Canonical Gospels

But the Women Who Did *NOT* Doubt the Resurrection – The Bart Ehrman Blog – Christian Article

In my previous post I noted something unusual about the doubting tradition in the resurrection narratives (i.e., the tradition that some of the disciples simply didn’t believe that Jesus was raised) – in addition, of course, to the fact that there is such a dominant doubting tradition! (itself a fascinating phenomenon) – which is that there is no word anywhere of the women who discover the tomb doubting, but clear indications (either by implication or by explicit statement) that some…

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Guest Post on Papias by Stephen Carlson – The Bart Ehrman Blog – Christian Article

Conservative Christian scholars often claim that the Gospels of Matthew and Mark were recognized as “Scripture” already by the early second century, and for evidence they appeal to the words spoken of that mysterious church father “Papias” (writing in 120 CE? 140 CE?).   But when Papias mentioned Matthew and Mark, was he speaking about the books that we now know about?  And if so did he see them as Scripture? Here is the final guest post by Stephen Carlson on…

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When You Feel Like You’re Talking to a Wall – The Bart Ehrman Blog – Christian Article

I wrote this post a while ago, and now that I reread it, I think I might be kicking a dead horse.  (Something, in case you wonder, I’ve never actually done.)   But, well, I suppose it’s sometimes OK to leave written twhat has been written, so to say.  So here ‘tis.   There are times when I debate a committed evangelical or fundamentalist Christian on whether the Bible is reliable or not, and I feel like I’m talking to a…

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Jeffrey Siker – The Bart Ehrman Blog – Christian Article

Another guest post by Jeffrey Siker, raising a very hard question with some peculiar answers and a provocative suggestion. Jesus and Sinlessness: Metaphor and Ontology, Blog 3 In the two previous posts I have shown how the tradition developed that Jesus was sinless, namely, retrospectively in light of resurrection faith.  If Jesus was raised to divine stature at the right hand of God, then surely he must have been God’s divine Son throughout his public ministry (even if hidden by…

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Were Miracle Stories Originally in the Gospels? – The Bart Ehrman Blog – Christian Article

Looking through old posts on the blog, I came across this very interesting and important question from seven years ago.  It’s a question I continue to get on occasion, so I thought we all might profit by thinking about it again.  (And now, older and wiser, I would answer almost exactly the same way!) QUESTION: I have looked up the content of all the papyri I’m aware of (off of links on wikipedia, so who knows if they’re accurate). It…

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Being Willing to Accept the Truth – The Bart Ehrman Blog – Christian Article

Here I’d like to add just a couple of more reflections on whether critical scholars *have* to claim there are contradictions in the Bible because of their beliefs.  As I tried to state as strongly as I could in my previous post, I think the answer is absolutely not. To begin with, let me stress that I started learning about serious contradictions when I was in a Christian theological seminary taking biblical studies courses with committed Christian teachers who were…

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Contradictions in the Gospels – Rev Matthew Firth’s Final Response – The Bart Ehrman Blog – Christian Article

Thanks for such an interesting debate, Bart. Here goes with my final response: In my view, a genuine contradiction between two texts occurs when those texts carry mutually exclusive accounts, i.e. accounts where, if one account is correct, the other cannot be. In the examples you have cited, you have failed to show that the so-called contradictory accounts are genuinely mutually exclusive. You have therefore failed to provide any examples of genuine contradictions. Sure, the examples you’ve cited are, on…

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Contradictions in the Gospels – The Bart Ehrman Blog – Christian Article

This is the opening gambit in my debate with Rev. Matthew Firth on whether there are contradictions in the Gospels.  I believe there are many.  He believes there are none whatsoever.  So who is right?   I would strongly recommend that, if you are really interested in the matter, you actually look up the passages in question and see for yourself. I will need to be brief on each one, since space is highly restricted.  I ended up requiring 1300 words,…

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What Is a Contradiction? – The Bart Ehrman Blog – Christian Article

As many of you know, Rev. Matthew Firth, an Anglican rector trained in theology at Oxford, will soon be participating on the blog in a fund-raising event, for which many of you, bless your souls, have already donated.  This will entail a debate with me over whether there are contradictions in the Gospels. The debate will start soon, but I thought I should lay a little bit of groundwork.  I hadn’t planned on doing this originally, and haven’t told Rev.…

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Guest Post by Stephen Carlson – The Bart Ehrman Blog – Christian Article

I occasionally get questions about one of the most interesting but least known Christian authors of the early 2nd century, a man named Papias (writing in 120 CE? 140 CE).  Many readers consider him particularly important because he claims to have known and interviewed the companions of disciples of Jesus’ own apostles (it’s a bit confusing: but Jesus had his apostles; after his death they themselves had disciples; Papias knew people who knew these disciples of the apostles); moreover, Papias…

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Contradictions in the Gospels?? – The Bart Ehrman Blog – Christian Article

We will be engaging in an unusual fund-raising event on the blog in a week or so.   A well-trained Anglican priest named Matthew Firth had issued a challenge that no one could point out any contradictions in the Gospels of the New Testament that could not be explained.  As I understand it, he offered an award of $1000.  OK then!  Someone on the blog contacted me to see if I’d be willing to take up the challenge. Of course, there…

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Papias. How Do We Know His Context? Guest post by Stephen Carlson – The Bart Ehrman Blog – Christian Article

Now that Stephen Carlson has said a few things about Papias, in this post he is going to explain why it is so hard to know what Papias is actually saying in the fragmentary quotations of his writings that we have.   (Even though people / scholars quote them all the time as if we can tell exactly what he means.)  It all has to do with putting them in context.  But what if you don’t know the context? This is…

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Jesus “Only” Adopted to be the Son of God? – The Bart Ehrman Blog – Christian Article

Here’s a post from six years ago involving an important matter that I completely changed my mind about.   I know some scholars (not to name names) will never change their views about something, come hell or high water.  They probably don’t think they should be seen to waffle.  I don’t mind waffles.  Especially on a nice Sunday morning like this. ****************************************************************** I used to think – for years and years I thought this – that being adopted was a lower…

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The Only Story of Jesus as a Boy in the New Testament – The Bart Ehrman Blog – Christian Article

Based on the feedback I’ve received on the blog this past week, I’ve decided to reinstate the weekly Readers’ Mailbag.   I have actually continued responding to questions since abandoning the feature of the blog, but in a less formal way.  Formalizing it seems like a popular option, and so I’ll try to do this once a week.   I start this week with an interesting question about Jesus as a boy.   QUESTION Outside the birth narratives, the only canonical story…

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