Newsweek stirred up a predictable hornets’ nest in their December 17 issue with a long cover story by biblical scholar Bart D. Ehrman summarizing very interesting recent findings about the historical Jesus. Ehrman is a Professor at the University of North Carolina who specializes in the New Testament. He is also a leader in the movement to approach the Bible as a collection of stories and “myths” (in the Joseph Campbell sense.)
His introduction to the essay probably seems innocuous and scholarly to most us:
“As Christians around the world now prepare to celebrate Jesus’ birth, it is worth considering that much of the ‘common knowledge’ about the babe in Bethlehem cannot be found in any scriptural authority, but is either a modern myth or based on Gospel accounts from outside the sacred bounds of Christian Scripture.”
However, in a year when the media have already gone gaga over a fragment of text suggesting Jesus was married (which most scholars now believe was a hoax) it was like a declaration of war to those who believe the Bible is revealed, complete, literal truth.
Read the whole story here, including a lot of reader feedback pro and con.