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Divine Power

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Hour 1: The way in which Christians think about Jesus’s divinity has changed over the last two millennia. Ahead of Easter this weekend, we’ll talk this hour about the history of Christian theology with University of North Carolina religious studies professor Bart Ehrman. His new book is How Jesus Became God: The Exaltation of a Jewish Preacher from Galilee (HarperOne).

  • http://www.insrecord.com Carol Leslie Hargis

    Thought-provoking discussion.

  • http://www.insrecord.com Carol Leslie Hargis

    Thought-provoking discussion.

  • Gene

    I find it curious how modern scholarship in its long flowing robes can, with a wave of its hand, simply dismiss the eyewitness testimony of those in the past (“that which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands” 1 John 1:1). Ehrman and those like him have no qualms about dismissing biblical assertions they are unwilling to accept “it’s unlikely that Jesus really said that” and so it – whatever “it” is – it must have been manufactured by the church. Does he really believe the ancients Christians were liars? Ehrman leaves open the possibility that they, in their grief were deluded into believing Jesus was raised from the dead. We might accept this from one or two disciples, but all of them?! Why were all of the remaining disciples willing to put their lives on the line for what they believed if there were even the possibility they were wrong? There were many messianic movements in that era in which the perceived “messiah” ended up dead at the hands of the Romans. None of their followers thought they had been raised from the dead? Why Jesus?

    It’s curious also, how Ms. Boyd will interview only a liberal scholar and give no air time to other first rate intellects who hold a different view of the evidence. Near the end of the interview she gives Ehrman an opportunity to respond to a book rebuffing his claims to which he replies “they put forth no alternative theory.” One reason may be because alternative theories are abundantly available and they felt no need compile another. N.T. Wright, for one, has written an entire tome on the resurrection and it’s consequences socially and culturally. To interview an individual such as Ehrman while giving no time to other well respected scholars makes me wonder what she may be afraid of. Could it be that, if a dead man did in fact rise from the dead and came to be understood as having a divine nature within a fiercely monotheistic religion there may be challenges to our thinking we moderns may be unwilling to face?

    • Kim Batchelor

      Although I think a lot of this discussion misses the real point of Jesus’ ministry, I believe the indignation is ill-placed. It’s not that Christians were “liars,” it’s that there are contradictions within the Bible that can’t be ignored and human beings had a heavy hand in creating the Bible as it is; e.g., Jesus and Paul said to love our enemies, the writer of Psalms said to bash their children’s heads against the rocks. To not understand that is to call God at best erratic. As a researcher, I look for patterns in the data, and Jesus’ teachings are largely consistent with those of the Hebrew prophets that came before him. That is, to me, more important than quibbling over other issues, as He said in the Great Commission of Matthew 28: “Teach all that I commanded,” not “argue over my divinity.”

  • Gene

    I find it curious how modern scholarship in its long flowing robes can, with a wave of its hand, simply dismiss the eyewitness testimony of those in the past (“that which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands” 1 John 1:1). Ehrman and those like him have no qualms about dismissing biblical assertions they are unwilling to accept “it’s unlikely that Jesus really said that” and so it – whatever “it” is – it must have been manufactured by the church. Does he really believe the ancients Christians were liars? Ehrman leaves open the possibility that they, in their grief were deluded into believing Jesus was raised from the dead. We might accept this from one or two disciples, but all of them?! Why were all of the remaining disciples willing to put their lives on the line for what they believed if there were even the possibility they were wrong? There were many messianic movements in that era in which the perceived “messiah” ended up dead at the hands of the Romans. None of their followers thought they had been raised from the dead? Why Jesus?

    It’s curious also, how Ms. Boyd will interview only a liberal scholar and give no air time to other first rate intellects who hold a different view of the evidence. Near the end of the interview she gives Ehrman an opportunity to respond to a book rebuffing his claims to which he replies “they put forth no alternative theory.” One reason may be because alternative theories are abundantly available and they felt no need compile another. N.T. Wright, for one, has written an entire tome on the resurrection and it’s consequences socially and culturally. To interview an individual such as Ehrman while giving no time to other well respected scholars makes me wonder what she may be afraid of. Could it be that, if a dead man did in fact rise from the dead and came to be understood as having a divine nature within a fiercely monotheistic religion there may be challenges to our thinking we moderns may be unwilling to face?

    • Kim Batchelor

      Although I think a lot of this discussion misses the real point of Jesus’ ministry, I believe the indignation is ill-placed. It’s not that Christians were “liars,” it’s that there are contradictions within the Bible that can’t be ignored and human beings had a heavy hand in creating the Bible as it is; e.g., Jesus and Paul said to love our enemies, the writer of Psalms said to bash their children’s heads against the rocks. To not understand that is to call God at best erratic. As a researcher, I look for patterns in the data, and Jesus’ teachings are largely consistent with those of the Hebrew prophets that came before him. That is, to me, more important than quibbling over other issues, as He said in the Great Commission of Matthew 28: “Teach all that I commanded,” not “argue over my divinity.”

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