Carrier describes as “Ehrman’s only evidence” Paul’s reference in Galatians to having met “James the brother of the Lord.” He attempts to sow doubt about the meaning, but the phrase is clear. There is no evidence for any Jews in Paul’s time speaking of God having a brother, and so the most natural reference is to Jesus being the Lord here, as indeed Paul refers to him often with this title. Carrier then follows mythicists like Earl Doherty in trying to suggest that “brother(s) of” can mean the same thing as “brother(s) in.” But the two phrases are obviously distinct in meaning, and based on the evidence available, it was not the custom in this time to refer to Christians in general, or a specific subset of Christians, as “brothers of the Lord.” (I should add even using the term “Christians” is anachronistic). Carrier’s attempt to appeal to New Testament sources as evidence to the contrary, when those same sources provide evidence of a historical Jesus, is very strange indeed, and thoroughly unpersuasive.
Because Dr. James McGrath lays it out so well…
Here’s the thing – no method in searching for the Historical Jesus can be considered truly objective. We can deal with subjective data objectively, but in the end, the methods which we choose will come down to what we are trained with. Carrier’s new theory, which I hear is remarkable, is still a subjective attempt. Godfrey will only allow what information benefits him. Mythicists are by far and away the must subjective, because they like Young Earth Creationists, aim to prove by disproving, and they disprove by ignoring. They cannot answer, only circumvent and deflect.
The Jesus of the Gospels, Acts, and the later Church exists historigraphically and theologically. The historical Jesus is a figment of a scholar’s imagination. Was there a real person named Jesus in 1st century Palestine which started an apocalyptic movement? I’d say yes based on the methods of historians. Is this man named Jesus the Messiah? By faith, I say yes. What ever data, however, that I use will be subjectively chosen, however, either by me or someone long before me.
I look at the Apostles’ Creed, and the ones it evolved from. No mention of the life of Christ. In the earliest post-New Testament writings, there is no mention of the Gospels. Sure, Polycarp mentions the teachings of Jesus, but the spirit descendant of John doesn’t talk about so called miracles, and the such.
Anyway, read the entire post. Good stuff.
Thank God for Dr. McGrath’s scholarship.
- Did Jesus Exist? The Historical Argument for Jesus of Nazareth By Bart D. Ehrman (evolutionarymystic.wordpress.com)
- “Does the New Testament present a reliable portrait of the historical Jesus?”: Dr. Bart Ehrman and Dr. Craig Evans Debate (compassioninpolitics.wordpress.com)
- Defending Christ’s Existence (siriusknotts.wordpress.com)
- Bart Ehrman says that Jesus existed (whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com)
- Bart Ehrman’s Huffing and Posting Against Mythicism (vridar.wordpress.com)