Did Jesus Exist?: The Historical Argument for Jesus of Nazareth
In Did Jesus Exist? historian and Bible expert Bart Ehrman confronts the question, "Did Jesus exist at all?" Ehrman vigorously defends the historical Jesus, identifies the most historically reliable sources for best understanding Jesus’ mission and message, and offers a compelling portrait of the person at the heart of the Christian tradition.
Known as a master explainer wi
When I was growing up I was told by my atheist father that there was no evidence that Jesus had ever existed. I was told all of the texts that concerned Jesus (the gospels and so on) were all written about 100 years after he had, supposedly, died. There was also no evidence of anyone called Pontius Pilate – the whole thing, in every detail, was completely made ...more
Because of my admiration for Ehrman and his work, it brings me a great deal of pain to admit that "Did Jesus Exist?" is Ehrman's worst book, at least of those I've read. And ...more
This is a decent primer into the reasons the majority of New Testament scholars believe in the historical personage of Jesus. It's a very basic book, but accomplishes it's goal of debunking the various claims put forth by "mythicists" who see Jesus as just a myth, and not ever a flesh and blood man. This book does not prove (or even argue) that Jesus was the "Son of God," it simply argues that he was an apocalyptic prophet.
I've enjoyed Ehrman's books for the better part of ten years, but wow, hi ...more
With such a sensitive and heavy topic as this book carries, one might expect the text to be overpowering in scho ...more
A small but prolific group of agnostics and atheists argues that Jesus of Nazareth did not exist. Many of them are cranks and conspiracy theorists. A few of them are scholars, though generally not with expertise in the relevant fields of New Testament studies. They refer to themselves as “mythicists,” i.e. people who believe that Jesus was a myth.
In Did Jesus Exist?, Bart ...more
So, the murderers.
Let me start by asking this question: can you establish the truth in a court of law?
Is that what the judge and jury are deciding? The Truth, with a capital T?
Think about Tommy and Ray Highers, brothers from Detroit. They were convicted of murder. Open and shut case. No parole. They were two nasty buggers that shot a man down over some dope.
It is upon that beam Ehrman balances, simultaneously building support for the reality of the Son of Man yet eradicating any notion that we know anything about him. Admitting he is neither a Christian or an apologist, Ehrman says "I have never attacked Christianity itself. I have attacked a particular flavor of it." And it is a favor most prevalent in the South (Ehrman teaches at UNC Chapel Hill).
He says in the introduction that the people who claim that Jesus did not exist confound him; as a Biblical scholar, it hadn't occurred to him to question the existence of this particular historical figure. In writing this book, though, he demonstrates the basic principle of skepticism by examining the evidence.
The evidence sa ...more
The first third was well-written, flowed nicely, and had a lot of counter arguments to those who believe Jesus did not really exist as a historical person. Mr. Ehrman's main attacks included pointing out the mythicists' ...more
The book starts with a rather wel ...more
A graduate of Wheaton College (Illinois), Professor Ehrman received both his Masters of Div ...more
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Jesus would not recognize himself in the preaching of most of his followers today. He knew nothing of our world. He was not a capitalist. He did not believe in free enterprise. He did not support the acquisition of wealth or the good things in life. He did not believe in massive education. He had never heard of democracy. He had nothing to do with going to church on Sunday. He knew nothing of social security, food stamps, welfare, American exceptionalism, unemployment numbers, or immigration. He had no views on tax reform, health care (apart from wanting to heal leprosy), or the welfare state. So far as we know, he expressed no opinion on the ethical issues that plague us today: abortion and reproductive rights, gay marriage, euthanasia, or bombing Iraq. His world was not ours, his concerns were not ours, and--most striking of all--his beliefs were not ours.
Jesus was a first-century Jew, and when we try to make him into a twenty-first century American we distort everything he was and everything he stood for.”