grinding sp so you can't fuss-it's one poster being circled here
Thanks much Dave...
All serious scholars save a minute faction of freelancers as well as axe grinding posters agree Jesus existed as an historical personage.
When I have read various remarks about a non historical Jesus it usually implies no one who is a scholar really affirms the historicity of Jesus, but this is clearly untrue.
Then I have constantly read that Josephus' writings do not actually contain any references to Jesus just interpolations. John the Baptist is also mentioned. This interpolation controversy does have some truth, but it does not delete Jesus in Josephus' accounts. Nor does it expunge John the Baptist Jesus' cousin.
Howie, are you saying that Josephus met Yeshua? Certainly, none of the four Gospel writers ever did. The article you sited seems to state that Bart Ehrman agrees with your position, but having read a number of his books, and currently nearly finished with, The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture, I'd have to say he has some doubts. After all, anyone can write a Wikipedia article.
Either Josephus met Yeshua, or he's working off of hearsay evidence, inadmissible in any court of law, or in any reputable scientific inquiry.
Ehrman has also stated that experts agree that some of Josephus' writings had been later added to, by other writers than Josephus.
Josephus wasn't born until 37AD.
So that would put Josephus' birth 5-7 years after Yeshua - if he ever existed, died - add at least 18-20 years before he began writing, then ask yourself how reliable data might have been 25-27 years after the fact (if in fact, it WAS a fact).
I have heard Ehrman state unequivocally that Jesus existed. Of course if cornered he'd probably admit there is SOME percentage uncertainty; I doubt he'd say he is 100 percent sure. But he thinks there is enough evidence simply out of the gospels that there was a hominid Jesus.
You are correct that he dismisses Josephus as a contemporary source; in fact I personally think that he was too generous on this count and that the entire paragraph of Josephus that sells all those copies of The Antiquities (not just half of the paragraph) is a forgery.
RE: "he thinks there is enough evidence simply out of the gospels that there was a hominid Jesus." - the GOSPELS?
When he knows that the Gospels were written anonymously, that the earliest writing (Mark) was written at minimum 40 years after the death of Yeshuah (if he ever existed), the next (Matthew, who copied Mark), five years later, Luke (who copied Mark and Matthew, as well as "Q,") and John, who may have written as much as 50 years later? That's evidence? That's not even HEARSAY evidence - that's hearsay evidence, OF hearsay evidence, OF hearsay evidence!
The gospels, indeed. As sucky as they are as objective accounts... they are actually better than everything else out there. They are closer to the time in question than any other source we have. Ehrman can spend literally hours going through all the other putative sources and showing that they are either later forgeries (like Josephus) or don't even go back to the first century.
What you cannot do is regard the gospels as a source to be taken literally. Unfortunately most of the people who maintain Jesus never existed seem to think that those who think he did are doing precisely that, even when it's a secular historian making the argument in favor!
Even though they are heavily larded with bullshit, it's possible with critical analysis to peel back the layers of said bullshit, and be able to make some inferences about the "real" Jesus. For example (and as I recall we (Archaeopteryx and I) have discussed this before) that the hominid Jesus was not born in Bethlehem, and almost certainly really was from the Galilee area. Even though those sources that say something about Jesus' birth say that he was born in Bethlehem, we can tell he was not because the stories about the nativity show every sign of being completely made up after the fact--in order to cover up the embarrassing fact that he wasn't actually born there. (And if they had to cover that up, that means there's something real there.)
Yes it's paradoxical that you can analyze a work of bullshit and make strong inferences about the underlying truth.
Items less likely to be bullshit in a bunch of documents heavily laced with bullshit would be
1) items that work against the point being made (e.g., Jesus being from Galilee even though the Messiah was supposed to come out of Bethlehem)--this is the "Criterion of Dissimilarity" and there are many smaller examples of it,
2) items that appear in independent sources (it is believed that the three synoptic gospels are only partially independent of each other, BTW). This is the "criterion of Independent Attestation"
3) the text has to fit in with what someone there at the time would see (which is how, for example, we can reject the Pastoral epistles as forgeries not written by Paul), this is the "criterion of contextual credibility" and is used to invalidate texts.
RE: "the three synoptic gospels are only partially independent of each other" - hence, the reason for calling them, "synoptic," they look alike, because Matthew was copied from Mark (and contains much of Mark, verbatim), while Luke copied from both Mark and an unknown, unnamed source, known only as "Q," - and no, not the guy who makes cool weapons for James Bond.