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Thread: Skeptical response to Bart Ehrman's book in the historical Jesus

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    tWebber
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    Skeptical response to Bart Ehrman's book in the historical Jesus

    So I was surprised to find Bart Ehrman has actually written a book refuting the Jesus mythers.
    I decided to check what responses to it the internet skeptics had to it , since they often dismiss scholars who disagree with their claims as "lying for Jesus". They can't do that with Ehrman.
    I won't link any of the critcisms here, but I've pretty much lost hope for the internet skeptics.
    The fallacious reasoning and unreasonableness of these guys make my head hurt.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LaplacesDemon View Post
    So I was surprised to find Bart Ehrman has actually written a book refuting the Jesus mythers.
    I decided to check what responses to it the internet skeptics had to it , since they often dismiss scholars who disagree with their claims as "lying for Jesus". They can't do that with Ehrman.
    I won't link any of the critcisms here, but I've pretty much lost hope for the internet skeptics.
    The fallacious reasoning and unreasonableness of these guys make my head hurt.
    I am currently reading How Jesus Became God by Ehrman. Not exactly a book that Christian Apologists should recommend. Sure Jesus existed, but...

    NORM
    When the missionaries came to Africa they had the Bible and we had the land. They said 'Let us pray.' We closed our eyes. When we opened them we had the Bible and they had the land. - Bishop Desmond Tutu

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    Quote Originally Posted by LaplacesDemon View Post
    The fallacious reasoning and unreasonableness of these guys make my head hurt.
    That's how some of us feel about people who think Ehrman presented a good argument.

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    tWebber whag's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LaplacesDemon View Post
    So I was surprised to find Bart Ehrman has actually written a book refuting the Jesus mythers.
    I decided to check what responses to it the internet skeptics had to it , since they often dismiss scholars who disagree with their claims as "lying for Jesus". They can't do that with Ehrman.
    I won't link any of the critcisms here, but I've pretty much lost hope for the internet skeptics.
    The fallacious reasoning and unreasonableness of these guys make my head hurt.
    IOW "I'm too lazy to know Ehrman disagreed with mythicists, and armchair internet mythicists exasperate me."

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    Quote Originally Posted by Doug Shaver View Post
    That's how some of us feel about people who think Ehrman presented a good argument.
    So you're a myther?

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    I prefer ahistoricist, but mythicist will do. When I hear myther, I hear intentional insult. Not that I can't take it, but I will infer something about your attitude until you correct me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Doug Shaver View Post
    I prefer ahistoricist, but mythicist will do. When I hear myther, I hear intentional insult. Not that I can't take it, but I will infer something about your attitude until you correct me.
    OK.
    Out of curiousity.
    Why do you believe in ahistoricity?
    When did you first come across the idea and who presented it?
    Why do you think the ahistoricists have not been able to get much scholarly support for their theories?

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    Quote Originally Posted by LaplacesDemon View Post
    Why do you believe in ahistoricity?
    The answer to that question is really complicated. I cannot, within a post of reasonable length, present a decent summary of my reasons for thinking that Jesus of Nazareth probably never existed. I can, however, attempt to summarize the summary as follows.

    1. I'd like to emphasize for starters that I do not regard the issue as settled. I do not regard it as unreasonable for anyone to believe that Jesus did exist. I regard the evidence both for and against his existence as inconclusive -- and I do believe that there is evidence both ways.

    2. The evidence for his existence is not nearly as close to being conclusive as the conventional thinking imagines it to be. Every document attesting to his existence is susceptible to reasonable doubt as to its historical reliability.

    3. In particular, I think it reasonable to believe that the canonical gospels, which are the nearest thing we have to primary evidence, were not intended by their authors to be works of history or biography, but rather as works of fiction. I further believe that, regardless of their authors' intentions, they were probably not written, or at least did not exist in their present form, earlier than the second century.

    4. I do accept a first-century origin for that portion of the Pauline corpus that is generally regarded as authentic, but I also think it has been more substantially redacted than is generally believed. Even so, taken as a whole, it seems inconsistent to me with what would have been written by someone who believed that (a) Jesus had recently lived in Palestine, (b) his preaching was the foundation upon which the author's religion was built, (c) he was unjustly executed by Roman officials at the urging of Jewish priests, and (d) certain men whom the author names had been among Jesus' disciples. I see the same inconsistency in the canonical non-Pauline epistles and in all noncanonical Christian literature that seems likely to have been written before the later part of the second century.

    5. There is no cogent argument for the authenticity of any Josephan reference to Jesus of Nazareth. All other early non-Christian references to Jesus are void of any information that the writers would not have obtained just by hearing what second-century Christians had to say about the origins of their religion. They are therefore not evidence about Jesus but about the beliefs of some second-century Christians.

    Quote Originally Posted by LaplacesDemon View Post
    When did you first come across the idea and who presented it?
    I was in my late teens the first time I heard that some people questioned Jesus' historical existence. (I'm 68 now.) I was still a Christian at the time and so naturally I regarded it as a laughable notion. I became an atheist in my mid-20s, but the only way my thinking about Jesus changed was that I stopped believing he was the son of God. For the next 30-plus years I remained convinced that only crackpots could doubt his historical existence. I changed my mind in late 1999 after somebody suggested I have a look at Earl Doherty's website. I did not agree then with everything Doherty wrote, and I still don't, but I found enough of his argument to be cogent that our points of disagreement were irrelevant.

    Quote Originally Posted by LaplacesDemon View Post
    Why do you think the ahistoricists have not been able to get much scholarly support for their theories?
    There are several reasons, but I think the primary one is that, to put it in Kuhnian terms, the acceptance of Jesus' nonexistence involves a colossal paradigm shift, even for scholars with no religious commitments. There is no way that lots of people are going to change their minds about this anytime soon.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Doug Shaver View Post
    I changed my mind in late 1999 after somebody suggested I have a look at Earl Doherty's website. I did not agree then with everything Doherty wrote, and I still don't, but I found enough of his argument to be cogent that our points of disagreement were irrelevant.
    Richard Carrier is currently holding the Mythicist flag (now that G. A. Wells has relapsed), but he acknowledges that no one has come up with the cogent argument that he (Carrier) is in process of developing. Carrier grants that Earl Doherty has the best case out there currently establishing that Jesus was a myth. Just be sure to read Carrier forthcoming book to find finally a good proof that Our Lord never even existed!
    There are several reasons {no academic has yet presented the Mythicist case}, but I think the primary one is that, to put it in Kuhnian terms, the acceptance of Jesus' nonexistence involves a colossal paradigm shift, even for scholars with no religious commitments. There is no way that lots of people are going to change their minds about this anytime soon.
    And similarly for you, Doug, and for Vorkosigan who derides me as "the new Galileo!" it would require such
    "a colossal paradigm shift, even for scholars with {or without}... religious commitments. There is no way that lots of people are going to change their minds about this anytime soon"
    for anyone to accept my thesis that there are seven written eyewitness records contained within our four canonical gospels as sources. Yet no one yet has undertaken any substantive refutation of my theory whether here on (the crashed) Theology Web (wherein Robrecht merely chided my boldness), Freethought and Rationalism Discussion Board (where Jo shut down the whole Biblical Criticism sub-forum when things were not going well for her Atheist side), on Peter Kirby's EarlyChristianWritings.com, or on DebatingCristianity&Religion. {My ellipses--
    Dale Adams}
    Last edited by Adam; 05-11-2014 at 12:02 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Adam View Post
    Yet no one yet has undertaken any substantive refutation of my theory
    A theory without evidence needs no refutation. And. nothing becomes evidence just because you say, "This is evidence."

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