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Desc:New Testament scholar examines what Monty Python got right
Category:Religious, Educational
Tags:Monty Python, Christian, life of brian, crucifiction, Bart Ehrman
Submitted:kamlem
Date:07/21/15
Views:793
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Comment count is 17
chumbucket
I had a bit of a struggle listening to this as he isn't a strong speaker. I might have preferred, oh I don't know, Jeff Goldblum delivering this paper. Or just reading it myself. But it's a very interesting tackle of historical accuracy and the weakness of The Bible as a form of historical content. Monty Python did Bible better.
EvilHomer
But hang on.

Assuming what Mr. Ehrman says is correct, and Jesus was NOT taken off the cross and buried in a tomb, then clearly, when on the third day the women went to Jesus' tomb, they would not have found his body. So, Mr. Ehrman would be forced to concede the plausibility of THAT aspect of the Gospel account! Check and mate, atheists.

Also, Wikipedia, citing the Jewish historian Josephus, claims in its article on the Burial of Jesus, that the Jews would routinely violate this aspect of Roman law, ignoring the Roman prohibition on burial and cutting the corpses down anyways. Does Mr Ehrman address that point anywhere? He may certainly be correct that *the Romans* would not have released Jesus' body for burial, but this fact would be irrelevant if the Jewish community itself nevertheless still found ways to bury crucifixion victims.


Finally, his first point, about the unreliability of eyewitness accounts, is a fair one... but also quite troubling, at least in the manner in which it is here framed. If we are able to dismiss eyewitness accounts out of hand, then what good is the historical record at all? Why even bother with primary written sources, if whenever we encounter something we'd prefer not to be true, we could just wave our hands and ignore it? Followed to its logical conclusion, the entirety of history could be rewritten on a whim.

You are free to doubt the veracity of eyewitness accounts, of course - and historians routinely do! But at the same time, there's a limit to how far mere skepticism can be pressed to support one's own position; a limit which Mr. Ehrman does not make clear.



Anyway, this is just what I've observed so far, as I've only watched half of it.
memedumpster
Yesterday, I asked Cleverbot if it was you and it actually got offended. It must get asked that a lot.

EvilHomer
I like the analysis Mr Ehrman gives of parody, 30:31 - 31:06.

Memedumpster's comments are typically not "generative of ideas", and thus, qualify as mockery, rather than parody.

Old_Zircon
Of course Cleverbot got offended that you mistook it for Bucket.

Oscar Wildcat
I just asked now, and it said "Sometimes..."

Is there something you are not telling us, homie?

ZIRC! I'm counting on you for some vintage Moebius clips in memoriam.

EvilHomer
The second-to-last question posed to Mr. Ehrman is in relation to Josephus and his account of clemency towards Jewish prisoners crucified by the Fifth Legion; could this be the incident to which Wikipedia is referring? I do not have access to the the cited source, a book by one James F. McGrath.

Wikipedia's wording certainly makes it sound as if the incident cited by Mr. McGrath is different from the one discussed by Mr. Ehrman and his audience at 41:10, but it's an important point, and a significant portion fo Mr Ehrman's argument hinges on it. If it can be shown that Josephus was not, in fact, supportive of the idea that Jews would bury their crucified dead, then the article should be changed ASAP (preferably by a Wikipedia-saavy PoEster); if, however, the reverse is true, then someone should contact Mr. Ehrman and let him know.

OZ - that's actually sort of hurtful. I expect such behavior from Memedumpster, but you've always been intelligent, and congenial towards me.

memedumpster
What, I apologized to Cleverbot. I didn't mean to hurt its synthesized algorithm of feelings. I should have known the difference, since it responds in single concise statements based on what you actually say to it.

Oh man, Dieter, no.

EvilHomer
OK, OK, fine. I get it. I'll try again.

*ahem*


lol xtians and their Bronze Age fairy tales!!!! BIBLE = LIES

p.s. vid too long, didn't watch
memedumpster
u mad tro'?

Hazelnut
EVILHOMER MAD. EvilHomer not know what EvilHomer mad at, BUT NEVERTHELESS, EVILHOMER MAD.

Oscar Wildcat
It's true, I've not the 45 minutes to listen to Prof. Sperg hold forth on monty python and Jesus. Hey. this is a lot shorter and more to my liking.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zhEUWobdXqY

memedumpster
He goodnaturedly talks about how the movie had more historical accuracy going for it than his young evangelical mind could handle, and how he came to appreciate the parody, humor, and attention to detail. He also strongly implies that people shouldn't be so literal about the Bible. I thought it was cute.

Some people just can't handle the cute.

EvilHomer
It's not cute, it's informative and intellectually stimulating.

EvilHomer
Memes' summary is pretty good, but he leaves out the most important part: Mr Ehrman uses scenes in TLoB to illustrate a series of very specific points:

1) That Jesus was an apocalyptic preacher.
2) That eyewitness testimony is extremely unreliable.
3) That Roman authorities would not have released Jesus' body to the local population.

Each of these points has some rather drastic theological ramifications (overturning Jesus' credibility, the miracle narratives, and the resurrection narrative, respectively), and are necessary, at least within the context of this lecture, to support Mr. Ehrman's central thesis (that the New Testament should not be taken literally). These points are also... at least somewhat contentious, as of course evidenced by the question and answer segment at the end.


As an agnostic, I am perfectly willing to accept his thesis. However, as I stated above, there are problems. Point (1) is pretty straightforward and I can see no reason to challenge it (although if anyone here knows of a counterargument, by all means, post away). Point (2) I accept but only with extreme reservations, and I'm not willing to use it, in the absence of stronger evidence, to overturn historical narratives.; nor am I convinced that Mr. Ehrman adequately responded to the question about memory theater and the validity of the science he cites. Finally, Point (3) is something very much open for debate; we have at least two contradictory claims, one by Mr. Ehrman, one by Mr. McGrath. I am not an expert on Josephus or late Roman antiquity by any means, and I have no way of determining which of these two scholars is correct. Again, as with Point (1), I'd love to hear the opinion of someone who has experience with this subject matter.

memedumpster
EvilHomer can't handle the cute.

Hegemony Cricket
HEARTSTARS

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