Saturday, 19 April 2014

Bad Boy Bart vs the Barbarians

Southern Baptists engaging in respectful dialogue
Bart Ehrman has a new book out entitled How Jesus Became God, and James McGrath has been channelling some of the reactions on his excellent blog.

One such comment caught my eye. Craig Evans opines:
At work in Ehrman’s books is an unrelenting attack directed against the fundamentalist understanding of the Bible. Ehrman is not attacking a straw man, for the object of his attacks does indeed exist. But his books address fundamentalist readings, not mainstream understandings of the Bible and the stories it tells.
At first blush it might seem a legitimate point, but is it? Fundamentalist readings are the mainstream among committed Christians, and that's been the case for some time. Just check out the garbage being sold at your local Christian book store. The old, tired mainstream has moved to the fringe as mainline denominations continue to grey and contract, drawn slowly yet relentlessly into irrelevance.

Which is why Ehrman's voice needs to be heard, as others sit placidly on the bleachers and mumble hopeful nonsense to reassure themselves that the Biblicist barbarians are not at the gate.


  1. What is fundamentalism? For some, a Christianity that claims God exists is unacceptably fundamentalist. The evangelical right will eventually be displaced by the Emergent Church (Rob Bell, et al). Just as Republicanism is on the wane. It's all one package. But there will be survivals. Just like Armstrongism is still around. By all rights it should have become extinct. Now that the swamp has been drained, nobody should rationally be an Armstrongite. But I had a look at Dixon Cartwright's newspaper and was appalled. The fires of heresy still burn hotly. One guy was ranting about the nation coming to an end because women were wearing lipstick and high heels. Fundamentalism will come to its demise without Ehrman's help. But there will always be small pockets of resistance Ehrman can focus on.

  2. Let the Barbarians in.

    They will come and play Chri$tian Mu$ic.

    You'll have a good time... for the price of the concert (warning: may include appeals for free will offerings). For further information, watch the movie, "God's Not Dead", starring Hercules and Superman.

    With endorphin inducing spectacles, who needs Fundamentalists?

  3. Wait - Craig Evans is accusing other people of being fundamentalists?

  4. I suspect that proto-christianity existed a long time before the purported time of the Jesus of our four gospel stories and by the time the gospels were invented and written, Jesus was already "God" and had been for some time. Bart Ehrman has some really good books out but he assumes that Jesus actually existed as an apocalyptic preacher and claims that that is the consensus of the biblical scholars. However, I don't see how a general assumption among academic biblical scholars magically becomes a consensus.