I’m really enjoying this collection of lectures by Bart Ehrman on how the consensus about if Jesus was a god/what kind changed over the centuries until they all decided to get their stories straight at the Council of Nicea. I think I have a platonic crush on him.
Join the club. He has several great books and a weekly podcast.
My favorite of his books is “Jesus Before The Gospels” which focuses (with reference to the relevant sciences) on how eyewitness memories and oral legends are remarkably inaccurate.
That’s why it’s called mythology. It allows for pink Unicorns.
No unicorns but there is a colt and a donkey. Ehrman has fun showing how Matthew has Jesus straddling both animals simultaneously in order to be “in accordance with the scriptures” although the scriptures mentioned both animals purely for poetic style.
I liked “Misquoting Jesus”. It was a surprise hit for him. He wanted to list some of the problems in the Bible, and he knew some stories about how they were discovered, so he threw that together. It is technical at times, but by switching to the stories of men on horses going out into the desert to find old papyrus texts, it’s interesting and often fun. I think I have the right title, I should double-check that.
As someone who grew up believing until logic won out in my early twenties, I eventually realized the God thing just didn’t make sense. But I still wondered how the Jesus story came to be (if it wasn’t true). Did Jesus himself perpetrate an elaborate fraud? Did his contemporary followers? One of Ehrman’s most interesting insights is how the understanding of Jesus’ divinity evolved: from a human made divine at death and resurrection to a savior made/created in the womb to - eventually - someone who had ALWAYS been God/a god.
The most incredible story is that of Jesus being the son of a virgin. If Mary had truly been a virgin, Jesus would have been female and a clone of Mary.
A simple biological fact is that a virgin cannot produce male offspring. It requires male sperm for a female egg to develop into a male fetus.
A perfect example is the “silvery salamander”. There are no male silveries, because the female never uses any male sperm during mating (check it out). As a consequence all silveries are female and clones of the original “mother” and is now a protected species, else it would go extinct in just a few generations.
Leprechauns. Don’t forget the leprechauns. There’s also fairies and Medusa.
Just one more miraculous birth story. That’s all it is.
That’s the big mystery, isn’t it.
If Ehrman is right then the CS Lewis dilemma of “Lunatic, Liar, Lord” is false because there is a fourth and more likely option of “Legend.” But how did the Legend start? We know that in about 30, Jesus preached, gathered followers, and was crucified for disturbing Roman rule. By about 50, there are churches all over the eastern Mediterranean. But what happened between 30-50?
Paul is the main culprit because he was the only person to write “I saw Jesus” and he started many of those churches before he wrote his epistles to them in the 50s. He got the Good News from alleged eyewitnesses Peter, James, and some other disciples during visits to Jerusalem in 33-35. Are these guys making the transition from “Legend” to “Liar” (if so then why if followed by martyrdom)? Or are they “Lunatics” having visions? That’s the mystery.
If you hang around, you’ll find out I’m bigger fan of Richard Carrier than Mr Ehrmann
And I’m a fan of the late Bishop John Shelby Spong and the late Acharya S, as well as Tom Harper, Robert M. Price, and a couple others.
Legend is a form of mythology.
Easy. You take a person and start burying him in stories, even rewriting previous mythology to fit the culture. Eventually, you can’t find the real person, if they ever lived, for the myth.
Did you know they built churches for Dionysus and other Greek and Roman deities? Do you know how easy it is to take the rising sun, have sun worship, anthropomorphize it, and then turn it into a human persona? The sun (son) walks on water every day. Every Easter, remnants of sun worship, appear, with sunrise services.
He never actually met Jesus and even said so in your little book.
Were they really? The authors of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, worked off each other, embellished, to write literature of the day and the names attributed to them were not the actual names of the authors. None of those stories are true. In fact, the story of Mary’s miraculous birth is not an original. There are many miraculous birth stories prior to Mary’s.
BTW, if you read Robert M. Price, Judas was a “twin” of Jesus, in that they both hung from a stauros. If you don’t know what a stauros is, look it up and expand your vocabulary. I’ll help you out even- it’s a Greek word and the actual word used in the New Testament, which was originally in Greek. Many translations, especially the KJV and the NKJV, poorly translate the original. Most college/universities religious courses discourage the use of the KJV and NKJV for the courses.
No mystery. Pure mythology. Those who insist others take it literally and believe it are the ones who are liars. Those gullible enough to fall for the liars’ insistence on believing are the lunatics, but don’t dare tell them that, less you want a religious war. Lord? Only a those who look down on peasants, forcing them to believe something that controls the masses.
As John Shelby Spong once said, “Religion is in the control business.” Instill fear in people and you can control them like children. Although some children are incorrigible and not everyone is gullible to fall for fear tactics that the Church spews.
Loving the conversation between you and timo.
Oh, I like that! …
You have to think like they thought to make sense of it. They didn’t know DNA or heliocentrism. The Jewish people had a narrative, and were looking for a messiah, an end to the story.
Mriana, I too think Christianity is a myth, I think that was clear.
But you can’t deny that this myth spread pretty quickly between 30-35 CE and had hard-core followers who believed enough to get martyred for it. How? Why? Some people think that is an interesting mystery.
One tool is textual analysis, which is why we were discussing Ehrman. Atheists in Germany and America have been doing it for decades. Ehrman makes the points you make and more - lots of folks were getting virgin mothers and/or divine fathers, performing miracles, getting resurrected, etc. (and it was usually not considered evidence of divinity). Most importantly, this work addresses the facts rather than running from them (Paul of course did write that he saw Jesus; the point is was he lying or hallucinating?)
And for those who want to argue there was no Jesus, I wish you good luck, but the evidence is pretty strong that a man named Jesus existed. Just a man of course. The true academics (subject to peer review) arguing that there was no Jesus are few and fringe. There were other messiah wannabes with less documentation and we do not doubt their existence. Frankly, I think that hurts the credibility of the free-thought movement to go that far, and it is unnecessary.
Really, like what. Ehrmann just defers to the consensus. Which is mostly believers
He did not exist as portrayed in the Bible. He’s too buried in myth to find, which even Robert M. Price said many times over.