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$5,745
pledged of $13,019pledged of $13,019 goal
112
backers
Funding Unsuccessful
The project's funding goal was not reached on Thu, July 16 2015 6:18 PM UTC +00:00
$5,745
pledged of $13,019pledged of $13,019 goal
112
backers
Funding Unsuccessful
The project's funding goal was not reached on Thu, July 16 2015 6:18 PM UTC +00:00

About

For anyone interested in Christian Origins, Biblical Scholarship, or the historical Jesus-- believer and unbeliever alike-- this event is for you. I want to bring two New Testament experts together to discuss and debate this important issue: whether Jesus of Nazareth existed as a historical man. 

By far the vast majority of historians in the field agree that he did. But a few scholars (and several amateur independent researchers) think there may be reason to doubt it. Their view has been dubbed Mythicism or The Christ-Myth Theory. Their views have gained wide support in popular (especially atheist) circles, but largely have been judged by scholars in the field as tenuous. Only a tiny number of those who question the existence of Jesus have the relevant qualifications to call themselves experts-- and both our speakers answer to that title. The event will be held before a live audience at the CAC Theatre, on Wichita State University Campus, Wichita, KS. A high-quality video of the entire debate will be uploaded to YouTube within a week of the event.

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The Speakers

Dr. Bart D. Ehrman is the world renowned bible scholar and author of more than twenty books, including five New York Times bestsellers: How Jesus Became God, Misquoting Jesus, God's Problem, Jesus Interrupted and Forged. Ehrman is the James A. Gray Distinguished Professor of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and is a leading authority on the New Testament and the history of early Christianity. He is firmly convinced (along with the vast majority of New Testament scholars/historians) that the evidence strongly attests to the existence of a historical Jesus.

Dr. Robert M. Price is New Testament scholar, theologian, and host of the Bible Geek Podcast. He has a PhD in systematic theology from Drew University (1981) and a PhD in New Testament from Drew (1993). He is the author of a number of books on the historicity of Jesus, including Deconstructing Jesus (2000), The Incredible Shrinking Son of Man (2003), and The Christ Myth Theory and Its Problems (2011). He believes the evidence for the historical Jesus has serious problems, and that a strong case can be made that Jesus never existed.

Dr. Ehrman and Dr. Price are arguably today's most popular proponents of their respective views. This event will mark the first time either has publicly engaged the other, and the first time Dr. Ehrman has publicly debated the mythicist position. They have both agreed to the event, provided that the fans can raise the funds to make it happen.

Note: Due to traveling outside the country, Dr. Ehrman was unable to make a video endorsement for the Kickstarter. Through private correspondence with me and publicly on his blog http://ehrmanblog.org/kickstarting-a-debate/ he has agreed to the event if successfully funded.

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The Format

Price and Ehrman will each give 5 minute opening statements of their positions, and then engage in 1 hour and 45 minutes of conversation—which will be lightly moderated to make sure all relevant topics get addressed. The three main topics of conversation include Extra-Biblical Evidence, Gospel/Acts Evidence, and Epistle Evidence. Then, we’ll finish with an hour of questions from the audience.

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The Rewards

This is a debate many of their fans have been waiting to see happen for several years. So for our donors, the reward is something everyone can benefit from, and something they’ve been looking forward to seeing for a long time: a high quality video of the debate that will be posted to YouTube within 7 days of the event. But a special award awaits those donating $500.00 or more. Provided they can make it to Wichita, KS, they’ll be able to join Bart Ehrman and Bob Price together for dinner, the night of the debate (timing yet to be determined). At minimum, the top ten donors will be invited to attend the dinner.

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The Organizer

I’m Ben Holman, the organizer of this event: Did Jesus Exist? Bart Ehrman and Robert Price Debate. I have a degree in Psychology from Wichita State University and I’m presently working on a second degree in Biology. I’m the President of the WSU Atheists and Agnostics, a student group on campus dedicated to promoting critical thought, secularism, and the separation of church and state. Through my involvement with the group, I've helped organize several debates, events, and conferences. I have all the necessary experience to make the event happen, and all necessary contacts through the University to make sure the building is reserved and media in place to host a first class event.

I’m not organizing this project as part of any group, rather, only as a fellow student of the Bible, and longtime fan of both Dr.'s Ehrman and Price. Both speakers have agreed to the event, provided it is successfully funded.

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Funds needed: $13,019.00  

Budget:  

$5000 speaking fee to Dr. Ehrman

$5000 speaking fee to Dr. Price  

$900 airfare projected for two round trip tickets*  

$450 to Jacob Riggs (Videographer Wichita, KS) for filming, editing, and uploading the video.  

$365 for CAC Theatre/Wichita State University media (wireless lapel mic $100/day x 2; 1 hand held wireless mic for moderator $85/day; Audio Tech on site $20/hr x 4hrs)  

$120 for hotel expenses. (thanks to our friends with discount lodging rates, we are able to accommodate both speakers, each with their own quality hotel room, for $120 total)  

$1184 for Kickstarter fees ($591.75 for Kickstarter 5% fee, and an additional $591.75 for Kickstarter 5% payment processing fee)   

 *Because of the time gap between budgeting, confirmation of funding, and selecting a Fall 2015 date; we can expect fluctuation of airline prices. For this reason, I have hopefully budgeted more than necessary for this expense. In the event that excess funds exist for this, or any other expense, the remainder will be applied to the reward dinner the night of the debate (which presently is an out-of-pocket expense on my part). Any excess funds beyond that expense will be divided evenly between both Dr.'s Ehrman and Price. In the weeks following the event, I will post an audit report for viewing by all donors and participants.

Risks and challenges

Various challenges we could possibly confront would be finding a date that works for both Dr. Ehrman and Dr. Price. Their schedules are busy, but I’m confident we can find a date (a Friday or Saturday evening) this Fall that will work. In the event that this Fall 2015 simply does not work, we will arrange the earliest possible date for 2016.

Another related challenge that could potentially present itself, would be if circumstances arose making one or both speakers unable to attend (illness; etc). In that event, we would arrange another date at the earliest possible time. In the event a speaker would be permanently unable to attend (injury; death; etc.) I would put my best efforts into finding another speaker to fill the vacant role, and still plan to have the event at the earliest available date.

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    All donors will be thanked in the credits!

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    Those donating $500.00 or more will be able to attend a casual dinner with Dr. Price and Dr. Ehrman the night of the debate, provided the donor can be in Wichita, KS for the event. At minimum, the top ten donors will be invited to attend the dinner

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Funding period

- (30 days)