Talk:Bart D. Ehrman

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Christian Schools need to be identified as SUCH[edit]

Moody's


OUR BELIEFS

We believe that the Bible is the Word of God. Everything at Moody falls under the authority of the Bible, which declares timeless truth that is relevant today. The Word is the foundation for both our understanding of God and our awareness of what He has called us to be in His world. Vision

Across the globe, cultures and generations, Moody will equip people with the truth of God's Word using new technology in an agile and innovative community. Values

   The authority of the Word of God
   The centrality of the Church
   The worth and dignity of the individual
   The priority of servanthood
   The practice of integrity
   The responsibility of stewardship  — Preceding unsigned comment added by 96.57.23.82 (talk) 08:15, 22 November 2015 (UTC) 
And so what? Erhman has himself been very clear that Moody is a fundamentalist school and that his current views are directly opposite the views of the school. What does that has to done with anything? Read WP:NOTAFORUM and stop edit-warring. Jeppiz (talk) 12:16, 22 November 2015 (UTC)
I concur with Jeppiz Cloudjpk (talk) 02:31, 24 November 2015 (UTC)
The he needs to go back to college then because ALL the school he has been to have been fundementalist school, and he has NO OTHER education — Preceding unsigned comment added by 96.57.23.82 (talk) 02:07, 27 November 2015 (UTC)
96.57.23.82 I suggest you read https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Biographies_of_living_persons. This page is subject to that pages policy. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Press4truth (talkcontribs) 02:15, 27 November 2015 (UTC)
Information about the schools can be found on the wikipedia pages on the schools. This is an article about Ehrman, not the schools. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Press4truth (talkcontribs) 00:21, 27 November 2015 (UTC)

The is irrelevant. It is the desire of individuals here to cover up the nature of his "education" so that he can be paraded around as a renoun "expert" on Jesus in other area. The facts are that his education has been nothing but fundementalist, and he has no expertise on the subject of religioun outside of his theology. He has no valid education and he is not an expert. Not explaining exactly the nature of the schools he has attended is a farce. The man has no valid creditials on any religious topic outside of theological questions, and frankly, you are better off talking to your local and better educated Preist of Iman.

Cover up? Bart talks about it in his books. It is mentioned where he went on his Wikipedia page. Again, look at wikipedias policy on biographies. Your personal opinion (or mine) is not of importance for Wikipedia. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Press4truth (talkcontribs) 02:21, 27 November 2015 (UTC)
Princeton Theological Seminary, where he did two of his three degrees--his Master's and PhD, is not fundamentalist. So, you are false to say that "his education is nothing but fundamentalist." Yes, it's Christian, but if it's your view that a degree from a (liberal) Christian institution is not real education, that's your opinion and not for Wikipedia. You may want to go blog about it instead. Second, he is widely considered an expert in NT and Early Christianity by scholars in the field. Also, he is a full professor at a secular state university and has published original research with the top scholarly presses. Disagree with his opinions as you may, but he is still an expert regardless of doing a diploma at Moody Bible Institute and a BA at Wheaton. Third, Bart talks about in his book about being a former fundamentalist in his teenage years. He goes into detail about that and his transition from it. It's no secret. Links are provided to the schools respective wikipeda pages also. It is also mentioned on this page under the career section. --Tnaveler 00:12, 28 November 2015 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by Press4truth (talkcontribs)

Your acting like the exposure of the nature of the schools that Erhman attended and his lack of scholarstic background should be kept a sectret and violation of Wikipedia policy. To the contrary, this is what wikipedea is for. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 96.57.23.82 (talk) 16:27, 27 November 2015 (UTC)

Ehrman stated in an interview or debate that reading Lacan and Derrida is not what deconverts people from fundamentalism. So, apparently, Ehrman has read more stuff besides Christian literature. You are severely mistaken to think that the Princeton Seminary is an institution of brainwashing. E.g., Ehrman mentions a professor who was a liberal radical, but he said that professor wasn't the one who deconverted him from biblical inerrancy. You might consider that now Erhman is an agnostic atheist, so it seems that fundamentalist brainwashing is not that powerful. Tgeorgescu (talk) 20:57, 27 November 2015 (UTC)


I don't care what he stated, Princeton Semenary is a Christian fundementalist institution and teaches as one. It is of the Evangelical Denomination, if I recall correctly, but you can look it up since it says so right on their website. And this guy is no aethist, if that was the point, which it ISN'T. The point is that he has NO SCHOLARSHIP outside of fundementalist christian teachings and denying the nature of his education is lieing to the reader. 96.57.23.82 (talk) 20:26, 28 November 2015 (UTC)

96.57.23.82 (talk) 20:24, 28 November 2015 (UTC)

96.57.23.82, Princeton Seminary is a liberal seminary. Far from fundementalist. So most of Bart's education is not fundementalist. Princeton Seminary is not even close to evangelical. It is liberal.


It is not Princeton Seminary, BTW but Princeton THEOLOGICAL Seminary... http://www.ptsem.edu/ "Princeton Theological Seminary prepares women and men to serve Jesus Christ in ministries marked by faith, integrity, scholarship, competence, compassion, and joy, equipping them for leadership worldwide in congregations and the larger church, in classrooms and the academy, and in the public arena.

A professional and graduate school of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), the Seminary stands within the Reformed tradition, affirming the sovereignty of the triune God over all creation, the Gospel of Jesus Christ as God’s saving word for all people, the renewing power of the word and Spirit in all of life, and the unity of Christ’s servant church throughout the world. This tradition shapes the instruction, research, practical training, and continuing education provided by the Seminary, as well as the theological scholarship it promotes."

Fess up, your removing the facts of his education because you have an agenda? A mightly Christian one at that. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 96.57.23.82 (talk) 20:31, 28 November 2015 (UTC)

You are very misinformed about PTS. They define those statements much differently than evangelicals and fundies and have changed since their founding. They are now apart of the liberal Christian theological tradition. Also, Bart identifies an an atheist. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pxz4eyR9U5w — Preceding unsigned comment added by Press4truth (talkcontribs) 20:34, 28 November 2015 (UTC)
The edits of 96.57.23.82 are heavy on the anti-Christian education POV — Preceding unsigned comment added by Press4truth (talkcontribs) 01:15, 28 November 2015 (UTC)

And that is good thing since Christian education is not grounded in scholarship. But I am not the subjet here, and Bart's Christian fundementalist education being presented as object scholarship IS the subject here. Do you deny that every one of the schools he aquired "degrees" from are evanalizing Christian institutions? Where is that said within the article?

Pointing out that Moody BIBLE Institute and Princeton THEOLOGICAL Seminary are Christian is a bit redundant, don't you think? --press4truth 20:38, 28 November 2015 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by Press4truth (talkcontribs)

96.57.23.82 stated in an edit that "His work is not considered scholarship outside of the Evanelistic and Christian communities" These communities often really dislike him because he's a former Christian now atheist. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Press4truth (talkcontribs) 20:43, 28 November 2015 (UTC)

No I don't think becuase without the emphaisis you come away believing he has an education and a PhD like he attended Yale, Harvard or even Penn State when what he has is Theological acknoldgements what wouldn't past the mustard for real education even from the City of San Fransico Community College.

If it doesn't matter, why are you afraid of leaving it there? — Preceding unsigned comment added by 96.57.23.82 (talk) 20:48, 28 November 2015 (UTC)

If his education and scholarship is useless as you say it is, how did he become full distinguished professor at a secular state university? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Press4truth (talkcontribs) 20:54, 28 November 2015 (UTC)
It wouldn't surprise me if your a mythicists that is simply pissed off at Ehrman because he wrote "Did Jesus Exist?" --press4truth 21:00, 28 November 2015 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by Press4truth (talkcontribs)

While it appears that User 96.57.23.82 is lumping all Christian schools together, it should be noted that there are a large number of scholars, in a variety of fields, who obtained degrees from Christian institutions. A better indication of whether their views should be cited in Wikipedia is whether or not they are published in peer reviewed journals. Just because someone expresses personal religious sentiment, does not mean they are incapable of solid scholarship. There are some very solid graduate schools which can be described as Liberal or Evangelical Christian schools; and I would argue there is an important distinction between most Evangelical and Fundamentalist grad schools as well.The Famous Adventurer (talk) 01:27, 1 August 2016 (UTC)

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Sorry, but the scholarly consensus is what it is; it is not what a few ultra-conservative evangelical scholars want it to be[edit]

@Ryn78: Please explain this. It is not one of Wikipedia's cardinal rules that the right side and the wrong side both need to be represented. A lot of ultra-conservatives would I am sure like to believe that Bart Ehrman is wrong when he says the majority of scholars agree with the scholarly consensus that he summarizes in his popular books, but that doesn't make it true. The simple fact is that, within biblical scholarship, Ehrman is considered to be a relatively conservative force; it is only in popular evangelicism that Ehrman is considered a radical leftist and his views considered fringe. Also pinging User:MjolnirPants and User:Mangoe, who participated in the FTN discussion. Hijiri 88 (やや) 01:04, 27 August 2016 (UTC)

I'm waiting for an explanation as to how one complimentary remark (made about an individual who holds a distinguished teaching position, is a bestselling author, literally wrote the textbook for Yale's course on his specialty, serves on the board of numerous highly reputable publications, has a well known blog, is sought after for debates and talks by groups ranging from fundamentalists to secularists and is frequently cited as one of the most influential scholars working in his field) is somehow balanced out by two paragraphs of criticism from people ideologically opposed to his views, and who may lose their jobs for agreeing with him. MjolnirPants Tell me all about it. 03:51, 27 August 2016 (UTC)
MP, I don't even think "balance" is the main problem. The fact is that these fundamentalists are constantly attributing the views of the scholarly community that Ehrman summarizes for a lay audience to Ehrman himself and either directly claiming or indirectly implying that they are the idiosyncratic views of one guy in Chapel Hill, but the views are not even specifically associated with Ehrman by other professional scholars, so citing these kind of false attributions in the article on Ehrman is ... well, it's clearly untrue, and a borderline BLP-violation. Balance is, of course, also a concern: I am uncomfortable including the obviously more legitimate point that Ehrman's conservative stance on the Gospel of Thomas has been repeatedly criticized by Elaine Pagels as long as the article already contains this nonsense. Hijiri 88 (やや) 04:05, 27 August 2016 (UTC)
I see no good reason to remove the criticism, which is published in peer-reviewed sources. Calling the critics "ultra-conservative" and "fundamentalist" is misplaced - they represent mainstream evangelicalism. Hijiri 88, you've made a lot of claims here: I'd love to see evidence that "within biblical scholarship, Ehrman is considered to be a relatively conservative force". StAnselm (talk) 06:50, 27 August 2016 (UTC)
Only one of the two criticisms added is published in a peer-reviewed source. The other is made in a popular (as in "intended for a lay audience", not as in "sold a lot of copies", though it may be the latter as well) book. The first was published in an out-and-out evangelical journal. I just want to reiterate the last part: The only actual peer-reviewed criticism in there was published in a journal which is "...devoted to the inerrancy and inspiration of the Scriptures and the gospel of Jesus Christ." Now, I usually don't care much about a scholar's theological views. Even in this subject, the majority of the wide variety of theological views held by scholars are either entirely or functionally immaterial. They don't prevent scholars from doing good work. But this particular theological view; the unqualified statement that the bible is inerrant and inspired by God absolutely interferes with that scholar's judgement, abilities and authority on the matter. This is a scholar who belongs to a group that has literally and openly stated their preferred conclusion, and then works to find evidence for it. Degrees and work position notwithstanding, I hesitate to call such a person a scholar. It would be far more accurate to say they are a doctoral-level apologist.
This section is titled "reception" and it does not, in any way, accurately depict the reception Ehrman has received in the scholarly nor the lay community. At the very least, it should be changed to a criticism section and paired with a praise or accolades section. MjolnirPants Tell me all about it. 14:10, 27 August 2016 (UTC)
(edit conflict) (Haven't read MjolnirPants's comment yet. Sorry if he has already covered the same ground.) @StAnselm: Did you even read the content that was removed? It is not criticism of Ehrman and his views -- it is the demonstrably false claim that when Ehrman says "scholarly consensus" he means "Ehrman and people of similar theological persuasions to him". This is a view that has been widely refuted by Ehrman himself -- the fact that his textbook is the most widely-used in North American universities is evidence enough that his views are not as fringe as Bock et al want their readers to believe. The fact that the first page of the Truth GBooks preview (the back cover?) calls Ehrman a "critic of Christianity" indicates that it is a fundamentalist work that considers the word "Christian" to be a more polite synonym for "fundamentalist"; Ehrman himself has repeatedly rejected the notion that he is a critic of Christianity. I do not know what "peer-reviewed" means in this context; the book's authors are all very conservative Christians, the publisher is a Christian non-profit, the book was published in the buckle of the Bible Belt ... why do you think it isn't ultra-conservative? As per my (peripheral and unrelated) comments about how other mainstream scholars view Ehrman, please see my user page, anything Elaine Pagels has written that mentions Ehrman, anything Ehrman has written that mentions John Dominic Crossan, or even my above comment. Indeed, look at anything Ehrman has written for an academic audience. The positions that Ehrman himself espouses and has argued for in scholarly literature (i.e., not his popular books) are generally center or right-of-center, like the dating of the Gospel of Thomas and its placement on the "gnostic" spectrum. The Apocryphal Gospels: Texts and Translations gives summaries of the scholarly views of the dating, authorship and so on of various non-canonical texts related to early Christianity, and the authors of the book (Ehrman and his UNC colleague Zlatko Pleše) almost always fall on the side of the traditional view of these matters. Heck, according to his friend Dale Martin, within living memory Ehrman was claiming the pastoral epistles were written by Paul! Hijiri 88 (やや) 14:21, 27 August 2016 (UTC)
Thank you MjolnirPants for your (as usual) excellent (unnecessarily so, in my view) analysis of the issue. But I feel the need to point out that retitling the section "Criticism" would draw the ire of the wider community who have pretty much unanimously rejected those sections (even Donald and Hillary don't have sections titled "Criticism"), and that would result in more eyes on the article, and that would result in the section being balanced out to reflect the overall reception of Ehrman and his works ... this is apparently not something those who keep adding the text back in want. Hijiri 88 (やや) 14:28, 27 August 2016 (UTC)
Also, StAnselm, you misunderstand: there already was consensus to remove it on FTN (a much more widely-monitored forum than this talk page). On top of that, consensus normally is not required to remove material that is unsourced or poorly sourced (something MjolnirPants and I contend) -- WP:BURDEN (and WP:BLP, for that matter) explains that. Hijiri 88 (やや) 14:51, 27 August 2016 (UTC)
@Hijiri88: That's why I said "...at the very least..." The best case scenario I see here is to accurately sum up the reception his talks, writings and debates have had, and that is a far cry from the "He's a great scholar, but he's wrong about everything he says," impression that the section currently gives. MjolnirPants Tell me all about it. 16:13, 27 August 2016 (UTC)
MjolnirPants, I don't think your opinion on evangelical scholarship is reflected in WP policy, nor is it the position of bodies like the Society of Biblical Literature (though some people, of course, think it should be). Anyway, once again, there have been some claims implied here that (duly referenced of course), should also appear in the article: (a) that many other scholars believe Ehrman is correct in his assessment of the scholarly consensus, and (b) that Ehrman is widely regarded as an authority. Anyway, we certainly have a genuine, well-sourced criticism, so it is hard to see that there is a BLP issue. As for the FTN discussion, it was not as focused as this one, and I don't think the two of you were the main voices in favour of removal, anyway. StAnselm (talk) 19:22, 27 August 2016 (UTC)
An academic explains the attacks on Ehrman upon [1]. I introduced a quote from it in the article, but it was removed claiming WP:BLPSPS. Tgeorgescu (talk) 19:27, 27 August 2016 (UTC)
And rightly so. Have you ever seen similar sentiments expressed in quality sources? StAnselm (talk) 19:34, 27 August 2016 (UTC)
The gist of the blog post is that Ehrman is attacked for spilling the beans about facts that are consensual in the scholarly community (meaning scholars from top US universities). Tgeorgescu (talk) 19:38, 27 August 2016 (UTC)
Yes, but has anyone ever said that in a reliable source? StAnselm (talk) 20:05, 27 August 2016 (UTC)
Almost certainly. I'm pretty sure I've heard Ehrman say it in a debate or an interview somewhere, which would be covered under WP:BLPSELFPUB. We should be looking for it. But anyway, I thought you were interested in "non-self-published" sources, not reliable sources. Lots of sources are not technically self-published, but still would not be considered reliable for anything other than the author's opinions; this is almost certainly the case for the conservative evangelical books by conservative evangelical authors published by conservative evangelical publishers currently cited. Hijiri 88 (やや) 07:36, 28 August 2016 (UTC)
Looking around at stuff about Ehrman, the article really ought to mention Misquoting Truth: A Guide to the Fallacies of Bart Ehrman's "Misquoting Jesus" by Timothy Paul Jones. Regardless of what we think about the book (and I haven't read it), the fact that a major reputable publisher (InterVarsity Press) published a book long response to Ehrman, is significant, and worthy of inclusion in this article. In fact, the book received attention from the major NT journals: "The whole turns out to be a helpful antidote to Ehrman and may be used judiciously in any ongoing debate about some of the text-critical cruces Ehrman, among others, has raised..." (Novum Testamentum) and "this is a good starter for lay people, which sets out the issues clearly from one side of the argument" (JSNT). StAnselm (talk) 20:05, 27 August 2016 (UTC)

(edit conflict)@StAnselm: If a rule prevents you from improving or maintaining Wikipedia, ignore it. That is policy. When dealing with a subject where a large chunk of scholars are expected to pledge undying devotion to one particular theory within it, trying to rely on policies which work very well in more neutrally populated subjects is a recipe for disaster. Are you honestly arguing that staking one's personal reputation, career and very sense of self on one particular theory is not going to affect ones work? Imagine if physicists were required to pledge utter devotion to Loop quantum gravity in order to get a job. Would String theory (the more powerful theory by far) then get its fair treatment? Applying the usual policies in the usual way to any subject dealing with the historicity of the bible is wrong. This is exactly the type of situation WP:IAR was written to address. Hell, much of the criticism available out there of Ehrman is that he makes out like he's passing on novel or secret knowledge, when he's really just reiterating things historians have known for decades.

Also, self-published sources are usually considered acceptable when the writer is an acknowledged, published expert on the subject. And citing more evangelical criticism isn't really helping here. MjolnirPants Tell me all about it. 20:10, 27 August 2016 (UTC)

No, I really don't think we can appeal to IAR here. And SPSs are not acceptable on BLPs, regardless of the level of expertise the writer has. So - how about you come up with some good sources that disagree with the critique? StAnselm (talk) 20:15, 27 August 2016 (UTC)
No, I really don't think we can appeal to IAR here. Why? Because you say so? I've given a very clear, very rational reason for relying on critical thought rather than typical policy with respect to this article. You have every right to disagree, but if you expect any of us to go along with you, you need to explain why in a way that either overcomes or invalidates my reason. I'm always open to being wrong, but not because someone on the internet says so. MjolnirPants Tell me all about it. 20:18, 27 August 2016 (UTC)
No, because the policies are not preventing us from improving the article. StAnselm (talk) 20:30, 27 August 2016 (UTC)
Restating the same thing is not an argument. MjolnirPants Tell me all about it. 20:36, 27 August 2016 (UTC)
Basically, it is NPOV to state that fundamentalists bash Ehrman, because they do it. Of course, this would be done better by citing a neutral third-party source. Tgeorgescu (talk) 20:49, 27 August 2016 (UTC)
I agree that fundamentalists bash Ehrman, but as was pointed out both here and at FTN; Ehrman is a highly influential, highly respected academic whose positions on most subjects he deals with are very much lined up with the scholarly consensus. The reception section does not reflect that. So either we need to IAR the rules and allow typically RS sources to be used (such as the blog post you linked) for this BLP, or we need to IAR the rules and remove some of the current criticisms. The section as it stands makes it appear as if Ehrman is some fringe figure positing an untenable theory. It should make Ehrman appear to be a highly regarded academic who gets an inordinate amount of criticism from fundamentalists and evangelicals. MjolnirPants Tell me all about it. 21:48, 27 August 2016 (UTC)
You think we should IAR to do a BLP violation? Good luck on getting the BLPN on board with that. StAnselm (talk) 04:21, 28 August 2016 (UTC)
@StAnselm: Wait, what!? What BLP violation? Are you talking about our comments on this talk page about Ehrman's detractors? If I have falsely characterized any LP as an "evangelical", a "conservative evangelical", an "ultra-conservative evangelical" or a "fundamentalist", I will bite my tongue, but you have not demonstrated such. Or are you referring to a BLP violation against Ehrman? How can not including the current negative criticism be a BLP violation? MjolnirPants and I contend that it is poorly sourced (to people outside the relevant field with a theological axe to grind), so if anything keeping it in is a BLP-violation. Or are you implying that expanding the article to include positive coverage like the fact that Dale Martin (Woolsey Professor of Religious Studies at Yale University) uses his books as textbooks or the fact he is frequently called on by all sorts of organizations to give talks on early Christianity would be a BLP violation? Would this provide "undue weight" in implying that Ehrman is something other than the fringe author we currently imply him to be? Hijiri 88 (やや) 06:24, 28 August 2016 (UTC)
The BLP violation in question is to include this blog post, contra WP:BLPSPS. StAnselm (talk) 06:31, 28 August 2016 (UTC)
I don't think anyone is seriously in favour of that. MjolnirPants and I have been quite clear in our desire to either expand the article to cover Ehrman's reception among the mainstream media and other mainstream scholars rather than just conservative evangelicals or cut the disproportionate coverage of conservative evangelicals. Adding other sources to properly contextualize the claims of the conservative evangelicals would be good, but I am sure everyone agrees that a blog is not a decent source for that in the long run. We all know that what the blog says is accurate, but what we should do is find reliable scholarly sources that say the same thing, before adding it to the article. Saying "this claim appears in a self-published source, so we can't add it even if it also appears in reliable sources" is contrary to the spirit of BLPSPS (as, I might add, is "self-published sources can never be used, but we cannot remove material, even contentious material, attributed to sources that aren't technically self-published but also would not be considered reliable sources for anything other than their authors' opinions"). Hijiri 88 (やや) 07:30, 28 August 2016 (UTC)
I just want to point out that, per WP:RS, Ehrman himself is a reliable source for the scholarly consensus. The individuals presented as disputing this are not, themselves involved in historical work, but theological work. If a widely respected historian who has written the textbooks used by history professors says "this is the consensus, as described by Prof. X and Dr. Y. and disputed nowhere in the academic literature that I'm aware of." and a theologian who has pledged to always believe something which is not the scholarly consensus, and who may be fired if they agree with the consensus says "Nuh uh!" then including the theologian's criticisms is WP:UNDUE. The fact that the theologian got published saying so, and Prof. X and Dr. Y haven't bothered to respond should not be used as an excuse to say that it's a legitimate criticism. Academics rarely respond formally to illegitimate criticisms, and there is a notable lack of academics responding formally to criticisms of Ehrman. Though, curiously enough, they respond informally in blogs and when they (and others) do criticize him, it's for not departing enough from the scholarly consensus. MjolnirPants Tell me all about it. 21:58, 27 August 2016 (UTC)
No, the fact that this claim to a consensus has been disputed in reliable sources means it should be attributed to Ehrman. The history/NT divide is a red herring here; Ehrman himself is firmly within NT studies. StAnselm (talk) 04:21, 28 August 2016 (UTC)
Hijiri88 & MjolnirPants: Even if these criticisms of Ehrman are "fringe views" as you guys claim (and you've really presented little evidence other than your use of labels like "ultra-conservative"), Wikipedia's rules do not permit the complete purging of all quotations from non-mainstream authors. Rather, the rules only require that such views are not given undue prominence and are not stated as established facts. Right now, the article only makes a brief mention of some quotes from a few of Ehrman's critics and it clearly presents them as opinions rather than established facts. That's the proper way to do it, rather than turning this into a puff piece without any viewpoints that might not be flattering to Bart Erhman. It should be added that widespread usage of Ehrman's textbooks is not proof that criticism of his books is "fringe", nor does it prove the claim that the vast majority of "real scholars" support him: after all, one of the most widely used textbooks on medieval history is "A World Lit Only By Fire", which has been roundly condemned as patent nonsense by historians who are dismayed and disgusted by its widespread usage in college classes. "The Witch-Cult In Western Europe" was used as a standard textbook for decades despite having been dismissed by historians as "vapid balderdash". I would also point out that characterizing Ehrman's opponents as "fundamentalists" while ignoring Ehrman's own stated agnostic viewpoint and rejection of Christianity is a rather transparent case of focusing on one side's ideological biases while ignoring the other side's ideological biases. If you really want to base this discussion on labeling, then at least label both sides accurately. Ehrman is hardly neutral, and neither are his academic supporters. In fact, Ehrman's publications show a rather single-minded focus on trying to debunk one book that he personally dislikes, whereas most scholars frequently write about topics that have no ideological overtones. Finally, on the idea that Ehrman himself is a reliable source for claiming himself to be accepted by most mainstream scholars because his acceptance by mainstream scholars makes him an accepted expert on his own acceptance: that creates a blatantly circular way of defining the matter. Ryn78 (talk) 22:26, 27 August 2016 (UTC)
No, it doesn't, see WP:RS/AC. About "debunking Christianity", see [2]. Briefly, Ehrman does not do that, unless we conflate fundamentalism with Christianity. The academic consensus is that biblical literalism/inerrancy are untenable. Tgeorgescu (talk) 22:56, 27 August 2016 (UTC)
@Ryn78: you've really presented little evidence other than your use of labels like "ultra-conservative" Please actually read our comments both here and elsewhere. The fact that Ehrman's NT textbook is the most widely used in North American universities is evidence enough that he is a respected academic whose views are widely accepted. This means that scholars who write for conservative evangelical publications (which the sources I removed are, by their own admission) who claim that Ehrman is lying when he talks about the scholarly consensus, and that Ehrman is a fringe author whose views are far-removed from the actual consensus, are themselves fringe. What more evidence do you need? Are you even reading this discussion before responding to it? Your first involvement was reverting my edit which was based on a previous FTN discussion in which you had not taken part... Hijiri 88 (やや) 01:15, 28 August 2016 (UTC)
Once again, claims like "The fact that Ehrman's NT textbook is the most widely used in North American universities" should be included in the article if you can find a reliable source. If you can't find a reliable source, don't bother making the claim, even on the talk page. Personally, I am happy to concede the section in unbalanced. My first preference is adding "positive" statements about Ehrman; my second preference is to remove some the other criticism (in the first paragraph). But the criticism in the second paragraph is more significant, since it deals with the whole tenor of Ehrman's approach, rather than just one idea. StAnselm (talk) 04:21, 28 August 2016 (UTC)
@StAnselm:@Hijiri88: Regarding sources stating Bart's NT textbook is widely used, to take only two examples: Michael Licona notes this on page 137 of the book "Come Let Us Reason: New Essays in Christian Apologetics (eds. Paul Copan and William Lane Craig) (https://books.google.ca/books?id=DT-5AwAAQBAJ&dq). And Robert W. Yarbrough states this also (https://books.google.ca/books?id=CPjUBQAAQBAJ). FactChecker8506. If you go to https://books.google.com and search "widely used new testament introduction bart ehrman" you will find this repeated in reliable sources over and over again (talk) 19:19, 28 August 2016 (UTC)
Right, thank you - though I think the second link might not be the right one. But I can see the Licona quote on Amazon: "His book The New Testament: A Historical Introduction to the Early Christian Writings is a widely used textbook." Interestingly, Licona goes on to say, "his positions are those largely embraced by mainstream skeptical scholarship." StAnselm (talk) 19:28, 28 August 2016 (UTC)
Yes, Licona is correct. He would know as a NT scholar himself. Alot of Ehrman's popular books represents the mainstream, which he describes as skeptical FactChecker8506 (talk) 19:36, 28 August 2016 (UTC)
Or - is it that there is a "skeptical mainstream" like there is an "evangelical mainstream", and the "whole mainstream" is bigger than both? StAnselm (talk) 19:49, 28 August 2016 (UTC)
Bart's popular books represents a substantial number of secular and believing scholars in American universities, not in evangelical and conservative seminarians and schools Evangelicals like Licona often describe this group as skeptical. It's similar to the whole creationism debate. While there are many creationists, they are surely not in the mainstream in US universities!FactChecker8506 (talk) 20:06, 28 August 2016 (UTC)
In my experience (mostly limited to the Master's Seminary video curriculum) they prefer to contrast the word "evangelical" to "liberal" rather than "skeptical". Don't ask why. Hijiri 88 (やや) 01:18, 29 August 2016 (UTC)
Ehrman said it in either an interview or a Q&A session following a lecture. I'll find the exact link for you in my own time, but search "Bart Ehrman" on YouTube and you can find it yourself. I think the question was about how we can locate sources that are reliable and how we can trust that a scholar knows what they are talking about. It's kind of self-serving in that context, but if it was untrue one would think others would have called him out on it -- the authors of more widely-accepted NT introductory textbooks, if there are such things? Again, the burden is on you to prove to me that Ehrman's is nit the most widely used textbook in North American universities if you want me to allow you to include a bunch of material not actually about Ehrman or his views in the "reception" section based on the (unsourced!) claim that he is not as widely respected as I say he is. Anyway, Ehrman's book is used as a textbook in Yale is in the above link, as well as several installments in the YaleCourses NT studies series. One that immediately jumps to mind is No. 13. Your understanding of which aspects of the negative criticism is ... not likely to get much traction in the broader Wikipedia community, if it comes to that. The second paragraph is nonsense criticism not of Ehrman and his views but of the broader consensus among critical scholars, summarized by Ehrman in a few of his popular books and not specifically associated with Ehrman in the academy or mainstream media, but falsely attributed to Ehrman like conservative evangelicals are wont to do (the existence of "The Ehrman Project", its name and its mission statement are evidence enough of this -- I would appreciate your refraining from insinuating that I don't cite sources). Hijiri 88 (やや) 05:11, 28 August 2016 (UTC)


If I may be so bold, the reason you don’t see many credible scholars advocating for the "inerrancy" of the Bible is because, with all due respect, it is not a tenable claim. The Bible is full of contradictions and, yes, errors. Many of them are discrepancies regarding the numbers of things in the Books of Samuel and Kings and the retelling of these in the Books of Chronicles. All credible Bible scholars acknowledge that there are problems with the Biblical text as it has been received over the centuries. ... The question is not whether or not there are discrepancies and, yes, errors in the Bible, but whether or not these errors fundamentally undermine the credibility of the text. Even the most conservative, believing, faithful Biblical scholars acknowledge these problems with the text. This is why we don’t find any scholars that subscribe to "Biblical inerrancy" (to my knowledge) on the show.[1]

— Robin Ngo, Bible Secrets Revealed. Robert Cargill responds to viewers’ questions on the History Channel series

John Goldingay, focusing specifically on inerrancy, summarizes the concern this way: "A stress on [biblical] inerrancy cannot safeguard people from a slippery slope that carries them from abandoning inerrancy to an eventual reneging on all other Christian doctrines. Indeed, it more likely impels them toward such a slope. The claim that scripture is factually inerrant sets up misleading expectations regarding the precision of narratives and then requires such far-fetched defenses... that it presses people toward rejecting it." [163] I think the same dynamic applies not only to inerrancy specifically but to biblicism more generally.

In such cases, the difficulty is not necessarily the fact of antibiblicist critiques per se. The real problem is the particular biblicist theory about the Bible; it not only makes young believers vulnerable to being disabused of their naive acceptance of that theory but it also often has the additional consequence of putting their faith commitments at risk. Biblicism often paints smart, committed youth into a corner that is for real reasons impossible to occupy for many of those who actually confront its problems. When some of those youth give up on biblicism and simply walk across the wet paint, it is flawed biblicism that is partly responsible for those losses of faith.

Insofar as these biblicism-caused outcomes are undesirable and unnecessary, we have another good reason to seek better alternatives to biblicism. In this Peter Enns is correct: "We do not honor the Lord nor do we uphold the gospel by playing make-believe." [164]

Biblicism simply cannot be practiced with intellectual and practical honesty on its own terms. It is in this sense literally impossible.[2]
— Christian Smith, The Bible Made Impossible: Why Biblicism Is Not a Truly Evangelical Reading of Scripture
Quoted by Tgeorgescu (talk) 22:59, 27 August 2016 (UTC)

Some of the criticism focuses more on criticisms of views many hold, rather than of a person. For example, I propose moving the following paragraph (which by the way is more of a criticism of a particular VIEW, which Bart happens to hold also) in the criticism section to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Misquoting_Jesus: "Craig Blomberg has said Ehrman overstates the extent and importance of textual variants in the New Testament manuscripts, and that Ehrman's claim that the biblical canon was assembled for political reasons is unfounded.[26] Cambridge professor Peter J. Williams has criticized Ehrman for attributing textual variants to deliberate changes when accidental change is more likely.[27]" Isn't this more of a debate within the field of textual criticism than criticism of a person? press4truth 23:17, 27 August 2016 (UTC)

James White (theologian) states in his YouTube videos against Ehrman that students attending major US universities will be confronted with more or less the same facts and views as those taught by Ehrman. Tgeorgescu (talk) 23:41, 27 August 2016 (UTC)
I would add that students will be confronted with more ore less the same in most US seminaries, except the evangelical US seminaries. Many evangelical were trained, live and work in evangelical circles so what they say appears to be the consensus to them. press4truth 23:47, 27 August 2016 (UTC)

References

  1. ^ Ngo, Robin (19 December 2013). "Bible Secrets Revealed". Biblical Archaeology Society. Retrieved 13 March 2016. 
  2. ^ Smith, Christian (1 August 2012). The Bible Made Impossible: Why Biblicism Is Not a Truly Evangelical Reading of Scripture. Baker Books. pp. 163–165. ISBN 978-1-4412-4151-1. 

Well, this is a fine mess. It seems like it's 4-2 in favour of reforming the section in some way, with everyone but StAnselm and Ryn78 in agreement on this point, but I may be misreading this, and even if I am right I don't think the rest of us even agree on how to do so. My personal preference would be to drastically expand the section to fully summarize how Ehrman and his writings have been received in all segments of society (rather than just in conservative evangelical and fundamentalist literature), but failing that removing some of the non-noteworthy criticism from conservative evangelical scholars (the bits aimed not at Ehrman and his views but at the scholarly community in general and Ehrman's summary of their views in his popular writings) would be adequate. If everyone except StAnselm and Ryn78 is in agreement with me, then maybe we can start crafting the new section here before moving it into the article? If not, then this will probably need to be taken to WP:BLPN at some point, sooner rather than later. Hijiri 88 (やや) 01:07, 28 August 2016 (UTC)

A good place to start would be to focus on criticism and praise of his original ideas, not of the ideas that are widely held and which Bart represents in his writings (whether by the "consensus" or not). Debates over the latter can be discussed on the applicable Wikipedia article. We need to remember this is an article about a PERSON, not a ideology, belief, method or position. It should not be a place where we defend our religious or non-religious views against Bart's. press4truth 01:16, 28 August 2016 (UTC)
@Press4truth: My thoughts exactly! Hijiri 88 (やや) 05:26, 28 August 2016 (UTC)
Ehrman is famous for spreading the academic consensus to the masses. This is in itself notable, as well as the criticism received from fundamentalists. So we shouldn't keep silent about these, but there are better ways of doing it. What is clear to me is that Ehrman is the opposite of a maverick. Tgeorgescu (talk) 02:24, 28 August 2016 (UTC)
He's not a maverick, but he's done a lot of original research to advance scholarly knowledge. Maybe we should also work on a reception section for Daniel B. Wallace's, Andreas J. Köstenberger's, and Darrell L. Bock's Wikipedia page. press4truth 02:36, 28 August 2016 (UTC)
@Press4truth: The unfortunate fact is that a lot of our readers (or, rather, editors) aren't interested in Ehrman's textual studies research, or his work producing the latest critical edition of the Apostolic Fathers, or in compiling translations of non-canonical gospel texts, or in Didymus the Blind; they just want to hear whether the things about the New Testament and the historical Jesus Ehrman attributes in his popular books to the scholarly community are actually the views of the scholarly community or just Bart Ehrman. At present, the article cites the view of two outliers that the only way Ehrman can attribute these views to the scholarly community is to define "scholar" much more narrowly than most (presumably, someone with a PhD and a teaching position in an accredited university who engages in original research in the relevant field, or some combination of these). Hijiri 88 (やや) 05:36, 28 August 2016 (UTC)
As far as I remember, he once said that his academic work is written "for the six people in the world who care" about his scholarship. And he warned that if he would write a scholarly response to the Christ myth theory, it wouldn't be an easy reading or a nice book. In essence I don't deny his scholarly contributions, but there is not a lot of press about those and Wikipedia only writes something if there are WP:SOURCES discussing it explicitly. Tgeorgescu (talk) 02:43, 28 August 2016 (UTC)


There is LOTS of sources that discuss his scholarly contributions and views--contributions and views that are not centered around or related to fundamentalist views. Most just do not know (or care) about them, because they're very technical and scholarly. It's common knowledge the Christian fundamentalists loudly disagree with him; Bart mentions it in his books, it's seen in his many public debates with them, and he also outlines his former fundamentalists beliefs. The criticism section right now is more about people defending their conservative Christian beliefs than on Bart.press4truth 02:55, 28 August 2016 (UTC)
Academics commonly respond to or discuss about other academics. That is not unusual. The question which concerns us is: would Ehrman be notable if he would not have received broad press coverage? Since there are lots of full professors who do not fulfill WP:NACADEMIC. Tgeorgescu (talk) 03:40, 28 August 2016 (UTC)
I basically agree with both of you, but the fact is that the broad press coverage Ehrman has received is not generally all that relevant to a biographical article on him. He meets WP:GNG EASILY, and that is all mainstream media is generally good for. The rest of it is basically WP:PRIMARY sources, because the only useful biographical or scholarly information we can get from such sources is what Ehrman says about himself in interviews, or what his detractors say about him in interviews in conservative evangelical "mainstream" media. Ehrman is called upon by the mainstream media (and that includes National Geographic, an unreliable source ignorant of biblical scholarship by Ehrman's own admission) because he is respected among other academics (his NT textbook is the most widely used in North American universities) and his popular books are best-sellers. A proper encyclopedia article on a scholar, though, should discuss his scholarship as well as what popular sources (both positive and negative, primary and tertiary) have to say about him. I would like to start by citing Elaine Pagels's widely-attested view of Ehrman's (much more traditional and conservative) stance on the dating and theology of the Gospel of Thomas. Pagels is in the minority there, but she is a scholar almost as respected as Ehrman both by the academy and the mainstream media, and (unlike the conservative evangelicals Ehrman occasionally directly calls out) we have no reason to assume she is wrongly attributing a particular scholarly position to Ehrman when he is not actually arguing for it but rather summarizing what others have said. (Of course, we would also run the risk of mischaracterizing her as a "critic of Ehrman" when it's more likely she uses his textbook in her classes but is frustrated that it completely disagrees with her on one of her favourite topics.) Hijiri 88 (やや) 06:11, 28 August 2016 (UTC)
  • @Ryn78:Your statement that we've presented no evidence other than our say-so is both a red herring and false. It is a red herring because I've presented an argument why a number of the sources used to support an undue level of criticism in the reception section are inappropriate. It has multiple facets; they have pledged to oppose any view which is critical of the accuracy of the bible, they work in a different field (theology vs history) with the effect that they are not reliable sources for the scholarly consensus and the current balance of POV in the section is badly skewed. Furthermore, it is false, in part because neither of us referred to the views of fundamentalists as "fringe". Finally, it is false also in part because we absolutely have presented evidence, some of which you yourself commented on and summarily dismissed without explaining why. I have presented incontrovertible evidence that at least one of his critics have sworn oaths to oppose any criticism of the bible. In the FTN discussion (which is linked by Hijiri in his opening comment), I presented evidence that Ehrman literally wrote the textbook on New Testement history. Hijiri has presented evidence that Ehrman attracts a high level of ideological opposition due to his popularizing efforts, as well as evidence that the criticisms of him are firmly rooted in ideological and religious differences, not scholarly differences.
So far, nothing you said has addressed any aspect of our argument. Neither has anything said by StAnselm thus far. While I can't speak for Hijiri, I've stated already that I'm always open to changing my mind, so long as my concerns are addressed. So if you want to actually engage in this discussion, try doing one of the following:
  1. Present a reasonable argument that a person who pledges unfailing devotion to a POV which explicitly rejects the scholarly consensus and does not permit any consideration of being wrong is a reliable source (in the literal sense as well as the Wikipedia sense) for any statements about the topic in question.
  2. Present a reasonable argument that a theologian is qualified to make statements about the scholarly consensus of historians.
  3. Present an evidential case that the public reception of Ehrman's work has been to acknowledge his abilities, yet dispute his every conclusion, as the section now portrays.
If you can do both of the first two, then we can leave in all the criticisms currently there, in their current form. If you can only do one of the first two, then we can leave some of the current criticism in, and possibly add new criticisms. If you cannot do the last, then we need to add praise and defenses of his work, even if we have to ignore the rules to do so, unless you can present a reasonable argument that inaccurately portraying his public reception improves the article. MjolnirPants Tell me all about it. 03:36, 28 August 2016 (UTC)

There are others here that are much more knowledgeable than me on "reception" sections of living person, but does it have to be a place where the focus is on disagreement over scholarly views, particularly views that are widely held but represented by the living person being discussed? Perhaps more general statements would be better for a section like this, highlighting his books have been widely received (e.g. best sellers, his NT textbook in universities, etc.), he has been sought out by major media outlets, he has been widely criticized by conservative Christians (as seen in his debates and in their response books), etc. Do we really need to go into the nuts and bolts of these public debates? It's not that the others views should be hidden, but is a biography a place for getting into these debates? 67.71.43.210 (talk) 14:35, 28 August 2016 (UTC)

In my view, something similar to WP:ONEWAY should apply here: Ehrman and his views (and the views of others that he has simply repeated) have many detractors who are either outside his field or on the very fringe of it; the views of these detractors can receive proportional coverage in the articles on these detractors (assuming they meet GNG), but should be kept to a minimum on the main Bart Ehrman biographical article because they are not mainstream views of Ehrman and his work. Hijiri 88 (やや) 15:18, 28 August 2016 (UTC)
Yes. WP:BLPSPS states that "criticism and praise should be included if they can be sourced to reliable secondary sources, so long as the material is presented responsibly, conservatively, and in a disinterested tone. Do not give disproportionate space to particular viewpoints; the views of tiny minorities should not be included at all." The current criticism is disproportionate to the evangelical/conservative viewpoint and it has not been established that the viewpoints mentioned in particular are widely held since very few have been referenced to establish that the criticism is widely held and represented in reliable sources. FactChecker8506 16:14, 28 August 2016 (UTC)
The book reviews of Misquoting Truth that I cited above indicate that the evangelical/conservative response to Ehrman is widely held, and not "the views of tiny minority". See also this HuffPost article: "The two books are an unusual publishing experiment, in which HarperCollins arranged to have a team of evangelical scholars write a counterargument to its hot-selling superstar writer... To the quintet of evangelicals, Ehrman is prone to profound confusion, botched readings and scholarly fictions." StAnselm (talk) 22:05, 28 August 2016 (UTC)
Ehrman has replied to the book of the five scholars stating that they criticized his own book for theological reasons, but offered no alternative historical explanation. Tgeorgescu (talk) 22:32, 28 August 2016 (UTC)

break[edit]

The "criticism" by Peter J. WIlliams is not criticism of Ehrman. It is a scholarly paper which argues with a position taken by a number of scholars, among whom Ehrman made the best case. I am removing it. From the source: "Since Ehrman has made the most elaborate case for the reading ὀργισθείς engagement with his arguments can represent engagement with a number of other scholars who have preferred the reading ὀργισθείς, but have not explained at any length their reasons for doing so. " MjolnirPants Tell me all about it. 20:12, 28 August 2016 (UTC)

Totally agree. StAnselm (talk) 20:38, 28 August 2016 (UTC)
It's certainly a scholarly paper. However the issue it takes with Ehrman's interpretation ends up relevant to Ehrman's larger claims regarding deliberate changes substantially corrupting the text. Cloudjpk (talk) 20:04, 31 August 2016 (UTC)

As the debate continues, I cleaned up the criticism section a bit. Before, there were more direct quotes of people other than Bart than Bart himself in the article. FactChecker8506 (talk) 21:38, 28 August 2016 (UTC)

No, I think with this sort of criticism it is best to have the direct quotes. StAnselm (talk) 21:51, 28 August 2016 (UTC)
If you do not like my changes, What changes to you propose StAnslem? You've mentioned above that changes should be made FactChecker8506 (talk) 21:57, 28 August 2016 (UTC)
As I've mentioned above, my first preference is to expand the positive reception - widespread usage of textbooks, acceptance of ideas, etc. StAnselm (talk) 22:00, 28 August 2016 (UTC)
I agree. But what about the current criticisms? Are you taking a hardline approach that no changes be made in the criticisms? If not, what changes to the criticism to you suggest? Currently, about 20% (if counting words) of the article is criticism and all the criticism is by evangelical/conservative Christian scholars FactChecker8506 (talk) 22:02, 28 August 2016 (UTC)
Well, 20% sounds about right, actually. That's what we should be aiming for in due weight, especially for someone who has had people write book-length responses to him. Most of the criticism seems to come from evangelical/conservative Christian scholars, so that's not a worry either. But the solution is generally to expand, not delete. StAnselm (talk) 22:11, 28 August 2016 (UTC)
90% of the reception section is negative criticism. How is that due weight? Are you taking a hardline approach that no changes should be made to the current criticisms? FactChecker8506 (talk) 22:14, 28 August 2016 (UTC)
(ec) Well, the more I research the reception, the more I see that it is generally negative. People who have made claims about positive reception have not been forthcoming with reliable sources. The two book-length responses to Ehrman (Misquoting Truth and How God Became Jesus) should definitely be included, especially the latter (see the HuffPo report cited above). But certainly - if he is as well respected and accepted as people claim, that should be in the article. StAnselm (talk) 22:21, 28 August 2016 (UTC)
Indeed, the Coogan quote doesn't really belong - it's only from a book blurb. StAnselm (talk) 22:22, 28 August 2016 (UTC)
You have not been able to find much evidence of positive reception?FactChecker8506 (talk) 22:29, 28 August 2016 (UTC)
Correct. The best I can find is this from the Catholic World Report:
The greatest contemporary popular exponent of the dominant paradigm [radical discontinuity between Jesus and Christianity] today is Dr. Bart Ehrman, Professor of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, a former fundamentalist whose forays into textual criticism made him a liberal Christian for a time but ultimately an unbeliever. A friendly convivial fellow and a serious, sober scholar, neither an anti-Catholic nor anti-Semite, Ehrman has sold millions of books popularizing the paradigm of discontinuity in several books, in which he endeavors to show the Gospels are unreliable and that Jesus was an apocalyptic prophet far different from the Jesus Christ the Church has worshipped as divine son of God.[3]
StAnselm (talk) 22:44, 28 August 2016 (UTC)
Have you read the dozens of scholarly reviews of his scholarly books in academic journals, which include many positive comments on his scholarship? FactChecker8506 (talk) 22:48, 28 August 2016 (UTC)
No, and I still can't find them. Can you give me some sort of list? StAnselm (talk) 00:21, 29 August 2016 (UTC)
I will soon, when I'm back at my university library, where I can access the articles. On another note, have you seen Hurtado's comments: https://larryhurtado.wordpress.com/2015/01/30/a-clarification-and-an-apology-to-bart-ehrman/ — Preceding unsigned comment added by FactChecker8506 (talkcontribs) 00:32, 29 August 2016 (UTC)
This was on the very first page of a google search for "Bart Ehrman Elaine Pagels". It contains quotes from a preacher praising him, and a Methodist bishop both praising and criticizing him. I get the impression you aren't looking very hard. You're certainly not looking in the article, which already lists the awards he has won in his bio section. Another scholar's blog has been linked here already, though you dismissed it out of hand as not conforming to WP rules. (You still haven't given a reason why we should apply the normal rules to this unusual situation, by the way.) MjolnirPants Tell me all about it. 23:23, 28 August 2016 (UTC)
Another thing... You posted an alert at wikiproject Christianity. Why not post an alert at Wikiproject History, as well? Bart Ehrman's primary work is historical. He even refers to himself as a historian numerous times. MjolnirPants Tell me all about it. 23:33, 28 August 2016 (UTC)
Well, feel free to post there as well, but I note that Wikiproject History is not listed at the top of this page. StAnselm (talk) 00:21, 29 August 2016 (UTC)
@StAnselm: Wait, are you actually blaming us for the fact that the article isn't perfect already!? When you are the one refusing to budge on any proposed improvement to the page? Give me a break... Hijiri 88 (やや) 00:46, 29 August 2016 (UTC)

Chatraw states in the SAME article that is used to critique Bart's so-called use/presentation of "scholarly consensus": "In Bart Ehrman’s most recent book, Jesus, Interrupted, the subtitle— Revealing the Hidden Contradictions in the Bible (and Why We Don’t Know About Them)—could lead some readers to believe that Ehrman is going to uncover new (apparent) problems in the Bible that have been hidden from scholars and serious students of Scripture. 1 These readers will be surprised to and that none of the information or arguments in this book is actually new, and Ehrman admits as much. He repeatedly emphasizes that for years scholars have known of, written about, and lectured on the material he presents. And, of course, he is right. The last two centuries in biblical studies have been characterized by skepticism concerning the unity of the theology found in the Bible." FactChecker8506 (talk) 00:56, 29 August 2016 (UTC)

I highly doubt Ehrman was referring to himself and other scholars with the "We" in the parenthetical part of the subtitle, if indeed it was even Ehrman's own words. My understanding is actually that most of those titles are created by the marketers and Ehrman just signs off on them, hence the regional variant titles that I doubt Ehrman himself decided needed to exist to sell his books in different markets. And yes, I do think a lot of Ehrman's detractors have either accidentally or deliberately chosen to interpret his books' titles as being deliberate misrepresentations by Ehrman himself, referring to Ehrman himself in the first person. Hijiri 88 (やや) 01:07, 29 August 2016 (UTC)
Yeah, my point is why is Chatraw used in the criticism section. His quote seems out of place. When Bart refers to scholarly consensus he's not arguing what he is saying is true because of the consensus but just noting what he is saying is widely held (as Chatraw acknowledges). Bart then proceeds to look at the evidence. http://ehrmanblog.org/on-scholarly-consensus/FactChecker8506 (talk) 01:14, 29 August 2016 (UTC)

Ehrman's claim (tag)[edit]

Ehrman's view (from his TTC courses) on the formation of the New Testament canon is that it was reached by consensus. However, he points out the political infighting among different Christians groups for defining what Christians should believe. Lost Christianities is a book wherein he makes that clear. So, he does not claim that the canon of the New Testament was assembled at the order of any political figure (certainly not Constantine the Great), but he claims that the proto-orthodox managed to win a dirty fight against all other competing Christian groups. So, was it a political decision? Kind of, it was the result of centuries-long quarrels and politics was involved, but it wasn't done by decree of the Emperor. Tgeorgescu (talk) 01:20, 29 August 2016 (UTC)

Yeah, that's the consensus view taught in Yale, and I think the burden is on anyone who wants to keep the text in to demonstrate how calling it "unfounded" does not put Blomberg on the WP:FRINGE. More likely, though, I think Blomberg interpreted something vague Ehrman said somewhere (as I did, and most of our readers likely will) as saying the same thing Dan Brown famously said, which is obviously untrue, and if our readers interpret it the way they will then it is probably a BLP-violation. Heck, it's borderline libelous. (Note that I am not related in any way to Ehrman personally. When I say "libelous" I mean "untrue and defamatory in that it creates a false and negative impression that the subject holds fringe views that they do not hold"; it is not in any way meant to be interpreted as a legal threat.) Hijiri 88 (やや) 01:31, 29 August 2016 (UTC)

I would add the bit about politics and the canon is out of place. The whole paragraph is about textual criticism, not canon (which is a completely different topic). FactChecker8506 (talk) 01:32, 29 August 2016 (UTC)

To clarify the above complicated comment: I think either that Blomberg thinks that the claim attributed to Ehrman above is unfounded, which makes Blomberg fringe, or that Blomberg was incorrectly attributing to Ehrman the Dan Brown claim that Constantine decided what books would be in the canon for his own political reasons, which makes it a criticism of Dan Brown and his fans that was misplaced on Ehrman. Either way, I think the sentence should be cut from the article. The only reason it should stay is that there is some third option that I have missed. Hijiri 88 (やや) 01:37, 29 August 2016 (UTC)
Quite apart from this issue, I was thinking that if we had Wallace we don't need Blomberg as well, so I am happy to delete it. StAnselm (talk) 02:22, 29 August 2016 (UTC)
Yeah, Wallace has more weight because like Ehrman he's actually a leading textual critic. 67.71.43.210 (talk) 02:33, 29 August 2016 (UTC)
Wait, did neither of you read the comments above? The sentence in question has nothing to do with textual criticism or anything attributed to Wallace. Whether we should give it its own separate paragraph because it is on a different topic is unrelated to the question of whether we should delete it. Or does Wallace hold fringe views on the formation of the canon, so our lending legitimacy to him make our lending legitimacy to Blomberg redundant? (Note that I don't actually think the latter is the case.) Hijiri 88 (やや) 02:46, 29 August 2016 (UTC)
  • I did a little bit (like 5 minutes) of research last night, and I found that literally every single person who criticizes Ehrman in this section is a member of the Evangelical Theological Society, which requires its members to pledge to an unshakable belief in biblical inerrancy. Every single one has sworn to believe and argue that the bible is incapable of being wrong about anything, despite having received several years of lectures during their education about all the different things the bible is wrong about.
I've pointed out before that I don't refer to evangelical beliefs as fringe, even within NT studies. That is only due to the large role they play in NT studies here in the US. Their beliefs (and as a result, a good deal of their scholarship) are very much outside of anything that could even generously be referred to as mainstream history. The number of walls in their particular echo chamber does not, in any way excuse the fact that they have pledged to support a specific theory which has almost exactly zero support outside of their group. MjolnirPants Tell me all about it. 13:01, 29 August 2016 (UTC)
I can well believe that all critics are members of ETS, but I don't see that as a problem. For a start, you have to affirm inerrancy to be a member, but you don't have to swear to argue it. In some members' writings, it would receive very little coverage. More to the point (as I've indicated above) the scholarly community has not take a stand against inerrancy. That might well be because the ETS is too big and powerful, but the fact remains that errantists and inerrantists happily coexist in American biblical studies. The fact that they get "exactly zero support outside of their group" is precisely because everyone who believes it is already in the group. Anyway, I appreciate that you haven't called evangelical beliefs fringe, but for some reason this made it to the Fringe Noticeboard. StAnselm (talk) 19:28, 29 August 2016 (UTC)
  • It is clear that criticism from academic scholars of religion and criticism from different religious perspectives are two entirely different beasts and should be treated as such in the article. I would suggest putting critiques from members of the ETS apart in a separate subsection or paragraph and have another paragraph containing critiques from academic scholars (e.g. from academic reviews of his books, I also know that Thomas L. Thompson has notably critiqued Ehrman).·maunus · snunɐɯ· 13:30, 29 August 2016 (UTC)
I could get behind that. Ehrman has attracted the ire of many fundamentalists, and this should be covered by the article. I think some mention of the Ehrman Project would be appropriate. But none of that should be unblinkingly presented as the entirety of his reception. It should be made very clear from whence this criticism stems: his rejection of biblical inerrancy in the public sphere. MjolnirPants Tell me all about it. 13:45, 29 August 2016 (UTC)
I like these proposals too, but I still think that, even blocked off from the rest of the reception section, we should keep criticism from conservative Evangelicals (who use Ehrman as a punching bag and blame him for a lot of what critical scholars have been saying since before he was born) to a minimum: devoting a section to the Evangelical response should not be used as an excuse to cite fallacious arguments like that Ehrman attacks Christianity (which implies that the majority of self-identified Christians worldwide whose views of biblical inerrancy don't differ from Ehrman's are not real Christians), etc.
I'm also totally behind discussion of the Ehrman Project, but how does everyone else feel about using Ehrman's response to them as our starting point? Second paragraph of chapter 5 of Did Jesus Exist?: it's ”a group of well-funded conservative Christians” including at least one ”former student who did not much like what [he] taught”, and their website includes ”short film clips of (very) conservative evangelical scholars responding to just about everything [he has] written about, thought about writing about, or, well, thought”.
Hijiri 88 (やや) 14:26, 29 August 2016 (UTC)
I like quoting Ehrman on the Ehrman project. His reaction to it is extremely germane. I think a separate subsection underneath the reception section, and then keeping the specific criticisms there, and adding a sentence (or maybe two) about the Ehrman project is about the most minimal we can honestly get, though. I mean, these people seriously dislike Ehrman and have an audible voice. Giving them less of a voice than they currently have in the article strikes me as too POV. My main concern is the adding of more praise. I think we need to list his awards in the reception section, mention that his textbooks are used at Yale (and elsewhere if we can source it), and add praise from other academics and from skeptical/atheist groups (though we don't want to get too wordy about the latter). StAnselm opposes adding any more praise, but has yet to give a reason why the norms aren't hurting this article, so that's been my focus here; trying to hammer out whether we can WP:IAR here. So far, I have every reason to think we can, so I believe we should go looking for sources that normally would not quite make the BLP cut. MjolnirPants Tell me all about it. 14:36, 29 August 2016 (UTC)
I support mentioning the Ehrman Project (probably in a separate subsection), and we certainly need to include Ehrman's response to it. (Hopefully we can find some other reliable sources that evaluate it as well.) MjolnirPants, you have totally misunderstood me - I do not oppose adding more praise, but I think it should be published in reliable sources - not blogs. I'd also be OK with a sentence like "Ehrman's New Testament is used as a textbook at Harvard[1], Yale[2], and UCLA[3]." But I wouldn't prefer it - imagine if we listed every textbook like that on every page in WP! Rather, what we want, is Professor Smith saying "Ehrman's books are used as textbooks at all the major American universities." StAnselm (talk) 19:28, 29 August 2016 (UTC)
We've presented reliable sources for praise which you shot down based on rules. I've presented a compelling case as to why the rules should not apply (including citing a rule that says that the rules need not always be applied). You haven't refuted my argument for ignoring the rules in this case, though you have refuted my conclusion. I'm not trying to be dismissive, but if you can't argue that there's a good reason not to WP:IAR here, then simply asserting that we shouldn't just isn't good enough. There are three (possibly more) editors here for whom I feel confident stating that they believe that the blog post Tgeorgescu offered as an example of praise should be included. There are at least two editors here for whom I feel confident stating that they believe various atheist and skeptical sources which would not normally meet BLP standards should be used. IAR is policy for a reason. I know (and I agree wholeheartedly) that it should be the least used policy on WP, and that it is often abused. But I'm seeing some very compelling reasons to use it here, and no reason not to other than you don't want to, which (no offense) is not compelling in the slightest. MjolnirPants Tell me all about it. 20:17, 29 August 2016 (UTC)
Really? Just yesterday User:Hijiri88 said "I don't think anyone is seriously in favour of that." If you want to IAR to do a BLP violation, I suggest you ask at BLPN first. StAnselm (talk) 20:41, 29 August 2016 (UTC)
So Hijiri misunderstood me. That's no big deal, and all he has to do is read this comment or my previous one to correct that. Frankly, I'm still not seeing any reason why IAR doesn't apply here. If you're so against it, shouldn't you be able to voice a concrete reason why? If you're only against it because you don't like it, then that's the makings of a consensus, right there. MjolnirPants Tell me all about it. 20:58, 29 August 2016 (UTC)
Not citing the self-published blog and leaving the article as is violates the spirit, if not the letter, of BLPSPS. Citing sources that are not technically self-published but are written by authors and published by groups with a vested interested in attacking our subject, and ignoring all the positive reception Ehrman has had, is a very blatant BLP violation and a complete violation of WEIGHT. I am still against using the blog; I think simply removing the entire section would be better than using a de jure self-published source (a blog, even one by a reputable authority on the subject) to balance out the de facto self-published sources (which had no serious peer review, fact-checking or editorial oversight, even if they were not produced by a "pay to print" process or the like). Hijiri 88 (やや) 23:45, 29 August 2016 (UTC)
I don't see any "de facto self-published sources" in the article. To suggest that the Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society does not have "serious peer review, fact-checking or editorial oversight" is absurd. I think your anti-inerrancy view is colouring everything you think about these people. StAnselm (talk) 00:01, 30 August 2016 (UTC)
I never said any such thing about the JETS, nor have I even ever suggest removing the claim attributed to it from the article. I'm talking about Kostenberger et al. Can you demonstrate that the factual inaccuracies were edited out of that book by the editors? Like that Ehrman's definition of scholarship is on "his own terms" (as opposed to the terms applied to by everyone outside a small group of conservative evangelicals)? And where did I ever say that I have an anti-inerrancy view or imply that this was colouring everything I think about "these people" (as opposed to their claims)? Kindly stop putting words in my mouth, or I will request that you be blocked. Hijiri 88 (やや) 00:58, 30 August 2016 (UTC)
@Maunus: No, I don't think they are entirely different beasts at all. A quick look at Evangelical Theological Society shows tat it contains a whole lot of people who are both "academic scholars of religion" and people who write from a religious perspective. Now - it has been a subject for debate, whether those two can coexist, but the consensus/compromise in the scholarly community is that they can. Whatever you think about ETS or JETS, Chatraw's review is an academic reviews of Ehrman's book. StAnselm (talk) 19:28, 29 August 2016 (UTC)
Being an academic is not simply about having an appointment, it is about being a part of an academic community - being a part of a scholarly debate and a devotional debate is not the same at all, and if all the ETS scholars in the world each published piece critiqueing Ehrman that would have no relevance at all to Ehrman's standing relative to the academic mainstream. They are engage ind different conversations. No kind of doctrinal pre-commitment is compatible with participating in an actual academic discussion. ·maunus · snunɐɯ· 19:40, 29 August 2016 (UTC)
I appreciate your opinion, but for whatever reason - the scholarly community as a whole does not share it. StAnselm (talk) 20:41, 29 August 2016 (UTC)
For example: "Organizations such as the Society of New Testament Studies and the Society of Biblical Literature therefore encourage collaboration among scholars of all stripes, neither privileging nor deprecating faith. Critical study coexists today with study explicitly aimed at fostering religious faith in the same educational institutions, and even in same individual scholars."[4] StAnselm (talk) 20:48, 29 August 2016 (UTC)
Have you read about either of those two organizations? They're very different from the ETS. From the SBL About page: "Founded in 1880, the Society of Biblical Literature is the oldest and largest learned society devoted to the critical investigation of the Bible from a variety of academic disciplines." There's nothing on that page about biblical inerrancy, or indeed, even any religious beliefs. The SNTS is similarly secular, with no mention of religious belief of any sort anywhere on their website. The requirements for membership are outlined here (warning, that's a word document) and say nothing about religious beliefs, as well. The ETS is not, in any way comparable to those groups. MjolnirPants Tell me all about it. 21:10, 29 August 2016 (UTC)
I think you've totally missed the point here, which that SBL neither requires nor forbids belief in inerrancy. Many (most?) members of ETS are also members of SBL, and as such are part of the academic community. StAnselm (talk) 21:28, 29 August 2016 (UTC)
No, saying they are members of the academic community simply because they have a membership in a society (neither of which requires continuing engagement in the academic community) is like claiming to be a scientist because one is a member of the AAAS. It's a non sequitur, similar to claiming someone is a philosopher because they have a degree in philosophy. Nor does it do anything to address the obvious problem a belief in biblical inerrancy produces. Even if you can prove that each of those people cited actively contributes to the scholarly body of knowledge and engages in the scholarly community (they don't, at least not in the sense of contributing to history), you're still left with that problem. MjolnirPants Tell me all about it. 22:08, 29 August 2016 (UTC)
You seem to think that belief in inerrancy is problematic, but there's no reason why we should accept that here on WP. Wallace, Blomberg, Köstenberger and Bock all certainly actively contribute to the scholarly body of knowledge, StAnselm (talk) 22:18, 29 August 2016 (UTC)
There's no reason to accept that scholars who start from a conclusion, then work to find evidence to support it while refusing to accept any possibility that they are wrong aren't the best scholars? Seriously? We have EVERY REASON IN THE ENTIRETY OF ACADEMIA to suspect their scholarship isn't up to par in any area that touches upon the possibility of the bible being wrong. I'm not angry, just adding an appropriate level of emphasis. And again... Theologians, not historians. The title "New Testament Scholar" refers to a diverse group. The theologians are, pretty much by definition, all religious. But those who work on the history are a diverse bunch, with the vast majority being liberally religious or non-religious. Hence why the secular groups are accepting of all sorts. Hence, also, why the criticisms of Ehrman come entirely from members of the non-secular groups. MjolnirPants Tell me all about it. 23:07, 29 August 2016 (UTC)
You're welcome to your opinion, but please don't try to enforce it here. As a side note, the issue of faith/philosophical commitments also comes up in feminist scholarship, and again - feminist scholars are accepted as part of the community. "Historical-critical" is now acknowledged to not be the only way to go. Anyway, theologians are certainly not all religious, and many NT scholars would identify with neither a "theological" approach nor a "historical" approach. (Some, for example, would describe their approach as "literary"). StAnselm (talk) 23:17, 29 August 2016 (UTC)
To put it another way, I think you're overemphasising the place of inerrancy in the scholarship of evangelicals. Especially with regards to literary and canonical approaches, the fact that the writer personally believes the text is inerrant might not have a big impact on what she writes: she may, for example, be talking about the original meaning of the text - something that evangelical and non-evangelical writers could easily agree on. (Though, of course, accessing "original meaning" is fraught with its own difficulties.) StAnselm (talk) 23:30, 29 August 2016 (UTC)
So, it's okay for StAnselm to enforce an opinion here, but not everyone else? That seems fair. The simple fact is that evangelical scholars are the only ones who say the things currently cited in the "reception" section of the article: this is obviously because they believe in inerrancy, but we do not need to mention this in the article; we just need to not cite them because they are unreliable sources and they frequently misrepresent the scholarly consensus on the issues Ehrman addresses in his popular books. Hijiri 88 (やや) 23:49, 29 August 2016 (UTC)
Who says they are unreliable sources? Who, for that matter, says that these people criticize Ehrman because they believe in inerrancy? StAnselm (talk) 23:57, 29 August 2016 (UTC)
Kindly focus on article content rather than nitpicking the wording I use on the talk page. I never said we need to add the claim that "these people criticize Ehrman because they believe in inerrancy" to the article, so I don't need to cite sources for this speculation. I just think that we should keep their obviously biased criticism to a minimum per NPOV and WEIGHT. The fact is that the majority of Christians throughout the world don't have a problem with what Ehrman writes, nor do the authorities of their churches -- if you do not think it is because of their belief in inerrancy, why else do you think only this small group of Christians attack Ehrman and call him a critic of Christianity? If you cannot answer this, then I would appreciate you not trying to silence me when I say otherwise. Hijiri 88 (やや) 01:06, 30 August 2016 (UTC)


Sorry to change the topic here, but why do we have Chatsaw as a source? (he does not have a New Testament doctoral degree). Do we have him as a source because we cannot find many NT scholars who agree with him? When evaluating sources it is important to look at whether the criticism is widespread, carefully argued, and whether the person is credible and recognized in their field. I'm not too concerned about their theological or philosophical positions...but I'm not very familiar with Wikipedia's policies on this FactChecker8506 (talk) 00:18, 30 August 2016 (UTC)

Generally, if someone writes an article in a reputable journal about a particular scholar's approach or work - whether positive, negative, or neutral - that should be included in the WP article about that scholar. Of course, Ehrman has a notability far beyond this, but in most cases that would be a significant contribution to a scholar's notability. But in this particular instance, what makes you think he doesn't have a NT PhD? (He certainly has some sort of PhD now, though he was a student when he wrote the article - and I also see he is a member of SBL.[5] - but yes, he seems to write more in the field of homiletics.) StAnselm (talk) 00:30, 30 August 2016 (UTC)
If we can't find more than 4 people saying what he's saying than he represents a "tiny minority." And if one in this tiny minority does not have a Phd in New Testament, one wonders the credibility of the claim, even if it's in a journal (lots of incorrect things are said in top-notch journals) FactChecker8506 (talk) 00:41, 30 August 2016 (UTC)
Would Josh D. Chatraw meet the notability requirement of creating a Wikipedia article for him? — Preceding unsigned comment added by FactChecker8506 (talkcontribs) 00:44, 30 August 2016 (UTC)
No, he certainly would not. StAnselm (talk) 00:50, 30 August 2016 (UTC)
Well, it's more than four - add to that the five scholars who wrote How God Became Jesus: Michael F. Bird, Craig A. Evans, Simon Gathercole, Charles E. Hill, and Chris Tilling. StAnselm (talk) 00:50, 30 August 2016 (UTC)
What Bart says in How Jesus Became God is not unique to him. It's old news held by many for quite sometime. It's only new to those who do not know the history of NT scholarship — Preceding unsigned comment added by FactChecker8506 (talkcontribs) 00:52, 30 August 2016 (UTC)
In the blogosphere, of course, the criticism of Ehrman misrepresenting scholarly consensus is quite widespread - see Witherington on the authorship of the Pastoral epistles. Note that James McGrath challenges Witherington on this point, and that CNN reports on Witherington's blog series. StAnselm (talk) 00:47, 30 August 2016 (UTC)
In blogs, his praise is widespread also. Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't you say above blog posts cannot be included?FactChecker8506 (talk) 00:50, 30 August 2016 (UTC)
Absolutely. Just yesterday I deleted Witherington from Jesus, Interrupted. But if we open the floodgates to blogs, we are still going to have a preponderance of criticism over praise. StAnselm (talk) 00:54, 30 August 2016 (UTC)
The same scholars you mentioned that criticize him praise him as well, so it will equal out. It's not "black and white." It all depends on the particular topic they're debating. That's what scholars do...debate and disagree with each other on many things. Many evangelicals, for example, praised his book "Did Jesus Exist" FactChecker8506 (talk) 00:57, 30 August 2016 (UTC)
we are still going to have a preponderance of criticism over praise If that is the case, the only reason is a tendency for ultra-conservative evangelicals to attack the messenger and refuse to admit that virtually everyone else agrees with said messenger. Dale Martin doesn't maintain a blog attacking conservative evangelicals for their (false) claims about Ehrman and the scholarly consensus, but the fact that he uses Ehrman's book as a textbook in his NT 101 course at Yale is evidence enough that Ehrman's views are mainstream and respected. Hijiri 88 (やや) 01:10, 30 August 2016 (UTC)
Would Wallace and the others quoted say Bart is a terrible scholar or person? No, they have said he's top notch. Now, do they disagree over things? Yes, so what? That's what scholars do! We shouldn't focus on those scholarly debates in my view. Otherwise, where will these discussions of these debates end??FactChecker8506 (talk) 01:15, 30 August 2016 (UTC)
@FactChecker8506: I think an FA (which is always what should be aimed for) on any scholar should summarize their scholarly opinions on various issues related to their field, as well as other scholars' responses if those responses were directed at the subject. Hijiri 88 (やや) 07:23, 30 August 2016 (UTC)
I've been looking for information on the reaction Ehrman has gotten for several days now, and there are a few things which have become obvious.
  • There are no (or so few as to be too difficult to find) criticisms of Ehrman's representation of the scholarly consensus from non-evangelical/fundamentalist sources.
  • There is only one criticism of Ehrman from non-evangelical/fundamentalist sources, and it is that Ehrman's books do not contribute to the body of work, but simply repeat what scholars have known for years. This criticism is never made by evangelicals or fundamentalists. Also, these criticisms are rather difficult to find.
  • Almost every academic of any sort (as well as the majority of non-academics) who criticizes Ehrman also praises his abilities as a scholar.
Despite this, we have a reception section that contains virtually nothing but non-evidenced claims that he misrepresents a scholarly consensus from individuals whose reliability for this consensus is extremely questionable. MjolnirPants Tell me all about it. 13:27, 30 August 2016 (UTC)
What we have is a section that (last I checked) has been winnowed down to sourced statements by relevant and credentialed sources (e.g. NT scholars) that meet WP standards for BLP (e.g. not blog). One thing these sources say is Ehrman misrepresents the scholarly consensus in certain ways. And as StAnselm notes if we lowered standards to allow blogs, there would be even more sources saying that. What we have now is properly sourced statements by scholars; this seems reasonable to me and adds valuable material to the page. It would not improve the page to exclude it, any more than it would improve the page to exclude praise by scholars for Ehrman's scholarship. Cloudjpk (talk) 19:51, 31 August 2016 (UTC)

New "reception" section (draft)[edit]

Let's start a draft — Preceding unsigned comment added by FactChecker8506 (talkcontribs) 23:43, 29 August 2016 (UTC)

For the most part, the book presents mainstream scholarship's consensus on questions of authorship. Some cases, such as 2 Peter, are clear cut. They were not written by their purported author. If this is news to you, then Ehrman's new book provides a provocative and readable introduction to this important area of New Testament scholarship.

— James F. McGrath, Clarence L. Goodwin Chair in New Testament Language and Literature, Butler University, Forged: Writing in the Name of God - Why the Bible's Authors Are Not Who We Think They Are, LAS Faculty Book Reviews
Quoted from [6]. Tgeorgescu (talk) 00:51, 30 August 2016 (UTC)
Attacked (kind of) for precisely rendering the mainstream consensus view in Crossley, James G. (20 October 2014). Jesus in an Age of Neoliberalism: Quests, Scholarship and Ideology. Routledge. p. 13. ISBN 978-1-317-54612-2. Ehrman is open in his desire to provide the public with work on Jesus and Christian origins which reflects broad consensus views in scholarship: . Tgeorgescu (talk) 01:25, 30 August 2016 (UTC)

@Tgeorgescu: I think what User:Factchecker8506 intends is for us each to work on drafting text to add to the article. Posting suggestions and signing them is kind of messy. Let's post talk comments here and add or subtract from the draft in the subsection below. I'm starting it with my pet topic, but I welcome opinions on what 8've written and don't want to imply that I think what I've written is exactly what needs to be added to the article, or that the section should begin or end with what I have written. I just think something like this belongs somewhere in the section. Whether Martin meets GNG (and so merits a red-link) is a debate for another day. Hijiri 88 (やや) 07:09, 30 August 2016 (UTC)

I also think we should steer clear of lengthy quotations of reviews of particular books, at least in the article body, as they belong in the independent articles on the books. Saying that "McGrath praised Forged for its readability and for introducing lay audiences to certain views that are widely held among NT scholars.", and perhaps including your quote in a footnote, should be enough. Hijiri 88 (やや) 07:14, 30 August 2016 (UTC)

@Tgeorgescu: I changed "attacked" to "criticized" as it seems less aggressive, and "Bible scholarship" to "historical Jesus scholarship" (he is not talking about Bible scholarship in general), but I'm not entirely sure about the wording. It seems like he is talking about Ehrman's placing the "center" of scholarship to the left of where Crossley would estimate it to be, but this kind of quasi-political alignment is questionable, and difficult for us to summarize adequately. I had a brief off-wiki exchange with User:MjolnirPants about this exact problem, and honestly I think John Meier would if asked place himself to the left of Ehrman, because -- their religious and political views aside -- Ehrman's writings on the historical Jesus have been (slightly!) more in line with a traditional Christian view of Jesus than Meier, who emphasizes the "Jewishness" of Jesus and the futility of trying to make Jesus "relevant" to modern Christianity (Ehrman would agree, but doesn't emphasize it as much). Your wording honestly confused me at first, as I thought Ehrman had constructed a building of some kind (The Neoliberal Center for Bible Scholarship), but I can't think of any way to make it clearer without going into a bit too much detail. Hijiri 88 (やや) 13:00, 30 August 2016 (UTC)
  • I imported some of the commentary from the article page, including part of the second paragraph. I added two new sources (a CNN news piece quoting a Methodist minister and blogger, and a book of interview transcripts with various well-known scholars on the subject of Gnosticism). One thing I've noticed (though it's synth to add it to the article) is that there are a few more scholars other than Ehrman who feel the Gospel of Thomas is Gnostic in some way, so we should probably take a close look at the Pagels criticism to see if she's critiquing Ehrman directly. MjolnirPants Tell me all about it. 14:10, 30 August 2016 (UTC)

Draft text[edit]

Reception[edit]

Ehrman has been the recipient of the 2009 J. W. Pope "Spirit of Inquiry" Teaching Award, the 1993 UNC Undergraduate Student Teaching Award, the 1994 Phillip and Ruth Hettleman Prize for Artistic and Scholarly Achievement, and the Bowman and Gordon Gray Award for excellence in teaching.[1]

Daniel Wallace has praised Ehrman as "one of North America’s leading textual critics" and describes him as "one of the most brilliant and creative textual critics I have ever known".[2] Wallace argues, however, that in Misquoting Jesus Ehrman sometimes "overstates his case by assuming that his view is certainly correct."[2] For example, Wallace asserts that Ehrman himself acknowledges the vast majority of textual variants are minor, but his popular writing and speaking sometimes makes the sheer number of them appear to be a major problem for getting to the original New Testament text.[2]

Ehrman's The New Testament: A Historical Introduction to the Early Christian Writings is widely used at American colleges and universities.[3][4] The textbook holds to a traditional interpretation of the Gospel of Thomas in the context of second-century Christian gnosticism, and has been criticized by Elaine Pagels for this reason.[5]

Andreas J. Köstenberger, Darrell L. Bock and Josh D. Chatraw have have disputed Ehrman's depiction of scholarly consensus, saying: "It is only by defining scholarship on his own terms and by excluding scholars who disagree with him that Ehrman is able to imply that he is supported by all other scholarship."[6] Michael R. Licona, notes, however, that "his thinking is hardly original, as his positions are those largely embraced by mainstream skeptical scholarship".[4]

Gary Kamiya states in Salon that "Ehrman’s scholarly standing did not soothe the evangelical Christians who were outraged by “Misquoting Jesus.” Angered by what they took to be the book’s subversive import, they attacked it as exaggerated, unfair and lacking a devotional tone. No less than three books were published in response to Ehrman’s tome".[7] In 2014, Zondervan published How God Became Jesus: The Real Origins of Belief in Jesus' Divine Nature: A Response to Bart D. Ehrman as a companion volume to Ehrman's How Jesus Became God. According to the authors - including Michael F. Bird, Craig A. Evans, and Simon Gathercole - Ehrman is "prone to profound confusion, botched readings and scholarly fictions."[8]

Speaking to CNN, Rev. Guy Williams, a blogger and a Methodist minister in Houston said of Ehrman ""His take on the scriptures is a gift to the church because of his ability to articulate questions and challenges. It gives us an opportunity to wrestle with the [Bible's] claims and questions."[9] Michael F. Bird observes, however, that "for conservative Christians, Ehrman is a bit of a bogeyman, the Prof. Moriarty of biblical studies, constantly pressing an attack on their long-held beliefs about God, Jesus, and the Bible". He notes, however, that "For secularists, the emerging generation of “nones” (who claim no religion, even if they are not committed to atheism or agnosticism) Ehrman is a godsend."[10]

References[edit]

References

  1. ^ Official website Bart Ehrman – Biography
  2. ^ a b c Daniel B. Wallace, "The Gospel According to Bart: A Review Article of Misquoting Jesus by Bart Ehrman," Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 49/2 (June 2006) 327–49.
  3. ^ Kirk, Alan (1 December 2010). Holmén, Tom; Porter, Stanley E., eds. Handbook for the Study of the Historical Jesus (4 Vols). BRILL. p. 822. ISBN 90-04-16372-7. 
  4. ^ a b Licona, Michael (1 March 2012). Copan, Paul; Lane Craig, William, eds. Come Let Us Reason: New Essays in Christian Apologetics. B&H Publishing Group. p. 137. ISBN 978-1-4336-7599-7. 
  5. ^ Elaine Pagels 2015 (lecture). "Price Lecture: Elaine Pagels" on YouTube (15:42~15:55) Trinity Church Boston. Accessed August 30, 2016.
  6. ^ Köstenberger, Andreas J.; Bock, Darrell L.; Chatraw, Josh D. (2014). Truth in a Culture of Doubt: Engaging Skeptical Challenges to the Bible. B&H Publishing Group. p. 34. Retrieved 30 October 2015. 
  7. ^ Kamiya, Gary. "Jesus is just alright with him". Salon. Retrieved 3 September 2016. 
  8. ^ "Bart Ehrman's 'How Jesus Became God' Book Will Be Instantly Rebutted By 'How God Became Jesus'". Huffington Post. 25 March 2014. Retrieved 3 September 2016. 
  9. ^ Blake, John (May 15, 2009). "Former fundamentalist 'debunks' Bible". CNN. Retrieved 30 August 2016. 
  10. ^ Bird, Michael F.; Evans, Craig A.; Gathercole, Simon; Hill, Charles E.; Tilling, Chris (25 March 2014). How God Became Jesus: The Real Origins of Belief in Jesus' Divine Nature---A Response to Bart Ehrman. Zondervan. ISBN 978-0-310-51961-4. 
Comments[edit]

1. Thank you to MjolnirPants for putting this draft together. 2. I think the major part of Ehrman's reception should be the book-length responses. Something like this:

A number of books have been written by evangelicals directly in response to Ehrman. According to a review in Novum Testamentum, Misquoting Truth: A Guide to the Fallacies of Bart Ehrman's "Misquoting Jesus" by Timothy Paul Jones (InterVarsity Press, 2007) was written "to reassure Christians disturbed by Bart Ehrman's text-critical conclusions".[1] How God Became Jesus: The Real Origins of Belief in Jesus' Divine Nature: A Response to Bart D. Ehrman (Zondervan, 2014) was published as a companion volume to Ehrman's How Jesus Became God.[7] According to the authors - including Michael F. Bird, Craig A. Evans, and Simon Gathercole - Ehrman is "prone to profound confusion, botched readings and scholarly fictions." Ehrman responded on his blog by noting that the scholars criticized his book for theological reasons, but offered no alternative historical explanation.[2]

3. I understand people want to include non-evangelical criticism, but some of it seems rather nit-picky - the normal give-and-take of scholarly disagreement, rather than the broad criticism of approach and methodology that we have from the evangelicals. 4. We really shouldn't include Coogan, since it's just a book blurb. 5. Here is a reference (from CNN) that many of Ehrman's books have generated backlash.[8] StAnselm (talk) 19:25, 30 August 2016 (UTC)

1. I didn't put the draft together. I just added to it. 2. I don't. That would paint an inaccurate picture of his reception by the public. There is a source right there in the draft showing that he's received an extremely favorable reception from atheists, which your focus on book-length criticism only would completely ignore. This really strikes me as a straightforward attempt at POV pushing, because there's no precedent nor good reason to only focus on book-length criticism unless you're trying to block out praise. Finally , I'm not done adding to it. All of Ehrman's awards properly belong in the reception section, not in the bio. I'll be adding those shortly. MjolnirPants Tell me all about it. 21:11, 30 August 2016 (UTC)
What's the source that says he's received an extremely favorable reception from atheists? StAnselm (talk) 22:18, 30 August 2016 (UTC)
The Conner book. He says (in the ellipses in the quote I provided) "Ehrman has become a sort of bishop to the modern Atheist movement." MjolnirPants Tell me all about it. 17:05, 31 August 2016 (UTC)

6. These are very non-notable awards, and make the article a puff-piece. 7. I have created an article on Dale Martin. StAnselm (talk) 22:31, 30 August 2016 (UTC)

I think since the teaching awards are not national or international in scope, but institutional, they are probably not notable enough to include (notwithstanding, it's a great accomplishment still). FactChecker8506 (talk) 15:55, 31 August 2016 (UTC)
I disagree. He's usually introduced as the winner of those awards in debates and talks. Check out his youtube channel and try to find one where the host doesn't cite those awards. MjolnirPants Tell me all about it. 17:03, 31 August 2016 (UTC)
Okay, I'm not bent on arguing to take it out if people think it's included.FactChecker8506 (talk) 22:40, 31 August 2016 (UTC)

8. The quote provided from Crossley does not say that Ehrman provides the consensus view, only that he has a stated desire to do so. StAnselm (talk) 22:42, 30 August 2016 (UTC)

True. He neither agrees or disagrees with Ehrman's statement to discuss consensus.FactChecker8506 (talk) 16:05, 31 August 2016 (UTC)

I agree with expanding the positive reception. The teaching awards are not international but seem relevant. I see no reason to exclude them.

Likewise I see no reason to exclude Blomberg. His statements agree with Wallace but are hardly entirely duplicative. And his response is book-length.

It's inaccurate to attribute merely to "some evangelical scholars" Eherman's depiction of scholarly consensus. The simple fact is "the vast majority of textual critics are closer to Metzger than Ehrman" [9]. The related fact is Ehrman commonly suggests otherwise. Now: it's probably the case that evangelicals are pointing this out most often and most loudly :) But these are the facts. An accurate attribution would be "scholars". Cloudjpk (talk) 20:33, 31 August 2016 (UTC)

Do you have a source from a textual critic (preferably more than one) that says that (re: Metzger v. Ehrman). What does "closer" mean? FactChecker8506 (talk) 22:41, 31 August 2016 (UTC)
With respect to "some evangelical scholars" - do you have an example of a non-evangelical scholar taking issue on whether he accurately represents general "scholarly consensus" in his popular books?FactChecker8506 (talk) 22:46, 31 August 2016 (UTC)
Multiple sources have been provided. Boyd could hardly be characterized as a radical fundamentalist :) The facts are: Ehrman repeatedly cites "the modern scholarly consensus" as agreeing with him. We have no sources that substantiate that. We have multiple sources that say otherwise. Can we move forward here? Cloudjpk (talk) 23:48, 31 August 2016 (UTC)
What sources do you want to substantiate it? Ehrman's claims were published by OUP and other reputable academic publishers, and Dale Martin (who agrees with Ehrman on probably most of the important issues) repeatedly said in the YaleCourses lecture series I have referred to a bunch of times that these views are standard among scholars. Ehrman's textbook is the most widely used in North American universities, which should be evidence enough that his views are accepted within the scholarly community. You can say all you want that this is just two guys' opinions, but the same could be said of the conservative evangelical sources you keep namedropping (and even the textual critics you misattribute quotations to, who in reality agree with Ehrman). Hijiri 88 (やや) 09:06, 1 September 2016 (UTC)
I cited another blog which says that Ehrman is criticized as a representative for what most mainstream historical and textual critics to in all major US universities. Tgeorgescu (talk) 21:01, 31 August 2016 (UTC)
Would you be so kind as to re-post; I'm not finding it. Thanks! Cloudjpk (talk) 22:17, 31 August 2016 (UTC)
See https://robertcargill.com/2011/02/18/i-stand-with-bart-ehrman/ Tgeorgescu (talk) 22:31, 31 August 2016 (UTC)
Thanks.That's not quite what Cargill is saying. He excludes anyone teaching at a "Christian university, seminary, or school with the word 'Evangelical in the title"; those views don't count. That narrows it somewhat :) Of course, that's not the scholarly consensus; you don't get to redefine it that way. Cloudjpk (talk) 00:26, 1 September 2016 (UTC)
So, when the Ehrman Project says "Ehrman", it often means "mainstream Bible scholarship". Tgeorgescu (talk) 21:05, 31 August 2016 (UTC)
We've discussed the Blomberg quote above. He seems to be criticizing Ehrman for something Ehrman didn't say. In fact, in the Conner source, Ehrman says "Yes, I don't think there was ever any systematic attempt that was made from the upper echelon down to try and standardize the text, so it's not that bishops were saying that you need to change what this text says; it was individual scribes who for one reason or another changed the text." Furthermore, in Lost Christianities, on page 231, Ehrman writes "The canon of the New Testament was ratified by widespread consensus rather than by official proclamation." So there are quotes from Ehrman which directly contradicts the claim that he believes changes were made due to political concerns. MjolnirPants Tell me all about it. 21:27, 31 August 2016 (UTC)
Blomberg is cited accurately. That is his characterization of Ehrman's position. I'm not sure it's up to us as editors to decide whether our sources were mistaken in their criticism. We check whether they're credentialed, accurately cited, etc.
And: we do find Ehrman saying things that sound like Blomberg's summary: "the books that [orthodox Christianity] accepted as Scripture proved the point, for Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John all tell the story as the proto-orthodox had grown accustomed to hearing it." (Christianity Turned on Its Head: The Alternative Vision of the Gospel of Judas). And "scribes who were deeply influenced by the cultural, theological, and political disputes of their day." (Misquoting Jesus). It is true that Ehrman in the Conner source gives a milder view :) It is not true that Ehrman has never said things that can be summarized as Blomberg does. Cloudjpk (talk) 22:17, 31 August 2016 (UTC)
@Cloudjpk: Re the vast majority of textual critics are closer to Metzger than Ehrman Could you explain how Metzger's position is different to Ehrman's? Could you also explain the relationship between textual criticism (which is clearly what this quote is referring to) and canon formation (which is what the text you are trying to restore was about)? Hijiri 88 (やや) 22:10, 31 August 2016 (UTC)
I think we may be confusing two things here: excluding Blomberg, and accurate attribution of Ehrman's depiction of scholarly consensus. For the former, Blomberg is the only source I see providing criticism of Ehrman's claims on canon. If there is a better source I'd love to see it. For the latter, the question is whether it's merely "some evangelical scholars" who say Ehrman is not backed by "the scholarly consensus". From the same source (Metzger): "Consider that Bart is looking at the same evidence every other textual critic looks at. He’s “discovered” nothing new. Yet, HARDLY ANYONE goes to the extreme Bart goes to in his conclusions" (emphasis mine). In short, it is inaccurate to imply either that most scholars agree with him, or that only a few evangelical scholars have noted this fact. And accurate attribution would be "scholars". Cloudjpk (talk) 22:47, 31 August 2016 (UTC)
Certainly, the comparisons between Metzger and Ehrman are widespread.[10] StAnselm (talk) 22:53, 31 August 2016 (UTC)
Yep. Although I find most of 'em facile. When we veer into Star Wars, something has been lost :) To be fair, it isn't easy to cover these things. Cloudjpk (talk) 00:08, 1 September 2016 (UTC)
@Cloudjpk: You haven't answered my questions. Please read and answer my questions, rather than just posting general comments loosely related to the topic we are discussing. Also, please refrain from attributing quotations to people who obviously aren't their authors, as you did with "From the same source (Metzger):". I will ask again: what is the relationship between textual criticism and canon formation, and what is the difference between the views of Metzger and Ehrman? Are you unable to answer these questions? Hijiri 88 (やや) 08:42, 1 September 2016 (UTC)
Now, I can understand why StAnselm would want to avoid the topic of canon formation entirely given that last time we discussed it he incorrectly (and no doubt embarrassingly) claimed that the list of NT documents was not decided centuries after the books themselves were produced and that this was a mistake "of Da Vinci Code proportions". That incident might explain why StAnselm immediately assented to my removing the text (before I had even proposed removing it, in fact). But why are you so reluctant to directly address the topic under discussion? Hijiri 88 (やや) 08:58, 1 September 2016 (UTC)
Hold your fire - if you're going to quote me from another page, at least do it properly: it was not the "list of NT documents" that I denied was "decided centuries later" but the distinction between canonical and non-canonical. StAnselm (talk) 09:55, 1 September 2016 (UTC)
The list of what books are in the canon and (implicitly) what books are not is the distinction between canonical and non-canonical. You clearly confused what I was saying (the view of both Ehrman and Martin) with a view propounded in The Da Vinci Code that the four gospels were decided on at Nicea over a large number of equally ancient and still extant gospels. There were people at the end of the second century listing the four authoritative gospels as the ones in the present canon; the precise list of 27 books was apparently devised no earlier than the fourth century, not widely accepted for some centuries after that, and not universally accepted even today (see the Revelation of John and the Assyrian Church). Hijiri 88 (やや) 10:15, 1 September 2016 (UTC)
Additionally, the page you link contains statements that are at odds with Ehrman's own autobiographical statements. Ehrman wasn't "raised in" fundamentalism (his family were episcopalian and he became born again in high school) and he hadn't developed a chip on his shoulder by the time he went to Princeton (it was after submitting a term paper at Princeton that the first chink in the armour developed). This is doubtless because either (a) the author misremembered, (b) the author is lying, or (c) the author is such a radical fundamentalist that even the Ehrman he met at Princeton was "edgy" in his view. Hijiri 88 (やや) 22:21, 31 August 2016 (UTC)
I don't think Greg Boyd has ever been called a "radical fundamentalist" before... StAnselm (talk) 22:44, 31 August 2016 (UTC)
I think he'd be vastly amused :) Cloudjpk (talk) 22:48, 31 August 2016 (UTC)
As regards biography yes, it was in high school, Ehrman was not raised fundamentalist, I'd say Boyd has simply made a mistake here. But perhaps an example of one that's not critical. Boyd thinks Ehrman's early fundamentalism and how and why it changed is relevant, others have made similar inferences, and that's Boyd's point. That seems accurate. Cloudjpk (talk) 23:28, 31 August 2016 (UTC)
Yes, I am sure he would be amused ... until he realized no one called him a radical fundamentalist. I said this would be one possible explanation (though clearly meant as the least likely of the three I listed) of how someone could come to such a conclusion. Anyway, could the two start citing sources whose authors' names appear on the pages? Or at least stop condescendingly attacking me for not somehow intuiting the names of the authors? Nowhere on that page is its text attributed to Greg Boyd. I am sure there is some connection between the ReKnew website and Boyd that made it obvious to StAnselm that Boyd was probably the author of the linked text, but the fact that Cloudjpk named the author of the page as Metzger makes me doubt the obviousness of this. Hijiri 88 (やや) 09:43, 1 September 2016 (UTC)

Here's another pertinent quote, this time from Salon:

But Ehrman’s scholarly standing did not soothe the evangelical Christians who were outraged by “Misquoting Jesus.” Angered by what they took to be the book’s subversive import, they attacked it as exaggerated, unfair and lacking a devotional tone. No less than three books were published in response to Ehrman’s tome. While learned evangelical critics matched Ehrman Greek exegesis for Greek exegesis, the less erudite complained that he was an intellectual snob whose pedantic historical excurses had nothing to do with their living faith.

So the book responses certainly are significant. StAnselm (talk) 23:32, 31 August 2016 (UTC)

Well, that's at least a third-party source. Perhaps we should seek similar sources, but of higher quality. Since the parties in this dispute will never agree upon whether evangelical criticism of Ehrman is fair. Tgeorgescu (talk) 13:14, 1 September 2016 (UTC)
Whether we think it's "fair" is actually irrelevant. Whether we think it belongs in the article, and how it should be included, and how much of it should be included, is more germane. I suspect we are actually all in agreement as to whether evangelical criticism is to a large extent general criticism aimed at modern critical scholarship, with Ehrman being a famous name frequently mentioned in association with the same. I think this is "unfair" because I think a lot of these objects of criticism are not things of which Ehrman himself has engaged in extensive research, but that's not really why I don't want it included in the article; I think it should not be included in the article because we would then either have to include every random piece of criticism Ehrman gets from evangelicals or arbitrarily pick and choose. We have a bunch of sources (from both Ehrman and others) that say fundamentalists and very conservative evangelicals criticize Ehrman because his views conflict with their religious faith, and I think that should be enough.
That said, StAnselm and Cloudjpk's very obscure discussion style is making it difficult to assess what they actually think, so I may be misinterpreting them when I say "we are actually all in agreement".
Hijiri 88 (やや) 13:36, 1 September 2016 (UTC)
No, we don't have to arbitrarily pick and choose - we can be guided by what is stated and described in third-party sources: Misquoting Truth is reviewed in two top-level academic journals, How God Became Jesus is described in HuffPost, Witherington's criticisms are reported in CNN. etc. And no - the scholarly evangelical criticism is not aimed at critical scholarship in general, but at Ehrman in particular. For example, with textual criticism (and here is the difference between Ehrman and Metzger) it is not in the evidence that Ehrman offers, but in his conclusion - that he is essentially more skeptical than other scholars that the NT text we can deduce is substantially the same as what was originally written. StAnselm (talk) 19:46, 1 September 2016 (UTC)
Could you present some evidence from Metzger himself that he differed from Ehrman in his conclusions? Ehrman seems pretty convinced that Metzger agreed with him. Ehrman probably knew more about Metzger's position on the issue than his critics, because he co-authored the book The Text of the New Testament: Its Transmission, Corruption, and Restoration with Metzger. Hijiri 88 (やや) 21:35, 1 September 2016 (UTC)
I don't think we need an explicit disagreement from Metzger himself, if we have reliable sources comparing both their writings. Here, for example, is a suitable quote: "Unlike Metzger, who remained confident of our ability to reconstruct the earliest and most reliable form of the text, Ehrman presents a pessimistic picture of a hopelessly corrupt text." StAnselm (talk) 22:32, 1 September 2016 (UTC)

There has been lots of interesting discussion and debates here. Where are we at? What are the major concerns still in comparison to the reception draft above? FactChecker8506 (talk) 22:13, 1 September 2016 (UTC)

It's still unbalanced - perhaps more so than the text currently in the article. It does not reflect what third-party sources (Salon, HuffPost, CNN) say about how Ehrman's writings have been received. StAnselm (talk) 22:38, 1 September 2016 (UTC)
I added the Salon article in the draft. FactChecker8506 (talk) 23:26, 1 September 2016 (UTC)
Also CNN FactChecker8506 (talk) 23:34, 1 September 2016 (UTC)
@Cloudjpk: @StAnselm: What are your thoughts on the draft now? Each paragraph seems to have both praise and critique from notable sources now. FactChecker8506 (talk) 23:39, 1 September 2016 (UTC)
This is an improvement, obviously. I approve of quoting Witherington, but I thought that particular quote was a bit vague (and seems to be from the blog rather than the interview). Perhaps "A book liked ‘Forged’ can unsettle people who have no third or fourth opinions to draw upon" would be better. As I said above, I don't think the teaching awards belong - they are merely institutional, and in any case are "recognition" rather than "reception". Also, the Pagels criticism should be removed, as being normal scholarly critique of a single point, rather than broad criticism of approach. StAnselm (talk) 00:03, 2 September 2016 (UTC)
I have the same position regarding the teaching awards. Regarding Ben's quote, it's less powerful critique I think because he says "can" rather than "does" FactChecker8506 (talk) 00:11, 2 September 2016 (UTC)
Also, why do we have McGrath's book review? It seems only reason we've singled it out from all the other reviews of Forged is that it's positive. (Why not, for example, quote from Kruger's review, which was actually published in a journal?) In any case we are misquoting him: (a) he's not praising Ehrman for "introducing lay audiences to certain views that are widely held among NT scholars", and (b) he says "For the most part, the book presents mainstream scholarship's consensus on questions of authorship", which is a weaker claim than what people are suggesting here. StAnselm (talk) 00:36, 2 September 2016 (UTC)

Another question: Is Crossley actually criticizing Ehrman for "constructing a neoliberal center in historical Jesus scholarship"? StAnselm (talk) 00:51, 2 September 2016 (UTC)

It appears Crossley could be praising him..."there is no better example than...' But I'm not familiar with his book to know for sure — Preceding unsigned comment added by FactChecker8506 (talkcontribs) 00:58, 2 September 2016 (UTC)
The same could be asked of Licona's quote (which I put in): by saying his thinking is not original in his popular books, that is something Ehrman states as well...it's describing his work, not talking about how it's been received FactChecker8506 (talk) 01:06, 2 September 2016 (UTC)

Questions that (still) need to be answered[edit]

@StAnselm: Since you are the only one standing in the way of completely overhauling the "Reception" section and placing conservative evangelical opinions in a subsection marked as such, and you have repeatedly implied that in your view criticism should continue to outweigh praise because (supposedly) Ehrman is on the fringe of scholarship, I would like you to answer the following questions:

  1. Do you acknowledge that Bart Ehrman's textbook is (or was at some point recently) the most widely-used introductory textbook for New Testament studies in universities in the United States? If not, can you offer evidence in support of your view?
  2. Do you acknowledge that Dale Martin (Woolsey Professor of Religious Studies at Yale) uses Ehrman's book in his classes? If not, can you offer evidence in support of your view?
  3. Do you acknowledge that Elaine Pagels (Harrington Spear Paine Professor of Religion at Princeton) has criticized Ehrman's view of the Gospel of Thomas for being too conservative in its dating of the gospel significantly later than the four canonical gospels and its characterization of the gospel as a "gnostic" text? If not, can you offer evidence in support of your view?
  4. Do you acknowledge that Bart Ehrman was the first scholar (before Craig Evans) whom National Geographic contacted about the newly-discovered Gospel of Judas? If not, can you offer evidence in support of your view?
  5. Can you cite a professor of New Testament studies in a university (not a theological seminary) who has agreed with the statement that "It is only by defining scholarship on his own terms and by excluding scholars who disagree with him that Ehrman is able to imply that he is supported by all other scholarship"? If so, please give full bibliographical details so the rest of us can verify.
  6. Can you cite a teacher in any institution (university or theological seminary) who has made a statement to this effect in a peer-reviewed, fact-checked, scholarly source (not a blog, video lecture, interview or book from a Christian publisher)? If so, please give full bibliographical details so the rest of us can verify.
  7. Do you acknowledge that Dale Martin stated several times in his lecture series (viewable on YouTube) that the "majority of scholars" would agree with what Ehrman says in the textbook with regard to, for instance, the view that Jesus was an apocalyptic Jewish prophet? If not, can you offer evidence in support of your view?
  8. Do you acknowledge that Ehrman has criticized John Dominic Crossan and the Jesus Seminar's liberal views regarding the historical Jesus, and Crossan's liberal dating of the Gospel of Thomas? If not, can you offer evidence in support of your view?
  9. Do you acknowledge that Ehrman's dating for non-canonical texts such as Thomas and those discussed in Ehrman and Plese's Apocryphal Gospels generally agrees with the majority of conservative scholars, as opposed to Crossan, Pagels, etc.?
  10. Can you cite a specific historical view expressed by Ehrman where the majority of scholars who hold teaching positions in universities would disagree with him? By "historical", I mean that this does not include Ehrman's personal religious beliefs like "there is no benevolent god controlling the world" or "Jesus did not rise from the dead" ("historians cannot verify the claim that Jesus rose from the dead because historians cannot prove miracles" would be acceptable, though).

Hijiri 88 (やや) 01:29, 30 August 2016 (UTC)

1. No - and you ought not ask me to prove a negative. 2. Yes. 3. Yes. 4. Yes. 5. I'll get back to you. 6. I'll get back to you. Yes, Josh Chatraw, as cited in the article. He is Associate Professor of Theology and Apologetics at Liberty University. StAnselm (talk) 01:36, 30 August 2016 (UTC)
Sorry. I added two more at the same time as you were answering. I moved them to the bottom so as not to screw up the numbering. Hijiri 88 (やや) 01:40, 30 August 2016 (UTC)
As for proving you wrong on 1, I'm still working on it. But until we can prove or disprove your argument on 1, 2 probably deserves mention in the article. The source should not be the lectures themselves (which would be a mild form of OR) but the introduction Martin gave Ehrman (linked earlier) that explicitly praised him for his work in producing books that can be used as textbooks. Hijiri 88 (やや) 01:43, 30 August 2016 (UTC)
Also, if you agree to 3, then how does that square with your earlier statement that I'd love to see evidence that "within biblical scholarship, Ehrman is considered to be a relatively conservative force" -- in your view, is Pagels just "even more" of a looney liberal than Ehrman, but there are other professors in other universities who hold significantly more conservative views than both of them? You should take back your earlier comment, until you can provide an answer to 5. Hijiri 88 (やや) 01:49, 30 August 2016 (UTC)
Also, in the interest of fairness, I must clarify that StAnselm's above response was posted before I added the above questions 7 through 10. He did not dodge these questions, as they hadn't been asked of him yet. Hijiri 88 (やや) 02:03, 30 August 2016 (UTC)
Re 6: You only answered half the question. You need to give full bibliographical details. If you mean to cite the piece already included in the article, that is not adequate, as Chatraw only refers to Ehrman as representative of "a segment of biblical scholarship which he often implies is the only legitimate brand of scholarship", but does not state how large a segment it is or why Ehrman implies it is the only legitimate brand of scholarship. What we would appear to have here is a scholar on the fringe who, when writing for non-fact-checked, non-peer-reviewed publications, makes false claims about how Ehrman creates his own definition of scholarship, but when writing for peer-reviewed publications is more careful in his wording and avoids saying one way or the other whether Ehrman invented his own definition of scholarship. If you agree to remove the first sentence of the second paragraph and only include the quotation currently marked "elsewhere", then I guess we can agree to disagree on whether Chatraw should be cited in the article at all, but if you think we should contextualize his careful, not-false statement with a broader one he published in a book that was probably not fact-checked, then I would request that you find someone else who agrees with him. Hijiri 88 (やや) 02:14, 30 August 2016 (UTC)
That seems an excessive grasping at straws. Chatraw says "Furthermore, it is only by defining “historical critic” in his own terms and thereby a priori excluding other scholars that he can imply that he is supported by all other scholarship." StAnselm (talk) 02:49, 30 August 2016 (UTC)
Okay, I'm assuming I was right in guessing that you were referring to the paper already cited in the article, but that passage is not quoted in the article at the moment. I have not read the paper in question, nor do I (think I) have access to the journal at present, so I had no way of knowing until now that Chatraw said what you are now attributing to him, but I guess you have now answered this question in full. This means that Chatraw has a different definition of "historical critic" to Ehrman, and his indicating this was printed in the Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society. Woopdeedoo. Ehrman's claims (in books published by Oxford University Press) that the majority of scholars agree with him are just as worth pointing out in the article. Unfortunately, I think it would be SYNTH to go around hunting down all the other sources (no doubt the vast majority from academic publishers, most of which have nothing to do with Christianity or the Bible mind you) that define "historical critic" and "scholar" the same way Ehrman does, so I guess we will need to agree to disagree on this point. Hijiri 88 (やや) 05:45, 30 August 2016 (UTC)
On the contrary, it's linked in the article. StAnselm (talk) 07:33, 30 August 2016 (UTC)
Ah, I see that. Sorry, I was writing on iPad earlier and was assuming it was behind a paywall and so not worth clicking on. But that's beside the point -- it is still only one guy's opinion, and it turns out to be wrong; Ehrman has, elsewhere, devoted a whole lot more than one chapter to the discrepancies in the bible, and many others have as well. Chatraw's opinion that some historical critics, if one uses a broader definition Chatraw would apparently prefer, would not be able to devote a book to discrepancies in the bible is ... well, it's obviously true. Many historical critics don't have any clue about the bible -- where I live in Japan, most historical critics are devoted to study of the Kojiki, the Man'yōshū and the Tale of Genji. Ehrman obviously wasn't talking about those historical critics, so the fact that historical critics for whom his comment does not apply exist is obvious; it was just a bit of hyperbole in a book not meant for a scholarly audience. This kind of nitpicking of Ehrman's words doesn't seem like it would be worth noting in this article -- are you really suggesting we should? Hijiri 88 (やや) 10:53, 30 August 2016 (UTC)
Liberty University is a university in name only. It requires "compatibility with a young-earth creationist philosophy" for staff they recruit to their biology department. That does not mean that everything every member of the university does is bogus, but it does mean that their opinions have to be taken with a pillar of salt, and that a-priori, their weight in the academic debate is marginal at best. I can find a total of two publications for Chatraw on Google Scholar, none of which has been cited even once. He lists a few more publications on his web page, but they are all in explicitly evangelical walled garden journals. It's not a significant contribution to mainstream academic opinion. --Stephan Schulz (talk) 15:38, 30 August 2016 (UTC)
It's true that Liberty is not a "mainstream" university, but still let it be known that AFAIK Liberty is a fully accredited university, regardless of their views, besides also being a very large and influential university (especially among Christians). --1990'sguy (talk) 20:09, 30 August 2016 (UTC)
7. Yes. 8. Yes. 9. Yes. 10. I don't know about "majority of scholars who hold teaching positions in universities" (or why that's relevant) but "the majority of English speaking commentators and specialists on documents such as 2 Thessalonians, Colossians and Ephesians think these documents also should be attributed to Paul". StAnselm (talk) 03:27, 30 August 2016 (UTC)
It's relevant because anyone with enough time and money can go to graduate school and get a PhD, and anyone with enough time can write a book and submit it to an academic publisher. People with tenured positions in universities tend to be the best scholars in their fields, they're the ones who train future scholars, and (most importantly for Wikipedia purposes!) scholars tend to talk about people who teach in universities when discussing how widely an idea is accepted -- Ehrman points out all the time how people who teach in mainstream universities and seminaries almost all agree with him on the historical Jesus, the textual tradition of the New Testament, the historical reliability of the gospels, etc. (see for example his debates with White and Craig). Heck, Ehrman uses this criterion when addressing "mythicists": two of the "scholars" he criticized there have PhDs in a relevant field to the historical Jesus (and one more has a PhD in Hebrew Bible), but they don't teach in universities. Anyway, I am happy to know that "Guest Contributor" (of the Portland Contributors, I assume) to the patheos.org blog thinks that, but he (or she? I am sorry, I have heard of both men and women with the first name "Guest") is at least as unreliable a source on the scholarly consensus as Ehrman. His claim immediately below the sentence you quote to be more authoritative than Ehrman because he has written "commentaries" on these books but Ehrman has not is questionable at best: What qualifies as a "commentary"? Do Ehrman's chapters on these books in his undergraduate textbook not count? Is it a requirement that an author have read all the English-language (why?) "commentaries" before what one writes qualifies as a "commentary"? I have been working under the assumption that Dale Martin is one of the most respected recent commentators on the Corinthian letters, and he rejects the Pauline authorship of all three of the letters Mr. Contributor names. Hijiri 88 (やや)
To clarify, I'm not disputing that Guest Contributor wrote a commentary on each of the three named letters, or that a lot commentaries on these books affirm their Pauline authorship. I am disputing the definition of "commentary" that seems to be assumed by Guest Contributor (and by extension that he/she has read all of the English-language commentaries on these books), and that we should interpret "scholar of X" to mean "person who has written a commentary on X" (or "person who has written a commentary on X in English"!). I prefer the broader definition Martin uses here (between "2 Thessalonians is one of these letters" and "they'll say they still think Paul did write 2 Thessalonians"). The three letters are disputed. There are seven that virtually all scholars attribute to Paul. There are three (the pastorals) whose Pauline attribution is rejected by the majority of scholars. And there are three that are disputed. I think if we have reliable sources saying this, then we shouldn't take anonymous bloggers who claim that the majority of specialists affirm the Pauline authorship of the three disputed epistles as refuting these sources. Hijiri 88 (やや) 06:39, 30 August 2016 (UTC)
I think it's pretty clear that the post was written by Ben Witherington. StAnselm (talk) 07:27, 30 August 2016 (UTC)
No, that's not at all clear. "Witherington" is only mentioned on the page three times, in a link to "About Ben Witherington", another link to "Dr. Witherington's New eBook", and another link to "Books by Dr. Witherington", but these are all in the "frame" of the page outside the actual article. I did not notice them at all when I Ctrl+Fed the quote you provided and checked over it briefly to see if I could find who wrote it, and even now that you have pointed it out I still can't see how anyone unfamiliar with Patheos (myself included) would not draw the conclusion that Ben Witherington is the owner of the website as opposed to the Guest Contributor. (The fact that the "frame" links don't appear on the home page indicate that this assumption would probably be wrong and you are probably right, but still.) Anyway, this is beside the point: Witherington is not a historian, and his definition of "commentary" is still unclear, and it is not at all clear to me why you would think writing an English-language commentary on a text is a necessary prerequisite for commenting on whether the text is a pseudepigraphon, or why such works need to be given more weight than the work of historians who teach in universities. Hijiri 88 (やや) 10:53, 30 August 2016 (UTC)
Note also that the blog series was mentioned by CNN here. StAnselm (talk) 19:28, 30 August 2016 (UTC)
Yeah it's clear. It's a series and Witherington is listed as author at the start of the series. Cloudjpk (talk) 02:36, 1 September 2016 (UTC)
No, the only place he is listed as the author of this separate page, which is apparently the first in the series, is the same place as the page StAnselm linked credits "Guest Contributor" -- it is not at all obvious. Anyway, why on earth are you two continuing to ignore everything I actually write and instead honing in on some minor peripheral point (on which you are also wrong)? The fact is that the passage quoted contains a logical fallacy (Ehrman is wrong to say that worldwide biblical scholarship in 2011 agrees with him and I will demonstrate this by striking out the vast majority of biblical scholarship except for a tiny and apparently arbitrary subset thereof, and saying that none of those scholars agree with him). And what on earth does CNN have to do with it? Both the CNN article and the Witherington piece it mentions are blogs, and both contain errors (Ehrman doesn't like talking about percentages like "Half of New Testament" -- the books he calls forgeries comprise significantly less than half the New Testament in terms of word count, none of the four gospels, not Revelation nor most of the Pauline epistles, nor Hebrews; not having read Forged I can't tell you why he appears to consider Acts to be a forgery but Luke not, when they appear to be quite open about their being written by the same guy). You seem unwilling to accept self-published blogs unless they are critical of Ehrman. This is hypocrisy. Hijiri 88 (やや) 12:48, 1 September 2016 (UTC)
The CNN piece may be a blog, but it certainly isn't self-published. Anyway, it comes under WP:NEWSBLOG: "These may be acceptable sources if the writers are professionals, but use them with caution because the blog may not be subject to the news organization's normal fact-checking process." Anyway, it reports on Witheringtons's blog series, but then also interviews him. StAnselm (talk) 19:56, 1 September 2016 (UTC)
Its misunderstanding of Ehrman's book is so deep that it extends to the title of the blog. Whether it is technically self-published (in the sense of "pay-to-print") is irrelevant, because it apparently didn't go through a critical editing process. An interview with Witherington is a primary source, even if not de jure self-published. Hijiri 88 (やや) 21:40, 1 September 2016 (UTC)
Witherington's words are a primary source. CNN reporting on Witherington's words constitute a secondary source. We can report Witherington's criticism of Ehrman because it was published there. StAnselm (talk) 22:21, 1 September 2016 (UTC)
The heuristic is "blogs are not reliable sources." This is a heuristic because there are plenty of exceptions, which can usually be expressed as "Unless the writer of the blog is a reliable source." I'm not going to quibble about wiki rules wrt this except to say, in no uncertain terms: If the blog gets facts wrong, it is absolutely not a usable source. The fact that the writer does not accurately report certain facts utterly undermines their reliability for this use. So unless you are disputing Hijiri's claim that the blog gets several facts wrong, then we clearly cannot use it, be it a primary, secondary or tertiary source.
If, on the other hand, you are disputing the claim that this blog gets several facts wrong, then if you (and thus the blog) are correct we can use it. MjolnirPants Tell me all about it. 18:01, 2 September 2016 (UTC)
I think the only "problem" was in the title: "Half of New Testament forged, Bible scholar says". This is specified/clarified in the article: "At least 11 of the 27 New Testament books are forgeries." I assume the "Half" was derived with rounding. That is certainly not "half" in terms of text, although Ehrman also has a category called "false attribution" which does include the four gospels. (The numbers in the Forged (book) article seem to be incorrect, by the way.) StAnselm (talk) 20:26, 2 September 2016 (UTC)
The PR announcement from Ehrman's publisher about his book says that we know for sure who wrote eight books of the New Testament (namely seven letters of Paul and the Revelation). Tgeorgescu (talk) 21:30, 2 September 2016 (UTC)
PR source: [11]. His own book: Ehrman, Bart D. (2011). "A World of Deceptions and Forgeries. The Terms of the Debate.". Forged: Writing in the Name of God—Why the Bible’s Authors Are Not Who We Think They Are. (EPUB) (First Edition. EPub ed.). New York: HarperCollins e-books. pp. 28–29. ISBN 978-0-06-207863-6.  Unknown parameter |month= ignored (help); Tgeorgescu (talk) 21:36, 2 September 2016 (UTC)
Or Bart D. Ehrman (22 March 2011). Forged: Writing in the Name of God--Why the Bible's Authors Are Not Who We Think They Are. HarperCollins. p. 22. ISBN 978-0-06-207863-6.  Tgeorgescu (talk) 21:39, 2 September 2016 (UTC)
The CNN blog also quotes, uncritically, Witherington's opinion that Even if Paul didn’t write the second book of Timothy, he would have dictated it to a scribe for posterity, he says. This is a relatively new, revisionist view that is still not accepted among the majority of scholars (see here), though it does appear to be hyped up by some fundamentalists to support the (wrong) claims that critical scholars are on their side. Other scholars, such as Crossan, see Romans as Paul's (unknowing) last will and testament. The simple fact is that most scholars reject the Pauline authorship of 2 Timothy, despite some Wikipedians' attempts to keep this fact from appearing anywhere the letter is mentioned on English Wikipedia and simply attribute it to Paul. I am 100% certain that either John Blake was unaware of these facts because he is a blogger on faith-related issues for the CNN website rather than a scholar, or he was aware of these facts and deliberately left them out. He also leaves out the evidence Ehrman cites in favour of the (widely accepted) theory that 2 Timothy was not written by Paul. Basically, he seems to get his information partly or completely from Witherington's misleading blog. I don't even see any evidence that he read Ehrman's book -- is there something in there that is not in Witherington's blog but is accurate to what Ehrman wrote? Hijiri 88 (やや) 23:44, 2 September 2016 (UTC)
This is a news blog. The objection that he quotes Witherington "uncritically" is just silly - that's what he's supposed to do. You could just as well object that he quotes Ehrman uncritically. StAnselm (talk) 00:14, 3 September 2016 (UTC)
No, my point is that he doesn't appear to have done the research. He quotes Witherington's (generally not widely accepted) rebuttals of Ehrman's pints, without actually quotin Ehrman's points, implying that the impetus for writing the blg was what Witherington wrote, not what Ehrman wrote, and perhaps even that he had not even read what Ehrman wrote. Hijiri 88 (やや) 00:33, 3 September 2016 (UTC)
@Tgeorgescu: As much as it pains me to say this, the blog appears to have it roughly right on the number of books Ehrman claims are forgeries. The "eight" figure you cite refers to books that are accurately attributed to a named author. Ehrman says eleven books (six pseudo-Pauline epistles, Jude, 1 and 2 Peter, Acts, and probably one other that escapes me at the moment) were forgeries (i.e., they were written by people who claimed to be someone else). The rest (including all four gospels) are anonymous. I haven't read Forged, which is why my numbering is kind of sloppy (I also don't know how Ehrman feels about John 21:24, or how Luke-Acts, which Ehrman has elsewhere called a single two-volume work, could constitute one anonymous work and one forgery), but this does not appear to be a contradiction. Hijiri 88 (やや) 00:12, 3 September 2016 (UTC)
(edit conflict) That said, Ehrman explicitly states that the four gospels are not forgeries, and his "false attribution" category would include all of the New Testament books that Ehrman believes were not written by Paul. Revelation was probably included in the canon because some people believed it was written by the beloved disciple, Hebrews was almost certainly included in the canon because some people believed it was written by Paul... there was nothing included in the canon that someone somewhere didn't claim was the work of an apostle, because that was the primary criterion used in antiquity. It seems highly unlikely that the author of the CNN blog understood this. Hijiri 88 (やや) 00:33, 3 September 2016 (UTC)
The eleventh one is James. It took me a while to figure out where Acts fits in - Ehrman's point is that the "we" passages mean that the author is pretending to be Paul's companion, and so it fits in the "forgery" category. StAnselm (talk) 00:17, 3 September 2016 (UTC)
Yes, I figured as much. I'm just curious if he addresses the elephant in the room that Luke-Acts is a two-volume work and so if Acts is a forgery then that would make Luke a forgery as well. Perhaps when Ehrman is writing or a lay audidence he doesn't address such issues, but that is hardly a critique of his scholarly credibility. (It's completely peripheral, but Martin addresses the "we" passages as I believe he may have used some kind of written document that was--that used the term "we" or sometimes an ancient text, I think sometimes a person would just insert themselves into the narrative to give it a more directness.) Hijiri 88 (やや) 00:33, 3 September 2016 (UTC)

Ehrman's textbooks (plural)[edit]

@MjolnirPants: Still working on re-locating the place where he called it the most widely used in North American (or possibly just US) universities. He says something close to it here (12:18~12:45), but of more concern here is the fact that Ehrman has published at least three textbooks that might be what Pagels was talking about (I'm pretty sure Ehrman's written at least one textbook on just the Old Testament as well), so I don't know if we should name the specific book unless we can find another source where Pagels specifically identifies it. Even checking all of Ehrman's textbooks to check that A Historical Introduction is the only one that says what Pagels says it says would be a weak form of OR. Including it in the same paragraph but saying something like "One of Ehrman's several textbooks, A Historical Introduction, is widely used. Elaine Pagels has criticized one of his textbooks." would be better under the circumstances. Hijiri 88 (やや) 12:28, 1 September 2016 (UTC)

(BTW, I didn't double-check the page history, but I'm pretty sure I saw earlier that you, MjolnirPants, were the one who put the name of the textbook in the Pagels sentence, which is why I pinged you. Sorry if this was in error. Hijiri 88 (やや) 12:30, 1 September 2016 (UTC) )
I'm not sure if that was me or not. Either way, I've no objections to anything you said here. MjolnirPants Tell me all about it. 20:30, 2 September 2016 (UTC)
In the video she says his NT introduction textbook says... which would be The New Testament: A Historical Introduction to the Early Christian Writings. His other NT textbook (A Brief Introduction to the New Testament) is the concise version of his main NT textbook. The final textbook he wrote so far is The Bible: A Historical and Literary Introduction, which we can rule out from Pagels speech because it's not a NT intro.FactChecker8506 (talk) 11:39, 5 September 2016 (UTC)

So, Ehrman doesn't mind referring to fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals as scholars if they actually are scholars[edit]

Of more relevance to the above discussion, though, is the fact he says a little after the bit about the textbooks that the majority of biblical scholars are not fundamentalists, which implies that within the category of "biblical scholars" he includes at least some people he considers fundamentalists. He also frequently talks of every scholar "except for fundamentalists and very conservative evangelicals" agreeing with him, which implies that evangelicals who are not fundamentalists are also included. which kind of contradicts the claim that he defines "scholar" in a way that suits his agenda. It would be OR to include this in the article as a rebuttal of Chatraw, of course, but it works on the talk page as an argument not to cite Chatraw. Now, saying that he qualifies "scholars" with "except for fundamentalists and very conservative evangelicals" rather than saying he defines the word "scholar" in a manner that fits his agenda is a matter of semantics, but the fact that Chatraw clearly misrepresented what Ehrman wrote (as discussed above, he engaged in excessive nitpicking of Ehrman's language when talking about the definition of "textual critic" to the point that his interpretation of what Ehrman wrote differs radically from what Ehrman almost certainly meant) and that Ehrman specifically clarified what he means most of the time means we should be more careful in how we mirror others' claims that he makes up his own definitions of words. Hijiri 88 (やや) 12:28, 1 September 2016 (UTC)
(Even though the above was made in the same edit as the opening of the thread immediately above, and depends partly on the above for its meaning, this is not aimed at MP or any user in particular. Hijiri 88 (やや) 12:32, 1 September 2016 (UTC) )

Not gratuitous name-dropping[edit]

@StAnselm: Re this. I mentioned Ehrman's view because I'm not comfortable citing Pagels as saying that Ehrman's view is too narrow without acknowledging that Ehrman himself recognizes that Pagels's view is valid (I have not heard him mention Pagels specifically, mind you). But the source I was citing was Martin citing Ehrman and stating that the two were in basic agreement on the issue, so it seemed more appropriate to name my source inline. If you think it's too much detail on what in your view is a minor issue ... well, it's a scholarly position Ehrman has propounded and other well-regarded scholars have criticized him for, rather than simply a consensus viewpoint Ehrman summarized for a lay audience and some conservative evangelicals attacked him for (which is basically everything you have been arguing should be included).

Would you also be averse to me "name-dropping" Martin by citing his introduction to Ehrman's Shaffer Lecture where he says that Ehrman's Orthodox Corruption of Scripture has changed how textual criticism has been taught and how several of his books (Historical Introduction, but also the historical Jesus book) are used as textbooks?

Even I don't particularly want to cite Martin's (likely tongue-in-cheek) comment that he has repeatedly won his arguments with Ehrman as Ehrman has moved gradually away from his fundamentalist roots, mind you. It's just another place where a well-regarded scholar teaching at a prestigious university is clearly to the "left" of Ehrman and has been for a long time...

Hijiri 88 (やや) 13:04, 2 September 2016 (UTC)

OK - just add Martin to the list of references with the textbooks sentence, but add the "changed how textual criticism has been taught" bit as a separate sentence somewhere. StAnselm (talk) 20:16, 2 September 2016 (UTC)


Using the draft text[edit]

At this point, the draft text above has been edited extensively, and by everyone participating here. It has not, however, been edited in two days, despite continued discussion. Can we all agree that the current version of that draft makes us all unhappy, and so conclude it is the best sort of compromise? I can live with it, though I have my quarrels. If your initial response is "No", let me ask you to please give it a good re-reading, and some consideration. I would really like to be done with this. We've spent over a week arguing about this, and I'd love for all this arguing to finally produce some improvement in the article. Otherwise, we're just wasting our time. MjolnirPants Tell me all about it. 16:46, 3 September 2016 (UTC)

I think it's better than what's in the current article. FactChecker8506 (talk) 19:49, 3 September 2016 (UTC)
I think we're still waiting for FactChecker8506 to report back what's in the university library. We need to work out whether to include Crossley, and make sure the sentence is accurate. For my part, I'm happy to concede that Chatraw in JETS and the CNN blog will be omitted. But I think we still need to clear up disagreements about:
  1. University awards
  2. Report on book-length responses (perhaps a sentence or two after the Kamiya quote How God Became Jesus book
  3. Pagels' criticism
We've debated these a bit - perhaps we resolve it by means of a straw poll. StAnselm (talk) 19:56, 3 September 2016 (UTC)
I haven't had a chance to gather the review articles. Most academic articles I've read in the past include both positive and negative comments. Are they of necessity at this point, with what we included already? As for university awards, I would omit. For book length responses, I added two. Crossley's book is hard to follow at some points. I'm not sure who included the quote, perhaps they can shed some light. FactChecker8506 (talk) 20:12, 3 September 2016 (UTC)
Sorry - I've done some more editing, and added a sentence about How God Became Jesus. So that's now the edit to decide upon here. StAnselm (talk) 20:15, 3 September 2016 (UTC)
The gist of the criticism is that Ehrman is "too center". Tgeorgescu (talk) 20:26, 3 September 2016 (UTC)
But that certainly won't be obvious to the casual reader. StAnselm (talk) 21:40, 3 September 2016 (UTC)
It can be explained: too center, too establishment, too much consensus. Tgeorgescu (talk) 23:58, 3 September 2016 (UTC)
My vote is (1) exclude, (2) include, (3) exclude. StAnselm (talk) 20:16, 3 September 2016 (UTC)
(1) exclude; (2) yes to HGBJ; (3) I'm not up to debate on the Thomas debate to comment on this...FactChecker8506...I'll go with consensus on these matters though if more disagree than agree (talk) 20:27, 3 September 2016 (UTC)
  • Comment: I started to look up information about Miguel Connor (to see if I could write a WP article about him) and he doesn't look at all notable - nor, in fact, does Bardic Press. Why should we include him in the section? StAnselm (talk) 00:34, 4 September 2016 (UTC)
  • (1) Include, (2) include, (3) include. I think the draft is far better than what's in there now, and I think if it has any problem it's that it is too short. I would also be interested to hear why StAnselm thinks repeated criticisms from a Princeton professor should be excluded -- does he think that Ehrman is too extreme in his "liberal" views and any criticism from the "left" of Ehrman is therefore fringe? Hijiri 88 (やや) 09:17, 4 September 2016 (UTC)
I thought I'd made that clear - who said anything about "liberal" views? The statement says nothing about Ehrman is supposed to be "liberal" or "conservative". StAnselm (talk) 09:23, 4 September 2016 (UTC)
Ehrman's dating of the Gospel of Thomas and classification of Thomas as a gnostic text are stances traditionally favoured by conservative scholars. The latter position is controversial enough among contemporary scholars that Ehrman, Martin and others who hold to it generally note that others disagree, and while Ehrman appears to be in the clear majority on the former issue, other notable scholars clearly disagree (and Ehrman considers their view worth noting). Unlike the majority of the material discussed in the redraft (and all of the material discussed in the current live version), this is an area of dispute among scholars, in which Ehrman himself holds to a particular position which is often associated specifically with him, one that he has argued for, and one that other well-regarded scholars who disagree with it specifically associate with him. (Well, Pagels at least has done so, as has Martin who agrees with it. I don't know if Crossan has done similarly -- if you can find a Crossan source where he does, then maybe we could replace Pagels with Crossan.) If you have stated why you think Pagels's view should not be included, I either missed that or have forgotten. If so, I apologize -- would you mind repeating yourself, or telling me when you stated your reason? Hijiri 88 (やや) 10:47, 4 September 2016 (UTC)
Since I don't think I've linked it already on this page, this is the Pagels lecture where she associates Ehrman's position that the text is a late (second century and/or post-Johannine), "gnostic" text with conservative old fuddy-duddies who were teaching in universities and seminaries when the text was discovered and who decided arbitrarily that it must be later than the canonical gospels just because it can't predate them, and it must be gnostic despite a complete lack of the trappings traditionally associated with "gnosticism" this just showed you how sneaky heretics are. She is very careful in this lecture not to explicitly name Ehrman, but elsewhere she clarified that Ehrman is the "professor in a state near here" she was very obviously alluding to. She rejects the gnostic classification, and while she doesn't say specifically that Thomas is early (she explicitly rejects Crossan's pre-Markan view) she does strongly imply that she thinks John is replying to either the Gospel of Thomas or some kind of Thomas-like Christianity. I'm sure one or more of her books have made it clear whether she dates the Gospel of Thomas before or after the Gospel of John. Elaine Pagels would almost certainly be considered a reliable source for the claim that Thomas's late date and gnostic classification are conservative positions, but since I am not arguing to put that in the article she doesn't even need to be. Hijiri 88 (やや) 10:58, 4 September 2016 (UTC)
But the whole significance of the Pagels quote is that Ehrman's is the conservative position - that what makes it so interesting and significant. The thing is - it is not reasonable to expect the average reader to know that, and there is no indication in the proposed text that this is the case. What about:
Elaine Pagels criticized Ehrman for adopting a conservative position in The New Testament by interpreting the Gospel of Thomas in light of second-century Christian gnosticism.
I have not listened to the lecture - youtube is blocked at my institution - so someone would need to confirm that this is a fair summary of the Prince Lecture. StAnselm (talk) 19:07, 4 September 2016 (UTC)
It is I've watched that video a few times. Also, try googling "gnosticism today" or "modern gnosticism" and not finding Miguel Conner on the first page. I'm not sure he meets GNG, but he's still a prominent figure whose interviews with biblical scholars are used as references elsewhere on WP, and who has a big impact on gnosticism in popular culture today. He's also a (pretty crappy but decent selling, from what I hear) fantasy author. Remember that GNG doesn't apply to choosing sources; only to choosing subjects of articles. MjolnirPants Tell me all about it. 19:16, 4 September 2016 (UTC)
The problem is that words like "conservative", "liberal", "left" and "right" are fine for the talk page where we can safely assume that we all understand what is meant, but because of the religious nature of the texts under discussion, words like "conservative" have a connotation of the religious right, when in this context all it is is a scholarly position that is more associated with the traditional establishment view. While the majority of scholars who are themselves politically conservative probably do hold to the same position as Ehrman, I think we should steer clear of words that might mislead our readers (most of whom are not reading what we write as carefully as we ourselves are). I don't know or particularly care about the political or even religious views of Pagels or Crossan (I think they are both Roman Catholics, for all that means), but Ehrman's outspoken contempt for the Tea Party movement and his statements about how he felt after the 2004 election incline me to think he is politically left-leaning, which makes me reluctant to actually include the word "conservative" in relation to a scholarly position he holds in the article itself.
On that note, I think a section on Ehrman's personal life and views on non-scholarly topics would also be worth adding, but I don't think that's likely to cause problems with WEIGHT like the reception section does, so we can deal with that once this is resolved.
Hijiri 88 (やや) 01:27, 5 September 2016 (UTC)
I take your point, but the whole thing about including the Pagels criticism was that it suggested (rightly or wrongly) that Ehrman was more conservative than one might think. If we're not going to explain that to the reader, there seems little point in including her. StAnselm (talk) 01:31, 5 September 2016 (UTC)
I've edited the text a little.[12] How about this? Hijiri 88 (やや) 08:18, 5 September 2016 (UTC)
Yes, I can live with that. StAnselm (talk) 10:58, 5 September 2016 (UTC)
With regards to Conner: he's not an expert ("prominent figure" is not the same thing), and the publisher is dubious. Note WP:RS: "Reliable sources may be published materials with a reliable publication process, authors who are regarded as authoritative in relation to the subject, or both." It looks like neither, here. Which puts it on the same level as, for example, Misrepresenting Jesus: Debunking Bart D. Ehrman's Misquoting Jesus. As far as his interviews with biblical scholars being used as references elsewhere on WP, maybe that needs to be addressed. (I just removed the reference at Barbelo here. It was a weird non-reference marked "to be continued". In fact, there wasn't anything wrong in citing the Conner book there, since it was a contribution from an established expert that was (supposed to be) quoted.) StAnselm (talk) 02:38, 5 September 2016 (UTC)
If I've followed the dicussion correctly it seems like the outstanding debate over the draft reception is the teaching awards. How do we resolve this one? FactChecker8506 (talk) 17:05, 5 September 2016 (UTC)
Yes, it would seem so. I note the teaching awards are in the article already (in a different spot) - so they would stay there if we don't have them in the reception section. In light of that, I'm happy to concede their inclusion, and close the discussion. StAnselm (talk) 19:07, 5 September 2016 (UTC)
It's good to go for me also. FactChecker8506 (talk) 19:51, 5 September 2016 (UTC)
@StAnselm:With regards to Conner: he's not an expert ("prominent figure" is not the same thing), and the publisher is dubious. Ahh, so you're saying that Miguel Conner's book is not a reliable source for what Miguell Conner said in his book? Because that's what it's being used to source, here. We're not using it to source a claim in Wikivoice about Ehrman's biography, views or the merits of his work. We're using it to source Conner's opinion of Ehrman. Once again, I'm given the impression of a POV push (an inadvertent one, I think, but nonetheless): You're fine with using the criticism of non-historians who make unqualified statements about the views of historians (statements which are directly contradicted by a well-respected historian) to criticize Ehrman, but you're not okay with a prominent podcaster and author saying something nice about him? This section is sourcing a bunch of opinions, attributing each to it's source, and putting them all clearly in source voice. Sourcing for this (even if it is a BLP article, this is not BLP content) doesn't need to meet the same standards we would use to, for example, refer to Ehrman as a "discredited" historian, or to claim his work is "groundbreaking". If you want to get rid of questionable sources, then I'm afraid we'll have to eliminate all the theologians, and cite only historians. Which means Pagels, Dale Martin and... That's it. Maybe FactChecker can provide a few more. MjolnirPants Tell me all about it. 13:05, 6 September 2016 (UTC)
If you think theologians are questionable sources by definition, then you have a serious POV problem. Anyway - Conner is not an expert, so his opinion/evaluation of Ehrman is not significant enough to include in the article. If we compare him to Chatraw writing in JETS, Chatraw wasn't an expert either, but JETS is a reputable publication. (Yet we decided in the end not to include Chatraw!) So whether the evaluation is positive or negative doesn't have much to do with it. StAnselm (talk) 19:05, 6 September 2016 (UTC)
Theologians are not experts on history, nor on what the consensus of historians is. Especially theologians who have sworn to uphold a position that is in direct contradiction not only to the historical consensus, but with disdain for the historical method as well. You can call that POV all you want, it's still not only policy, but accurate. If you want to include opinions of non-historians because they move in the same circles as Ehrman, then we include opinions of non-historians who move in the same circles as Ehrman, even when you don't agree with them. The section is called "Reception", not "Ehrman's credibility according to those who study the New Testament professionally for whatever reason and also have some sort of degree in a subject related to the study of the New Testament". Conner's quote directly addresses the question of Ehrman's reception in a way that few other quotes in that passage do. Of course, if you can find a source stating the opposite of what Conner said, then we can compare sources and choose the better one. If you can find a variety of sources stating the opposite of what Conner said, we can just drop Conner. Comparing Conner to Chatraw is a bit bizarre, as well. Not only does Chatrow still appear in the draft (contrary to what you just said), but the reason for excluding him that Hijiri88 gave and to which you conceded was that Chatraw stated in unambiguous terms things which we (and he, as he has stated the opposite elsewhere) know to be false, and used that as the basis of his criticism. He's an unreliable source even for his own views because he's contradicted himself. Conner hasn't contradicted himself. MjolnirPants Tell me all about it. 19:22, 6 September 2016 (UTC)
I don't see how I could have been any more clear and explicit - I said "Chatraw writing in JETS". That reference no longer appears in the draft. StAnselm (talk) 20:57, 6 September 2016 (UTC)
Anyway, as an additional point - Conner said Ehrman is a "august and respected scholar of comparative religion." Quite apart from the adjectives, I can't find any other sources calling Ehrman a "scholar of comparative religion". That simply isn't his field. StAnselm (talk) 21:19, 6 September 2016 (UTC)
It is true that Ehrman does not write on and does not research comparative religion. That is a whole different field different that is very different than New Testament studies/Early Christianity/Christian origins. FactChecker8506 (talk) 22:35, 6 September 2016 (UTC)
I noticed that as well, but did not think much of it. I attributed it to Conner using what he felt was a generic term (even though it isn't). His expertise on the subject isn't my concern, as we're not trying to attribute any statements about Ehrman's work (or NT Studies in general) to it. FactChecker8506, do you feel that Conner's inaccurate depiction of Ehrman's profession is enough to discount the entire quote?
StAnselm I've already pointed out a specific problem with just Chatraw writing in JETS, in that he contradicts himself and makes claims we have every reason to believe he knows are false. Whether he's used elsewhere doesn't really change that. MjolnirPants Tell me all about it. 13:38, 7 September 2016 (UTC)
It appears to me the Wallace quote about being a leading scholar in textual criticism that is already in the draft has more weight and is sufficient in place of Conner. Or it would be better to find a scholar say what Conner is saying for more weight (nothing against Conner, but he does not have much weight to me because he's not a scholar, but that's just my opinion...I could be wrong about what others think) FactChecker8506 (talk) 17:16, 7 September 2016 (UTC)
Elsewhere, I posted that Conner also said "Ehrman has become a sort of bishop to the modern Atheist movement." (In the same book, indeed, in the ellipses in the quote I had added to the draft.) This is accurate (I could list his appearances on Atheist podcasts, blog entries about him in Atheist blogs and articles about him in Atheist periodicals, but that would take forever) and is not represented elsewhere in the section. It's also a big part of his reception by the general public. Would you object to including that quote? MjolnirPants Tell me all about it. 18:33, 7 September 2016 (UTC)
Yes, because he's not a reliable source. (He's certainly reliable as to his own opinion, but neither the author nor the publisher would lead us to think that his opinion is significant enough for inclusion. StAnselm (talk) 19:04, 7 September 2016 (UTC)
Frankly, I wasn't asking you. I honestly don't care what you have to say to the question because you've already made your opinion clear, and because I don't believe your participation here is without an anti-Ehrman bias. So I asked FactChecker what they thought, and will proceed based on that. MjolnirPants Tell me all about it. 19:31, 7 September 2016 (UTC)
And to this we were so close to achieving consensus and closing the discussion. Looks like this will be heading for WP:DR. StAnselm (talk) 20:14, 7 September 2016 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────That would depend on you, really. If FactChecker doesn't think we should use Conner for the last quote I provided("Ehrman has become a sort of bishop to the modern Atheist movement."), I'll live with that and go looking for another source. But if he does think that's okay, and you can't accept that, then yeah. We'll need to get some outside help. MjolnirPants Tell me all about it. 20:27, 7 September 2016 (UTC)

How about we add Michael Bird's comments in How Jesus Became God instead: "For secularists, the emerging generation of “nones” (who claim no religion, even if they are not committed to atheism or agnosticism) Ehrman is a godsend." FactChecker8506 (talk) 21:29, 7 September 2016 (UTC)
Or if we have too much of Bird already, we can pull something from here maybe: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VAhw2cVRVsA FactChecker8506 (talk) 21:33, 7 September 2016 (UTC)
FactChecker8506, I adjusted your indentation for clarity, note the outdent template at the beginning of my last comment.
I'm good with the Bird quote. So long as the section says something about his appeal to secularists/Atheists. MjolnirPants Tell me all about it. 21:55, 7 September 2016 (UTC)
@StAnselm:, @MjolnirPants:, @Hijiri88: Is the draft good to go now? If so, somebody post it :) FactChecker8506 (talk) 02:14, 8 September 2016 (UTC)
Thumbs up MjolnirPants Tell me all about it. 03:42, 8 September 2016 (UTC)
Looks fine to me. Hijiri 88 (やや) 05:15, 8 September 2016 (UTC)
Yep, all good. StAnselm (talk) 06:00, 8 September 2016 (UTC)

Ehrman's textbook is "the most widely used textbook in the country"[edit]

So, yeah. I found the quote. I trawled through everything on YouTube, and it turns out where I heard it was in a bootleg upload of this radio interview. I won't post the link to the YouTube video, but it's out there for anyone who wants to check the following quotation (a little over 90 minutes into the video). Ehrman said in response to a question (from Andy in Los Angeles) about how wide is his acceptance among mainstream theologians and researchers:

Right, so my views are pretty much in line with mainstream scholarship. I think what puts me apart is that I communicate what mainstream scholars are saying to a popular audience, and most scholars don't communicate with normal human beings [laughs; host interjects, laughing, "Exactly! They don't know how!"] Right, they don't know how. But in terms of mainstream scholarship, I'm not a radical at all. I wrote a textbook on the New Testament for college level students, and it's the most widely used textbook in the country. So, you know, what I'm saying is fairly standard stuff; it's just that it's the sort of stuff that most people have never heard of.

Now, whether citing a radio interview that doesn't seem to be easily accessible through legal means would be a violation of WP:V is a question that might need discussing if another source cannot be located to verify this statement, but it might also be worth discussing whether it is even necessary to include this statement if V is a problem; the fact that the textbook is used in Yale is verifiable, as is the criticism of it from a Princeton scholar.

Hijiri 88 (やや) 10:34, 5 September 2016 (UTC)

We normally require third-party sources for claims like this, no matter how much of an expert the subject may be in his field. StAnselm (talk) 10:55, 5 September 2016 (UTC)
I don't think we need a third-party source to say that he made the claim. If "we need a third-party source" was always your concern, why did you wait for me to find the exact source? I said up-front that it was Ehrman making the claim himself.[13][14] Hijiri 88 (やや) 11:01, 5 September 2016 (UTC)
Wait, I completely forgot -- I was never even saying that we should include the claim in the article! I just made the claim on the talk page, and you asked for my source. I don't need a third-party source for my own opinion that I state in a talk page discussion. Normally I wouldn't even need any source. You have not cited any sources for your own opinions, like that Ehrman's isn't the most widely used textbook. Hijiri 88 (やや) 11:34, 5 September 2016 (UTC)
I'd also point out that it's extremely disruptive to demand properly formatted inline citations for a statement made on a talk page in defense of an edit to the article that didn't require any inline citation (as all I did was remove an UNDUE claim), and then when such a source is presented to start nitpicking about how third-party sources would be preferable for inclusion in the article as though anyone was proposing this. I combed through about twenty hours of video to find the above quotation (I did it mostly on my phone and iPod while going for walks, mind you) because you asked for it, and I was upfront that I knew it was a response to a listener's question at a lecture and so would probably be insufficient to add the claim that his textbook is the most widely used to the articld in Wikipedia's voice. Are you just trying to waste my time at this point? My understanding of the issue, which has informed my article edits and talk page comments, is that Ehrman wrote he most widely used NT undergraduate textbook in the United States. This understanding is based on a claim Ehrman himself made in a radio interview, but as far as I know it has not been disputed anywhere. Only two mainstream university professors have been cited in this dispute, onw of whom certainly uses Ehrman's textbook and agrees with just about everything in it, and the other of whom either uses it despite problems she perceives with it, or doesn't use it because it is too conservative in its views of certain issues regarding non-canonical texts' dating and classification. Your view appears to be that Ehrman's is not the most widely used NT undergraduate textbook in the United States; this view appearsto be nothing more than your opinion, as in two weeks you have not cited any sources, third-party or otherwise, to support it. If you have a source that contradicts my one, and is somehow more reliable than a radio interview with the subject himself (i.e., it went through any kind of fact-checking, peer review or editorial process whatsoever), then I would be glad to reconsider my view on the matter in light of whatever evidence you can present, but at this point it seems unlikely that you have read such a source or will be able to find one. Hijiri 88 (やや) 00:04, 8 September 2016 (UTC)
The draft currently says, "Ehrman's The New Testament: A Historical Introduction to the Early Christian Writings is widely used at American colleges and universities". Are you suggesting that this statement doesn't go far enough and should be changed? StAnselm (talk) 01:30, 8 September 2016 (UTC)
Of course not. That is the opposite of what I am saying. If you are not going to read my comments, then I would ask that you stop pretending you have. I would also appreciate it if you would stop going out of your way to make the rest of us waste our time in order to appease your every whim, like when you asked me to locate a source for an opinion I stated on the talk page. If you are not going to cite sources for your opinions, then I do not need to cite sources for mine. Hijiri 88 (やや) 05:14, 8 September 2016 (UTC)

Consensus reached[edit]

I have gone ahead and replaced the "Reception" section with the consensus version agreed to on this page. It looks like everything has been resolved. StAnselm (talk) 08:04, 8 September 2016 (UTC)

Thanks! I'm glad we all produced something better by consensus! FactChecker8506 (talk) 17:15, 8 September 2016 (UTC)