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Re: The Reliability of the Gospels

Postby jimwalton » Wed Sep 27, 2017 3:18 pm

> Are you sure that you don't consider them to be anonymous writers because of your bias rather than everything you just written?

Yeah, I'm sure because I've examined the evidence. I've read extensively and weighed the arguments. I think the arguments in favor of traditional authorship are far stronger than the arguments against traditional authorship.

> people will come up with all types of creative ways to to justify believing in them anyway... This seems like the same exact situation.

Well, I don't consider this is what I've done. As I said, I've looked into it quite a bit.

> No you don't know who they. Their names. When they lived. When they died. Their motivations. Their influences. And whether or not they were mentally sound.

If they are the traditional authors, we have at least something to go by. Not tons, but not zilch either.

Matthew, generally believed to be the disciple of Christ, but he hardly enters into the Gospel stories. We know, if we accept the Gospels, he was a Palestinian Jew who made his living as a tax collector. Probably versed in the law (probably a Levite), probably literate. Interestingly, the Gospel of Matthew has a lot about the Law, ecclesiastical matters, oral interpretations of law and customs, and the spiritual history of Israel as a chosen people. The level of Greek in Matthew's Gospel matches what we would expect from such a man. Yet we never hear his voice (that I recall). After Jesus' resurrection, he disappears from written history. We know nothing about his death. So about Matthew we know very little.

Mark we know better. He shows up in various places all over the NT (Acts 12.12, 25; 15.39; Col. 4.10; 2 Tim. 4.11; Philemon 1.24; 1 Pet. 5.13). We know he was a Jerusalemite whose family were believers. He may have known Jesus and followed him somewhat during his ministry. He was a friend of Peter's. His Gospel is basically Peter's story. He speaks a lot about Messiahship, the message of salvation, and the failure of the disciples, commensurate with someone living in Jerusalem with Matthew & Peter after the resurrection. His writing also contains some Latinisms, to be expected from someone who later lived in Rome. (The historical writings we have put him in Rome in the late 50s with Peter.) He writes a lot about Jesus' authority, which fits the profile as well. We don't know anything about his death.

We know Luke was a Gentile and a doctor, and therefore educated and analytical. He traveled with Paul (and therefore probably Mark) throughout the Roman Empire. His Gospel contains more political references than any of the other Gospels. His Gospel contains themes like gender equality, justice, caring for the poor, wealth and poverty, persecution, suffering, and salvation. We don't know anything about his death.

John was a disciple of Jesus, and his Gospel has an abundance of eyewitness details. He was a Galilean fisherman. His Gospel explicitly states that it was written so that people believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. His Gospel is like a lawyer's presentation, bringing evidence and eyewitness testimony to the "witness stand," one after another, to make his case. Little or nothing is known about his death.

> Tell me why your view deserves any credibility to non-christians?

Jesus is a major character in history, no matter what you think of him. Western civilization is founded on Greek philosophy, Roman law, and Christian theology. Unless you attend UC Berkeley, voices other than liberal ones deserve to be heard so that there is a balanced consideration of perspectives and information.
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Re: The Reliability of the Gospels

Postby Turnkey » Thu Sep 28, 2017 2:55 pm

> Yeah, I'm sure because I've examined the evidence. I've read extensively and weighed the arguments. I think the arguments in favor of traditional authorship are far stronger than the arguments against traditional authorship.

> Someone biased would too, whether they did the research or not.

> No you don't know who they. Their names. When they lived. When they died. Their motivations. Their influences. And whether or not they were mentally sound.

> If they are the traditional authors, we have at least something to go by. Not tons, but not zilch either.

No name.
No birthday.
No date of death.
No proof they were not completely insane.

I would love to see you pile up all the evidence that these authors aren't anonymous and then try to use the same evidence to prove any fact about them to a random person who has no idea of the context.

It would be you listing all these unusual vagueries and concidences that only seem like proof when you are actively trying to find proof. To anyone else, it would be mumbojumbo.

You should do John, just for fun. List out everything and then try to make a cogent argument that you know who the person is from all of the evidence. So far you have him as a literate fisherman, which means he was intelligent yet worked a poor mans job.
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Re: The Reliability of the Gospels

Postby jimwalton » Thu Oct 19, 2017 6:01 pm

Sure, we can look at John.

The author identifies himself as "the disciple whom Jesus loved" (13.23; 19.26; 20.2; 21.7, 20, 24). Therefore he is identified as one of the 12. He was with Jesus in the upper room, at a seat right next to Jesus (13.23). In Jn. 21.24, he says the disciple who was next to Jesus at supper, who was at the cross with Jesus (John was a cousin of Jesus, which adequately explains the scene at the cross), who ran to the tomb with Peter, is the author of the book. So we know whoever wrote this book was one of the 12 and an eyewitness to the events of Jesus' life and teaching. We are not given a name, but we have some clues to work with. Indications in John 21.2 are that this person was one of the sons of Zebedee.

Some evidences that this Gospel is an eyewitness account:

- Times of day (1.39; 4.6, etc.)
- A link with one of the feasts (2.13, 23, etc.)
- Place names are brought in naturally and for no apparent reason other than narrative events
- The call of the disciples (1.35-51)
- The aroma of perfume wafting throughout the house (12.3)
- The episode of the foot-washing (13.1-20)
- Information about persons not mentioned elsewhere: Nicodemus, Malchus, Annas
- Claims to eyewitness testimony in 1.14 and 19.35.

The author is obviously well-acquainted with Jewish customs as well as the geography of Israel, consistent with identification with John.

- The connection of Elijah with Jewish messianic expectations (1.21)
- The low view held of women (4.27)
- The importance attaching to the religious schools (7.15)
- The hostility between Jews and Samaritans (4.9)
- The contempt the Pharisees had for ordinary people (7.49)
- The importance of the Sabbath and its rules (5.10)
- The need to circumcise a child overrode the Sabbath (7.22-23)

The writing style of the author is consistent with a Jew of Palestinian culture.

He knew the geography and topography of Palestine.

- He mentions that Bethany is two stadia from Jerusalem (11.18)
- He talks of Cana of Galilee, unknown from any previous writings

The writer had good knowledge of the group of apostles, another evidence that he was one of them and an eyewitness.

- Conversations (4.33; 16.17; 20.25; 21.3, 7)
- Thoughts (2.11, 17, 22; 4.27; 6.19, 60-61)
- Places they frequented (11.54; 18.2)
- Mistakes they made that were later corrected (2.21-22; 11.13; 12.16)

But it's still anonymous. What do those closest to it say?

1. The hard evidence from the early church is unanimous in attributing the Gospel to John. Irenaeus and Tertullian both say John wrote it.

2. It was universally accepted as canonical without any dispute.

3. There is no evidence of any attribution to anyone other than John. The early church is unanimous that John the disciple of Jesus, the brother of James, the son of Zebedee was the author. There is no competing theory or claim. Everything points to John.

As to his being insane, the subjects of the writing along with the content suggest a rational, thoughtful, organized mind, presenting information in a logical sequence to make his case. if you want to claim he is insane, you need to present evidence supporting that claim.


Last bumped by Anonymous on Thu Oct 19, 2017 6:01 pm.
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