How are these four alleged miracle workers different from Jesus?

In his debate with William Lane Craig, Bart Ehrman mentions from 1:03:54 alleged miracle workers to rival Jesus: Apollonius of Tyana, Hanina ben Dosa, Honi the Circle Drawer, and Vespasian. He apparently challenges Craig to discuss them to demonstrate that Craig is not a historian, and hence the audience should accept on authority Ehrman’s demarcation between history and philosophy and his claim that historians cannot postulate that Jesus has Risen.

At 1:12:52 Craig responds by appealing to the authority of Robert Yarbrough, John Meier and Ben Witherington for the assertion that Apollonius, Hanina and Honi don’t have as strong historical evidence. He then adds that they are not relevant to considerations of the evidence for Jesus’ Resurrection. He doesn’t respond regarding Vespasian.

His latter claim seems to me false at face-value: If there are many credible accounts of miracle workers, it calls into question the credibility of Jesus’ accounts, since one must answer how Jesus is different from them (i.e. how they are not likewise consubstantial with the Father). I also wonder how much credibility we should assign to them – or rather, remove from them – by virtue of our existing documentation originating a few centuries after their deaths.

How are these four alleged miracle workers different from Jesus?

Perhaps I have found answers to these questions in the webpages I’ve researched here: [LIST=1]
*]Apollonius of Tyana is someone about whom little is known, who appears to have been a physician and philosopher. His healings appear to be from erudite knowledge rather than divine power.
*]The accounts of Hanina ben Dosa’s miracles appear as fables rather than claims of fact like the Gospels.
*]Honi the Circle Drawer seems famous for coincidentally standing inside a circle and shouting at God when it rained one time.
*]Vespasian’s miracles aren’t credible and weren’t presented by historians as worthy of belief.
[/LIST]

I am troubled by the thought of apparently disproving an actual historian by some simple internet searches. It suggests to me that the matter is more complicated than I know. Bart Ehrman received a PhD 30 years ago from Princeton Theological Seminary, graduating magna cum laude: Surely he would not raise objections that could be refuted by a layman with internet access!

What are your thoughts? Do you have reading recommendations? How are we to live our lives in this era where there are more contrary claims and more information than we can manage?

Is that even possible? Can you disprove (or prove) ANYTHING simply by searching the tubes of the interwebs?

Bart Ehrman received a PhD 30 years ago from Princeton Theological Seminary, graduating magna cum laude.

I don’t know anything about Dr. Ehrman, and I haven’t read any of the articles you linked to. But a person’s educational credentials mean little to me.

Have you ever heard of Doctor Oz? He’s an MD (Medical Doctor), a cardiothoracic surgeon, with an undergraduate degree from Harvard. He’s not only a doctor (PhD), he’s a board-certified surgeon - arguably a much higher academic and professional standard than a PhD theologian.

And he’s a total nutjob. He’s been censured by the United States Senate and the FTC for being a fraud. There’s a stage magician called “The Amazing Randi” who has a sideline debunking frauds - Dr. Oz has won his annual “flying pig” award THREE TIMES - the only guy to “win” it more than once.

Surely he would not raise objections that could be refuted by a layman with internet access!

Well, Dr. Oz could be refuted with nothing more than an internet connection. Of course, he could ALSO be exonerated. It just depends on what website you visit.

How are we to live our lives in this era where there are more contrary claims and more information than we can manage?

There have always been contrary claims and more information than we can manage. But, in the internet age, we have easy access to it (without investing thousands of dollars into a personal library, now obsolete, as I did). It’s always been there.

Of course, we can always read the Catechism.

It isn’t the miracles that set Jesus apart from the others. (If I’m not mistaken, one of the gospels has the Pharisees alluding to other miracle workers.) The miracles were only a way of getting peoples’ attention.

The difference is that Jesus called himself God and proved it by rising from the dead. Add to that the fact that a whole new religion sprang up among Jesus’ followers that continues to this day. The same can definitely not be said of the others you mentioned.

Historians do not postulate Jesus as risen. The most historians may postulate is that a relative handful of people claim to have seen Jesus alive after he was killed and buried, and claim to have seen him ascend into a cloud before losing sight of him.

It is that handful of people who postulate Jesus as risen via their eyewitness testimony.
And it is their appointed successors who were told to continue to proclaim the eyewitness account, including their trust of the eyewitnesses (“Peter saw Jesus risen and ascend, he told me, and I trust Peter”. “Peter’s successor told me that Peter told him that he saw Jesus risen and ascend, and he trusted Peter, and I trust Peter’s successor.”, … “Pope Francis and my Bishop and my Pastor told me that this series of Peter’s successors were told that Peter saw Jesus risen and ascend, and they trusted Peter, and I trust them to be telling the truth, therefore it is a certainty that Jesus is risen and ascended.”)

That is the only postulation of Jesus risen. And I am a part of it, being accepted into this cloud of witnesses and granted what they received in order to give to me.

There is still the historical evidence of the rapid and far-reaching growth of the Christian movement. I don’t see any Apollonians around.

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