the weblog of Alan Knox

Jesus is an elephant

Posted by on Apr 25, 2009 in blog links, discipleship | 7 comments

In case you haven’t seen it yet, the title of this post is in reference to a statement made by Stephen Colbert to Bart Ehrman during a recent interview. (See the interview here.) During this interview, Ehrman claimed that the gospels record different versions of the crucifixion of Jesus, suggesting that the accounts are not historical. As evidence, he mentions the accounts of the different sayings of Jesus in the different gospel accounts.

I’ve scanned the blogosphere for posts that related to this interview:

According to Dave Pierre’s account here, Ehrman made several statements during the interview, including the following: “The Bible shows that, in fact, some of the earliest teachings of Jesus aren’t what became the standard doctrines of Christianity”.

According to Darren’s account here, Ehrman’s main point was that “the earliest Christians didn’t think Jesus was divine”. Unfortunately, Dave Pierre (above) did not include this point, and Darren does not include any of the quotes which Dave Pierre included.

According to Wyatt Robert’s account here and mr palm’s account here, Ehrman must not have said anything, because there are no Ehrman quotes recounted in either post.

Based on these four witnesses, and using Ehrman’s own logic, it is clear that Ehrman was never interviewed by Colbert and that these people made up their accounts of the “interview” to serve their own interests. How do we know this? Because they included different information about the so-called interview. Since the accounts of the “interview” differ, it is obvious that the “interview” never occured, or at least, if it did occur, the “accounts” are highly exaggerated.


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  1. 4-25-2009

    Brilliant. I really like what Tom Wright writes about the different accounts in “The Original Jesus” – Of course we have differing accounts of the story – they come from different witnesses who have different styles and want to emphasise different aspects of the story. Doesn’t mean they’re not all true. Just the same major events seen from very diverse perspectives!

  2. 4-25-2009

    Alan, this is an excellent illustration of the fallacy of Ehrman’s quite ridiculous argument. I’m amazed how what he espouses can legitimately be called “scholarship.”

  3. 4-25-2009

    This was a fun response to Ehrman’s article – I am enjoying your blog. Thanks for telling me about it.

  4. 4-25-2009

    You have a beautiful mind. That was great :)

  5. 4-25-2009


    Reminds me of a priest in New Orleans who once said, “Who are you going to believe, the horse’s mouth or some jackass in the 21st century? The gospels, that’s the horse’s mouth!”

  6. 4-25-2009

    Oh man! What a perfect way of exposing the flaws of this all-too-common critique of the accuracy of scripture!

    You gotta love the blogosphere sometimes… :)

  7. 4-25-2009

    I was really amused and impressed by this take on Ehrman’s position.

    I’m sensitive to much of what Ehrman feels, but somehow he has taken the plunge into extreme skepticism, and that saddens me.

    I think the extreme that he has gone to is why people get so concerned when we ask questions about traditional things. People assume that it’s a slippery slope to Ehrman’s position, but I’m not sure that it has to go there.

    At least I hope it doesn’t, because otherwise, I’m doomed! ;)