Sunday, December 24, 2017

Bart Ehrman's Ridiculous List Of Christmas Facts

In a post earlier today, Bart Ehrman wrote:

As I said in the previous post, it is not that I “believe” in the Christmas story (stories) as a historical event (events). In my judgment the biblical accounts have virtually nothing historical about them, other than that Jesus was born to two lower-class Jewish peasants somewhere in the land of Israel during the reign of Caesar Augustus. Beyond that – I don’t see anything historical in the accounts.

There are dozens of claims about Jesus' childhood in the earliest sources that meet the criterion of multiple attestation. Much of what's said about Jesus' childhood in the earliest sources meets the criterion of embarrassment, meets the criterion of coherence, is corroborated by non-Christian sources, etc. But Ehrman thinks only the small handful of facts he mentions above are historical? The names of the parents aren't historical? The scandalous premarital timing of the pregnancy? The early move to Nazareth, a disreputable city? The fact that Mary had other children after Jesus? What grounds would Ehrman have for rejecting such claims?

Even on more controversial matters, why agree with Ehrman? For example, in a post yesterday, he referred to the Bethlehem birthplace as something he rejects as unhistorical. But see here regarding the evidence for the Bethlehem birthplace, especially the second half of the post here for a summary.

It's common in many skeptical and scholarly circles to make comments like Ehrman's about how little of the infancy narratives is historical. Since what those critics are saying about the infancy narratives is so false and so easily shown to be false, what should we conclude about those critics?


  1. "...what should we conclude about those critics?"

    That they are uneducated.