Bart Ehrman Creates Stir in Atheist Community Over The Existence of Jesus

Over the years, I have had my share of discussions about what we can know about Jesus. I recently finished reading the book called The Resurrection of Jesus: A New Historiographical Approach by New Testament historian Mike Licona. In the book Licona discusses what is called “The Historical Bedrock.” These three facts about the Historical Jesus are held by most critical scholars and historians.

1. Jesus’ death by crucifixion

2. Very Shortly after Jesus’ death, the disciples had experiences that led them to believe and proclaim that Jesus had been resurrected and had appeared to them.

3. Within a few years after Jesus death, Paul converted after a personal experience that he interpreted as a post resurrection appearance of Jesus to him.

Licona is more than aware that just because there is a list of agreed upon facts that is agreed upon by historians and Biblical scholars will not make it true. If so, that would be what is called a “consensus gentium fallacy” which is the fallacy of arguing that an idea is true because most people believe it. As Licona says, “Something doesn’t become a “fact” just because the majority of scholars believe it.” (The Resurrection of Jesus: A New Historiographical Approach, pg 279).

However, as Gary Habermas says, “Certainly one of the strongest methodological indications of historicity occurs when a case can be built on accepted data that are recognized as well established by a wide range of otherwise diverse historians.” (see Norman L. Geisler and Paul K. Hoffman, Why I Am A Christian: Leading Thinkers Explain Why They Believe (Grand Rapids, MI: BakerBooks, 2001), 152.

Historian Christopher Blake refers to this as the “very considerable part of history which is acceptable to the community of professional historians.” (See Christopher Blake, “Can History be Objective?” in Theories of History, Ed. Patrick Gardiner (New York: Macmillan, 1959), pp. 331-333; cited in Geisler and Hoffman, 152.

Well, there is a debate stirring up in the atheist community over the new Bart Ehrman book on The Historical Argument For The Existence of Jesus. It is good to see people like Bart Ehrman are further along than Jesus mythers.

Ehrman has a new article about this at Huffington Post. In it he says:

“Few of these mythicists are actually scholars trained in ancient history, religion, biblical studies or any cognate field, let alone in the ancient languages generally thought to matter for those who want to say something with any degree of authority about a Jewish teacher who (allegedly) lived in first-century Palestine. There are a couple of exceptions: of the hundreds — thousands? — of mythicists, two (to my knowledge) actually have Ph.D. credentials in relevant fields of study. But even taking these into account, there is not a single mythicist who teaches New Testament or Early Christianity or even Classics at any accredited institution of higher learning in the Western world. And it is no wonder why. These views are so extreme and so unconvincing to 99.99 percent of the real experts that anyone holding them is as likely to get a teaching job in an established department of religion as a six-day creationist is likely to land on in a bona fide department of biology.”

I wanted to go ahead and offer some other quotes about the existence of Jesus. Keep in mind that I have included some that are by non Christians as well as some others by those that are far from being an Orthodox or Evangelical Christian. Also, there are also some quotes that already assume Jesus existed because they mention the certainty of his crucifixion and in some cases, the resurrection appearances (although they don’t think the resurrection explains the appearances):

Jesus’ death by crucifixion under Pontius Pilate is as sure as anything historical can ever be. For if no follower of Jesus had written anything for one hundred years after his crucifixion we would still know about him from two authors not among his supporters. Their names are Flavius Josephus and Cornelius Tacitus.” – John Dominic Crossan, Co-founder of The Jesus Seminar Jesus: A Revolutionary Biography, pg 145

“Jesus death as a consequence of crucifixion is indisputable.”- Atheist Gerd Ludemann-The Resurrection of Christ, Pg 50.

E.P. Sanders: The Historical Figure of Jesus. New York: Penguin Books, 1993, says:

“That Jesus’ followers (and later Paul) had resurrection experiences is, in my judgment, a fact. What the reality was that gave rise to the experiences I do not know” pgs 279-280. “I do not regard deliberate fraud as a worthwhile explanation. Many of the people in these lists were to spend the rest of their lives proclaiming that they had seen the risen Lord, and several of them would die for their cause. Moreover, a calculated deception should have produced great unanimity. Instead, there seem to have been competitors: ‘I saw him first!’ ‘No! I did.’ Paul’s tradition that 500 people saw Jesus at the same time has led some people to suggest that Jesus’ followers suffered mass hysteria. But mass hysteria does not explain the other traditions.” Pgs. 279-280. “Finally we know that after his death his followers experienced what they described as the ‘resurrection’: the appearance of a living but transformed person who had actually died. They believed this, they lived it, and they died for it.” Pg 280.

Marcus Borg (The Jesus Seminar)

“An examination of the claims for and against the historicity of Jesus thus reveals that the difficulties faced by those undertaking to prove that he is not historical, in the fields both of the history of religion and the history of doctrine, and not least in the interpretation of the earliest tradition are far more numerous and profound than those which face their opponents. Seen in their totality, they must be considered as having no possible solution. Added to this, all hypotheses which have so far been put forward to the effect that Jesus never lived are in the strangest opposition to each other, both in their method of working and their interpretation of the Gospel reports, and thus merely cancel each other out. Hence we must conclude that the supposition that Jesus did exist is exceedingly likely, whereas its converse is exceedingly unlikely. This does not mean that the latter will not be proposed again from time to time, just as the romantic view of the life of Jesus is also destined for immortality. It is even able to dress itself up with certain scholarly technique, and with a little skillful manipulation can have much influence on the mass of people. But as soon as it does more than engage in noisy polemics with ‘theology’ and hazards an attempt to produce real evidence, it immediately reveals itself to be an implausible hypothesis”–Marcus Borg and N. T. Wright “A Vision of the Christian Life”, The Meaning of Jesus: Two Visions, San Francisco: HarperCollins, 2007), 236

Robert J. Miller (The Jesus Seminar)

“We can be certain that Jesus really existed (despite a few highly motivated skeptics who refuse to be convinced), that he was a Jewish teacher in Galilee, and that he was crucified by the Roman government around 30 CE”–Robert J. Miller, The Jesus Seminar and Its Critics, Santa Rosa: Polebridge, 1999, p. 38

Michael Martin: Atheist

“Some skeptics have maintained that the best account of the biblical and historical evidence is the theory that Jesus never existed; that is, that Jesus’ existence is a myth (Well 1999). Such a view is controversial and not widely held even by anti-Christian thinkers.” –Michael Martin, “Skeptical Perspectives on Jesus’ Resurrection”, in Delbert Burkett’s The Blackwell Companion to Jesus, Oxford: Blackwell, 2011), 285

Bart Ehrman quote:

“It is a historical fact that some of Jesus’ followers came to believe that he had been raised from the dead soon after his execution. We know some of these believers by name; one of them, the apostle Paul, claims quite plainly to have seen Jesus alive after his death. Thus, for the historian, Christianity begins after the death of Jesus, not with the resurrection itself, but with the belief in the resurrection” The New Testament: A Historical Introduction to the Early Christian Writings. Third Edition. New York, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004.276).

More quotes about the existence of Jesus:

“What about those writers like Acharya S (The Christ Conspiracy) and Timothy Freke & Peter Gandy (The Jesus Mysteries), who say that Jesus never existed, and that Christianity was an invented religion, the Jewish equivalent of the Greek mystery religions? This is an old argument, even though it shows up every 10 years or so. This current craze that Christianity was a mystery religion like these other mystery religions-the people who are saying this are almost always people who know nothing about the mystery religions; they’ve read a few popular books, but they’re not scholars of mystery religions. The reality is, we know very little about mystery religions-the whole point of mystery religions is that they’re secret! So I think it’s crazy to build on ignorance in order to make a claim like this. I think the evidence is just so overwhelming that Jesus existed, that it’s silly to talk about him not existing. I don’t know anyone who is a responsible historian, who is actually trained in the historical method, or anybody who is a biblical scholar who does this for a living, who gives any credence at all to any of this.” Bart Ehrman, interview with David V. Barrett, “The Gospel According to Bart”, Fortean Times (221), 2007

Robert E. Van Voorst, Professor of New Testament Studies at Western Theological Seminary, in his discussion on the historical evidence of Jesus outside of the New Testament states:

“The theory of Jesus’ nonexistence is now effectively dead as a scholarly question.” – Jesus Outside the New Testament: An Introduction to the Ancient Evidence. Pg 14.

Mark Allan Powell, a professor of NT and chairman for Historical Jesus at the Society of Biblical Literature puts it harsh stating: “Anyone who says that today [i.e. that Jesus didn’t exist]–in the academic world at least–gets grouped with the skinheads who say there was no Holocaust and the scientific holdouts who want to believe the world is flat.” -Mark A Powell, Jesus As a Figure in History: How Modern Historians View the Man from Galilee. 168.

The late F.F. Bruce in his popular The New Testament Documents: Are they reliable? said:

“Some writers may toy with the fancy of a ‘Christ-myth,’ but they do not do so on the ground of historical evidence. The historicity of Christ is as axiomatic for an unbiased historian as the historicity of Julius Caesar. It is not historians who propagate the ‘Christ-myth’ theories.” -Bruce, The New Testament Documents. 123.

“No one. No one in scholarly circles dealing with ancient Judaism and early Christianity, of any religious or non-religious persuasion holds the view that Jesus never existed. You’re entitled to your own opinion, but not to your own truth.”—Larry Hurtado, specialist in New Testament and Christian origins, former Professor of New Testament Language, Literature & Theology (University of Edinburgh).

“Of course the doubt as to whether Jesus really existed us unfounded and not worth refutation. No sane person can doubt that Jesus stands as founder behind the historical movement whose first distinct stage is represented by the oldest Palestinian community.”- Rudolph Bultmann, Jesus And The Word, pg 13, 1958.

“To doubt the historical existence of Jesus at all… was reserved for an unrestrained, tendentious criticism of modern times into which it is not worthwhile to enter in here.” –G. Bornkamm, Jesus of Nazareth, 1960

“I am of the opinion (and it is an opinion shared by every serious historian) that the theory [‘that Jesus never lived, that he was a purely mythical figure”] is historically untenable.” W. Marxsen, The Resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth, pg 119.

‘To sum up, modern critical methods fail to support the Christ-myth theory. It has ‘again and again been answered and annihilated by first rank scholars,’ In recent years ‘no serious scholar has ventured to postulate the non-historicity of Jesus’—or at any rate very few, and they have not succeeded in disposing of the much stronger -, indeed abundant, evidence on the contrary.” –Historian Michael Grant, Jesus, An Historians Review of the Gospels, pg 200

John Crossan (The Jesus Seminar)

“If I understand what Earl Doherty (a Jesus myther) is arguing, Neil, it is that Jesus of Nazareth never existed as an historical person, or, at least that historians, like myself, presume that he did and act on that fatally flawed presumption. I am not sure, as I said earlier, that one can persuade people that Jesus did exist as long as they are ready to explain the entire phenomenon of historical Jesus and earliest Christianity either as an evil trick or a holy parable. I had a friend in Ireland who did not believe that Americans had landed on the moon but that they had created the entire thing to bolster their cold-war image against the communists. I got nowhere with him. So I am not at all certain that I can prove that the historical Jesus existed against such an hypothesis and probably, to be honest, I am not even interested in trying”—John Dominic Crosson, “Historical Jesus: Materials and Methodology”, XTalk, 2000

“There are those who argue that Jesus was a figment of the Church’s imagination, that there was never a Jesus at all. I have to say that I do not know any respectable critical scholar who says that any more.” Richard Burridge and Graham Gould, Jesus, Now and Then, 2004, pg 34.

“Let me state it plainly that I accept that Jesus was a real historical person, In my opinion, the difficulties arising from the denial of his existence still vociferously maintained in small circles of rationalist ‘dogmatists’ far exceed those deriving its acceptance”- Geza Vermes, The Resurrection, 2008, (ix)

“No serious historian if any religious or nonreligious stripe doubts that Jesus of Nazareth really lived in the first century and was executed under the authority of Pontius Pilate the governor of Judea and Samaria.” Craig Evans in Evans and Wright, Jesus, The Final Days, 2009, pg 3.


20 thoughts on “Bart Ehrman Creates Stir in Atheist Community Over The Existence of Jesus

  1. Peter Benson March 29, 2012 / 4:50 am

    Utterly fantastic read. Thank you so much for making this available. My favorite reference quote herein:
    “You’re entitled to your own opinion, but not to your own truth.”

  2. Carmen Villegas April 4, 2012 / 1:03 am

    Great blog you got here! God bless you!!

  3. Jay Osborne March 21, 2013 / 1:56 am

    I do not argue that there was no Jesus in the first century,because there were many people named Jesus in the first century.But i challenge Bart Ehrman or anyone else to send me contemporary evidence that the miracle worker,crucified and resurrected from the dead Jesus ever existed.There were plenty of historians and philosphers living and writing in the first century but there are none,ZERO that mentions a miracle worker,crucified and resurrected from the dead Jesus.
    Not even Philo who wrote extensively about the Jewish religion and happenings in Galilee right during the time Jesus was supposed to be there doing miracles,getting crucified and rising from the dead.Supposed modern biblical historians and scholars only try to shoiw a Jesus lived,and by the way they do it they use the con-artist way and never try to prove the 4 gospel Jesus only that a Jesus lived.Josephus mentions 19 different people named Jesus so you know there were many more people named Jesus.The claims about Josephus and Tacitus proveing a historical Jesus is absurd when you dig out all the facts,which i will do if asked by this site.The real truth is there is ZERO reliable proof that the miracle worker,crucified and resurrected from the dead Jesus ever existed as a flesh and blood person.
    Sincerely,In Real Truth,
    Jay Osborne

  4. chab123 March 21, 2013 / 2:33 pm

    Good to see you are further along in that you think Jesus was a historical person and was crucified as recorded in the NT. I don’t debate that with people. Ehrman holds to the 3 minimal facts that many scholars do- Jesus was crucified, his disciples at least thought they say him rise from the dead and Paul came to faith based on what he believed to be a post resurrection appearance. He just doesn’t agree the resurrection explains the latter two points. As far as miracles, if we reject those because they are not recorded in contemporary records, then we would have to go over the historicity of the NT. There is no need to place an automatic demand for sources outside the NT for those events. But having said that, we have plenty of sources on our resource page here that do discuss Josephus and others and what they say (see below). Remember, the appeal to arguments from silence (that is all over the internet), is a terrible way to do history. You can see our section on that topic as well. As far as whether people reject the miracles in the NT cause they think the natural world is all there is, that is a metaphysical claim which goes back to Hume and others. There have been enough responses to that as well. Hope our resource page helps:

  5. chab123 March 22, 2013 / 10:48 pm

    Okay, Jay, sounds good. Sounds like you have done the homework. Take care.

  6. Nicholas Darkwater May 24, 2013 / 11:57 pm

    Great article. As for the entrenched academics, what is the take on Marcus Borg (Jesus Seminar) at Oregon State University?

  7. chab123 May 25, 2013 / 3:07 am

    Nicholas, I don’t know how he views Borg. Borg along with the rest of the Seminar have kind of faded into the background. There is a debate online you can watch with William Lane Craig/Darrell Bock and Borg and another guy. Maybe worth a look.

  8. Jay Osborne May 25, 2013 / 2:42 pm

    I stick by what i sent and you posted above on March 21st.There is not one iota,not one ounce of proof or evidence that the 4 gospel Jesus the miracle worker,crucified and resurrected from the dead Jesus ever existed as a flesh and blood person,there is more evidence he never existed than there is that he did.The paragraphs about Jesus supposedly in Josephus writings are easily proved frauds,inserted into Josephus writings no doubt by Eusebius in the 4th.century.The Tacitus writings about Christus and Nero are also frauds.The earliest manuscript supposedly writen by him is from the 11th.century or 1000 years after he supposedly wrote it,did you know that just before those 11th.century manuscripts showed up the Catholic church had offered a reward for any early writings about Jesus,then all of a sudden someone from Germany claimed to have found the Tacitus manuscript.There are several problems with this claimed manuscript,#1 no other historian or philosopher or any other ancient writer claims Nero ever persecuted christians.
    #2.It claims there were a vast amount of christians in Rome in 64 A.D.there were not even a vast amount of christians in Jerusalem in 64 A.D.and there sure wasn’t a vast amount in Rome.#3.iF Tacitus had wrote that about 115 A.D.he would have known that Pontius Pilate was a prefect and not a procurator as the writing claims.It’s a fraud.If you notice the excerpts you posted above claiming a historical Jesus by different writers they use the 4 gospels writings as evidence,that’s called circular reasoning,they believe it so because the 4 gospels claim it so.The 4 gospels are not first century writings as christian apologetics claim the 4 gospels were writen in the second half of the second century.One proof of that is now archaeology has proved the town of Nazareth did not exist in the first century,it is a town that had it’s beginings in the second half of the second century and on into the third century,without the town of Nazareth in the first century there could have been no Jesus of Nazareth in the first century, through that it also proves the 4 gospels are second century writings.There are also other proofs the 4 gospels are second century writings.So Bart Ehrman and the other writers claims above only shows they have not done any good research.
    In Real Truth,
    Jay Osborne

  9. chab123 May 25, 2013 / 6:24 pm

    Jay, as I said before, you can start studying or go somewhere else. Your comments show the standard atheist rehetorc on the internet. I guess you think you are more educated than those people I mention above here who have spent their entire lives reading and studying the sources for the life of Jesus (including some atheists). So please start reading some of the material on our resource page. I don’t debate the existence of Jesus.

  10. chab123 May 26, 2013 / 3:10 am

    Jay, I will go ahead and give this one last shot: I will respond to some of your comments above:

    You say:

    “There is not one iota,not one ounce of proof or evidence that the 4 gospel Jesus the miracle worker,crucified and resurrected from the dead Jesus ever existed as a flesh and blood person,there is more evidence he never existed than there is that he did.”

    My response: This has to be the biggest overstatement I have ever seen by any Jesus myther. Second:

    1. What is the earliest record for the death and resurrection of Jesus? And please give me the date. If you say the Gospels, wrong guess.
    2. Please tell me what are the tests of historicity for the NT?
    3. Tell me what is the difference between primary and secondary sources? And what are the primary and secondary sources for the NT?

    You say:

    “The paragraphs about Jesus supposedly in Josephus writings are easily proved frauds,inserted into Josephus writings no doubt by Eusebius in the 4th.century.The Tacitus writings about Christus and Nero are also frauds”

    My response:

    Please tell me what Louis H. Feldman’s work tells us about Josephus? And what are the conclusions of Maier’s work?

    As far as Tacitus, I believe I have a total of 2 articles or so by Holding on my resource page. You seem to dismiss the rest of the rsources. Rather than using an ad-hominem, please go through his work (the one I left on Tacitus) and provide a real counter response. And please don’t use the “Christians are biased” comments. Atheists are quite biased as well.
    You say:

    “The 4 gospels are not first century writings as christian apologetics claim the 4 gospels were writen in the second half of the second century.”

    My response:
    First, you have a spelling error in this sentence. Maybe you need to be a little more generous to a typo before telling me I need to go learn how to spell.

    Second, can you please tell me what the Greek word for eyewitness is and how that impacts the dating of the Gospels. Can you please give me the resource that gives me the dating of the Gospels at second half of second century? I am not talking about manuscripts.

    You say:

    “The town of Nazareth in the first century there could have been no Jesus of Nazareth in the first century.’

    My response:
    See Joe Holden’s article on that.

    I think you are behind on this one as well.

    Jay, in all honesty, you are overly confident and you overstate your case. If you are so confident that Ehrman (who is not a Christian) and other atheists like Gerd Lüdemann whom I mention above have done no research, you should ask them for a debate. They have been looking at the same resources for a long time (like many of us).

  11. Jay Osborne May 26, 2013 / 7:31 pm

    It would take a very,very long email to fully explain everything you bring up in the above post to me.I will try to do it as short as possible but many other factors could be added.I will start with what you claim is my biggest over statement which is there is not one iota,not one ounce of reliable proof for a historical Jesus.#1.There were plenty of contemporary historians and philosphers living and wrting some from in or very near to Jerusalem between 4 B.C.and 35 A.D.None know anything whatsoever about a miracle worker,crucified or resurrected from the dead Jesus.#2.Neither do contemporary writers know anything about saints rising from the dead,Herod’s slaughter of the innocents,an earthquake,or sun darkening,or a star or comet being close to the earth to guide the wisemen,that is an ignorant statement anyway no,star,comet or meteor could possibly arrive slow enough for them to follow and pinpoint where something was.#3.Despite what you and other apologetics and biased biblical scholars claim Nazareth did not exist in the first century at least not during the time of Jesus.New archaeologist evidence from very recent years has proved that.What honest recent archaeologist have found is that earlier catholic supposed archaeologists had pre dated and post dated the very same artifacts that supposedly proved Nazareth existed in the first century.Christianity and the full of later interpolations and frauds.Without the town of Nazareth in the first century there could be no Jesus of Nazareth in the first century as your N.T.and Roman Catholics claim.
    Your O.T.knows nothing of a town called Nazareth,Josephus doesn’t know about it in his list of towns Jewish records know nothing of Nazareth until the third or fourth century.Some of your questions are not very clear in their meanings.Your #1.above asks what is the earliest record for the death and resurrection of Jesus.That is a loaded question for someone like myself who knows it never happened.How do i date what i know is a lie and an ancient legend,myth,fable and tale.It’s a myth that took over 300 years to become the tale it is now.That being from about 50 A.D.(Paul’s writings)until Constantine made christianity a state religion in 325 A.D.
    Your #2 above.What are the tests for the historicity of the N.T.?Have you ever looked up what an honest historian must do to call anything historica?I think you better investigate that.1.They look at how close in time and geographically were the writers of the documents to the original events,i’ll get to that part later.#2.they look at how many early copies we have,how close the copies are to the originals in time(you have no originals)#3 above you ask what is the primary and secondary sources.A Primary source is a document or physical object that was writen or created during the time under study.So the 4 gospels are not primary sources,even according to you the gospels were writen 40 to 50 years after the events they describe.Secondary sources are one two or more steps removed from the event.Another guide for a document to be historical is to know the writers were historically known people.Which is another thing the 4 gospels fail on,the 4 gospels do not claim who wrote them,the claimed authors Matthew,Mark,LUKE and John were guessed at as the authors 150 years after they were supposedly writen.If the 4 gospels were brought before a court to determine if they were historical or not,not even a kangaroo court would claim them historical.First the claimed authors are actually anonymous writers,no one ZERO knows who wrote them,second none of the 4 writers can agree on what happened surrounding the crucifixtion and resurrection,one says Jesus was crucified at the third hour another says the trial was still going on at the sixth hour,they don’t agree on who or how many came to the tomb,or whether there were angels or men there,they disagreeon what the writings said on top of the cross,what Jesus last words were and more,what part of that mess could a historian claim was historical?

    I’ll touch on your other subjects later right now my rear is tired of sitting in this chair and i am tired of typing.
    In Real Truth,
    Jay Osborne

  12. Jay Osborne May 26, 2013 / 11:05 pm

    Sorry i didn’t break up the paragraphs in the above em
    ail so it would be an easier read.I didn’t find the two mis-spellings you claim i made,but that’s not important anyone can hit the wrong key on the keyboard or mis-spell typing fast.There are 3 reasons to pretty well prove the 4 gospels are second century writings.#1.The fact that the town of Nazareth did not exist in the first century,that causes the gospels to be writen sometime after the town was inhabited.#2.The first time any early church father mentions 4 gospels by name is by Irenaeus between 170-180 A.D.Justin Martyr writing in 150 A.D.knows nothing of 4 gospels named Matthew,Mark,Luke & John,what he does mention is the Memoris of the apostles and maybe a few words that were later included in the 4 gospels.

    #3.In Luke 1:3 and Acts 1:1 Luke addresses a man named Theophilus,the only man named Theophilus having to do with the church that he might be writing to lived in the second half of the second century and was a church bishop,this also is the third proof the gospels are second century writings.Since there are no original manuscripts to date when they were writen the only way to try and date them is by the words they contain which is twisted by some apologetics.

    I have read most everything J.P.Holding has claimed including the refutes by other writers,maybe you should also read the refutes with an open mind.Now lets look at why i know Josephus never wrote the Jesus paragraphs now inserted into his writings.#1.Justin Martyr quoted quite a lot from Josephus but he never mentions the Jesus paragraphs and you know had they been in Josephus writings in 150 A.D.Justin would have used that to help him convert pagans to christianity.#2.Origen states Jesus was not believeing in Jesus,Josephus died a believing Jew never,ever would a believing Jew make those statements any of them about Jesus.#3.The Jesus paragraphs in Josephus claimed writings interupts the story flow on both ends of the Jesus paragraphs,showing it was inserted later.#4.Josephus wrote long stories about small or important subjects the Jesus paragraphs are to short for Josephus to have writen it.I would also like to mention the James mentioned in Josephus supposed Jesus brother is not the same James as Jesus brother because the James in Josephus died 7 years earlier that the Roman Catholic church itself says James the brother of Jesus died.Either the church lied or the James claim in Josephus lied or was inserted by a forgetful writer.

    Concerning the Greek word for eyewitness it is autoptai,so what?None,ZERO of the 4 gospel writers whoever they were claim they themselves were eyewitnesses to the crucifixtion or resurrection,they only claim they heard it from someone un-named who were eyewitnesses.The only claimed eyewitnesses you have are those that are claimed eyewitnesses after the resurrection.Remember your N.T.says the desciples fled in fear before the crucifixtion.It is very easy to figure out the gospel of John was not writen by the apostle(desciple)John.John was an unedeucated fisherman the author of the gospel of John was a highly educated scholar,you can’t even argue with that read Acts 4:13 where it says Peter and John were unlearned and ignorant.

    I tried to get Bart Ehrman to debate me through emails or posts like this he never answered,i have writen several times to J.P.Holding,what he sent back was smiley faces and insults,he never answered one question i proposed but did say i was an old man driving an Edsel going down the freeway without any knowledge of which exit to get off on.After that he blocked me from his email.He has been refuted and proved to be a liar by many others. Try typing into google Bart Ehrman refutes on his historical Jesus claim or are you afraid to have an open mind reading things that disagree with your theory.I read all i can find from both sides on all subjects then make my decision on who has the facts.I think i pretty well covered all you asked for if not tell me what i missed.
    In Real Truth,

  13. chab123 May 27, 2013 / 12:49 am

    Okay Jay, judging by your comments/responses, I can see you most you use the same method that I wrote about in this post a few months ago-

    As I see, (and mention in the post), arguments from silence is a terrible way to do history. I only mentioned a source for Holding in maybe one or two links. And as I said, you ignored the rest.

    I only mentioned a source for Holding in maybe one or two links. And as I said, you ignored the rest. because of you have not engaged Feldman and Maier when it comes to Josephus whether by ignorance or lack of time), you don’t know all the facts about Josephus. As far as Ehrman, I already wrote a 3 part response to a well-known atheist’s response to the Ehrman book. So no, I am not afraid to read the feedback on it. I already commented about the Nazareth issue. Yes, honest people know it existed. Jay, with the standards you are trying to use with the NT (which is radical historical skepticism), you would not know any person really existed in antiquity.

    Because of you have not engaged Feldman and Maier when it comes to Josephus (whether by ignorance or lack of time), you don’t know all the facts about Josephus. As far as Ehrman, I already wrote a 3 part response to a well-known atheist’s response to the Ehrman book. So no, I am not afraid to read the feedback on it.

    I already commented about the Nazareth issue. Yes, honest people know it existed. Jay, with the standards you are trying to use with the NT (which is radical historical skepticism), you would not know any person really existed in antiquity. You are still off on the dating of the Gospels and who wrote the Gospels. See Richard Bauckham’s Jesus and the Eyewitnesses: The Gospels as Eyewitness Testimony. The Greek word for “eyewitness” (autoptai), does not have forensic meaning, and in that sense the English word “eyewitnesses” with its suggestion of a metaphor from the law courts, is a little misleading. The autoptai are simply firsthand observers of those events. Bauckham has followed the work of Samuel Byrskog in arguing that while the Gospels though in some ways are a very distinctive form of historiography, they share broadly in the attitude to eyewitness testimony that was common among historians in the Greco-Roman period. These historians valued above all reports of firsthand experience of the events they recounted.

    Best of all was for the historian to have been himself a participant in the events (direct autopsy). Failing that (and no historian was present at all the events he need to recount, not least because some would be simultaneous), they sought informants who could speak from firsthand knowledge and whom they could interview (indirect autopsy).” In other words, Byrskog defines “autopsy,” as a visual means of gathering data about a certain object and can include means that are either direct (being an eyewitness) or indirect (access to eyewitnesses). Byrskog also claims that such autopsy is arguably used by Paul (1 Cor 9:1; 15:5–8; Gal 1:16), Luke (Acts 1:21–22; 10:39–41) and John (19:35; 21:24; 1 John 1:1–4). Loveday Alexander, in his book The Preface to Luke’s Gospel offers the translations: “those with personal/firsthand experience; those who know the facts at hand.” One of the greatest assets of Bauckham’s book is the reminder that ancient historians thought that history had to be written during a time when eyewitnesses were still available to be cross-examined.

    Also, see a summary of Bauckham’s work: Are the Gospels Based on Eyewitness Testimony? The Test of Personal Names at

    Also, have you looked at Plutarch? Plutarch’s name is absent from all of his extant biographies, which are therefore anonymous like the four Gospels in the New Testament. Yet, modern historians are quite certain Plutarch wrote them. Most classical authors did not include their name. Why do you think the majority of both conservative and non conservative scholars date the Gospels before the end of the first century? Just because the Gospels are mentioned by name in the second century by a particular author (such as Irenaeus or someone else) does not mean they were written in the mid second century! You are also ignoring the entire oral phase of the Jesus story.

    You say historians ask what the earliest record is for an event. That is correct. The creed of 1 Cor 15:3-8 is only 3-10 years (maybe even less), after the crucifixion for the death and resurrection of Jesus. No time for any legend to develop. But in the end, you say it is all made up anyway and they lied about it? The only motivations for them to lie are financial gain, sexual reasons or pursuit of power which are all absent from the NT. To punt to the 4th century with Constantine is way too late to make a case for power issues. Have you ever studied the Second Temple period Jay? Do you know the Judaism of the time? Furthermore, what is the genre of the Gospels? Also:

    Luke gives correct titles for the following officials: Cyprus, proconsul (13:7–8); Thessalonica, politarchs (17:6); Ephesus, temple wardens (19:35); Malta, the first man of the island. Each of these has been confirmed by Roman usage. In all, Luke names thirty-two countries, fifty-four cities, and nine islands without an error . These are all made up and Luke lied about it?

    In his monumental work called The Book of Acts in the Setting of Hellenistic History, classics scholar Colin Hemer has shown that Luke has also done his work as an historian. There are at least 84 events, customs, people, locations, etc, which have been confirmed by archaeology. Some of them are:

    1. A natural crossing between correctly named ports (13:4–5). Mount Casius, south of Seleucia, stands within sight of Cyprus. The name of the proconsul in 13:7 cannot be confirmed, but the family of the Sergii Pauli is attested.
    2. The proper river port, Perga, for a ship crossing from Cyprus (13:13).
    3. The proper location of Lycaonia (14:6).
    4. The unusual but correct declension of the name Lystra and the correct language spoken in Lystra. Correct identification of the two gods associated with the city, Zeus and Hermes (14:12).
    5. The proper port, Attalia, for returning travelers (14:25).
    6. The correct route from the Cilician Gates (16:1).
    7. The proper form of the name Troas (16:8).
    8. A conspicuous sailors’ landmark at Samothrace (16:11).
    9. The proper identification of Philippi as a Roman colony. The right location for the river Gangites near Philippi (16:13).
    10. Association of Thyatira with cloth dyeing (16:14). Correct designations of the titles for the colony magistrates (16:20, 35, 36, 38).
    11. The proper locations where travelers would spend successive nights on this journey (17:1).
    12. The presence of a synagogue in Thessalonica (17:1), and the proper title of politarch for the magistrates (17:6).
    13. The correct explanation that sea travel is the most convenient way to reach Athens in summer with favoring east winds (17:14).
    14. The abundance of images in Athens (17:16), and reference to the synagogue there (17:17).
    Accurate representation of the Jewish law regarding Gentile use of the temple area (21:28).
    So Luke made these up as well and lied about it? Right?

    In The Historical Reliability of John’s Gospel, Craig Blomberg has identified 59 people, events, or places that have been confirmed by archaeology. Some of those items mentioned by Blomberg are:

    1.The use of stone water jars in the New Testament (John 2:6).
    2. The proper place of Jacob’s well (2:8)
    3. Josephus in (Wars of the Jews 2.232), confirms there was significant hostility between Jews and Samaritans during Jesus’ time (4:9).
    4. “Went Up” accurately describes the ascent to Jerusalem(5:1).
    5. Archaeology confirms the existence of the Pool of Siloam (9:7)
    6. The obscure and tiny village of Ephraim (11:54) near Jerusalem is mentioned by Josephus.
    7. “Come down” accurately describes the topography of western Galilee.(There’s a significant elevation drop from Cana to Capernaum). (4:46;49, 51).
    8. Caiaphas was the high priest that year (11:49); we learn from Josephus that Caiaphas held the office from A.D 18-37.

    So is this is all lies as well?

    I would like you to go through Peter Williams article at on all archaeological data that has been found to confirm many of the events in the NT. Are these made up as well?

    Jay, with the standards you are trying to use with the NT (which is radical historical skepticism), you would not know any person really existed in antiquity.

  14. Jay Osborne May 27, 2013 / 2:46 am

    Evidently you have all this this stuff on your computer and all you have to do is slip my name in and my comment here and there ,because i do not believe you can think of and type your long emails that fast.Beside that i thought for sure you’d be in church on Sunday night instead of sitting on your butt at the computer.Of course the silence argument is a terrible way to convey to you but that silence actually screams loudly at you,but you just close your ears to the screams.You use silence also because there is the silence of no contemporary historian or philosopher that knows one thing about Jesus the miracle worker,crucified and resurrected from the dead,Not even Philo who wrote extensively about the Jewish religion and happenings in Galilee right during the time Jesus was supposedly doing miracles,crucified and resurrected from the dead,Philo knows nothing.It takes an idiot to think Philo would not have writen about all these earth shaking claims had they actually have happened.Gey your head out of the sand,no wonder you can’t hear silence.

    You can name all the christian scholars you want to i can send you well educated people that can and do refute each and everyone of their claims.And they do it with good evidence and proof.You better re-visit and research the Nazareth issue again from somewhere beside apologetic sites and that doesn’t have to be atheist sites,you are terribly wrong or covering up,or lying,Nazareth did not exist in the first century.Just because the N.T.mentions known people by name and some known towns by name does not prove the rest of the tale.Did you ever read fiction?They use actual town names and some peoples names,but the fiction is in the rest of the story.The rest of your garbage above does nothing to prove a historical Jesus or when the 4 gospels were writen or by whom.It’s what i call christian apologetic bait and switch,you blow smoke and confuse the subject.
    In Real Honest Truth,Jay

  15. chab123 May 27, 2013 / 1:27 pm

    Jay, did any contemporary authors write about Josephus? So he is a made up lie as well? Right?

    You really do need to read Feldman and Maier’s work on Josephus.

    “Nazareth did not exist in the first century.”

    Okay, sounds good. Just dismiss the latest research on the topic.

    “Just because the N.T.mentions known people by name and some known towns by name does not prove the rest of the tale.Did you ever read fiction? They use actual town names and some peoples names,but the fiction is in the rest of the story.”

    Wrong. What is the purpose of genre criticism Jay? And what would it tell us about the Gospels? If you had done the homework, you simply would have never posited the Gospels as historical fiction. See my post


    Jay, was it the Jews or the Christians who copied and passed on Philo? If it was the Christians, why did the Christians not add a little something about Jesus in Philo? After all, just like Josephus, they could of added something and then be accused of lying. All joking aside, when it comes to Philo not saying anything about Jesus it probably didn’t fit with his philosophical agenda.

    Jay, under our resource page- under the section called The Existence of Jesus/Answering Jesus Mythers and Parallelomania, there are 3 articles by Glen Peoples. Given you fit right into the category of those of who is addressing, you would benefit from those.

    I have to be honest. If I was a Jew living in the Second Temple period and I was biased and wanted to lie and create a Jesus figure for my people to follow, I would of not made up the kind of Jesus we see in the Gospels. I talk about it here:

    I think I will move on now. Hope you get your debate with Ehrman. You know he really hit the nail on the head here:

    ““ What is driving the mythicists agenda? Why do they work so hard at showing that Jesus never really lived? I do not have a definitive answer to that question, but I do have a hunch. It is no accident that virtually all mythicists (in fact, all of them, my knowledge), are either atheists or agnostics. The ones I know anything about are quite virulently, even militantly atheist. On the surface that may make sense: who else would be more invested in showing Jesus never existed? But when you think about it or a moment, it is not entirely logical. Whether or not Jesus existed is completely irrelevant to the question of whether God exists. So why would virulent atheists (or agnostics) be so invested in showing that Jesus did not exist? It is important to realize the obvious fact that the mythicists all live in a Christian world for which Christianity is the religion of choice for the vast bulk of the population. Of course we have large numbers of Jews and Muslims among us and scattered Buddhists, Hindus, and other major faith traditions in our culture. But by and large the people we meet who are religious are Christians. And mythicists are avidly antireligious.

    To debunk religion, then, one needs to undermine specifically the Christian form of religion. And what easier way is there to undermine Christianity than to claim that the figure at the heart of Christian worship and devotion never existed but was invented, made up, or created? If Christianity is base d on Jesus, and Jesus never existed where does that leave the religion of billions of the world’s population? It leaves it in shambles, at least in the thinking of the mythicists. What this means is that, ironically, just as secular humanists spend so much time at their annual meetings talking about religion, so too mythicists who are so intent on showing that the historical Jesus never existed are not being driven by a historical concern. Their agenda is religious and they are complicit in a religious ideology. They are not doing history, they are doing theology”– Bart Ehrman, Did Jesus Exist, The Historical Argument for Jesus of Nazareth, pgs 337-38.

  16. Jay Osborne May 28, 2013 / 6:02 pm

    After 2 days where is my last post to you?

  17. chab123 May 28, 2013 / 8:01 pm

    Jay, guess what? This is my blog and I don’t post immature, nasty, defensive comments. The discussion ended two days ago, I said I was moving on. Have a nice summer.

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