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Interview for The Skeptic Fence Show

On April 20th, 2014, I did a Skype interview for The Skeptic Fence Show, in which we discuss my personal background in the faith, talk about some of my debates, and, especially, deal with questions related to my book, “How Jesus Became God: The Exaltation of a Jewish Preacher from Galilee.”

The interviewers were  Joe, TJ, Paul and Drew. The main website for the show can be found at http://www.skepticfence.com/

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Comments

  1. Avatar
    JBSeth1  May 18, 2014

    Hi Bart,

    That was a great interview. Thanks for sharing it.

    I don’t know why this had never occurred to me before but I particularly found your comments enlightening regarding, if Jesus really did walk on water or resurrected people, why is it that more people didn’t know about him?

    John

  2. Avatar
    Wilusa  May 18, 2014

    Very enjoyable!

    Say, I wish you’d tell us something about Craig Evans’ chapter of *How God Became Jesus*, and how you’d respond to it. I’ve read that his is the one good chapter.

    Here’s a question I have. He supposedly cites archeological evidence that some crucified men were buried. Is this just a case of their having been chucked into common graves, and Evans’ having thought you were denying *that*? I know you’ve said you believe Jesus’s remains finally were buried, somehow, maybe in an unmarked grave with the other two men executed that day – just not given “decent burial” in a known tomb. But sometimes the distinction between “burial” and “decent burial” isn’t made clearly enough.

    • Bart Ehrman
      Bart Ehrman  May 19, 2014

      Yes, I’m going to devote a series of posts to Craig’s chapter; I think it’s problematic for lots of reasons. But it’s the best response one can imagine, so I need to respond to it. I’m out of town for a couple more weeks though, and need to wait till I have time to put some effort into it.

      • Avatar
        Wilusa  May 20, 2014

        I admit I’m most interested in the events surrounding Jesus’s crucifixion and burial. Not because I want to think he was resurrected, but just because there are so many (for me) intriguing questions!

        Jerusalem was the principal city of Roman Palestine, but the Prefect was based in Caesarea. Why? Was that sort of separation the norm in Roman provinces, or was it unique to Palestine – a tradition established pre-Pilate, to minimize antagonism between the Jews and the non-Jewish Prefect? Were executions throughout the Empire normally performed in the principal city (to be seen by most people) or wherever the Prefect was, if they were two different places? All significant in considering whether an execution in Jerusalem – with the Prefect sure to leave town in a matter of hours – was unusual enough that an admirer of Jesus could plausibly have claimed his body (perhaps via a bribe).

        Is it plausible that there could have been a tradition – predating Pilate – that in Jerusalem, crucifixions could not be performed or bodies left on crosses on the Sabbath? In which case, death would if necessary be hastened for men crucified on the day *before* the Sabbath? That would explain Jesus’s having been severely scourged – and later, the Roman’s piercing him with a spear to confirm that he was dead. If the authorities planned to leave him hanging on the cross for a week or so, why would they *care* exactly when he died?

        Or is the “spear” story a later legend? For that matter, is it even possible that there weren’t two other men being crucified that day – that Jesus’s followers were already obsessed with the number three? (In some versions of his story, he had three decades of private life, three years of public life. And then, three hours on the cross and parts of three days in the tomb.) If there were two other men, actual guerrilla fighters, might one of *them* have rated the central cross?

        And if those female followers of Jesus did find the tomb empty, might the disciples’ reaction – and all that came later – have been influenced by their being *mortified* at having gone into hiding and not made that first important “find” themselves?

        • Bart Ehrman
          Bart Ehrman  May 21, 2014

          I think the governor wanted to be on the coast. And no, almost certainly Romans did not give a toss about Jewish rules about bodies left on the crosses for Sabbath (or nightfall).

  3. Avatar
    nichael  May 18, 2014

    Dr Ehrman
    Let me ask the one question that comes immediately to mind after watching the video above:

    By what factor would the number of interviews you give be reduced if the host were required to pay you the simple courtesy of having actually read your book beforehand?

    • Bart Ehrman
      Bart Ehrman  May 19, 2014

      Ha!! A significant factor indeed!

      • Avatar
        nichael  May 19, 2014

        Perhaps it would be useful to consider something like the following in cases like this:

        You would pre-record a set of typically pithy, concise, insightful answers. You then send the interviewer a list of questions to read; something like “Please summarize chapter one for us.”, “Please summarize chapter two for us,”, “How about that chapter three, what’s that all about?”. He would then play the tape.

        Might save the interviewer the effort of needing to come up with these questions on his own, while freeing up a lot of your valuable time.

  4. Avatar
    RecoveringCalvinist  May 19, 2014

    Entertaining video, thanks for posting! Does anyone else find it humorous that Bart was interviewed by fidgety young hipsters on 4-20?

  5. Avatar
    willow  May 20, 2014

    I love these interviews; but I love the debates, um, much more better! 😉

  6. Avatar
    RonaldTaska  May 20, 2014

    This is a terrific interview which summarizes a lot of good stuff. The four “dudes” (Joe, TJ, Paul, and Drew) who interviewed you asked much better questions than one would have guessed from their appearance (one wearing a ball cap, two wearing sunglasses, several drinking unknown beverages, and TJ eating French Fries I think.) I could not quite hear who the name of the other mythicist, besides Carrier, who has publically ridiculed you. What is his name? I am familiar with the books and blog of Robert Price and read his blog regularly and find it to be quite helpful. I have read some of Carrier, but not much. Thanks.

  7. Avatar
    dikelmm  May 24, 2014

    You have said you are an historian, not a theologian. You have defined how your discipline works – how to decide the probability that something actually happened. So what do think about theology – is there any standard method to decide issues? Are most schools of theology basically authoritarian? Is it all really determining the number of angels on the head of a pin? In your opinion will theology some day be seen as intellectualized superstition?

    • Bart Ehrman
      Bart Ehrman  May 24, 2014

      Actually, serious theology is intellectually very demanding and rigorous. The best way to think of it maybe is that it is doing serious philosophy with certain assumptions about the world and ultimate reality. If you want to read some real theology, try for example Rowan Williams or Herbert McCabe or Fergus Kerr. Really smart, astute, and deeply thought-provoking.

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