Was Jesus a Historical Figure?

I was reading yesterday’s post at The Failed Atheist. I listened to the video on it, and I simply must repost it here.

This is a liberal, non-Christian, pro-gnostic scholar—Bart Ehrman—who really irritates me. In this case, however, I think “The Infidel Guy” was shocked to find out that his anti-fundamentalist-Christian guest thinks that only the ignorant deny the historicity of Jesus.

I’ve got more comments below, but here’s the video (which is really only audio):

The main point of the video is obvious. Bart Ehrman gives some examples of why we can be confident that Jesus was a historical figure. The Infidel Guy’s only response is basically, “Can’t we just doubt everything we don’t like?”


There’s a couple more things I should mention that are mentioned in the interview.

“Jesus Christ” doesn’t mean something put together like that, if by “mean” we are implying that there’s some Hebrew definition for Jesus Christ. Jesus is a name. Yes, it has a meaning, but it’s a name. Christ is a title. It’s the Greek word for “anointed one,” but in the context of the New Testament, it basically means king. It means God’s chosen king for his chosen people, but it mostly means king.

In this interview, Bart Ehrman is being a good historian in the matter of whether Jesus existed. The fact is that Paul’s letters, the existence of Christians in Rome under Nero in the AD 60’s, the utter consistency of early Christian letters and drawings, and numerous other things that constitute the “whole tenor” of history make it clear that one ought to trust who the Christians said Jesus was, at least in the matter of being a crucified Jewish prophet.

But on other things, he shows the stubbornness of so many people. He tells Infidel Guy that no serious historian questions the existence of a person Jesus. The Infidel Guy gives him Robert M. Price. It takes Ehrman a significant amount of time to admit he knows of him, and in fact has had correspondence with him. The Infidel Guy points out that Robert Price is a serious historian, Ehrman questions him. The Infidel Guy says he’s a professor; Ehrman insists he doesn’t teach anywhere.

Price is the professor of theological and scriptural studies at Colemon Theological Seminary. It appears to me that institution is probably not accredited, but he is teaching. Price used to be at another similar institution which offered undergraduate courses that were accredited, so he has taught.

The fact is, Ehrman went too far when he said no serious scholar questions the historicity of the person Jesus. People are people, and even “experts” are moved by their biases. You can find legitimately qualified experts denying the obvious in any field of inquiry.

For me, though, it’s like what Jesus said about faithfulness. He who is honest in little things will be honest in big things. If you can’t be honest with the little things, you’re going to miss the evidences that will prevent you from building a house of cards in whatever areas you are studying.

About paulfpavao

I am a church historian and pastor, but I do occasionally play APBA baseball for fun.
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1 Response to Was Jesus a Historical Figure?

  1. Monster says:

    I like how he goes from never having heard of him to knowing for a fact he doesn’t teach anywhere. Both of those guys ended up looking like fools by the end of that.

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