Tag Archives: New Testament

MUST-READ: Hugh Hewitt interviews Richard Dawkins on his new book

Transcript here. (H/T Muddling Towards Maturity)


HH: On the person of Jesus Christ, did He exist?

RD: I suspect He probably did. I suspect there are lots of itinerant preachers, and one of them was probably called Yehoshua, or various other versions of Jesus’ name, but I don’t think that a miracle worker existed.

HH: How do you rate the evidence for Christ’s existence, manuscript evidence, eyewitness evidence, things like that?

RD: As I said, it wouldn’t be at all surprising if a man called Jesus or Yehoshua existed. I would say the evidence that He worked miracles, He rose from the dead, He was born of a virgin, is zero.

HH: Well, you repeatedly use the analogy of a detective at a crime scene throughout The Greatest Show On Earth. But detectives simply can’t dismiss evidence they don’t want to see. There’s a lot of evidence for the miracles, in terms of eyewitness…

RD: No, there isn’t. What there is, is written stories which were written decades after the alleged events were supposed to happen. No historian would take that seriously.

HH: Well, that’s why I’m conflicted, because in your book, you talk about the Latin teacher who is stymied at every turn, and yet Latin teachers routinely rely on things like Tacitus and Pliny, and histories that were written centuries after the events in which they are recording occur.

RD: There’s massive archaeological evidence, there’s massive evidence of all kinds. It’s just not comparable. No…if you talk to any ancient historian of the period, they will agree that it is not good historical evidence.

HH: Oh, that’s simply not true. Dr. Mark Roberts, double PhD and undergraduate at Harvard, has written a very persuasive book upon this. I mean, that’s an astounding statement. Are you unfamiliar with him?

RD: All right, then there may be some, but a very large number of ancient historians would say…

HH: Well, you just said there were none. So there are some that you are choosing not to confront.

RD: You sound like a lawyer.

HH: I am a lawyer.

Read the whole thing.

Now, obviously, Hugh is not an expert and he is going about his defense all wrong by trying to argue for general reliability of the gospels, instead of arguing for several specific “minimal facts” passages that pass standard historical criteria. But Dawkins is not going to call him on it. For a good debate on the reliability of the gospels, try Richard Bauckham versus James Crossley.

Related posts

My previous post on Richard Dawkins, including my opinion of his intellectual capability and honesty. Here’s another atheist, Peter Atkins. And did you hear Craig’s debate with Arif Ahmed? These are all Oxford University atheists, just like the one Greg Koukl is debating in Calgary on Friday.

Richard Bauckham defends the reliability of the gospels against James Crossley

I just finished listening to all the new William Lane Craig and Saddleback Apologetics Conference lectures, and now I’ve found something a little more difficult. A debate between the brilliant Cambridge New Testament scholar Richard Bauckham, and another solid atheistic New Testament Scholar, James Crossley.

The debate links are here at Operation 513.

The leading New Testament scholar from Cambridge, Dr. Richard Bauckham, was recently on the radio program ‘Unbelievable?’ which is on the Premier Christian Radio network. Bauckham was arguing that the Gospels are based on eyewitness accounts and therefore should be regarded as fundamentally trustworthy.

Joining in on the discussion was also New Testament historian, Dr. James Crossley, discussing the implications of Bauckham’s work and whether the Gospel of John was written by the disciple John himself, as Bauckham claims.

It is well worth the listen.

Part 1 – (1 hr 20 mins)
Part 2 – (1 hr 20 mins)

This is a great debate between two great New Testament scholars.

Richard Bauckham

You can find out more about Bauckham in this Christianity Today profile.


The author of CT’s 2007 Book Award winner in biblical studies, Jesus and the Eyewitnesses, Richard Bauckham proposes a new (or, rather, an ancient) paradigm through which to view the Gospels: as the eyewitness testimony of trustworthy insiders. Wheaton professor Gary Burge asked the St. Andrews scholar how his approach diverges from mainstream New Testament scholarship—and what it means for our understanding of Jesus.

I’m really excited by the respect he is getting in the academy. This is a completely NEW perspective on the gospels that is getting a lot of attention.

James Crossley

Crossley specializes in Mark, the earliest and most reliable gospel. Mark’s source for the Passion narrative of Jesus is dated to the 40s, about 10-20 years after the death of Jesus. Mark’s gospel is based on the eyewitness testimony of his companion Peter. So it is fun to hear them debate Mark in the first show. And they get into 1 Corinthians 15 as well, which is dated to 1-3 years after Jesus died.

Crossley debated against William Lane Craig before here and he debated against Michael Bird here, (part 1, part 2).

Is the Bible we have now the Bible they had then?

OK, I think Dan Wallace is the best guy out there on the reliability of the New Testament documents. He even debated Bart Ehrman and cleaned his clock.

One of the set of 32 lectures I just ordered was given by Dan Wallace on the reliability of the New Testament.

So what does Brian Auten of Apologetics 315 do?

He finds you a free version of that same lecture!!!

Here is the MP3 file.

I had to pay $5 for mine, but Brian found you a free one! Not fair!

Here is my post on Bart Ehrman, a prominent skeptic much loved by the media and liberal Christians, who argues against what Wallace says in the lecture.

UPDATE: This thing is 42 minutes long and it is AWESOME! Filled with humor, really entertaining. If you guys want to get the 2008 debate between Dan Wallace and Bart Ehrman, you can get it here. I got the MP3s, they’re cheap!

By the way, check out the topic for 2010 Greer-Heard debate: atheist John Dominic Crossan vs Ben Witherington.