Tuesday, May 13, 2014

I'll Forgive Him the Snarkiness

Sometimes academics just talk that way...

As a prelude to reading Bart Ehrman's most recent book, How Jesus Became God: The Exaltation of a Jewish Preacher from Galilee, I decided to read his previous book, Did Jesus Exist?: The Historical Argument for Jesus of Nazareth.

Not everyone believes that Jesus is God, the Logos, a member of The Holy Trinity, the Christ, or even a prophet of Allah.  However, many of us non-believers still believe there was a man in history around whom ancient experiences, stories, legends, myths, and dogma have accreted to form Christianity.  There are also some who think no such man ever existed - these are the "mythicists."

Ehrman has been chided for deriding the credentials - or lack of credentials - of those who profess the mythicist perspective. Ehrman spares no words conveying the disregard academics extend to the mere opinions of those outside the field. Still, in doing so he reduces the number of nominally credible mythicists to three or so. Then, while ruthlessly dismembering the mythicist literature, he methodically assembles a modest historical case for the existence of Jesus of Nazareth, an Jewish apocalyptic preacher from the Galilee who was put to death by the Romans in Jerusalem on or about 30 CE, around whom a religious movement started...

Despite the ire, it was a better read than I expected.