Monday, March 17, 2014

Is Jesus just a retelling of other myths?

One of the myths that's been going around the internet these days is that Jesus was himself a myth.  These folks like to claim that Jesus didn't actually exist!  This is quite a radical claim; indeed it is far more radical than the claim that Jesus simply was not who Christians say he was.  This is the claim that Jesus was completely made up by first century crazy people.

Well, it turns out that such a claim has no actual historical data on its side.  In fact, in regard to the credentials of those who hold this "mythicist" view, Bart Ehrman makes this point (quoted from his HuPo article here):

"These views are so extreme and so unconvincing to 99.99 percent of the real experts that anyone holding them is as likely to get a teaching job in an established department of religion as a six-day creationist is likely to land on in a bona fide department of biology."
Of course, Dr Ehrman is no friend to evangelical Christianity.  This is what we call "hostile witness testimony," where someone on the other side of the debate is making your point for you.  Such a testimony carries more powerful weight than if it came from an evangelical scholar.

So, for what it's worth, I think we can close the case on the question of whether Jesus was a myth.