How Reliable is Gary Habermas’ Research?

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Gary Habermas

Conservative evangelical Christian theologian and philosopher Gary Habermas is most famous for his research regarding the Empty Tomb:  He claims that his literature search reveals that 75% of New Testament scholars believe that the Empty Tomb of Jesus is historical.  However, to my knowledge, Habermas has refused to make his data public.  So is his claim on this issue accurate?

Not too long ago Dr. Habermas was giddily touting the imminent release of a first century copy of the Gospel of Mark (here).  Turns out, it was not a first century copy after all!

Now Dr. Habermas’ is claiming that “even agnostic NT scholar Bart Ehrman” believes that the Early Creed mentioned in First Corinthians 15 originated within a couple of years after Jesus’ death.  But wait!  Bart Ehrman says that Habermas must have him confused with another scholar!  Ehrman says he has said no such thing.

Gary:   Dr. Ehrman, Are you aware that Gary Habermas claims that you believe that the Early Creed in First Corinthians 15 originated within a few short years of Jesus death?  Here is a quote from “The Uniqueness of Jesus Christ Among the Major World Religions”, Gary Habermas, PhD, copyright, 2016, page 29-30:

“Agnostic New Testament scholar Bart Ehrman both freely and often dates the earliest of these creeds to the 30s AD, sometimes within just 1-2 years after the crucifixion! [fn. 49]”

Habermas gives a footnote link for this statement:
49. Bart D. Ehrman, Did Jesus Exist? The Historical Argument for Jesus of Nazareth (New York: Harper Collins, 2012), see pages 22, 27, 92-93, 97, 109-113, 130-132, 141, 144-145, 155-158, 164, 170-173, 232, 249-251, 254, 260-263; cf. 289-291.

Bart Ehrman:  [There is] no evidence at all [for Habermas’ claim], that I’m aware of. Do you have the book?  Look up those pages. I stopped after the first half dozen or so. I never mention the passage on them. He’s surely thinking of something else?  …I don’t see the logic of that [that scholars can know that the Early Creed was written within a couple years of Jesus death], for two reasons. One is that rumors don’t take 3-5 years to start.  They can start 30 minutes later. But also, on what grounds could anyone date the creed to the year 35 or so? Paul only says that he told it to the Corinthians after hearing it himself. He would have started the church in the late 40s, right? So why does that make the creed fifteen years earlier?

From a discussion on Erhman’s blog: here 




End of post.

4 thoughts on “How Reliable is Gary Habermas’ Research?

  1. Habermas is a disingenuous gobshite.

    While the so-called New Atheists have their ”Four Horseman” (including, Ghost Rider Christopher Hitchens), Habermas is one of the posse of Donkey Riders that include, Turek, Strobel, Wallace,.Licona, Lennox and Craig.Perhaps a better term might be Ass Banditos?

    Liked by 2 people

  2. “He claims that his literature search reveals that 75% of New Testament scholars believe that the Empty Tomb of Jesus is historical.”

    And 75% of professional “Elvis Isn’t Dead” scholars believe that Elvis faked his own death.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Gary, have you ever had a chance to ask Habermas at what age he accepted Christ (as his Lord and Savior, etc, etc), what his native-born country was at that time, and whether he has lived/embedded himself (for months/years) in 3-6 foreign cultures and their traditions?

    You’ve brought up this excellent question before and the answers are quite revealing.


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