Zero! Zip!

I love this. Imagine writing a book chronicling everything a person did and said who lived over 100 years ago, just using word of mouth.

Comment by Aiken Drums Sister on August 2, 2012 at 10:17pm

Doesn't surprise me.  Rumors becomes legends becomes myths.  Those myths get mixed up with local myths as they spread, more legends and stories get folded in based on the local political situation... and when enough people have been told these tales for generations, somebody writes them down.  By that time these myths are TRUE, just like in advertising and politics - if you say something enough times, it becomes true.

Comment by Josh Minton on August 9, 2012 at 1:57am

i wish this had cited sources.

Comment by Simon Paynton on August 9, 2012 at 2:18am

Reminds me of the fossil record. 

Comment by SteveInCO on June 28, 2013 at 8:52am

I love this. Imagine writing a book chronicling everything a person did and said who lived over 100 years ago, just using word of mouth.

What Dr. Ehrman is saying here is that there are no non Christian sources for Christ's existence, not no sources at all.  (Read it closely, he says "Greek or Roman.")  It is generally accepted that three of the gospels do come from within the first century.  Clearly they contained material already blown out of proportion.  (If any of those crazy resurrection miracles like earthquakes, zombie rampages, the sun being blotted out, etc., had actually happened, we'd have "Greek or Roman" records of them undoubtedly.)

Ehrman does think there was a perfectly ordinary human being named Jesus that all these tales got built upon, and uses various forms of textual analysis to try to infer what he was from; you can do this even off of sources (like the gospels) that have high percentages of bullshit in them.  For example you can infer that no only was the virgin birth made up, so was the whole deal about Jesus being born in Bethlehem (the two stories are radically different and independently made up).  Ironically the fact that two radically different nativity tales were made up is strong inferential evidence that there was a Jesus behind all the bullshit stories accreted on later.

Comment by Unseen on June 28, 2013 at 6:26pm

“There are few things more dangerous than inbred religious certainty.” 
― Bart D. Ehrman, God's Problem: How the Bible Fails to Answer Our Most Important Question-Why We Suffer

Comment by SteveInCO on June 28, 2013 at 10:54pm

That was a damned good book (pun intended).

Comment by Unseen on June 29, 2013 at 8:45am

I think his point is that the Greeks and Romans had civilizations going with people who, in retrospect, we take to be historians. Also the Romans in particular were records keepers. So, isn't it curious that, considering Jesus was so important and such a threat to the status quo that nobody in Greece or Rome wrote one word about him? As for the Christians, Jesus may have been a legend in their own minds.

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