« Why the Trinity Is Biblical & Important | Main | Christians Are Judgmental »

September 23, 2009


Ehrman presents no original thoughts,

That is, his points are mainstream NT scholarship.

... but his positions are largely embraced by mainstream skeptical scholarship

That is, he popularizes mainstream NT scholarship - that which pastors learn in seminary.

...and he, too, has a talent for taking select academic positions and sharing them in sound-bites that shock readers.

Ehrman asks rhetorically in Jesus Interrupted why the public is not aware of mainstream NT scholarship and answers: "Your guess is as good as mine".


From the man who argues "75% of scholars believe the tomb was empty" we get "There are still some scholars that think Matthew wrote Matthew." What to make of such reasoning?

>>"That is, he popularizes mainstream NT scholarship - that which pastors learn in seminary."

His conclusions arent taught in seminary, though. Take someone like witherington. Hes looking at the mainstream scholarship.


Depends. Which conclusions? Which seminary?

I suspect we are talking about two different mainstreams.


>>That is, he popularizes mainstream NT scholarship

Ron, mainstream skeptical scholarship is not the same as mainstream scholarship. If you're talking about numbers, his views are decidedly in the minority in his field. He just happens to get a lot more press.


The work 'skeptical' is a positive modifier in my book. I'd never give that up to get in the majority.

Any way the talk all seems to be about Bart - not about his positions.

Never mind if he's in the majority or minority.

What is he wrong about and why?


>>Never mind if he's in the majority or minority. What is he wrong about and why?

I was just responding to your comment that he was mainstream. As for your question here, that's what the links in the post are for! :)

RonH to be honest Im not sure how to answer your question! After reading your response it seems your use of the word seminary is just as vague as mine, then. Im not really sure what happened between my post and your followup! thats allright though. :)

Short articles, but very good for the space allotted. Very Sufficient.

My take on Licona's series. I'm in the middle of Jesus, Interupted

Part 1: A kind of introduction, half of it not about Ehrman at all. Nothing about what Ehrman says. Licona implies that there is something wrong with skepticism - something wrong with doubting what you are told. Do y'all think it is wrong to be skeptical of Mormanism? Astrology? Homeopathy? Mind readers? Or just Christianity?

Part 2: Licona says: 'Ehrman contends that of the current 27 books and letters in the NT, all but eight are "forgeries."' No. Ehrman says: 'only eight almost certainly were written by the authors to whom they are traditionally attributed.' (p. 136) What would you call what Licona has done here?

Part 3: This is about "When were the Gospels written?" Licona doesn't deny the Gospels were written 30 to 60 years after Jesus died. Instead he says Ehrman is naive about "how Jewish tradition was transmitted in antiquity". Christianity was transmitted a s'Jewish tradition'? By pagans as well as Jews? The Gospels were written in Greek.

Part 4: This is about Gospel contradictions. After harmonizing some NT contradictions Licona says: "Not all apparent contradictions in the Gospels are so easily addressed. But it is important to note that most of them impact little if anything." So Mike: Which ones aren't so easiliy addressed? And which ones do impact more than 'little'. Why do you have such a low standard for this book?

Part 5: This is about canonization. Licona says: "For Ehrman, the 27 books and letters in our present New Testament are there because at the end of the debates, the winners got to write the past, or at least determine which accounts of the past would be preserved." Any reason to think Ehrman is wrong to think that? That chapter is very interesting by the way.


"What would you call what Licona has done here?" (Ron)

I would say it's a mis-representation of Ehrman's statements by Licona. For the purpose of orthodxy - but did we really expect her to agree with him?

"Christianity was transmitted as 'Jewish tradition'?" (Ron)

I think they tried to follow the tradition of writing via memorization - or even documenting stuff. However, it is pretty clear the gospels have a level of built in intent with the writings as to prove certain points...which are all over the gospels.

For example, why is the Pharisee's are the one's bothering Jesus in the stories when the Sadducee's ran the temple? The Pharisee's take the cold brunt of Jesus' reckoning on Judaism - not the Saduccee's so much...yet the Sadducee's ruled during Jesus' lifetime and were bed-mates with the Romans.

That's very strange when you think about it. Every Christian without any knowledge of history would firmly believe the Pharisee's were the ones in charge from the stories in the bible...thus all the attention they recieve.

However, the Pharisee's never really became a power until after 70 AD and the destruction of the temple and the Sadducee's were wiped out. But the gospels wouldn't make you think that exactly.

Is Licona dishonest of just ignorant? He incorrectly claims that "Papias was the first to discuss the authorship of the Gospels we have in the New Testament and attributes them to Matthew, Mark, Luke and John."

(1) Papias says nothing about John or Luke writing gospels. No one who is even remotely familiar with Papias would claim that he did.

(2) Papias does not quote Mark or Matthew and his descriptions of their writings are less than a perfect match for the Gospels that bear those names in the New Testament. It is not even clear whether Papias had read them or was just passing along a tradition that he knew.


You're right about that. I emailed Dr. Licona and he said that he made an error in the article. He also said that in his lectures he said that Papias talks about the authorship of Matthew and Mark (just as you said). The authorship of Luke is mentioned by Justin, Irenaeus, the Muratorian Canon, Clement of Alexandria, and Eusebius. The authorship of John’s Gospel, comes from Irenaeus and Clement of Alexandria.

Nice catch!

The comments to this entry are closed.