Jesus Interrupted By Bart Ehrman

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WinePusher

Jesus Interrupted By Bart Ehrman

Post #1

Post by WinePusher »

Chapter 1: A Historical Assult On Faith
Bart Ehrman wrote:The Bible is filled with discrepanies, many of them irreconcilable contradiction. Moses did not write the Pentateuch and Matthew, Mark Luke and John did not write the Gospels. It is hard to know whether Moses ever existed and what, exactly, the historical Jesus taught.
Major Points:

-Bart Ehrman begins his book by attempting to debunk many of the traditionally held beliefs of Christians and Biblical Fundamentalists by pointing out many "supposed" contradictions found in the Bible.
-He trys to draw a clear and distinct line between evanglical scholarship of biblical texts and his "historical-critical" method of the bible.

Questions for Debate:

In his first chapter, Bart Ehrman makes the following claims: The Exodus probably did not occur as described in the Hebrew Scriptures, the conquest of the promised land is based on legend, the teachings of the historical Jesus are misrepresented, and the Acts of the Apostles contains faulty information on the life of Paul.

1) Can the Bible be considered a historically, reliable document in light of Ehrman's claims?

2) Are Bart Ehrman's claims about scripture true, or are they simply wrong and a result of ignorance?

WinePusher

Re: Jesus Interrupted By Bart Ehrman

Post #2

Post by WinePusher »

WinePusher wrote:In his first chapter, Bart Ehrman makes the following claims: The Exodus probably did not occur as described in the Hebrew Scriptures, the conquest of the promised land is based on legend, the teachings of the historical Jesus are misrepresented, and the Acts of the Apostles contains faulty information on the life of Paul.
These are quite extraordinary claims to make, and unfortunatly Ehrman makes no attempt to support these claims in his 1st Chapter. Hopefully, throughout the rest of his book, he will support these with evidence.

-The Exodus probably did not occur as described in the Hebrew Scriptures.

Unless Ehrman, or someone on here, can point out the errors or flaws in the Book of Exodus, I see no reason why we should doubt the text. It is consistent with Near Eastern History, that the Israelites were in Egypt for a long period of time and a figure "Moses" came and liberated them from Pharoah. One of the only ways out of Egypt and into the "Promised Land" was through the Red Sea.

Image

And once they came our of the red sea the Israelites would automatically hit the Sinai Desert, where the Bible claims they wandered for 40 years.

-The Conquest of the Promised Land is based on Legend.

Unfortunatly I cannot address this in great detail because Ehrman's claim is very shallow and unsupported. It is a fact that the Israel conquered the Promised Land, and the walls of Jericho have been recovered, so what's the issue here?

-The Gospels misrepresent the teachings of the Historical Jesus.

This is a huge topic in and of itself that a group of people known as the Jesus Seminar tried to discern. But the onus is on the atheist to disprove the Gospel as an accurate representation of Jesus' life and teachings.

-The Acts of the Apostles contains Faulty Information of the Life of Paul.

Another unsupported claim. The chronology of the Acts is consistent with the dating of Paul's many letters, but this can be addressed in more detail later on.
1) Can the Bible be considered a historically, reliable document in light of Ehrman's claims?
Unless Bart Ehrman substantiates his claims with some good proof, the historical reliablity of the Bible still stands.
2) Are Bart Ehrman's claims about scripture true, or are they simply wrong and a result of ignorance?
I would suggest that his scholarly inquiry has been tainted with his agnostic/atheist beliefs, and his turn from christianity to agnosticism seems to be more as a result of evil then biblical contradictions.

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Cathar1950
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Post #3

Post by Cathar1950 »

Are there two books going on?
I was sure I needed to order Misquoting Jesus and I had this book.

WinePusher

Post #4

Post by WinePusher »

On pg 17, Bart Ehrman makes reference to his other book God's Problem: How The Bible Fails To Answer Our Most Important Question-Why We Suffer.

This is one of the reasons why I doubt Bart Ehrman as an objective scholar, as the Bible does answer this question multiple times and multiple occasions. Ehrman must has overlooked the section of the Bible that talks about Job and how he went through many suffering and trials and what he learned from those events. The entire book of Job is a narrative that trys to make sense of the problem of evil in light of an omnipotent, omnibenevolent God, so more questions for debate are:

1) Is Ehrman correct when he claims the Bible doesn't answer this question. Does Job do an insufficent job when trying to answer the problem of evil?

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Cathar1950
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Post #5

Post by Cathar1950 »

WinePusher wrote:On pg 17, Bart Ehrman makes reference to his other book God's Problem: How The Bible Fails To Answer Our Most Important Question-Why We Suffer.

This is one of the reasons why I doubt Bart Ehrman as an objective scholar, as the Bible does answer this question multiple times and multiple occasions. Ehrman must has overlooked the section of the Bible that talks about Job and how he went through many suffering and trials and what he learned from those events. The entire book of Job is a narrative that trys to make sense of the problem of evil in light of an omnipotent, omnibenevolent God, so more questions for debate are:

1) Is Ehrman correct when he claims the Bible doesn't answer this question. Does Job do an insufficent job when trying to answer the problem of evil?
This post shows that you are not up to the task of judging Dr. Ehrman's scholarship.
If you read chapter 6 of God's Problem: How The Bible Fails To Answer Our Most Important Question-Why We Suffer, pages 159-168 he covers Job.
Job is not history or factual and even more important it really doesn't answer the problem of evil as much as it makes it a even bigger mystery.

WinePusher

Post #6

Post by WinePusher »

Cathar1950 wrote:This post shows that you are not up to the task of judging Dr. Ehrman's scholarship.
If you read chapter 6 of God's Problem: How The Bible Fails To Answer Our Most Important Question-Why We Suffer, pages 159-168 he covers Job.
Well, I was going only off of what he wrote in "Jesus Interrupted" but if he does address Job in his other book I'll retract my claim that he doesn't.
Cathar1950 wrote:Job is not history or factual and even more important it really doesn't answer the problem of evil as much as it makes it a even bigger mystery.
While Job is not historically factual, it does address and answer the problem of evil at great lengths. Here is what I wrote in one of my more earlier posts
WinePusher wrote:i think that Job 38 answers the questions about Evil. God essentially asks Job a series of unanswerable questions, explain how the universe exists, explain how the sun is where it is, explain the tides and waves etc..... JOb doesn't know and and can't answer them. i think it represents the limitations to the human understanding of God's will, and even if god explained it to us we would still be clueless
And not only does the Bible address the problem of evil in this book, Jesus speaks on this issue frequently, and James and Peter in their letters address this problem. Overall, the Bible answers this question by saying the our sufferings and trials are only temporary and allow us to grow in faith and character, so Ehrman's claim is simply wrong.

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Post #7

Post by Cathar1950 »

WinePusher wrote:
Cathar1950 wrote:This post shows that you are not up to the task of judging Dr. Ehrman's scholarship.
If you read chapter 6 of God's Problem: How The Bible Fails To Answer Our Most Important Question-Why We Suffer, pages 159-168 he covers Job.
Well, I was going only off of what he wrote in "Jesus Interrupted" but if he does address Job in his other book I'll retract my claim that he doesn't.
Cathar1950 wrote:Job is not history or factual and even more important it really doesn't answer the problem of evil as much as it makes it a even bigger mystery.
While Job is not historically factual, it does address and answer the problem of evil at great lengths. Here is what I wrote in one of my more earlier posts
WinePusher wrote:i think that Job 38 answers the questions about Evil. God essentially asks Job a series of unanswerable questions, explain how the universe exists, explain how the sun is where it is, explain the tides and waves etc..... JOb doesn't know and and can't answer them. i think it represents the limitations to the human understanding of God's will, and even if god explained it to us we would still be clueless
And not only does the Bible address the problem of evil in this book, Jesus speaks on this issue frequently, and James and Peter in their letters address this problem. Overall, the Bible answers this question by saying the our sufferings and trials are only temporary and allow us to grow in faith and character, so Ehrman's claim is simply wrong.
Job is a folk tale and it rejects most of the answers more then it gives answers. Of course the version we have seems to be made up from two conflicting versions.
If Jesus taught, or those that wrote about him that the problem of evil or the unknown writers of James and Peter then they got the notion that "our sufferings and trials are only temporary and allow us to grow in faith and character" then they got it from the OT and using them as example is just redundant.
That is one of the answers in Job, the others are we are just the pot asking the potter or other such dismissive answers.
Like Ehrman, many others and myself these are not good answers if they are answers at all and hardly confront the problem of evil.
I have no doubt e can learn from our mistakes and problems but to dismiss them as all tests or growing lessons is not only naive but insulting. Good things can be tests too and help us grow but they are more of rationalization or stories we create to make sense of our lives and such.
I need to get back to your first two posts and the problems I have with your characterization and lack of substance as well as errors in your facts on all three objections you raise and your examples which lack anything but negative support for you case.
Maybe you should take the problem with Job to the Job thread as here your misuse of Job is trying to shed some dark cloud upon Dr. Ehrmans own coming to terms with his faith, which is what you seem to be rejecting, as there is little substance to your objections concerning his scholarship or introduction to the crises that the historical/critical methods have brought to people such as yourself.

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Re: Jesus Interrupted By Bart Ehrman

Post #8

Post by Cathar1950 »

WinePusher wrote: Chapter 1: A Historical Assult On Faith

Major Points:

-Bart Ehrman begins his book by attempting to debunk many of the traditionally held beliefs of Christians and Biblical Fundamentalists by pointing out many "supposed" contradictions found in the Bible.
No he doesn’t. He begins his book with established problems and an introduction to the historical assault upon faith as well as his own background, he isn’t trying to debunk anything; he is giving us a summery of the problems you obviously either don’t understand or are avoiding. Is purpose is not to debunk whatever it is you think he is debunking, but a serious scholar dealing with the ancient writings. His faith was confronted and he faced it while sharing it with the reader. If anything meaningful survives of Christianity I imagine one of the best hopes it going to come from those that do confront their traditions head on and still have something to say to the world besides the old time religion and a 19th century Biblical view.

They are not supposed contradictions. He was not debunking anything or making any attempt to do so. He was explaining the rude awaking seminary students have when confronted with the “hard-core Bible Scholarship in Mainline seminaries. If you are going to give major points you should get them right before you move on to the content, which you seem to have missed too.

I tend to think many of the contradiction in the Bible are a creation or problem of the Bible Believer and apologists that make claims about the Bible that are simply not true or less significant.. It is when they take devotional literature and try to make it historical, factual and what ever other claims they feel they must make to defend their faith where any passage can be looked at as having the same import as some Newtonian law of nature used to support anything Jesus.

I wonder if it is you that misinterprets Ehrman, or some of your sources that you think are debunking the debunker. I just find it hard to believe you could be so wrong all by yourself.

-He trys to draw a clear and distinct line between evanglical scholarship of biblical texts and his "historical-critical" method of the bible.
I tend to see that it is evangelicals such as yourself that are drawing the distinction, he was giving an introduction to the “historical-critical" and the growth on his views. It takes nothing from the methods and you have not manage to take anything from his scholarship or the book..
Questions for Debate:

In his first chapter, Bart Ehrman makes the following claims: The Exodus probably did not occur as described in the Hebrew Scriptures, the conquest of the promised land is based on legend, the teachings of the historical Jesus are misrepresented, and the Acts of the Apostles contains faulty information on the life of Paul.
1) Can the Bible be considered a historically, reliable document in light of Ehrman's claims?
No, and it doesn’t seem that it was ever intended to be.

2) Are Bart Ehrman's claims about scripture true, or are they simply wrong and a result of ignorance?
[/quote]

WinePusher

Re: Jesus Interrupted By Bart Ehrman

Post #9

Post by WinePusher »

Good reply Cathar, hopefully this debate picks up some speed and doesn't remain between the two of us.
Cathar1950 wrote:No he doesn’t. He begins his book with established problems and an introduction to the historical assault upon faith as well as his own background, he isn’t trying to debunk anything; he is giving us a summery of the problems you obviously either don’t understand or are avoiding.
I addressed his problems in on of my first posts in this thread. The issues Ehrman is addressing, such as the Exodus and the historicity of the Acts are historical claims made by the Bible. Ehrman thinks these claims are flawed and does try to debunk them, he written many books trying to debunk Christianity and the Bible so to say he's approaching these issues with absolutly no bias, with absolutly no personal agenda is a little misguided.
Cathar1950 wrote:His purpose is not to debunk whatever it is you think he is debunking, but a serious scholar dealing with the ancient writings.
Some of Ehrman's books are very scholarly and objective, such as his New Testament textbook. However, this book (Jesus Interrupted) is hardly an objective study of biblical issues.
Cathar1950 wrote:His faith was confronted and he faced it while sharing it with the reader. If anything meaningful survives of Christianity I imagine one of the best hopes it going to come from those that do confront their traditions head on and still have something to say to the world besides the old time religion and a 19th century Biblical view.
While I agree with some parts of Ehrman's approach to studying the Bible, I think he goes to far when he says that the Gospels are misrepresentations of Jesus' teachings and that the Acts don't record an accurate account of Paul's life.

But I will agree with Ehrman when he says that Moses did not write the Pentateuch. Only Biblical Fundamentalists, a train of thought I oppose, believe Moses wrote the Pentateuch and such literalism does a diservice to the intended message of the Bible, IMO.
Cathar1950 wrote:They are not supposed contradictions. He was not debunking anything or making any attempt to do so. He was explaining the rude awaking seminary students have when confronted with the “hard-core Bible Scholarship in Mainline seminaries. If you are going to give major points you should get them right before you move on to the content, which you seem to have missed too.
Yea, they are "supposed" contradictions. It's Ehrman's opinion is that they are contradictions, and I'd like to point out he doesn't substantiate his lengthy list of claims at the beginning. Some of the contradictions he lists are valid, but he goes a little gung ho when trying to address the Gospels and their representation of Jesus.
Cathar1950 wrote:I tend to think many of the contradiction in the Bible are a creation or problem of the Bible Believer and apologists that make claims about the Bible that are simply not true or less significant.. It is when they take devotional literature and try to make it historical, factual and what ever other claims they feel they must make to defend their faith where any passage can be looked at as having the same import as some Newtonian law of nature used to support anything Jesus.
Contradictions will arise when a person takes the Bible as something it was not intended to be. I don't think the Bible was intended for us 21st century christians to use as a science book and as a astronomy book. In that area of science, the Bible is fallible. However, when it comes to our faith and dogma I think its fair to say that the Bible is infallible. Btw, may I ask you about your beliefs? You're a skeptical Christian, agnostic and a Jew. How's that work?
WinePusher wrote:-He trys to draw a clear and distinct line between evanglical scholarship of biblical texts and his "historical-critical" method of the bible.
Cathar1950 wrote:I tend to see that it is evangelicals such as yourself that are drawing the distinction, he was giving an introduction to the “historical-critical" and the growth on his views. It takes nothing from the methods and you have not manage to take anything from his scholarship or the book..
First of all, I agree with Ehrman on this point. A historical-critical method (higher criticism) should be used when studying the Bible. I am an evangelical but don't adhere to the evangelical train of thought when it comes to Biblical Studies.

Second of all, I do think some aspects of this book are scholarly but it's my opinion that Ehrman (as a scholar) is not very reliable when it comes to objective information. I don't appreciate it when he tells Christians what they believe (or can't believe) as he does here.
WinePusher wrote:1) Can the Bible be considered a historically, reliable document in light of Ehrman's claims?
Cathar1950 wrote:No, and it doesn’t seem that it was ever intended to be.
They weren't intended to be historically reliable? I don't think they were meant to be used as a science textbook, but I do think they were meant to relay accurate historical information.

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Re: Jesus Interrupted By Bart Ehrman

Post #10

Post by EduChris »

WinePusher wrote:...Bart Ehrman begins his book by attempting to debunk many of the traditionally held beliefs of Christians and Biblical Fundamentalists...
I have to admit that I'm just now beginning to read Jesus Interrupted. It will take me awhile to get up to speed on this discussion, but I want to point out something that struck me immediately on reading Ehrman's preface. Ehrman seems to want to establish his credentials as an objective seeker of truth--so committed to truth that he even allowed the truth to take him where he didn't (initially) want to go. He is trying to establish rapport with the reader by these claims, he is trying to get them to say, "I'll really have to pay attention to what Ehrman says, because he is so obviously passionate about finding the truth, wherever it leads."

The reason why Ehrman's claims struck me is that despite what he is trying to communicate, I see him in a completely different light because of my own life situation. I see Ehrman as someone who is desperately trying to win affirmation from others. At first he sought affirmation from the fundamentalist group he initially joined. He wanted to prove his mettle to them. Then later, when exposed to the liberal or secular viewpoint, he again wanted to prove his mettle with them. And then now, in the populist tone of his writing, he again seeks to "prove" or "demonstrate" his mettle to his readers.

My own experience is completely different. I attended a conservative Christian school in which Christianity seemed "forced" on me. I rejected Christianity even at great personal cost to myself. Then I went to college and took the obligatory two courses in religion, where I was exposed to the liberal-secular point of view. Again, I felt the professors were trying to "force" my hand or even indoctrinate me into their views. Again I rebelled, again I refused to accept their conclusions, and again I was somewhat stigmatized for my failure to adopt my professors' point of view.

It wasn't until several years after college that I realized how I had first rejected fundamentalism, then I had rejected secular-liberalism, but in neither case had I bothered to actually read the entire Bible (as opposed to just the required snippets that were assigned in my classes). It wasn't until I read the whole Bible for myself that I decided it was better and more true than anything else I had ever read. And so I became an adult convert to Christianity.

So it seems to me that Ehrman is the type who wants affirmation; that is why he bounced around from one view to another. But I was willing to suffer "persecution" (mild by any historical sense, but still not negligent to a teenager or young adult) or stigmatization. I was more concerned about what was true than I was about what would get me affirmed by my peers or my professors.

In sum, I am not very much impressed by Ehrman's initial posturing. Since he attempts to engage in the pro hominem fallacy on his own behalf, I do not consider myself as engaging in any ad hominem fallacy simply because I present reasons why I am not impressed with his pro hominem fallacy.

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