Bart Ehrman, Islam and the Historical Jesus

The study of the Historical Jesus has for some decades generated a lot of interest among Scholars, the adherent of the Islamic faith are particular interested in this studies as well since Jesus is one of the central figure in Islam. The Muslims are willing to hear what the Scholars have to say and adapt which ever part seems to agree or confirm the Islamic belief, and in the end will go like “there you have it” the Qur’an have been echoing this for years!

Among the Scholars Muslims would like to listen to and quote for the defense of Islam and as an attack on the Christian faith is the man, Bart D. Ehrman, the man Muslims love quoting when discussing the critical issues on the Gospels and the Bible as a whole. The reason why the Muslims love to quote Ehrman among other liberal Scholars is obvious, it is always about attacking the Bible, even though Dr. Ehrman does not hold the same view with the Muslims and will not come to the same conclusion with them, they love him anyway.

Recently, Bart posted on his blog, responding to some certain questions he was asked, and one of those happen to be a trend the that has grown for some years among the Muslims, the use of his material as an attack on the Bible. Before responding to the questions, Bart noted how a Muslim had earlier made this comment about how they use his work:

[After pointing out that whoever said I was about ready to convert to Islam was obviously makin’ in up, or influenced by someone else who was makin’ it up, this Muslim reader commented as follows:]  Anyways, that won’t stop us from using your awesome arguments against Christianity. You confirmed like 99% of Islamic belief about Jesus without even resorting to the Quran. That is pretty impressive and no wonder Muslims flock to your blog and FB.

This pretty much gives an insight into the reason why majority of the Muslims are interested in Ehrman’s work, they see this as a tool for defending Islam and attacking the Gospels, and why do they do this? because it “supports” Islam in a way, in other words, anything that advances the course of Islam should be used, no mater where or who said it. Even though there are some views Ehrman holds which not only go contrary to some core Islamic teachings, but make Islam look like a made up religion, some Muslims dont want to know about this, all they want is what Ehrman has that can be used to destroy the Bible.

Bart continues in his response,

I’m completely happy for my work to be used by Muslims.  Or by Mormons.  Or by Jews.  Or by Buddhists.  Or by Methodists, Episcopalians, Baptists, Lutherans, Roman Catholics, Russian Orthodox, or anyone else.   But I have to say that I do not see my scholarship as advancing the agenda of any of these groups.  I’m simply engaged in historical scholarship.  I do not think that the Qur’an has any particular insights about the historical Jesus that are to be taken as independent reports by historical scholars.  Neither does any other historical scholar that I know (or anyone who works seriously on the historical Jesus).

And I doubt very much that my views coincide with 99% of Islamic belief about Jesus.  For one thing, I am convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt that Jesus was physically crucified and died on the cross.  That is rock-bottom certain in my books.  And it stands completely odds with standard Islamic beliefs.

How on earth will Muslims continue to use Ehrman’s argument when it he sees one of the fundamental Islamic believe as ahistorical and false? How clearer can this be to any honest person looking to use an argument from which the source you disagree with? That is the highest level of inconsistency I have ever seen. I once told a Muslim who quotes Ehrman in attacking the Bible how he debunk Islam on the crucifixion and his response was that Ehrman was wrong in that regards, yet he believes and uses his argument on others areas, when will our Muslim friends wake up to the reality of this dangerous position and worldview?

Coming as a big surprise, while the Muslims attack the Gospel as being unreliable account of the life of the historical Jesus, on the basis of the fact that the Qur’an has a different opinion and views of Jesus, Bart and other Scholars still agree that the NT is what the Scholars draw from when executing their research on the historical Jesus. Ehrman, remarked that the Qur’an could not be trusted on this and cannot be taken seriously by Scholars on the historical Jesus. This alone should get the Muslims thinking since they love quoting Bart’s materials and using them as well.

We are not asking the Muslims to agree with Bart Ehrman on everything, but at least, do they agree with him on this critical issues that the Qur’an cant be taken seriously when studying the Historical Jesus and that ultimately that Jesus was indeed crucified? How can one believe in this and continue to be a Muslim?

We hope to see a consistent argument from the Muslim in the future and not just anything they could get hold of so far it seems to help the view of the Qur’an or support Islam.