Thursday, February 28, 2008

Ehrman vs. Licona in Kansas City, MO

Interestingly, this debate took place at my own non-alma-mater, the Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.  I still get their newsletter from time to time.

Licona is seriously losing his voice (alas!) and this becomes downright hilarious around 14 minutes into the film when he attempts an homage to commercial audio fine print.  He tries to make the case that an historical analysis may demonstrate the truth of the resurrection to a reasonable certainty, by applying his own set of criteria to a set of “generally accepted facts” which fairly resemble the minimal facts of Dr. Gary Habermas.  He also includes a few cute pictures of children’s cartoon animals, and at least one animated express train.

Ehrman, for his part, walks back the congregation on their assumptions about the nature and origin of scripture, giving an account of how the gospels came about several decades after the life of Christ as the result of a multinational and multilingual process of passing around the basic Christian kerygma and myth until it finally ripened into a more-or-less biographical form, penned down by anonymous authors several steps removed from the historical Jesus of Nazareth.  I got the sense that the pastor sitting behind Professor Ehrman was distinctly nervous for his flock by this point in the presentation, and this made it all the more entertaining to watch.

Except for Licona’s fading voice and ridiculous visual aids, this was overall one of the best head-to-heads on the issues surrounding the resurrection of Jesus.  Both sides gave just about the best case that you can hope to get, and both presenters were evidently quite comfortable with the material and with their presentation thereof.  Definitely worth watching.

Overall rating: 4.5 stars