Start Bart ehrman dating of the gospels

Bart ehrman dating of the gospels

No one has suggested non-eyewitnesses never shared stories of Jesus.

Even if scholars agreed on these criteria (which are themselves debatable), their is fraught with pitfalls and subjectivity. It’s also worth observing there are two key factors within early Christianity that would have made memories more reliable, though Ehrman gives short attention to both.

First, early Christians could have used “notebooks” to record the words and deeds of Jesus at an early point—indeed, the use of such notebooks is often the basis for popular scholarly belief in documents like “Q.” Scholars such as Graham Stanton have written extensively on this sort of topic (, 165–191), but Ehrman seems uninterested.

Second, Ehrman’s hyper-skepticism (again) goes well beyond what the evidence warrants. To use this fact as a reason to dismiss the eyewitness testimony of the Gospels goes far beyond what the evidence can bear.

He appeals to numerous studies showing eyewitness testimony can sometimes be mistaken—even seriously mistaken. Sure, the Gospel authors saying that all of our memories are faulty or wrong.

But the main rationale for his new volume is recent scholarly work on the transmission of oral tradition in the church’s earliest centuries. Generally, these studies have suggested that the oral transmission of the Jesus tradition during this time would have been “controlled” in some fashion by either the Christian community (Bailey and Dunn) or the eyewitnesses themselves (Bauckham).

Particularly in mind is Richard Bauckham’s , but also studies by James D. Ehrman mounts a case that these views are mistaken; there were no constraints on oral transmission in the ancient world that could guarantee the story hasn’t been changed.

Ehrman is correct that Gerhardsson was critiqued extensively, yet he fails to note that his biggest critic, renowned rabbinic scholar Jacob Neusner, actually changed his views on Gerhardsson’s work.

In fact, Neusner had such a change of heart he wrote a complimentary foreword to the reprinting of Gerhardsson’s famous book , noting that this was his “act of penance” for his earlier “dismissive” review of Gerhardsson (xxv). Third, Ehrman substantially underplays the positive case for the traditional authorship of the Gospels.

If the Gospels were the product of local congregations, it could have been the case that they could have been in existence before they began to be circulated.

Maybe Herman’s “dates” are more right about their coming into circulation than in the dates of their composition.

Second, Birger Gerhardsson’s work on memory in ancient Judaism suggests a more reliable process than Ehrman’s reconstruction.