Tag Archives: bart ehrman

New Podcast Episode with Dr. Bart Ehrman

A new podcast headed by an awesome brother from the Mad Mamluks podcast has finally publicly released an episode I’ve been excited for since the moment it was recorded. Please click this link or the image below to access it:

Facebook Post of Episode

Debates, some elements of historiography, and general information about New Testament Textual Criticism are discussed.

and Allah knows best.

Review: Ehrman Blog

Last year, I had the fortune of being gifted by Dr. Ehrman, a free 1 year subscription to his blog. After spending 11 months on the blog, I think it’s time to give my experience and thoughts on it.



Dr. Ehrman’s blog focuses on Christianity in Antiquity, specifically New Testament Textual Criticism, early Christian doctrines, and he often comments on Christianity in pop culture, whether that be any new manuscript finds or the yearly Jesus had a wife claim. This treasure chest of content is simply spectacular. I particularly enjoyed his re-posting of his debates and his added commentary on them, the extra information provided is not only insightful, it’s added value to an already informative and extensive array of debates. Articles are posted often, very often. Some may be short, but a vast majority of his posts are expository in nature, in which he spares no expense in enlightening the reader. They’re just the right size to keep someone interested, but not long enough to be seen as tedious.

One of the greater benefits of the blog, is the ability to discuss, disagree and even argue with Dr. Ehrman! He replies to most comments and entertains disagreements, which has proven to be quite a valuable experience to have witnessed. Although his schedule is quite busy, for a person interested in New Testament Textual Criticism, he spends a lot of time explaining his yearly schedule, his research methodology, the criticisms leveled against his conclusions, and so, this allows someone new to the field or just interested in it, to develop a holistic understanding of his works. This is as opposed to merely labeling him an anti-Christ liberal as many of our evangelical inerrantist colleagues do, thus discarding his research as propaganda.

The monetary cost to access the website is very minimal, please note all costs listed below are subject to change on the website and are valid as of 16.11.14, the currency in use is USD:

  • $3.95/month for trial membership;
  • $7.95 for three months;
  • $24.95 for a year.

So, is it worth it? For the Muslim lay man, it probably is if you’re super interested in the field but if you’re just dipping your toes into da’wah, then I can’t see it being too useful. For someone who’s read most of his works and interested in his views, his research and his methodology, then I think it’s a minimal expense that would benefit you greatly. As for myself, I was very grateful for the opportunity afforded to me by Dr. Ehrman and I definitely do believe I’ll be taking a full year’s membership.

and God knows best.

Bart Ehrman and Muslims

Polemicists and Evangelicals far too often misconstrue the use of Bart Ehrman’s materials by Muslims. The record needs to be cleared, because somewhere along the lines of inter-religious discourse, Bart Ehrman’s works are quickly becoming the pinnacle of Evangelical appeals to scholastic authority. Muslims do not use Bart’s works because of his views, which most Evangelicals would consider liberal to say the least. His agnosticism being based upon his views on evil do not translate well into Islamic belief about God, the fact that he left Christianity for agnosticism is not an Islamic ideal.


So why do Muslims use Ehrman’s works? The answer is quite less controversial than one would be looking for – he writes for mass market appeal. He isn’t writing books for use in a theological seminary, or for his academic colleagues, he’s writing it for the Divergent series reader, the Harry Potter reader, the whatever-is-popular-on-NYTimes’-best-seller-list reader. In other words, he’s writing for the casual reader who may be interested in Christ or the Bible. I’m not saying scholars don’t read his works, they do, and I’m also not saying that some Universities don’t use his books in courses, they do. What I’m saying is that those people aren’t his target audience, but the level of scholarship dedicated to his authorship means that his works can scale easily into the hands of the layman, the University student or a scholar.

The vast majority of Muslims don’t have any reason to bother themselves with understanding Christian teachings. Just as the average Christian isn’t going to dedicate their time to reading the entire Seerah an Nabawiyyah or Qasas ul Anbiya. For the Muslims who are interested in understanding the Christian faith, they are most likely to find his books accessible and easy to read, as well as understand. It takes almost no effort to find his books, they’re readily available in most bookstores, you don’t need a study guide or teacher to walk through his books with you, it’s easy to just pick one up and understand what’s written inside of it. There’s no secret that this is the honest answer as to why Muslims use Ehrman’s works. If we consider the popular works of other Christian authors, which one of them has the mass appeal and ease of use as any of Ehrman’s works?

How many Muslims are going to come across something by Immanuel Tov, Raymond E. Brown, K. and B. Aland? How many Muslims can sit and read E.P. Sanders’, “Paul, the Law and the Jewish People” and find it comparable in ease to Ehrman’s books? How many Muslims will even know his name? Not very many, not very many at all. Therefore, I find it quite funny to see some Polemicists and Evangelicals placing Ehrman on a pedestal of everything wrong with liberal Christianity or of critical Christian scholarship simply because Muslims read his works. If there was another Christian scholar that wrote on the same topics, with a similar writing style and ease of reading, Muslims would also purchase that work – but there simply is no other person doing this, so Ehrman is the go to guy in this case.

There are some in the inter-faith dialogue community who condemn Muslims for being hypocritical for accepting some views of Ehrman and not all of his views. Why should Muslims accept all of Ehrman’s views? His views aren’t part of Islamic teachings, and if he writes something that is somehow related to Islamic teachings and some Muslims want to adopt those views because of a correlation, then they are free to weigh which views are acceptable and which aren’t. Rejecting some of his views is part of the critical thinking process, it is far too infantile to generalize Ehrman’s views and dictate that Muslims must either accept them all or reject them all, that’s clearly an appeal to the fallacy of a false dichotomy. There is a third option, weigh what he says against Islamic beliefs and use them accordingly.

In conclusion, Ehrman is not the be all and end all of information on Christianity. He certainly isn’t for me, but his views, especially on the Bible’s preservation are shared by vast portions of the textual criticism community, even if Muslims had to disregard anything written by Ehrman there is still quite a significant array of literature and authors who agree with him that we can learn from. Therefore, we say to those who condemn Muslims for reading his works, it’s silly to focus on the man behind the work, the real problem lies with the information he makes accessible to the Muslim community, the Christian community and to the larger public. So, focus on dealing with the information and not the person. Far too many Evangelicals and Polemicists are zealous in their abuse of Muslims for reading his works, when most of them are unaware of what his works actually contain. What a sad state such people are in.

and God knows best.

Scholar Relates Gospel Traditions to the “Telephone” Game!

Question Mark

Speaking candidly on the historicity of the gospel traditions, especially its transmission, New Testament Scholar Bart Ehrman makes the following intriguing comparison:

“You are probably familiar with the old birthday party game “telephone.” A group of kids sits in a circle, the first tells a brief story to the one sitting next to her, who tells it to the next, and to the next, and so on, until it comes back full circle to the one who started it. Invariably, the story has changed so much in the process of retelling that everyone gets a good laugh. Imagine this same activity taking place, not in a solitary living room with ten kids on one afternoon, but over the expanse of the Roman Empire (some 2,500 miles across), with thousands of participants – from different backgrounds, with different concerns, and in different contexts – some of whom have to translate the stories into different languages. The situation, in fact, was even more complicated than that.” (The New Testament – A Historical Introduction to the Early Christian Writings, Chapter 3, Where it All Began: The Traditions of Jesus in Their Greco-Roman Context, p.44)

One of the very reasons why Qur’an had to be revealed with narrations of Jesus (peace be upon him) in it was because, as evident from above, the actual revelations given to or the words uttered by Jesus (peace be upon him) were lost in their transmission. With this the actual message of Christ (peace be upon him) was also lost. As on mere conjectures eternal fates could not be banked, the final Messenger (peace be upon him) was given divine glimpses of the life of Jesus (peace be upon him).

We also need to make a healthy parallel comparison of the transmission of Gospel traditions to that of Qur’an and Hadith. It was an extremely imperative, prudent and monumental task undertaken by Muslim scholars to protect the chain of transmission of Qur’an and Sunnah in the form of “Isnads”.

We have detailed biographies of all the people involved in the transmission of Islamic narratives right from the beginning. Just vicariously imagine the chaos which was circumvented by preserving transmission chains of Qur’an and Hadith – it was not let to take form of some “Telephone” game!

Bart Ehrman: Bias and Presuppositions Concerning Death + Resurrection of Christ

Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem
بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ ,

Bart Ehrman explains during a debate, why his criticism of the historicity of the claim of Jesus’ resurrection is more than valid and qualified. That being, in opposition to the biased Christian view of already believing and trying to then qualify their belief. A short, but interesting and intellectually stimulating clip:

wa Allaahu Alam,
and God knows best.