K horúcej debate o tom, či osoba Ježiša reálne existovala sa zdá sa, pridal aj významný expert na historicko-kritické problémy spojené s Novým zákonom, agnostik Bart D. Ehrman a to tým, že napísal knižku, v ktorej zaujímavým a pútavým spôsobom rozoberá hlavné predpoklady tzv. mýtickej hypotézy o Ježišovi a ukazuje v nej prečo tieto predpoklady stoja na veľmi vratkých nohách a dajú sa poľahky vyvrátiť. Svoju knihu nazval príznačne otázkou Existoval Ježiš? a podčiarkol podtitulom Historické argumenty pre jeho existenciu ( Did Jesus Existed?: The Historical Argument for Jesus of Nazareth)
Kresťanský komentátor Benson Shays už napísal na jeho knihu svoj názor na blogu The Passive Habit:
Podľa môjho názoru významné body v tejto recenzií sú nasledovné:
After a brief overview of the history of mythicism and its currents proponents (of which only two are trained scholars, Price and Carrier), Ehrman begins the bulk of his case with a defense of the non-Christian sources for the life of Jesus. I found this chapter lacking in a lot of ways. It provides a brief overview of all the standard references (Pliny the Younger, Suetonius, Tacitus and Josephus), but Ehrman could have done better. There's no defense of Tacitus' abilities as a historian (which were impressive), for example, or the significance of the references. From Tacitus alone we can establish that Christianity came out of Judea, which creates trouble for advocates of the pagan copycat thesis, who say Christianity was crafted by combining elements from pagan religions.
Ehrman argues that these extra-biblical references are relatively unimportant in this debate; they don't provide any information we can't get from earlier sources. (p 97) While true, that argument ignores the fact that the Christ-myth crowd easily and often dismisses any Christian source for the life of Jesus as biased. So the more references we have from different writers, the better.
I have to applaud Ehrman for his treatment of the Gospels as historical sources. Obviously, I take a higher view of them being a Christian, but Ehrman rightly bashes the skeptics (e.g. David Fitzgerald) who would discount the four biographies because they contain errors and inconsistencies. "The fact that [the gospel writers'] books later became documents of faith has no bearing on...whether the books can still be used for historical purposes. To dismiss the Gospels from the historical record is neither fair nor scholary." (p 73)
Of course, the mythicists don't accept these as references to a historical person, but Ehrman carefully untangles their flawed logic on every point, giving special attention to G.A. Wells, Earl Doherty and Robert Price. After spending several chapters building his case, Ehrman goes after these major proponents rather forcefully.Sám o svojej knižke a jej hlavnej argumentačnej línii píše aj samotný Bart Ehrman na stránke novín Huffingtonpost:
In a society in which people still claim the Holocaust did not happen, and in which there are resounding claims that the American president is, in fact, a Muslim born on foreign soil, is it any surprise to learn that the greatest figure in the history of Western civilization, the man on whom the most powerful and influential social, political, economic, cultural and religious institution in the world -- the Christian church -- was built, the man worshipped, literally, by billions of people today -- is it any surprise to hear that Jesus never even existed?Toto myslím dosť zaťalo do základných premís mýtickej hypotézy o Ježišovi ako o údajnej gulášovej zmesi rôznych pohanských spasiteľov.
That is the claim made by a small but growing cadre of (published ) writers, bloggers and Internet junkies who call themselves mythicists. This unusually vociferous group of nay-sayers maintains that Jesus is a myth invented for nefarious (or altruistic) purposes by the early Christians who modeled their savior along the lines of pagan divine men who, it is alleged, were also born of a virgin on Dec. 25, who also did miracles, who also died as an atonement for sin and were then raised from the dead.
Few of these mythicists are actually scholars trained in ancient history, religion, biblical studies or any cognate field, let alone in the ancient languages generally thought to matter for those who want to say something with any degree of authority about a Jewish teacher who (allegedly) lived in first-century Palestine. There are a couple of exceptions: of the hundreds -- thousands? -- of mythicists, two (to my knowledge) actually have Ph.D. credentials in relevant fields of study. But even taking these into account, there is not a single mythicist who teaches New Testament or Early Christianity or even Classics at any accredited institution of higher learning in the Western world. And it is no wonder why. These views are so extreme and so unconvincing to 99.99 percent of the real experts that anyone holding them is as likely to get a teaching job in an established department of religion as a six-day creationist is likely to land on in a bona fide department of biology.
It is true that Jesus is not mentioned in any Roman sources of his day. That should hardly count against his existence, however, since these same sources mention scarcely anyone from his time and place. Not even the famous Jewish historian, Josephus, or even more notably, the most powerful and important figure of his day, Pontius Pilate.
It is also true that our best sources about Jesus, the early Gospels, are riddled with problems. These were written decades after Jesus' life by biased authors who are at odds with one another on details up and down the line. But historians can never dismiss sources simply because they are biased. You may not trust Rush Limbaugh's views of Sandra Fluke, but he certainly provides evidence that she exists.
Moreover, the claim that Jesus was simply made up falters on every ground. The alleged parallels between Jesus and the "pagan" savior-gods in most instances reside in the modern imagination: We do not have accounts of others who were born to virgin mothers and who died as an atonement for sin and then were raised from the dead (despite what the sensationalists claim ad nauseum in their propagandized versions).Na záver dám slovo samotnému Bartovi D. Ehrmanovi, ktorý v tomto ilustratívnom videu uvádza základné body svojej argumentačnej línie:
Moreover, aspects of the Jesus story simply would not have been invented by anyone wanting to make up a new Savior. The earliest followers of Jesus declared that he was a crucified messiah. But prior to Christianity, there were no Jews at all, of any kind whatsoever, who thought that there would be a future crucified messiah.
Bart D. Ehrman, v úvode svojej knihy jednoznačne píše:"Skutočnosť je taká, že čokoľvek si môžete myslieť o Ježišovi, on určite existoval."
Samotná kniha - ukážka na stránke vydavateľstva Harper&Collins: Did Jesus Exist?: