Greg Koukl and Michael Krueger discuss Bart Ehrman’s skepticism of the gospels

I have a key that will unlock a puzzling mystery
I have a key that will unlock a puzzling mystery

Here is a recent episode that I’m sure you’ll enjoy.

Details:

Michael Kruger on Bart Ehrman’s claim we can’t trust the  Gospel accounts (April 1, 2016)

The MP3 file is here.

Topics:

  • Who is Bart Ehrman? What are his books about?
  • Conservatives tend to agree with Ehrman on the facts, not on his interpretation of the facts
  • Ehrman has an article claiming that the Holy Week gospel accounts are untrustworthy
  • do the variants in the NT texts undermine the reliability of the texts?
  • the difference between reasonable scholar-Bart and hyper-skeptical popularizer-Bart
  • where does Ehrman’s view of gospel reliability fit in the broad spectrum of NT scholars?
  • there are 200,000 to 400,000 variants in the copies of the gospels: what is a “variant”?
  • can a person be an authentic Christian if the gospels are not actual historical events?
  • Ehrman’s view: Christians can have feelings about events that never happened = not Biblical
  • was Jesus just an itinerant preacher who spoke pithy slogans? what about his Jewish background?
  • is there scholarly agreement regarding the minimal facts underlying the resurrection of Jesus?
  • is there a disconnect between uneducated eyewitnesses and educated Greek gospel authors?
  • is the early church an “oral culture” or a “textual culture”? Is oral transmission reliable?
  • was text of the New Testament was inspired by God or dictated by God?
  • do we have any reasons to think that the gospel authors were in contact with eyewitnesses?
  • should be be hyper-skeptical of the gospels when we have an early creed in 1 Cor 15:3-8?

Stand to Reason does a nice job with their podcast. Not only can you download the MP3, but they have a transcript, and links to resources mentioned in each episode. First class!

2 thoughts on “Greg Koukl and Michael Krueger discuss Bart Ehrman’s skepticism of the gospels”

  1. I was still in seminary during the events of 9/11(/2001) and had taken my Interpretation of New Testament class. It struck me that, as I listened to the various reports coming in, some from Boston, some from New York City, some from Northern Virginia, and some from Pennsylvania, that it could sound like very different situations. Often a chronological account is helpful to put together the pieces (e.g., https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_for_the_day_of_the_September_11_attacks ) but rather a logical account — perhaps following each of the flight paths or following each of the locations.

    It is also not a problem if the eye witnesses have slightly differing details because of what they saw. I had a friend’s brother who reported he felt a great shudder that he thought was like an earthquake, just after 8:45am. He went outside to see what was going on, and people were milling around and the scene was chaotic. He got, “terrorist activity,” and he hopped onto the MTA and got himself back home (in New Jersey).

    Key points here:
    – no mention of the crash! (did the crash not happen?) — Well, does it help if I said that he worked in the basement of the World Trade Center?
    – no mention of the second crash! (did that not happen?) — the man was already in New Jersey and out of sight of the World Trade Center
    – there are differences in phrases between “terrorist attack” and “terrorist activity” — is this a problem? No, of course not. It reflects what the speaker was perceiving or were the choice of words of the speaker.

    As for variants, Daniel Wallace has a couple of posts about that:
    https://danielbwallace.com/2012/05/01/the-bart-ehrman-blog-and-the-reliability-of-the-new-testament-text/
    https://danielbwallace.com/2013/09/09/the-number-of-textual-variants-an-evangelical-miscalculation/

    Also:
    https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/justin-taylor/an-interview-with-daniel-b-wallace-on-the-new-testament-manuscripts/

    Also:
    https://www.str.org/articles/textual-variants-it%E2%80%99s-the-nature-not-the-number-that-matters#.Wimbh1WnHRY

    Just about all the variants are very logically understandable. The copyist was tired and he copied a single letter twice or dropped a double letter to a single, his eye skipped a line or a word, or dropped or added a letter, or wrote the same word twice, changed the word order.

    Wallace has this summary, “The smallest category by far is the last category: meaningful and viable variants. These comprise less than 1% of all textual variants. Yet, even here, no cardinal belief is at stake. These variants do affect what a particular passage teaches, and thus what the Bible says in that place, but they do not jeopardize essential beliefs.”

    We Christians should be familiar with Bart Ehrman because Skeptics and Muslims** (especially!) like to quote Dr. Ehrman.

    Regarding the Minimal Facts and quoting William Lane Craig and Gary Habermas, this is the transcript of a debate that William Lane Craig had with Bart Ehrman (College of he Holy Cross, Worcester, MA; March 2006)

    https://www.reasonablefaith.org/media/debates/is-there-historical-evidence-for-the-resurrection-of-jesus-the-craig-ehrman/

    Like

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