I listened to an interview today with Bart Ehrman on the "Infidel Guy Show"; was a little miffed to hear Bart pull out lines such as "no serious scholar doubts that Jesus existed" and "there is more evidence for Jesus Christ than any other figure in history."

 

I think whether or not Jesus existed (in some capacity), it can be shown pretty easily that the majority of the New Testament is refurbished pagan literature... something that is completely swept aside under the protection of New Testament scholars who unanimously agree that "Jesus existed" (whatever that means).

 

I put a post up about it, linking to the interview.

http://www.holyblasphemy.net/bart-ehrman-did-jesus-exist-is-there-e...

 

The main thing is that the evidence scholars do cite is used to gloss over all of the astonishing external evidence that undermines the historical Jesus (such as the early Church controversy over whether or not Jesus came "in the flesh", and the pre-Pauline communities who taught that Jesus was born, lived and died "in the semblance" of a man).

 

In my view, the issue is complex, misunderstood, and widely marginalized by biblical scholars, who usually automatically discount/refuse any "non-historical" Jesus as an impossibility.

 

What do you think? Your favorite evidence for/against Jesus as a historical person?

Tags: Jesus, christ, christian, historical, history, myth, mythology, pagan, paganism

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This is the audio of the interview linked from that page:

 

Ehrman has a lecture from the Teaching Company called Historical Jesus

 

Professor Bart D. Ehrman—who created this course as a companion to his 24-lecture Teaching Company course on The New Testament—approaches the question from a purely historical perspective.

He explains why it has proven so difficult to know about this "Jesus of history." And he reveals the kinds of conclusions modern scholars have drawn about him.

 

real men killed many men on crucifixes... so?
well... nobody is born dumb (i understand it's possible but majority no)
they sure are 'taught' dumb taught dumb though. i.e. dumb ass religions that hold not a lick of sense in the modern era(s).
There is a series on the History Channel called "Christianity, the last 2000 years".  It really takes a look at the historical facts linked to christianity from a non-biased perspective.  It really shows how little evidence really exsists to back up claims of Jesus. 
I like the history channel... unfortunately they tend towards speculative shows like Ancient Astronauts... so while I agree with their research, I'm not sure I would vouch for their sources. But thanks for pointing it out; it seems the possibility of Jesus not existing is being recognized by a lot of the public...
have read Nailed by David Fitzgerald, ten christian myths that show jesus never existed at all.  It is a very well put together book with some sound arguments.  Well worth taking a look at.

Really?

 

In five years of reading about Jesus Mythicism, I have never seen a book so amateuristic and embarassingly bad as that of Fitzgerald.

It's hard to have a favourite when there's little, if any, evidence for a historical Jesus. Which is my favourite evidence for Jesus never having been a living breathing person. As for the hundreds, if not thousands of eyewitness accounts of Jesus' miracles and rising from the dead which I'm assailed with when I question the validity of fundamentalist claims, well, I've never found anything in the historical record to indicate there might be even one credible contemporary snippet. Apparently, though, the KJV being an accurate and infallible historical document is all we need. 

 

Not that the work of thousands of trained historians who have studied what is really there and have the training to make useful assessments of its validity and contextually useful interpretations counts for anything against the "breathed word of god" which the KJV represents to most of the nutters I've come across recently. 

 

Why is it that so many Americans will swallow a book commissioned by a British King  in the 17th century as a response to political pressures he was experiencing in a threatened monarchy? How could its creators have access to reliable documents or even relate to a spinoff god of the desert cult started on the other side of the world in an alien culture 1600 years before? Power of god, I guess. 

It's hard to have a favourite when there's little, if any, evidence for a historical Jesus. Which is my favourite evidence for Jesus never having been a living breathing person. As for the hundreds, if not thousands of eyewitness accounts of Jesus' miracles and rising from the dead which I'm assailed with when I question the validity of fundamentalist claims, well, I've never found anything in the historical record to indicate there might be even one credible contemporary record. Apparently, though, the KJV being an accurate and infallible historical record is all we need. 

 

Not that the work of thousands of trained historians who have studied what is really there and have the training to make useful assessments of its validity and contextually useful interpretations counts for anything against the "breathed word of god" which the KJV represents to most of the nutters I've come across recently. 

 

Why is it that so many Americans will swallow a book commissioned by a British King  in the 17th century as a response to political pressures he was experiencing in a threatened monarchy? How could its creators have access to reliable documents or even relate to a spinoff god of the desert cult started on the other side of the world in an alien culture 1600 years before? Power of god, I guess. 

Hi:

 

A quick follow up to my terse post to proffer my own views. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. I know that there is very little evidence to suggest that there was a historical Jesus and what little evidence does exist is either very poor or very dubious. However, because I don't think that it's too big a claim to suggest that a 'bloke' called Jesus probably existed, I am therefore willing to accept that a bloke called Jesus may have existed. Furthermore, over the centuries Jesus the bloke became Jesus the legend and as many of the other early christianities died out, the non-monolithic christianity of the 1st century evolved to became the religion about Jesus rather than that of Jesus. 

 

Consequently, if we are going to accept that Jesus may have existed what can we reliably say about him. Using a purely historical perspective we can apply certain historical criteria to assess what is said about him to ascertain its credibility and authenticity. Chiefly, the sources that we use should ideally be multiple (the more the better) and be as contemporary (older the better - typically with 100 years) to the supposed life of Jesus as possible. Moreover, they should be independently attested, contextually credible (historically) and must pass the criterion of dissimilarity (contrary to theological or authors agenda). 

 

When we use such an approach it is possible to suggest with a reasonable degree of accuracy and reliability that Jesus was a radical Jewish apocalyptic prophet figure. More can be said about the historical Jesus using the historical method... This is sums up Bart Erhman's view and is, as far as I am aware, the general consensus among reliable scholars. However, there are of course, some that disagree and argue that Jesus was not an apocalypticist (see Jesus seminar)... nevertheless, these scholars tend to fall by the wayside because they're arguments and reasoning almost always come down to cases of special pleading.

 

xXx

historical beefs...
LOL. Last I checked I have a penis and a belly button like Adam. Oh and there's a strip club/exotic dancer establishment called 'Eden' here in the...
LOL

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-15242413

Coptic Church
the native Christian Church in Egypt, traditionally founded by St. Mark, and adhering to the Monophysite doctrine rejected by the Council of Chalcedon. Long persecuted after the Muslim Arab conquest of Egypt in the 7th century, the Coptic community now make up about 5 percent of Egypt's population.

like dungeons and dragons!

Chalcedon, Council of |kalˈsēdn; ˈkalsəˌdän|
the fourth ecumenical council of the Christian Church, held at Chalcedon in 451. It condemned the Monophysite position and affirmed the dual but united nature of Christ as god and man.

~
hey folks by all means educate yourself by watching what's 'real' like the 'our time' docu. on HBO

payce!

Sigh. Here we go again.

It's really painful to read threads like this, where people with little to no historical background whatsoever, think they have their little knock-down arguments against what is demonstrably the (vast) majority position of Biblical analysis and has been for over a hundred years.

The truth is, virtually all scholars - whether militantly religious, liberal religious, or non-religious - are in agreement that a historical Jesus existed and have been for over 100 years. Scholars like Bart Ehrman are simply voicing the mainstream (and very well-established) opinions of their field. That there now exists a growing movement of people (almost invariably anti-religious apologists like Richard Carrier, David Fitzgerald, Dan Barker or downright kooks like Freke, Gandy, or Acharya S) who want to obscure these facts and apply a level of hyper-skepticism to the figure of Jesus, does not change that.

 

It's hard not to see the obvious comparison with the creationist and ID movements, where militant Christians with barely any qualifications try to convince gullible crowds that it's smart to hold positions that are in contradiction to over a hundred of years of academic research by scientists of all beliefs and affiliations.

These people are regularly ridiculed for their arrogance on this very board. Perhaps we should also look in the mirror sometimes.

 

@OP:

Hi Derek,

 

I listened to an interview today with Bart Ehrman on the "Infidel Guy Show"; was a little miffed to hear Bart pull out lines such as "no serious scholar doubts that Jesus existed" and "there is more evidence for Jesus Christ than any other figure in history."

 

I am virtually certain that you are not correctly quoting Ehrman with that second statement, because obviously that would be wrong. We have more evidence for Hitler than for Jesus, for instance. Ehrman knows this and would not say something that dumb.

However, we do have more evidence for Jesus than we do for most people in Ancient history. That's simply a fact.

 

And as for the first statement, that's simply another fact. Just like it's true to say that there is no serious scientist doubting the theory of evolution, so it's true to note that the big sellers of the Jesus Mythicism thesis are not academic scholars, but usually amateur historians who self-publish their books online.

 

I'm afraid I can't see why you'd object to these simple facts. Though I can understand why you'd be miffed about them: it doesn't put Jesus Mythicism in a very positive light.

 

I think whether or not Jesus existed (in some capacity), it can be shown pretty easily that the majority of the New Testament is refurbished pagan literature... something that is completely swept aside under the protection of New Testament scholars who unanimously agree that "Jesus existed" (whatever that means).

 

Errrrrm, be careful with appeals to conspiracy like that. They tend to work for everything. "The 9/11 Truth is being surpressed by the government!", "The scientists are in denial over the obvious Creation of our world and seek to propagate sin!", "New Testament scholars sweep aside easily proven facts to protect the NT"... Sound familiar?

 

There's a reason why this evidence is generally not considered. Because a century of scholarly research has found it unconvincing and superficial, despite how "easily proven" you seem to think it is.

 

The main thing is that the evidence scholars do cite is used to gloss over all of the astonishing external evidence that undermines the historical Jesus (such as the early Church controversy over whether or not Jesus came "in the flesh", and the pre-Pauline communities who taught that Jesus was born, lived and died "in the semblance" of a man).

 

I can already see that you're getting your information from some very select sources, because you don't seem to understand the context of those statements.

The Church controversy over whether or not Jesus came "in the flesh", the denial of which was the core of Docetism. The problem for your position is, the Docetists who didn't think Jesus had come "in the flesh" were not saying that Jesus hadn't lived on Earth or had only existed in some spiritual realm. They simply asserted that the physical form Jesus seemed to have on Earth was an illusion by a more esoteric being.

But these people did not doubt a historical Jesus at all.

 

The same goes for the communities (not pre-Pauline to my knowledge, by the way) who believed Jesus lived in a "semblance of a man". Whether or not they thought that Jesus had been a man, or a ghost looking like a man, or a man composed of peanut butter, the fact is they all agreed that there had been a historical Jesus. Which again undermines your thesis.

 

"In my view, the issue is complex, misunderstood, and widely marginalized by biblical scholars, who usually automatically discount/refuse any "non-historical" Jesus as an impossibility."

 

The thing is... the issue isn't complex. 

We have some documents from the First Century CE telling us that there was a bloke named Jesus who lived a few decades before. Some of these documents are devotional and seem to be written by the small sect of followers that survived his death -just like we see with many other charismatic figures, both ancient and modern. And some of the other documents are (brief) mentions of a couple of historians attesting to the existence of this guy.

The conclusion is simple: that guy probably existed and was one of the many preachers who succeeded in spawning a new religion.

It takes quite some twisting and turning, quite some assumptions and suppositions, and quite some hyper-skepticism and wishful thinking to make other alternatives seem more plausible. That's why serious scholars don't bother.

 

Kind regards,

 

Matt

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