Ehrman’s book has not surprisingly been met with considerable criticism from Christian writers and thinkers. We featured an interview with one such critic: Michael Bird, who (along with four other Bible scholars) published How God Became Jesus, a rebuttal of Ehrman’s book.
That interview is well worth reading if you missed it. However, in the weeks since, Ehrman’s book has triggered a great deal of fresh discussion. Here are some of the most interesting pieces of discussion that I’ve noted.
Many (but not all) of the pieces I’m about to link to are quite critical of Ehrman’s book. But before we jump straight to the rebuttals, it’s worth taking some time to let Ehrman make his case. The best way to do that is to read his book, but short of that, NPR has posted a lengthy and interesting conversation with Ehrman about How Jesus Became God:
You can read some highlights from the interview at NPR.org, along with an excerpt from How Jesus Became God.
Now, let’s move on to some of the responses to Ehrman, positive and negative:
- Michael Bird (author of the Ehrman rebuttal, mentioned above) lays out five lines of evidence missing from Ehrman’s How Jesus Became God. Bird elaborates on his points, and shares two excerpts from his rebuttal book How God Became Jesus, at World Magazine.
- Ehrman has written a response to critics of his book. Bird offers a few comments on Ehrman’s defense.
- Rob Bowman has an excellent breakdown and analysis of both books, fairly listing their strengths and weaknesses.
- Popular politics/culture blogger Andrew Sullivan has been extensively discussing How Jesus Became God with his readers, publishing a variety of both positive and negative points.
- Andreas Köstenberger pens a thoughtful but critical review of How Jesus Became God at The Gospel Coalition.
- Fuller Theological Seminary professor J.R. Daniel Kirk has written a multi-part review of How Jesus Became God, and believes that its Christian critics are misunderstanding Ehrman’s argument. Bird has responded to the review.
As you can see, there’s a robust discussion taking place right now about the divinity of Jesus, and how and why people choose to believe in it. While Christians might understandably not be thrilled with a book like Ehrman’s, we can be thankful for the opportunity it presents to discuss, think through, and proclaim our belief in Jesus Christ, the Son of God.