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The Birth of Jesus in History & Legend (Bart Ehrman)

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Michael Shermer Logo  fiber_manual_record  Nov 28th, 2021

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The Michael Shermer Show # 230

In this conversation with the renowned biblical scholar and historian, Bart Ehrman reviews the highlights of his forthcoming live seminar on December 5th from 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. EST

Topics include:

· What can we actually know about the birth of Jesus?

· How can we decide whether he was born in Bethlehem?

· Is it possible to reconcile the different Gospel accounts?

· Was the story of the Virgin Birth a later fabrication?

· What is the evidence for (or against) the many details, such as the trip to Bethlehem, the visit of the wisemen, and the “slaughter of the innocents”?

· How many of the most familiar parts of the stories come from later legends?

Shermer and Ehrman also discuss:

· How we know Jesus existed and was crucified

· How these questions are different epistemologically from those about Jesus’ resurrection and the claim that he died for our sins

· How Christians deal with the trinity problem: how can God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit be one and the same and yet separate and different? “God sacrificed himself…to himself…to save us from himself.” How is this possible?

· How Christians answer this question: Why did Jesus have to suffer and die? Why couldn’t God just forgive us for our sins?

· Why was the virgin birth so important to early Christians?

· Why was the resurrection so important to early Christians?

· Anti-Semitism in the early Christian church (“the Jews killed Jesus” or “the Jews killed God”) and why it makes no theological sense (Jesus was Jewish, and if he had to die to save us from our sins, whoever killed Jesus should be thanked)

· Why Jews and Muslims do not believe that Jesus was the messiah

· How Jesus became God and how Christianity grew from a few dozen followers at the time of Jesus’s death to over two billion followers today

· Theodicy and the problem of evil: why does an all powerful, all knowing, all good God allow people to suffer?

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