The Case Against the Resurrection (Bart D. Ehrman)

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11 thoughts on “The Case Against the Resurrection (Bart D. Ehrman)

  1. My two gripes about Bart Ehrman are that
    1) He runs a pay site so you have to pay him to talk with him or read his writings there.

    2) He presents his own personal theories that are very unorthodox and even unnecessary from a Skeptics' POV as if they are fact.

    For example, going on the gospels, contrary to Ehrman, Jesus did teach that He was a divine Messiah. There are plenty of references to show this, like His ability to raise the dead directly. Of course, the skeptics don't think he actually succeeded in doing this miraculously. But my point is that just because it sounds very strange and unrealistic does not mean that Jesus did not hold himself out this way. That the gospel writers could later have made this up does not actually prove that they did. There is even at least one passage in Paul I read where it describes Jesus basically being God before his own birth.

    So we have these ideas running throughout the New Testament, and this is really Ehrman's own personal take that Jesus did not PRESENT himself this way (whether or not unique divinity was a real quality of Jesus is quite a different issue).

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  2. Hi Hal,

    I am a member of Ehrman's blog. It only costs about THREE dollars per month, and 100% of it goes to charity. I can tell you exactly why Ehrman charges this low fee: to keep the trolls out.

    If one must give a credit card to pay the three dollar fee, your identity is known. So there is much less incentive to troll or be abusive. I would strongly encourage both Christians and skeptics to join and be members of Ehrman's blog. It is very educational.

    I disagree with you about Jesus own view of himself. If we accept the Synoptics as the true sayings of Jesus, Jesus considers himself divine and a son of God, but not Yawheh himself, as in John. I would encourage you to read Ehrman's posts on this issue on his blog.

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  3. If it was just about being a “son” of God, and everybody being anointed as his own “messiah”, then Jesus wouldnt need to put him in the total center and leader of all this. If it's Jesus just being the same as every other very good faithful Jew who discovers that you DONT HAVE to do all the Levite rites and rules, then there is no need for Jesus to breathe on the apostles, to amaze crowds that he forgives sins, etc. And I suppose he was just playing to imaginings and prejudices of crowds when he cast out demons?

    No, I think just as we can question whether the gospels got everything right we can question whether Jesus did too.

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  4. Gary,

    It's an increasingly common view nowadays that Jesus was a kind of socratic moralizing rabbi who just told people to follow the Torah and didn't make extravagant claims like miracles, being the Messiah or God's unique Son, etc., and this view claims that the apostles only meant Jesus rose spiritually.

    But in truth this modern theory is shakey because it relied on claiming that the gospels were not only wrong, but that the new version is right even though the gospels don't say it, which means de facto that this view has no actual support. it's just a matter of tossing out verses that skeptics don't believe were realistic. Jefferson's Bible version was similar.

    But this is a mistaken premise. Just because Jesus allegedly tried to propose something that one does not believe in actually does not mean that Jesus never presented such a theory.

    There was a LOT more that Jesus did than just teaching Torah. If the Kingdom of Heaven just meant being righteous and following God, Jesus would not have said that the least in the Kingdom are greater than John the Baptist, who certainly was righteous. Over and again Jesus talks about the Kingdom of Heaven and over and again he demands people follow him to get there. Basically you had to join his group. It's true that you can propose that Jesus did not NECESSARILY exclude all nonChristians from heaven, but this is a theme throughout the passages – that it's not enough to just be righteous or good or obey the Torah, you have to follow Jesus. And then if you actually go by what all the Gospels say, there's a lot more to Jesus than following Torah, he proposes himself as giving his followers special powers, etc.

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  5. Based on what evidence do you know what Jesus said? In other words, how do we know that what the Gospels say Jesus said…he really said? Maybe the author of “Mark” made them up and the authors of the other gospels, writing decades later, simply used “Mark's” invented stories in their stories?

    There is no proof that Jesus said ANYTHING that the Gospels claim he said.

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  6. Of course there is some basic logic that Jesus probably said those fundamentals on which Christianity and Judaism agree.

    As for any statements, I tend to think that the Lord's Prayer or some version of it was said by Jesus. They said that John the Baptist had a special prayer, and so that this was Jesus' own analogy. The apostles would have memorized that prayer by Jesus and used it repeatedly enough that even 30 years later some version of it would have gotten written down with major resemblance to Jesus' words.

    But otherwise I agree that it's hard to prove definitively that the Bible has Jesus' exact words, just as it's hard to say similar thigns about other ancient recordings of others' words in other context (eg. Plato recording Socrates' dialogues).

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  7. I agree, but bottom line, we have no idea what Jesus really said. In reality, we can't be 100% sure that Jesus even existed. Even scholars can't say for sure that Jesus existed, only that he “probably” existed. There is zero contemporaneous evidence of his existence.

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  8. @Rako

    “If the Kingdom of Heaven just meant being righteous and following God, Jesus would not have said that the least in the Kingdom are greater than John the Baptist, who certainly was righteous.”

    Like what Gary said, it's no guarantee that it's Jesus who said it or Christian followers wrote it in to one-up John the Baptist and his disciples, who had quite a strong following. I reckon it'll be a Mormon saying that even the least faithful Mormon is still better than Pat Robertson.

    “Of course there is some basic logic that Jesus probably said those fundamentals on which Christianity and Judaism agree.”

    The basic logic is – considering that it's Christians who wrote the gospel, what is the likelihood that they'll shape what Jesus said based on what they think Christianity means?

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