2020-07-02

Prof. “Errorman” and the non-Christian sources: Hermann Detering’s Complete Review of Bart Ehrman’s Did Jesus Exist?

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by Neil Godfrey

I have compiled the three parts into a single file. Make whatever use you want of it. Copy it; share it. I only ask that you acknowledge its source on this blog as per the Creative Commons licence for all works here. Frank Feller was the translator but I refined his work here and there into more fluent English. Find the Download Button beneath the viewing frame.

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4 thoughts on “Prof. “Errorman” and the non-Christian sources: Hermann Detering’s Complete Review of Bart Ehrman’s Did Jesus Exist?

  1. • IMO, the bottom reading list should also contain: Detering (2011). “Falsche Zeugen außerchristliche Jesuszeugnisse auf dem Prüfstand”

    Neil, please consider doing a similar commentary of: Vorster, W S 1993. “The production of the Gospel of Mark: An essay on intertextuality”. HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies: 385–396. [online with several OCR typos].

    And as always, Neil, thanks for the awesome Cornucopia of good things that is Vridar.

  2. Detering has some things to say about the Tacitus passage. What I find slightly odd about it is the mention of Pontius Pilate in the sentence “suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus”. I doubt very much that Tacitus, or his audience, cared in the least what the name of the procurator was. Whereas the name Pontius Pilate was so important to Christians that they included it in their creeds. At the very least, the words “Pontius Pilate” is a probable Christian interpolation, perhaps by accident, since a later Christian scribe would almost certainly write the name “Pontius Pilate” as a note in the margin, and later scribes would transfer it to the text.

    1. That’s an excellent point. One would expect a historian to identify the time frame by reference to the reign of Tiberius. The reference to Pontus Pilate has little relevance apart from theological.

    2. Good point.

      Even if it isn’t a later interpolation, it still looks to be of Christian origin.

      It is now well known that Pilate’s title was “prefect”. Tacitus was writing for the Roman upper classes, who were the people who could actually afford to buy a book, and who knew the exact degree of condescension the wife of a prefect would use when speaking to the wife of a procurator. Tacitus would not have got the title wrong if he had been using official records, so the source must be a Christian tale.

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