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A New Attack on My Views

As someone on the blog has pointed out, there appears to be another “response book” written to critique what I have written about the New Testament.  I’ve included here, below, the Amazon description of the book.

Several things about it strike me as rather strange.   Most of all is that the author refuses to name himself/herself.   Why publish an anonymous book if you want to challenge a view that is open and in the public?  There is nothing mysterious about my views: they are in readily available publications with my name on them.  If you want to attack those views, why not say who you are?   This is kind of like running for public office to get rid of that awful person who is now in charge, without letting the voters know your name.  OK, maybe it’s not *exactly* like that, but it does seem very odd to me.  Does someone have an explanation for it?

I’m not sure what the author’s “metaphysical” approach to resolving the contradictions of the Bible are, but I must say that it doesn’t sound very promising.

I don’t plan to read the book any time soon, if at all (I can’t seem to get done the things that I *have* to do….), unless others tell me that it’s really interesting and worth a response.    If anyone on the blog does read it, I’d be happy to know what the approach is, and whether it makes any good points or not. And if he raises any issues that anyone would like me to address, simply tell me what they are and I can respond.  (It sounds like the author thinks his points are conclusive and possibly unanswerable!)

Here is the Amazon ad:

************************************************************

Silencing the Skeptics: Gospel Contradictions Resolved; the Ultimate Open Challenge to Bart Ehrman Kindle Edition

by The Gatekeeper  (Author)

See all formats and editions

  • Kindle 
    $0.00 kindle unlimited logo This title and over 1 million more available with Kindle Unlimited $4.88 to buy
  • Simply stated, Silencing the Skeptics: Gospel Contradictions Resolved puts forth the boldest and most revolutionary defense of Scripture ever presented. Even with this being the case, STS cannot be accurately classified as a “Christian Apologetics” book, as it brings a needed “third voice” into the midst of the redundant and never-ending clash between Christian apologists and skeptical Bible analysts. Through highly effectual and unprecedented Biblical exposition, STS resolves dozens of Gospel disharmonies that have long been prey for critics. Such conundrums continue to be ineffectively addressed by Christian apologists.
  • Undeniably, this book presents the ultimate challenge to reputable Bible critics such as Bart Ehrman (who has specifically been publicly challenged to respond to it), as it fearlessly and specifically confronts many of his (viable) criticisms in ways that have never been advanced by conventional Christian discourse. In that regard, STS also challenges the mainstream Christian mentality, as it does not attempt to resolve Gospel discrepancies through a literal or historical approach, but a higher metaphysical. This is the only way that such Biblical conundrums can truly be resolved.
  • In all, Silencing the Skepticsis an eye-opening adventure for Bible examiners of any persuasion, as it unveils a newfound, life-changing understanding of Scripture. This understanding minimizes mundane Christian religiosity, and brings to life a Truth that has been both hidden in Scripture, and dormant within man himself.

 

 


The First Apocalypse: The Book of Daniel
A New Genre in Jewish Antiquity: The Apocalypse

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Comments

  1. francis  July 31, 2017

    Until this person identifies himself/herself I and most readers won’t even pay it any mind. After all the gospels are already anonymous and we see what problems that runs into.




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  2. SidDhartha1953  July 31, 2017

    The description makes me think of some people who post regularly on a Facebook group I follow: “Friends of the Bible and Beer Consortium.” Some of them are quite full of themselves (at the very least). In general, the genre of anti-Ehrman books is beginning to remind me of the books we have about the various “heresies” of the early church. Hopefully, your books will never be destroyed so that all future scholars have are your opponents’ accounts of what you thought.




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  3. Jay  July 31, 2017

    He/She lost me with “metaphysical.” So I Googled “metaphysical bible.” Discovered that there’s a book called Metaphysical Bible Dictionary and a website that appears to contain the full MBD. Did not dig deeper, but it appears that “metaphysical bible interpretation” is actually a thing. (?)




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    • DestinationReign
      DestinationReign  August 1, 2017

      Meta: a prefix used in English to indicate a concept which is an abstraction behind another concept, used to complete or add to the latter.

      Not sure of the reason why there is so much opposition here to “metaphysical.” It simply regards physical representations of higher Truth. Jesus’ parables in the Gospels are, in fact, “metaphysical” teachings. Thus, would it not make sense that coming to deeper understandings of the Gospels would involve a metaphysical analysis?




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  4. kentvw  July 31, 2017

    I’m putting $20.00 on James White or his group… Will send a $20.00 donation if wrong..




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    • Bart
      Bart  August 1, 2017

      Ah, send it along! I’m sure it’s not James White. He is definitely not into a metaphysical approach to interpreting the Bible!




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  5. godspell  July 31, 2017

    Well technically, it’s an attack on the consensus view of modern biblical scholarship, but hey–free with Kindle Unlimited.

    I have yet to see a book I needed to have be listed as free on Kindle Unlimited. Which is why I don’t have Kindle Unlimited.

    There’s all these books out with that title, you know–Silencing the Skeptics. You can’t copyright titles, of course. Titles of books, or titles of people. Hence “The Gatekeeper.”

    And somehow, the skeptics–on any side, on any subject–are never silenced.

    If I were you–and I’m not–I’d ignore this garbage. Somebody piggy-backing on your rep. A compliment of sorts. But if this person won’t even publish under his/her name, it’s not worth responding to.




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    • llamensdor  August 3, 2017

      godspell, who is one of the wisest regular commentators on your blog, has it exactly right: A nobody wants to piggy-back on your reputation, popularity and success. Nuts to him/her/it.




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  6. catguy  July 31, 2017

    I thought I could do some detective work and reveal this individual’s identity but I am sure I did nothing that you had not yourself already looked into. I see this mostly as a marketing ploy. This is not an academic work because, Dr. Ehrman, you well know that standing before professionals to assert any claim without first identifying not only who you are but your credentials and educational preparation would disqualify you immediately. By calling yourself by a title rather than your name lends an air of mystique that might sell a few more copies of your book and Amazon is more than happy to play along with this gimmick. The Gatekeeper wrote a previous book about the Gospels and s/he has a blog and 20 friends but quite a few followers. That tells me something if you have 2000 followers and 20 friends maybe most of those reading your blog don’t really like you, eh. Anyway, Dr. Ehrman, what would the study of Christian history and an examination of scripture be without opposing views? It is the stuff that makes life interesting.




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  7. Pattycake1974
    Pattycake1974  July 31, 2017

    I realize that some authors choose to go by a pen name, but in this case, I find it immature and just plain silly.




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    • Pattycake1974
      Pattycake1974  July 31, 2017

      I see someone posted what *The Challenge* is about. At least the author does not seem particularly vindictive or antagonistic; still, I stand by my earlier comment of him/her being silly. I have a family member that is really into this ideology. *smh*




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  8. nbraith1975  July 31, 2017

    The author obviously is using your name to lend credibility to his/her work. This is similar to what you have recently posted regarding apocalyptic writers assigning authorship of their work to someone with proven credibility.

    I think that the anonymous author was hoping that you would mention his work, even if only in negative terms, to help lend credibility to his/her book.




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  9. GTGeek88  July 31, 2017

    Very lame for the author to not stand behind the book with his or her name. Perhaps we should all claim authorship. That might flush out the real author. 🙂




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  10. wostraub  July 31, 2017

    I haven’t read the book either, but if it truly presents a new approach to apologetics I’ll give it a look. But most of the contradictions that Ehrman has identified in the Old and New Testaments involve logic, not interpretation, so I doubt if “Gatekeeper” has come up with anything new. As Peter LaRuffa, pastor of the Faith Fellowship Church in Florence, Kentucky stated in 2014,

    “If, somewhere within the Bible, I were to find a passage that said 2 + 2 = 5, I wouldn’t question what I’m reading. I would believe it, accept it as true, and then do my best to work it out and understand it.”

    This approach to apologetics involves neither logic nor interpretation — it’s simply plain old ignorance and stupidity coupled with the blind faith that somehow the Bible makes sense outside of human understanding. Worse, it makes it impossible for anyone to counter such arguments, as they lie outside the concepts of logic and rationality.




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    • DestinationReign
      DestinationReign  August 1, 2017

      Rest assured, STS does not use anything close to mainstream Christian apologetics methodologies in its defense of Scripture. In fact, the current of the book relentlessly exposes the flaws and fallacies of the typical “there is no contradiction here” apologetics. From page 65, in addressing the typical “resolutions” given by Christian apologists regarding Luke’s conflicting portrayal of the two thieves crucified with Christ:

      “Would such a resolution to conflicting testimonies hold up in the court of law of a justice system that any sane person would feel safe in trusting? Or would a parent accept such suspect rationale in an explanation from a child who is suspected of disobeying? But this is precisely the way that Christianity’s “scriptural experts” work to eliminate the notion of Bible contradictions, while condemning the skeptics.”




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  11. rivercrowman  July 31, 2017

    Bart, thanks for the heads up about this anonymous critic! I just purchased it to add to my rather small collection of books published by your (named) critics. Your book “Jesus Interrupted” pointed to three published critics in the Notes, which I always carefully read. To salve my conscience about this purchase, I promise to make a more than matching gift to your blog.




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  12. TheologyMaven  July 31, 2017

    I guess I’m as metaphysical as the next person ; , so I’ll have a read and report back.. My guesses would be that using your name specifically is a marketing ploy so that the book shows up in searches for people looking for you..The lack of a real name may have to do with the author may not have street cred in the religious studies biz. But those are just possibilities.




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  13. epicurus
    epicurus  July 31, 2017

    Dr Ehrman, a while back you said you would write a blog post on preparing to talk to the media about your books, I think it was interview preparation or something. I was intrigued by that and I hope you will be able to write a post on this sometime. Thanks! 🙂




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    • Bart
      Bart  August 1, 2017

      Yup, it’s in my mail bag. Pretty funny story. I’ll get to it eventually!




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  14. mannix  July 31, 2017

    Goethe used to publish pamphlets anonymously; when advising a friend to do likewise, he explained why: “He who publishes and signs will lead a life of writing retractions”.




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    • godspell  August 2, 2017

      There is a long and honorable tradition of writing under pseudonyms–fiction, polemics, calls for political reform or outright insurrection, and let’s not forget blogs, much as we might wish to at times. It is not necessarily and always the act of a coward, and there are times when it is easier to speak your truth under a false name.

      Not serious academic scholarship, however. Because scholars are not merely expressing opinions, though they invariably have some (which they can talk about on their own blogs now, progress). You can’t contribute seriously to the understanding of any academic subject under a false name–how do we know you’re qualified to write on this subject? How do we know you didn’t say something entirely different under a different name? How do we know what gate you are keeping and who appointed you to keep it?

      Yes, much of what you write could be evaluated (by real scholars) on its face value–or lack thereof–but you’re obviously not writing to influence other scholars, if you’re writing under a pseudonym. I suppose if we were living in some anti-theocratic dictatorship, where expressing your belief in the literal interpretation of scripture was a criminal offense, then it could be defended, but we live in a nation where fundamentalists have their own cable channels. And there are certainly many very fine biblical scholars who are believers, as Bart would be the first to avow. (I suspect very few who are believers in the absolute literal truth of every word of the bible, and I suspect there never were, at any point in history).

      One of my favorite science fiction writers was born under the name Alice Sheldon–she wrote most of her fiction under several pseudonyms, the most famous of which was James Tiptree Jr. When her true identity was exposed, she was forced to abandon her disguise, and the general consensus is that her fiction suffered as a result, became too self-conscious, though much of it was still worth reading.

      However, she was also a trained research scientist earlier in her life, who published one noteworthy paper on animal behavior, based on her study of how lab rats responded to changes in their environment.

      That she published under her real name.

      Because why wouldn’t she?




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      • DestinationReign
        DestinationReign  August 3, 2017

        Perhaps you are being too quick to assume that a scholarly approach is not devoted to the Biblical analytics of Silencing the Skeptics. The Kirkus review was just completed for the book, and while a notoriously harsh review source, there were two complimentary promotional “blurbs” included in the review. The blurbs (below) have been added to the “Editorial Reviews” section on the Amazon page for STS:

        “The Gatekeeper’s erudition is impressive, including the author’s grasp of the Bible as well as the scholarly commentary devoted to it.” “…striking and provocative scholarship…” –Kirkus Reviews

        This is shown merely to put forth validity of what the book presents, and certainly not to “boast.” There were criticisms in the review as well, which are subjective and cannot be considered invalid. However, there was one criticism included in the review that is NOT factually accurate. It is important to make note of this here, in case anyone does reference that review:

        “But the whole work is written in a gratuitously hectoring, peremptory tone, dismissing disagreement as either evil or stupid; at one point he refers to intellectual competitors as “archontic parasites.”

        It is unclear why the reviewer took this view, as nowhere in the book are disagreers described as “evil,” and the word “stupid” does not even appear in the entire manuscript! Also, the “archontic parasites” are describing higher astral forces (demons, if you will) who lead humanity astray – not “intellectual competitors.” Aside from this one sentence badly missing the mark, the review is generally a fair one.




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  15. flshrP  July 31, 2017

    The excessive hype in the description of this book indicates that reading it would be a monumental waste of time.




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  16. Wilusa  July 31, 2017

    Just for fun, I visited Wiktionary to see how they define “metaphysics.” And it can mean so many things that IMHO, it would really be meaningless as an explanation of anything else!




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  17. UCCLMrh  July 31, 2017

    This would not be one of my favorite articles. Sorry. I’m more interested in the ones actually about the Bible. Those are great!




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  18. Kirktrumb59  July 31, 2017

    Oh, I will read “STS” after I read “À la recherche du temps perdu,” “Les Misérables,” “Don Quixote” and “War and Peace.” STS high on my list. I’ll get back to you.




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    • Bart
      Bart  August 1, 2017

      Actually, I read both the Proust and the Hugo over the past couple of years. And I’m with you: there are only a certain number of reading hours in a day and days in a life!




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  19. maklaka  July 31, 2017

    I’d sooner hang myself or have my guts explode after a headlong fall than suffer through 354 pages of metaphysical mumbojumbo. :p

    Though I do hope someone else on the blog has the intestinal fortitude to trudge through it for these “ultimate challenges.”




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  20. Stephen  July 31, 2017

    Prof Ehrman

    If you access the “Look Inside” feature at the Amazon site the table of contents and a portion of the Introduction are available for preview. Interestingly I don’t think the “Gatekeeper” is attacking you as much as s/he wants to win you over to his/her point of view. Apparently you are not far from the Kingdom of Heaven but to get in you will have to accept the author’s theory. (The contradictions in the Bible were put there purposefully by a “Higher Intelligence”. The “hidden” purpose of the NT was to condemn the Christian Church!)

    The last chapter is entitled “An Open Letter to Bart Ehrman”. Seems like the publicity campaign should have included sending you a complimentary copy.




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