Thursday, March 31, 2016


One of Bart Ehrman's stock examples of alleged discrepancies in this Gospels is his contention that Mark and Luke present contradictory accounts of the Passion. I'll make a few observations:

i) Part of the problem is with his illogical assumption that if one account includes information not mentioned in another account, that must be fictional or unhistorical.

ii) It doesn't occur to Ehrman that if someone is in a state of extreme physical and emotional distress, that person may well be subject to mood swings. Surely that's a commonplace of human experience. People in that condition may oscillate between hope to despair. It's perfectly realistic for the same person to have conflicting feelings–especially when traumatized. It would be surprising of Jesus did not experience a gamut of emotions during this crisis. 

iii) In addition, a subjective feeling of divine abandonment is entirely consistent with an objective reality of divine provision. That's a common motif in the Prophets and Psalms. A sense of utter desolation doesn't mean the sufferer has in fact been deserted by God. 

1 comment:

  1. This is not just true of the Lord, but of the thief on the cross. It's perfectly plausible that someone with changing moods could also have changing opinions (not that our Lord changed His opinions).

    Ehrman implies that it would be impossible for the thief on the cross to go from a negative attitude toward someone to a positive one. I'm reminded of a particular scene in the current Batman v Superman movie where Batman's attitude toward Superman switches near instantaneously for plausible reasons.

    Similarly, the thief on the cross could have been influenced by Christ's gracious enduring of the cross to the conclusion that Jesus was the real deal Messiah rather than a con artist whose pretensions were being exposed by his cries of hopelessness, fears, regrets and panic.