Skip to comments.New Takes on a Pirate -- and Jesus [Talk Like A Pirate Day]
Posted on 09/19/2012 11:34:56 AM PDT by Alex Murphy
What does North Carolina coastal historian Kevin Dufuss have in common with New Testament scholar Bart Ehrman?
If you asked them, each might tell you he is a truthseeker about a man whose life is shrouded in myth.
In his new book, Dufuss challenges some fundamental beliefs about the pirate who was killed in the waters off Ocracoke Island on Nov. 22, 1718.
Meanwhile, in a series of best-selling books, Ehrman, a professor of religious studies at UNC-Chapel Hill, has challenged the fundamental beliefs of many Christians about Jesus of Nazareth.
Dufuss, originally looking to find out more about the pirate whose exploits and life and death are an important part of North Carolina lore, found that much of which we know about Blackbeard (he spells it Black Beard in his book, The Last Days of Black Beard) has factual basis.
The Black Beard I have come to know through my research turned out to be entirely unlike the historical figure so familiar to the world, he writes at the end of the book. My newly perceived image of the authentic pirate captain is nothing like the man celebrated by amusement parks, marinas, restaurants, taverns and inns and nothing like the bearded pirate captains portrayed in cinema and cable TV docudramas.
He was not the bloodthirsty murderer, despicable slitter of throats or strangler of women as he has been so often described. He was certainly not one of the most grotesquely conspicuous villains in the annals of crime. And he was far from the richest, boldest, most ruthless corsair of all the marooning freebooters in the history of piratedom.
In fact, the pirate Black Beard, manufactured by a procession of authors, historians and folklorists, never really existed. The Edward Teach of popular culture, revered today by pirate enthusiasts, is an imposter, a historical hoax.
Dufuss says there is no record of Teach even killing another person until the 1718 naval battle when the pirate himself perished. And the story about his headless body swimming around the victors ship is a myth.
Whatever his name, wherever he came from, and whatever happened to his treasure, if there was any, Dufuss asserts that the real Black Beard is a historical figure whose life has much to teach us about the early times of our state.
Ehrman is a former evangelical Christian whose study of the Scriptures and religious history convinced him that Jesus was not divine. But unlike some other former believers, Ehrman is sure that Jesus existed. His new book answers those who assert that Jesus was not a real historical figure, that he was simply a myth. In the introduction to his new book, Ehrman writes that he wants to show how we know that Jesus did exist.
Ehrman says he has no vested interest in the matter since, he writes, I am not a Christian, and I have no interest in promoting a Christian cause or a Christian agenda.
Ehrman continues, [F]or anyone to whom both evidence and the past matter, a dispassionate consideration of the case makes it quite plain: Jesus did exist.
He may not have been the Jesus that your mother believes in or the Jesus of the stained-glass window or the Jesus of your least favorite televangelist or the Jesus proclaimed by the Vatican, the Southern Baptist Convention, the local megachurch, or the California Gnostic.
But he did exist, and we can say a few things, with relative certainty about him.
Ehrman describes a Jesus who was a persuasive preacher of an apocalyptic gospel of repentance and preparation for a coming kingdom of God.
Dufuss and Ehrman may make us uncomfortable with our beliefs about important matters. While their challenges might make us uncomfortable they can also lead us to a richer understanding of what we believe.
....Ehrman is a former evangelical Christian whose study of the Scriptures and religious history convinced him that Jesus was not divine. But unlike some other former believers, Ehrman is sure that Jesus existed. His new book answers those who assert that Jesus was not a real historical figure, that he was simply a myth. In the introduction to his new book, Ehrman writes that he wants to show how we know that Jesus did exist....Ehrman describes a Jesus who was a persuasive preacher of an apocalyptic gospel of repentance and preparation for a coming kingdom of God.
Ehrmann is a Dufuss
“And the story about his headless body swimming around the victors ship is a myth.”
No way.... it sounded so realistic!
Helen Thomas was there on Nov 22, 1718 and swears it happened...
If my last name was “Dufuss” I would change it.
It’s true because the head was singing, “I Ain’t Got No Body”.
Rats! You beat me to it. Perhaps both Ehrman and Dufuss are dufusses.
So Blackbeard didn’t casually shoot Israel Hands under the table to make certain his crew did not forget who he was?
Sorry, the fact that there no record of him killing anybody doesn’t mean nobody was killed.
And, no matter what else, he was a thief, kidnapper, and extortionist. THAT is on record.
I’m always very leery about “professors of religious studies”. It seems almost every one of them chose that field of study to deliberately tear down religion, specifically Christianity.
Hehe. You a Dr. John fan or did you hear that one somewhere else?
A pre WWI song I once heard Louis Armstrong sing. Who is Dr. John? I’ve heard of Dr. Phil but he’s probably as bad a singer as a doctor.
Dr John is a piano player and songwriter from New Orleans. Had a hit back in the 70s with “Right Place, Wrong Time”, but he has been writing, producing, and playing with just about everybody in blues and rock ‘n roll for 50 years or so.
I heard that line in a song he did, called “How Come My Dog Don’t Bark When You Come Around?”, but he covers a lot of old blues and jazz songs, so he probably got it from Louis.
Oh, I mean the line in that song was actually about a decapitated head singing “I ain’t got no body”, which I just realized is the Louis Armstrong song you were talking about. Duh.
Anyways, I thought maybe you heard the Dr John song where he made the same joke.
They don't make me uncomfortable. Ehrman is the one who should be feeling discomfort because, though he knows factually that Jesus really existed WHEN he was said to be here, he must simply deal with the other fact that Jesus did and said many things that proved his divinity. Ehrman also must decide whether Jesus was who he claimed to be. If he wasn't, then he was not just merely a "persuasive preacher" but a madman who was directly responsible for the martyrdom of hundreds of thousands of followers who believed him and who chose death before renouncing their faith.
Ehrman must also address the resurrection - the central confirmation of deity in the life of Jesus that, if it had not occurred, there is no other logical explanation for it to continue to remain the universally held belief nearly two thousand years later. Something happened that first Sunday morning after Passover that defies any scientific explanation. Dozens of theories have been imagined by scoffers, but NONE have withstood unbiased scrutiny.
It boils down to what do you do with Jesus? You can be like Pilate, who washed his hands in a vain symbol of disinterest or be like the Apostles, who, after seeing the empty tomb and the risen Jesus along with the others, went on to found the Christian faith willing to stare down lions, torturers, kings and princes, slander, poverty and even death rather than deny what they KNEW was the truth - that Jesus Christ IS who He claimed to be - Almighty God in the flesh. Either you ignore the truth and pretend it isn't or you fall at the feet of Jesus and proclaim, "My Lord and my God!". There IS no middle ground. It's too bad that so many smart people forget that without FAITH it is impossible to please God. Believing is seeing. Hopefully Ehrman comes to his senses.