Mythicists, Jesus, and the Messiah

I am now able to finish off this thread dealing with my debate with Robert Price on whether Jesus existed.  I have already laid out most of the arguments that I gave during my 30-minute presentation at the debate.  As I did in that talk, I now would like to set forth the argument that seems to me to be one of the most convincing of all.

Mythicists say that the early Christians invented historical man Jesus, that there never was ...

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Speaking in Churches as an Agnostic; and Jewish Beliefs about Afterlife. Readers Mailbag August 13, 2016

 

I will be dealing with two rather wide-ranging questions in this week’s Readers Mailbag:  What is it like for me, a public agnostic/atheist, to give a talk to believers in a church?  And what did Jews believe about the afterlife in the time of Jesus?

 

QUESTION:

Dr. Ehrman, do churches hire you to lecture on Christianity knowing that you’re an atheist? Do you ever get tempted to say, “Let’s be honest here. I think all of your cherished religious beliefs are baloney, ...

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Are the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament Manuscripts Reliable? A Blast From the Past

A reader has perspicaciously pointed out to me that a particularly relevant post from three years ago (June 7, 2013) makes an important contribution to the topic I’ve been discussing about the Pentateuch.  This post is not about whether the events described in the Hebrew Bible are accurate, but whether we have accurate manuscripts of these accounts.  I talk a lot on the blog about manuscripts of the New Testament.  What about manuscripts of the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible?  My post ...

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The Death of Paul in Acts and Unrelated Topics: Readers’ Mailbag April 29, 2016

I will be dealing with three very different questions this week in my Weekly Readers’ Mailbag:  why does the book of Acts not narrate the deaths of Peter and Paul; what is the difference between the Day of Atonement and the Passover; and how I dealt with discrepancies and contradictions when I was an evangelical Christian in college.  If you have any questions for me to address, pass them along!

 

QUESTION:

If Acts was written after 75 CE why do you think ...

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The Letters of Paul: Mailbag April 1, 2016

In today’s Readers’ Mailbag, I will be answering questions connected with the writings of Paul: what is the earliest manuscript of his letters; did the author of Acts know Paul’s letters; and is Paul described as a heretic in the Dead Sea Scrolls.

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QUESTION

Bart, early in your book Misquoting Jesus (p. 4) you wrote a sudden, shocking surprise (to many born-again Christians) when you said “As we learned at Moody in one of the first courses in the curriculum, we don’t ...

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Weekly Readers’ Mailbag: January 30, 2016

In this installment of the Weekly Readers’ Mailbag, I’ll address two questions, one about the Jewishness of Jesus the other about my personal (bad) experience with editors.  If you have a question, either send it via a comment here or zap me an email.

 

QUESTION:

What is it in the NT portrayal of Jesus that tends to obscure the centrality of his Jewishness?

 

RESPONSE:

The person who asked this question mentioned the fact that it is only in fairly recent times, since the second ...

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The Prophetic Background of Jewish Apocalyptic Thought

Several members of the blog have asked me to go into greater detail to explain where Jewish apocalypticism came from.  I’m happy to do so: it’s an important topic for understanding Jesus, Paul, and other early Christians.

As is true for all religious and political ideologies, the historical background to the rise of apocalyptic thinking is complicated.  To make sense of it, I have to say something about a very different perspective which provided the matrix out of which apocalyptic thought ...

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Jesus’ Return to Life as a Resurrection

So far I have talked about the significance of the belief in Jesus’ resurrection for both Christology (the understanding of who Jesus was) and soteriology (the understanding of how salvation works).  It also was significant for eschatology (the understanding of what would happen at the end of time).

Christologically, the resurrection proved that Jesus really was the favored one of God, appearances notwithstanding.  It may have *seemed* like the crucifixion would show that Jesus was not God’s son, and certainly not ...

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Readers’ Mailbag December 18, 2015

 

It is time for my weekly Readers’ Mailbag.   If you too have a question you would like me to address – on much of anything at all! – let me know, either by sending me an email or by commenting on this post.  I’ll be dealing with two questions today, one on dealing with where apocalyptic views came from, the other with my personal experience as a born-again Christian who had been raised Episcopalian.

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QUESTION:  Was there something in ...

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The Apocalyptic Context for Jesus’ View of the Messiah

In this thread I am trying to argue that Jesus understood himself to be the messiah.  So far I have made one of my two main arguments, with the understanding that *both* arguments have to be considered in order to have a compelling case.  So the first prong doesn’t prove much on its own.  But in combination with the second argument, it makes a strong case.  The first argument is that Jesus’ followers would not have understood him as the ...

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