Rene Salm has clued me in to another important new peer reviewed journal article, by Tom Dykstra (M.Div.; Ph.D. in Russian History), who is best known for his critically acclaimed book on how the Gospel of Mark is built out of the Epistles of Paul (Mark, Canonizer of Paul: A New Look at Intertextuality in Mark’s Gospel, reviewed by Neil Godfrey at Vridar). His new article is “Ehrman and Brodie on Whether Jesus Existed: A Cautionary Tale about the State of Biblical Scholarship,” published in volume 8.1 of the Journal of the Orthodox Center for the Advancement of Biblical Studies in 2015.
Comparing the books pro and con historicity by Thomas Brodie and Bart Ehrman, Dykstra makes many remarks critical of both authors, but especially Ehrman, and like Philip Davies, argues for greater caution and humility from historicity defenders. He also dismantles Ehrman’s arguments for historicity. Not always effectively (his treatment of the “Brothers of the Lord” argument is conspicuously weak; and he is, IMO, too sympathetic to the all-Paul-as-forgery thesis), but still often illuminatingly.
Dykstra also opens with a good brief on the Thomas Thompson parallel (which ended in the field’s acceptance of OT mythicism), illustrating how Ehrman’s (and McGrath’s) threats to destroy the career of anyone who even tries arguing against historicity in the field have a frightening precedent in biblical studies that scholars today are still embarrassed by. Even more material on that comes up later as well (pp. 20-21).
Two Interesting Observations
But what I noticed the most about this thirty pages (almost all of it well worth reading) are two things in particular worth calling special attention to.