So you believe … ? Saturday 8.00am

Today … Licona and his summation.

“Why the contradictions in Bart’s statements? … Ironically, according to Bart’s own criteria, he is now disqualified from being a reliable source, since he contradicts not only others, but also himself. I know it can be frustrating, but you can’t saw off the branch on which you’re sitting without negative consequences.”

And this is playing nice?

“Historical reliability in antiquity requires that an author provides readers with an accurate gist of what occurred. Bart wants the accounts to be void of any compositional devices that involve altering details. But I reiterate that this requirement excludes not only the Gospels but all ancient historical literature and renders the term “historically reliable” in a manner that’s meaningless. Bart never addressed this problem.”

Are we reading the same article?

“While accounts with low verisimilitude may be regarded as historically unreliable, Bauckham’s work demonstrates the verisimilitude in the Gospels is quite high where we are able to test them. This favors the ability of the Gospels to fulfill my first criterion.”

(google … help please!)

“Third, if Bart is correct about the unreliability of memory, the discipline of history and our court systems should be abandoned, since we wouldn’t be able to trust eyewitness testimonies … Bart has once again disqualified his own work from being regarded as “historically reliable.”

Ouch!  And that means the bible IS historically reliable … really?

“Now, replace my beheading with Jesus’s resurrection. Suppose we had incontrovertible proof that Jesus had risen from the dead. We saw him successfully executed, then afterward saw him in perfect health. According to Bart’s principle, a physician could not say he’s alive, since that would involve a miracle. But, of course, she could determine Jesus was alive. However, her diagnostic tools could not determine it was God who had raised him … That’s arguing in a circle, since it assumes the conclusion he needs to prove and places Bart in a dangerous position where he allows his philosophical bias to guide his historical work. The danger of this practice is clear: Bad philosophy corrupts good history.”

“Bart” (or Erhman to me) is wrong again then.  But “Mike’s” example that has never been recorded as ever happening is proof of another that has but is disputed … is not “bad history”?

“Bart then accuses me of being “a bit disingenuous” … What I said is if the Resurrection Hypothesis does a better job of explaining the data than competing hypotheses, the historian could affirm that Jesus rose from the dead while being unable to affirm that God was the cause of Jesus’s miraculous return to life, although he could suggest God is the best candidate for the cause. One need not believe God exists beforehand in order to arrive at this conclusion. But one at least needs to be open to the possibility and not a priori exclude it, as Bart’s method conveniently does.”

Is it just me, or am I seeing an argument form “Mike” along the lines of: I am right because “Bart” is wrong?

Which means that when “Bart” questions “Mike’s” version of events, Bart is wrong in how he questions Mike – and (by default) that proves Mike’s version is the truth.

>>> If I ever need a barrister, Mike, please don’t be offended when I don’t call. 

“You the reader may assess the arguments provided by both Bart and myself and render your own opinion pertaining to whether the Gospels are historically reliable accounts of Jesus. In my opinion, your answer will largely depend on how you decide to define “historically reliable.” I’ve provided four criteria with which you may or may not agree. But it is something to which you should give serious consideration.”

Licona “proves his case” by telling us Erhman is wrong.

And that niggles.  Because if my best shot is to undermine your best shot – what does that say about my best shot?

Because how do I define “historically reliable?”

“Is it taught as historically reliable or not?”

If it is taught as that – then it must be.

And my experience over many years is that it is taught as historically reliable – and because the teaching over many years disallows these questions.

Unless you want to be called an atheist.


(and tomorrow a few words from me)