Richard Bart Carrier Ehrman

Jim has posted some of it, in response to Bart’s failure to respond properly here. Seems that Prof. Ehrman thinks that a challenge is mean-spirited.

I got this from Steph:

Maurice Casey has responded which I repost here:

“Ehrman’s blog comments are extraordinarily self-centred, and make one wonder which New Testament scholars he has ever talked to about the existence of Jesus. For example, he comments, ‘before writing the book, like most New Testament scholars, I knew almost nothing abut the mythicist movement’. Most of us knew perfectly well that there was a massive attack on the existence of the historical Jesus in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Until recently, however, we thought that the work of Case and Goguel, supported by lots of detailed comments in other scholarly works, made it unnecessary for us to keep publishing about it when we were trying to make a contribution to knowledge, not just to repeat what had been written before. Among much modern scholarship with which he seems unfamiliar is recent work on the term ‘Son of Man’: his comments (Did Jesus Exist?, pp. 305-7) imply a complete lack of familiarity with Aramaic sources from the Sefire Inscriptions through the Dead Sea Scrolls to the Yerushalmi and the literature of the Syriac-speaking church, as well as recent secondary literature.

“The notion that none of us has read the work of recent mythicists again makes one wonder again which New Testament scholars he has ever talked to about the existence of Jesus. He comments again, ‘no scholar of the New Testament has ever thought to put together a sustained argument that Jesus must have lived.’ Most of us have spent a regrettable amount of time becoming regrettably familiar with their regrettable outpourings, some of us have discussed it with each other, with varying opinions about what needs to be done, and I have a book in an advanced state of preparation for publication by T & T Clark/Continuum, hopefully before the end of 2012. We don’t expect or want Ehrman at meetings of British New Testament scholars, but does he not attend SNTS either?”


Steph writes, “Bart Ehrman had deleted my own comments on his blog and sent me an email:”

“Your comments are mean-spirited and not appropriate for the blog. If you want to try again in a more temperate tone, I would consider including them. As you might imagine, I do have a response to your points.”

I have been advised by Casey and others that they are entirely appropriate so I will reproduce my own unpublished comments here:

“You say that New Testament scholars have never taken mythicists seriously, they have never seen a need to argue against their views. This is false. Case and Goguel for example explicitly demonstrated with argument and evidence the mythicist arguments to be flawed in 1912 and 1925. Maurice Casey’s Jesus of Nazareth introduces Price, Doherty and Zindler for example and explicitly provides evidence for their mistakes. His forthcoming volume later this year is also a refutation of the main mythicist arguments. Also you claim NT scholars have never tried to prove the existence of Jesus and have simply assumed it. This is untrue of Case, Goguel and the entire life work of Maurice Casey who has never assumed the existence of Jesus at all and has dedicated his life’s academic research to providing argument and evidence. I know what the book is about – I helped edit it. Just read the ded and preface. You made some unusual assumptions about Aramaic in your latest book and didn’t engage with the most recent critical scholarship which is a shame because so few New Testament scholars are competent Aramaists.

“However I did enjoy reading Orthodox Corruption of Scripture. I bought it when it was release in the nineties and I had graduated. It inspired my direction to a degree and I still find it useful at times.

“You say “The book you’re referring to here is a fairly full exposition of what he thinks is historical information about Jesus, a nice contribution to the field.” – Hardly a fair description of an academic career devoted to Aramaic research culminating in a book designed for a wider audience and providing argument and evidence to demonstrate the existence of a historical figure, simultaneously engaging with mythicist arguments which argue the contrary, is it?

“I feel compelled to add that your derogatory insinuations about New Testament scholars are false and offensive. Responsible New Testament scholars around the world do take mythicists seriously. They do read the published work and even the blogs. They do not just dismiss them. That would be irresponsible. Jesus scholars do NOT assume the existence of the historical Jesus. I gave you three scholars spanning a century. I could give you three hundred more – or even more. And actually we read the German edition of Schweitzer (including his other work). You then say “many scholars in the field, I would venture to say, until my book had not even heard much about ” which is an extraordinary outburst of self-confidence, effectively your own assumptions without evidence. It is utterly false – ‘until my book’?!”

Three essays will be posted by Maurice Casey, R. Joseph Hoffmann and myself (2012: The Jesus Process Consultative Committee), as “A Consultation on Method and Madness in New Testament Studies” on New Oxonian, on May 23


I hope that Dr. Ehrman will allow honest conversation, else he may be considered next Richard Carrier, and closer than he would like to be…

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20 Replies to “Richard Bart Carrier Ehrman”

  1. Maurice didn’t comment on Bart’s blog. I did and Bart deleted the comments and sent me an email. Maurice Casey wrote a comment for me to publish with my deleted comments, which he and others had thought “entirely appropriate”, elsewhere. And the comments you have posted by me are not ‘some’ but ‘all’ the comments Bart deleted.

      1. I did kinda get that drift as I’ve made the same connection. Also, consequently, I’ve been muddling the names myself. Like apples and oranges.

    1. “Actually” -just saying- Jim writes “Certainly Bart is free to include or reject whatever comments he wishes, on his blog. Similarly, the rest of us are free to raise questions about publications and in fact we are obliged to- especially when they don’t tell ‘the whole story’.” Do you understand? Many responsible bloggers withhold innane and abusive comments for good reason. What do they contribute? What does the rest of the world miss out on? Or are we saved from death by boredom? If the comments might be of some advantage, they can be published somewhere else. Jim has alot of stupid, abusive, tedious or plain inane moronic comments and we might as well be grateful we don’t have to read them ALL.

      1. Maybe Dr. Ehrman feels that way about yours. He’s wrong, of course, just as West is surely wrong about many of the comments he habitually deletes. In any case, West deletes comments based solely on his opinion of their validity, and now Ehrman has done the same. Thus West is in no position to criticise such deletions. Joel, of course, is in such a position.

        1. Jim concedes, ‘Certainly Bart is free to include or reject whatever comments he wishes, on his blog.’ Jim is not criticising him for deleting the comments. So you’re missing the point -just saying-.

          1. I think you’re missing my point, not vice versa. I’m saying that West commenting negatively on another blogger arbitrarily deleting comments is ironic, to say the least. Anyway, Joel is calling for “honest conversation”, something that neither West nor Ehrman (apparently) allow, and you and I can both agree with Joel on that desire.

          2. No. I’m not missing the point and I know you are saying rather repetitively that you think it’s ironic that Jim is commenting negatively on another blogger arbitrarily deleting comments. You don’t seem to realise that Jim is NOT commenting negatively on Bart deleting comments. How do you know Jim deletes comments that would contribute to conversation? Jim wouldn’t have reproduced our comments if he felt they were ‘mean spirited’. You’ve really got a bee in you bonnet about Jim. So have lots of people and they send him stupid inane and fruitless comments. Have you got evidence that Jim is preventing useful conversation by not publishing them? Joel doesn’t prickle people in the same way and therefore has no need to moderate comments.

            Incidentally don’t you think it’s a bit petty and inane to come onto Joel’s blog to whinge about Jim on a post that isn’t about Jim? You will believe what you want to believe.

  2. There has to be a reason why Ehrman did not once refer to Maurice Casey’s book – Jesus of Nazareth.

    Having seen that book, I can’t think of one. Why do New Testament scholars not cite it as their go-to book on all matters pertaining to the historical Jesus?

    1. How do you know Stevie? ‘Jesus of Nazareth’ came out at the end of 2010 and how many books on Jesus have been published since then which would have been able to take it into account before going to press? Only Bart’s to my knowledge. A conference was held on Maurice Casey’s ‘Jesus of Nazareth’ in the UK last year. The Jesus Seminar in the BNTC last year held a session on it as well. It has also been cited and discussed among scholars at conferences and elsewhere. For example, Maurice Casey received an email from a scholar in February as follows:

      “Dear Maurice,
      …Just yesterday I was facilitating a NT seminar here at College, on the topic of the historical Jesus. I was pleased to see that the students who gave presentations made a genuine effort to engage with your work. I’ve especially tried to draw their attention to the way in which you have critiqued the idea of a “no quest” period…”

      So Stevie, I suggest you too, are out of touch with recent critical scholarship, debate and discussion. Instead you make unqualified assumptions and malicious insinuations as usual.

      1. I do remember there being a conference on Maurice Casey’s work last year, and if I remember rightly, you were delighted with the reception his book received there.

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