Did Jesus Exist?

  • by Bart D. Ehrman
  • Narrated by Walter Dixon
  • 11 hrs and 59 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Large numbers of atheists, humanists, and conspiracy theorists are raising one of the most pressing questions in the history of religion: "Did Jesus exist at all?" Was he invented out of whole cloth for nefarious purposes by those seeking to control the masses? Or was Jesus such a shadowy figure - far removed from any credible historical evidence - that he bears no meaningful resemblance to the person described in the Bible?
In Did Jesus Exist? historian and Bible expert Bart Ehrman confronts these questions, vigorously defends the historicity of Jesus, and provides a compelling portrait of the man from Nazareth. The Jesus you discover here may not be the Jesus you had hoped to meet - but he did exist, whether we like it or not.

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Vintage Ehrman

By now Bart D. Ehrman, lapsed Evangelical Christian turned Agnostic with Atheist undercurrents, is well-known and well established as a populariser of 19th and 20th century critical Bible scholarship. In "Did Jesus exist?" Ehrman again brings the insights of critical scholarship to the table to engage (not with Evangelical Christians) but with Mythicists (atheists holding the believe that Jesus didn't exist) on the question of how historical Jesus Christ really was. Did he really exist or was he made up?

In my opinion Ehrman does a good job of confirming that Jesus was a real man of flesh and blood that lived in the first century C.E. He argues from a modernist historical perspective and makes a convincing argument that there are enough "reliable" sources to attest to a historical Jesus.

After he looked at some of the evidence for Jesus' existence he analyses some of the commonest arguments of leading mythicists. He convincingly shows that this group of people has an agenda that clouds good scholarship. He offers a convincing rebuttal for all their major arguments against Jesus.

He then offers a scholarly reconstruction of Jesus and offers a comfort prize to the Mythicists, the Jesus of the Christian Church doesn't completely correspond with the real Jesus. He illustrates by bringing together the different earliest sources that has been identified from the gospels that Jesus was an apocalyptic prophet of his time.

Some of this may sound familiar, if you have read or listened to Ehrman previously. There are quite a lot of data and information that has been presented in different packages in his previous books.

One thing that bothered me a bit about Ehrman's reconstruction of the historical Jesus, was his insistence that Jesus didn't refer to himself when he spoke of the "son of Man." There is definitely not scholarly agreement on this theory and it is still hotly debated. Ehrman presents it as a well-known scholarly fact.

While this book repeats various of his arguments from previous books, it is still a worthwhile book. Ehrman is known for following his arguments through. This book is a must for anyone that is not convinced that there lived a historical Jesus.

Walter Dixon narrated the book superbly. He might become synonymous with Ehrman's future audio books.

One thing about the production that was bothering is that to the end one or two chapters of the book is repeated. This is probably the case due to a bad cut and past job.

This is vintage Ehrman, excellent but with a much needed acquired taste!





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- Jacobus

Jesus Did Exist, But Not the Jesus We Expected

What did you love best about Did Jesus Exist??

The author followed the evidence wherever it led. He was very convincing and his arguments were clear.


What three words best describe Walter Dixon’s performance?

The reader did a fine job. However, 30+ minutes were inexplicably repeated near the end, which was quite jarring. I was not sure where the repeat ended and the new material began. That is why I did not give the performance a higher rating.


Any additional comments?

Although Ehrman concludes that a historical Jesus did live and was crucified by Pilate, he also concludes that this Jesus did not espouse many of the things we have been taught. For example, Ehrman concludes that Jesus was a Jewish apocalyptic who believes the Kingdom of Heaven would arrive in his lifetime, and so urged people to forsake their families and livelihoods in preparation. This is not the Jesus who values marriage and the family.

I am glad that I heard this side of the story.

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- David

Book Details

  • Release Date: 07-10-2012
  • Publisher: HarperAudio