First, Ehrman repeatedly overstates the claims of prior studies on the transmission of oral tradition: When someone who saw Jesus do or say something then told someone else who wasn’t there, it is impossible to believe that this other person was forbidden from sharing the news with someone else.
(78) Then, speaking as if he’s an early convert to Christianity, Ehrman asks, “Do I refuse to tell anyone about Jesus because I am not an eyewitness? The problem with these statements is they don’t accurately represent what Bauckham and other scholars claim.
Ehrman writes: There are 40 to 65 years separating Jesus’s death and our earliest accounts of his life, and we need to know what was happening to the memories of Jesus precisely during that time gap.
(15) To address this question Ehrman delves into some new areas, including cognitive psychology, memory theory, cultural anthropology, and sociology.
Hebrew quotes of the Old Testament in the NT give any clues of when the various books were written.
As I recall, the Council of Jerusalem happened around 50AD?
Ehrman doesn’t lay out his case in a tight syllogism—it’s scattered in various places throughout the book.
But, in essence, it runs as follows: While there is not space to address all these claims in a brief book review, several observations can be made.
So how were the stories of Jesus transmitted during this window of time? And what of people’s limited, fallible, and spotty memories?Second, Ehrman’s hyper-skepticism (again) goes well beyond what the evidence warrants. To use this fact as a reason to dismiss the eyewitness testimony of the Gospels goes far beyond what the evidence can bear.He appeals to numerous studies showing eyewitness testimony can sometimes be mistaken—even seriously mistaken. Sure, the Gospel authors saying that all of our memories are faulty or wrong.In addition, Ehrman’s methodology for distinguishing between distorted and non-distorted memories is subject to serious scrutiny.It’s certainly not as easy observing “inherent plausibility” in a passage, or whether that passage would be “highly relevant” for the present needs of the Gospel audience, as Ehrman suggests (157).Did this cause any of the disagreements between the Jews and Christians (I believe I’ve heard that the complete split between the two was mostly caused by Gentile Christians going to the Synagogue without converting).