Large numbers of atheists, humanists, and conspiracy theorists are raising one of the most pressing questions in the history of religion: "Did Jesus exist at all?" Was he invented out of whole cloth for nefarious purposes by those seeking to control the masses? Or was Jesus such a shadowy figure - far removed from any credible historical evidence - that he bears no meaningful resemblance to the person described in the Bible?
In Did Jesus Exist? historian and Bible expert Bart Ehrman confronts these questions, vigorously defends the historicity of Jesus, and provides a compelling portrait of the man from Nazareth. The Jesus you discover here may not be the Jesus you had hoped to meet - but he did exist, whether we like it or not.
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Good book but poor evidence
Yes. I think you need to listen to this book several times in order to analyse the arguments and evidence. For me its not a book you read just once
I like and enjoy all Bart Ehrman's books. In my opinion he is an excellent scholar and teacher. In this book he sets down his case for a historical Jesus. Although his arguments are rational and reasoned there is an immense amount of speculation. In addition many of the arguments he gave were counter productive to the view of a historical Jesus. I feel in summary that the evidence he gives is tenuous at best. For instance he will say that the Gospels are corrupted sources that cannot be trusted but then turn to them to to show "evidence" for the historical Jesus. His use of speculative works like Q, M and L are relied on far too heavily. No modern scholar has ever seen theses books so how can see cite with any authority what is in them?
Before reading this book I was an agnostic with regards to the "Mythicist" argument and a believer in a minimalist historical Jesus. However after Bart's book I am now an agnostic (70:30 that he is a fictional figure) when it comes to the historicity of Jesus. In my opinion, from the arguments given, all that is left of a historically possible Jesus is that "there was a Jewish preacher called Jesus (or a derivative of that name) who was crucified" which could be paraphrased as "there is an English boy called Harry Potter". The picture given of Jesus is so far from the traditional view as to be meaningless for comparing that person to the one in the New Testament. Just because there is a boy called Harry Potter living in England would have no bearing on the historicity of J K Rowling's character. Nor would it be worthwhile using the Harry Potter books to find the real Harry Potter. In my opinion the New Testament is equitable to just such a fictional work. I think if the evidence for Jesus was applied to any other character in history than there would be no debate and most scholars would think he was just a legend. Whilst in my opinion this is the weakest of Bart's books it is well worth a listen if you are interested in Christianity and religion.
Excellent historical scholarship