PItalics are original; the bolding is mine:
I’ve pointed out that we don’t have the Q source. Since we don’t have it, you might expect that scholars would be fairly cautious in what they say about it. But nothing is further from the truth. Books on Q have become a veritable cottage industry in the field. . . . Not bad for a nonexistent source!
. . . .
Let me repeat: Q is a source that we don’t have.
(Bart Ehrman, Jesus: Apocalyptic Prophet of the New Millennium, 1999. pp132, 133)
That was when Ehrman was responding to scholars who use Q as evidence to counter his argument that Jesus was an apocalyptic prophet. (There are other arguments in the literature that contradict the apocalyptic prophet view of Jesus that Ehrman overlooked entirely.)
With respect to Jesus, we have numerous, independent accounts of his life in the sources lying behind the Gospels (and the writings of Paul) — sources that originated in Jesus’ native tongue Aramaic and that can be dated to within just a year or two of his life (before the religion moved to convert pagans in droves). Historical sources like that are is [sic] pretty astounding for an ancient figure of any kind.
(Bart Ehrman, Did Jesus Exist? HuffPost 03/20/2012)
Within a couple of decades of the traditional date of his death, we have numerous accounts of his life found in a broad geographical span. In addition to Mark, we have Q, M (which is possibly made of multiple sources), L (also possibly multiple sources), two or more passion narratives, a signs source, two discourse sources, the kernel (or original) Gospel behind the Gospel of Thomas, and possibly others.
(Bart Ehrman, Did Jesus Exist? HarperCollins, 2012. pp. 82 f)
To be fair, Ehrman does eventually qualify the last statement by stating that our “having” is an “inference” but that word nowhere appears in the HuffPost article.
And these are just the ones we know about, that we can reasonably infer from the scant literary remains that survive from the early years of the Christian church. No one knows how many there actually were. Luke says there were “many” of them, and he may well have been right.
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28 thoughts on “How the Seasons Change (We DON’T have Q; We DO have Q — Ehrman)”
Just plain frustrating!
He is stuck between many hard places as a scholar in such a controversial field… Jesus, and history and Bible studies!
What a joke.. Everytime I led a Bible study or taught a class, or gave a lecture,,, there was not one who could clearly identify “Jesus, the Christ”…
what a bad collection of testimonies…I think Ehrman uses Jesus language and theology when it works for him..
He is indeed a complex man and scholar… and respect him for that… but I have it in spider-like senses that he is still carefully trying to navigate the contemporary biblical-theological-practical sitz im leben!
I think Bart Ehrman is simply trying to live up to what he thinks he is at the moment… I accept his integrity and his defense of it, even though I do think he has granted way too much to fun-damn-mentalistic views regarding the NT…which he himself hates but then gets muddled throughout many of his debates and presentations about many serious questions raised against his views..
.oh well…he doesn’t care ,, no time , no interest, everything is going well… as planned..:)
He is high on my list of scholars who do their best, despite some really weird and contradictory stuff that contaminates their statements, oral or written…regarding what the case “really is” regarding this or that…
I have always felt that Ehrman is hedging his bets until he is convinced Jesus is a myth and then he will write his next best seller!
As for Q? To quote Life of Brian: ”He’s making it up as he goes along!”
Per Ehrman (28 May 2017) [original c. 2012] [NOW FORMATTED]. “Would I Be Personally Devastated if the Mythicists Were Right?…“. The Bart Ehrman Blog.
Per Ehrman’s rhetorical back-flips on his past writings, see also:
• Godfrey, Neil (8 April 2012). “Ehrman sacrifices Paul to launch his attack on mythicism”. Vridar.
• Godfrey, Neil (24 February 2016). “Another Flip Flop Argument: Ehrman again on early Low Christology”. Vridar.
I got the impression from Father Brodie that we do have Q. It has been in front of us all along….it is the Hebrew Bible.
OP: Ehrman does eventually qualify the last statement by stating that our “having” is an “inference”
Similary, Ehrman clarified that he meant “some” mythicists are avidly antireligious, in response to Justin Brierley’s agitated prompting—after Ehrman repeated the originally unqualified remark from Did Jesus Exist?.
NB: Said event occurred on Brierley’s radio talk “Unbelievable?”.
Ehrman, Bart D (2012). Did Jesus Exist?: The Historical Argument for Jesus of Nazareth. HarperOne. ISBN 9780062206442.
Some [a qualifier per later external clarification] “mythicists are avidly antireligious. To debunk religion, then, one needs to undermine specifically the Christian form of religion. […] the mythicists who are so intent on showing that the historical Jesus never existed are not being driven by a historical concern. Their agenda is religious, and they are complicit in a religious ideology. They are not doing history; they are doing theology.” [pp. 337–338, §. Conclusion – The Mythicist Agenda]
OP: Ehrman does eventually qualify . . . “having” is an “inference” but that word nowhere appears in the HuffPost article.
Ehrman (21 April 2014). “Attacks from the Other Side: An Ill-Tempered Richard Carrier”. The Bart Ehrman Blog.
Cf. Carrier (21 March 2012). “Ehrman Trashtalks Mythicism”. Richard Carrier blogs.
Egad! “In just a couple of decades after “his death”?” No, those are the letters of Paul only (and they are disputed) and those do not mention one single thing about Jesus’s earthly visitation (no quotes, no teachings. etc.). And if you ask the average 50-year old what they remember of, say, high school, don’t expect a lot of detail. So writing 2-3 decades after an event, well I hope you took damned good notes. (And then she said … and then I said … yeah, right.)
Did anyone go around and systematically interview any of the people who tromped around the area with their god (or even son of god, or even messaich)? If I thought god had walked around on this planet, I would milk the people he spoke to like goats to get as much information as possible. Instead, we get mostly Paul (Never met the guy buy we have conversations on SnapChat.) and anonymous authors for the other books in circulation, books that show clear agendas other than the stated purpose of the book. While the disciples were likely illiterate, there were such things as scribes, so all you needed was somebody willing to pay a scribe to record the interviews.
This is what I find so frustrating. I have read many of Ehrman’s books. I thought they were authoritative, but then … I find out he has a hidden agenda, just like all of the rest.
I have read many of Ehrman’s books. I thought they were authoritative, but then … I find out he has a hidden agenda, just like all of the rest.
Per S. A. McDaniel’s blog post on the historicity of Jesus, “Was Jesus a Historical Figure?”. I tried to salve the sting of “Carrier’s criticism” by pointing out that scholars like Ehrman had failed McDaniel. But I am now blocked (permanently?) as a bot per my included YouTube links.
If so inclined, drop him a comment to the same.
Quotation attributed to Keynes: “When my information changes, I alter my conclusions. What do you do, sir?”
As someone who likes as much as humanly possible to be a know-it-all for the fun of knowing, I love to find myself proven wrong so as to know more, and through my ongoing train of discovering (my) blunders find pleasure in life.
Thus I personally believe there is not necessarily any problem in changing one’s opinions, even drastically, even oscillating back and forth, if done for good reason. A change of opinions, simply to keep up with incoming perceived information or analysis is laudable.
If done out of meanness, or otherwise to gain advantage over others, or largely to maintain one’s standing in some hierarchy, not so good.
I have not read McGrath’s works. Just scattered quotations, mainly here. I will keep my tentative (possibly strong) opinions about his case to myself but felt like expressing my general thoughts.
For another one of Ehrman’s contortions, consider his claim that Galatians 1:19 is one of two reasons why scholars are convinced “beyond a shadow of a reasonable doubt” that Jesus was a historical person. (Did Jesus Exist/ p.144)
Compare this to what Ehrman said when debating Dan Wallace a few years earlier: Can we trust that the copies of Galatians we have are the original copies. No. We don’t know. How could we possibly know? Our earliest copy of Galatians is p46 which dates from the year 200. Paul wrote this letter in the 50’s. The first copy that we have is 150 years later. Changes were made all along the line before this first copy was made. How can we possibly know that in fact it is exactly as Paul wrote it. Is it possible that somebody along the line inserted a verse? Yes. Is it possible that someone took out a verse? Yes. Is it possible that somebody changed a lot of the words? Yes. Is it possible that the later copies were made from one of the worst of the early copies? Yes. It’s possible. We don’t know.
If we cannot be sure about the text of Galatians, it is ridiculous to suppose that we be sure “beyond a shadow of a reasonable doubt” that Paul actually met the biological brother of Jesus as reported in Galatians.
Ted (2016). “Is the Original New Testament Lost? Ehrman vs Wallace (Debate Transcript)”. Credo Courses.
Cf. Ehrman (7 March 2015). “My Debate with Dan Wallace: Is the Original NT Lost?”. The Bart Ehrman Blog.
Comment by Neil Godfrey—29 July 2012—per “Larry Hurtado’s Wearying (and Irresponsible?) Encore”. Vridar. 29 July 2012.
Commnet by vinnyjh57—1 May 2012—per Ehrman (30 April 2012). “The Text of the New Testament: Are the Textual Traditions of Other Ancient Works Relevant?”. The Bart Ehrman Blog.
what Ehrman said when debating Dan Wallace a few years earlier
Cf. Ehrman, Bart D.; Wallace, Daniel (2011). “The Textual Reliability of the New Testament: A Dialogue”. In Stewart, Robert B (ed.). The Reliability of the New Testament. Fortress Press. p. 13ff. ISBN 978-1-4514-1715-9. “[Per Wallace, Daniel] a truncated version of my lecture in our first debate (April 2008 in New Orleans), but [Ehrman,] Bart’s full lecture.”
Thanks, Vinny and db. Excellent point and one I’ll add to my files for future reference.
I have been re-reading Schweitzer and it is surprising that he at no points suggests Gal. 1:19 is the killer proof text — as so many scholars today do. He even had the honesty to concede that nothing can be settled by Josephus, Tacitus or Suetonius. The difference between an honest scholar and an apologist (apologist for the profession if not the faith).
I cannot find the page with these words by Ehrman:
Vinny / db — where are they located? Thanks (Some of the quote appears in db’s link to the transcript but it substitutes 2 Corinthians for Galatians.)
it substitutes 2 Corinthians for Galatians
That is the 2012 debate
• Vinny noted the 2008 debate for Galatians, see transcript: Ehrman, Bart D.; Wallace, Daniel (2011). “The Textual Reliability of the New Testament: A Dialogue”. In Stewart, Robert B (ed.). The Reliability of the New Testament. Fortress Press. p. 13ff. ISBN 978-1-4514-1715-9. “[Per Wallace, Daniel] a truncated version of my lecture in our first debate (April 2008 in New Orleans), but [Ehrman,] Bart’s full lecture.”
“Dr. Daniel Wallace”. The Veritas Forum.
I cannot find the words Vinny quoted in the Stewart book you cite.
(Nor can I see the words “[Per Wallace, Daniel] a truncated version of my lecture in our first debate (April 2008 in New Orleans), but [Ehrman,] Bart’s full lecture.”)
I can see where Vinny has quoted the words earlier in comments at https://ehrmanblog.org/the-text-of-the-new-testament-are-the-textual-traditions-of-other-ancient-works-relevant/ — but not the original source for the words.
It is not in the 2008 debate text @ “The Textual Reliability of the New Testament: A Dialogue” [PDF]
• Maybe it is from the 2011 debate?
“SMU Debate DVD”. csntm.org.
“”Did Jesus Exist?” (6): Is Corruption in Transmission Relevant?”. Do You Ever Think About Things You Do Think About?. 19 April 2012.
As I recall, I transcribed Ehrman’s remarks directly from the audio files of the 2008 Greer-Heard Forum.
Thanks. I’ll take the Ehrman blog comments at the source. Ehrman concurred there with what you wrote so that’s pretty reliable.
“Complete Greer Heard Collection | Complete Greer Heard Collection MP3 | Watchman Fellowship, Inc”. watchman.org.
No thank you. That is overkill and at a killer cost, too. As mentioned above, I have all I need now — without having to spend a fortune to listen through hours of tapes. A little less information, please, db 🙂
It appears that the 2008 debate was abridged and edited into a “dialogue” format for the 2011 publication, “The Textual Reliability of the New Testament: A Dialogue”. In Stewart, Robert B (ed.). The Reliability of the New Testament. Fortress Press.
• A little less information, please . . . 🙂
I can not seem to stop myself, I added the following while composing this comment (using my dual-keyboard wielding skill):
• “Nerve § History”. Wikipedia.
• “Coronary arteries § Name etymology”. Wikipedia.
OMG, I just now realized that I have an INFO addiction (Q_Q)
Per the Wikipedia “VisualEditor”, I now see that the cite tool is marked as “Powered by “Zotero”.”
Cf. “Zotero | Your personal research assistant”. zotero.org.
• Amy thoughts on Zotero?
That is very apparent! 🙂 I was thinking of some sort of OCD, no? Your lists of citations added to most posts (is it most? It seems like it) have become predictable and I for one simply gloss over them. (For most part, as soon as I see your db signature I have got to the point of simply not reading your “comment” anymore.) I am sure that anyone who wants to follow up questions arising from the posts will find their own leads according to their own interests. The only citations I ever follow up are those that I have read in context in a book or article itself that respond to a particular question of one aspect of what is being said. How about just writing up your citations in another space where you can survey them at a later date for how and for whom they might be of use.
Or I can put your comments on moderation if you think you really cannot stop. I can ensure only comments that are another kind of addition of addition to the post appear here.
Zotero has a good reputation among many researchers. I use it.
But please! Do not post here lots of references to reviews of zotero or comments from various users about it!!! 😉
Jesus wept, /s. Just as its contrived and soaked in magic nature invalidates G.Mk in its entirety, this foolishness more than tends to invalidate Ehrman’s entire oeuvre. I for one can’t really trust anything he’s ever written anymore. Even his peer reviewed material. Why? His peers are just as bankrupt as himself, and their field is about as valid as Alchemy. Roll on its birthing a Chemistry analogue.