I’ve been meeting more and more skeptics who have taken the stance that Jesus never existed at all. This is a peculiar position as there are many attested writings about him, from early sources other than the Bible. The charge against such sources is that since they weren’t written during his lifetime, then they’re automatically invalid. What the proponents of this position don’t understand, is that historians don’t require contemporary writings for an accepted historical fact. If they actually did require it, then much of history would have to be rewritten. The purpose of this brief article is not to go into all the details (at a later time I will) but I would like us to examine some interesting comments from professor Bart Ehrman in the video above. Of special interest is that even though Bart is a New Testament scholar, he’s also an Agnostic. While I don’t agree with all of what he said or his overall position, but he thoroughly refutes the idea that Jesus never existed. Here are some of Bart’s comments from the video:
- I don’t think there’s any serious historian who doubts the existence of Jesus.
- When the host brought up the “multiple Jesus” hypothesis, Bart rejected that idea and affirmed that there indeed was a historical Jesus and that you can say some historical things about him.
- The host said that there are no writings about Jesus during his lifetime. Bart responded by saying that’s true of everyone.
- We have more evidence for Jesus than we have for almost anybody from his time period.
- Bart said you have to look at the evidence and claimed there is hard evidence for the existence of Jesus. For an example he mentioned that there’s an author who knew the relatives of Jesus and also knew his disciples. That author being Paul, as we have his letters.
- The host asked Bart “how do we know he (Paul) didn’t lie about him (Jesus)?”. Bart responded by saying that Paul says things about Jesus that are “off the cuff” comments where he’s not making a point. This is very important to historians as they’re looking for disinterested comments.
- Bart said there’s no doubt about Paul writing Galatians.
- I know thousands of scholars of the ancient world and I don’t know any one of these scholars who doubts that Paul wrote Galatians.
- Bart said it’s not an embellishment that Paul met with James in Jerusalem.