I just got done interviewing Bart Ehrman about his newest book Did Jesus Exist? It was a fascinating interview and I can’t wait to share it but until then think about getting the book. It is an excellent summary of the academic consensus surrounding the historical Jesus and devastating response to the ‘mythicists.’ Over the course of the book you get to hear:
- how a historian operates with all the evidence, data, & texts (confessional and not) to make claims about Jesus’ historicity and his place in 1st century Judaism
- Ehrman’s compelling and concise account of the historical Jesus as an Apocalyptic Prophet
- the history of the mythicist movement in
scholarshipprint and culture
- the mythicist thesis presented and then deconstructed like it was Harold Camping’s end times chart
Did Jesus Exist? The answer of the academic guild is YES and it takes Ehrman just a couple sentences to let you. Like Dan Brown’s conspiracy in the Davinci Code or that weird notion that Jesus spent ‘the silent years’ in India studying with gurus, these type of non-academic and sensationalist stories passed off as history rarely get the attention of actual scholars. The lack of attention is not because of a lack of answers but the sheer incomprehensibility of these ideas themselves and yet as a minister I constantly answer these questions over and over again. I say Jesus did not go to India, Dan Brown is bad fiction and Non-fiction, and that Jesus most certainly existed. In these conversations people end up asking how I know these things and where they can get some type of ‘evidence’ or a book I can point them too. I use to just say “that question is so absurd no one who knows what we as the academic community knows would dignify it with a response.” That use to be my answer but it isn’t any more and I am glad!
Thank you Bart for writing this book.
So if you were wondering….
Are there reliable sources for the historical Jesus? The answer is YES. There are actually more for him than Pilate! Isn’t the Jesus story an appropriation of other dying and rising God stories? The answer is NO. There isn’t actually evidence of a dying and rising story for the early Christians to appropriate. How can you be sure Jesus existed? First, if he didn’t his brother James (for whom there is plenty of evidence) would have known. Secondly, the early church would have had no reason to construct the idea of a cross-dead but risen Messiah which did NOT exist prior to Jesus (who did exist…in history…but didn’t go to India or have a kid with Mary Magdalene).
This is part of the blog-book tour. The other stops are….
Tuesday, March 20th: Shuck and Jive
Monday, March 26th: Broken Teepee
Tuesday, March 27th: Homebrewed Christian
Wednesday, March 28th: Jeff Keuss
Thursday, March 29th: Life is Short. Read Fast.
Tuesday, April 3rd: Crazy Liberals … and Conservatives
Wednesday, April 4th: The Liberal Spirit
Thursday, April 5th: Greg Laden’s Blog
Friday, April 6th: Butterflies and Wheels
Tuesday, April 10th: Fallen From Grace
Wednesday, April 11th: The Gods Are Bored
TBD: The X Blog
TBD: Exploring Our Matrix