Monday, November 3, 2008

Bart Ehrman's Presuppositions

This will be of Christianity's most vocal, and very listened to, critics is Dr Bart Ehrman. Dr. Ehrman will be debated by Dr. James White on January 21st on the subject, "Does the Bible Misquote Jesus"- you can go to this link for more information;

Our church has a member that's been attacked recently by a supposed "Christian" professor at a local "Christian" university. You would expect that a supposedly Christian professor at a supposedly Christian university would not belittle and mock believers for trusting in their Bibles, right? Not so with this school...and it seems that Dr Ehrman is one of the professors favorites...with his book as a mandatory textbook.

So...we're immersing ourselves in the views of Bart Ehrman with the goal of understanding his arguments so as to be able to better equip our folks in our church and to rebut the latest anti-Christian "scholarship." You can listen to the source, Bart Ehrman himself, at his website;

He has a great website that has all his debates and interviews which can be downloaded and listened to for free...very nice! I'm currently listening to his debate with Dr William Lane Craig. Listen for roughly the 55 min or so (plus or minus) he displays an amazing lack of "scholarship" and he seems paralyzed by intense presuppositions. See if you can hear the same things I did. Here are a few quick thoughts...

#1- First he tries to rebut Dr. Craig's assertion that the NT's writers documenting of women as the first eyewitness of the resurrected Christ (women's testimony back then was zip!) as evidence of the validity of the truth of the resurrection is false. He says that Paul never mentioned the women (like this proves what?)...and that only Mark and the "later gospels" mention the women. First I'm not sure what he means by "later Gospels" and 2nd - all 4 Gospels do actually mention the witness of the women! (Matt 28:1-6, Mark 16:1-8, Luke 24:1-9 & John 20:1-2). What's your point Dr. Ehrman...which Gospels are you referring to...Gnostic ones?

#2- He then goes into a long explanation that makes no sense whatsoever...he says Mark was written 35-40 years after the resurrection (first, what proof? second, many date it much earlier- what's the point again?), that Mark's big theme was that nobody (Jews, leaders, apostles, his family) knew the real identity of Jesus except people who were outsiders (he uses women annointing him, centurion at the cross and the "previously unknown" women at the tomb). Since the women at the tomb fits in too nicely with Mark's "literary theme" then it can't be a historical event.
Huh? Isn't this all based on the fact that Dr Ehrman starts off with the presupposition that the Bible is literary, religious material existing outside of history? He makes the claim that the bible is "not data." Isn't it the Bible's claim to be historical? Isn't religion without truth in history nothing more than a fable? Yes...but that's as far as Dr Ehrman's willing to let it go. The women can't be evidence of the resurrection because they're just part of a neat literary style created (made up) by whoever wrote Mark...go ahead and believe in the resurrection, just don't claim it's a historical event with credible and reliable historical evidence is his theme.

Presupposition are dangerous...for everyone. Beware of your own!
Regarding Dr Ehrman's thought process, a verse comes to mind; 1 Corinthians 2:14- "But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
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> posted by Jim Leavenworth at


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