Sunday, May 24, 2015

How Bart Ehrman bungles the burial of Christ


  1. “My hunch is that it is because he knew nothing about a burial of Jesus by Joseph of Arimathea.” (pg. 142).

    Could Paul not have known Joseph buried Jesus if he actually did? Sure it's possible. But it's unlikely since he was a member of the Jewish Sanhedrin. Something all four canonical gospels almost glory in. Similar to how some modern Christians (unfortunately, often unreservedly) boast in athletes and celebrities who profess to be Christian.

    The likelihood of Paul NOT knowing Joseph buried Jesus (and other similar trivia) seems to only work if Paul's converts and the churches he established were never visited by other Apostles or their disciples/converts. But this was an age when travel was common due to Rome's famous roads and other trade routes. Both Jewish persecution and missionary zeal would have resulted in theological and factual "cross-pollination" among Christians and churches throughout the Roman Empire.

    The question shouldn't be whether it was likely if Paul knew Joseph buried Jesus if he actually did. It's almost certain Paul did were it true. Rather the more crucial question is whether Joseph did bury Jesus. And even many secular and agnostic historians rate it as historically probable or certain.

    Wasn't Paul/Saul's zeal in persecuting Christians partly due to the fact that many Jews, including some of high standing, were converting to the new messianic sect? If so, then he probably knew some of them by name. Like Joseph of Arimathea who was part of the Jewish Sanhedrin. Paul not knowing would be like Jacopo Sadoleto not knowing Philipp Melanchthon was one of Luther's right-hand men. It's highly unlikely.

    1. I agree. There's a lot of evidence for how easily and widely information was disseminated in Paul's day in Paul's own letters. He frequently refers to contacts he had in the churches and messengers who brought him information from a wide diversity of locations. And the second half of 1 Timothy 5:18 is best explained as a citation of Luke's gospel, which includes material on Joseph of Arimathea's involvement in the burial of Jesus. Even if Pauline authorship of 1 Timothy is denied, the document would still reflect early perception of when Luke was written and how it was received among Paul and his contemporaries. The notion that Paul was highly ignorant of the gospels and the traditions behind them is implausible.

  2. Ehrman has been exposed as dishonest so often that it's a wonder he's still being published, and still has an audience willing to listen.

    But such is the nature of unbelief. The truth is hard to bear, and the light exposes, so sinful man still flees from it and attempts to hide himself in self-erected fortresses made of vain philosophical and intellectual imaginings.

    These are the strongholds and lofty ideas opposed to Christ that Christians, by the power of the spirit are called to tear down, taking every thought captive.

    This is because God is a God of truth, Christ is the truth, and His people are to be a people of the truth.

    Truth Matters.