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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Customer Reviews

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Ehrman is not an agenda-bender.

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I've 'read' all of Bart Ehrman's audiobooks plus his lecture series offered elsewhere and viewed his Youtube lectures because the subject matter is interesting and entertaining.
The premise of this book is the least interesting to me because I already believe that Jesus did exist in the flesh.So this is preaching to the choir.
I did not enjoy the book at first for that reason, but in the usual Bart way it still hooked me -though it took longer. Ehrman responds to many writers -point by point- who don't believe Jesus really existed. His own belief is that a man named Jesus did exist and this is pretty much the view of biblical scholars.
I read a criticism that this book dismisses writers who are outside of academia and that those inside academia would not be there if they did not believe Jesus existed. So they are all biased. This is true. True in the same way that academic biologists all believe in evolution and are biased against creationism.
After discussing and refuting many of the arguments that Jesus was just a fabrication, and many of the beliefs held in that era, then we get back onto familiar turf with discussions of contextual criticisms, sources and a final look at what Jesus may have been like and actually said. (The good stuff).
The contextual criticism is covered in many other Ehrman works of course, but I still got quite a bit from this because one does not absorb it all the first time if one is not taking notes and reviewing it.
The principle discussion was informative too. It discussed what we know about Jesus and informed me of the arguments others make about Jesus being a fabrication along with many of the curious beliefs of that period which I did not know. If you like to hear about the early Jesus movement, this is more Ehrman gold, though not completely new. That is fine by me. What I really like about the writer is his scholarship and his pursuit of the truth no matter where it leads. The book comes across as a logical, fully informed work that doesn't have a particular agenda. Ehrman is not an agenda-bender.That is worth so much in learning about Jesus and why I like his work so much.

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- G-Man

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 "When I drive, I read... uhm listen. I like SciFi, Fantasy, some Detective and Espionage novels and Religion. Now and then I will also listen to something else."

Book Details

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