(2/2) Did Jesus Teach His Death Was Key To Salvation Like Paul Taught? A Few Minutes With Bart Ehrman


Did Jesus Teach His Death Was Key To Salvation Like Paul Taught? A Few Minutes With Bart Ehrman


So, I’d like to share that Professor Ehrman is offering a new course on how Paul and Jesus compare and contrast. You can sign up here. It’s very reasonably priced at around $50.00, and I’ll be signing up once I get the money together.

As we saw in the video from last time, one of Ehrman’s lines of argument is seemingly going to be that Jesus didn’t view his death as salvific (saving), as it was later interpreted. I don’t know how he’s going to argue this, but I can take some guesses.

For instance, there seems to have been a lot of factioning from the very start. Paul says “What I mean is that each of you says, “I belong to Paul,” or “I belong to Apollos,” or “I belong to Cephas,” or “I belong to Christ.” (1 Cor 1:12). These ones who claim to belong to Christ may have indeed been super-orthodox ones who followed the teachings of Jesus from before he died and didn’t make any salvific attachments to his death because the historical Jesus never made any such proclamations. Paul’s derogatory name for these appear to have been the Super-Apostles (2 Cor 11:5) who were haughty because they were purists who knew and followed Jesus’ teaching from when he was alive, which had nothing to do with a salvific death. Paul also calls these false-apostles. Paul said his gospel is that Christ died for our sins and was raised on the third day (1 Cor 15:1-4), and that the super apostles preached “another gospel (2 Cor 11:4).”

The super-apostles were not Peter, James, and John son of Zebedee because Paul did not hate and was respectful toward the Jerusalem leaders. Rather, with Peter et al we seem to have here a Christianity that very early preached a salvific death and resurrection, but only after Jesus died- a message Paul got from the Peter, James, and John faction that was memorialized in the pre-Pauline Corinthian creed from those who hallucinated Jesus such as Peter, James, the 12, and the 500, and Paul – if such hallucinations ever happened. Cults usually die out after the leader dies, so Peter et al may have been getting creative and engaged in a suicide pact (like Josephus did) to ensure the message lived on.

Anyway, it will be interesting to see how Bart makes his argument, but it is obviously interesting anyway regarding the historical Jesus question. If the evidence points to a pre-Pauline non saving death faction, this serious lowers the probability Carrier, Price, and Fitzgerald type mythicists want that Jesus was originally thought to be a Jewish example of a salvific dying-rising God.

Ehrman argues Paul originally saw Jesus as a great angel, but now it seems he will push the issue back even earlier. It is of course difficult in making this argument since Mark uses Paul, though as I say Mark seems to awkwardly insert Jesus predicting his death whereby no one understands, which seems an apologetic ad hoc way of claiming Jesus did in fact knew God’s plan was for him to die (along with the Gethsemane prayer no one was around to hear) – even though the Historical Jesus never did predict his death. We also lack the salvific cross in the earliest Q source and in later developments like the Didache which may be preserving earlier tradition.

So, join me taking Bart’s course!

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