by Neil Godfrey
For those few who do not know already Richard Carrier has now posted his second round response to Bart Ehrman’s “Fuller Reply”.
On the Was Pilate a Procurator issue, Carrier writes:
Ehrman finally does what he should have done originally (take note of this trend: it confirms the entire point of my original critique), and asks an expert. But what he didn’t do was read the scholarship I pointed him to. . . .
I . . . reference the scholarship on it. . . I would ask that Ehrman have his informant read that piece . . . and then relay what they say in reply. Notice what happens.
On the Tacitus scholarship:
Ehrman has to make excuses for repeatedly saying misleading things, and for not having checked to confirm the things he claims. . . . Instead he gave the impression that no expert would ever think that, that only mythicists came up with it. And again, do not mistake this for a one-off goof. This is typical of how Ehrman treats the mythicists; I only gave representative examples of each kind of error. And that was my review’s central point.
. . . . Instead he made it look like mythicists have no support from published scholarship and are the only ones thinking these things. And it’s that that is the problem.
On the Dying and Rising Gods question:
Ehrman says his views are the standard in the field, but in defense of the claim he still only names one advocate (Smith). In the link above, in support of my view, I name eight. And in my chapter on resurrection bodies in The Empty Tomb I cite more, including abundant primary evidence. So you decide who to follow on this point.
On sources attesting a Christian belief that Jesus lived a century before Pilate:
it can’t just be ignored. Ehrman would prefer to ignore it. Possibly he would even prefer you not to know of it.
The Romans kept no records issue:
All we can say is what I myself said, that (as Ehrman correctly phrases it now, but not in his book) we have no reason to expect such records to survive. Although that requires admitting that no early Christians ever had any interest in preserving or using them.
In short, everything I said originally remains the case. Ehrman has no actual rebuttal.
Did Ehrman libel Doherty?
Yes. . . . Ehrman simply lies about this–or, again, is such a godawful writer he accidentally said the exact opposite of what he meant to say, and thus completely misrepresents Doherty and misinforms the reader.
The Pliny citation gaffe:
More importantly, I do not believe he’s telling the truth here. Because the wording in the book does not look even remotely like he knew that two different letters were being discussed, or that their connection was a scholarly inference . . . .
In the end Ehrman ducks behind the “it was just a pop book, you shouldn’t expect it to be all accurate and the like” defense. . . . . He also tries to play the victim card and claim I violated my own principle of interpretive charity. But in fact I did not. I gave him the benefit of a doubt everywhere an innocent explanation was conceivable . . .
. . . his attempt to twist a rule of interpretive charity into a monstrous absurdity doesn’t cut it, and only exposes how poor a grasp he has of logical reasoning. . . .
Authors don’t get to say things that clearly indicate they badly mishandled their sources, and then claim we are always to assume they never do that. Authors don’t get to say things that clearly indicate they didn’t check their facts, and then claim we are always to assume they nevertheless did. Indeed, as his own quote of me says, if you cannot reconcile a contradiction or error in my work, you should call me on it so I can correct myself. Well, I called him on it. . . .