Skip to comments.Theologians Challenge Bart Ehrman's 'Sloppy' Scholarship in 'How Jesus Became God' With New Book
Posted on 04/25/2014 7:48:17 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
Bart Ehrman, prolific author, New Testament scholar and former evangelical Christian, says it took him eight years to research and complete his new book, How Jesus Became God: The Exaltation of a Jewish Preacher from Galilee. Yet, a group of fellow scholars responded in their book, How God Became Jesus, by claiming that the Christian-turned-agnostic's "sloppy" scholarship on Jesus' divinity leaves much to be desired.
Ehrman, the James A. Gray Distinguished Professor of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, says his research reveals that Jesus, a first century Galilean, never claimed to be God, and that it was his followers who elevated him to a deity after his death.
"What I argue in the book is that during his lifetime, Jesus himself didn't call himself God, didn't consider himself God and that none of his disciples had any inkling at all that he was God," Ehrman has said.
Ehrman ultimately concludes in his work that there is no reliable evidence to support the belief that Jesus was ever resurrected from the dead, even though it is the most essential aspect of Christianity. Instead, his followers had "visionary experiences," or hallucinations of Jesus after his burial that led them to determine that Christ was alive.
Ehrman discusses his latest published work in a lengthy interview with NPR's "Fresh Air." Listen below, or at NPR.com.
How God Became Jesus: The Real Origins of Belief in Jesus' Divine NatureA Response to Bart D. Ehrman was written by Christian historians Michael F. Bird, Craig A. Evans, Simon Gathercole, Charles E. Hill, Chris Tilling. The book was released the same day as Ehrman's, with Bird apparently being the main initiator of developing a response.
Bird, Lecturer in Theology at Ridley Melbourne College of Mission and Ministry and author of several theology titles, revealed that his team was "very graciously given the opportunity to read a pre-publication copy of Ehrman's book" and upon receipt immediately went to work.
Bird and company applaud Ehrman for his "challenging and thought-provoking book," yet remain unconvinced by his claims and conclusions.
"Bart Ehrman's book...has an number of perceptible strengths. Not only is it well-written and you'll learn a lot about ancient history and the early Church from it, but what I like the most is that Ehrman forces people to ask a very important question. Namely, who is Jesus?" says Bird in a video on How God Became Jesus.
Yet, the authors claim to "offer a better, historically informed account of why the Galilean preacher from Nazareth came to be hailed as 'the Lord Jesus Christ,'" according to a description of How God Became Jesus. They insist, contrary to Ehrman's findings, that "the exalted place of Jesus in belief and worship is clearly evident in the earliest Christian sources, shortly following his death, and was not simply the invention of the church centuries later."
Bird, in a submission made to The Christian Post, argues for "5 Lines of Evidence Missing from Ehrman's Latest Popular Study, How Jesus Became God." Read it here. Bird explains how he and his colleagues' challenges to Ehrman's work in the video below.
CLICK ABOVE LINK FOR THE VIDEOS
There’s just so much wrong I don’t even know where to begin...................
Ehrman is right about the late origin of trinitarian dogma, but due to his stance about the Christ’s resurrection and the fallibility of scripture, he won’t get far with believers.
We are seeing before our eyes a man who, like Esau, was pushed aside by God and denied the capacity to see truth. He likely is a very sincere man, but because God chose to marginalize him, he cannot believe. This is the seed that was cast along the side of the road.
So if he’s a former evangelical Christian then what is he now? An atheist?
This guys a blind and a fool (I don’t care if he’s a scholarly professor) who doesn’t look to the actual words of scripture. More Satanic deception trying to lure those who would be saved away from Christ.
Wonder if he ever read the parable of the seeds ...
Black Bart ping!
Figures NPR would use the season of Lent to denounce the divinity of Jesus.
Hyam Maccoby, “Revolution In Judaea: Jesus And The Jewish Resistance”
RE: So if hes a former evangelical Christian then what is he now? An atheist?
In an interview with Stephen Colbert, he calls himself agnostic.
To which Colbert responded: “That’s like an atheist without balls...” ( LAUGHTER FROM THE AUDIENCE)
See video here:
interesting this poor carpenter that never really did much and died at the age of 33 made such a ruckus that millions of people have given their lives for him.
RE: Figures NPR would use the season of Lent to denounce the divinity of Jesus.
With your tax dollars and mine of course...
I think he forgot about this:
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
Jehovah Witness New World Translation of the same:
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God,+ and the Word was a god”
The ACLU is absent from hollering about this taxpayer funded “violation of the separation of church and state”.
the belief wasnt common among Jesus Followers....at the time.
BIG WHOOP Dr Bart!
these cjildren irritate me!
I’ll begin right from the very start of his ministry work: Luke 4. Right after Jesus returns from the wilderness temptation experience, he goes home and does the following:
1. Goes to the synagogue
2. Reads from Isaiah 61 - a passage known to be about the Messiah.
3. Tells everyone present that the prophecy written there is being fulfilled as they are hearing his words (i.e., he declared himself).
Of course while the people are all murmuring to themselves (’what? This is Joseph’s son? What’s he talking about?’), Jesus then went on to really tick them off by referring to God’s grace being applied to foreigners through prophets (like himself). That moved his neighbors from ‘confused’ to ‘violent’ in a heartbeat.
And then he miraculously escapes the mob.
Yeah, he had no idea he was God. Sure.
I could go on and on - the answers to John the Baptist, the miracles, the silencing of the exorcised demons, the answers to Pilate, the resurrection of Lazurus. That’s just a few.
To ignore all of that after 8 years of supposed ‘research’ is effectively willful ignorance of the facts. You have to be actively seeking opinions from those whose opinions are opposed to the Biblical view to draw such a conclusion.
But we all knew that.
Actually, it's not even certain they had that. Much of the gospels seem to have been written after Paul's influence was widespread, and he's the only person historians seem certain was writing of his own experiences. The gospels were probably built on legends that may or may not originate with the apostles. Matthew, Mark, and Luke are remarkably similar. John is a little different.
Likewise, in Matthew 4.4, where Jesus quotes from Deuteronomy 8.3, it could be translated as "the mouth of a god," but I don't think anyone will try to claim that the author of Deuteronomy was a polytheist.
Jesus was God from the beginning he never “God”
I think I am right that 11 of 12 apostles (after Judas was replaced)lived lives of committed service and died the death of martyrs. That is a very telling statistic, far more meaningful than any amount of research. People just don’t give their lives away for a passing thought, movement or individual. They MUST have been motivated visceral belief in, and commitment to, something beyond a simple man.
My Bible said that if you seek after Christ, you will find him. I have plenty of reason to believe that is true. I doubt this guy was truly “seeking Christ”.
he was seeking... Notoriety..and a bit of wealth nod doubt
never “became God”
I really hate bad eyesight - i guess I should proofread
Some groups believe that Jesus was the ‘God’ of the Old Testament incarnate...............
I believe that the concept of the trinitarian dogma came from Athanasius
Before he was 20 years old, he wrote two treatises: “Against Pagans” and “The Incarnation” in which he argued that Jesus is God: “con-substantial and co-eternal with the Father ... as is the whole, so also is the part.” The Catholic Encyclopedia states that his two treatises “were admittedly written about 318 before Arianism as a movement had begun to be felt.”
In these two papers, Athanasius promoted Jesus past all the competition. He maintained that Jesus was not merely a man (because of his miracles); nor a prophet no matter how highly inspired. He was not a man who became a god, as Roman emperors were deified by vote of the Senate; nor a god who became a man, as Mithras was said to have done; nor a demigod like Hercules, the hybrid offspring of a god and a human mother; nor one of many gods, like Zeus; nor even the only-begotten, subordinate Son of the only God. None of these was sufficient. Athanasius said that Jesus was the “Artificer” who created all things in heaven and earth, the “re-creator” of human beings, and that while he was operating his human body, he was also operating and sustaining the rest of the universe as the Supreme Being. [Athanasius; Christian Classics Ethereal Library]
Athanasius apparently started with his conclusion, “Jesus is God,” and backed in all the arguments he could muster in support of that conclusion. The use of this rhetorical method is called sophistry. He justified his thesis in terms of its effect on believers: “Apart from belief in the Incarnation, we [they] cannot ultimately believe in Christ as Redeemer.”
And he used this in his battles against all other forms of Christian belief then existant until they were all declared as “Heresys” in 380 by Emperor Theodosius.
We can begin with the title being backwards. Anything after that is based on a false premise.
The doctors keep harping about the virtue of "low-sodium diets", but I will choose to take anything you have to say regarding Christianity with "a grain of salt".
Of course. You’ve been a Christian for 50 years. You really cannot question it now, I wouldn’t even advise it.
27Then He said to Thomas, "Reach here with your finger, and see My hands; and reach here your hand and put it into My side; and do not be unbelieving, but believing." 28Thomas answered and said to Him, "My Lord and my God!" 29Jesus said to him, "Because you have seen Me, have you believed? Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed." - John 20
Emperor Constantine’s Nicene council is usually pointed to as the source for the doctrine of the Trinity, with Athansius as the one who INFLUENCED him. Yet the Trinity was present in the church LONG before Constantine.
The term Trinitas was popularized by Tertullian almost 100 years before the Nicene council in his debate against Praxeas.
However, he was not the first to use the term, a man Theophilus Bishop of Antioch in 160 was the first to use the term (that we have in writing), many years before in his epistle to Autolycus The 2nd,xv.
We can assume it was used prior to Theophilus and was held as a common church belief with the many quotes that are left to us in history by the early church pastors. Athenagoras representing the whole Churches belief wrote, that, “they hold the Father to be God, and the Son God, and the Holy Spirit, and declare their union and their distinction in order.”(A plea for the Christians.10.3)
The term was used to simply describe the three that simultaneously exist as the one God. A man named Praxeas promoted what is called Monarchianism, which held a strict form of monotheistic progression. That the Father became the Son, and the Son became the Spirit. This is what is called modalism in it’s simplest form, What is better termed Oneness today. Despite the accusation’s of the Church inventing and promoting the Trinity. We find the Church in Rome and elsewhere falling prey to numerous heresies that they tried to keep out.
So, the Trinity did not depend on any council as it was used by Tertullian and others long before a council was called on doctrinal teaching.
25 The woman said, I know that Messiah (called Christ) is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us. 26 Then Jesus declared, I, the one speaking to youI am he.
A very gracious and lady-like response to my somewhat snide quip!
Sometime between the ages of 6 and ten, after either falling out of a tree or off of a wall, I concluded that the things I had been taught concerning gravity were true and relevant to my life. Therefore, I incorporated Gravity and its effects into all subsequent life calculations. This decision has served me well in the ensuing years.
In a similar vein, in 1968 as an enlisted Marine on my way to Vietnam, I thought, "I'm an enlisted infantry Marine on my way into combat carrying a field radio (read - Big Target). Time to questioned myself".
Do I really believe all that I have been taught regarding Life and Eternity?
Is the evidence comprehensive and has it been vetted by people of integrity whom I know & trust?
Have I seen, in my own life, both subjective and objective evidence that God does exist, that the historical claims of Jesus Christ are true and applicable to me.
My answers were, of course, "YES!"
The former Pharisee and Sanhedrin bounty hunter, Saul of Tarsus, later known as St. Paul, does an excellent summation with which I wholeheartedly agree.
"31 What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us allhow will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33 Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34 Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who diedmore than that, who was raised to lifeis at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 As it is written:
For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.
37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 8:31-39
You have identified yourself as an "atheist". If you were still at the "Agnostic" (from the Greek - ágnotos "not known") stage I would recommend to you:
I’ve never had that puzzlement.
So you have never wondered about passages where “God” (not “God the Father,” just “God” absolutely) is used in such a way as to leave Jesus outside the meaning of the term?
however, according to Tony Lane in his The Lion Concise Book of Christian Thought (Lion, Oxford, England, 1992 edition) :
Tertullian (160?-230?), who has been called the father of Latin theology, coined the terms later used to define the Incarnation and the Trinity. He wrote that God is one substance in three persons — Father, Son, and Holy Spirit — but he did not portray them as equal in precedence or power or esteem. Judged theologically, he was almost a Jew. [Lane]
Origen (185-254) has been called the greatest and most influential Christian teacher between Paul and Augustine. He described a three-level divine hierarchy in which the Father is greater than the Son, and the Son is greater than the Holy Spirit. He was not certain whether the Holy Spirit should be considered a person or a principle. At this time, many Christians believed as Origen did. [Lane]
Paul of Samosata, Bishop of Antioch 260-272, emphasized the sovereignty of God and the humanity of Christ. He said Jesus was a sinless man, uniquely united with God in will and purpose. By his perfect obedience despite his temptations, struggles and suffering, Jesus overcame the sin of Adam and grew in intimacy with God. This doctrine of “Low Christology” was condemned by a local synod. However, the same synod also rejected use of the term homo-ousios (of the same substance) in reference to the relationship of God and Christ. [Lane]
Thus there was not the trinity as postulated by Athanasius before he went on his nearly 40 year crusade to make his concept of the Trinity as the sole doctrine of the Christian Church.
However,According to The Encyclopedia of Religion, Mircea Eliade, Trinity, Vol 15, p53-57
In the immediate post New Testament period of the Apostolic Fathers no attempt was made to work out the God-Christ (Father-Son) relationship in ontological terms. By the end of the fourth century, and owing mainly to the challenge posed by various heresies, theologians went beyond the immediate testimony of the Bible and also beyond liturgical and creedal expressions of trinitarian faith to the ontological trinity of coequal persons “within” God.
The shift is from function to ontology, from the “economic trinity” (Father, Son, and Spirit in relation to us) to the “immanent” or “essential Trinity” (Father, Son, and Spirit in relation to each other).
It was prompted chiefly by belief in the divinity of Christ and later in the divinity of the Holy Spirit, but even EARLIER by the CONSISTENT WORSHIP of God in a trinitarian pattern and the practice of baptism into the threefold name of God.
By the close of the fourth century the orthodox teaching was in place: God is one nature, three persons (mia ousia, treis hupostaseis).
So, the trinity was NOT A LATER INNOVATION.
The doctrine of the Trinity developed from IMPLICIT to EXPLICIT form in the early centuries of the church and was not invented at Nicaea. The early church believed the doctrine in its general form based on the revelation of Scripture.
The foundation of the early doctrine of the Trinity was the baptismal formula and the doxologies in the Epistles along with the Logos-doctrine of John. The earliest confessions professed Jesus to be God. Peter exclaimed, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16), and the eunuch whom Phillip baptized confessed his belief,: “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God” (Acts 8:37). Admission to the church was connected with belief in the doctrine of the Trinity as evidenced by the early baptismal formula that was used in accordance with the command of Jesus in Matthew 28:19. The doctrine of the Trinity was essential from the beginning of the Christian Church.
The earliest of the formal creeds, The Apostles Creed, have the Trinitarian elements that would be developed later. However, there was no need for a technical definition of the Trinity during the first two-and-a-half centuries until heresies arose challenging Jesus’ divinity. Shedd says that belief in the Trinity started not so much with three Persons as the deity of the Son. It is indisputable that they [the early church] worshipped Jesus. They emphasized the deity of Jesus as much or more than the Father in the early church. The incarnation is the great dogmatic idea of the first Christian centuries and shapes the whole thinking and experience of the church.” The person of Christ was the catalyst for the Trinitarian debate. Consequently, the person of Christ would follow quickly after the Trinity as needing more precise expression, which the early church was fully equipped to do with their theological and philosophical skills.
The Apostles’ Creed was used by the early church from the second century and was probably condensed from the Apostles’ writings. The creed is very clear and concise concerning the essential doctrines of Christianity. It teaches the existence of God as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The biblical language of the Apostles’ Creed was sufficient for the time; there was no need for exact and rigorous Trinitarian distinctions until heresies arose.
The Apostolic Fathers freely applied the term God to Jesus in the strict sense of divine substance. They admitted to only one divine substance and confined worship to the one true God, yet worshipped the Son. They attributed the properties of the divine essence to the Son.
Fortunately or unfortunately, some of the “heresies” such at what was labeled “Arianism” became heresy because Athanasius lead the assault against it. the “Goths” who took Rome were actually Arian Christians.
RE: some of the heresies such at what was labeled Arianism became heresy because Athanasius lead the assault against it.
Whether or not Athanasius led them or not, Arianism is INHERENTLY a heresy because it held an UNSCRIPTURAL view of the nature of Jesus Christ. In this case, His diety.
Athanasius might have led the assault, but even if there were no Athanasius, others would have led the charge.
Eusebius of Caesarea would have been one of them. Eusebius was a participant in the Council of Nicea. His conclusion was that the Council merely AFFIRMED what the Church had ALWAYS believed and taught about Jesus divinity.
For one who lives entirely in a two dimensional world the concept of a cube would be totally mysterious. All they could ever see would be either a line or a square. Just because only one side is perceived, does not mean the other sides do not exist.