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New Post up on Bart Ehrman and the authorship of the gospels

I have a new post up at my personal blog. It's a followup to an informal radio debate recorded between Bart Ehrman and my husband, Tim. To be more precise, it is a followup to part I of that debate.

For more details, including links to both parts of the radio broadcast, go here.

Comments (5)

I've disseminated this far and wide. I hope it gets a large audience. Ehrman's kind of revisionist theorizing has been very influential even in places where it should be literally anathema, such as in preparatory courses for the Catholic Deaconate. Thank you, Lydia.

Thank you, Sage. Pass it on! Thanks for the link, Jeff.

Ehrman is such a mixed bag of good arguments and awful arguments. I'm reading his How Jesus Became God book right now and he makes what I think is a pretty startling admissions for a skeptical scholar, that several pre-Pauline creeds present a high Christology in the earliest Christian traditions as opposed to developing later. That admission by itself undermines an awful lot of "critical" scholarship, but Ehrman doesn't call attention to that potentially awkward fact. Or to that fact that one reason many scholars miss the evidence for early, high Christology is that it would undermine all of their cherished theories of how the New Testament developed.

I haven't listened to the second debate between Ehrman and Tim yet, but I got frustrated listening to the first one. Ehrman was playing fast and loose with some of the arguments. Your blog post brings out many good points in that regard, such as Ehrman's arguments from silence which he tries to disguise as something else. I think part of the issue has to do with burden of proof concerns. Ehrman plays the skeptical game of always placing the burden of proof on the other side even for his own claims.


hrman plays the skeptical game of always placing the burden of proof on the other side even for his own claims.

Yes, and this is related to the fact that he literally does not seem to know when he is question-begging. Or not to care. In the second hour he scoffs at undesigned coincidences because, he says, nobody asks concerning a Dickens novel how the narrator knew the things he describes. We realize it is fiction. People just make things up! But this, of course, is blatant question-begging. Whether the gospel authors simply made stuff up or, on the contrary, are reliable, close-to-the-facts sources, is *the question at issue in the debate*. You can't just assume in that context that they are the equivalent of Dickens novels and say that the wrong question is being asked! He literally doesn't even seem to realize that. At one point he says, "My view is that you should not use one author to explain what another author is trying to say." If they might both be talking about the same historical event, why not? Lawyers, detectives, cops, and historians would be cutting themselves off from a valuable source of information if they never used what one person says to explain what another person says. You can't set that up an invariable principle unless you _know_ that these are fictional, ahistorical sources and are at no point referring to the same underlying historical reality. But, again, that is precisely the point at issue.

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