Reginald Finley is an internet sceptic. There are many such sceptics, who see themselves as part of a thriving community of thought, which in actuality amounts to a (virtual) crowd of usernames at internet forums who perceive themselves at the cutting edge of the genuinely critical approach to biblical studies. They are strident non-believers, they know that Jesus never existed, and they know – they are absolutely certain – that this is what the evidence shows. People who disagree are simply ignoring the evidence or are unwilling to challenge tradition.
Bart Ehrman is a New Testament critic. By that I mean that he’s a qualified, professional scholar who has expertise in textual criticism. In the past I’ve criticised Ehrman over what I take to be his rather sensationalist work, especially in the podcast episode Sexing Up Early Church History. I say that lest anyone think that I’m a fan of his. I’m not. As I explain in that episode, I think some of his theories about the way the church suppressed alternative books of the Bible are more at home in The Da Vinci code than in the classroom. Perhaps banking on the fact that a fellow non believer, and someone with a few degrees to boot, would come to the aid of the “Christ myth” theory, the fringe view that Jesus never existed, Finley broached the subject with Ehrman. You can tell from Finley’s reaction that he was unprepared for the reply.