MOHO

Bart Ehrman

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I think this is the most appropriate place for this topic.

 

Having finished Ehrman's Jesus Before the Gospels   a couple weeks ago (about 1/2 through Dawkins The God Delusion at this point ) I was left a little puzzled regarding Ehrman's beliefs and approach. I'm not sure if he was giving reasons for disbelief in religion - especially xanity - or if he was simply expressing the possibility that xanity is true - just not the version(s) that you and I are most accustomed to.

 

In the first part of this book he goes to great length to indicate that, since religions at that time, especially Christianity, were not written down but, in stead, passed by word of mouth until sometime in the second century, that they cannot possibly reflect what actually occurred (or were thought to occur) when the storied of the Bible were first conceived.

 

This and other comments/section of this book are leading me to interpret Ehrman's writings here to mean that he believes in Christianity  - just not necessarily that the Bible is the inerrant work of God.

 

I welcome all of your input regarding my confusion as well as feedback as to the accuracy of my interpretation of Erhman's thrust.

 

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I dont know his current belief but he has clearly stated that he is no longer a christian in his writings. I believe that his main reason was due to the concept of eternal punishment and how incredibly unjust that concept is. 

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Ehrman has stated publicly that he is agnostic. He doesn't know if God exists or not, but his wife is a Christian and so is his best friend. He is not a Christian but he appears to be sympathetic to their beliefs and traditions. My impression of Ehrman is that he is a brilliant Bible scholar and he is also an academic elitists. IMO, he has reached celebrity status among the academic, elitists crowd, at least in his own mind. He now sees himself as a celebrity of sorts in his particular social & academic circles. In his debates he comes across, at least to me, as arrogant and condescending.

 

He has publicly stated that he despises two things, Fundamentalists and Christ Mythicists. I am impressed with is scholarship but not so much with him as a person. And his book defending Jesus being a real person was not up to his normal academic standards IMO. I did not think his arguments were convincing, but he has openly acknowledged he as a strong bias against those who believe Jesus was a literary figure and not a real person, even though there is no evidence of a Historical Jesus. 

 

I think he is strongly anti mythicists because his academic standing and funding depend on him taking that position. He has issued a thinly disguised threat that any scholar that embraces a mythical Jesus that is seeking a teaching job in academia is wasting their time. He sees mythicists as extremists and radicals. Dr. Robert M. Price has 2 PHD's in theology and is a best selling author, so he is at the very least Ehrman's scholarly equal, and he takes the position that Jesus was a literary figure and not a real person. And Price is not a radical or extremists. The list of creditable scholars that are taking the position that Jesus was a literary figure continues to grow because the evidence strongly suggests that is true. 

 

 

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Sorry, I accidentally posted this twice.

 

 

Ehrman has stated publicly that he is agnostic. He doesn't know if God exists or not, but his wife is a Christian and so is his best friend. He is not a Christian but he appears to be sympathetic to their beliefs and traditions. My impression of Ehrman is that he is a brilliant Bible scholar and he is also an academic elitists. IMO, he has reached celebrity status among the academic elitists crowd, at least in his own mind. He now sees himself as a celebrity of sorts in his particular social & academic circles. In his debates he comes across, at least to me, as arrogant and condescending.

 

He has publicly stated that he despises two things, Fundamentalists and Christ Mythicists. I am impressed with is scholarship but not so much with him as a person. And his book defending Jesus being a real person was not up to his normal academic standards IMO. I did not think his arguments were convincing, but he has openly acknowledged he as a strong bias against those who believe Jesus was a literary figure and not a real person, even though there is no evidence of a Historical Jesus. 

 

I think he is strongly anti mythicists because his academic standing and funding depend on him taking that position. He has issued a thinly disguised threat that any scholar that embraces a mythical Jesus that is seeking a teaching job in academia is wasting their time. He sees mythicists as extremists and radicals. Dr. Robert M. Price has 2 PHD's in theology and is a best selling author, so he is at the very least Ehrman's scholarly equal, and he takes the position that Jesus was a literary figure and not a real person. And Price is not a radical or extremists. The list of creditable scholars that are taking the position that Jesus was a literary figure continues to grow because the evidence strongly suggests that is true. 

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Thanx, @Geezer

 

That was a very thorough response.

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Bart is an agnostic atheist according to an event I watched him speak at. The primary reason he doesn't believe in God is because of the problem of evil.

 

As to the reasons for his position on Jesus I'm not going to try and second guess him. He's stated that the evidence for an historical Jesus is so overwhelming that denying it is ludicrous which is why he doesn't give Jesus myth people the time of day. Think if a person came to you and said the earth is flat... you'd barely give them a seconds thought. I assume that's what he actually means, and he not just saying it to maintain his position.

 

Geezer mentioned Dr Price, and I'll also mention Dr Carrier - both of these guys do have a good argument and do write well researched books. I don't think they have quite made their case though and I think the truth lies between the historical Jesus and myth. (That is there really was an historical teacher at the time, and his followers went off an created stories about him that were not founded in reality.) I can actually point to my own experience where a man in the last 60 odd years was made out to be far more than he actually was and millions believe it.

 

Back to Bart - I've read Misquoting Jesus. Its a small book and a great read. I'd recommend it to anyone... including Christians.... but that might be an ulterior notice there :) 

 

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I am reading Misquoting Jesus right now and have read several other books by Bart Ehrman, including How Jesus Became God.  Ehrman refers to himself as an agnostic and he views Jesus as being a real person, a Jewish apocalyptic prophet. I have read other scholars say pretty much the same thing.  

 

I can't see why it makes much difference if Jesus was actually a real person or not since it seems that most of the information about him was changed, altered in various ways and made into an elaborate theology over the course of centuries, but for right now I think its most likely he did exist.  I just think we can't know much about him historically.

 

I like Bart Ehrman's books better than the debates I have seen him in.  He seems strident and a bit arrogant in the debates, even if I agree with him.  He hammers a lot on changes in Biblical texts in his popular books and I think that is because of his background as a former Fundamentalist who was obliged at one time to believe the Bible was inerrant.  He would like to make it widely known that this supposedly inerrant text is nothing of the kind.

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21 hours ago, MOHO said:

I think this is the most appropriate place for this topic.

 

Having finished Ehrman's Jesus Before the Gospels   a couple weeks ago (about 1/2 through Dawkins The God Delusion at this point ) I was left a little puzzled regarding Ehrman's beliefs and approach. I'm not sure if he was giving reasons for disbelief in religion - especially xanity - or if he was simply expressing the possibility that xanity is true - just not the version(s) that you and I are most accustomed to.

 

In the first part of this book he goes to great length to indicate that, since religions at that time, especially Christianity, were not written down but, in stead, passed by word of mouth until sometime in the second century, that they cannot possibly reflect what actually occurred (or were thought to occur) when the storied of the Bible were first conceived.

 

This and other comments/section of this book are leading me to interpret Ehrman's writings here to mean that he believes in Christianity  - just not necessarily that the Bible is the inerrant work of God.

 

I welcome all of your input regarding my confusion as well as feedback as to the accuracy of my interpretation of Erhman's thrust.

 

 

One of Ehrman's main themes in Jesus Before the Gospels is how human memory influences a religion such as Christanity.  He said that this is the first study of the interplay between memory and religion.

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21 minutes ago, sdelsolray said:

 

One of Ehrman's main themes in Jesus Before the Gospels is how human memory influences a religion such as Christanity.  He said that this is the first study of the interplay between memory and religion.

 

Yes.

That section had a huge impact on me. The fact that nothing of Christianity was actually written down until 60~100 years AFTER Jesus supposedly walked the earth would indicate that a very high percentage of the faith is pure B.S.! It does not seem rational to give one's life to a doctrine that is based, almost entirely, on stories that began as exaggerations and then mutated for 100's of years.

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41 minutes ago, MOHO said:

 

Yes.

That section had a huge impact on me. The fact that nothing of Christianity was actually written down until 60~100 years AFTER Jesus supposedly walked the earth would indicate that a very high percentage of the faith is pure B.S.! It does not seem rational to give one's life to a doctrine that is based, almost entirely, on stories that began as exaggerations and then mutated for 100's of years.

 

I found Erhman's research into human memory to be informative.  How he applies it to the origins of Christianity is novel and quite interesting. 

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10 hours ago, LogicalFallacy said:

Bart is an agnostic atheist according to an event I watched him speak at. The primary reason he doesn't believe in God is because of the problem of evil.

 

As to the reasons for his position on Jesus I'm not going to try and second guess him. He's stated that the evidence for an historical Jesus is so overwhelming that denying it is ludicrous which is why he doesn't give Jesus myth people the time of day. Think if a person came to you and said the earth is flat... you'd barely give them a seconds thought. I assume that's what he actually means, and he not just saying it to maintain his position.

 

Geezer mentioned Dr Price, and I'll also mention Dr Carrier - both of these guys do have a good argument and do write well researched books. I don't think they have quite made their case though and I think the truth lies between the historical Jesus and myth. (That is there really was an historical teacher at the time, and his followers went off an created stories about him that were not founded in reality.) I can actually point to my own experience where a man in the last 60 odd years was made out to be far more than he actually was and millions believe it.

 

Back to Bart - I've read Misquoting Jesus. Its a small book and a great read. I'd recommend it to anyone... including Christians.... but that might be an ulterior notice there :) 

 

 

 

Carrier thinks the strongest evidence for an earthly Jesus is found in Galatians: 

After three years I went up to Jerusalem to visit Cephas and remained with him fifteen days. But I saw none of the other apostles except James the Lord’s brother” (vv. 18–19).  

- Galatians 1:18–20

 

Since there are no known original copies of any of Paul's writings, and Scholars feel certain Paul's Epistles were edited, redacted, and possibly even rewritten in the second century, possibly by Marcion and Simon, the accuracy of these writings is questionable. Some scholars, such as Price, question that Paul was even a real person. He suspects Marcion and his followers may have written Paul's Epistles or edited them in the second century. All scholars can say, with any degree of certainty, is that the same author wrote 6 or 7 of the Epistles believed to be original Pauline letters. That only means the same person wrote them, but not that Paul was that person. 

 

Whether Jesus was a real person or a literary figure seems to lead to the same conclusion. He wasn't God incarnate or the literal son of God. If he was just a normal human being then it matters not whether he was a literary figure of an itinerant activists preacher that pushed the Jewish authorities too far. If he wasn't God incarnate then his role in history is fabricated, embellished, and exaggerated. If that is the case then I don't see why it matters whether he was a real person or a literary figure. Ultimately, either way, the Biblical version of Jesus is a myth. 

 

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The Fabricated Paul by Hermann Detering 

 

https://www.amazon.com/Fabricated-Paul-Early-Christianity-Twilight-ebook/dp/B006XXX04G/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1507661794&sr=1-1&keywords=The+fabricated+Paul

 

In theology and church Paul is regarded as the most important and most reliable historial witness to Jesus and early Christianity. This book nevertheless contradicts the common conception and shows that all the Pauline letters are in fact skillful falsifications from the second century.
The author solves the numerous unresolved questions that surround the figure and the writings of Paul until today in convincing and scholarly original ways. At the same time, the reader accompanies him on his breath-taking trip through the mysterious world of Gnosticism and the early Christianities.
Numerous individual observations which have not been considered by theologians until now are brought together to produce an entirely new picture of early Christianity. At the end of the book the puzzle of Paul finds a solution that is as amazing as it is illuminating.
This exciting history of the spuriousness of all the Pauline writings allows the time of earliest Christianity to appear in an entirely new light and invites a critical consideration and new evaluation of presumably certain facts of Christian history.

"Hermann Detering once again proves himself the most keenly insightful New Testament scholar of this generation, worthy to stand among the neglected giants of the radical criticism whose work he has brought to light to stir today's Bible students from their deep dogmatic slumbers. My own debt to his work is profound." - Prof. Robert M. Price

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Thanx for the link, @Geezer

 

I LOVE Kindle Unlimited!

 

And thanx for your rundown of the book.

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29 minutes ago, MOHO said:

Thanx for the link, @Geezer

 

I LOVE Kindle Unlimited!

 

And thanx for your rundown of the book.

 

Thanks, it was already in my library. I discovered it some time ago downloaded it and have read it a few times now. 

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I agree that since we have no original writings whatsoever, and only copies of copies decades or even centuries from when the events supposedly occurred, it is just not logical or reasonable to base your life on such writings, much less the fact that the modern world is so changed that these ancient writers could not comprehend our everyday lives, much less write anything relevant.

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On 10/9/2017 at 10:01 AM, MOHO said:

I think this is the most appropriate place for this topic.

 

Having finished Ehrman's Jesus Before the Gospels   a couple weeks ago (about 1/2 through Dawkins The God Delusion at this point ) I was left a little puzzled regarding Ehrman's beliefs and approach. I'm not sure if he was giving reasons for disbelief in religion - especially xanity - or if he was simply expressing the possibility that xanity is true - just not the version(s) that you and I are most accustomed to.

 

In the first part of this book he goes to great length to indicate that, since religions at that time, especially Christianity, were not written down but, in stead, passed by word of mouth until sometime in the second century, that they cannot possibly reflect what actually occurred (or were thought to occur) when the storied of the Bible were first conceived.

 

This and other comments/section of this book are leading me to interpret Ehrman's writings here to mean that he believes in Christianity  - just not necessarily that the Bible is the inerrant work of God.

 

I welcome all of your input regarding my confusion as well as feedback as to the accuracy of my interpretation of Erhman's thrust.

 

 

Upon researching Ehrman this is what I found, quotes and link below. He now calls himself an "agnostic atheist." That is an interesting assertion of belief or disbelief “agnostic atheist.” I’ve never heard of that combination of words before and can only guess its meaning.

In his book "Misquoting Jesus" Ehrman recounts becoming a born-again, fundamentalist Christian as a teenager. He recounts being certain in his youthful enthusiasm that God had inspired the wording of the Bible and protected its texts from all error. His desire to understand the original words of the Bible led him to the study of ancient languages and also textual criticism. During his graduate studies, however, he became convinced that there are contradictions and discrepancies in the biblical manuscripts that could not be harmonized or reconciled. He remained a liberal Christian for 15 years (afterwards) but later became an agnostic atheist after struggling with the philosophical (concepts and) problems of evil and suffering."

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bart_D._Ehrman

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I noticed something odd about some mainline scholars. I sense some kind of PC issues with them that I haven't noticed with scholars that traditionalists label as radicals. Traditional scholars seem to me to go out of their way not to "harm" believers faith.

 

I've noticed this with Ehrman & also with the Yale University YouTube videos. The Yale Peofessors inform their students that Yale University isn't a church & therefore they teach religion from the historical critical perspective, and they hope that doesn't harm any of their students faith. 

 

Religious scholars that have been labeled as radical do not seem to be bothered about harming anyone's faith. They seem content to lay out the evidence & let the chips fall where they may. 

 

I've noticed mainstream religious scholars seem limited on how much truth they are willing to expose. It seems to me there are lines they fear to cross because they could lose funding & professional prestige if they cross those forbidden lines.

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2 hours ago, Geezer said:

 

......................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................

..........I've noticed mainstream religious scholars seem limited on how much truth they are willing to expose. It seems to me there are lines they fear to cross because they could lose funding & professional prestige if they cross those forbidden lines.

 

Yes, I have seen that this is also true in nearly all fields of scholarship, not just religion. Mainstream-accepted scholars in general feel limited on how they interpret facts and most try hard not to contradict mainstream interpretations and theory. There are lines they fear to cross in their speech and writings because they could lose funding & professional prestige if they cross them.

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21 hours ago, pantheory said:

 

Upon researching Ehrman this is what I found, quotes and link below. He now calls himself an "agnostic atheist." That is an interesting assertion of belief or disbelief “agnostic atheist.” I’ve never heard of that combination of words before and can only guess its meaning.

...

 

The term "agnostic atheism" is one of four terms designed to express two binary concepts (i) a statement of knowledge (gnosticism or agnosticism) and (ii) a statement of religious belief (theism or atheism).  While there is a bit a semantic overlap between the two root concepts, combining them more fully describes a person's state of mind.

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On ‎05‎/‎11‎/‎2017 at 8:00 AM, pantheory said:

 

Upon researching Ehrman this is what I found, quotes and link below. He now calls himself an "agnostic atheist." That is an interesting assertion of belief or disbelief “agnostic atheist.” I’ve never heard of that combination of words before and can only guess its meaning.

 

I'm agnostic atheist.

 

To further what sdelsolray said, to describe my position on god I say I don't know that no gods exist, but I don't believe any exist. The term Agnostic covers the first portion, the term atheist covers the second, and is the closest match I can find that accurate describes my position.

 

I am of the opinion that we can never know for certain that no gods exist for the same reason we cannot know that no unicorns exist in the universe. This of course depends entirely on how you are defining god. Some gods can be said to not exist with high degree of certainty.

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8 hours ago, sdelsolray said:

 

The term "agnostic atheism" is one of four terms designed to express two binary concepts (i) a statement of knowledge (gnosticism or agnosticism) and (ii) a statement of religious belief (theism or atheism).  While there is a bit a semantic overlap between the two root concepts, combining them more fully describes a person's state of mind.

 

Yes, all true but IMO the combined term is redundant. I see nothing wrong with the combined term, but as for myself I simply call myself an atheist. 

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22 hours ago, LogicalFallacy said:

 

I'm agnostic atheist.

 

To further what sdelsolray said, to describe my position on god I say I don't know that no gods exist, but I don't believe any exist. The term Agnostic covers the first portion, the term atheist covers the second, and is the closest match I can find that accurate describes my position.

 

I am of the opinion that we can never know for certain that no gods exist for the same reason we cannot know that no unicorns exist in the universe. This of course depends entirely on how you are defining god. Some gods can be said to not exist with high degree of certainty.

 

Like you said, no one can know for sure that there is no god of some kind,  I consider the odds close to zero for any kind of god that had anything to do with the Earth or humanity. As to heaven or hell, I would bet my immoral soul against a six pack of beer  if there were any takers.

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4 hours ago, pantheory said:

 

Yes, all true but IMO the combined term is redundant. I see nothing wrong with the combined term, but as for myself I simply call myself an atheist. 

 

Are you an agnostic atheist or a gnostic atheist?

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16 hours ago, sdelsolray said:

 

Are you an agnostic atheist or a gnostic atheist?

 

The word

Quote

 

 

The word "Gnostic"  has esoteric  undertones so it might be better stated if I call myself a "knowledgeable atheist. "  Without preparation I believe I could win a debate against any theist, if I were interested in arguing such things, which I am not, since IMO it would be a waste of time since few if any persons would benefit from such a debate. Even between well-known proponents and debaters, benefits to anyone seem doubtful to me. 

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5 hours ago, pantheory said:

 

The word

 

The word "Gnostic"  has esoteric  undertones so it might be better stated if I call myself a "knowledgeable atheist. "  Without preparation I believe I could win a debate against any theist, if I were interested in arguing such things, which I am not, since IMO it would be a waste of time since few if any persons would benefit from such a debate. Even between well-known proponents and debaters, benefits to anyone seem doubtful to me. 

 

Do you know there is no god or do you not know if there is no god?

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