Note: Long overdue! This is part two of our critique of atheist and skeptic Bart Ehrman’s attack on Jesus’ so called “Triumphant entry” into Jerusalem as found in Ehrman’s book Did Jesus Exist? I’m four years late but I suppose it is better late than never. I begin first with a presentation of Ehrman’s views which is followed by part two of my response.
I. BART EHRMAN’S VIEW
Ehrman’s rejects the historicity of Jesus’ so called Triumphant entry into Jerusalem that happened on “Palm Sunday” during the final week of His life.
Bart Ehrman succinctly stated the argument for his conclusion on page 293:
Conversely, the likelihood of Jesus entering into Jerusalem straddling two donkeys and with the crowd shouting out that he was the messiah is decreased by the circumstance that had such an event really happened (unlikely as it is on its own terms), Jesus would no doubt have been arrested by the authorities on the spot instead of a week later.” (293)
And with a bit more extended comment Ehrman stated earlier on page 202:
If it is true that the crowds were shouting that Jesus was the messiah now arriving in the holy city, why didn’t the authorities immediately take notice and have him arrested both for causing a disturbance and for claiming to be the Jewish king (when only Rome could appoint the king)? Instead, according to Matthew and the other Gospels, Jesus spent an unmoltested week in Jerusalem and only then was arrested and put on trial. But it defies belief that the Roman authorities who were in town precisely in order to prevent any mob actions or uprisings would have failed to intervene if the crowds shouted in acclamation for a new ruler arriving in town” (202).
Ehrman’s argument is essentially that he can’t believe it took a full week after Jesus entered into Jerusalem in a Messianic fashion (with it’s political implication) before He was finally arrested and put on trial. Ehrman’s reasoning is not without it’s problem. One can group the problems into two basic categories: (1) Ehrman has not properly handled the Biblical data in his argument against the historicity of Jesus’ “Triumphant entry” and also (2) his argument that in light of historical parallels. We have already looked at the first set of problems in part one. If you have not already done so, you might want to read part one first, which demonstrated that Ehrman has not properly handle the Biblical data. Here in this post we will consider historical parallels of other Messianic figures as a rebuttal to his argument.