Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Ehrman Project

Michael Gorman draws attention to the launch of a website dedicated to engaging/refuting the various works of Prof. Bart D. Ehrman. It is called the Ehrman Project and it was actually begun by Miles O'Neil who works for UNC Chapel Hill where Ehrman is a Professor. Ehrman has written a number of works about textual criticism, the historical Jesus, the early church, God and Evil, etc. and ordinarily with the aim of debunking Christianity and promoting unbelief. I respect Ehrman's works greatly, esp. his early TC stuff. But I confess that I simply find it astounding that Ehrman will argue in one book that the biblical manuscripts are unreliable and corrupted and then in the next book he'll use these corrupted manuscripts to reconstruct the historical figure of Jesus, Paul, Peter, Mary Magdalene, the whole early church. It is kinda like announcing that the emperor has no clothes in one book and in the next book criticizing what the emperor wore to the royal tea party. It's one or the other!


Drastic Plastic said...

It is probably unfair to judge an author by his fans, but Dr Ehrman attracts headbangers.

I'm not sure why someone who earns a living as a text critic is propagating a message that ancient books do not reach us, for all practical purposes; but that is definitely the message that is being received.

As you rightly remark, if he really believed this, and everyone agreed, his job would be redundant. I dislike seeing scholars encouraging obscurantism, tho; and from the comments of his fans, that is precisely what he is doing.

David said...

Looks like they have finally decided Ehrman is a threat.

Mark D Letteney said...

"They" have long since decided that Ehrman is a threat. Bart is, at best however, a figure head for a movement which is neither his creation nor holds his particular viewpoints in many areas. The Ehrman project (along with tract bombing his undergraduate New Testament class with flyers for the website and spamming the department's students) claims to engage in dialogue with Dr. Ehrman, but offers no quotations from him, no links to his papers or books, and no impartial summary of his particular scholarship. The site presupposes a great amount of knowledge about Ehrman's viewpoints, but gives him no voice.

If this site is really about dialogue, why isn't there any?

Or is this site just a weapon for evangelicals who don't want to get infected with Bart's particular brand of doubt? From what I can see, the site is not geared towards subtle, nuanced debate, or "dialogue" of any kind, but instead towards knee-jerk reactionary popularism, and to that end it is a pearl of greatest price.

Ashleigh B said...

Actually, Miles O'Neil is a campus minister for Campus Crusade at UNC. I wish the site were more clear about the fact that he doesn't work for the university itself as a professor or in any other capacity. (I am a UNC '08 alum, which is the only reason I know.)

Michael J. Gorman said...

My drawing attention to the site is not an endorsement of its approach or content. See my blog post for more of my perspective on Bart.

Mike Gantt said...

I did not know that Miles worked for CCC. That's helpful to know and I wish they'd included that information on the web site.

I don't think they owe a dialogue to anyone. What they're offering is a response to Ehrman's many claims. And I'm glad they are offering an alternative for the many readers of his popular books, who would otherwise have less of a choice to believe about what Ehrman calls scholarly consensus.

What they haven't taken him to task on is his alternative explanation for the resurrection. I wrote him an open letter about it with my questions about its plausibility.

Ashleigh B said...

Personally, I wish they weren't highlighting inerrancy so much, as if it were the only way to believe besides Ehrmanism... In my opinion, a strict view of inerrancy is what got Bart in trouble to begin with, so it's probably worth highlighting that many faithful Christians are less conservative (but still orthodox!) in their views of inspiration and authority.

mr.scrivener said...

D.A. Carson's piece on inerrancy seemed pretty honest and pragmatic, allowing for scribal errors, lack of spelling convention, and differing historical circumstances for modes and methods of God's communication.

It doesn't seem to get more flexible and realistic than that, even if it had an apologetic purpose rather than an investigative one.