The Gospels

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Christian2
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The Gospels

#1

Post by Christian2 » Wed Jan 26, 2005 12:06 pm

Have any of you ever read anywhere from any source that:

1. The passion narrative is entirely fiction.

2. Peter was crucified in Rome and the story (Passion narrative) was constructed around that.

3. All four Gospels are late second century forgeries.

4. Jesus died a very old man in his bed in Jerusalem, surrounded by his loved ones.

A graduate from Talbot's Seminary told me that the above is true and that when he found it out, he changed his career. I have no reason to doubt that he sincerely believes this and I have no doubt that he graduated from seminary with plans to be a Theologian.

I tried to find info on the Internet and couldn't. Any ideas from anyone?

Thank you

PS: After giving my post some more thought, I think the best place for me to start is with the dates of the Gospels. How do we determine the actual dates of the Gospels? Is it safe to say that since the Book of Acts, which is the history of the early church, does not mention the deaths of James (62AD), Paul and Peter (67-68 AD) and the destruction of the Temple, that the Book of Acts had to have been written before 70AD, perhaps as early as 55-60AD?

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#2

Post by Anonymous » Wed Jan 26, 2005 5:23 pm

That sounds like something out of the Da Vinci Code or The Beast Movie. :lol:

However I've never heard of the above statements at all, but seriously how many people have made up stuff about the gospels with no concrete evidence?

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vvart, thank you

#3

Post by Christian2 » Fri Jan 28, 2005 10:37 am

vvart,
However I've never heard of the above statements at all, but seriously how many people have made up stuff about the gospels with no concrete evidence?
I have a feeling that there is more to this story than I have been told. There has to be some other reason why my friend dropped out of Christianity.

Thanks.

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#4

Post by RGeeB » Fri Jan 28, 2005 11:04 am

All the gospels rely on eyewitness accounts. Mark got his from Peter. Matthew and Luke followed on from there, giving their own prespectives. Luke and Acts were written about the same time. Luke must have got a bit from Mary, the mother of Jesus. John was written after the destruction of the temple. I'll try and dig up more precise dates and sources from the book I've got lying somewhere.

vvart is right - people can come up with stories, especially since first names around that time were shared a lot.
Maranatha!

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#5

Post by August » Fri Jan 28, 2005 8:02 pm

Hi

I'm going to be a bit lazy here. Below is a copy of a mail that I have shared via pm with one of our atheist friends.

"When we start investigating historical documents, we must follow the same rules any forensic scientist follows, look at evidence that removes doubt. Of course, most of what we as Christians believe come from the Bible, but that would be too easy, is the Bible not just some fairy tale written by some bishops about 300 years after the so-called Christ came along? No, not quite. The early parts of the scrolls making up the Old Testament dates back to around 100 BC, and ever since its discovery has remained readily available, so not much has changed. The New Testament was written between 40 and 70 AD, with around 3000 independent manuscripts of the orgininal texts found. There was also numerous non-Biblical references to Jesus, more than in fact exists for Ceasar Tiberius, the Roman emperor at the time. I can't copy all the history here, but it is well accepted that the Bible is a historical document. So what, you say, this proves nothing.

So on to the next issue, how can documents dated 100 BC, and in fact assumed to have been in the Talmud for years before that, predict the coming of Jesus? There are numerous references to Jesus in the Old Testament, prediciting where and when he will be born and what the outcome of his life on earth will be. So to prove that, we will have to know that Jesus lived and died, and that he made predictions that would later come true, and that he rose from the dead. Just like in science, since we are not able to go back in time and observe things, we have to look at what proof we have available, and make a best judgement based on the evidence. Jesus was referred to in more than 150 non-biblical historcal documents, compared to 9 for Ceasar Tiberius, and a similar figure for Alexander the Great. Out of those, 10 were contemperary texts from his time, around 30 AD. We also have a wide range of checks and controls to see that the New Testament of today is in fact the same as what was written in the original texts. Historians now agree that Jesus did exist, if measured by the same criteria as any other piece of history. There lies the first proof, that the God-inspired Bible predicted his birth at least 100 years before he was born.

OK, but even so, is the OT not just a cryptic message that can be interpreted any way? Well, the statement is that the Son of God will be born, and we know that there was a person such as Jesus. If Jesus was not the son of God, proven by unexplainable events, then the prediction would not be true. In Christianity, the fact that Jesus rose from the dead is a keystone to prove that he was the Son of God, and would in fact be a miracle. In order to believe that, we have to believe certain things. 1. The New Testament Gospels are true accounts, 2. There must be eye-witnesses, 3. There can be no external (non-Biblical) evidence to the contrary.

The New Testament has been proven to be historically valid documents through various methods, i.e. they are the same now as when they were written in 40 to 70 AD. What we are after is whether the words in there are truth or legend. How do we distinguish between truth and legend? Legend normally does not arise that quick after someones death, since there would still be too many eyewitnesses around to discount the legend. The Gospels were written around 40 to 70 AD, so well within that lifetime. So how do we know the New Testament writers told the truth? The texts conform to forensic requirements for truth:
1. They include numeroues embarrassing details about themselves, unlikely if the text was embellished or meant to hype.
2. include numerous embarrassing details and difficult sayings of Jesus
3. include the demanding requirements of Jesus
4. carefully distinguish Jesus words from their own
5. include events about the resurrection that they could not have invented
6. include at least 30 historically verifiable public figures in their writings
7. include divergent details
8. challenge their readers to check out verifiable facts, even facts about miracles
9. describe miracles like other historic events, with simple unembellished accounts
10. the writers abandoned their long-held sacred beliefs and practices, adopted new ones, and did not deny their testimony under threat of persecusion or death.
The writers of the New Testament were not going to die for a fairy tale. So, this shows that these accounts have a very high likelyhood of being true, ie what the writers saw and experienced.

If Jesus rose from the dead, was there eye-witnesses? Gary Habermas wrote the most authoritive work on the crucifixtion period, and after peer-review, all scholars from across the theological and historical spectrum, non-Christians included, agree that:
1. Jesus died by Roman crucifixtion.
2. He was buried in a private tomb
3. Soon afterwards his followers were bereaved, discouraged and despondent, having lost hope
4. Jesus tomb was found empty very soon after his interment
5. His followers had experiences that they believed were actual appearences of the risen Jesus
6. Due to these experiences, the disciple's lives were thoroughly transformed, they were even willing to die for their belief
7. The proclamation of the resurrection took place from the beginning of church history
8. The disciples public testimony and preaching of the resurrection took place in Jerusalem, where Jesus had been crucified and buried shortly before.
9. The gospel message centered on the preaching of the death and resurrection of Jesus
10. Sunday was the primary day for gathering and worshipping.
11. James, the brother of Jesus, and a skeptic before his time, was converted when he also saw the risen Jesus.
12. Saul of Tarsus also became a believer due to an experience that he believed was an appearance of the risen Jesus.

One last point is that if Jesus was still dead, the Romans would have very quickly produced his body and paraded it through the streets to stop the early Christian church from developing.

So the bottom line is this, as can be seen from the example above, the Bible is a fascinating book that included prophesies that came true (I just used one example here), and a historically accurate account of a great miracle, Jesus rising from the dead. The Bible is also the only religious text that claims that God created the universe from nothing, and mentions it thoughout. We believe that the whole Bible is truly a book inspired by God, and we have some evidence, as I showed on example of, that it is the case."

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Re: The Gospels

#6

Post by Kurieuo » Fri Jan 28, 2005 11:22 pm

Christian2 wrote:A graduate from Talbot's Seminary told me that the above is true and that when he found it out, he changed his career. I have no reason to doubt that he sincerely believes this and I have no doubt that he graduated from seminary with plans to be a Theologian.
Unless Talbot portray themselves as something they're really not, I can't imagine that they would teach something that seems like it is out of the divinchi code. They also have perhaps "the" best defender on the historicity of Christ in the way of William Lane Craig, and also J.P. Moreland, and so I find such claim bogus.

So I personally do question his being a graduate. What reason have you got to believe he is a graduate? Can he produce any supporting evidence?

Kurieuo.
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To Kurieuo and August

#7

Post by Christian2 » Sat Jan 29, 2005 8:27 am

Kurieuo and August,

Thank you for your responses.

Kurieuo: I don't think for a minute that Talbot teaches what my friend believes. I think that it is just a matter of him not believing what he was taught. I still think that there is more to my friend abandoning Christianity than I am aware of, but this is really not a concern of mine other than to present a case that he may want to consider that perhaps will lead him back to Christianity. :D

August: Your thoughts are appreciated and I agree with what you said. I have spent a lot of time doing the kind of research that you did. Gary Habermas is one of my favorite historians.

In order to convince himself that the gospels were written in the first century, my friend looked for quotes from the gospels in the early Church Father's writings. He came up with Bishop Papias who was the first to mention the Book of Mark in 150AD. He believes in the primacy of Mark based on Q. Based on that theory: if Mark was written first and Matthew and Luke copied from Mark then Matthew and Luke had to have been written later.

But Marcion who around 140AD made his own canon accepted Luke. Doesn't that suggest that Luke was written before 140AD and if Luke copied from Mark then Mark has to also predate 140AD? Because Marcion didn't use Matthew does not mean that Matthew did not exist at that time either because Marcion never would have used Matthew--too "Jewish." Marcion's purpose was to rid his canon of all Jewishness.

I used the following document for research for evidence of the existence of the gospels.

http://www.ntcanon.org/authorities.shtml

Ignatius who died 110 AD quotes from Matthew, Luke and Acts. How could he do that if these books didn't exist until the late second century?
Yet my friend says that there is not a single explicit reference to any of the four gospels until late second century by any Apostolic Father. He thinks that this should be of major concern to me.

Again, thank you for your comments.
Last edited by Christian2 on Tue Feb 15, 2005 5:12 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: To Kurieuo and August

#8

Post by Kurieuo » Sat Jan 29, 2005 2:56 pm

Christian2 wrote:Kurieuo: I don't think for a minute that Talbot teaches what my friend believes. I think that it is just a matter of him not believing what he was taught. I still think that there is more to my friend abandoning Christianity than I am aware of, but this is really not a concern of mine other than to present a case that he may want to consider that perhaps will lead him back to Christianity. :D
I'd look at events that occurred in his life, for his beliefs above have no backing I am aware of, and certainly wouldn't be accepted by the majority of historical scholars (if any). Thus, it is up to him to provide evidence, not up to you to refute an absense of evidence.

I'm lead to the conclusion that he did not leave Christianity for rational reasons, but rather personal reasons to do with his own life. If you are aware of anything in his life, I'd perhaps focus my attention on that, rather than focusing upon the "justification" for his changing in beliefs (which generally comes after the change).

Kurieuo.
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#9

Post by Anonymous » Sun Jan 30, 2005 2:15 am

I'm beginning to think the points you mentioned which your friend believes are in fact from the Da Vinci Code. I'm not positive but i believe some of the points definitely are. I've never actually read the book myself but i've heard a lot about it and i'd ask your friend if he has read it. If he has, well then you know what to do :wink: .

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Thanks vvart

#10

Post by Christian2 » Sun Jan 30, 2005 5:27 am

I haven't read the Da Vinci Code, but I have a long article debunking it with lots of links, etc. I plan to read it and follow the links. This is a good idea.

I remember that D. Crossan said on a TV program about Jesus that: "There is good fiction and there is bad fiction, the Da Vinci Code is junk fiction."

Thank you to all. :D

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Update of the age of Jesus when He died

#11

Post by Christian2 » Tue Mar 22, 2005 6:51 am

From my original post:
4. Jesus died a very old man in his bed in Jerusalem, surrounded by his loved ones.


This is where this thought is coming from:

http://www.tombofjesus.com/core/majorpl ... enaeus.htm

Here is the clip:

2. IRENAEUS STATES THAT JESUS LIVED TO AT LEAST 100 YEARS OF AGE
We will present excerpts from an important document written by St. Irenaeus entitled, Against Heresies. That entire book is online on the Internet, and can be read at your leisure. The quotes that we will present later come from the Gnostic Society. Library's online translation of Against Heresies, and we encourage the reader to visit their website and browse through the materials.

Now, it must be stated that St. Irenaeus still believed that Jesus Christ was crucified, but that he was “more than fifty years old when he died.” In fact, Irenaeus believed in the standard teachings of Christianity, as this example, taken from Against Heresies reveals: “...who proclaimed through the prophets the dispensation of God, and the advents, and the birth from a virgin, and the passion, and the resurrection from the dead, and the ascension into heaven in the flesh of the beloved Christ Jesus, our Lord, and his future manifestation from heaven in the glory of the Father...”

Later you will see that St. Irenaeus stated that Jesus was alive during the reign of the Emperor Trajan (Marcus Ulpius Trajanus). But emperor Trajan (98-117 A.D.) began his reign in the year 98 A.D., which means that Jesus would have been at least 98 years old during the reign of Trajan. If Irenaeus was referring to Jesus as being seen in Asia [some believe he was referring to John], then it appears that this was a sighting that Irenaeus believed occurred before the crucifixion, and that, though Jesus was seen in Asia at an older age, this sighting must have occurred before the crucifixion. According to St. Irenaeus, the crucifixion took place when Jesus “was more than fifty years old.” But as you shall see in the tomb link, there exist other evidence that states that the sightings of Jesus in Asia are sightings that occurred after the crucifixion, not before.

------

This is a link from Against Heresies by Irenaeus where he discusses Jesus' age.

http://www.freivald.org/~jake/library/I ... rXXII.html

I admit that my eyes are crossed on this one. I've read this stuff several times and still don't understand what Irenaeus is really saying or why.

Any thoughts from anyone?

Thanks.

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#12

Post by August » Tue Mar 22, 2005 9:02 am

Christian2,

A couple of comments:
1. The evidence for Jesus in India is really thin. The only document that is relatively old that speaks about Jesus refers to a qestionable quote: "I am called a Son of God...". This immediately raises a red flag to me, since Jesus Himself said in many places that He wasTHE Son of God, not one of many. He also never referred to Himself as the "Messiah".

2. As for the speculation of Irenaeus that Jesus survived the crucifixtion, I have a problem with it in that it would invalidate the prophesy of Daniel:"And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself… And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease… Dan. 9:26,27. The interpretation here is that within 3 and a half years of Jesus beginning His ministry He would die.

Also: "Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times. Dan. 9:25

From "Jesus of Nazareth, Son of God, Chapter 3 - Undeniable Evidence, By Dirk Anderson":

"In this verse we find that the Messiah would begin His mission 69 weeks (7 + 62 = 69) after the command to rebuild Jerusalem was given. This period of 69 weeks equates to 483 days (69 X 7 = 483). Using the Biblical prophetic time principle of one day equaling one year (see Num. 14:34, Eze. 4:6), we discover that a period of 483 years will transpire between the "going forth of the commandment to restore and rebuild Jerusalem" and the beginning of the Messiah's mission. From Ezra 7 we can determine that the command to rebuild Jerusalem was issued by Artexerxes in the seventh year of his reign in 457 BC. Once we have established our starting date of 457 BC it is a simple matter to add 483 years to it (remember, there is no year zero), thus arriving at 27 AD. Since the decree went forth in the autumn, Jesus began His mission in the autumn of 27 AD.

How do we know for sure that Jesus began His ministry in 27 AD? John the Baptist began his work in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius (Luke 3:1-3). It is a verifiable historical fact that the fifteenth year of Tiberius was in 27 AD. When John baptized Jesus the Holy Spirit landed upon Jesus as a dove (Luke 3:21) and anointed Him (Acts 10:38) for His mission. The Hebrew word for "Messiah" used in Daniel 9:25 literally means "anointed one." After His baptism, Jesus began His ministry by proclaiming, "the time is fulfilled" (Mark 1:15), referring to the prophecy of Daniel 9:25."

As for Irenaeus, I cannot fathom his evidence for Jesus living to the age of 50 and beyond. A lot of it appears to focus around the interpretation of the Greek 'Aeons', which could mean any period of time depending on context. He makes a lot of 'just so' statements, with little in either Scripture or history to back it up.

3. Jesus Himself spoke about His impending death and going to be with the Father:
John 12:35 (NIV)
Then Jesus told them, "You are going to have the light just a little while longer..."
"John 16:28 (NIV)
I came from the Father and entered the world; now I am leaving the world and going back to the Father."

While the hypothesis remains interesting, I can hardly believe that there can be any doubt about Jesus being killed, rising and then going to heaven, all within the 3 to 4 year period after His 30th birthday. To believe so would cast doubt on what we have shown to be infallible scripture, and asign undue credibility to other religions.
Acts 17:24-25 (NIV)
"The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands. [25] And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else."

//www.omnipotentgrace.org
//christianskepticism.blogspot.com

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Thank you August

#13

Post by Christian2 » Tue Mar 22, 2005 11:52 am

Thank you for your response. I hadn't considered the prophesy of Daniel. I'm going to research that. I find Irenaeus very hard to read and understand at least on this subject. Your answer would make one wonder if Irenaeus was aware of the Daniel prophesy and if he wasn't, then why wasn't he?

Another subject:

Do you happen to know off chance when the names of the Gospels were affixed to them? Gospel according to Matthew, etc. etc. Have you ever read that the Gospels were circulated anonymously from the date they were written--first century--until the middle of the second century?

Thanks again.

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