Helaine's Reviews > Did Jesus Exist?: The Historical Argument for Jesus of Nazareth

Did Jesus Exist? by Bart D. Ehrman
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's review
Apr 24, 2012

really liked it
Read from April 20 to 24, 2012

I was disappointed when Ehrman announced in one of his books that he had become an agnostic in spite of (or because of) all his Biblical study. I always felt his books carried more weight as a believer--a life long believer, but searching for and finding certain truths. I know others think that being a proclaimed agnostic gives more credibility to his critical studies, but I feel the opposite(and I do mean "feel" because this is emotional, not rational, on my part).

I never thought there wasn't a historical (actual) Jesus--just that it wasn't always easy to find him in the NT. Erhman's book clearly sets out the evidence in the NT and otherwise. I had been aware from other writings of many of the arguments for the historical Jesus, but one
of the points by Erhman is unfamiliar. Erhman indicates that Jesus thought of himself as "king of the Jews" and that an alleged proclamation of this to his disciples might have been the info that Judas passed on to the temple Jews/Romans and thus the basis for Jesus death sentence. This seemed like a big jump and not in accord with Erhman's applied historical criteria for other points made about the historical Jesus (and really outside the premise of the book).

Second, Erhman states that "most scholars" are convinced that Josephus wrote about Jesus, even if some of that writing was a scribe insertion. I had heard more scholarly skepticism re Josephus' Jesus references than this implies. Erhman does go on to say that in the end it doesn't matter because the question of Jesus' existence is decided on other evidence. But throughout the book, he includes Josephus' references as part of the several sources that give weight to the written evidence.


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