This is an extract from my previous post. Since that post is very long there is a significant section there that I fear could easily be overlooked. Bart Ehrman has indignantly declared he read all of the books he discusses in his book Did Jesus Exist?
How, then, could he possibly have confused the mythicist argument of Wells with that of Doherty. The two are opposed to each other. But Ehrman appears to have picked up a garbled account and attributed half of Doherty’s argument to Wells!
Here is the relevant section from my previous post. There are many more shoddy and false statements by Ehrman about what Wells writes that I address in that post, but I have singled out here just this one point.
Bart Ehrman wants us to believe he read the mythicist books he reviews but I cannot believe him. Otherwise how could he possibly write what he has about G. A. Wells’ argument here?
Ehrman accuses mythicists, in particular G. A. Wells, of fabricating the idea that Paul thought of Jesus as a supernatural being who was crucified by demons some time in the distant past.
Instead, Wells contends, Paul understood Jesus to have been a supernatural being who lived in utter obscurity some 150 years or so earlier, who was crucified not by the Romans but by the demonic forces in the world. (p. 247 of Did Jesus Exist? my emphasis)
Ehrman cites as the source of this assertion page 97 of Wells’ first book on this topic, Did Jesus Exist?, the same title as Ehrman’s own book.
No, Bart Ehrman. G. A. Wells says in the same book you cite, and in every other book he was written on the Christ myth, that Jesus came to earth as a physical human being and was crucified as a physical flesh and blood human by humans at the instigation of (not by) evil spirits.
In fact, G. A. Wells has argued against Doherty’s argument that Jesus was crucified as a spiritual being and by demons.
How can you expect us to believe you when you demand that we believe you read all the books yourself?
Here is what Wells wrote on the page of the book you cite:
Paul believed in a supernatural Jesus who assumed human flesh and was crucified on earth at the instigation of supernatural powers. Paul was utterly unconcerned with when or where this happened — he does not give it a historical setting — because he was convinced that Jesus lived an obscure life on earth. . . . Paul insists . . . Jesus was ‘born of a woman, born under the law’ (Gal. 4:4). Paul does not know who Jesus’ enemies were and how they had him crucified. Even in the synoptics, only the later layers of the tradition . . . identify Jesus’ opponents as scribes, Pharisees, Sadducees, or Herodians. In the earlier layers the opponents figure merely as ‘they’ or ‘the Jews’ (see Bultmann’s evidence. . .)
Ehrman cannot possibly have read the page he cites.
The next page Ehrman cites in the same book by Wells’ is 18. Here is what Wells writes on page 18:
Paul supposes that he existed as a supernatural personage before God ‘sent’ him into the world to redeem it. (Such pre-existence on the part of the agents of God’s activities on earth — such as Wisdom and the Logos — was part of the Judaic background.) He assumed human flesh sometime after the reign of David, from whom, Paul says, Jesus (as man) was descended (Rom. 1:3) — a Jew ‘according to the flesh’ (9:5), the scion of Jesse to govern the gentiles (15:12) predicted by Isaiah.
Ehrman is writing outright disinformation about Wells’ argument.
Ehrman cannot possibly have read the pages in Wells’ book that he cites.
And just one more:
Ehrman repeatedly claims that Wells argued Jesus began “appearing” to people in the “recent past” — in Paul’s own time. Much of Ehrman’s argument against Wells is over this particular point. But Ehrman never cites where Wells makes this claim and it’s not one I recall Wells ever making — though it is some years since I read his books. If I was more dedicated I would re-read them now to check, but I feel I have spent enough time and space on this section already.