I often target Acharya S’ cyber-teachings since she is responsible for popularizing so many of the types of claims it has been my personal labor to respond to.
What do we want?
Source critical conscientious historiography!
When do we want it?
After peer review!
Compare his CV with Murdock's errrr "resume"--which is really only a biographical story on her website since listing out qualifications would look far too meager. I'll save you the read: She has only a BA in Classics [not New Testament] and dropped out one year into her MA...She was also an honor roll student in high school and has been mistaken for a Greek boy over the telephone before...That's relevant somehow.
Ehrman is not a believer. He's self-described as an "agnostic leaning towards atheism" and has published books with titles and subtitles like, “The Use of Literary Deceit in Early Christian Polemics”; …"How the Bible Fails…”; “Revealing the Hidden Contradictions in the Bible”, and …”Who Changed the Bible and Why?” In his recent book Did Jesus Exist? On pages 21-25, we find this delightful appraisal of Acharya by Ehrman:
Mythicists of [Acharya’s] ilk should not be surprised that their views are not taken seriously by real scholars…The book is filled with so many factual errors and outlandish assertions that it is hard to believe that the author is serious. If she is serious, it is hard to believe that she has ever encountered anything resembling historical scholarship. Her “research” appears to have involved reading a number of non-scholarly books that say the same thing she is about to say and then quoting them…One cannot help but wondering if [her arguments are] all a spoof done in good humor… Later we will see that all of Acharya’s major points are in fact wrong. Jesus was not invented in Alexandria, Egypt, in the middle of the second Christian century. He was known already in the 30s of the first century, in Jewish circles of Palestine.
Ehrman continues his critique of Acharya by listing, “a few of the howlers one encounters” in her book:
· The second-century church father Justin never quotes or mentions any of the Gospels (25). [This simply isn’t true: he mentions the Gospels on numerous occasions; typically he calls them “Memoirs of the Apostles” and quotes from them, especially from Matthew, Mark, and Luke.]
· The Gospels were forged hundreds of years after the evens they narrate (26). [In fact, the Gospels were written at the end of the first century, about thirty-five to sixty-five years after Jesus’s death, and we have physical proof: one fragment of a Gospel manuscript dates to the early second century. How could it have been forged centuries after that?]
· We have no manuscript of the New Testament that dates prior to the fourth century (26). [This is just plain wrong: we have numerous fragmentary manuscripts that date from the second and third centuries.]
· The autographs “were destroyed after the Council of Nicaea” (26). [In point of fact, we have no knowledge of what happened to the original copies of the New Testament; they were probably simply used so much they wore out. There is not a scintilla of evidence to suggest that they survived until Nicaea or that they were destroyed afterward; plenty of counterevidence indicates they did not survive until Nicaea.]
· “It took well over a thousand years to canonize the New Testament,” and “many councils” were needed to differentiate the inspired from the spurious books (31). [Actually, the first author to list our canon of the New Testament was the church father Athanasius in the year 367 the comment about “many councils” is simply made up.]
· Paul never quotes a saying of Jesus (33). [Acharya has evidently never read the writings of Paul. As we will see, he does quote saying of Jesus.]
· The Acts of Pilate, a legendary account of Jesus’ trial and execution, was once considered canonical (44). [None of our sparse references to the Acts of Pilate indicates, or even suggests, any such thing.]
· The “true meaning of the word gospel is ‘God’s Spell,’ as in magic, hypnosis and delusion” (45). [No, the word gospel comes to us from the Old English term god spel, which means ”good news”—a fairly precise translation of the Greek word euaggelion. It has nothing to do with magic.]
· The church father “Irenaeus was a Gnostic” (60). [In fact, he was one of the most virulent opponents of Gnostics in the early church.]
· Augustine was “originally a Mandaean, i.e., a Gnostic, until after the Council of Nicaea” (60). [Augustine was not even born until nineteen years after the Council of Nicaea, and he certainly was no Gnostic.]
· “'Peter’ is not only ‘the rock’ but also the cock,’ or [phallus--keep'n it medically esoteric for the children], as the word is used as slang to this day.”…[There is no [phallus]-nosed statue of Peter the cock in the Vatican or anywhere else except in books like this, which love to make things up.]
Did Jesus Exist?: The Historical Argument for Jesus of Nazareth, (USA: HarperCollins, 2012).