Source: NPR - KERA
As you celebrate Good Friday and Easter, I suggest that you spend 50 minutes listening to this interview with Bart Ehrman. Bart Ehrman is a Professor of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and he spoke with our local NPR affiliate about his new book “Did Jesus Exist?: The Historical Argument for Jesus of Nazareth”. Ehrman addresses the Christ myth theory and explains why most historians agree that Jesus did exist and he also explains why there is limited historical evidence to prove that Jesus existed. I was surprised to hear that there are only two authors from Palestine during the first century. Historians estimate that 97% of people were illiterate during Jesus' life. The Romans were not detailed record keepers, and that's probably why there are no records of his birth, life and death other than the New Testament.
Most Scholars and historians agree that Jesus was a first century Palestinian Jew who was a preacher who spent most of his time in the cities around the Sea of Galilee, and went to Jerusalem to celebrate Passover where he was turned over to Roman authorities and that Pontius Pilate ordered him to be crucified. Ehrman explains why there are no surviving written accounts from anybody who witnessed Jesus' ministry first-hand and why the stories about Jesus were passed on by oral tradition for many years after Jesus' death. The stories were passed on by word of mouth and the stories changed gradually until literate authors recorded the stories. Scribes then copied and translated the stories for centuries until they were finally included in the Bible we have today.
This is a Suspicious News Brief. Listen to the interview at NPR - KERA
You may also enjoy another NPR interview with Bart Ehrman about his book "Jesus Interrupted":