And that is ok with me. He notes the various laws constricting public sacrifice and worship by pagans and the orders for the closure of temples. As regards every claimed miracle of which I’m aware, the evidence is far too weak to conclude that it actually occurred. Which is not to say that the book is not interesting, or some of the arguments he makes are totally wrong. Historical research uses the latter. Killing some pagans in Anatolia had zero impact in Brittannia. I’ve observed in the past there seems to be two Bart Ehrmans. If you read any of Ehrman’s popular books, you are being given the message that the New Testament as we have it today, including the actions and teaching of Jesus, is very unreliable. So I am lead to believe there really are two Ehrman’s. So Wallace is a fundamentalist. The more the stories were told with conviction, the more listeners were likely to think they were true.” (p. 158). I must say this was one of the more surprising findings of his analysis for me, though one that I did find convincing. What he says in both types of work is exactly the same. On the whole, that view has tended to prevail among critical scholars over the Jesus Seminar’s alternative of Jesus as a social reforming sage. Concerning your last two paragraphs….. Following a tour of duty in the U.S. Army, he received his PhD from the University of California, Berkeley, where he held appointments as a research sociologist at the Survey Research Center and at the Center for the Study of Law and Society. (In short, everything you know is wrong.) Was it necessary to spend so much time digressing into personal attacks?”. Sadly it is on the things we disagree about that I do blogs. Carrier claims: “Ehrman has now completely reversed a position he took against me in Did Jesus Exist (as is well known, I published a detailed critique of that awful book). However, that being said there were many parts of this book that I did very much like. Check out this great listen on Audible.ca. Consider this: I’ll have to take my chances on this one, Tim. (Perhaps if space allows you could also comment on the debate between Carrier and Thom Stark about the Targum of Jonathan – I mentioned that on Bart Ehrman’s blog recently. In 2004 he joined the faculty of Baylor University. The first-century Mark situation was recently covered extensively on Bart Ehrman’s blog. This may be alien to us (thus the tendency toward anachronistic “political” explanations for his conversion), but it is how these things worked in the ancient world. I myself think that Christianity might have borrowed heavily from other religions/cultures, but I doubt that ever single thing about Christianity is plagiarized. That is you seem to be clear you are an atheist but you don’t want your views about atheism to bias your views on historical evidence. “, Yes, perhaps I should spend my time writing 10-15,000 word critical analysis. I would put little to no faith, pun intended, in anything he writes. Ehrman also makes the point that, contrary to the popular view of early Christianity, there is actually very little evidence of much organised or large scale evangelical missions or concerted missionary activity. If we accept Ehrman’s sincere view that these criteria are what makes up historical analysis then we should agree that the historical analysis is at an end. So, I must first apologize to Bart Ehrman, and to everyone else, for giving misleading information about this discovery. The reason he doesnt say the same thing in his academic writings is because he knows other scholars would laugh at him, because they, unlike the readers of his popular books, also know it isnt true. Now if I disputed the splitting of the moon based on the historical criteria Ehrman offers then that would be a a historical analysis. We’re all experts on these texts, so of course we know such things. Similarly, I could describe Ehrman as a militant apostate keen on doing anything he can to discredit Christianity. “just because the number of cruel executions of pagans was small compared to the total population, it seems clear that people were terrorized to go against the powerful Roman empire official religion. Listen to The Triumph of Christianity by Rodney Stark. To study copies of manuscripts to try and ascertain what the original says. Some reviewers feel Erhman has missed a beat here. “As unlikely as a first-century Gospel manuscript is, the fragment was allegedly dated by a world-class specialist. The number of people who have theistic religious beliefs is much greater than the number who are members of a church or attend church services. As Edward J. Watts’ excellent The Final Pagan Generation shows, late antique society was an interwoven fabric of family, sponsors, patronage and favours and so religion, like everything else, was a highly communal and shared business, rather than a matter of private and personal conscience. (And the Bibles people have been reading for the last several centuries obviously contain a lot of material that wasn’t in the originals – many English Bibles contain the woman taken in adultery and the Johannine Comma, even though virtually all textual critics agree that these are not original. But this was mainly in the second half of the third century and the example of the martyrs seems to have been more for internal inspiration rather than a great inspiration for new converts. But how well the argument works is clearly a religious dispute that would analyze religious beliefs. Show us this “small number of cruel executions of pagans” and produce evidence that makes it “clear that people were terrorized” by them. In particular he presents a much more positive understanding of the crusades, maintains that the "Dark Ages" were "one of the most inventive times in Western history", and persuasively argues against common assumptions concerning the Spanish Inquisition. And that’s why I said, “what the hell has he been doing for 30 years?”, If you still seem confused, please, be kind, reference what it is specifically and succinctly, and I will do my best to clarify what it is that is causing you confusion. The Triumph of Christianity: How the Jesus Movement Became the World's Largest Religion eBook: Stark, Rodney: Amazon.in: Kindle Store A crowd of a hundred pagan polytheists gathers to hear each devotee extol the glories of his god. I've returned the book, so I don't have an example at hand, but I know that I winced through the ancient period with Stark. 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