I’m informed by reader Barry that, as a coronavirus special, Bart Ehrman is offering free two-month subscriptions to his “Membership Blog”. As you probably know, Ehrman, the James A. Gray Distinguished Professor of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, is a prolific scholar and writer about early Christianity, with thirty … Continue reading Bart Ehrman offering free two-month subscriptions to his blog
I’m back with a pile of exigent tasks, all of which are temporarily effacing the memories I had of my fantastic trip to Antarctica. I see the Roald Amundsen is again crossing the Drake Passage on the way to the Antarctic Peninsula, so the passengers must have replaced much of their luggage that was stolen. … Continue reading CNN, Reuters and other media mainstream a “Jesus relic”, taking it for granted that Jesus lived and was born in Bethlehem
Apart from angry letters I get from believers—or kinder ones in which they pray for my salvation—perhaps the most frequent genre of emails in my box is about the historical Jesus. While I’m about 99.9999999% sure that any Jesus person who lived wasn’t divine, the son of God, or a miracle worker, I’m not all … Continue reading Not much evidence for a historical Jesus
Reader Peter Nothnagle sent me the transcript of an Easter talk, “Jesus: Fact or Fiction?”, that he gave last March to a joint meeting of the Unitarian-Universalist Society of Iowa City and the Secular Humanists and the Secular Students at Iowa. I was much impressed with Peter’s success at distilling all the scholarship around the historical … Continue reading Peter Nothnagle: No evidence for a historical Jesus
I’m always surprised at how much rancor is directed toward “mythicists”—those who deny that there was a real Jesus who, whether or not he was divine, was the nucleus around which Christianity accreted. I’m also surprised at how certain many biblical scholars are that Jesus existed (Bart Ehrman, to give a prominent example). Yet although I am the first to … Continue reading It’s time to ponder whether a Jesus really existed
At the regional Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) convention in Raleigh, North Carolina in early May, Bart Ehrman received the Emperor Has No Clothes Award for plain speaking about religion, one of which resides in my office as well. I was thus especially interested to see what he said in his acceptance speech, as I am not … Continue reading More tinder: Bart Ehrman’s speech on Jesus at the FFRF regional convention
UPDATE: Several readers have said in the comments that this is a non-issue: why should anyone care whether a historical Jesus existed? I would have thought the answer was obvious, but I’ll let Sajanas, who has already commented, give it: But so much of Christian philosophy is based around the argument for authority, that Jesus … Continue reading Once again: did Jesus exist?
This question is of perennial interest, and of course won’t be settled, at least by those theists who proclaim, wrongly, that “you can’t prove a negative.” (Really? You can’t prove that I don’t have two hearts, or a brother?) Even if, after decades, we fail to come up with good evidence for a historical Jesus, … Continue reading Once again: Was there a historical Jesus?
Newsweek is hardly known for going after religion, but you couldn’t tell that from the large article by Kurt Eichenwald that was published in December, “The Bible: So Misunderstood It’s a Sin.” Apparently heavily informed by conversations with Bart Ehrman, who’s quoted several times, the piece is designed to let readers know that the Bible is not … Continue reading Newsweek strongly questions the Bible, but still coddles faith
NOTE ADDED: Several people have pointed this out, but when we’re asking whether Jesus existed in more than the sense of simply somebody named Jesus, there are two ways of construing that claim. 1. An itinerant apocalyptic preacher around whom the myths of Christianity coalesced (and who may or may not have been crucified). 2. … Continue reading Bart Ehrman says that Jesus existed