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Why I’m To Be Pitied for Being the Wrong *Kind* of Fundamentalist!

I was browsing though old posts from five years ago, and came across this one I had forgotten all about.  You’ll see I got a bit feisty here, but it sounds like I was having fun.  Well, in a way.  The whole thing really is a bit aggravating.


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, shared with him my views of important topics, spent time to see how he ticked and to let him see how I do.   I don’t know the man, and he doesn’t know me.  And so it was with some considerable surprise that I read the beginning of his article.

“I feel great pity for Bart Ehrman.”

So, from someone I don’t know, that’s a bit of a shocker.   I can understand why a friend of mine might feel some (but not great?) pity for me at some points of my life – when I had such difficulty, for years, finding a teaching position even though I had a PhD from a very fine program; when my father died at the sad young age of 65; when I went through a divorce and was forced, then, not to see my kids grow up every day.   There have been bad times in my life, and my friends grieved with me through them.

But that’s not why Dr. Markos feels “great pity” (not some pity – but great pity).   No, he feels great pity for me because when I was a fundamentalist I was the wrong kind of fundamentalist; if I had been the right kind of fundamentalist I never would have left fundamentalism:  the kinds of things that I found to be highly problematic about fundamentalism are problematic only for the kind of fundamentalist that I was.   And if I had remained the right kind of fundamentalist, I would still hold to the truth, and my life would be fantastic and not to be pitied — as opposed to the life I live now which is, evidently, greatly to be pitied.

I really can’t help but think that if Dr. Markos knew anything at all …

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Sex and Gender in the Ancient World
Christian Pastors Who Have Lost Their Faith



  1. Avatar
    mombird903  November 5, 2019

    Well, at least he didn’t say that you were going to burn in hell, did he? We are moving forward then even though it’s one step forward and two steps back. I love how the uber religious think they own God. Honestly, it’s just all so medieval. My advice is point and laugh Bart.

  2. Avatar
    thoai2  November 5, 2019

    Interesting comment on Dr. Markos’s post:

    EverHopeful • 5 years ago • edited

    Prof. Markos may know Hebrew, but the way he discusses the translation of “adam” (lower case intentional) in Genesis 2-3 indicates that he does not. “Adam” isn’t a proper noun or personal name; it’s a pun on the
    Hebrew “adamah,” earth, so “adam” is one taken out of the earth, i.e., earth creature. When God separates the earth creature into two beings, the words “man” and “woman” appear for the first time in the second creation story. The idea that the adam contained both genders has a long-established pedigree in Jewish tradition, as seen in Genesis Rabbah 8:1. “A Love Story Gone Awry” in Phyllis Trible’s book God and the Rhetoric of Sexuality is a great place to start reading more about this.

    I haven’t even begun to touch upon what Markos writes about Ehrman. Ehrman isn’t perfect by any means, but Prof. Markos gives a tendentious reading of his work. I could go through the essay line by line teasing this out, but that’s more appropriate in a venue other than a combox.”

    • Bart
      Bart  November 7, 2019

      I”m lost. Is this about Markos misinterpreting Genesis 2-3 or me? Yes, of course “Adam” is a pun on “adamah,” but it comes to function as a name in Judaism. (Though he’s never mentioned again in the Hebrew Bible, oddly enough!)

  3. Avatar
    santiago.torres3  November 6, 2019

    First Things is the journal all sophisticated erudite conservatives cite as their reading material for informed opinion. If this article personally evaluating Prof. Ehrman is an example of what they’re reading, its no wonder the religious right is in the state it currently is.

  4. Avatar
    Chad Stuart  November 9, 2019

    “Damn Canaanites: they deserved to be slaughtered! They weren’t us!”


  5. Avatar
    LesBarrett  November 12, 2019

    Considering that reading skills were probably not available to anyone when many of the original stories of the Bible were expressed, would it even be logical to read the Bible at all today? After all, reading and writing are advances in communication skills that require at least a small amount of new thought. That can be a slippery slope.

  6. Avatar
    Hngerhman  November 21, 2019

    Dr Ehrman –

    I came across the below article, and it sparked a couple of questions.


    If you were to take a poll at the SBL, what proportion of biblical scholars would be believers vs. non-believers? 80/20, 90/10, 99/1?

    Curious, who comes to mind as other prominent non-believer scholars (ones who’d publicly self-identify as such, aside from yourself)?


    • Bart
      Bart  November 22, 2019

      Not sure. But almost certainly over 90/10. There are a lot who do late ancient Christianity; not many who do New Testament studies. But since scholars almost never talk about faith issues, I don’t really know in most cases if someone is a believer or not, other than by anecdotal evidence or inference, and I’m reluctant to name names on those bases.

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