Why It Didn’t Happen that Way. The Stories of Jesus’ Birth

In the previous post I began to discuss (as a review for many readers of the blog) the historical problems with the birth narratives of Matthew and Luke.  The point of the discussion is that the stories cannot be accepted as historically accurate.  This is a huge issue mainly for fundamentalist Christians and conservative evangelicals – and those they have managed to persuade that if a story does not describe what actually happened, then it is worthless and should simply ...

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Another “True” Story that Didn’t Happen? Jesus’ Birth in Luke

I have been trying to illustrate the point that critical scholars who remain Christian have long made, that there can be stories in the Bible that are not historically accurate but that are trying to convey larger theological truths.  My first illustration had to do with the death of Jesus; in this post and the next, I will deal with the birth of Jesus.   This is a topic I’ve dealt with several times over the years on the blog; but ...

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Evaluating My Debate on the Book of Acts

I have now completed my posts on the debate I had with myself in front of my New Testament class on the question of whether the New Testament book of Acts is historically reliable.   If you want to see the whole debate, just read the posts in sequence: the affirmative speech arguing Acts is indeed reliable; the negative speech arguing that it is not; the negative rebuttal of what the affirmative side said; and finally the affirmative rebuttal of what ...

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Is Acts Historically Reliable? The Affirmative Rebuttal

I have been (intermittently) discussing the debate that I had with myself in front of my New Testament class on the resolution, Resolved: The Book of Acts is Historically Reliable.  So far I have indicated what the Affirmative side argued in favor of the resolution; what the Negative side argued against the resolution; and what the Negative side said in its rebuttal to the first Affirmative speech.  NOW, at last, I can indicate what the Affirmative side said in its ...

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Is Acts Reliable? The Negative Rebuttal

What follows is the “negative rebuttal” of the speech given by the “first affirmative” in its support of the resolution, “Resolved: The Book of Acts is Historically Reliable.”  If you need to refresh yourself on what the affirmative team argued, you can find it on the March 24 post, here: https://ehrmanblog.org/is-acts-historically-reliable-affirmative-argument/    In the first negative speech (yesterday’s post) the negative team argued its case, without direct reference to the affirmative side.  This, now, is the negative response to what ...

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Is the Book of Acts Historically Reliable? The Negative Case.

This post will lay out the Negative case, arguing against the resolution, Resolved: The Book of Acts if Historically Reliable.   Again, I am not necessarily agreeing or disagreeing with this argument; I’m giving it as I would in a debate.

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The New Testament book of Acts is not historically reliable.  Before showing that to be the case, I want to make two preliminary remarks, both of them related to the question of what it means for an ostensibly historical ...

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Is the Book of Acts Historically Reliable? Smoke and Mirrors.

In my next post I will be staking stake out the “negative” side on the debate I had with myself in class, arguing against the resolution, Resolved: The Book of Acts is Historically Reliable.  I have already made the affirmative case; in the negative I will argue that the book is not reliable (that first speech was a set speech, prepared without reference to anything the affirmative side said).  I will then give a negative refutation of the affirmative’s first ...

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Is Acts Historically Reliable? The Affirmative Argument

I am ready now to explain how I did the debate with myself in front of my undergraduate class on the resolution, Resolved: The Book of Acts is Historically Reliable.

As always happens in a debate, the Affirmative side goes first and gives a prepared speech. In arguing for the affirmative, I made the following points. (Note: I’m not saying I personally agree with these points, just as I’m not going to be saying that I agreed with the Negative points. ...

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Jesus’ Virgin Birth in Mark (Reader’s Mailbag February 26, 2016)

It is time for the weekly Readers’ Mailbag.  This week I will be dealing with only one question, one that I find particularly intriguing.  If you have any questions you would like me to answer, either in a comment or in the mailbag, let me know.  I can’t answer every question I get, either because I don’t know the answers (often enough!) or because I can’t get to them all.  But I take them all seriously and will do my ...

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Did Matthew Copy Luke or Luke Matthew?

In this thread, which is supposed to be on the lost writings of early Christianity that I would most like to have discovered, I can’t seem to get away from Q,   Several readers have asked a pointed question about Q.  If you recall, Q is the hypothetical document that contained principally sayings of Jesus, that was evidently used by Matthew and Luke (but not by Mark) in constructing their Gospels.  The logic is that if Matthew and Luke both used ...

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