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Friday, April 21, 2006

Are New Testament Books Historically Relevant?

I am not even going to repeat the insistence of modern liberal Bible scholars who propose late dates for New Testament books, including the Gospels, based on hypotheses that are unsupported by any solid factual evidence. I do intend, however, to show that the authors of the New Testament books were contemporaneous with Jesus, some of them knew Him, and all of them wrote the scriptures in the first century AD. Therefore, the Gospels and Acts are faithful and useful historical records that attest to the life of Jesus Christ as an historical figure. I will consider all the books here, especially the Gospels and Acts and most especially the one found at the beginning of the New Testament, Matthew.

First, the early Christian authors were nearly all Jews (Jesus was a Jew, too, by the way) who had followed Christ or became followers of Christ not long after the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus (Like Paul). If any of the New Testament was written after 70 AD the elephant in the room of scripture is the destruction of Jerusalem in the spring of AD 70.

"The destruction of Jerusalem in A.D.70, only five years after our epistle, was the greatest single event of a thousand years, and religiously significant beyond anything else that ever occurred in human history." (James Burton Coffman, Commentary on James, 1 & 2 Peter, p. 231)

Josephus documented the conflict thoroughly and characterized it as worse than any that had gone before. He stated, “the misfortunes of all men, from the beginning of the world, if they be compared to these of the Jews [at the destruction of Jerusalem], are not so considerable as they were” (Wars , Preface, 4). With the slaughter of over one million people, the cannibalism, the physical destruction of the temple and surrounding buildings, it is understandable that Josephus would have had such an opinion.

The writers, such as John, could not have helped but noted such a destruction, such a blow to the Jewish people, even if he himself was a follower of Christ. Yet not one New Testament author mentions that terrible event and any time a description of Jerusalem is given, or one of the landmarks described, it is in present tense as if the city had remained whole. Before the spring of 70 AD this would have been true. In fact, since the Maccabean revolt had begun in 66 AD and rumors of Roman invasion had started not long thereafter, even the possibility of the destruction of Jerusalem would likely have been mentioned. But not one word on such a subject is found.

Gijs van den Brink on Matthew

"In Matthew 24 we find a second verse that is relevant for our investigation, which even gives evidence for accepting that the gospel was written before 66. This is found in Matthew 24:15-16.

"So when you see standing in the holy place 'the abomination that causes desolation', spoken of through the prophet Daniel--let the reader understand--then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains".

It now becomes impossible to accept that this last phrase 'flee to the mountains' was written with reference to actual events, since the mountains of Judea were in fact already in enemy hands at the end of 67 AD (Robinson 1976: 16). Moreover, according to the church father Eusebius (HE III,5.3), the Christians did not flee to the mountains, but left Jerusalem before the outbreak of the war in 66 and went to the town of Pella in the Transjordan. The most simple explanation for all of this is that the exhortations of the Lord Jesus in Matthew 24:16 are prophetic words, written down by Matthew before 66 AD

In closing, we shall discuss a matter that suggests that the gospel was written even before 62. What actually happened in 62? According to Eusebius, James, the brother of Jesus, died as a martyr in that year. As leader of the church of Jerusalem, he was succeeded by Simeon, the son of Clopas, the brother of Joseph (HE III,11; III,23.1-6; IV,22.4). This succession within the family through the line of the father reflects Jewish custom. Clopas, the father of Simeon, also appears in the New Testament as the husband of one of the Marys who stood by the cross (John 19:25). It is natural and most likely to identify this Mary with the one described by Matthew as the 'mother of James and Joses' and as 'the other Mary' (Matt 27:56, 61; 28:1; Meyer-Bauer 1963: 426). If Matthew had written his gospel after 62, at the very least one would have expected that he, who himself stood in the Palestinian tradition, would have indicated this Mary to be Mary the mother of Simeon. The fact that Matthew does not mention Simeon in connection with this suggests that he has written his gospel before 62 AD. (Robinson 1976: 106)."


CARM.ORG

This site was a find for me, and in reading it I had to revise the earliest possible date of the Book of Acts from around 40 AD to around 55-60 AD due to the established time of Festus as Procurator, as mentioned below. I disagree with their view of the time of John's writings (which has a great deal to do with eschatology) but otherwise the information is relevant indeed.

"When were the gospels written and by whom?

Dating the gospels is very important. If it can be established that the gospels were written early, say before the year 70 A.D., then we would have good reason for believing that they were written by the disciples of Jesus Himself. If they were written by the disciples, then their reliability, authenticity, and accuracy better substantiated. Also, if they were written early, this would mean that there would not have been enough time for myth to creep into the gospel accounts since it was the eyewitnesses to Christ's life that wrote them. Furthermore, those who were alive at the time of the events could have countered the gospel accounts and since we have no contradictory writings to the gospels, their early authorship as well as apostolic authorship becomes even more critical.

Destruction of the temple in 70 A.D. , Luke and Acts

None of the gospels mention the destruction of the Jewish temple in 70 A.D. This is significant because Jesus had prophesied concerning the temple when He said "As for these things which you are looking at, the days will come in which there will not be left one stone upon another which will not be torn down," (Luke 21:5, see also Matt. 24:1; Mark 13:1). This prophecy was fulfilled in 70 A.D. when the Romans sacked Jerusalem and burned the temple. The gold in the temple melted down between the stone walls and the Romans took the walls apart, stone by stone, to get the gold. Such an obvious fulfillment of Jesus' prophecy most likely would have been recorded as such by the gospel writers who were fond of mentioning fulfillment of prophecy if they had been written after 70 A.D. Also, if the gospels were fabrications of mythical events then anything to bolster the Messianic claims -- such as the destruction of the temple as Jesus said -- would surely have been included. But, it was not included suggesting that the gospels (at least Matthew, Mark, and Luke) were written before 70 A.D.

Similarly, this argument is important when we consider the dating of the book of Acts which was written after the gospel of Luke by Luke himself. Acts is a history of the Christian church right after Jesus' ascension. Acts also fails to mention the incredibly significant events of 70 A.D. which would have been extremely relevant and prophetically important and garnered inclusion into Acts had it occurred before Acts was written. Remember, Acts is a book of history concerning the Christians and the Jews. The fact that the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple is not recorded is very strong evidence that Acts was written before A.D. 70. If we add to this the fact that acts does not include the accounts of "Nero's persecution of the Christians in A.D. 64 or the deaths of James (A.D. 62), Paul (A.D. 64), and Peter (A.D. 65)," and we have further evidence that it was written early.

If we look at Acts 1:1-2 it says, "The first account I composed, Theophilus, about all that Jesus began to do and teach, 2 until the day when He was taken up, after He had by the Holy Spirit given orders to the apostles whom He had chosen." Most scholars affirm that Acts was written by Luke and that Theophilus (Grk. "lover of God") "may have been Luke’s patron who financed the writing of Luke and Acts." This means that the gospel of Luke was written before Acts.

"At the earliest, Acts cannot have been written prior to the latest firm chronological marker recorded in the book—Festus’s appointment as procurator (24:27), which, on the basis of independent sources, appears to have occurred between A.D. 55 and 59."

"It is increasingly admitted that the Logia [Q] was very early, before 50 A.D., and Mark likewise if Luke wrote the Acts while Paul was still alive. Luke's Gospel comes (Acts 1:1) before the Acts. The date of Acts is still in dispute, but the early date (about A.D. 63) is gaining support constantly."

For clarity, Q is supposedly one of the source documents used by both Matthew and Luke in writing their gospels. If Q actually existed then that would push the first writings of Christ's words and deeds back even further lessening the available time for myth to creep in and adding to the validity and accuracy of the gospel accounts. If what is said of Acts is true, this would mean that Luke was written at least before A.D. 63 and possibly before 55 - 59 since Acts is the second in the series of writings by Luke. This means that the gospel of Luke was written within 30 years of Jesus' death.

Matthew

The early church unanimously held that the gospel of Matthew was the first written gospel and was penned by the apostle of the same name (Matt. 10:2). Lately, the priority of Matthew as the first written gospel has come under suspicion with Mark being considered by many to be the first written gospel. The debate is far from over.

The historian Papias mentions that the gospel of Matthew was originally in Aramaic or Hebrew and attributes the gospel to Matthew the apostle.

"Irenaeus (ca. a.d. 180) continued Papias’s views about Matthew and Mark and added his belief that Luke, the follower of Paul, put down in a book the gospel preached by that apostle, and that John, the Beloved Disciple, published his Gospel while residing in Asia. By the time of Irenaeus, Acts was also linked with Luke, the companion of Paul."

This would mean that if Matthew did write in Aramaic originally, that he may have used Mark as a map, adding and clarifying certain events as he remembered them. But, this is not known for sure.

The earliest quotation of Matthew is found in Ignatius who died around 115 A.D. Therefore, Matthew was in circulation well before Ignatius came on the scene. The various dates most widely held as possible writing dates of the Gospel are between A.D. 40 - 140. But Ignatius died around 115 A.D. and he quoted Matthew. Therefore Matthew had to be written before he died. Nevertheless, it is generally believed that Matthew was written before A.D. 70 and as early as A.D. 50.

Mark

Mark was not an eyewitness to the events of Jesus' life. He was a disciple of Peter and undoubtedly it was Peter who informed Mark of the life of Christ and guided him in writing the Gospel known by his name. "Papias claimed that Mark, the Evangelist, who had never heard Christ, was the interpreter of Peter, and that he carefully gave an account of everything he remembered from the preaching of Peter." Generally, Mark is said to be the earliest gospel with an authorship of between A.D. 55 to A.D. 70.

Luke

Luke was not an eyewitness of the life of Christ. He was a companion of Paul who also was not an eyewitness of Christ's life. But, both had ample opportunity to meet the disciples who knew Christ and learn the facts not only from them, but from others in the area. Some might consider this damaging to the validity of the gospel, but quite the contrary. Luke was a gentile convert to Christianity who was interested in the facts. He obviously had interviewed the eyewitnesses and written the Gospel account as well as Acts.

"The first account I composed, Theophilus, about all that Jesus began to do and teach, until the day when He was taken up, after He had by the Holy Spirit given orders to the apostles whom He had chosen. To these He also presented Himself alive, after His suffering, by many convincing proofs, appearing to them over a period of forty days, and speaking of the things concerning the kingdom of God," (Acts 1:1-3).

Notice how Luke speaks of "them," of those who had personal encounters with Christ. Luke is simply recounting the events from the disciples. Since Luke agrees with Matthew, Mark, and John and since there is no contradictory information coming from any of the disciples stating that Luke was inaccurate, and since Luke has proven to be a very accurate historian, we can conclude that Luke's account is very accurate.

As far as dating the gospel goes, Luke was written before the book of Acts and Acts does not mention "Nero's persecution of the Christians in A.D. 64 or the deaths of James (A.D. 62), Paul (A.D. 64), and Peter (A.D. 65)." Therefore, we can conclude that Luke was written before A.D. 62. "Luke's Gospel comes (Acts 1:1) before the Acts. The date of Acts is still in dispute, but the early date (about A.D. 63) is gaining support constantly."

John

The writer of the gospel of John was obviously an eyewitness of the events of Christ's life since he speaks from a perspective of having been there during many of the events of Jesus' ministry and displays a good knowledge of Israeli geography and customs.

The John Rylands papyrus fragment 52 of John's gospel dated in the year 135 contains portions of John 18, verses 31-33,37-38. This fragment was found in Egypt and a considerable amount of time is needed for the circulation of the gospel before it reached Egypt. It is the last of the gospels and appears to have been written in the 80's to 90's.

Of important note is the lack of mention of the destruction of the Jewish temple in 70 A.D. But this is understandable since John was not focusing on historical events. Instead, he focused on the theological aspect of the person of Christ and listed His miracles and words that affirmed Christ's deity.

Though there is still some debate on the dates of when the gospels were written, they were most assuredly completed before the close of the first century and written by eyewitnesses or under the direction of eyewitnesses."


One has to keep in mind that the early church fathers agreed not only that these books were canonical scripture, but agreed to the authorship thereof. It is a fine thing for "scholars" to try to dispute such findings nearly 2,000 years later, but today we don't have the same information that was available to, say, Origen.

Dr. van den Brink weighs in with some additional thoughts on the authorship of Matthew:

"In his Ecclesiastical History (HE VI, 25.4), Eusebius quoted Origen who wrote, "... first was written that according to Matthew, who was once a tax-collector but afterwards an apostle of Jesus Christ, who published it for those who from Judaism came to believe, composed as it was in the Hebrew language" (tr. Loeb II, 75). Irenaeus wrote, "Now Matthew published among the Hebrews a written gospel also in their own tongue, while Peter and Paul were preaching in Rome and founding the church" (quoted by Eusebius, HE V, 8.2; tr. Loeb I, 455). However, the view that Matthew is the author of this gospel is especially based on a quotation also found with Eusebius (HE, III, 39.16). This quotation originates from Papias, bishop of Hierapolis around 130, and goes as follows, "Matthew collected the oracles in the Hebrew language, and each interpreted them as best as he could" (tr. Loeb I, 297).

First of all, this brings up the question as to what Papias meant with ta logia (literally words, proverbs). Since Schleiermacher many explained the word logia in this passage as 'sayings' and believed Papias had refered to a document containing (only) sayings of Jesus. But nowadays there is more or less a scholarly consensus that Papias used the word in the sense of 'reports', including quotational elements as well as narrative units. He called his book 'Investigations of the logia' (HE III,39.1) and by this Greek expression he meant the canonical gospels, whether they contain sayings or narratives (Reicke 1990: 299). The Church Fathers after him also understood his words in that way.

When we read that Matthew 'has combined his gospel in the Hebrew language', another problem emerges: almost all scholars agree that the Gospel of Matthew was written in Greek, and is not likely to be the work of a translator. Therefore, it is assumed that Papias was wrong here, or that a Semitic translation of Matthew's Greek gospel was in circulation at the time. However, both suppositions lack conclusive evidence. We may just as well assume Matthew wrote both an Aramaic and a Greek gospel. As Davies and Allison (1988: 12) rightly observe, it is not easy to determine whether an ancient text, especially one so clearly bearing the marks of two cultures, as does Matthew, is or is not a translation. They mention the fact that learned Greeks, such as Eusebius, Origen, Clement of Alexandria and Irenaeus, presumably knew the Greek language better than most modern scholars. And they all took canonical Matthew to be the translation of a Semitic original."


It is very interesting to note that one very significant historical record would be the Jews themselves. The Jewish people were known for keeping careful records and taking note of events of the day. Perhaps no record was more important than the Talmud. This column which appeared in the Kansas City Star (among other publications) sheds additional light here. (all sections in bold enhanced by me)

Support for the Authenticity of Book of Matthew Comes from an Unlikely Place

As reported in the Kansas City Star - Posted on Sat, Jun. 07, 2003 to KansasCity.com

"Buried in ancient texts of Jewish historical works are fragments of evidence that appear to show the first book of the New Testament actually was written by one of Jesus' apostles.

One of these texts also challenges a long-held assertion that no ancient text except the Bible mentions Jesus' birth.

Taken together, the information lends support to the claims of some Christian scholars that Matthew actually wrote the Gospel bearing his name, a Gospel that more than the three others emphasized Jesus' Jewish roots.

"One of the reasons that people have not come to grips with the Jewishness of Jesus is that it makes the accounts of the Gospels plausible," Craig Blomberg, distinguished professor of New Testament at Denver Theological Seminary, said in an interview this week. "For the Jewish or Christian believer, it helps them better understand who Jesus was, what he stood for and what to do with this Gospel."

Since the 1800s groups of scholars have argued that Jesus might have been a real person, but that he wasn't the son of God, that he didn't perform miracles and that the four Gospels are mostly myths composed by people who assigned to Jesus godlike powers.

More recently the scholarship has taken the form of the Jesus Seminar, a group of about 200 academics who have been studying the Gospels since the mid-1980s. The seminar created a media splash a decade ago when it publicly announced its conclusions that Jesus said only 18 percent of what's conventionally attributed to him in the New Testament. The Gospels, they concluded, are not historically reliable.

But as scholars of Judaism continue to research the history of early Christianity, they are uncovering evidence that appears to show the Gospels of the New Testament may be more reliable than some thought.

Matthew as parody

In the New Testament, none of the authors of the Gospels identifies himself as the writer. The names -- Matthew, Mark, Luke and John -- belong to followers of Jesus who early church leaders believe wrote the texts.

Until the 1800s Gospel authorship was rarely, if ever, questioned. Then scholars in Germany shook up conventional belief by questioning the authorship and challenging commonly accepted dates for when the Gospels were written.

One of the first Gospels to be doubted was Matthew. Church tradition said it was written by Matthew, a tax collector who became a disciple of Jesus, a witness to events. Conservative Christian clergy and scholars said they believe the book of Matthew was written between A.D. 40 and 60, within Matthew's lifetime.

But other scholars concluded the Gospel wasn't written any earlier than A.D. 85, perhaps as late as A.D. 135, long after Matthew's death. If the author wasn't a witness, the thinking goes, the Gospel becomes less credible.

So to scholars the dating is important.

In an essay written for the book Passover and Easter: Origin and History to Modern Times, Israel J. Yuval of Jerusalem's Hebrew University reported a find in the Talmud that appears to show Matthew could have been written earlier than some scholars contend.

Yuval wrote that a leading rabbinical scholar of the time was "considered to have authored a sophisticated parody of the Gospel according to Matthew."

The parody, written by a rabbi known as Gamaliel, is believed by some well-respected liberal Christian scholars to have been written about A.D. 73 or earlier.

The fact the parody exists and the date when it was believed to be written "would undercut badly (biblical critics') claims of a late date of A.D. 85-90 or later," said Bob Newman, professor of New Testament at Biblical Theological Seminary in Pennsylvania.

"That is very significant and very important," said Tim Skinner, associate professor of Bible and theology at Luther Rise Seminary in Georgia, because that validates the legitimacy of Matthew's Gospel...it confirms the truthfulness of the biblical account in Matthew and confirms the truth of what Jesus did."

Blomberg said a close study of the parody's wording indicates it was based on an existing text. If that text was Matthew, the Gospel existed much earlier than some scholars believe.
Similarly the earlier the Gospel was written, the more likely eyewitnesses to Jesus' life would still be alive.

"(Which) would mean that Matthew's Gospel would be seen by other eyewitnesses who could check and authenticate it," Blomberg said.

Praise and pronouncements

Among the challenges to Christianity was the charge that Jews had rejected Jesus and that no Jewish leaders or scholars ever accepted Jesus as the Messiah. But even one of the most revered Jewish texts, the Talmud, a collection of rabbinical writings from 100 B.C. to A.D. 500, suggests otherwise.

In the second century A.D., Rabbi Judah Ha Nasi (A.D. 135-200) purged the Mishnah, part of the Talmud, of many references to Christianity and those who adhered to it. But not everything was edited out.

In his classic work, The History of the Talmud, Jewish Talmudic scholar Michael L. Rodkinson wrote: "There were passages in the Mishnayoth concerning Jesus and his teaching...the Messianists...(were) many and considerable persons and in close alliance with their colleagues the Pharisees during the (first) two centuries."

Those words from the Mishnah appear to correspond to New Testament accounts that many Jews, including Pharisees and "a great company of priests were obedient to the faith" (Acts 6:7).

The Talmud mentions that the Romans hanged Jesus from a tree, while in another text section the Talmud does something done nowhere else but the New Testament -- mentions Jesus' birth.

English scholar R. Travers Herford, in his book Christianity in Talmud and Midrash, wrote that rabbinical writings mention that Jesus' mother, Mary, was "descended from princes and rulers."

Despite the noble lineage, Herford noted, the Talmudic text referred to Jesus as "Ben Pandira," roughly translated as "son of a virgin," which was considered an epithet.

"While the Jesus Seminar was making radical pronouncements (among them that Jesus was not the Son of God) and courting the media," Blomberg said, "what is less well-known to the public is the study in which scholars have been growing in their appreciation of Jesus' Jewish roots."

He said, "These things have never been presented in any popular forms of consumption to the American public."


(Neil Altman is a writer who lives in Pennsylvania and specializes in the Dead Sea Scrolls and religion. His others works have appeared The Times of London, the Toronto Star and The Washington Post.

David Crowder, an investigative reporter with the El Paso Times, and Bill Norton, of The Star, contributed to this story.)

A Conclusion

Just as Uniformitarianism and Darwinism got started in the 1800's, so did the attempt to label the Gospels and Acts with later dates and discredit the authorship thereof. One cannot wonder if perhaps this was another instance of world view fueling the fires rather than an advance in knowledge.

That the Talmud authenticates the birth and life of Jesus Christ is significant because the Jews who did not follow Jesus would not have wished to give Christianity any credit. That the Talmud also validates Matthew as being written by Matthew and having been written certainly earlier than 73 AD discredits the liberal "scholarship" of the last 200 years and presents Matthew as a credible, contemporary, eyewitness account of the ministry of Jesus Christ. It is not just Pliny and Tacitus and Josephus and Origen and Julius Africanus who mention Christ, it is the very people who slew Him and wanted nothing to do with Him. (References to Jesus can also be found in Roman writings that refer to "Chrestus" or His followers.)

I say, therefore, that there is ample historical evidence that Jesus was absolutely a real person and that eyewitness accounts to His ministry do exist.

Linked to Woman Honor Thyself

42 comments:

highboy said...

That pretty much covers it, radar, excellant. I just, as of today, completed my Acts course here, (I took the final at 7:00 this evening as a matter of fact) and all of the evidence you've posted is pretty accurate, consistent with what Dr. Gavel and Professor Mcmillen have presented.

Kerwin said...

Luke and Acts are clearly written by the same individual. They are also written soon after the events in question. John, Mark, and Matthew appear to be compilation of events that were attributed to the individuals in question. Of those Mark appear the most vague. The letters of Paul and the other apostles tell the same good news as the gospels.

creeper said...

is the Luke you refer to the same Luke the evangelist I mentioned in an earlier comment?

"According to historical sources, the evangelist Luke was born in Antioch, in the Roman province of Syria, and died in Thebes (Greece) at age 84, around anno Domini (A.D.) 150."

highboy said...

"is the Luke you refer to the same Luke the evangelist I mentioned in an earlier comment?"

"According to historical sources, the evangelist Luke was born in Antioch, in the Roman province of Syria, and died in Thebes (Greece) at age 84, around anno Domini (A.D.) 150."


Sorry. You've asked that about a million times. Yes, the same guy.

radar said...

"is the Luke you refer to the same Luke the evangelist I mentioned in an earlier comment?

"According to historical sources, the evangelist Luke was born in Antioch, in the Roman province of Syria, and died in Thebes (Greece) at age 84, around anno Domini (A.D.) 150."


I most definitely do not believe that. I believe the author is likely the Luke who is mentioned in Philemon, Colossians and II Timothy. Note my post on the subject from Friday.

creeper said...

"Sorry. You've asked that about a million times. Yes, the same guy."

This is exactly the third time I asked this question.

It's also the first time it was answered.

If this is the same guy, then he obviously didn't compose any texts of significance before the destruction of Jerusalem, at which time he would have been four years old.

creeper said...

"I most definitely do not believe that. I believe the author is likely the Luke who is mentioned in Philemon, Colossians and II Timothy. Note my post on the subject from Friday."

So does this mean that there is a Luke who composed the gospel of Luke and Acts, and another person known as Luke the evangelist?

Your post on the subject from Friday appears to be this one that we are currently commenting on, no?

You didn't mention Philemon, Colossians or Timothy in your posts of the last few days - perhaps you could elaborate on what you make of this.

BTW, I always understood it (admittedly without delving into the subject too deeply) that three of the gospels were dated in the 60's, and one significantly later. So far what you are proposing seems to tie in with that. The one that was significantly later could have been a generation or more after the destruction of Jerusalem, and not featured prominently as a result. That's just idle speculation on my part, though. I don't have much beef with the dating of the gospels as it stands.

And FWIW, I think it's most likely that Jesus was a historical figure and a religious/spiritual leader in his day. All the miracle stuff? Not so likely, and there's certainly no evidence for it.

creeper said...

"You didn't mention Philemon, Colossians or Timothy in your posts of the last few days - perhaps you could elaborate on what you make of this."

By "what you make of this" I'm referring to the Luke thing, not the fact that you didn't explicitly mention Philemon etc.

Rygepe...

Anonymous said...

x" then he obviously didn't compose any texts of significance before the destruction of Jerusalem, at which time he would have been four years old."

Maybe the dinosaurs helped him?

Interesting post, just three things - "in fact, since the Maccabean revolt had begun in 66 AD" - not the Maccabean revolt, I don't think (167 - 165 BCE). We won that one.

"the very people who slew Him"

The Romans, you mean.

"Just as Uniformitarianism and Darwinism got started in the 1800's, so did the attempt to label the Gospels and Acts with later dates and discredit the authorship thereof. One cannot wonder if perhaps this was another instance of world view fueling the fires rather than an advance in knowledge."

In a sense, I guess you're right. Certainly advances in knowledge were involved, but yes, 'world view' had a lot to do with it, in a sense - specifically, the idea that one should ask questions, think critically and rationally, view all claims, even traditional, powerful, and revered ones, with a skeptical eye, experiment, validate, etc. Basically the Enlightenment, as well the longer and more general development of Westen thought coming out of the Middle Ages - which is why reports of dragons and suchlike beasties slow to a trickle and then stop, one reason why burning 'witches' eventually became unfashionable, why 'middle age' isn't one's twenties (at least in developed countries), etc, etc, etc.

In part, one might say, the point at which dogma's bark began becoming worse than its bite.

-Dan S.

A Hermit said...

Welcome back Radar.

Too much to comment on right now, I have things to do today

I will point out that you're trying to have it both ways a little here, first posting the argument that the lack of references to the destructuin of the Temple is evidence for early dating, then turning around cutting and pasting remarks to the effect that the same absence of such a reference from John is immaterial because "John was not focusing on historical events." So is it important or not?

Maybe if you stuck to trying to make your own arguments instead of cutting and pasting someone else's that kind of contradiction wouldn't arise. I prefer that approach myself; I mean, I could look up a bunch of articles on websites taking positions contrary to CARM's and create a cut and paste a rebuttal, but i prefer to do my own thinking, and we wouldn't be having much of a conversation with one another that way, would we?

For now I'll just point out that what you call "ample historical evidence" of "eyewitness accounts" is filled with qualifiers like "...appears to show"..."could have been written earlier.." and "...If that text was Matthew"....

That has an appearance of being more speculative than conclusive, so I have to disagree with your conclusion that there is "ample evidence" of anything here.

Hope to have time for more later.

Hermit

A Hermit said...

"If this is the same guy, then he obviously didn't compose any texts of significance before the destruction of Jerusalem, at which time he would have been four years old."

Not fair using math, Creeper...math has such a liberal bias....;-)

highboy said...

I need to pay more attention to the question. No, Luke did not die in 150. As has been posted already, it is clearly evident from the manuscript itself that Luke didn't write either the Gospel or Acts before the destruction of Jerusalem, or the persecution by Nero. Events that significant would definitely be recorded, especially since it is a record of the Act of the apostles.

" which is why reports of dragons and suchlike beasties slow to a trickle and then stop, one reason why burning 'witches' eventually became unfashionable, why 'middle age' isn't one's twenties (at least in developed countries), etc, etc, etc."

All good examples, but do little to harm that Jesus did in fact exist, or the reliability of the New Testament, which has NOT trickled to a stop, and has withstood scrutiny by the majority of experts in the field of history and scholarship. You find yourself arguing against the experts when questioning Jesus' existence, or the reliability of the New Testament's historicity.

"Maybe the dinosaurs helped him?"

I fail to see the humor in that remark, since we've established that the Bible does indeed discuss dinosaurs.

creeper said...

"I fail to see the humor in that remark, since we've established that the Bible does indeed discuss dinosaurs."

Speculated, not established.

There is a significant difference.

creeper said...

"No, Luke did not die in 150."

So does this mean that there is a Luke who composed the gospel of Luke and Acts, and another person known as Luke the evangelist?

creeper said...

"You find yourself arguing against the experts when questioning Jesus' existence, or the reliability of the New Testament's historicity."

The historicity of the New Testament's more supernatural claims (virgin birth, miracles etc.) is about as well-founded as Caesar's virgin birth. Would the majority of the Biblical scholars disagree with that?

U hoyp.

creeper said...

Highboy,

"Jesus did in fact exist" should read "Jesus most likely existed".

radar said...

"will point out that you're trying to have it both ways a little here, first posting the argument that the lack of references to the destructuin of the Temple is evidence for early dating, then turning around cutting and pasting remarks to the effect that the same absence of such a reference from John is immaterial because "John was not focusing on historical events." So is it important or not?

Maybe if you stuck to trying to make your own arguments instead of cutting and pasting someone else's that kind of contradiction wouldn't arise. I prefer that approach myself;"


Since I am making my own arguments I will try to ignore the tone of that comment. I cut and paste sources to scrupulously avoid plagiarism (since I don't work for the LA or NY Times) and bring in views of experts in the field. It doesn't frighten me to post someone who generally agrees with me even if we differ in this one small area (the time of the authorship of Revelations, primarily, and as I said that is more of an eschatological issue).

In fact I am quite sure that John, who writes of Jerusalem as if it is still intact, wrote both his Gospel and the Revelation before the fall of Jerusalem. I did not agree with that conclusion by that author but in fairness included it in the quote anyway.

"Jesus did in fact exist" should read "Jesus most likely existed".

No, enough evidence has been presented to establish that he did in fact exist.

"The historicity of the New Testament's more supernatural claims (virgin birth, miracles etc.) is about as well-founded as Caesar's virgin birth. Would the majority of the Biblical scholars disagree with that?"

No one thinks one of the Caesars (you did not specify which one) was born of a virgin, that is a ridiculous statement.

The early church fathers were convinced that the authorship of the books of the New Testament were as listed. There was no new evidence that caused German Bible scholars to suddenly dispute this but rather an agenda to try to make Jesus a mythical rather than an historical figure by an attempt to discredit the Gospels.

Paul mentions Luke three times in his epistles. It makes sense that this is the same Luke who wrote Luke and Acts, an acquaintance of Paul and probably Peter as well.

There have been all sorts of Lukes. Luke the author of two of the New Testament books, Cool Hand Luke, Luke Skywalker.....

As mentioned, even the Jews who had Jesus crucified have recorded Him as an historical character, and also helped to date Matthew before the foall of Jerusalem. Jesus is absolutely an historical character. One has to want him to be mythical re-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-al bad to convince himself otherwise.

radar said...

""Just as Uniformitarianism and Darwinism got started in the 1800's, so did the attempt to label the Gospels and Acts with later dates and discredit the authorship thereof. One cannot wonder if perhaps this was another instance of world view fueling the fires rather than an advance in knowledge."

In a sense, I guess you're right. Certainly advances in knowledge were involved, but yes, 'world view' had a lot to do with it, in a sense - specifically, the idea that one should ask questions, think critically and rationally, view all claims, even traditional, powerful, and revered ones, with a skeptical eye, experiment, validate, etc. Basically the Enlightenment, as well the longer and more general development of Westen thought coming out of the Middle Ages - which is why reports of dragons and suchlike beasties slow to a trickle and then stop, one reason why burning 'witches' eventually became unfashionable, why 'middle age' isn't one's twenties (at least in developed countries), etc, etc, etc."

You are cranking out words, but you have done nothing to refute the remarkable amount of evidence that man lived with dinosaurs (because you cannot, you can poke fun and giggle but if you are familiar with the subject you know that history and evidence both say that dinosaurs did live with (and often try to eat) man. That the reports began to trickle away and stop has more to do with the extinction of the dinosaurs than with any other cause. Notice we don't get a lot of Goony Bird sightings anymore?

Secondly, giving the liberal (yeah, I'm still using it) Bible scholars credit for asking questions sounds good. But if you really look at it the effort was somewhere between stupid and pathetic. Back in the days when the authorship of the Gospels was fairly recent, counsels were held and experts met to make sure that the scriptures were correct. Other experts at that time investigated. There was a great deal of research done early on amongst the church fathers to be certain about these books. For a bunch of guys to come along 1600-1700 years later, with much less evidence available to them, and try to change things around sounds like an agenda rather than a search for knowledge.

As to Maccabean, I meant to say Zealots since people calling themselves Zealots were among the rebels spearheading the fight. This revolt is the one that began in AD 66, leading to warfare and the eventual sacking and destruction of Jerusalem, including the temple. Yes, the Maccabean revolt.

WomanHonorThyself said...

Excellent research, however I respectfully disagree..the Romans had Jesus crucified..not the Jewish pple. They did not crucify anyone as a means of punishment for that matter.But on the other points. Biblical critics will always find facts they take exception to..When it comes down to it..it truly is a matter of Faith..is it not?

radar said...

Okay, I will concede the point that technically the Romans crucified Christ at the behest of the Jews.

Hey, Jesus was a Jew, so I am not trying to hate on them. I am simply saying that they wanted to kill Him and if possible rid the world of His memory, so any mention of Jesus in the Talmud is a powerful clue that Jesus was a real person.

Historical evidence is given for the reality of an actual Jesus Christ. I do, however, happen to have that faith myself, Angel.

Debbie said...

The Apostle Paul always ends his letters with personal greetings. In the following greeting from his letter to the Colossians both Mark and luke are mentioned.

"10My fellow prisoner Aristarchus sends you his greetings, as does Mark, the cousin of Barnabas. (You have received instructions about him; if he comes to you, welcome him.) 11Jesus, who is called Justus, also sends greetings. These are the only Jews among my fellow workers for the kingdom of God, and they have proved a comfort to me. 12Epaphras, who is one of you and a servant of Christ Jesus, sends greetings. He is always wrestling in prayer for you, that you may stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured. 13I vouch for him that he is working hard for you and for those at Laodicea and Hierapolis. 14Our dear friend Luke, the doctor, and Demas send greetings."

They are also named in the letter to Philemon.

"24And so do Mark, Aristarchus, Demas and Luke, my fellow workers."

And again in 2 Timothy ch.4.

" 9Do your best to come to me quickly, 10for Demas, because he loved this world, has deserted me and has gone to Thessalonica. Crescens has gone to Galatia, and Titus to Dalmatia. 11Only Luke is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, because he is helpful to me in my ministry. 12I sent Tychicus to Ephesus. 13When you come, bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas, and my scrolls, especially the parchments."

It seems by this time Demas was burned out on missionary work.

Pauls letters were written before the gospels and Acts. Acts chronicles Paul's missionary trips. Acts ends with Paul in prison in Rome. It does not record his death.

Mark and Luke were certainly qualified to write their gospels, they had eye witness accounts. Matthew and John were with Jesus for 3 years, they saw and experienced everything! None of the gospels mention the fall of Jerusalem, so they had to have been written before 70 AD.

In John's gospel we read this interesting exchange.

John 2 18Then the Jews demanded of him, "What miraculous sign can you show us to prove your authority to do all this?"

19Jesus answered them, "Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days."

20The Jews replied, "It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and you are going to raise it in three days?" 21But the temple he had spoken of was his body. 22After he was raised from the dead, his disciples recalled what he had said. Then they believed the Scripture and the words that Jesus had spoken.

John explains what Jesus ment by temple. If John had written after 70 AD wouldn't he point out that Jesus' "temple" was not distroyed but the Jew's temple was??

highboy said...

"John explains what Jesus ment by temple. If John had written after 70 AD wouldn't he point out that Jesus' "temple" was not distroyed but the Jew's temple was??"

Interesting point. That is the problem with ahistorical views on Jesus. (Aside from the fact most credible scholars affirm His existence that is) The argument is for later and later dates, but then they leave out obviously crucial historical events. Why? BECAUSE THEY HADN'T HAPPENED YET. All of these conspiracy theories concerning Jesus and the origin of the Gospels are amusing, but hold little water.

Radar: I find it amusing how often you are ridiculed for taking the opposing view of what is considered an overwhelming majority of the scientific community, and then are ridiculed for actually siding with what is considered the majority of scholars and historians concerning the actual existence of Jesus. It brings into question just how objective some really are.

radar said...

I simply try to take the correct view and do so without concern as to the number of people who have the same view. (wink)

On the other hand, I don't post on the areas where I agree with the vast majority of people, because, hey, what fun is that? Or is there such an area???

A Hermit said...

"giving the liberal (yeah, I'm still using it) Bible scholars credit for asking questions sounds good. But if you really look at it the effort was somewhere between stupid and pathetic."

Still throwing insults instead of addressing the issues? Gets pretty tiresome Radar. And considering your own efforts to demonstrate that "history and evidence both say that dinosaurs did live with (and often try to eat) man" pretty funny...don't complain about the "tone" of my comments when you're throwing around pejoratives like "stupid" and "pathetic", especially when you're pushing crackpot theories about fire-breathing dinosaurs walking the Earth with moses and Abraham. Motes and beams, remember?

"Back in the days when the authorship of the Gospels was fairly recent, counsels were held and experts met to make sure that the scriptures were correct."

Well, that's one way to look at it. On the other hand, those councils were held 300-400 years after the fact, so I'm not sure how you define "recent", and their purpose could just as plausibly be said to have been to establish an orthodoxy palatable to the political powers of the day.

Considering the violent repression of alleged heretics and the prevalence of "pious frauds" occuring during the same time period I'd say the political angle is undeniably a big part of the story here.

Now, the title of your post is " "Are New Testament Books Historically Relevant?" The answer clearly is yes. But the real question here was ' "Are New Testament Books Historically accurate?" , and it's clear that the answer to that question is at least open to debate.

Cheers

Hermit

creeper said...

"I find it amusing how often you are ridiculed for taking the opposing view of what is considered an overwhelming majority of the scientific community, and then are ridiculed for actually siding with what is considered the majority of scholars and historians concerning the actual existence of Jesus. It brings into question just how objective some really are."

Radar believes in a literal interpretation of the Bible (aside from clearly labeled allegories etc.), which is not the majority view among Biblical scholars.

If you want to narrow it down to him agreeing with them on the more limited question of whether a person named Jesus existed or not (which is considered somewhere between likely and well supported by most Biblical scholars), then Radar and the majority are in agreement.

Nobody here ridiculed Radar for agreeing with the majority on that, at least that I know of. It was simply pointed out to him (and to you), that this was not proven, nor a fact, and that there was some room for doubt, whether people commenting here shared such doubts or not. I didn't get the impression that Hermit was definite on the issue, and I've said previously that I thought Jesus most likely existed (hence agreeing with Radar and the majority on that limited question).

xiangtao said...

Not really sure, but did the Romans have any records of one Jesus of Nazarath, who was purported to be the prophesized messiah of the Jews, being arrested and crucified around 40 AD? It seems that if these things happened, they would have written it down. They did seem to have a bit of a tendency to write about everything. A lot.

By the way, I don't mean "Did they write about it a few hundred years later?"

Did Pilate, or any other Roman of the time write about it?

highboy said...

"Radar believes in a literal interpretation of the Bible (aside from clearly labeled allegories etc.), which is not the majority view among Biblical scholars."

Source? I don't know what information you are basing this on, but few people would disagree that the Bible is some literal some allegorical.

"I didn't get the impression that Hermit was definite on the issue, and I've said previously that I thought Jesus most likely existed (hence agreeing with Radar and the majority on that limited question)."

Okay, understood. Though I would say that if the majority of scholars accept Jesus existence as historical fact, I think its kind of flakey to say "the jury is still out", when only a handful of scholars in the world would try and argue that.

"By the way, I don't mean "Did they write about it a few hundred years later?"

Paul was a Roman citizen who wrote about Jesus after His death. Not a hundred years, but around 60 years later a Roman historian Tacitus had written about Jesus. Also: "Among these ruins archaeologists discovered a limestone slab. It was 32 inches high, 27 inches wide, and 8 inches thick. A partial inscription was clearly visible. It was not difficult to decipher the complete message. A free translation reads: “The Tiberieum [a temple dedicated to Tiberias] of the Caesareans Pontius Pilate Praefect of Judea has given.” Alan Millard, Professor of Hebrew and Ancient Semitic Languages at the University of Liverpool, has observed that this represents “the only known inscription from his lifetime naming Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor who ordered the crucifixion of Jesus” (Wonders and Discoveries of the Bible, Nashville: Nelson, 1997, p. 327; emp. WJ). Let the significance of this sink in – in light of the criticism mentioned at the beginning of this piece. Here was a man who served the Roman government for ten years in one of the political hotspots of the empire. He himself was embroiled repeatedly in controversy. And yet, there is not a solitary Roman archival document that so much as mentions his name! In the face of this, how could anyone possibly cast a shadow of suspicion upon the Gospel records, due to the fact that there is scant Roman testimony regarding a Galilean religious teacher who lived more than 1,500 hundred miles to the east?"

Also telling is the archaelogical aspects of the evidence.

creeper said...

"Though I would say that if the majority of scholars accept Jesus existence as historical fact, I think its kind of flakey to say "the jury is still out", when only a handful of scholars in the world would try and argue that."

Like biologists and common descent.

creeper said...

"Source? I don't know what information you are basing this on, but few people would disagree that the Bible is some literal some allegorical."

Frankly, Highboy, I don't have a handy resource as to what the majority of Biblical scholars believe. I just got that impression from the various articles that I see linked to on the subject. If anyone has any hard data on this in either direction, some kind of poll or something, that would be interesting.

I'm just wondering - since you said you yourself are not a Biblical literalist like Radar, and you're surrounded by Biblical scholars at your college, what is the sense you get from your professors?

It's one thing to say that "few people would disagree that the Bible is some literal some allegorical", but for example, do the Biblical scholars you know think Genesis should be taken literally?

Ggiox Aid.

highboy said...

"It's one thing to say that "few people would disagree that the Bible is some literal some allegorical", but for example, do the Biblical scholars you know think Genesis should be taken literally?"

None of our professors or scholars take the whole Bible literally. When I say I'm not a literalist I mean I don't take the WHOLE Bible literally. I still haven't made up my mind as far as Genesis goes. Basically, the people up here is about 50/50 when it comes to Genesis. But I could probably say with some accuracy that most take some of the Bible literally and some allegorically.

"Like biologists and common descent."

I'm not sure what you are saying here.

loboinok said...

I like people who take the Bible literally... they rarely, if at all, feel the need to cut out what they don't like.

creeper said...

"But I could probably say with some accuracy that most take some of the Bible literally and some allegorically."

Makes sense, and kind of what I had figured.

"I'm not sure what you are saying here."

Just about all biologists accept common descent as so well supported by the evidence as to be a virtual fact, which is analogous to what you're claiming about the majority of Biblical scholars accepting the existence of a person named Jesus as well supported by the evidence. Actually, there's a lot more evidence for common descent than there is for the existence of Jesus.

Anonymous said...

And I too think it extremely likely that someone we know by the Romanized name Jesus, whom many consider the Christ, did in fact live as a historical figure, and was executed by the Romans. Whether we accept earlier or later dates, there are written accounts fairly early - most likely within a few decades - and people don't tend to create claimed historical figures of such importance out of whole cloth quite that quickly. (Although as time goes by, real historical figures become increasingly mythologized and 'genericized').

But consider this. Almost all folks will at least go with the 'rather likely' stance - maybe we can't be sure, but it all seems reasonable enough. Imagine if instead you were faced with a whole bunch of folks who refused to consider the historical reality of Jesus (let alone the religious bits). No matter how much suggestive evidence you provide (and you have, in this alternate world, everything we have here and a lot more, including perhaps some very suggestive references to an (unnamed) rabblerousing rabbi apparently written during the 30s), they refuse to listen, and laugh at it, or rail against it without even knowing what it is you're saying, what kind of evidence you're giving. Again, I'm not saying question it, or note that it's not entirely conclusive, as is being done here, since most of the folks doing so are (I think?) willing to grant that it is a reasonable possibility. We're talking flat-out [sound of mental doors slamming shut] denial. They demand a written document recording 'one Jesus of Nazarath, who was purported to be the prophesized messiah of the Jews, being arrested and crucified around 40 AD' - without it, despite all sorts of circumstantial evidence, Jesus' historical exsistence isn't just a highly likely but not entirely confirmed possibility - it's unthinkable, impossible, flat-out wrong, garbage, nonsense, even (for some) evil conspiratorial lies. Any other evidence you can provide is declared to be entirely useless and mistaken. And in fact, this situation is a major improvement - they used to resolutely deny even Christians existed until you demonstrated it beyond the barest shadow of a doubt (a change they never mention, given the impression they bought it all along).

You with me so far? And you may be thinking, well, that's pretty accurate, but remember, except for a very few, the debate in this world is entirely over a handful of decades and exact authorship, over whether (if I understand correctly) we can reach the historical Jesus through history or whether the sources are just garbled enough that we'll never be quite able to confidently reconstruct what he actually did or said. There are folks pointing out that we don't have ironclad definitive proof that he was a historical figure, but will admit that it does seem pretty darn likely.

So, got that all? Imagining how that would feel in that alternate scenario?

Yep. That's how us pro-evolution people feel.

-Dan S.

xiangtao said...

To clarify, I wasn't implying that a lack of writings about Jesus in any way implies a lack of his existence. Had he been just another "rabblerousing rabbi" I would hardly expect the Romans to have taken much notice of him. However, one that was rumoured to be the son of God, performed numerous miracles in full view of the public, caused such a stir to the whole Roman beaurocracy, as well as most of the Jewish leadership, etc... I would expect contemporary record of these happenings, not Tacitus 60 years later after Jesus' followers had continued to spread propaganda.

A Hermit said...

"did the Romans have any records of one Jesus of Nazarath, who was purported to be the prophesized messiah of the Jews, being arrested and crucified around 40 AD"

Short answer; no.

A Hermit said...

"I think its kind of flakey to say "the jury is still out", when only a handful of scholars in the world would try and argue that."

"The jury is still out" for me, since there is more than a handful of scholars who dispute the belief that Jesus existed at all, and some of them (particularly G.A Wells) make a compelling case IMNSHO. Wnat to dispute wells? Better read him first...;-)

There is a aslo a much larger group of scholars who accept, provisionally, that while the Jesus of the Bible is probably based on an actual historical figure the stories told about Him in the Gospels are unreliable and owe as much, if not more, to ancient Pagan archetypes as to any actual historical events. This would be closest to my own view.

Someone mentioned Lee Strobel earlier; he's one of those eople who make a lot of noise about all the alleged eyewtinessess to Jesus Crucifixion, but as a lawyer he surely should understand that copies of documents produced decades after an event probably don't even rise to the level of hearsay in terms of legal admissability.

History is not a court of law, of course, but there are enough questions about and uncertainty around the provenance of the earliest Gospels that they cannot be reliably claimed to be first hand, eyewitness accounts, and even if they were we know that eyewitness evidence can be notoriously unreliable. Absent any corroborating evidence there really isn't much of a case for historical veracity when it comes to the Gospels.

Anonymous said...

"All those Lee Strobel and Josh McDowell books may be bestsellers with the church-going crowd, but they have absolutely nothing to do with the scholarly understanding of Jesus. They’re popular religion, fact-free and geared towards the devotional mindset. Their relationship to genuine New Testament scholarship is like the relationship of creationist pamphlets to evolutionary biology: they’re designed to reassure the public that it’s okay to keep believing religion because smart people have looked at that science stuff (or history stuff) and concluded that the Bible is still reliable."

and more from Dr. Violet Socks .

quoted by
-Dan S.

highboy said...

"History is not a court of law, of course, but there are enough questions about and uncertainty around the provenance of the earliest Gospels that they cannot be reliably claimed to be first hand, eyewitness accounts, and even if they were we know that eyewitness evidence can be notoriously unreliable. Absent any corroborating evidence there really isn't much of a case for historical veracity when it comes to the Gospels."

You'd have a hard time making that case to the majority of scholars.

radar said...

Strobel and MacDowell write for the ordinary audience and not the scholars, nor are they understood to be Bible scholars themselves.

They do a good job of presenting evidences, however.

I have written before what I think of liberal textural criticism, so no rewind necessary. I will at least give macroevolutionists credit for using evidences to construct credible hypotheses, whereas the typical hypothesis of the liberal Bible scholar is usually devoid of any good evidence at all.

creeper said...

"I have written before what I think of liberal textural criticism, so no rewind necessary."

Could you explain what you mean by "liberal" in this context? If it is a political connotation you have in mind, it seems rather misplaced.

Daniel Detroit said...

Radar, yes, the entire New Testament was written before 70 AD. Matthew 24 has its fulfillment in the destruction of Jerusalem. Verse 31 speaks what occurs afterwards: the gospel going to the Gentiles. This is in agreement with the words of Paul in Romans 11 and he not wanting believers to be ignorant of the God's eternal purpose as it concerns Israel. I say, the entire New Testament was written before 70AD and that includes Revelation.

And why are these things not clearly understood in our day and hour. Because the one and only true gospel has not been preached, and that gospel is the Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures, He was buried and He rose again the third day according to all the writings of the prophets, and Jesus of Nazareth is the Messiach. The Spirit of prophecy,which moved holy men to write the scriptures, is the testimony of Jesus. The Spirit of the Father cannot testify of any other than Jesus. And all understanding of Christ comes from the preaching of the true gospel.

This is a crooked generation. For it will no longer endure sound doctrine. It is the generation of judgment.

Daniel Lang
dlang4@hotmail.com
586-924-2976
onegospelnotmany.blogspot.com

radar said...

Many years later, I notice that Darwinists have largely abandoned common descent and have resorted to many different ancestral beginnings to various types of organisms. Their "tree of evolution" has turned into a field of assorted grasses, trees, bushes and weeds.

Also, since Josephus was writing for Roman consumption he had to be careful how he characterized any of the events surrounding Christ and also the destruction of Jerusalem. Keep in mind the destruction of Jerusalem was much bigger news in the First Century than the 9/11 jihadist's attack on America was in the 21st. It was widely considered the biggest event of the entire century.

You see, it was not just a destruction of the Temple, it was a destruction of much of the city itself and blood literally ran down the streets like rivers from the slaughter of the population. It could be considered the fulfillment of the prophecy of Christ from Matthew 24 and I consider it to be that in fact.

Not one New Testament Book mentions the death of Paul or Peter or the destruction of Jerusalem, which means they were likely all authored before 67 AD.

It is certain that the Romans killed Jesus and that the Jewish leaders demanded His death, but it is also accurate to say the vast majority of the Jewish people did NOT want Jesus crucified. The Sanhedrin held an illegal trial and packed the forum where Pilate was addressing the audience with people urged or even paid to call for the release of Barabbas.

Jesus went about healing and caring for people and the common man did NOT want Jesus killed. A handful of powerful Jewish leaders afraid of losing their place in the Roman hierarchy arranged it all. Since Jesus was a Jew and all of His disciples were also Jewish it is ludicrous to blame "The Jews" for the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. The Children of Abraham kept the Scriptures for the benefit of the world and provided us with a Messiah! I have nothing but love and regard for my Jewish friends. I believe Jesus Christ was and is their Messiah.