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The Case for Jesus: C.S. Lewis vs. Bart Ehrman by Dr. Brant Pitre (Part 1 of 5)

by Brant Pitre April 25, 2016 0 Comments



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In this video, which is 1 of 5 introductory videos to The Case for Jesus: The Reliability of the Gospels and the Jewish Roots of Jesus' Divinity, Dr. Brant Pitre sets the stage for what will follow in the upcoming videos. In this video, Dr. Pitre juxtaposes C.S. Lewis' famous trilemma argument (Liar, Lunatic, or Lord) about Jesus being divine to Dr. Bart Ehrman's position that Jesus is not divine in the all four Gospels. In Lewis' famous argument, he assumes that what the Gospels tell us is actually reliable. However, this assumption is something that has been questioned in recent years, heralded by Ehrman as one of the more notable proponents of this form of skepticism.

Bart Ehrman maintains that it is only in the later Gospel (of John) that Jesus is found to be divine and only a human Jesus is found in the earlier synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark and Luke). So, in effect, since the Gospels are not reliable to begin with by presenting us with two very different Jesus's, according to Ehrman, the force of Lewis' argument is effectively circumvented. Jesus does not have to only be either a Liar, a Lunatic, or the Lord. The stories about him being divine, according to Ehrman, are fanciful folklore since the earlier human Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke do not correspond to the later Gospel of John. And, as such, the divine Jesus, according to Ehrman, is Legend.

Before diving into the specific examples (though there will be more in the set than what we can show in these introductory videos), Dr. Pitre expresses that this is, in fact, incredibly erroneous. For, while Jesus does not go around shouting that he is God in the synoptics (nor does he in John for that matter) -- as that would be entirely anachronistic, expecting from a 1st century Jew what one would expect from someone in the 21st century Occident -- he does claim to be divine in a very Jewish way. And, this is what you would expect of any person engaging in any topic: to speak the language/idioms of the times and perform certain acts that people in any given context of time and geography would understand.

So, with that in mind, Dr. Pitre plans to provide the case that Jesus does not only claim to be divine in the Gospel of John, but in all four canonical Gospels that we possess, if only we meet Jesus in his context and understand his words and deeds in light of that framework. Indeed, it is only when Jesus' words and actions are removed from their first century Jewish context, according to Brant Pitre, that we can arrive at the conclusions of Bart Ehrman.



Brant Pitre
Brant Pitre

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