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The Michael Shermer Show

A series of conversations between Dr. Michael Shermer and leading scientists, philosophers, historians, scholars, writers and thinkers about the most important issues of our time.

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Bart Ehrman — Did the Christmas Story Really Happen? The Birth of Jesus in History & Legend

In this conversation with the renowned biblical scholar and historian, Bart Ehrman reviews the highlights of his forthcoming live seminar on December 5. In addition to that, Shermer and Ehrman discuss:

  • how we know Jesus existed and was crucified,
  • how these questions are different epistemologically from those about Jesus’ resurrection and the claim that he died for our sins,
  • how Christians deal with the trinity problem: How can God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit be one and the same and yet separate and different? “God sacrificed himself…to himself…to save us from himself.” How is this possible?
  • how Christians answer these question: Why did Jesus have to suffer and die? Why couldn’t God just forgive us for our sins?
  • Why was the virgin birth so important to early Christians?
  • Why was the resurrection so important to early Christians?
  • Anti-Semitism in the early Christian church (“the Jews killed Jesus” or “the Jews killed God”) and why it makes no theological sense (Jesus was Jewish, and if he had to die to save us from our sins, whoever killed Jesus should be thanked),
  • why Jews and Muslims do not believe that Jesus was the messiah,
  • how Jesus became God and how Christianity grew from a few dozen followers at the time of Jesus’s death to over two billion followers today,
  • theodicy and the problem of evil: Why does an all powerful, all knowing, all good God allow people to suffer?

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Did the Christmas Story Really Happen? The Birth of Jesus in History and Legend

Live Seminar Dec. 5, 2021
6:30am – 1pm PST / 9:30am – 4pm EST
$39.95 Early Bird Price (ends Nov. 28 at 9am PST, then $49.95)
BONUS! Registration includes lifetime access to seminar recording ($79.95 value)

  • What can we actually know about the birth of Jesus?
  • How can we decide whether he was born in Bethlehem?
  • Is it possible to reconcile the different Gospel accounts?
  • Was the story of the Virgin Birth a later fabrication?
  • What is the evidence for (or against) the many details, such as the trip to Bethlehem, the visit of the wisemen, and the “slaughter of the innocents”?
  • How many of the most familiar parts of the stories come from later legends?

Register now

Dr. Bart D. Ehrman has written or edited thirty-three books, including six New York Times bestsellers: How Jesus Became God, Misquoting Jesus, God’s Problem, Jesus Interrupted, Forged, and The Triumph of Christianity. Bart is the James A. Gray Distinguished Professor of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, where he has taught thousands of students and won numerous awards. Ehrman’s work has been featured in the New York Times, the Washington Post, Time, and Newsweek; he has appeared on National Geographic, CNN, the BBC, NBC’s Dateline, the Discovery Channel, the Daily Show with Jon Stewart, the Sam Harris Podcast, and many other top media outlets.

This episode was released on November 27, 2021.

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