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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



  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.

  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.

  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. (?)

    • 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?

  4. kentvw  July 31, 2017

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

    • 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!

  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.

    • 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.

  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.

  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.

    • 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*

  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.

  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. 🙂

  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.

    • 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.”

  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.

  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.

  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! 🙂

    • Bart
      Bart  August 1, 2017

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

  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”.

    • 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?

      • 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.

  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.

  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!

  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!

  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.

    • 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!

  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.”

  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.

  21. tompicard
    tompicard  July 31, 2017

    Maybe Dana Barrett of the original GhostBusters fame.

    To whom Louis Tully most famously inquired, “I am Vinz, Vinz Clortho, Keymaster of Gozer. Volguus Zildrohar, Lord of the Sebouillia. Are you the Gatekeeper?”

  22. Stylites  July 31, 2017

    The book is not available from Amazon until August 8. The author published a previous book entitled “The Gospel Matrix.” Admittedly I have not read it, but just looking at the page devoted to it on Amazon, makes me conclude that to read or respond to anything this person writes would be a complete waste of anybody’s time. The writing appears to be pretty much incomprehensible, at least for sober persons.

  23. Elizabeth.  July 31, 2017

    The approach brings to mind the comments I’ve seen from a Christian Science teacher who sees God as a principle. On one blog he wrote that he wasn’t naming his faith tradition because readers would discount what he has to say without considering his points on their merit. (I saw his unique avatar openly discussing his tradition elsewhere.) CS would only be “newfound” in the broad historical sense, but the approach does sound similar.

  24. ronaldus67
    ronaldus67  July 31, 2017

    Very strange indeed! Well, in this case, to write anonymous maybe tells us the author is an insecure person. Or maybe there is more than just one author! Maybe it is a group of authors! Maybe this group of authors is sponsored by a group of fundamental Christians who feel cornered by your excellent work and think it is about time to do something about it. You see, when publishing a book anonymously, all kinds of speculation starts to happen 😉

  25. jdh5879  July 31, 2017

    Maybe it is Zuul the Gatekeeper of Gozer. From Ghostbusters. (Humor)

  26. seahawk41  July 31, 2017

    I have to say that the “hyped up” nature of the description leaves me cold. I’ve seen too many things in physics (my specialty) that claim to solve every problem, to take a view that no one else ever has, etc. Sounds like the same sort of thing. Plus it doesn’t have the “Look Inside” feature active at Amazon, so you can’t take a peek and get an idea of where the author is coming from.

  27. DestinationReign
    DestinationReign  July 31, 2017

    Mr. Ehrman and other blog participants,
    I will attempt to address the issues mentioned in today’s blog entry, so that there are no misunderstandings about what Silencing the Skeptics is all about. First, there are multiple reasons for which one might feel more comfortable remaining in anonymity, but it is certainly not for any reasons dealing with “operating in the shadows” as an “attacker.” In spite of what many may be used to in the arena of Bible defenders addressing critics, I can assure you that this book is in no way an attack! Let us present a few excerpts from the book, and you can decide if the “tone” of things resembles anything that could be considered condescending or ad hominem:

    “While this is obviously no small task, an educated acceptance of the Bible’s disharmonies (which Christianity lacks) is the first requirement for embracing the truths of the Gospel Matrix. The additional requisite for that task is a passionate desire for Truth. This is a quality that Mr. Ehrman, despite his headstrong opposition to the idea of divine authorship, also appears to possess. (And it is perhaps one that many other well-versed skeptics possess.) Ultimately, the goal of this undertaking is not to convert skeptics or “be right” for the mere sake of “winning the debate.” The goal is to begin a domino effect that will send much needed shockwaves throughout the entire religious spectrum, eventually culminating with the birthing of a new reality.” [PAGE 4]

    (The “Gospel Matrix,” as mentioned above, is the “exegetical method,” if you will, that is used in resolving Gospel discrepancies in STS.)


    “This drastic difference in the portrayal of Jesus Christ between John and the Synoptics has caused much head-scratching, and critics such as Mr. Ehrman have obviously concluded that such a radical change verifies that the Gospels are discordant and fallible documents. But Mr. Ehrman, who undoubtedly knows the structure and unique literary elements of each Gospel as well as anyone, has never been granted the realization that such thematic differences have been orchestrated as revelatory clues, given by the transcendent Intelligence that has authored the Gospels. And this has actually all been a part of the unfolding cosmic plan!” [PAGE 56]

    As you can see, the tone is quite respectful! Again, as it says in the book’s description, this is assuredly NOT a “Christian Apologetics” book. In fact, fundamentalist Christians will almost certainly be more affronted by the book’s subject matter than Mr. Ehrman or other critics of the Bible.

    It is much appreciated that you have even mentioned or addressed this at all, and it was important to show that this book in defense of Scripture in no way matches the conventional tone of books that wade into these territories. This is not an attempt to “refute.” STS is in full acknowledgment of the existence of literary contradictions throughout the Gospels. In fact, the entire premise of the Gospel Matrix is founded upon that very fact. Where STS differs from the conventional Christian defense is that it demonstrates that Gospel contradictions not only exist, but were placed into the Gospels for reasons of higher revelation; “divine clues,” even.

    It is also important to say that if anyone here is interested in reading this book, we have a promotional supply in stock; we will send it free of charge and postage paid to anyone here who is interested in reading it. (Supply permitting, of course. We do have a good amount on hand). This is available to Mr. Ehrman and anyone else interested.

    We will also be available over in the forums for any questions about this, and will attempt to answer all inquiries to the best of our abilities.

    Thank you again for addressing this.

    • Bart
      Bart  August 1, 2017

      Thanks for this. It’s very helpful. You seem to know a lot about the book. Are you by chance the author?

      • DestinationReign
        DestinationReign  August 1, 2017

        I was heavily involved with the composition of the book – and (unfortunately) am heavily involved with the promotion of it. (The former being a much more enjoyable experience, as evidenced by the reactions here!) Rest assured, all is cordial involving the “open challenge.” Yes, the book comes from an unusual perspective, but there is much confidence that you (or anyone interested in the issue of Biblical studies) will find it a highly enjoyable read.

        Some are making various accusations about the reasoning for the subtitle, so it’s important to clear the air. This is covered in the FAQ section regarding the book:

        Q3: Why is it so important to have Bart Ehrman address the rather peculiar method of Biblical interpretation that is put forth in Silencing the Skeptics?
        ​A3: Because generations of the same tired debate (over “divine inspiration”) between the same factions (“Christian apologists” and “Bible skeptics”) has done nothing other than cause a hopeless stalemate; a stalemate regarding not only the debate itself, but of true Biblical perception. This has created the desperate need for a viable “third voice” to enter into the predicament, and that is precisely what Silencing the Skeptics provides. This voice, however, will merely be a hollow cry in a desolate wilderness without the acknowledgement of a respected authority in the field of Biblical analytics.

        Also important:

        ​Q4: Is STS an attack on Bible skeptics and other critics of Scripture?
        A4: In no way is this the case. In fact, the revelatory aspects of Gospel Matrix exposition are likely to be more of an affront to fundamentalist Christians and other dogmatic Bible readers than to skeptics and critics. STS ​challenges Bible detractors primarily by way of exposing the fallacies and inefficiencies of conventional Bible apologetics. In essence, critics and skeptics have been “punching at ghosts” by even engaging in debates with conventional Christian apologists.

        Once again, your acknowledgment of the matter is much appreciated. There was no intention to try to “sell a book” in the blog replies on the Bart Ehrman website, so your post was highly unexpected and much appreciated to provide a forum to discuss it. Cheers.

        • Bart
          Bart  August 3, 2017

          Can you tell us why the author doesn’t name him or herself?

          • DestinationReign
            DestinationReign  August 3, 2017

            No reasoning beyond a general lack of desire for any type of personal recognition – positive or negative. Keeping the focus on the message as opposed to the messenger, so to speak.

          • Bart
            Bart  August 4, 2017

            My sense is that the decision is self-defeating, creating more questions than necessary and making people highly suspicious (as seen by the comments just here on the blog). What many people will think is that the person has not revealed his/her name because doing so would make it possible for anyone to discover that it is someone with no background, no training, no expertise, and no credentials! Whether that’s right or wrong!

        • J--B  August 4, 2017

          According to this description, it seems to me a more accurate title for the book may have been “Silencing the Apologists and Skeptics”. Of course that’s not as alliterative.

      • Jana  August 1, 2017

        You might have nailed it. From the samples, you can’t get to page 56 that’s been lifted above. I couldn’t find “promotional supply” either and will look more carefully and who is the “we” in “we have” ? 🙂 Moving on .. Once again, I’ve got a lot of your blogs to catch up …

    • JoeWallack  August 1, 2017

      “thematic differences have been orchestrated as revelatory clues, given by the transcendent Intelligence that has authored the Gospels. And this has actually all been a part of the unfolding cosmic plan!”

      When dealing with reality the what (in this case contradictions) is primary and the why is secondary. The GateKeeper (GeK) wants to go opposite (a sign of Satan) in order to explain why God sacrificed himself to Himself and conquered death by dying in order to end his Eternal Law. I suggest correspondents here just take this in in the proper Spirit, that of entertainment and not truth, like Ann Coulter in Politics, Fox in News and Trump as President. Showtime!: http://thenewporphyry.blogspot.com/2017/07/the-amazin-kristkin.html

      • JoeWallack  August 9, 2017

        I’ve skimmed Silencing The Skeptics and I found it to proof-text from The Jewish Bible, take verses out of context, ignore problems more significant than the points it attempts to make and than make conclusions not supported by its own claimed evidence. A perfect representation of orthodox Christianity. JK (not “just kidding” but “Jesus Krist!).

        Seriously, as after hosting Dr. Carrier’s article on the Ending of GMark, http://www.errancywiki.com/index.php?title=Legends2 and debating the evil & wicked James Snapp on the subject I consider myself the foremost authority the world has ever known on the subject so I was especially interested in what The GateKeeper (GeK) had to say about the ending of GMark. The issue of the ending of GMark is the biggest historical problem for Christianity as its primary selling point has always been supposed known historical witness to a post dead Jesus. Yet the issue (so to speak) of a critical analysis of the ending indicates that GMark is the original Gospel narrative and originally lacked any narrative of known historical witness to a post dead Jesus. Even worse, subsequent Christianity forged endings to GMark with such narrative.

        Chapter 5 of the Book is titled, “Comparing the Gospel Endings”. The Chapter is maybe 4 pages and regarding the GMark ending concludes with “brought resolution to the peculiar issue of Mark’s contemporary ending being a later addition to the original manuscript.” The supposed support for this conclusion apparently lies somewhere within the specific verses cited in the Chapter, John 21, Matt. 28, Luke 24, Rev. 3. The only rational response I can think of to the presentation of theses verses at random is “Bingo!”. The only mention of GMark in this Chapter is first, The Gek’s claim that the ending of GMatthew is the reason for the ascension in GMark’s “updated” ending. Gekee than claims that GLuke’s post resurrection instructions are significantly different than GMark’s (without noting that it is forged GMark) and explains (poorly) that the difference is intentional and is meant to communicate different things to different groups of believers. The third and final invocation of GMark in this Chapter is a summarizing claim that each Gospel is intended for a different phase of Christianity and GMark specifically was intended for the Christian Church age.

        Under The Difficult Reading Troll Principle it can be difficult to distinguish between a Troll and an Apologist as the better the Troll the more it sounds like an Apologist. Here, my guess is that The Gekster is a Believer and the basic spin of the book is that the contradictions in the Christian Bible are (mis)explained as consisting more of positive evidence for Christianity than negative as their explanation is something other than what a rational explanation would yield, namely whatever The Gekmeister wants them to mean.

        The book is pure unadulteress nonsense and more importantly has the entertainment value of Linda Sarsour promoting Sharia Law. It is best avoided like Luke 19:27 and only raises the question of why Professor Ehrman had any interest in it in the first place.


        • DestinationReign
          DestinationReign  August 10, 2017

          It is unclear whether this quasi-comical synopsis of STS is intentional satire, or a serious attempt at a critique. At any rate, it is certainly inaccurate! The problem arises in the first sentence of the critique – that you’ve “skimmed” STS. One cannot simply “bounce around” in it and expect what it says to make any real sense (as with any book).

          Your primary point of criticism centers around Mark’s ending, and the (intentionally) brief chapter focused on the Gospel endings that was added to enhance many points established BEFORE that chapter. In fact, the main exposition concerning Mark’s late addition comes one chapter BEFORE “Comparing the Gospel Endings;” a chapter that was evidently skimmed over! (And that exposition itself will be unclear to the reader unless the book has been read properly from the beginning.) From pages 123-124 of the chapter PRIOR to “Comparing the Gospel Endings,” it is said:

          “What we have discussed here in the opening of this section has prepared us for what we will now present about the ending of Mark’s Gospel. Many modern Bible translations include footnoted information in Mark’s closing section, denoting that the concluding twelve verses of this Gospel are believed to have been added to the original contents at a much later date than Mark’s original composition. This of course has prompted Bible critics to put forth the opinion that Mark’s addendum-ending “does not belong.” But the correctness of that assertion is only relative to the perspective from which the Bible is analyzed. “Historically” speaking, from the perspective that the Bible was written and compiled through the thoughts and orchestrations of mere mortals, the skeptics are likely 100% correct. Mark’s added ending does not belong, as it was almost certainly written by an author having no direct association with Mark’s primary penman. It was added to the “official version” of Mark long after its initial completion. But we must understand what Divine Intelligence is telling us through its late addition, and what is being told to us can easily be understood through the prism of Gospel Matrix Truth.”

          The content then goes on to explain the higher reasoning behind Mark’s late addition, regardless of precisely “who” added it, or “when.”

          Mr. Ehrman can certainly be empathized with regarding people critiquing his books without having properly read them, or even read them at all!

          • JoeWallack  August 11, 2017

            It ain’t no Mystries,
            Whether it’s politics, religion or Histries.
            The thing you gotta know iz,
            Everything is show biz.

            Gek explains that the support for his/her/their/its conclusion in Chapter 5 is in Chapter 4. A confession that Chapter 5 does not support its conclusion. In the real world this is the point when the prosecution says, “No further questions your honor”. Since we are not in the real world here though, Gek is sending us Back to the Future (Conclusion). As Yosha Barra said, “Sounds like deja Jew all over again.”

            The Gekster claims in Chapter 4 that the original ending of GMark (16:8) represents one supposed era of Christianity and the forged ending of GMark (16:9-20) represents a different era of Christianity. In the prior post Geekee apparently claims that the assertion that the different endings of GMark in Chapter 4 represent different eras of Christianity support the conclusion in Chapter 5 that the different endings of GMark represent different eras of Christianity. The claimed significance of this observation is that like PYahWay Hersonofman, “He meant to do that.” Blissfully ignored are the other forged endings of GMark presumably representing the Christian era of Blissful Ignorance.

            Of course I would like to add The Gek to my list of evidence against The LE as original at http://earlywritings.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=294&hilit=Afraid and having an anonymous authority as support for an anonymous verse is ironically tempting, but as The Bully said to the principal in the classic Three O’clock High, “I’m afraid I just can’t do that sir.”


    • TheologyMaven  August 1, 2017

      Yes, you can send one to me. Please let me know how to get in touch with you.

      • DestinationReign
        DestinationReign  August 3, 2017

        Excellent. You can send an email to the below two email contacts, specifying you’d like to receive the paperback version of Silencing the Skeptics, and include the address to ship it to. We will have it sent out within approximately one week of receiving the request, and notify you when it is sent.




    • dragonfly  August 1, 2017

      I haven’t read the book and I won’t because I’m not interested, but I have no problem at all with someone writing their theology in a book. The author obviously has strong enough beliefs they feel the need to write a book about them. Fair enough. But if it is how you describe it, then I would guess no NT scholar would agree with it. Not Crossan, Levine, Spong, Allison, Wright, White, Price, or anyone else. So my question is, why single out Ehrman? For that matter why drag anyone at all into this? Just state your views and why you believe them, and if someone else disagrees… let them disagree.

  28. gavriel  July 31, 2017

    The author has , on the web, made public the Introduction and Chapter One of another book , “The Gospel Matrix”. It takes ten minutes to read, which makes it overwhelmingly clear that there is no particular reason to read anything else from this author.

    • DestinationReign
      DestinationReign  August 1, 2017

      TGM was written in more of a “laborious” style than STS, which is much more straightforward and fast-paced. (Although TGM has received favorable reviews by those who have read it – few as they may be.)

  29. gwayersdds  July 31, 2017

    Sounds to me like the conspiracy theorists are at it again. Either that or a latter day gnostic who has that special insider information to explain things that scholars have been unable to understand or reconcile. I might read the book if only to try to “know your enemy” better.

    • DestinationReign
      DestinationReign  August 1, 2017

      No enemies here. And in case you missed the earlier post, we do have a set number of promotional copies in stock to freely send out to interested parties.

  30. anthonygale  July 31, 2017

    Perhaps the anonymity is meant to strengthen the claim that this is a “much needed third voice,” which implies the author is more objective than you would think if they identified themselves. But that is only speculation.

    Do you read all the reviews of your books on Amazon? Despite liking your books and agreeing with you most of the time, I often enjoy reading the one stars. I don’t mean to disrespect anyone for their thoughts and beliefs, but some of them are raving or downright silly. How do you respond to negative reviews? Find them useful? Laugh? Get offended? A combination of reactions? Not care?

    • Bart
      Bart  August 1, 2017

      I’m afraid I only read the first couple of reviews, once the book is out, but no more. BTW, there are some reviews that come out within minutes of the book being published and open to review, which shows that people often review books (usually negatively) that they haven’t even read!

  31. Seeker1952  July 31, 2017

    Can you recommend books or authors which focus on trying to understand what the original Gospel writers were trying to convey and what their early readers/hearers probably understood. I assume that would include consideration of the authors’ worldviews and backgrounds, social situations, references to the OT, literary purposes, etc. That’s different from trying to determine what really happened. It’s been a while since I read your “Introduction to the NT.” As best as I can recall you do some of that, eg, how the synoptics are unified by the Kingdom of God theme and also how the evangelists have differing views of who Jesus was, but I’m thinking you also focus pretty heavily on the historical Jesus. I guess I’m trying to understand what they were trying to tell us without wondering whether it really happened. I find the Gospels very puzzling and hard to understand even when one doesn’t worry about what’s historical.

    • Bart
      Bart  August 1, 2017

      Yes, that’s exactly what my book is about (The New Testament: A Historical Introduction to the Early Christian Writings). I go Gospel by Gospel to explore its background, author, meaning, message, and so on — without any reference at all to the Historical Jesus. After doing all that, only then do I have a couple of chapters on what we can say about Jesus himself. At the end of all the Gospel chapters is a bibliography of other works to read along the same lines by authors with a variety of perspectives. So that would be a good place to turn.

  32. Jana  July 31, 2017

    Dr. Ehrman, I read what samples were offered including an open letter directed towards you which is more of a rebuttal challenge … yes that’s right. My humble advice … I wouldn’t bother. I wouldn’t waste your time. He (or she) speaks of a Divine Intelligence permeating the Bible and responsible for the Bible’s grand design including all scriptural errors (yes this is what he/she writes). Oh and it hasn’t sold a single copy despite the author ” The Gatekeeper’s” (I mean really now “The Gatekeeper.” I would find fault in his/her selection of such a pretentious and unimaginative pseudonym ??? !!!) attempt to trade on your stellar reputation and prestigious name.

  33. kadmiral
    kadmiral  July 31, 2017

    This has to be a joke, right??? — “Through highly effectual and unprecedented Biblical exposition…” lol

  34. zipzom  August 1, 2017

    I reckon “The Gatekeeper” seeks an acknowledgement for their work by the most respected and distinguished Bart Ehrman to lend credibility to their ideas. No one would really bother with the book if they actually knew who was the author that wrote it. Somehow this reminds me of your book “Forged” where it was common for authors in early Christianity to write in the name of God pseudonymously.

  35. RonaldTaska  August 1, 2017

    The Apologetics Press website is devoted to harmonizing “apparent” Bible contradictions so I, at first, thought that this book must be similar, but then came the term “metaphysical” which left me with no clue. I will see if I can get my Kindle to function.

  36. RonaldTaska  August 1, 2017

    The argument that God put contradictions in the Bible on purpose reminds me of the argument that I have often heard that God or the Devil created and distributed fossils on purpose.

    • DestinationReign
      DestinationReign  August 3, 2017

      It truly is (what is referred to in the book as) a divine irony. The contradictions are actually riddles to be solved through a particular method of Gospel analysis.

  37. Gabe_Grinstead  August 1, 2017

    To be fair, every person has a right to post what they believe. There was a time when I thought atheists were crazy and dismissed them just like most everyone here (including me, I must admit) is doing to this particular author. What I am saying is that just because we dismiss something doesn’t mean that it isn’t true. It just means that we are not of the mind to inquire about certain topics in our present condition. As we time goes by, we learn and experience things that can allow for topics that we once rejected as absurd, to be explored with great interest. That said, I only post this in fairness to the author as a human being. While I myself cannot accept his/her approach at this point, it does not follow that he/she is wrong, and that I am right, just because of my disposition. If someone wants to know my knee-jerk reaction, I posted it in the forums section of this site. I am quite cynical, but I also like to be fair, as much as possible. My point: Less ridicule, more acceptance for differing views.

    • llamensdor  August 3, 2017

      Hey, Gatekeeper already got what he wanted. We’re talking about him, Bart has responded directly. Gatekeeper now has some quotes he can use (however dishonestly), e.g., “Bart Ehrman, world famous author/theologian, has commented about my book, saying…..blah,blah, blah

      • Bart
        Bart  August 4, 2017

        I don’t think I’ve said anything positive about it! Only that I don’t understand why he didn’t attach his name to it and that I don’t have time to read it!

    • DestinationReign
      DestinationReign  August 3, 2017

      Thank you for these profitable and accurate insights. Almost anything new and “outside the box” will seem like crazy talk before investigation is given to the unfamiliar propositions. This is especially true in the realm of Biblical theology. This is touched upon on pages 115-116:

      “If you are still resisting this, whether Christian or skeptic, it may be wise to weigh the possibility that all of this just happens to “coincidentally” fit together through a psychotic or bizarre scriptural interpretation, against the possibility that unprecedented Truth is really being revealed here.”

  38. Wilusa  August 1, 2017

    Okay…now, probably like many others, I’m returning after having read DestinationReign’s post.

    As I understand it, the book claims a “Higher Intelligence” caused the composition of a Bible filled with discrepancies, that could only be understood by people “granted the realization” that the discrepancies were deliberate. People who – the author hopes – would then go on to put all the pieces of a puzzle together, and arrive at some “higher truth”? It seems like a Gnostic idea.

    My thought: Almost *anything* is *theoretically possible*! Anything beyond “Cogito ergo sum” is actually a working hypothesis. We proceed – in our lives and in our beliefs – based on what we perceive as most probable. And when we’re confronted with possible explanations for something (anything), we’ve learned from experience that the simplest explanation is usually the best. (The simplest explanation of my thinking I’m typing this is that I really am typing it.)

    • DestinationReign
      DestinationReign  August 3, 2017

      What is proposed and presented in STS can be seen to align much more with traditional “Gnostic” views than mainstream Christian views. In later chapters, it is demonstrated how the Bible itself reveals that Yahweh is not the supreme creator God, and the time has arrived for him to stop being upheld as such. It is imperative to humanity that this is done.

  39. SidDhartha1953  August 1, 2017

    There’s a bug in your blog somewhere. When I try to log in from a blog post, I get a “security breach” error message. When I click Home, I can log in without incident.

  40. Greg Matthews
    Greg Matthews  August 1, 2017

    I believe the person who has this Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/people/Elijahs-Portal/100008825833159) has something to do with “The Gatekeeper”. I was Googling the first book this so-called gatekeeper wrote and one of the search results is that Facebook page. The Google summary says: “Contributing author to the book The Gospel Matrix: Unveiling the Bible’s Hidden Condemnation of Christianity.” While Google shows this in their summary that’s apparently been removed from the Facebook page though.

    I would suspect that in the friends list of this person are others who “contributed”.

    They are quite the eclectic bunch with many UFO-ologists in his friend’s list.

    • DestinationReign
      DestinationReign  August 3, 2017

      That is the page that was set up for promotion of the first book, The Gospel Matrix. There has not been much upkeep on it, however, as social media marketing and promotion is not a strong suit here! And yes, friends of all persuasions are welcome, if not ESPECIALLY those with unconventional views of reality. There are also “conventional Christians” amongst the friends list as well.

      Again, that list would be much larger and even more diverse if more devotion was given to the upkeep of the page.

  41. Gary  August 1, 2017

    Hi Dr. Ehrman,

    Have you heard of this Christian book: “The Resurrection Fact: Responding to Modern Critics” by Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod theologians, John Bombaro and Adam Francisco? You are one of the critics taken to task in this book. Here is a comment about you by Francisco on page 57:

    “He [Ehrman} rules out the possibility of a miracle by defining it as the most improbable event and restricting historians to consider only what he deems probable APART from consideration of the evidence.”

    Rev. Bombaro is my former pastor. I deconverted from Christianity after reading three of your books. You are seen as the Anti-Christ among the clergy of the LCMS. 🙂

    Keep up the good work! You are helping many people see conservative Christianity for what it really is: a superstition…and a dangerous superstition at that.


    • Bart
      Bart  August 3, 2017

      Ah, hadn’t heard of it. But it’s completely false to say that I rule out the possibility of miracle in any of my writings. One wonders why critics don’t *read* what they’re attacking!! Still, I’m not surprised I’m not a favorite author among the clergy of the LCMS!

      • webo112
        webo112  August 10, 2017

        Anyone that has truly read your works , or heard your debates, lectures and courses, knows that you are willing to concede that miracles can exist… “but by their very nature, they are the least probable explanation..etc”
        I am paraphrasing.
        ..not too mention that you also (wisely) point out that IF one is to allow a miracle to be an explanation for an event etc, then they must also allow for other (non Christian) miracles (and miracle workers) to be accepted.

  42. Rick
    Rick  August 1, 2017

    The authors name may be anonymous because he would not stir any controversy on his own…. his game appears to be to sell more books and make more bucks by baiting you into creating controversy to help sell them!

  43. doug  August 1, 2017

    The description says the book “fearlessly… confronts many of his (viable) criticisms”, yet the person won’t even put his or her name on the book. I laughed out loud when I read that description.

  44. Hastings
    Hastings  August 2, 2017

    I did not read all of the comments so please forgive me if someone has already supplied this information. I checked the copyright page of this book which says Copyright 2017 The Gatekeeper (Reign,D.) Although I do not know if this is the same person, D. Reign is a Christian rapper/musician who tells that he found Jesus (not the God of his parents church) while in drug rehab. My thought this is the same person. Information is available about him at multiple sites.

    • DestinationReign
      DestinationReign  August 3, 2017

      Just so there is no confusion, “Reign, D.” is not the person you speak of there. It is a byname for “Destination Reign,” the promotional campaign for the book. The promotional free copies that are sent out are addressed from Destination Reign.

  45. DestinationReign
    DestinationReign  August 3, 2017

    I have made the best attempts at keeping up with everything here. Please let me know if anyone has questions or concerns that may have been missed.

  46. jonathantweet  August 4, 2017

    Congratulations on being the go-to expert to beat.

  47. twiskus  August 6, 2017

    I agree; lost me at “metaphysical” explaination to why the Bible is true. This is a classic case of using theology to write your history, not using history to write your theology.

    Bart, your question about why this is written anonymously? I think it’s done so the author doesn’t have a chance of being researched and discounted based on his/her credentials. Also, I’m sure they feel it’s more “spiritually mysterious”; like God authored it through someone or something.

    • DestinationReign
      DestinationReign  August 8, 2017

      As was mentioned in a previous reply, the term “metaphysical” does not need to be frowned upon by either believers or non-believers, especially if any validity is given to Jesus’ own Biblical teachings; they are primarily expressed in parables. Parables themselves ARE metaphysical; meaning, teachings expressed in literalistic terms that actually hold symbolisms of higher spiritual Truth. (Think of the term META-phor.)

      An appropriate definition of the prefix “meta” is:
      a prefix added to the name of a subject and designating another subject that analyzes the original one but at a more abstract, higher level

      As Wikipedia conveys it:
      Meta (from the Greek preposition and prefix meta- (μετά-) meaning “after”, or “beyond”) is a prefix used in English to indicate a concept which is an abstraction behind another concept, used to complete or add to the latter.

      As such, “meta-PHYSICAL” is an entirely accurate way to describe Christ’s teachings. Notice:
      Then they understood that he was not telling them to guard against the yeast used in bread, but against the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees. (Matthew 16:12)

  48. twiskus  August 6, 2017

    Taken from a review:

    “The Gatekeeper (The Gospel Matrix, 2015) adopts a different exegetical approach. The author concedes that there are, in fact, numerous inconsistencies but claims that they are all purposeful, inserted in order to point audiences in the direction of a higher truth. To understand the experiential value of these incongruities, a literal interpretation must be discarded in favor of one that accepts the allegorical character of the Bible.”

  49. Clive  August 10, 2017

    The obvious advantage of being anonymous is that it stops ad hominem arguments based on your education, background, or affiliations. We can only address the arguments he/she makes and not the level of her understanding of the source material. On that point, what can be read (without forking out £3.72 and waiting ’til the 8th of August), reveals the general thrust of their argument: ….’The gospels validation, as divinely composed, is through their inconsistencies and disharmony. God is playing a ‘game’, or presenting a riddle to mankind, as an esoteric message. Only revealed now to this author and his believers. Basically, the bible is like the parables which Jesus taught; designed to reveal (to the disciples), and obscure (to unbelievers), the true nature of god. The bible is more important for spiritual growth, and enlightenment, than history, or what physically or literally happened (they are Kerygma and not history). Contradictions and discrepancies don’t dismantle the gospels’ validity (as inspired), it substantiates it. Trying to prove the truthfulness, whilst ignoring hidden spiritual truths, is like swallowing the camel to strain out a gnat. Ignoring contradictions, and inconsistencies, is claiming to see whilst blind. The bible does not ‘clearly teach’ anything about heavenly truth (it requires spiritual insightful interpretation of living parables), it is a divinely inspired transmission, ordained to collectively awaken man to his true ‘spiritual potentiality’ (?) at this very time. There is a purpose and pattern behind the gospel contradictions, including the spurious additions and alterations.’… I’m beginning to think Deepak Chopra, at this stage, but that would be too funny. It is an interesting claim but impossible to validate or refute. It is a possible way of avoiding the discrepancies and inconsistencies, dismissed as divinely inspired, to obscure true belief without defining what true belief is, in order to inspire ‘spirituality’ (whatever is meant by that term). Gnosticism anyone? The full text will not be on my reading list after Spinoza and Reimarus.

    • DestinationReign
      DestinationReign  August 15, 2017

      Your post is interesting, in that it appears you have read at least the early portions of “The Gospel Matrix: Unveiling the Bible’s Hidden Condemnation of Christianity.”

  50. Machaon  August 14, 2017

    It is an extremely grandiose claim that, in two thousand years of Christian history and polemic, this particular book is claimed to be “the boldest and most revolutionary defense of Scripture ever presented.”
    One becomes desensitised to rhetorical hyperbole, but that is truly over the top!

    • Bart
      Bart  August 15, 2017


      • DestinationReign
        DestinationReign  August 15, 2017

        It is, admittedly, a grandiose claim, but the substance of the book’s content backs up the claim. (In this is the importance of anonymity for the project – to keep the focus on the message as opposed to the messenger, lest it come across as glory-seeking.)

        While there have been a few evidences of a smear campaign against the book in these early stages (a one-star, one-sentence [and inaccurate] review on Amazon claiming the book attacks Mr. Ehrman, by someone who did not even purchase the book [or read it, obviously], was removed by Amazon), the professional editorial reviews of the book have thus far praised its scholarly veracity. Kirkus reviews emphasized the book’s scholarship, and the reviews are now coming in from Readers’ Favorite, which likewise offer glowing praise. This shows that the grandiose claims of what “Silencing the Skeptics” accomplishes are more than mere hyperbole. From Reader’s Favorite:

        “He — I can’t tell if it’s a “he” or a “she” because of the anonymity of authorship— shows great mastery of the scriptures and readers are left in no doubt that this is a well-researched work, masterfully articulated and so brilliantly organized it will be delightful to read.”

        From another review with the same review staff:

        “The author has painstakingly taken some of the scriptures, words, passages and verses to help explain what Ehrman may consider a contradiction or lacking in explanation. It’s like a carefully matched chess game of precision and strategic prowess in how The Gatekeeper is making its case”

        Again, this is not “horn-tooting.” This is merely making a case for the validity of the book’s revelations in the midst of the many unfounded accusations regarding it.

  51. heronewb  August 29, 2017

    There is probably less than a 1/50 chance that the author is female, so I will just refer to him as him. A lot of people are commenting along the lines of “if the author remains aunomymous, then his booked isn’t worth my time to read”, which doesn’t make too much sense. What baring could being anonymous have on the validity of the claims being made? Further, one doesn’t need to waste time reading an entire book to get the gist of the quality his arguments have or don’t have. Someone can probably just read his take on a few topics and then report back with whether it merits a responses or not.

    • DestinationReign
      DestinationReign  September 16, 2017

      You are definitely correct about anonymity having no baring on the validity of the book’s contents. But the revelatory significance of STS is systemic and methodical, meaning that a reading of the entire book in its sequential layout is essential to understanding the full magnitude of its revelations. Christianity, as a religious establishment, MUST be dismantled. And that will only come through a “revamping” of mass-understanding of what the Gospels are actually saying.

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