Ehrman-Bass Debate Did the Historical Jesus Claim to be Divine

On September 18th, 2015 I had a debate with Justin Bass on the question “Did the Historical Jesus Really Claim to Be God?”  As you might imagine, I argued that the answer is “Decidedly No.”  He argued “Decidedly Yes.”  The debate was held at the Collin College Preston Ridge Conference Center  in Frisco, TX.  The event was hosted by “1042 Church” http://www.1042church.com where Justin Bass is the lead pastor.

Most of the audience came from members of Justin’s congregation and ...

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An Irritating Criticism: My View of Paul’s View of Christ

QUESTION:

Below is one Christian’s comment about your position on Galatians 4:14.  How would you respond to this criticism:    “The question to ask of this is why make Galatians 4:14, with an interpretation not readily accepted by even non-Christian scholars, the lynchpin? What was it about this verse that made it the focal point, especially when Paul isn’t really making a Christological argument there? Why not statements like Philippians 2 which is quoted? Note also that Philippians ends with every knee ...

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On “Knowing” the Original Words of the NT

I have been discussing the question of whether we can know that we have reconstructed the original text of the New Testament at every point – or even every important point.   To me the answer is self-evidently, No, of course not.   Many of my conservative evangelical critics think that I’m being overly skeptical, that since we have thousands of manuscripts of the NT, we can surely know better what the authors of the NT said than any other authors from ...

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Arguments that We Have the Original Text

When I have public debates with scholars over whether we can know the original text of the New Testament or not, I stake out the claim that we cannot, and they stake out the claim that we probably can.  Part of my argument is always the one I started to outline in the previous post.   If we take something like the Gospel of Mark, our first complete manuscript of Mark is 300 years after Mark was first produced and put ...

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Contradictions and Silly Claims by Textual Critics

A couple of posts ago I mentioned a comment that I used to make (and still would be happy to make) that rankled some of my colleagues and has led some of my conservative evangelical critics to claim that I’m contradicting myself and can’t figure out what to think.   Or, rather, they claim that I present one view to scholars and a different view to popular readers in order to sensationalize the truth in order to sell books, presumably so ...

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Authors Who “Just Want to Sell Books”

Sometimes I hear someone criticize me, or another author, by saying “he just wants to sell books.”     That has always struck me as a very strange thing to say.   Of course I want to sell books.  Why else would I write books?   Would I want to write books so no one would read them?  Has there ever been an author on the face of the planet who wanted to write a book that would not be read?

What people actually *mean*by ...

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On Debating a Fundamentalist

READER COMMENT:

I just came across a post by Kyle Butt regarding your debate with him in 2014:
http://www.apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=12&article=4844
He accuses you of “deception” and dishonesty. He says it is not credible that you spent much time writing books and going to debates, if it weren’t for the motive of convincing and persuading people that the Christian God doesn’t exist. He names you as someone who “has done as much or more than any single individual in modern ...

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Defending Myself

Several times a week I get emails from people who ask what it’s like to be the subject of such vitriolic attack by those who don’t agree with my views.   Or they express regret and sorrow that I am so often or viciously attacked.  Or they want me to stand up for myself and reply to my attackers.   Almost always, when I get one of these emails, I think to myself:  Am I being attacked by someone???  Huh.   *That’s* interesting.

The ...

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A Better Kind of Fundamentalist

In today’s post I’d like to go back to that intriguing little article by Louis Markos in the journal First Things, which he entitled “Errant Ehrman.”   If you’ll recall from my post last week, Markos starts the article by indicating that he felt “great pity” for me because I was the wrong kind of fundamentalist back when I was a conservative Christian.   My problem, he indicates, is that I applied modern standards to decide whether the Bible was inerrant.  Here ...

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Why I’m To Be Pitied for Having Been the Wrong Kind of Fundamentalist

Several readers of this blog have pointed me to an article in the conservative journal First Things;  the article (a review of a book by the  evangelical scholar Craig Blomberg) was written by Louis Markos, an English professor at Houston Baptist University.  The title is called “Ehrman Errant.”   I must say, that did not sound like a promising beginning.

I had never heard of Louis Markos before – had certainly never met him, talked with him about myself or my life, ...

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