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Author Topic:   Did Jesus Exist? by Bart Ehrman
Wounded King
Member (Idle past 374 days)
Posts: 4149
From: Edinburgh, Scotland
Joined: 04-09-2003


(2)
Message 31 of 68 (658550)
04-06-2012 4:35 AM
Reply to: Message 28 by Jon
04-05-2012 10:23 PM


Re: Less than Impressed
I think the point Carrier makes is quite clear, he thinks the article is bad and goes into some detail why, it may be that the book is great but there was no way to tell that from the article.

You can't keep criticising Carrier for not addressing a book which was only published the same day the article came out when he addressed the article the day after. Unsurprisingly it takes longer to read a whole book than to read an article.

If Ehrman decided to lobotomise his thesis so much in the article that it was essentially inchoherent without reading the book as well, which seems to be what you are saying, then Carrier is right to characterise it as a bad article.

there are far too many people talking about Ehrman's arguments without ever having actually read them.

Then perhaps the blame lies with Ehrman for publishing an article as a way of advertising his book which represented his ideas in a very incomplete and unclear manner. If the article doesn't make arguments that stand on their own merits within the article then it is a bad article. If Ehrman uses terms which he intends to have a specific technical interpretation, such as 'Roman sources' meaning specific official documentation, without specifying that meaning within the article then he is to blame for failing to make the distinction.

If the article doesn't stand up on its own then it is a bad article, which is what Carrier said.

But you wouldn't know that by reading Carrier's review, which reads as though he is arguing against everything Ehrman has ever said.

Seriously?

Carrier writes:

I am puzzled especially because this HuffPo article as written makes several glaring errors and rhetorical howlers that I cannot believe any competent scholar would have written. Surely he is more careful and qualified in the book? I really hope so. Because I was expecting it to be the best case for historicism in print. But if its going to be like this article, its going to be the worst piece of scholarship ever written. So stay tuned for my future review of his book. For now, I will address this brief article, not knowing how his book might yet rescue him from an epic fail.

...

Im told Ehrman might make a cleaner distinction between quality and crank mythicism in his book. But many more people will read this article than his book. Its therefore irresponsible of him to cast this nuance to the wind.

...

When I receive his book in a few days Ill be able to check. Possibly he does a much better job there, and gets his facts right. Well see. But for now, I have to address this article

I can only presume Ehrman builds some sort of argument against my case in his book

I think if you actually read Carrier's post then it would be pretty clear that he is only addressing the abridged arguments that Ehrman put forward in his article. He can't know the extent to which they have been abridged without reading the book and the choices in how they have been abridged are all Ehrman's.

Perhaps Ehrman should have just bought himself some more advertising instead of putting a Hollywood trailer version of his book up on HuffPo.

Is Carrier attacking a strawman version of Ehrman's arguments? Maybe, but is a strawman that Ehrman constructed himself and posted on a high profile site.

TTFN,

WK


This message is a reply to:
 Message 28 by Jon, posted 04-05-2012 10:23 PM Jon has responded

Replies to this message:
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crashfrog
Inactive Member


(1)
Message 32 of 68 (658552)
04-06-2012 7:46 AM
Reply to: Message 28 by Jon
04-05-2012 10:23 PM


Re: Less than Impressed
But you don't have to use a 'hair-splitting narrow definition'.

Then Ehrman should explain why he feels the need to use one.

But you must then also admit that Ehrman is fully aware of and cites those other sources.

The amazing thing is - no, he doesn't:

quote:
With respect to Jesus, we have numerous, independent accounts of his life in the sources lying behind the Gospels (and the writings of Paul) sources that originated in Jesus native tongue Aramaic and that can be dated to within just a year or two of his life (before the religion moved to convert pagans in droves). Historical sources like that are pretty astounding for an ancient figure of any kind.

Really? We have them? Ehrman has a copy of the Q source! Funny, then, that he's opted not to share this incredible, groundbreaking archaeological discovery with anybody else. Carrier writes:

quote:
He actually says we have such sources. We do not. That is simply a plain, straight-up falsehood. I can only suppose he means Q or some hypothesized sources behind the creedal statements in Paul or the sermons in Acts, but none of those sources exist, and are purely hypothetical. In fact, barely more than conjectural. There is serious debate in the academic community as to whether Q even existed; and even among those who believe it did, there is serious debate about whether it comes from Aramaic or in fact Greek sources or whether its one source or several or whether it even goes back to Jesus at all.

Just like a historicist - talking about evidence without actually showing it. Even the esteemed Bart Erhman is not immune to the bizarre evidence lacuna that seems to infect all Jesus historicists.

Ehrman says that since we don't have certain kinds of evidence for Pilate, it is silly to expect that same kind of evidence for a man like Jesus.

Right, and by successive iterations of this argument, you can escape the burden of proof to supply any evidence for the existence of Jesus: We don't have any of evidence-type A for Pilate, thus we cannot expect it for Jesus; we don't have any of evidence-type B for Socrates, thus we cannot expect it for Jesus; we don't have any of evidence-type C for Caesar, thus we cannot expect it for Jesus. Repeat until you've covered all types of evidence, and you've created an argument that you can expect people to accept the historical existence of Jesus on the basis of absolutely no evidence at all.

Again, mythicists are not asking for "certain kinds of evidence" for the existence of Jesus; we're asking for any kind of evidence for the existence of Jesus. Ehrman is just engaged in the usual historicist pastime of logic-chopping his way out of the obligation to provide evidence to establish historical existence.

Yet he responds to that blog by claiming that anything Ehrman didn't mention in it is clearly something Ehrman did not know.

A falsehood, Jon. Ehrman is not being attacked for what he didn't say, but for what he did say.

But you wouldn't know that by reading Carrier's review, which reads as though he is arguing against everything Ehrman has ever said.

Another falsehood. There is not even a single place in this post that reads like it's a sweeping indictment of all of Ehrman's work. It's pretty clearly narrowly focused as a response to Erhman's provocative, needlessly-antagonistic and arrogant article on the HuffPo.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 28 by Jon, posted 04-05-2012 10:23 PM Jon has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 34 by Jon, posted 04-06-2012 10:46 AM crashfrog has responded

  
Jon
Member
Posts: 3927
From: Minnesota, U.S.A.
Joined: 12-29-2005
Member Rating: 2.7


Message 33 of 68 (658559)
04-06-2012 10:34 AM
Reply to: Message 31 by Wounded King
04-06-2012 4:35 AM


Re: Less than Impressed
If Ehrman decided to lobotomise his thesis so much in the article that it was essentially inchoherent without reading the book as well, which seems to be what you are saying, then Carrier is right to characterise it as a bad article.

And I agree with that. The article isn't very good; as I've mentioned before, Ehrman has a problem driving arguments home.

My main point, however, was that Carrier was being dishonest to claim that Ehrman didn't know about Philo of Alexandria simply because he didn't mention him in a short article that Carrier admits did not represent the entirety of Ehrman's position. In addition, I was attempting to show that Carrier's claim that Ehrman didn't know about Philo's mention of Pilate was 100% false, as evidenced by Ehrman's mention of it in his book. Since Theo had sad he would not be reading the book based on that review, I felt it necessary to show how that review does not capture the true nature of the arguments used in the book.

Then perhaps the blame lies with Ehrman for publishing an article as a way of advertising his book which represented his ideas in a very incomplete and unclear manner. If the article doesn't make arguments that stand on their own merits within the article then it is a bad article.

Perhaps. But the article has the same title as his book and deals with the same issue. It's pretty clear to anyone that the article is a summary of the arguments found in the book. And summaries are not expected to stand on their own merits... or even to stand at all. They are meant only to give a rough idea of the material in the larger work so that people can decide whether to read that larger work and then address the arguments made there. This summary is like an abstract for the book; and basing your opinion of what someone knows about a certain issue on a reading of an abstract is a pretty unscholarly thing to do.

If the article doesn't stand up on its own then it is a bad article, which is what Carrier said.

Only if it's meant to stand on its own. If it's just a book advertisement (which is all it is), then we don't need it to stand for nothing.

I think if you actually read Carrier's post then it would be pretty clear that he is only addressing the abridged arguments that Ehrman put forward in his article. He can't know the extent to which they have been abridged without reading the book and the choices in how they have been abridged are all Ehrman's.

Which I have said. Carrier knows full well that the article doesn't represent all of Ehrman's position. Yet he draws conclusions about Ehrman as though it does, for example, declaring Ehrman ignorant of something just because it wasn't mentioned in his admittedly 'abridged' article. Carrier needs to be careful not to draw hasty conclusions about what someone knows after reading only a short article on their position.

The 'wait-and-see' approach would have been his friend.

Is Carrier attacking a strawman version of Ehrman's arguments? Maybe, but is a strawman that Ehrman constructed himself and posted on a high profile site.

But it's not a strawman, because Ehrman never claims it to represent his entire argument. I am not sure how any honest person could see Ehrman's article as anything other than a short advertisement for his book. Anyone who assumed it might represent everything Ehrman knew about the historical Jesus is just plain stupid.

Jon


Love your enemies!

This message is a reply to:
 Message 31 by Wounded King, posted 04-06-2012 4:35 AM Wounded King has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
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Jon
Member
Posts: 3927
From: Minnesota, U.S.A.
Joined: 12-29-2005
Member Rating: 2.7


Message 34 of 68 (658560)
04-06-2012 10:46 AM
Reply to: Message 32 by crashfrog
04-06-2012 7:46 AM


Re: Less than Impressed
The issue of Carrier's blog is getting old, so this will be my last response to it. It's not overly important what Carrier thinks since we all need to judge the book on its own.

Yet he responds to that blog by claiming that anything Ehrman didn't mention in it is clearly something Ehrman did not know.

A falsehood, Jon. Ehrman is not being attacked for what he didn't say, but for what he did say.

Of course he's being attacked for what he didn't say. He's being attacked for not mentioning Philo of Alexandria. Did you read even the quote of Carrier's blog that Theo posted? Carrier's criticism of Ehrman is specifically directed toward the things he didn't mention in his article about his book.

But you must then also admit that Ehrman is fully aware of and cites those other sources.

The amazing thing is - no, he doesn't:

The 'sources' in question that Carrier belittles Ehrman for not mentioning relate to Pontius Pilate; not Jesus.

Ehrman says that since we don't have certain kinds of evidence for Pilate, it is silly to expect that same kind of evidence for a man like Jesus.

Right, and by successive iterations of this argument, you can escape the burden of proof to supply any evidence for the existence of Jesus: We don't have any of evidence-type A for Pilate, thus we cannot expect it for Jesus; we don't have any of evidence-type B for Socrates, thus we cannot expect it for Jesus; we don't have any of evidence-type C for Caesar, thus we cannot expect it for Jesus. Repeat until you've covered all types of evidence, and you've created an argument that you can expect people to accept the historical existence of Jesus on the basis of absolutely no evidence at all.

Ehrman doesn't make this argument at all since he is only concerned with the historicity of figures in first-century Palestine. Please, try to read Ehrman's arguments before caricaturing them so.

Just like a historicist - talking about evidence without actually showing it. Even the esteemed Bart Erhman is not immune to the bizarre evidence lacuna that seems to infect all Jesus historicists.

I can only recommend that you read the book to get a complete pic of Ehrman's argument. It is quite impossible to address every criticism against his position without essentially retyping the entire book and posting it on the forum here. What I can say is that the same textual criticism methods that Mythicists employ when declaring anything that mentions an historical Jesus an 'interpolation' are the methods Ehrman uses to reconstruct various source materials within larger documents. If this is problematic, then the methodologies of both historicists and Mythicists need to be seriously reevaluated.

Jon


Love your enemies!

This message is a reply to:
 Message 32 by crashfrog, posted 04-06-2012 7:46 AM crashfrog has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 35 by crashfrog, posted 04-06-2012 11:18 AM Jon has responded

  
crashfrog
Inactive Member


Message 35 of 68 (658569)
04-06-2012 11:18 AM
Reply to: Message 34 by Jon
04-06-2012 10:46 AM


Re: Less than Impressed
The issue of Carrier's blog is getting old, so this will be my last response to it.

As you wish, but if you're going to keep saying things that are false, I'm going to keep replying.

Of course he's being attacked for what he didn't say. He's being attacked for not mentioning Philo of Alexandria.

No, he's being attacked by Carrier for his direct statement that Pilate is not mentioned in any Roman sources of his day. That's what he did say.

But that's 100% wrong. Pilate is mentioned in Roman sources - via Philo of Alexandria, who was most likely a Roman citizen. And sure, Erhman doesn't pretend that Philo of Alexandria doesn't exist in his book; the problem is that he does seem to pretend he doesn't exist in his article. And it's the article that Carrier is replying to.

If you say one thing in one place and another thing in another place, it's not being disingenuous to point out that you're talking out of both sides of your mouth. If Erhman doesn't want to be accused of not being aware that Philo of Alexandria, a contemporary Roman, refers to the service of Pilate in Judea, then he should not write articles on HuffPo that appear to be ignorant of Philo of Alexandra.

The 'sources' in question that Carrier belittles Ehrman for not mentioning relate to Pontius Pilate; not Jesus.

And it's those exact sources that are completely elided in the HuffPo article. The fact that they appear in Ehrman's book is immaterial to the fact that they are specifically omitted in Ehrman's article.

Carrier is criticizing the article, not the book. That should not be surprising since the book had not been released when Carrier read the article.

Ehrman doesn't make this argument at all since he is only concerned with the historicity of figures in first-century Palestine.

He's making the argument about figures in first-century Palestine, then. It doesn't make it a valid argument. Mythists are not asking for specific types of evidence for Jesus - they're asking for all evidence of Jesus.

What I can say is that the same textual criticism methods that Mythicists employ when declaring anything that mentions an historical Jesus an 'interpolation' are the methods Ehrman uses to reconstruct various source materials within larger documents.

I'm sorry but in addition to being incomprehensible, this statement bears no relationship to the mythicist position. Mythicsts aren't using "textual criticism methods", they're using evidence methods.

If this is problematic, then the methodologies of both historicists and Mythicists need to be seriously reevaluated.

I think Carrier has a book on that.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 34 by Jon, posted 04-06-2012 10:46 AM Jon has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 39 by Jon, posted 04-06-2012 3:17 PM crashfrog has responded

  
Theodoric
Member
Posts: 4412
From: Northwest, WI, USA
Joined: 08-15-2005
Member Rating: 4.6


Message 36 of 68 (658570)
04-06-2012 11:20 AM
Reply to: Message 33 by Jon
04-06-2012 10:34 AM


Actually read what Carrier wrote
If it's just a book advertisement (which is all it is), then we don't need it to stand for nothing.

Bullshit
My main point, however, was that Carrier was being dishonest to claim that Ehrman didn't know about Philo of Alexandria simply because he didn't mention him in a short article that Carrier admits did not represent the entirety of Ehrman's position. In addition, I was attempting to show that Carrier's claim that Ehrman didn't know about Philo's mention of Pilate was 100% false, as evidenced by Ehrman's mention of it in his book. Since Theo had sad he would not be reading the book based on that review, I felt it necessary to show how that review does not capture the true nature of the arguments used in the book....

But the article has the same title as his book and deals with the same issue. It's pretty clear to anyone that the article is a summary of the arguments found in the book. And summaries are not expected to stand on their own merits... or even to stand at all. They are meant only to give a rough idea of the material in the larger work so that people can decide whether to read that larger work and then address the arguments made there. This summary is like an abstract for the book; and basing your opinion of what someone knows about a certain issue on a reading of an abstract is a pretty unscholarly thing to do.

Freaking Wow!!! Now you claim Carrier is unscholarly. Maybe you need to read carrier he addresses everything you state here quite clearly.

quote:
McGrath just cant bring himself to admit that Ehrman so badly miswrote that he stated in a public article that will be read by millions of people a factually false claim. I agree that is not a lie or evidence of ignorance. Its just terrible, terrible, terrible writing. Which is just as incompetent, just as careless, and just as warranting a correction.

Source

Care to address the whole brother of Jesus issue?


Facts don't lie or have an agenda. Facts are just facts

This message is a reply to:
 Message 33 by Jon, posted 04-06-2012 10:34 AM Jon has not yet responded

    
crashfrog
Inactive Member


Message 37 of 68 (658571)
04-06-2012 11:21 AM
Reply to: Message 33 by Jon
04-06-2012 10:34 AM


Re: Less than Impressed
My main point, however, was that Carrier was being dishonest to claim that Ehrman didn't know about Philo of Alexandria simply because he didn't mention him in a short article that Carrier admits did not represent the entirety of Ehrman's position.

But he doesn't claim that Erhman doesn't know about Philo of Alexandra:

quote:
Forgetting (or not knowing?) that Philo attests to Pilates service in Judea is a serious error for Ehrman and his argument, because the absence of any mention of Jesus or Christianity in Philo is indeed very odd.

This is clearly nothing but a turn of phrase meant to refer to the curious absence of Philo in Ehrman's post. The fact that Philo appears in Ehrman's book is, again, immaterial; the book was not available to Carrier when he responded to Ehrman's post. And it is Ehrman, not Carrier, who bears the responsibility not to make arguments contradicted by his own books.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 33 by Jon, posted 04-06-2012 10:34 AM Jon has not yet responded

  
Theodoric
Member
Posts: 4412
From: Northwest, WI, USA
Joined: 08-15-2005
Member Rating: 4.6


Message 38 of 68 (658580)
04-06-2012 2:52 PM


Read this nonsense?
Jon seems to want to make a big to do because I haven't read this book.

I was planning on reading it and was looking forward to reading it. I have read Ehrman's other books. I have found some fault with his other books but on the whole thought they were well written well reasoned books geared toward the mas market.

Ehrman seems to be quite good at the textual criticism and makes some remarkable observations. His weakness has been in the past and now been in the hard historical aspects.

Here is the key line in his Huffpost article(advertisement according to Jon) that made me deicide it was crap and not worth reading.

quote:
With respect to Jesus, we have numerous, independent accounts of his life in the sources lying behind the Gospels (and the writings of Paul) -- sources that originated in Jesus' native tongue Aramaic and that can be dated to within just a year or two of his life (before the religion moved to convert pagans in droves). Historical sources like that are is pretty astounding for an ancient figure of any kind. Moreover, we have relatively extensive writings from one first-century author, Paul, who acquired his information within a couple of years of Jesus' life and who actually knew, first hand, Jesus' closest disciple Peter and his own brother James. If Jesus did not exist, you would think his brother would know it.

This is all crap.

quote:
sources that originated in Jesus' native tongue Aramaic and that can be dated to within just a year or two of his life

Really? He would be lauded the world over if he could produce them. Oh he is talking about Q? Q is a hypothetical source. There is no evidence it actually existed, or that it was one thing or when it originated. It is a hypothesis. There is nothing to look at to see if it was in Aramaic or tell when it originated. This is so deceptive it is either incompetence or out and out lying. Ehrman knows his mass market readers do not understand that Q is not a real document but he poses it as such.

quote:
and his own brother James. If Jesus did not exist, you would think his brother would know it.

You ready do discuss this howler Jon? Even if the writings did mean an actual blood brother, this is not evidence. It is hearsay at best.
I will let the experts address that issue.
Read Carrier it is a bit complex but I think you can follow.

Also Doherty examines it in his book.
Jesus: Neither God Nor Man
pp 60-63

Here is Robert Price addressing the issue.

This is thin gruel to build a book upon.

Edited by Theodoric, : No reason given.


Facts don't lie or have an agenda. Facts are just facts

Replies to this message:
 Message 41 by Jon, posted 04-06-2012 5:01 PM Theodoric has responded

    
Jon
Member
Posts: 3927
From: Minnesota, U.S.A.
Joined: 12-29-2005
Member Rating: 2.7


Message 39 of 68 (658581)
04-06-2012 3:17 PM
Reply to: Message 35 by crashfrog
04-06-2012 11:18 AM


Re: Less than Impressed
I'm sorry but in addition to being incomprehensible, this statement bears no relationship to the mythicist position. Mythicsts aren't using "textual criticism methods", they're using evidence methods.

Mythicists most certainly make use of textual criticism methods when concluding, for example, that the passages of 1 Cor. dealing with Jesus' death and resurrection are interpolations and not original to the work of Paul.

Mythists are not asking for specific types of evidence for Jesus - they're asking for all evidence of Jesus.

And in his book, Ehrman addresses all the evidenceone type at a time.

Do not think Ehrman's entire argument rests on the lack of official Roman records for the existence of Pontius Pilate.

The fact that they appear in Ehrman's book is immaterial to the fact that they are specifically omitted in Ehrman's article.

But it's not immaterial to the issue of whether or not Ehrman was aware of them; which is precisely the point Carrier makes against himthat he didn't know of these other sources. It's very clear that Ehrman is aware of them. Carrier needs to base his opinion of what Ehrman knows on more than one article.


Love your enemies!

This message is a reply to:
 Message 35 by crashfrog, posted 04-06-2012 11:18 AM crashfrog has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 40 by crashfrog, posted 04-06-2012 3:33 PM Jon has responded

  
crashfrog
Inactive Member


(1)
Message 40 of 68 (658582)
04-06-2012 3:33 PM
Reply to: Message 39 by Jon
04-06-2012 3:17 PM


Re: Less than Impressed
Mythicists most certainly make use of textual criticism methods when concluding, for example, that the passages of 1 Cor. dealing with Jesus' death and resurrection are interpolations and not original to the work of Paul.

Some mythicists may do that, but only, I imagine, in response to a claim by historicists that 1 Corinthians somehow represents evidence for the historical existence of Jesus.

Do not think Ehrman's entire argument rests on the lack of official Roman records for the existence of Pontius Pilate.

I don't think that it does. But again, you can't make the circular argument that evidence of type A wasn't necessary to establish the existence of Figure 1, and therefore isn't necessary for Jesus; evidence of type B wasn't necessary for Figure 2, and therefore isn't necessary for Jesus; and so on and on until you've obviated the need for all types of evidence to establish the existence of Jesus.

It doesn't work like that. You need evidence to establish the existence of a historical Jesus. It's precisely that evidence which, if it existed, would preclude Ehrman from making up evidence from whole cloth as he does when he falsely claimed:

quote:
With respect to Jesus, we have numerous, independent accounts of his life in the sources lying behind the Gospels (and the writings of Paul) -- sources that originated in Jesus' native tongue Aramaic and that can be dated to within just a year or two of his life (before the religion moved to convert pagans in droves).

If that were really true, it would settle the debate. The problem is that it isn't true; Ehrman is talking about sources - the Q source - that is essentially defined by the fact that we don't have it; some historians assume that it existed at one time. But evidence you don't have isn't very compelling; the reason you don't have it, after all, may be that it never existed.

But it's not immaterial to the issue of whether or not Ehrman was aware of them; which is precisely the point Carrier makes against him

No, the point Carrier is making against Ehrman is that he wrote an article for the HuffPo as though he had no knowledge of Philo of Alexandria. And it's a fair cop. If Ehrman wants to avoid being accused of ignorance of something so basic, he shouldn't write articles on the HuffPo with such glaring errors and then demand the benefit of the doubt based on books that hadn't been released, yet. Your defense that Ehrman can't possibly not know about Philo of Alexandria because he mentions it in his book is completely irrelevant - if he knew about Philo of Alexandria, then why did he say that no Roman sources mentioned Pilate's service in Judea? The fact that Philo is mentioned in his book only compounds the error - ignorance, at least, would have been an excuse. With abundant proof that Ehrman's omission of Philo was deliberate, one can only conclude that it was an attempt to mislead.

Edited by crashfrog, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 39 by Jon, posted 04-06-2012 3:17 PM Jon has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 42 by Jon, posted 04-06-2012 5:05 PM crashfrog has responded

  
Jon
Member
Posts: 3927
From: Minnesota, U.S.A.
Joined: 12-29-2005
Member Rating: 2.7


Message 41 of 68 (658585)
04-06-2012 5:01 PM
Reply to: Message 38 by Theodoric
04-06-2012 2:52 PM


Re: Read this nonsense?
Here is the key line in his Huffpost article(advertisement according to Jon) that made me deicide it was crap and not worth reading.

quote:
With respect to Jesus, we have numerous, independent accounts of his life in the sources lying behind the Gospels (and the writings of Paul) -- sources that originated in Jesus' native tongue Aramaic and that can be dated to within just a year or two of his life (before the religion moved to convert pagans in droves). Historical sources like that are is pretty astounding for an ancient figure of any kind. Moreover, we have relatively extensive writings from one first-century author, Paul, who acquired his information within a couple of years of Jesus' life and who actually knew, first hand, Jesus' closest disciple Peter and his own brother James. If Jesus did not exist, you would think his brother would know it.

This is all crap.

Ehrman puts way too much weight on the gospels and the 'reconstructed' sources behind them. His arguments aren't always very sound, either. For example, his mention of Paul that you quote above is based on a somewhat circular reconstruction of Paul's activities based on his letters and a traditional date for the death of Jesus.

quote:
Ehrman in Did Jesus Exist? (2012):

Since Paul sometimes provides a time frame ("three years later" or "after fifteen years"), it is possible to put together a rough chronology of Paul's life. To give us a rock-solid start, we can say that Paul must have been converted sometime after the death of Jesus around 30 ce and sometime before 40 ce. The latter date is based on the fact that in 2 Corinthians 11:32 Paul indicates that King Aretas of the Nabateans was determined to prosecute Paul for being a Christian. Aretas died around the year 40. So Paul converted sometime in the 30s ce . When scholars crunch all the numbers that Paul mentions, it appears that he must have converted early in the 30s, say, the year 32 or 33, just two or three years after the death of Jesus.  (p. 131)


How has the date of Jesus' death been established? The larger argument being made is for the existence of an historical Jesus. How can we be asserting things about his life as though they were facts when it is precisely his life that is in question?

There is nothing to look at to see if it was in Aramaic or tell when it originated. This is so deceptive it is either incompetence or out and out lying. Ehrman knows his mass market readers do not understand that Q is not a real document but he poses it as such.

There is Q material (the text Matthew and Luke have in common against Mark), and Ehrman makes a couple of interesting arguments for supposing some of the Gospel material to have originally been Aramaic. About a story in Mark, Ehrman says:

quote:
Ehrman (2012):

One of the clearest examples is in Mark 2:2728, where Jesus delivers a withering two-liner to silence his critics. His disciples have been walking through the grain fields on the Sabbath, and since they were hungry they started eating some of the grain. The Pharisees see this (the Pharisees seem to be everywhere in Mark) and protest that the disciples are breaking the Sabbath. For Jesus, though, as Mark portrays him, human needs (in this case hunger) take priority over strict interpretations about the Sabbath. And so he informs his opponents, "Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. Therefore the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath."

That last line doesn't really make sense in the context, for two reasons. For one thing, even if Jesus, who is the Son of Man in Mark's Gospel, is the Lord (master) of the Sabbath, what has that to do with his critics' objection? They are objecting not to what he has done but to what his disciples have done. Even more, the last line doesn't follow at all from the first line. I sometimes tell my students that when they see the word therefore in a passage, they should ask, what is the therefore there for? The therefore in this case doesn't make sense. Just because Sabbath was made for humans and not the other way around, what does that have to do with Jesus being the Lord of the Sabbath?

Both problems are solved once you translate the passage back into Aramaic. As it turns out, Aramaic uses the same word for man and for son of man. It is the word barnash. And so the two-liner originally said, "Sabbath was made for barnash, not barnash for the Sabbath. Therefore barnash is lord of the Sabbath." Now the therefore makes sense. The reason that humans (barnash) are the lords of the Sabbath is because of what he just said: Sabbath was made for humans, not the other way around. Moreover, now the last line makes sense in the context of the story. The disciples (the barnash) are masters of the Sabbath, which was created for their sake.

Originally, then, this story circulated in Aramaic. When it came to be translated into Greek, the translator decided to make it not just about the disciples but also about Jesus. And so he translated barnash in two different ways, twice to refer to "humans" in general ("man") and once to refer to Jesus in particular ("the Son of Man)," [sic] creating a problem in the Greek that was not there in the Aramaic. The story stems from an Aramaic-speaking community of Christians located in Palestine during the early years of the Jesus movement. (pp. 8990)


Even if the writings did mean an actual blood brother, this is not evidence. It is hearsay at best.

I personally don't think the whole James thing is that big of a deal. But if Paul really is referring to an actual sibling relationship, it would certainly seal the argument that Paul believed Jesus to have been an historical figure. Recall that many Mythicists claim that Paul himself didn't even think Jesus had been historical. Yet, if Paul is talking about a Jesus with flesh and blood siblings, it is difficult to conclude that he didn't think of Jesus himself as a flesh and blood historical figure.

Is this evidence for an historical Jesus? Not for certain. But it can be evidence that the earliest Christian writings treat Jesus as an historical figure, making us all wonder where the mythicism is on which Christianity was originally based according to Mythicists. And I don't see that Ehrman ever makes that argument, unfortunately.

But this is the real issue that Mythicists are trying to address when they claim that Paul wasn't talking about an actual sibling, because they know that if he was, their claims that Paul didn't believe in an historical Jesus are all sunk.

Also Doherty examines it in his book.
Jesus: Neither God Nor Man
pp 60-63

Unfortunately I can buy two Ehrman books for the price of a single Doherty book, making Doherty's work rather inaccessible.

Jon


Love your enemies!

This message is a reply to:
 Message 38 by Theodoric, posted 04-06-2012 2:52 PM Theodoric has responded

Replies to this message:
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Jon
Member
Posts: 3927
From: Minnesota, U.S.A.
Joined: 12-29-2005
Member Rating: 2.7


Message 42 of 68 (658586)
04-06-2012 5:05 PM
Reply to: Message 40 by crashfrog
04-06-2012 3:33 PM


Re: Less than Impressed
You really need to familiarize yourself with more of the Mythicist arguments.

Love your enemies!

This message is a reply to:
 Message 40 by crashfrog, posted 04-06-2012 3:33 PM crashfrog has responded

Replies to this message:
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crashfrog
Inactive Member


(2)
Message 43 of 68 (658587)
04-06-2012 5:14 PM
Reply to: Message 42 by Jon
04-06-2012 5:05 PM


Re: Less than Impressed
You really need to familiarize yourself with more of the Mythicist arguments.

Jon, there are no mythicist arguments, because mythicists are not required to advance any position. The default conclusion is that Jesus is a figure of mythology unless sufficient evidence can be brought forward by historicists.

The burden of evidence lies all on historicists. I'm not required to make Earl Doherty's arguments; I'm not even required to make any of my own. All that is required to support the mythicist position is the utterly inadequate evidence brought forward to try to substantiate the existence of Jesus.

Sorry if you feel like that's unfair, but then, we're not the ones making the extraordinary claim that Jesus Christ was anything but a legend.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 42 by Jon, posted 04-06-2012 5:05 PM Jon has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 46 by Jon, posted 04-06-2012 7:05 PM crashfrog has responded

  
Theodoric
Member
Posts: 4412
From: Northwest, WI, USA
Joined: 08-15-2005
Member Rating: 4.6


Message 44 of 68 (658588)
04-06-2012 5:17 PM
Reply to: Message 41 by Jon
04-06-2012 5:01 PM


Re: Read this nonsense?
There is Q material (the text Matthew and Luke have in common against Mark), and Ehrman makes a couple of interesting arguments for supposing some of the Gospel material to have originally been Aramaic.

Do you understand what the Q material is? Do you agree with Ehrman's statement?

quote:
With respect to Jesus, we have numerous, independent accounts of his life in the sources lying behind the Gospels (and the writings of Paul) -- sources that originated in Jesus' native tongue Aramaic and that can be dated to within just a year or two of his life

This is an utter falsehood. What are these numerous, independent accounts that date from a year or two of this life?

Come on show them to us. You and Ehrman will be praised the world over when you produce them.

Even if I give you Q, which I won't because it is a HYPOTHETICAL document. what are these other documents?


Facts don't lie or have an agenda. Facts are just facts

This message is a reply to:
 Message 41 by Jon, posted 04-06-2012 5:01 PM Jon has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 48 by Jon, posted 04-06-2012 7:10 PM Theodoric has responded

    
Theodoric
Member
Posts: 4412
From: Northwest, WI, USA
Joined: 08-15-2005
Member Rating: 4.6


Message 45 of 68 (658589)
04-06-2012 5:21 PM
Reply to: Message 42 by Jon
04-06-2012 5:05 PM


Re: Less than Impressed
You really need to familiarize yourself with more of the Mythicist arguments.

The crux of the Mythicist argument is that there is no historical evidence. Show us the evidence Jon.


Facts don't lie or have an agenda. Facts are just facts

This message is a reply to:
 Message 42 by Jon, posted 04-06-2012 5:05 PM Jon has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 47 by Jon, posted 04-06-2012 7:07 PM Theodoric has responded

    
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