Science is awesome. It’s awesome because it’s methodology strips out biases better than any other academic area. Science works in such a way that one can take a rich field of study, like evolution, and be confident of it’s validity without the huge time commitment it requires to fully understand. I am less skeptical of a scientific consensus than I am of any other expert agreement because it involves a clear publication process, reproducible results and peer review. Unfortunately, this confidence can’t be applied to my current topic of interest.
History sucks. Okay, that’s unfair, but it was never my subject. My confidence of the accuracy of historical events goes down exponentially with the paper trail. The idea that history is written by the victors highlights the biases of the past. Books are burned. Records fade. Who should I trust for an accurate portrayal of events two thousand years ago?
Did Jesus Exist? The Historical Argument for Jesus of Nazareth, has brought on his usual criticism from believers as well as a negative review from atheist and ancient history expert Richard Carrier. (To be fair, here is Ehrman’s reaction to Carrier’s review.)
This is just the latest example of scholarly disagreement. From what I can tell, there is no consensus among NT scholars and ancient historians. Everyone has an agenda and, unlike in science, it is impossible to filter out the facts. If you think about it, who would most likely decide to become a Bible scholar? Those with a vested interest to prove the Bible right and, to a lesser extent, those with a vested interest to prove it wrong.
Sorry this post doesn’t do much in providing answers. I honestly have little knowledge as to whether or not Jesus existed. I tend to think he did, but then I have no idea if he resembled to man depicted in the Bible. I will read Ehrman’s book, but I doubt his perspective alone will answer my questions. The history is a vague and blurry landscape. Give me science any day.