Improving the Bart Ehrman Blog

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Mar 22, 2015 5:10 PM GMT
    To Dr. Bart Ehrman

    I'm not a happy camper because we learn things here and in the real world, we deal with willful ignorance/willful blindness. This makes the blog: ivory tower to real world churches that are PR machines against the lessons we've learned. Perhaps we need to hear from Princeton Theological and the most organized of Christian denominations on their progress or lack thereof towards incorporating facts into belief.

    Example: A United Methodist Church has posted the following:

    He spent 3 years with Jesus. He watched Jesus work, heard him teach, and walked with him in Galilee. He was there on the night in which Jesus was taken to be crucified; fearing for his own life, he denied ever even knowing him. And after the greatest miracle in history, Jesus forgave him. // Before this man died, he passed on the testimony of what he had seen and heard. // The Gospel of Mark is that testimony.
    - See more at:

    You have told us / taught us that Mark did not write the Gospel According to Mark. Mark, supposedly was a companion of Peter. When I look up Mark the Evangelist, I find that Mark was one of the 70. You have not explained to us how none of the 70 could have been gospel writers.

    According to William Lane (1974), an "unbroken tradition" identifies Mark the Evangelist with John Mark, and John Mark as the cousin of Barnabas.

    However, Hippolytus of Rome in On the Seventy Apostles * distinguishes * Mark the Evangelist (2 Tim 4:11), John Mark (Acts 12:12, 25; 13:5, 13; 15:37), and Mark the cousin of Barnabas (Col 4:10; Phlm 1:24). According to Hippolytus, they all belonged to the "Seventy Disciples" who were sent out by Jesus to saturate Judea with the gospel (Luke 10:1ff.). However, when Jesus explained that his flesh was "real food" and his blood was "real drink", many disciples left him (John 6:44–6:66), presumably including Mark.


    1) Can you post on organized denominations "grade" for scholarly facts / historical literacy?

    2) Can you or have you posted about the literacy of the 70 eyewitness of Jesus, sent by Jesus--could they have been smarter than the disciples and be writers of Q material if not a gospel, themselves, as suggested with Mark by Highland Park United Methodist Church? We know there was a Galilean justus, contemporary with Josephus, who learned Greek to write a history, criticized by Josephus in his short book, the Life of Josephus.

    Thank you.
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    Mar 25, 2015 2:37 AM GMT
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    I'm not Bart, but I'll toss in my two cents. I would say persistent tradition, not unbroken tradition, but then I'm not trying to defend an ideology. Literacy was very low in the ANE (Ancient Near East). Fishermen and others in rural Galilee had not reason to be literate or to learn even trade Greek, much less professional-level Koine Greek. At best, tradition is evidence only for what people thought and said, not what happened. We have no historical confirmation of any kind for the sending of the 70. Historical biblical scholars typically don't have any strong denominational ties. Like Dr. Ehrman in his current profession, they tend to focus in history rather than doctrine. The UMC snippet you posted is building doctrine upon tradition (authorship of Mark). You didn't have to be literate to be smart. Today it's rare to find people who are smart but not literate.

    Hippolytus lived 170-235 CE. There is no reason to believe he had any direct evidence.