I recognize the webpage, because I ran across it and found all of the different approaches interesting -- Jesus the Myth: Heavenly Christ, Jesus the Revolutionary, Jesus the Wisdom Sage, Jesus the Prophet of Social Change... I think I found the page while reading about the Jesus Project (my internet searches often turn into stream of consciousness wanderings, and I never know where I'm going to end up...) If I linked specifically to articles by Ehrman, I'm not sure why because I'm not familiar with him as an author. Maybe I read a specific quote by him that was pertinent to the topic o' the day? Not sure.
I wasn't familiar with Eisenman either, so I read that excerpt you posted. And started looking at some of the specifics.
Simon bar Giora -- another unfamiliar to me. He died in 70 CE. Jesus died -- and was resurrected -- about 40 years before that (speaking from a standard Christian viewpoint). Were the Gospels written before or after 70 CE? Jesus prophesied the fall of Jerusalem in Matthew, Mark, and Luke, and we know it occurred in 70 CE. If the Gospels were written after that date, why was the destruction of Jerusalem not mentioned as an event that had, in fact, occurred? Acts doesn't mention it either, or the persecution of Christians by Nero (64 CE). So who came first -- the Gospel Jesus or Simon bar Giora? Unfortunately, it seems the answer depends on what the source already believes about Jesus. =)
Jesus ben Ananias -- not familiar with him either. What I found was he was predicting the destruction of Jerusalem somewhere around 62-66 CE -- again, more than 30 years after Jesus. So, did the Gospel Jesus come first, or Jesus ben Ananias? I am a little confused by Eisenman's reference to "the mute flogging of Jesus by priests and Roman Procurator for predicting the Temple's doom suspiciously similar to that of Jesus ben-Ananias". Jesus wasn't flogged for predicting the Temple's doom. It was a typical punishment under Roman law, so not unusual that they were both flogged. But I can't find anything in the scriptures that specifies that Jesus was mute or silent when he was beaten:
John 19:1Then Pilate took Jesus and had him flogged. 2The soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head. They clothed him in a purple robe 3and went up to him again and again, saying, "Hail, king of the Jews!" And they struck him in the face.
Mark 14:65 Then some began to spit at him; they blindfolded him, struck him with their fists, and said, "Prophesy!" And the guards took him and beat him.
Luke 22:63The men who were guarding Jesus began mocking and beating him. 64They blindfolded him and demanded, "Prophesy! Who hit you?" 65And they said many other insulting things to him.
Nothing says he was "mute", although there is one passage that said he didn't speak in his own defense, but I think that was before the Sanhedrin.
And ben Ananias, according to Josephus -- "yet he did not make any supplication for himself, nor shed any tears, but turning his voice to the most lamentable tone possible, at every stroke of the whip his answer was, "Woe, woe to Jerusalem!" Well...Jeremiah said that in 587 BC, and Jesus echoed it in Matthew 23...which may or may not have been written before ben Ananias lived.
How do you decide which historians have the most accurate information, and which historians are biased by what they already believe? I can see that possibility on both sides of the fence. Lots to ponder =)