Posted: Feb 27, 2010 12:30 pm
by TimONeill
crank wrote:As a fascinated dilettante of these histories, I loved Bart Ehrman's Lost Christianities, where he paints jesus as an apocalyptic preacher in a time filled with these. His followers in the first couple of centuries or so evolved along quite diverse paths, with quite diverse beliefs about their figurehead. Just fishing for comments on the book and the thrust of Ehrman's writings, and how this diversity, and the conflicts that arose because of it, may have shaped the perception of jesus in the early years of the religion. If I remember the book correctly, it is implied that Eusebius history to be highly colored if not outright fraudulent in it's narrow focus on the 'orthodox', accepted version of christianity that prevailed by his time, 4th c. Thanks for any comments.

Edit: I realize this maybe should be in another thread, if so, please say so, I will start one.

Well our moderator Jerome (*chuckle*) will disagree but Ehrman's take on Jesus is, in my opinion, the one that makes the most sense. Too may conceptions of Jesus are driven by the beliefs of the theorist. Polemical atheist anti-Christians like Carrier and Doherty think he didn't exist at all? Gosh, what a surprise. Moderate Christians like Crossan and Borg believe in a mellow hippy "sage" Jesus? Gosh, what a surprise. Fundamentalists like Craig and McDowell believe in a Jesus who is exactly like the one in the Bible? Gosh, what a surprise.

We should start to pay attention when the Jesus a theorist comes up with doesn't somehow play into that person's expectations and does fit with history. A Jesus who was an apocalyptic Jewish prophet who predicted the immanent end of the world and was clearly wrong doesn't fit anyones' prejudices. Yet it fits the evidence perfectly.

This seems to be who and what he was.

I'd encourage anyone who wants to take a rational and unbiased atheistic look at who "Jesus" (ie Yeshua ben Yosef) was to begin with Ehrman's Jesus: Apocalyptic Prophet of the New Millennium, then Paula Frederiksen's From Jesus to Christ: The Origins of the New Testament Images of Christ and then Geza Vermes' Jesus the Jew. All are top class academic studies by leading scholars and all happen to be by non-Christians. Read those books and you'll get a superb understanding of who Yeshua was and why both fundie Christians and the moronic "Jesus never existed" clowns can be given equal measures of scorn.