Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Bart Ehrman trashes his reputation

On page 97 of Did Jesus Exist, Bart Ehrman makes the following amazing statement, doing his best William Lane Craig impression :-

'We have already seen that at least seven Gospel accounts of Jesus, all of them entirely or partially independent of one another, survived from within a century of the traditional date of his death.

These seven are based on numerous previously existent written sources, and on an enormous number of oral traditions about him that can be dated back to Aramaic sources of Palestine, almost certainly from the 30s of the Common Era.'

Those two paragraphs of Bart's have just trashed his reputation.

I love the 'partially independent.'

Bart's answer to Doherty's point that Paul predates the Gospels is to rewrite history, and move the Gospels to before Paul.

Bart completes his rewriting of history on page 238, where he writes that even if something predates Paul, ' does not represent the earliest Christian understanding of Christ.'

So now Paul has been moved to after the sources of the Gospels, and even parts which Bart thinks might predate Paul are still after the sources of the Gospels.

How can you argue with somebody who rewrites history, moving sources around in time to get a storyline he can sell to himself?

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Bart Ehrman's New Book

I am grateful to Ophelia Benson for her kindly pointing out the huge leaps of faith in Bart’s scholarship.

Butterflies and Wheels

‘….that our surviving accounts, which began to be written some forty years after the traditional date of Jesus’s death, were based on earlier written sources that no longer survive. But they obviously did exist at one time, and they just as obviously had to predate the Gospels that we now have.’

Where is Ehrman’s evidence that Mark’s Gospel was based on earlier written sources?

In many ways, he is correct, as Mark’s Gospel is often based on the Old Testament. These predate the Gospels….

How does Bart get to wave invisible documents at mythicists, claiming ‘Eat these!’.

You don’t like invisible documents as evidence? No problem.

Bart also has oral tradition for you to suck up.

‘Instead, they are based on oral traditions. These oral traditions had been in circulation for a very long time before they came to be written down. This is not pure speculation. Aspects of the surviving stories of Jesus found in the written Gospels, themselves based on earlier written accounts, show clearly both that they were based on oral traditions (as Luke himself indicates) and that these traditions had been around for a very long time……’

And where is the evidence for this oral tradition? (It is not PURE SPECULATION, wow. That makes it pretty solid in anybody’s book)

It was written down in the invisible documents that were also the basis for the Gospels.

Choke on that, mythicist suckers….

Bart summarises 'If historians prefer lots of witnesses that corroborate one another’s claims without showing evidence of collaboration, we have that in relative abundance in the written sources that attest to the existence of the historical Jesus.'

With these Gospels being based on earlier reports and being independently corroborated and the sort of works historians dream of, it is a little surprising that they contain stories of demons, Satans, Moses returning from the dead, and resurrected saints appearing from their graves and wandering through Jerusalem.

Sure , they might contain a myth or two,perhaps three or four, but they are still based on solid oral traditions and reports written long before the Gospels were written. Honest. You can trust me. I’m a scholar.

And they didn't collaborate. As Bart points out, Matthew and Luke both used huge chunks of Mark's Gospel, but they are still the sort of independent works historians love. Honest....

Monday, March 19, 2012

Bart Ehrman on Cephas and Peter

As part of Bart Ehrman's research into the question Did Jesus exist? and was Jesus a myth, Ehrman wrote an interesting article questioning if the Cephas of Paul's letters and the Simon Peter of the Gospels were the same person.