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Bart Ehrman's Arguments

Bart Ehrman's Arguments

Postby Singalphile » Mon Jul 23, 2018 10:37 pm

I've been listening to some speeches and debates involving Bart Ehrman.

He makes several points that I find interesting. He thinks they are strong challenges to Christianity or to the reliability of the New Testament, but they actually confirm and strengthen some of my own views about God and Christianity.

1. He often says that there was no orthodox Christianity until hundreds of years after Jesus' death, and that the views that came to be called orthodox were just the views that killed off (literally or not) those with opposing views.

I bet he's largely correct. It's my opinion that God and Christ and His apostles care(d) very little about what we'd call theology. Thus, it's not at all surprising to me that there were and are different theological theories. And I'm not at all surprised that sinful men and women would begin to argue and even murder about such things. I think Paul often warned about that (i.e., being prideful in our knowledge, going beyond what is written, and disputing and forming sects). Differing views is what I would expect given that God did not apparently intend to leave us with a theology textbook.

2. Along those same lines, he argues that the gospel of John could not possibly contain legitimate quotes from Jesus, because there's no way that the other gospel writers would forget or not include such statements as, "before Abraham was born, I am," and the like, if Jesus had actually said such things.

His assumption is that these kinds of theological statements are what was (and are) really important about Jesus' life and teachings. I think not. Rather, he unintentionally makes the case that these sorts of high Christology statements weren't important to Matthew, Mark/Peter, and Luke/Paul. Again, that very much fits into the way I see things. It's unlikely that we can fully understand such things, and God is okay with that for the time being. We do not need to argue and divide about such things, imo.

3. Lastly - and this is slightly different - I actually heard Ehrman say that despite all the differences among early "Christianities" (as he would put it) "everyone" believed that Jesus was the Son of God. (I don't have the link, unfortunately.) I found that very interesting, as that is one of the eight essential opinions that I think the Bible says must be affirmed by a true believer. Likewise, he will often argue against the idea that Jesus did not exist or was not thought to have been raised from the dead. Again, those are among the few essentials of Christianity. He thus makes the case for a very small number of essential opinions (unrelated to behavior) within Christianity.

I do not think he makes a good case that Christianity is, at it's core, false, but I think he inadvertently makes a good case for de-emphasizing all these abstract theological concepts that often divide believers.

Any thoughts on that or Ehrman in general would be appreciated. (He is at least much more interesting than the Christ-mythicists, who just seem to me to say or make up very silly things.) Thanks!
... that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. John 5:23
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