Bio: Bart Ehrman

Bart Ehrman is the author of God’s Problem, Misquoting Jesus, and several other titles. He is the James A. Gray Distinguished Professor of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Beliefnet’s previous interview with Ehrman appears here. He has written for Beliefnet on women and the early church, and Gnostic Christianity, and more.

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posted October 15, 2008 at 2:53 pm

I must say I feel sorry for Mr. Ehrman. Despite his being a former Baptist preacher, I find that either he didn’t really study his Bible much, or wasn’t open to what it says. Although God is no respector of persons, we are individuals. As such, God treats us individually. There are no “one size fits all” explanation as to why people suffer. For some it is a chastisement for sin (for whom He loves He chastens), for others it is to learn a lesson, or to keep us from pride, as was the case with Paul. In all this we cannot loose sight of the fact that suffering ultimately comes as a result of our sin nature. However, even though we now “see though a glass dimly” we know that God has a plan for our lives, “a plan of good and not of evil”. God’s judgments are perfect as He has all the facts; we do not. We may not always have all the answers here and now, but we know that God’s desire for us is the greatest good, even if we have to go through painful things from time to time.

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posted November 3, 2008 at 1:48 am

To say that you feel sorry for someone due to their opinion is the deepest and most inconsiderate form of condescention. Maybe you have spent the majority of your life studying the Bible, the ancient text and the history behind it. Maybe you have dedicated your life to the scholarship, taught about it, written about it, debated and put your ideas out in the public sphere to be critiqued by others. Maybe you have studied the original texts in Coptic, Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek. Maybe you haven’t. It is by no means necessary to understanding the Bible on a basic standpoint. But it would probably be a base line before you suggest that maybe the differences you share in opinion are not only due to his incorrectness, but his inability (based on the profound knowledge you hold of him by reading all the way through his interview) to “study his Bible” the way you have. The simplicity with which you dismiss something that he only questions is really incredible and the fact that you feel your arguement is not just equal, but automatically superior is astonishing. Fine, put your argument as a competing idea, if you really feel that is justified. But pinning this as a superior opinion, simply because it is your opinion, makes you look a little ridiculous.

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Phil Bradshaw

posted January 23, 2009 at 2:27 pm

I’m thankful to God for Dr. James White for his diverse knowledge in the Word of God and recognizing the false teachers (God haters) of our time and taking the time and effort to expose them for all the saints to see.
Word got around from Barts debate with James White that Bart had essentially nothing on Gods Word. And that sadly Bart has spent a futile amount of time and made a sordid amount of money with very poor arguments. It will all be exposed when the mp3’s come out on James Whites website.
Wow. I could list a 1,000 evils that wouldn’t come close to the evil’s of mis-handling the Word of God. And to think Bart does this intentionally, on purpose….. and for money……..I shutter in horror what God will do to this man.
I pray Bart is just simply lost with blinders still on his eyes or simply mad at God for lack of understanding- with some ray of hope for his salvation. Father God, please grant this man repentance, in Christ Jesus name I pray.
Phil Bradshaw

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Mike Nunn

posted February 28, 2009 at 7:29 am

I have found Dr. Ehrman to be a breath of fresh air. I traveled a very similar path that he did. From Saved evangelical to Agnostic. After over 70 years life I feel very confortable with finally not believing. I get very upset when I hear that Christian Mantra – What if you are wrong. Living a life of fear is no reason to believe.

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posted March 4, 2009 at 3:59 pm

I just listened to Dr. Ehrman on Fresh Air and am amazed that there are people who believe that he is misguided. He has read and studied more versions of the bible than most ever will in a lifetime and come to very LOGICAL conclusions. Mike Nunn puts it perfectly in his last sentence. Dr. Ehrman is at peace with himself and that constitutes the biggest threat to Christianity (or any other organized religion).

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Your Name

posted March 5, 2009 at 5:34 pm

I was more than delighted to hear a breath of “fresh air” (pun intended) during NPR’s broadcast with Terry Gross last evening while driving home. Professor Ehrman has almost made the transforming transition to unapologetic atheist, but I deeply respect his relatively “late” in life insights into the ontological reality of our universe… Naturalized by scientific inquiry… and devoid of all supernatural god(s), created by the minds of men.
Like most other Naturalists… skeptics, humanists, free-thinkers and agnostics/atheists, I arrived in that most comfortable and adult place of light and reason after the usual indoctrination into “the faith” of my parents. I sensed the inconsistencies between the bible and my daily life, even as a child… although I was once “active” in the church.
Shedding that old skin was truly liberating… and I have no qualms confronting the cult of religion and the lemmings in the pews. On the one hand, I care not what any individual believes (virtually 100% of Icelandic people believe in elves!)… or their degree of ignorance… but when religion and its dogma seeks to place its authoritarian stamp on goverment & society regarding laws and freedoms, they have my very focused and hostile attention.
Dr. Ehrman is a very reasoned advocate for what many, many others have sought to put before the public: the bible is riddled with interpolations, falsity, inconsistencies and bogus claims. How otherwise educated people cannot consciously see these massive flaws is truly beyond my ken. Cognitive dissonance can only explains so much.
The great American iconoclast and orator of the 19th century, Robert Green Ingersol would indeed be pleased with the good professor… a voice of sincerity and reason, surrounded by the lunacy of mega-church hypocrisy & Bob Jones “university”: the bible-belt of North Carolina.
However, one nit to pick with Dr. Ehrman regards his repeated reference to “the historical jesus”. I wish he would make it crystal clear that there is absolutely no evidence… none… that a god-man named jesus, who was bodily resurected from death and decay, ever roamed our planet. This would be the conclusion of any honest scholar… and was the conclusion of the exhaustive search of the unimpeachable and revered Albert Schweitzer.
Cheers to all who seek!

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Bryan Mailliard

posted March 6, 2009 at 7:15 pm

I listened to NPR’s broadcast of Barts acquired stance on inconsistancies within the scriptures and heard his statement of human suffering being the cause for his departure from faith.
His descriptions of the great differences in the accounts of life events shown within apostles writings and even apparent discrepancies
of what Christ said on the cross in my oppinion exhibit no logical reason for loss of faith.
After all they were each human individuals with differing perceptions and varying personalities and probably even chosen to present different perspectives.
There are several blatant accounts within the sciptures describing Gods words heard one way by one person and completely different to another so the possibility of scriptural error does not present a case for inconsistancies.
Within the scriptures God decrees that his word should not be changed by even one jot or tittle. Personally I find it hard to believe that
over the centuries that was fully accomplished by the hand of man without intervention or mistake. But even this gives credance to the concept that God speaks to different individuals in different ways.
Who’s to say that a phrase unchanged or even one word, if it is filled by the power of God, with meaning, won’t touch or change a human life.
All my life since becoming a Christian in my beliefs, there have been battles concerning faith and my ability to keep it strong within me.
If you have ever been the recipient or even a participant in a God given miracle, you come to realize the great gift and value it adds in securing an unfaltering faith. Obviously I’m not talking about coincidence, happenstance or simply an unusual chain of events with a positive outcome. There is an unmistakable realization that takes place within you when you are witness to the supernatural powers of God at work.
It is unfortunate but in my opinion biblical scholars have very little opportunity to observe miracles firsthand and consequently confirm a growing faith. They become too encumbered with history, comparison and definition, pursuits of the mind vs pursuits of the spirit.

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posted March 7, 2009 at 10:24 pm

It is amazing that religious people such as the previous poster simply are wholly unable to look at their religion critically and can do no better than dismiss someone as a “God hater.”
Ehrman is an intelligent, sincere man, who did all he could to maintain his religious belief and only gave it up after years of struggle with the evidence, or rather lack of it, and the problem of evil. And we have this patronizing “pray for you” attitude from others. Religious belief seems to be a form of intellectual suicide for some. Whether that must be the case, I don’t know but it is for many. I am so often reminded of Nietzsche’s line “Christians spend too much time judging.”

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posted March 15, 2009 at 9:52 pm

Unlike Douglas Reed’s book The Controversy of Zion which is not freely available, a new book which openly rubbishes Christianity is available right, left and centre!!!
Go to:
The offensive book “Jesus, Interrupted: Revealing the Hidden Contradictions in the Bible” is authored by Bart Ehrman who is a professor of religious studies at the University of North Carolina and is described as a “leading authority on the Bible and the life of Jesus”, or In other words, a fox that was put in charge of a chicken coop!!!
Wake up dormant Christians.

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posted March 22, 2009 at 2:19 pm

Mr. Ehrman is the kind of individual that would walk into a room full of 6 year olds and tell them there is no Santa, Easter Bunny,or Tooth Fairy, therefore they should stop their whining and go home because their parents lied to them. I don’t need to quote Mr. Ehrman the Bible but just remember it says anyone who once believed and then turned his back would be better off to never have believed. I hope for your soul sir that you are right.

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Dr. Rick Rickards

posted March 25, 2009 at 2:26 pm

I like your ideas and commentaries very much. I wanted to share my comments on a recent Bill Moyers show with you. They need someone like you for a guest!
While watching your TV show last week, Bill Moyers…
…I was appalled by its content. [March 13, 2009] All of the sanctimonious reverence given to the so-called “Abrahamic Religions,” of Judaism, Christianity and Islam!
Modern archaeological research confirms the fact that the Abraham legend was probably pure fiction. Even if the story were true, Abraham was a delusional and despicable character and certainly no model to base any religion on. What kind of inspiration made him circumcise himself when he was 99 years old? [Gen 17] It was not original form of mutilation even in those days! What about the ghastly story of Abraham’s attempt to sacrifice his son Isaac?[Gen 22] A crazy piece of nonsense which would rightly land a man in jail if he tried it today! The Muslims in their version claim that Allah really prefers first-born sacrifices. They believe that Ishmael, Abraham’s illegitimate son, went through this grisly ordeal!. Christian prefer the Isaac story and cheerfully proclaim that Jesus was also a first-born child sacrifice. [John 3:16] This is 2009 and we are still in the intellectual Dark Ages!
As for the Golden Rule and former Sister Karen Armstrong’s campaign to promote it. What a lot of twaddle! You and she both had the Golden Rule wrong. You stated it in its negative form! This is pure nonsense! I grant you that it is a much better aphorism in a negative style. However it is what Confucius said 500 years earlier [Analects 15:23] but it is absolutely NOT what Jesus allegedly said [Matt7:12 and Luke 6] either in the King James Version or the Revised Standard Version of the Bible
The Golden Rule is not a good moral guide but a form of philosophic anarchy. That’s because the rule is no better than the person who applies it. In the hands of a good man or woman it is the basis of reciprocity, but the hands of the evil doer it merely allows him to do unto others what he wants others to do unto him!
Why not get some different talent on your show? People like Sam Harris? [The End of Faith] Prof. Paul Kurtz? [Secular Humanist, Head of CFI,] Fred Edwords? [American Humanist Association] Christopher Hitchens? [God is not Great] Prof Schlomo Sand? [History Department, Tel Aviv University] or Prof Israel Finkelstein? [The Bible Unearthed]? It’s time to open up this whole can of worms with some freethinking fresh air!
Dr. Rick Rickards

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posted September 30, 2009 at 11:59 am

It is better to take a millstone and hang it around your neck then to cause one of these little ones who believe in me to sin. The mother of all sins is unbelief. So sir you are causing others to not believe by your erroneous claims. I would not wnat to be in your shoes on the day of judgement. Amend your ways and recant of your heresies before the God of heaven

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Your Name

posted November 27, 2009 at 6:09 pm

I like the logic of some who completely wipe out a whole history of origin of the Jews with one use of the word “probably”. Get this straight: opinion does not replace truth. My opinion and your opinion mean nothing to anyone searching for truth. A great many people mentioned in the Bible are known to have existed; Nebuchadnezzar, Artaxerxes, the Pharoah of Exodus, Moses, Herod to name a few. Why do you choke on the mention of Abraham? As for the things God told Abraham to do, if you do not understand those things it is because you do not understand God. If you do not understand the Bible, it is not because the Bible is not true. If an African pygmy does not understand the workings of a computer, it is not because the computer is flawed, or does not exist. Yes, this is 2009, but those in the “dark ages” are those in whose heart the Spirit of God is not welcome.
Dan Beach Child of the living God since 1970 Defender of the faith, once delivered to the saints

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posted November 27, 2009 at 6:47 pm

An addendum to my previous comment: I wouldn’t dare call anything out of God’s word a lot of “twaddle”. I don’t know what “evil-doers” you hang out with, but I don’t know anyone who likes being lied to, or about, just as one example. If we don’t like being lied to, or about, we should not lie to or about someone else. Why is that a difficult concept for you to grasp?
As for your list of secular humanists and “professors”, that is not “freethinking fresh air”. That is actually the “twaddle” you mentioned earlier, that has been promoted by God-haters for centuries. Fresh air is when you can be set free from a line of thought that does not deal with guilt, and ignores all the hate and aggression that exists among men. Jesus is your only answer, my friend. Ignore him at your own eternal peril.
Dan Beach

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posted April 11, 2011 at 8:32 am

I personally think that Mr. Ehrman’s logic makes no sense to me at least. He is so focused on the fact that God wants to make us suffer while maybe we brought a little of this on ourselves. Now, the Jews during the Holocaust did nothing wrong, that is true. However God said in his word that his people would suffer. He makes it seem like God, who is good and sovereign and just, is out to get us. That he wants to destroy or at least tear down what he has created. Why not try to focus on the good stuff that God does? Some people are just too pessimistic.

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