Wednesday, August 4, 2010

a surprise for the infidel guy!

They say you should never interview someone unless you know what they are going to say. But in a radio interview last year, the "Infidel Guy" interviewed Bible scholar Bart Ehrman and got a number of surprises.

In writing this blog and website, I refer often to experts, especially historians writing about Jesus. Some people choose historians who best represent their own viewpoint - christians choose christian historians, atheists choose non-christian historians - but I have always tried to give a balanced view, from those in the middle who try to use neutral methods.

But if a respected scholar concedes some matters to his opponents, you can be pretty sure you are onto something. So when Bart Ehrman, who is not a christian, and is generally considered to be quite a sceptical scholar, spoke up in favour of Jesus being a historical person, it was worth noting.

Here are a couple of his statements:

"I don't think there's any serious historian who doubts the existence of Jesus."

"I think there was a historical person Jesus and that we can say some things historically about him."

"We have more evidence for Jesus than we have for almost anybody from his time period."

Of course Ehrman also has major doubts about much of what christians teach about Jesus, but these statements provide clear support for what I wrote in did Jesus really live? and was Jesus a real person?. Listen to Ehrman for yourself here:


  1. It was indeed a diverting video, though I was disappointed that Ehrman used some arguments that Mythicists simply reject. The Caesar analogy is one example that is best to avoid.

  2. As a believer, I don't reference Ehrman because I agree with his arguments, but simply to show that someone who is often quoted by unbelievers doesn't in fact support all that they say.

  3. Is Ehrman often quoted by Mythicists? That seems a weak tactic on their side. Do you often debate with Mythicists?

  4. Hi. I don't often debate anyone because I don't see much point, but I discuss from time to time, and read what others say. I don't interact much with hardcore Mythicists, but I find that quite a few non-believers these days tend towards that view, principally, I guess, because they read more from fellow unbelievers on the internet than they read genuine historians. And they tend to mention Ehrman among a few others, though I don't know how many have actually read him. The Infidel Guy is fairly typical in that sense. What's your view?

  5. I don't debate with Mythicists either, for several reasons. Whenever I search for information on the historical Jesus online I always get a load of mythic tosh, though, so I guess there have to be quite some people who abuse Google for Mythicist goals. ;)

    Anyway, Jesus is not an issue I generally raise among non-believers, so I don't have much of a clue what they think of the historicity of Jesus. On a less personal level, Mythicism seems quite prevalent in the UK and Australia (13% and 11%) (while it is a rather rare occurrance in the US (1%)).

  6. Re:Aussies' attitudes to Jesus: It is an old cliche but with a lot of truth, that people are OK about God and Jesus, but not the church and christians. Of course the God and Jesus they feel OK about may be somewhat different to the real thing - but then that may be true of some christians too!


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