North Carolina religious Professor Bert Ehrman


#1

Does anyone know North Carolina’s Religious Professor Bert Ehrman?


#2

Yes; this is the result of going from a starry-eyed version of faith to one that too easily suffers from the modern spirit of too easily giving up on the difficult questions which pile up when false assumptions and misguided skepticism begin to hold greater sway than what we know to be true by more “visceral” means. Ehrman hasn’t as much completely given up on the possibilty of God, as on his early views of justifying his faith.
His blog shows some rather convoluted thinking on the subject:


All the best to him!


#3

I’ve been trying (unsuccessfully) to track down a video I remember seeing recently by a prominent NT historian - but on reflection it may have been a personal conversation I had with the Director of a world-renowned biblical studies research centre a couple of months ago. I should keep a diary…

Whichever it was, what he told me was to the effect that within the “guild” of those studying the historical background of early Christianity, Ehrman’s high standing as a textual critic is indisputed, but his views on the history itself are out on a limb (for the reasons Guy states) - and that holds amongst the majority of unbelieving, as well as believing, academics in the field.

That’s mildly hinted at in the Spectator review of Ehrman’s book The Triumph of Christianity, which cites the less popularly-known but equally scholarly Larry Hurtado’s book, and ends:

That Hurtado, the believer, proves better qualified to recognise [the persuasiveness of Christianity’s radical doctrinees and ethics] than Ehrman, the agnostic, does not diminish the value of the explanations provided in The Triumph of Christianity for how a forbidden religion came to sweep the world. Perhaps what it does suggest, though, is that objectivity can come in many forms.

In fact, Hurtado’s own review of the book sums up what I’ve said so far:

But, whereas in some of his previous general-reader books, Ehrman drew upon his recognized expertise (especially in NT textual criticism), in this book he deals with a subject on which he is not particularly known as a contributor. So, he draws heavily on the work of other scholars (including my own), and with commendable acknowledgement. Unfortunately, however, on several matters he seems to rely on now discredited views, or over-simplify or misunderstand things.

My own source added that saying that the gospels give a broadly accurate picture of the events surrounding Jesus does not tend to get you media attention and notoriety, which sell books. Perhaps that is reflected in the fact that Ehrman’s popular book is at #175 in the spirituality/history category at Amazon, whereas Hurtado’s equivalent (and very readable it is too) is down at #614 in the same category.


#4

Do you think as more and more archaeological, ancient genome, and other data fills in the gaps in human history, there will be more Ehrman’s?


#5

No, I think there will be fewer, if by that you mean his religious skepticism. My reason is that, on the account of his peers and the publically available history of NT criticism, he’s already well behind the curve (though not so far behind as the mythicists, who aren’t taken seriously by the majority of historians).

Skepticism about the specific question of the early reverence for Jesus as divine reached its zenith in the last century, and Hurtado has pointed out that even Ehrman has admitted to having to soften his view of Jesus as “an ordinary bloke gradually turned into a deity.”


#6

That’s right. His work relies on pseudo-history. One of the big surprises of historical research into 1st Century Palestine is how much it established the historical bone fides of the Resurrection. Christians were really concerned by the “Jesus Seminary” but it just backfired.

Studying the historical Jesus drew attention and scholarly rigor here, and uncovered even more evidence. I’ve pointed this out to you before @Patrick. One of these days, take a look at the evidence: Peace Be With You.


#7

I have looked at all of these before. Given good evidence of Christianity and the thinking and culture of the people at that time. Nothing of the truthfulness of the resurrection. I think that right now, with what we know of history, the whole premise for the NEED of a human/god sacrifice is really on shaky ground given the paleo-history of humankind.


#8

Great. When you want to, it would be good to hear more about what you read.

It all depends what “human” is from a Scriptural point of view. I agree, that that this becomes less coherent if Adam was ancient (to me at least). It might make more sense of Adam was recent. This is getting into questions of theology though, and has nothing to do with science.


#9

Agree


#10

@Patrick

So… this is your master plan for building good will amongst Christians who support Joshua? - - to tell them they have the very foundation of their faith all wrong?

@swamidass,

Do you have any remedies for this kind of foolishness?


#11


Patrick is objecting to the “need” for a crucifixion, and somehow thereby objecting to the facts in evidence regarding the resurrection. It’s pleading a reverse non-sequitur, a rather debilitating approach to objective inquiry.


#12

Yes - I too thought it odd to use an argument from lack of need (teleological) to decide a matter of fact. Especially ironic if, come the judgement, one went up to the risen Jesus and said, “We now know you didn’t need to rise from the dead, Old Chap.”


#13

I am afraid that Dr. Ehrman is a good scholar, but not a good Christian. He turned from the Lord Jesus. May God have mercy on him. My wife went to college at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.
Also, my first cousin seven times removed, General Thomas Wynns, was one of the founders of the school of Chapel Hill. Believe it or not Ehrman went to Moody Bible Institute for his BA in Biblical Studies, but went to Princeton Theological Seminary for his MDiv. Princeton ruined him just as it did the Rev. Dr.Charles Templeton, who had been a friend to the Rev. Billy Graham. Templeton had a program Sundays on CBS called “Look Up and Live.” Odd for a man who was spiritually dead to tell someone to “Look Up and Live.” Cheers for today everyone.


#14

Well, in typically British understated fashion, I can see Winston Churchill walking up to the risen Jesus, and saying “Ghastly business, that.” : )


#15

Guy, this is rather funny what you wrote. I can assure them all that Jesus is in heaven in his glorified physical body. One can feel him in the Spirit.


#16

That reminds me of an apocryphal Anglican vicar: “As Jesus said - and I think he was probably right…”


#17

Oh, his name is Bart and not Bert. I have taken some of his classes. Anyway, I make typos too. Have a good day.


#18

Right now I am drinking a good cup of Earl Grey. This British Virginian enjoys the last drop. I do not know why my fellow North Americans like coffee so much. It has too much acid.


#19

I’m a sun tea brewer and enthusiast…


#20

It took a lot of courage for Professor Bart Ehrman to “come out” as an atheist. He obviously studied the subject well and came to his conclusion after much deliberation. I admire him for this. Contrary to you saying that he is “spiritual dead”, I contend that he is now spiritual alive more than ever. He is probably more at peace with himself now than at anytime in his life. He can now live with himself and his family with more love, compassion, empathy, towards his fellow humans than ever before. His life now has even more meaning and purpose than ever. I wish him and his family well and thank him for being honest. He seems like a man extraordinary integrity.