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Bart Ehrman on The Colbert Report (Bible Contradictions?)

Think Christianly: Bart Ehrman on The Colbert Report (Bible Contradictions?)

Monday, April 13, 2009

Bart Ehrman on The Colbert Report (Bible Contradictions?)

If you would like to know what is shaping the undercurrents of belief in our society - follow the comedians. My personal favorite is the Colbert Report. Colbert's satire is very perceptive and informed.

On Good Friday Colbert had Bart Ehrman on the Report regarding his latest book - Jesus Interrupted - which makes all sorts of claims about biblical contradictions and that Jesus never claimed to be God etc.

Watch and enjoy..."Bart Ehrman explains why the Bible is a big fat lie and Stephen is an idiot for believing it. (06:30)" Colbert actually poses some interesting questions to Ehrman...even in the humor. More about the substance of the claims below.

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Bart Ehrman
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorNASA Name Contest

For NT Scholar Ben Witherington's review of the book, see part 1 and part 2. Also Darrell Bock's Review. (BTW - Ben was trained by the same person Ehrman was).

Ben's brief response on a comment on his blog:

Actually Bart is dead wrong about early Christology, and I think he even knows it. Its pretty hard to miss Phil. 2.5-11, written before any Gospel probably. There it is said not only that Christ is "in very nature God" even before he takes on human form, but then on top of that Paul quotes and applies Isaiah to Christ after the ascension saying he has the name above all names, which very clearly in Isaiah is the name of God. The transfer of the LXX name for God 'kyrios' to Christ is clearly enough a statement about his divinity. In addition to which in Romans 9.5 Christ is called "God above all blessed forever".

Furthermore, the Synoptic Gospels most certainly do view Christ as divine. This is why he is portrayed as Immanuel for example in Matthew's Gospel, or as the human and also divine Son of Man of Daniel 7 fame who came from heaven to judge the world and will rule in a kingdom for ever (see Mk. 14.62).

Ehrman's retro arguments about such things don't even convince most liberal scholars these days, they just say that Paul was divinizing Jesus because they know he had an exalted view of Christ.

As for Colbert, he is a devout Catholic who teaches Sunday school, and is not much interested in making fun of any orthodox Christians.

Happy Easter,

BW3 (end of quote)

On the historical reliability of the Gospels, see Craig Blomberg's article. For a fuller treatment, see The Historical Reliability of the Gospels 2nd edition.

Here is an excerpt: "Why then are the Gospels not word-for-word alike? Why was more than one needed in the first place? Moreover, the verbatim similarities among the Synoptics are usually taken as a sign of literary dependence of one Gospel on another or two together on a common source. There are a whole host of reasons for these differences. Many have to do with what each author selected to include or leave out from a much larger body of information of which he was aware (John 21:25). Distinctive theological emphases, unique geographical outlines, and larger questions of literary subgenre account for many of these selections and omissions. But even where the Gospels include versions of the same event, verbatim parallelism usually remains interspersed with considerable freedom to paraphrase, abridge, expand, explain and stylize other portions of the accounts. All this was considered perfectly acceptable by the historiographical standards of the day and would not have been viewed in any as errant. But recent scholarship is also pointing out how the flexibility and patterns in oral storytelling would have accounted for many of the more incidental differences as Christian tradition initially passed these stories on by word of mouth."

On the Divinity of Jesus, see Putting Jesus in His Place.

(HT - Ben Witherington)

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