Are there any published, written or recorded (audio or video) responses to the claims Bart D Ehrman makes in How Jesus Became God?

I'm currently reading this and Misquoting Jesus as part of an ongoing examination of what I believe and, as someone raised in the Christian tradition, I am finding Ehrman's arguments to be both eye-opening and disturbing.

I want to make sure that my research includes information from a diverse range of source material so that I can make informed decisions, which is why I pose this question

  • I saw this after reading your question. I dunno if it will be of much help: catholicnewsagency.com/column/… Aug 8 '16 at 16:53
  • It may be useful to think about the difference between "Jesus became God" and "people began to understand that Jesus is God." There seems to be some danger of conflating the two, and I think it's important to be aware of the distinction. Aug 9 '16 at 1:40
  • Can you elaborate on that @Andreas_Blass? Aug 9 '16 at 10:42
  • For some reason, I wasn't informed about your last comment (maybe because of the underline?) and only saw it just now. I'll answer from the Catholic point of view, but I think many other Christians will agree. "Jesus became God" is false; He was God from all eternity. But various people became aware of His divinity at different times, for example Peter confessing that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God, when the other apostles were not yet aware of that fact or at least not yet ready to say so). [continued in next comment] Jun 22 '17 at 23:05
  • When reading Ehrman, it is worth asking whether he is presenting evidence that Jesus was, at some time, not yet God and only later became God, or whether he is presenting evidence that, at some time, people didn't realize that Jesus is God and only later came to realize it. Evidence of the latter sort doesn't detract from the fact that Jesus always was God. Jun 22 '17 at 23:07

I have not read either of the books, How Jesus Became God or Misquoting Jesus, but I have read another of his books, Forged: Writing in the Name of God – Why the Bible’s Authors Are Not Who We Think They Are (HarperCollins, 2011). In Forged, Ehman condensed a lot of challenging conclusions into a single volume, but I found nothing that many other scholars have not stated in other publications.

Ben Witherington sets out to refute some of Ehrman's arguments here, along with an link to Witherington's book, Bart Interrupted. Given that this article sets out to be a refutation, not a peer review, it is reasonably objective. Witherington says Ehrman is a a gifted writer and a gifted lecturer, with the ability to distil difficult and complex material down to a level that undergraduates and ordinary lay folk can understand. Against this, he says that Ehrman is not writing from a position of long study and knowledge of New Testament Studies, and has never written a scholarly monograph on NT theology or exegesis. In fairness to Ehrman, it should be pointed out that he is the James A. Gray Distinguished Professor of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and that he has written three college textbooks, so he is hardly an intellectual novice.

This site is more extreme, accusing Ehrman of lacking intellectual honesty. It says that Ehrman should not write on ethics, as this is outside his area of expertise. To help you judge his discussion on Christian ethics, a conservative, but thorough review of Christian ethics can be found in Christian Ethics:Options and Issues, by Norman L. Geisler.

The title of your question asks about thoughts on and refutations of the arguments of Bart D Ehrman,but the question in total seems to be broader than this. You mention an ongoing examination of what you believe, and I assume this will be based on more than what Ehrman says, or any refutations of what he says. In fact, you want to make sure that your research includes information from a diverse range of source material. A quite neutral introductory text by Raymond E. Brown is An Introduction to the New Testament. Burton L. Mack's Who Wrote the New Testament covers some of the ground covered by Ehrman, allowing you to see whether Ehrman is an ideosyncratic outsider, as sometimes portrayed. Mark as Story, by David Rhoads, Joanna Dewey and Donald Michie, discusses nothing of what Ehrman says, but will give a fresh look at the earliest of the New Testament gospels, how it was written and how it influenced its intended audience.

  • Excellent, thorough response. You are right...my examination will include a diverse range of sources and will not be based solely on what Ehrman says. His are merely the first I've read on the subject. May 10 '15 at 11:09
  • are there texts similar to Brown's Who Wrote the New Testament available in electronic format? I ask because I research from my tablet, and it's helpful to keep all of it in one place May 24 '15 at 10:57
  • @Dick_Harfield, is the Carson and Moo edition of An Introduction to the New Testament comparable to the Brown edition? I ask because it's the only version available in Google Books Aug 9 '15 at 11:20
  • @MonaLisaOverdrive Brown's book is an entirely different book to that of Carson and Moo, which I have not read. Unable to read an extract of C & M, I found another online book also known as Introduction to the New Testament by 3 authors who include Carson and Moo, at obinfonet.ro/docs/tyndale/tyndrex/heb/hebs-comm/…. Aug 9 '15 at 22:10
  • I leafed through this third book and found it to be more technical in its historical-criticism approach than is Brown, but while giving space to both sides, the authors consistently agree with the more conservative alternatives, whereas Brown is more open-minded. So if you want a good technical book that is free to view, then look at the one I browsed, but you would still have to decide whether you are being led towards inevitable conclusions that others might not see as inevitable. As I said, I can't speak about the C & M book, but it is probably very similar. Aug 9 '15 at 22:16

There is.


It is a pretty good rebuttal and I recommend this book.

  • I purchased this book and read a good portion of it but found that the many colloquilisims (sp?), the author's sarcastic tone, and the various quips off-putting and distracting. Aug 9 '15 at 11:09
  • 1
    Unfortunately his type of Australian humor tends to rub people the wrong way. :)
    – pehkay
    Aug 9 '15 at 12:34

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