which attempted to educate people on why New Testament historians believe Jesus to have existed. In order to do this in a way that doesn’t mislead the public he would also have to discuss methodological issues with the research, the current state of the debate on the methodologies, disagreements about the sources and why and what the stances are. To not do this misleads the public into thinking there are no major debates on the issue and he conveys this very thing when he mentions no such criticism, states consistently that all scholars agree on this source when all scholars do not and at times even most scholars don’t agree with his source. It is not just an issue nitpicking for me, it is an issue of negligence in attempting to educate the public about these issues; whether deliberate or not.

Thevillageatheist - 05 March 2013 06:07 AM

And as to Judiasm being a religion of the “book” he is synthesizing the rabbinic writings and the Talmud as commentaries on what later became the OldTestament. Readers relate more to the familiar references beyond their understanding. I admit that reading a popular work written by a scholar can be tedious at times as they have a tendency add details that may confuse the merely curious reader not bent on obtaining a PhD. In the field, but I found his writing very consise and his evidence backed his thesis.

Fair enough.

Thevillageatheist - 05 March 2013 06:07 AM

I also found his critics to have taken an anti-scholarly approach by descending into name calling and personal attacks, e.g. Richard Carrier’s diatribes are an example.

I assume you’re talking about the mythacist critics, if so then you’re dead wrong and you obviously betray exactly your lack of knowledge about what the replies are to him. I challenge you or anyone else to go through the mythacist responses to Ehrman’s book Did Jesus Exist? and then tell me whether or not you feel the same.

[ Edited: 06 March 2013 05:24 PM by Voice of Reason467 ]
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Posted: 07 March 2013 09:13 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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asanta - 02 March 2013 10:56 PM

My belief is that Jesus is a mythical amalgamation. Since I don’t believe he was a divine son of a non-existent deity, it really doesn’t matter to me, other than this mythology’s influence on western civilization.

I agree and am with you on that, asanta.

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Posted: 08 March 2013 08:28 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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There were not just replies about minor errors, there were huge things wrong with his book. For example, he accused Murdock of fabricating evidence regarding the statue in the vatican when he flat out said it did not exist and stated that it was a hand drawn by D.M. Murdock, this was her reply:

I’m not certain that you read his post detailing the “huge things” wrong with his book but if you did, you chose to ignore his replies. He first addresses the bronze statue and has replied to Murdock on more than one occasion. This statue controversy BTW seems to be the crux of the attack on his book. All others are matters of interpretation IMO and beyond my ability to reply, not being a bible scholar. My interest has been to research the historical Jesus and not the divine figure Paul created.

 

This is not a minor issue, this is accusing someone of fabricating evidence. But it’s worse than that, because if you read the article you will find out pretty quickly that he also misrepresented her argument to begin with. Now if you had kept with the various replies which are 80+ then you would note that this is what is at issue here, I would post the link myself but apparently the thing registers it as spam. But just search Rene Salm into google and click on Rene Salm hub page then go to mythacist papers and then click on the tag Ehrman and it’s the first link there. I guarantee you’ll be singing a different tune if you do this.


Been there, read that, still singing the same tune. As I posted before, he has addressed these issues in postings ad infinitum. This is tantamount to a conspiracy theory by his detractors with the bronze statue at it’s heart. A bronze depiction of of a cock doesn’t a myth make IMO.


Except he is not writing a monograph, a monograph is something for which you publish and present to the scholastic field. He was writing a book which attempted to educate people on why New Testament historians believe Jesus to have existed. In order to do this in a way that doesn’t mislead the public he would also have to discuss methodological issues with the research, the current state of the debate on the methodologies, disagreements about the sources and why and what the stances are. To not do this misleads the public into thinking there are no major debates on the issue and he conveys this very thing when he mentions no such criticism, states consistently that all scholars agree on this source when all scholars do not and at times even most scholars don’t agree with his source. It is not just an issue nitpicking for me, it is an issue of negligence in attempting to educate the public about these issues; whether deliberate or not.

 

I’m aware of what constitutes a monograph; I wrote on for my first masters degree and BTW monographs can be published for a popular audience. Monograph simply means a book on a single topic. And if I’m not mistaken, he does lay out the arguments in the intro of his book. It has been some time since I read it but I do remember the counter arguments put forth by the mythicists. Also, I found no intention in purposefully misleading the public. As I recall, his book is a refutation of the claims against his thesis and he backs his argument with reliable facts and biblical interpretations. Moreover, he doesn’t include the derivisive language of his detractors like Carrier et al. But this was only the second book of his that I’ve read so far and I’ve ordered another for future reading. Even if a scholar has what think is a valid claim, the egregious attacks and name calling by his critics sound like nothing more than nitpicking.


I assume you’re talking about the mythacist critics, if so then you’re dead wrong and you obviously betray exactly your lack of knowledge about what the replies are to him. I challenge you or anyone else to go through the mythacist responses to Ehrman’s book Did Jesus Exist? and then tell me whether or not you feel the same.


No, I’m not and I’ve read the replies. While all scholarly, or non-scholarly monographs are scrutinized for errors or potential errors in research or judgement these attacks go beyond the scope of professional replies to valid research. Other scholars, Crossan, Borg, etc. sustain his contention of an historical Jesus as opposed to Jesus as complete myth but that’s a topic of ongoing debate well beyond the scope of a popular book. Suffice to say I’m convinced that Enrman and other bible scholars have compelling evidence of the existence of the historical Jesus and I’ll leave the argument at that.


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Posted: 13 March 2013 03:08 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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Thevillageatheist - 08 March 2013 08:28 AM

I’m not certain that you read his post detailing the “huge things” wrong with his book but if you did, you chose to ignore his replies. He first addresses the bronze statue and has replied to Murdock on more than one occasion. This statue controversy BTW seems to be the crux of the attack on his book. All others are matters of interpretation IMO and beyond my ability to reply, not being a bible scholar. My interest has been to research the historical Jesus and not the divine figure Paul created.

Wrong again. I have read his response and all he just did was skirt around the issue. He doesn’t own up to the fact he simply accused someone of fabricating evidence and never even addresses it. And it is not just about interpretation, he quotes carelessly Earl Doherty when on p. 252 he quotes Doherty as espousing “the ancients’ view of the universe” whereas the actual quote by Doherty is “the ancients’ views of the universe” on p. 97 of Jesus Neither God nor Man. In fact, one blogger actually noticed this as well by showing how Ehrman miss-read’s what he actually wrote here: http://vridar.wordpress.com/2012/03/29/another-bart-ehrman-mis-reading-of-earl-dohertys-book/

He also obfuscates from addressing the evidence that Doherty brings forth about interpolations http://vridar.wordpress.com/2012/03/30/ehrman-hides-the-facts-about-dohertys-argument-part-1/

He does this not once but twice: http://vridar.wordpress.com/2012/03/30/ehrman-suppresses-the-facts-while-falsely-accusing-doherty-part-2/

And all of this is just with one author, I haven’t even mentioned any of the issue’s with the other’s. So no, you’re wrong about it just being an issue of interpretation.

Thevillageatheist - 08 March 2013 08:28 AM

Been there, read that, still singing the same tune. As I posted before, he has addressed these issues in postings ad infinitum. This is tantamount to a conspiracy theory by his detractors with the bronze statue at it’s heart. A bronze depiction of of a cock doesn’t a myth make IMO.

No you did not read the responses or you would know of the issue’s with Ehrman’s book. And it is not tantamount to a conspiracy theory with the bronze statue because you obviously did not even know that Ehrman first accused Murdock of fabricating the evidence and then he simply took disagreement with her and ridiculed her that the statue does not depict Peter, which is not even her argument to begin with. You really need to actually look at the responses instead of just reading what Ehrman write’s which actually contradicts what he wrote in his book originally. But let’s forget the statue bit and focus on Doherty, how exactly do you account for the fact that Ehrman not just once but twice suppresses in his book the arguments and scholastic sources Doherty uses for his arguments? How exactly do you account for the fact that Ehrman not just once but twice miss-quotes what Doherty actually wrote in order to rebut an argument he did not even make?

Thevillageatheist - 08 March 2013 08:28 AM

Also, I found no intention in purposefully misleading the public. As I recall, his book is a refutation of the claims against his thesis and he backs his argument with reliable facts and biblical interpretations. Moreover, he doesn’t include the derivisive language of his detractors like Carrier et al. But this was only the second book of his that I’ve read so far and I’ve ordered another for future reading. Even if a scholar has what think is a valid claim, the egregious attacks and name calling by his critics sound like nothing more than nitpicking.

It’s obvious that you’re lying because I posted several criticisms that were not just “egregious attacks and name calling by his critics” that are just “nitpicking.” You also have claimed to have read the responses, yet I have and come away with a different conclusion than you do. That says that either we are not reading the same critics or you’re just lying to save face. Considering you have shown several times your ignorance on the subject I am inclined it’s the latter than the former. Simply own up to the fact that you have not read the criticisms of Ehrman’s work and just commit to reevaluating your own position. What’s so hard about that?

[ Edited: 13 March 2013 07:41 PM by Voice of Reason467 ]
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Posted: 02 April 2013 10:50 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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Shouldn’t we just go with scholarly consensus:

Putting aside Bart Ehrman’s books
this website says
http://www.bibleinterp.com/articles/jesusresearch.shtml

“The greatest level of agreement concerns what the Bible presents as Jesus’ ethical teaching. Almost all historical scholars accept the authenticity of this material (e.g., the bulk of what is in the Sermon on the Mount). Most stress that Jesus proclaimed a social ethic in addition to personal morality”


But Christians shouldn’t be all too happy about this information about Jesus (Peace be Upon Him)  the website also says:

The material attributed to Jesus that is least likely to be regarded as authentic by historians is that in which he describes his own person or mission. When the Bible presents Jesus as saying that he must “give his life a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45) or as proclaiming “I am the way, and the truth, and the life” (John 14:6), most historians dismiss these remarks as projections of later Christians who are putting their own ideas about Jesus’ significance on the lips of the teacher himself.

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