There are enough of us now well-trained in discussing the mythicist case, so I hope everyone will participate in this analysis. Ehrman's book will evidently be available through Kindle, which means anyone with a computer can also download it.
I wanted to reproduce here my comments on another thread, so they will be on record.
Re Did Jesus Exist?
by Bart Ehrman, the book sounds entirely forgettable, but it's sure to stir things up. I know he contacted Bob Price for this one, but he did not contact me, of course. The fact that he came out with this ebook so quickly, along with his conclusion, indicates that he has not studied this particular subject in any real depth and is therefore not an expert on it. I would bet that most if not all of his arguments have already been addressed by one or more of us mythicists, from Doherty to Price to Humphreys, Lindtner and yours truly. Should be interesting - especially in light of the Christ Con revision I'm currently working on.
"...yes, Jesus did actually exist" - AGREED! As a MYTHICAL FIGURE.
This should be very amusing. It's likely he'll trot out Josephus
, Pliny, Suetonius and Tacitus
, since those are the bedrock apologies for the "historical" Jesus. Doubtful he will put much weight on Phlegon, Thallus and Mara bar-Serapion
, however. And I'll bet he didn't deal with much comparative religion and mythology at all, since from his writings he does not seem to know very much about the subject. That's not something you can learn in a year or two: I've been studying these specific subjects vis-a-vis the Christ myth - in multiple languages from materials dating back thousands of years to the earliest times - for over 20 years.
I should add that I have REAMS more material - it's pouring in every day - to PROVE essentially the contention that Christ is a mythical figure. There is a mountain of it, and dollars to donuts Ehrman didn't scratch the surface. It's fantastic that Ehrman has had to write this book, admitting that there's a vast number of people asking the question of whether or not Jesus existed. That's quite an improvement from yesteryear, when people merely believed based on fiat/decree from perceived experts like Ehrman. Such as:
...Ehrman has decided it's time to put the issue to rest. Yes, the historical Jesus of Nazareth did exist.
I see, so Ehrman is putting his foot down now, and he is the Almighty Authority to be believed, simply by wave of his hand and public decree, since it is more than likely he's not come up with any new, scientific evidence to prove this contention, and his arguments are likely to be the same hackneyed ones we've already addressed repeatedly for decades and centuries.
Thus, Acharya has decided it's time to put the issue to rest. Yes, the "Jesus Christ" of the New Testament is a mythical figure.Ehrman's framed the argument incorrectly. We mythicists are not out to "disprove the existence of Jesus of Nazareth" or any other Jesus for that matter. We are showing - using an abundance of evidence that never quits coming - that the figure of "Jesus Christ" in the New Testament is a fictional composite, i.e., a literary or mythical character. It's really that simple, logical, rational and scientific.
Showing the void in the historical record for any such figure is merely the beginning, which Ehrman seems to think is the end. Like I say, he's no expert in comparative mythology, and he probably doesn't realize how much of the gospel story is patently from Pagan religions. Nor does he realize that the rest of the tale is basically copied from the Septuagint or Greek Old Testament, as well as Josephus and other texts, such as I explained in The Christ Conspiracy
. The so-called "messianic prophecies" were used in order to create this composite figure, merging it with the attributes and tales of Pagan gods. When these factors are removed, there is little to nothing left that is "historical." This fact of there remaining little to nothing "historical" when the gospel story is dissected I demonstrated in my book Christ Con over a decade ago, and if Ehrman hasn't read it, again, he's not well enough informed about mythicist arguments to be writing this book.
Like I say, it's not difficult to understand or demonstrate in this day and age. How someone could sift through this massive material demonstrating this logical contention and come away with another viewpoint is curious, to say the least, except I'm wagering that he did NOT sift through it to any depth, and I'll also be blunt in asserting that his a priori
assumption that Christ is a historical figure, albeit evemerized, is a reflection of uncritical conditioning, not scientific analysis.
When the mythical layers are removed, there is no core to the onion. A composite of 20 people, whether mythical or historical, is no one.
What Ehrman and other evemerists fail to grasp is that an evemerized "Jesus of Nazareth" - a "historical" figure to whom numerous attributes and sayings that were not originally his but came from others - is still
a composite, i.e., a literary or fictional character! Is there a "historical" Gulliver? Some of his adventurers took place in real locations, such as England. Somebody said the things he said - do these facts mean that somewhere under the fictional attributes and borrowed commentary there's a "real" Gulliver of any significance?
By the way, here's one of the latest great mythicist texts:Buddhism's Relation to Christianity
by Dr. Michael Lockwood
Lockwood's got the goods here on the Buddhist influence on Christian formation, using ancient texts, imagery and other primary sources, as well as intelligent and scientific arguments, including reproducing some of Lindtner's work in English. He includes Bob Price's review of my book Christ in Egypt
. Ehrman's going to have his hands full if he's on a mission to refute the entire mythicist field, such as books like this one.
Did Jesus Exist?
by Bart Ehrman
DARING TOPIC: This is the question readers have been wanting Ehrman to answer for years. It is a question that follows naturally from his bestselling books, and any of his hundreds of thousands of readers will want to hear what he has to say.
For years Bart Ehrman has been routinely bombarded with one question: Did Jesus Exist? As a leading Bible expert, fans and critics alike have sent letters, emails, posted blogs, and questioned Ehrman during interviews wanting his opinion about this nagging question that has become a conspiracy theorist cottage industry the world over. The idea that the character of Jesus was an invention of the early church-and later a tool of control employed by the Roman Catholic Church-is a widely held belief and Ehrman has decided it's time to put the issue to rest. Yes, the historical Jesus of Nazareth did exist.
Known as a master explainer with deep knowledge of the field, Ehrman methodically demolishes both the scholarly and popular arguments against the existence of Jesus. Marshalling evidence from within the Bible and the wider historical record of the ancient world, Ehrman tackles the key issues that surround the popular mythologies associated with Jesus and the early Christian movement.
Those committed to the "non-existence" theory will need to read this formidable scholar's counter argument while the more traditionally minded will enthusiastically support Ehrman's definitive answer to the question. Perfect for the vigorous online debating community, this eBook original will be a must read for anyone interested in Jesus, the Bible, and the birth of Christianity.
Made you look!