Opinion

What was the first Bible like?

The Museum of the Bible will return this medieval Greek manuscript of the four Gospels to the University of Athens, where it has been missing since 1991. Photo courtesy MOTB

(The Conversation) — In the years after Jesus was crucified at Calvary, the story of his life, death and resurrection was not immediately written down. The experiences of disciples like Matthew and John would have been told and retold at many dinner tables and firesides, perhaps for decades, before anyone recorded them for posterity. St Paul, whose writings are equally central to the New Testament, was not even present among the early believers until a few years after Jesus’ execution.

But if many people will have an idea of this gap between the events of the New Testament and the book that emerged, few probably appreciate how little we know about the first Christian Bible. The oldest complete New Testament that survives today is from the fourth century, but it had predecessors which have long since turned to dust.

So what did the original Christian Bible look like? How and where did it emerge? And why are we scholars still arguing about this some 1,800 years after the event?

From oral to written

Historical accuracy is central to the New Testament. The issues at stake were pondered in the book itself by Luke the Evangelist as he discusses the reasons for writing what became his eponymous Gospel. He writes: “I too decided to write an orderly account … so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.”

In the second century, church father Irenaeus of Lyons argued for the validity of the Gospels by claiming that what the authors first preached, after receiving “perfect knowledge” from God, they later put down in writing. Today, scholars differ on these issues – from the American writer Bart Ehrman stressing how much accounts would be changed by the oral tradition; to his Australian counterpart Michael Bird’s argument that historical ambiguities must be tempered by the fact that the books are the word of God; or the British scholar Richard Bauckham’s emphasis on eye-witnesses as guarantors behind the oral and written gospel.

St Paul: numero uno. Image courtesy Creative Commons

The first New Testament books to be written down are reckoned to be the 13 that comprise Paul’s letters (circa 48-64 CE), probably beginning with 1 Thessalonians or Galatians. Then comes the Gospel of Mark (circa 60-75 CE). The remaining books – the other three Gospels, letters of Peter, John and others as well as Revelation – were all added before or around the end of the first century. By the mid-to-late hundreds CE, major church libraries would have had copies of these, sometimes alongside other manuscripts later deemed apocrypha.

The point at which the books come to be seen as actual scripture and canon is a matter of debate. Some point to when they came to be used in weekly worship services, circa 100 CE and in some cases earlier. Here they were treated on a par with the old Jewish Scriptures that would become the Old Testament, which for centuries had been taking pride of place in synagogues all over latter-day Israel and the wider Middle East.

Others emphasise the moment before or around 200 CE when the titles “Old” and “New Testament” were introduced by the church. This dramatic shift clearly acknowledges two major collections with scriptural status making up the Christian Bible – relating to one another as old and new covenant, prophecy and fulfilment. This reveals that the first Christian two-testament bible was by now in place.

This is not official or precise enough for another group of scholars, however. They prefer to focus on the late fourth century, when the so-called canon lists entered the scene – such as the one laid down by Athanasius, Bishop of Alexandria, in 367 CE, which acknowledges 22 Old Testament books and 27 New Testament books.

Bible #1

The oldest surviving full text of the New Testament is the beautifully written Codex Sinaiticus, which was “discovered” at the St Catherine monastery at the base of Mt Sinai in Egypt in the 1840s and 1850s. Dating from circa 325-360 CE, it is not known where it was scribed – perhaps Rome or Egypt. It is made from parchment of animal hides, with text on both sides of the page, written in continuous Greek script. It combines the entire New and Old Testaments, though only about half of the old survives (the New Testament has some fairly minor defects).

Codex Sinaiticus, Book of Matthew. Photo courtesy Creative Commons

Sinaiticus may not be the oldest extant bible, however. Another compendium of Old and New Testaments is the Codex Vaticanus, which is from around 300-350 CE, though substantial amounts of both testaments are missing. These bibles differ from one another in some respects, and also from modern bibles – after the 27 New Testament books, for example, Sinaiticus includes as an appendix the two popular Christian edifying writings Epistle of Barnabas and Shepherd of Hermas. Both bibles also have a different running order – placing Paul’s letters after the Gospels (Sinaiticus), or after Acts and the Catholic Epistles (Vaticanus).

They both contain interesting features such as special devotional or creedal demarcations of sacred names, known as nomina sacra. These shorten words like “Jesus”, “Christ”, “God”, “Lord”, “Spirit”, “cross” and “crucify”, to their first and last letters, highlighted with a horizontal overbar. For example, the Greek name for Jesus, Ἰησοῦς, is written as ⲓ̅ⲥ̅; while God, θεός, is ⲑ̅ⲥ̅. Later bibles sometimes presented these in gold letters or render them bigger or more ornamental, and the practice endured until bible printing began around the time of the Reformation.

Though Sinaiticus and Vaticanus are both thought to have been copied from long-lost predecessors, in one format or the other, previous and later standardised New Testaments consisted of a four-volume collection of individual codices – the fourfold Gospel; Acts and seven Catholic Epistles; Paul’s 14 letters (including Hebrews); and the Book of Revelation. They were effectively collections of collections.

Papyrus 46 extract.

But in the absence of a single book prior to the fourth century, we have to content ourselves with the many surviving older fragments sensationally found during the 20th century. We now have some 50 fragmentary New Testament manuscripts written on papyrus that date from the second and third centuries – including the valuable Papyrus 45 (fourfold Gospel and Acts), and Papyrus 46 (a collection of Pauline letters). In all, these comprise almost complete or partial versions of 20 of the 27 books in the New Testament.

The quest will likely continue for additional sources of the original books of the New Testament. Since it is somewhat unlikely anyone will ever find an older Bible comparable with Sinaiticus or Vaticanus, we will have to keep piecing together what we have, which is already quite a lot. It’s a fascinating story which will no doubt continue to provoke arguments between scholars and enthusiasts for many years into the future.The Conversation

(Tomas Bokedal is associate professor in New Testament, at NLA University College, Bergen; and lecturer in New Testament, University of Aberdeen. This article was originally published on The Conversation.)

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  • “These bibles differ from one another in some respects, and also from modern bibles….” But whatever English translation you have at home is literally true….

  • “The experiences of disciples like Matthew and John would have been told and retold at many dinner tables and firesides, perhaps for decades, before anyone recorded them for posterity. ” Ever play telephone? And yet, the author then goes on to say…

    “Historical accuracy is central to the New Testament. The issues at stake were pondered in the book itself by Luke the Evangelist as he discusses the reasons for writing what became his eponymous Gospel. He writes: “I too decided to write an orderly account … so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.”

    And yet, the gospels disagree with each other on a number of “historical” and theological issues. And Paul seemed completely unaware of the virgin birth and choirs of angels. But the we learn that…

    “Today, scholars differ on these issues – from the American writer Bart Ehrman stressing how much accounts would be changed by the oral tradition; to his Australian counterpart Michael Bird’s argument that historical ambiguities must be tempered by the fact that the books are the word of God.” In other words, just pay no attention to that man hiding behind the curtain. And assume your conclusion. Because that’s what good scholars do.” Because we are also told that…

    “or the British scholar Richard Bauckham’s emphasis on eye-witnesses as guarantors behind the oral and written gospel.” Why, a near eye-witness account, told around the fireside for how many decades, and finally written down, by someone or other. And the oldest ones we have are from a couple of centuries after the fact.
    All right, then.

  • “By the mid-to-late hundreds CE, major church libraries would have had copies of these”

    It cannot be known that the copies of what became the New Testament books in the major church libraries were actually the same. Any given book may have had several variations from one library to the next. At some point, as the Jesus Movement morphed into institutional Christianity, institutional officials would have compiled the canonical version of each book, the version that best served their purposes – to educate the faithful, to establish the authority of the institutional church, to establish the authority of the institutional church, and to establish the authority of the institutional church.

  • The best copies of the New Testament books from all over the Roman world indicate few variations, none critical, among copies.

    For those interested in the notion “the Jesus Movement morphed into institutional Christianity”, read:

    http://www.aggiornamento.net/2018/08/31/christology-a-modest-proposal/

    and

    https://disqus.com/home/discussion/www-aggiornamento-net/christology_a_modest_proposal/

    where you can read how “institutional officials” “compiled the canonical version of each book” (“the version that best served their purposes”) “to establish the authority of the institutional church” in the zany “21st Century Faith”, which looks surprisingly like the Modernist Apostasy loss of faith which hallmarked the last half of the 20th century.

  • But what about establishing the authority of the church? And the bank? And all of that gold?

  • What about heading over to JoeMyGod and talking about something about which you are not completely ignorant?

  • “But what about establishing the authority of the church”?

    You are absolutely right. I forgot to mention that. I think the gold and the bank came later, after the institutional Church had established its authority and started buying up (or extorting donations of) land and serfs.

  • Added discussions of the Christian books of the first to third century most not found in the NT can be found at

    2. Early Christian Writings, earlychristianwritings.com/
    – a list of early Christian doc-uments to include the year of publication–
    30-60 CE Passion Narrative
    40-80 Lost Sayings Gospel Q
    50-60 1 Thessalonians
    50-60 Philippians
    50-60 Galatians
    50-60 1 Corinthians
    50-60 2 Corinthians
    50-60 Romans
    50-60 Philemon
    50-80 Colossians
    50-90 Signs Gospel
    50-95 Book of Hebrews
    50-120 Didache
    50-140 Gospel of Thomas
    50-140 Oxyrhynchus 1224 Gospel
    50-200 Sophia of Jesus Christ
    65-80 Gospel of Mark
    70-100 Epistle of James
    70-120 Egerton Gospel
    70-160 Gospel of Peter
    70-160 Secret Mark
    70-200 Fayyum Fragment
    70-200 Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs
    73-200 Mara Bar Serapion
    80-100 2 Thessalonians
    80-100 Ephesians
    80-100 Gospel of Matthew
    80-110 1 Peter
    80-120 Epistle of Barnabas
    80-130 Gospel of Luke
    80-130 Acts of the Apostles
    80-140 1 Clement
    80-150 Gospel of the Egyptians
    80-150 Gospel of the Hebrews
    80-250 Christian Sibyllines
    90-95 Apocalypse of John
    90-120 Gospel of John
    90-120 1 John
    90-120 2 John
    90-120 3 John
    90-120 Epistle of Jude
    93 Flavius Josephus
    100-150 1 Timothy
    100-150 2 Timothy
    100-150 T-itus
    100-150 Apocalypse of Peter
    100-150 Secret Book of James
    100-150 Preaching of Peter
    100-160 Gospel of the Ebionites
    100-160 Gospel of the Nazoreans
    100-160 Shepherd of Hermas
    100-160 2 Peter
    ……………………………………………………………

  • Whereas historians discussing any other ancient text will state that oral traditions always undergo massive changes when codified in print, and that works get altered in translations, especially from dead languages. References are frequently made to works lost to posterity. Even the meaning of certain words or idioms no longer exist.

    Added to the mix that nobody wrote historical accounts with an eye towards accuracy. Historical writing was exclusively propaganda supporting a patron in the first millennia of such surviving accounts.

    Yet the Bible is somehow the magical exception. For….reasons.

    Alleged scholars will fall over themselves with special pleading arguments and ridiculous claims why the Bible is accurate but any other work would not be under the same conditions. Frankly one has to accept a lot of blatant dishonesty in making allegedly rational claims for Biblical historical and textual accuracy.

  • From what I’ve read,and watched in documentaries,they (the authors of the new testament),didn’t start writing about jesus,until 30 years,after his supposed death. I find that completely odd,and ridiculous. Another reason,(besides no historical,scientific evidence),that I don’t believe he existed,at all.

  • Rigorous historic testing by the likes of Professor J.D. Crossan has concluded that only 33% of the NT is authentic.

    Added refinement using the tools of language and Christian community activity during the writings of the NT by NT exegetes such as Professor Gerd Ludemann conclude that only 10% of the NT is authentic. e.g. Jesus After 2000 Years, pp. 1-693/

    Bottom line: The found NT Codexs are mostly myths and embellishments.

  • It’s always a point to ponder that, as far as anyone knows, the writers of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John did not have access to any of Paul’s letters before they wrote their gospel accounts, and Paul had no access to those written gospels before he wrote his letters.

  • There is very little in the Bible that involves ” meaning of certain words or idioms no longer exist” since interpreters who knew the words wrote interpretations, and transcribed them into languages such as Koine which are well understood.

    Since we have current texts and also ancient texts, with more discovered and examined in the 19th and 20the centuries, we can compare them. The textual variances are piffling.

    Nor is there any reference to lost works upon which anything doctrinal rests.

    In short, once again, your knowledge is insufficient to support your critique.

  • Then, I suppose, when you read Religion News Service, you just skip right over the articles about Christianity.

    I mean, what kind of jerk would read an article about someone he did not believe existed all just to comment that he didn’t believe he existed at all?

  • I guess you missed that Paul was writing about Jesus starting in 50 AD, having learned what he knew from those who actually heard and saw Jesus.

  • So,you think RNS is what? Just about Christianity? Typical Xian bs. What kind jerk,would troll an-other’s opinion,expect for a typical,know it all xian,asshole.

  • Now you know why he’s known around here as Bob Arnzhole, a name that obviously suits the jerk, bigot, and asswipe that he is.

  • WHACK. Bob Arnzhole, a typically bigoted Christian nutcase, takes another unwarranted and nasty swipe at a sincere poster.

    Bob Arnzhole, you suck sh!t. Die soon please, you despicable, deluded old bigot

  • Bob Jose Arnzhole, you disgusting old bigot, stop taking mean swipes at Ben. You are simply a jerk.

  • False as usual from Bob Arnzhole. And further, the New Testament, that foul book of fiction, isn’t even self-consistent, within any of its versions. It’s all fairy tales and nonsense.

  • No, Bob Arnzhole, that is entirely false, and your flat-round earth of your bible with all its medically incorrect statements is proof.

    That mustard tree doesn’t provide you much shade, does it, you bigoted old asswipe. Die soon please, and take your sicko religion with you.

  • There are no contemporary accounts of his existence outside of a religious text loaded with parables and deliberate mythologizing.

    On the upside, there is zero reason to believe any such record could exist given the low born social stature of him and his followers. So even if they had existed, they won’t anymore just due to the passage of time.

    An honest person would leave it as an open question.

  • Paul never met Jesus. His account was admittedly by you second hand hearsay. Something nobody would accept as credible. Except of course yourself. Since all rules regarding credibility don’t apply to the Bible.

  • Anyone with the slightest knowledge of the Scriptures knows Paul never met Jesus. But he received his information from those who did. Thus far closer and more reliable sources than those used by most ancient historians. Oh, but that’s right, they’re not Christian/religious, so they’re credible and a-okay! LOL.

  • Down through the ages, the Gospel of Jesus Christ has been proclaimed, changing the lives of many because of Jesus Christ. Also, down through the ages have been many public debates over the Bible, Christianity, and Jesus Christ.
    In this corner, we have Bart Ehrman, Gerd Luddeman, Richard Carrier, and Marcus Borg.
    In that corner, we have Richard Baucham, Daniel B. Wallace, Gary Habermas, William Lane Craig, and Michael W. Holmes.
    Let the games begin!
    Almost the same evidence. Sharply different conclusions!
    As the debates march through history, into the next century …
    The love of Jesus is daily proclaimed. Jesus saves from sins. Born again from receiving Jesus into my life. Today is an awesome and blessed day!

  • You seem to work very hard at promoting an inability to rise above the kindergarten impulse to denigrate others rather than make a rational, opposing, argument.

    I wonder why?

  • You seem to work very hard at promoting an inability to rise above the kindergarten impulse to denigrate others rather than make a rational, opposing, argument.

    Again – I wonder why?

  • You seem to work very hard at promoting an inability to rise above the kindergarten impulse to denigrate others rather than make a rational, opposing, argument.

    Yet again – I wonder why?

  • You seem to work very hard at promoting an inability to rise above the kindergarten impulse to denigrate others rather than make a rational, opposing, argument.

    Still I wonder why?

  • You seem to work very hard at promoting an inability to rise above the kindergarten impulse to denigrate others rather than make a rational, opposing, argument.

    I wonder why?

    Same old…same old

  • Wayne.

    “changing the lives of many because of Jesus Christ”

    I don’t believe that you can justify this as it stands.

    I grant you that some people have made major changes to their lives simultaneously with becoming religious. There are two problems you need to address before you move from that to your statement.

    1 – You need to be able to demonstrate cause-and-effect rather than coincidence and you need to be able to demonstrate that any cause-and-effect is in the order you assume.

    2 – How do you account for similar changes made by people who embrace religions other than Christianity, and, indeed, similar changes by people who reject Christianity and become atheistic? If such behavioural changes validate belief around Jesus Christ logically they must also validate other belief objects when the changes result from belief around Allah, Jehovah, Vishnu, Xenu etc. etc. etc. …………….+ “non-of-these”. Are you content with saying that all “gods” and none are equally valid because the same life-style changes can be associated with all such (non-)beliefs.

  • First, Paul says he learned Jesus’ message directly from Jesus. He also claimed to have met “the pillars” in Jerusalem, but was proclaiming Jesus’ message before doing so. 

    Second, we can be sure of exactly nothing Paul says. There’s no independent corroboration of much of what he tells us … particularly Jesus’ miraculous posthumous visitation with him. 

  • Quoted: “Historical accuracy is central to the New Testament.” 

    As the OP states, the notion of “historical accuracy” did not exist in the 1st century CE. There were “historians” in this era, of course, e.g. Diodorus, Livy, Sallust, Tacitus, Josephus, and others, but while they left valuable accounts behind, none of these are “histories” in a modern sense. And they wrote for reasons other than to merely convey an objectively “accurate” account of events for posterity. So when people say that the NT authors considered “historical accuracy” central to their writings … well, that’s anachronistic. 

    A lot of Christians, especially fundagelicals, get really hung up on things like Luke 1:4 and, based on that, construe the third gospel, if not all four, as a kind of investigative journalism. That also did not exist in the 1st century, and again, it’s anachronistic to assume any of the NT books are this kind of literature. They’re not, because they literally cannot have ever been investigative journalism. 

    No, the first major work that follows anything like what we would call “historiography” is Edward Gibbon’s The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire in the late 17th century. There are, to be sure, still some problems in Gibbons’s account — it would never hold up, if it were written today — but his writing shows the beginnings of the modern approach to relaying and analyzing history. There was literally nothing like it, prior to his day. To assume the NT authors, writing many centuries prior to Gibbons’s time, could have written something like what he did, is simply idiotic. 

    As for the supposed “accuracy” of oral tradition … Ehrman is right, and as you point out, “the telephone game” provides all the evidence one needs to understand why it’s prone to error. One need not posit any intention, on the part of those telling a tale, to change it, in order to explain how and why that tale can change in the process of being relayed: Oral traditions change, whether or not anyone wants them to. It’s inevitable that they will. And it happens, even if those relaying it sincerely want to relay it precisely as they heard it. 

    Another thing many Christians get hung up on are mention of “witnesses” in the NT books, e.g. the 500 witnesses of a resurrected Jesus that Paul mentions in 1 Cor 15:6. To them, these are exactly what Paul says they were … i.e. eyewitnesses to Jesus’ resurrection whom Paul himself had spoken with and whose accounts he’d verified. The problem, of course, is that we only know of them from his pen. There’s no confirmation of these 500 witnesses. This is a classic propaganda technique — one which was well known and often-used in the 1st century: “Take my word for it, everyone saw it!” 

    When one points this out, a lot of Christians get incensed. “Are you saying Paul lied!? How can you say that? What’s your evidence?” First, I don’t need “evidence” to disprove something someone wrote which isn’t confirmed by any other evidence. All unusual claims, such as a resurrected Jesus was seen by lots of people, should be treated skeptically, right out of the gate, and by definition. Second, no I’m not claiming Paul “lied.” He might well have been told this, and for all anyone knows, genuinely believed it, so he wrote it that way. If that’s the case, he’s not “lying,” he’s just conveying wrong information that had been provided him by others. They, in turn, might have picked the information up through a misunderstanding, by mishearing something, etc. so that it might never have been an intentional “lie” on anyone’s part. 

    This, I think, is the point that really underlies how many Christians approach this topic. They read the NT works and see in them the accounts of people who genuinely believed in their faith and wanted to explain it sincerely. They can’t fathom how sincere beliefs could result in anything other than “historical accuracy.” What they don’t realize is that sincerity has nothing whatever to do with accuracy or veracity. People can, and often do, sincerely believe a lot of things that aren’t true. Outside the realm of religion, one need only go to the Snopes Web site to see a vast number of very-untrue things that people sincerely relate to one another, over and over and over again. They do it in spite of the fact that it’s the 21st century and debunking sites like Snopes are at their fingertips, on the very same Internet on which they transmit their untrue garbage! If anyone thinks 1st century writers were somehow more diligently accurate than we are in the 21st, they’re complete morons. 

  • I find it completely odd and ridiculous that people who claim to not believe in something choose to hang out in forums about what they claim to not believe in.

  • From the evidence of his own testimony, as well as the writings of other contemporaries. The same way we know about, say, Titus Flavius Josephus.

  • Greetings Dog! Hope your day is going well! You are correct that there are many people whose lives are changed for the better without any influence from Jesus Christ. There are far more lives changed for the better under other programs, organizations, and movements not related to any influence by Jesus Christ. And, again you are correct about many people who are hypocritical in their “lifestyle change” by Jesus Christ, and backslidden people who no longer care about Jesus in their lives. Jesus expects this to happen in John 6:60-61, 66-69. The difference with the small percentage of individuals who are more, or less genuine in their commitment to Jesus Christ is the everlasting value we believe we have because of the resurrection of Jesus. I, myself, am far from perfect and not that smart, but Jesus cleansed me from my sins and I try my best to live for him. I also try to be respectful of others, and those of very different opinions from mine, as Jesus would. Thanks, Dog, for your insights. Have a great day!

  • Hi Spuddie! Hope you are doing well today! The apostles understood Jesus’ words and deeds as having unique value as coming from God himself in John 6:63, 68-69. These understandings raised the care of documentations to a higher level as of everlasting value, in their perspective. Luke’s opening reference (Luke 1:1-4) to numerous eyewitnesses’ documentations are the numerous summary statements pieced together throughout his Gospel account. Because of sharp divisions over Jesus among the crowds and the religious leaders, the eyewitnesses’ documentations were viewed as alternative historical accounts by the numerous writers and contributors to the New Testament documents. Those who were documenting New Testament history were writing accounts their colleagues refused to acknowledge in John 7:45-52. In all of this, they point to the love of Jesus for the many people he was trying to reach out to, even to those rejecting him. Thanks, Spuddie. Have a great day!

  • The current trolls seem to follow into three categories:

    – pseudo-Catholics formerly associated with National “Catholic” Reporter Comments who have an entire agenda they want to share with traditional Christians

    – LGBT types associated with JoeMyGod, LGBTNation, et al who like to stop by and give “religionists” and “Xians” the one finger salute

    – Atheists (many of whom are actually agnostics) from Alternet, Friendly Atheist, et al who also like to stop by and give “religionists” and “Xians” the one finger salute

    Obviously none of these folks have a lot to contribute to an intelligent conversation.

    My blocked list on Disqus is now five pages long (several of the folks are dupes since they create new identities once blocked), but it does provide an opportunity to comment without having to wade through the agenda-driven nonsense.

  • Well, yes!

    Hearsay evidence is simply that: someone said that someone said, and that proves a fact that is not in evidence. The biggest amount of hearsay ever is that the Bible is god’s word, which one of these “historians” assumes is true, and all of the rest of his history flows from that. If so, god is a crappy historian. The sodom story, where the creator of the vast entire universe, walks to sodom and has dinner with Abraham, is a really good indication of the white human creation of the Bible.

    We can be pretty sure that Julius Caesar—to use one of their supposed arguments— existed and did the things he did, because we have coins, statues, accounts, knowledge of related history etcetcetc. For Jesus, all we have is the Bible. All of the things that Jesus did would fill libraries, and yet, all we have are the four gospels, three of which came from the same source.

  • That excuse works well for people who are commanded by their faith not to ask questions or examine basic facts but it is ridiculous to expect anyone to accept it as a rational or historical take on the origins of the text.

    Your argument is entirely special pleading, in pretending the Bible is the exception to everything we know of texts of similar age and provenance. Yet you expect to people to take it seriously as a factual statement.

    What you are really saying is you have faith the Bible is accurate factually and historically. Faith is belief in the absence of evidence.

    But any claim that evidence and rational discussion demands that people do so is a lie. You are telling me you are willing to lie to maintain that belief.

  • Re: “We can be pretty sure that Julius Caesar—to use one of their supposed arguments— existed …” 

    Yeah, I heard the Julius Caesar objection. It is, as you say, bunk … because of the physical evidence of Caesar’s life in addition to the documentary evidence. Not to mention, Caesar’s career itself induced major changes to the Roman Republic (in fact, that entity ceased to exist, as such, not long after him). That, too, would also be evidence of Caesar’s historicity. 

    Re: “… all we have are the four gospels, three of which came from the same source.” 

    Well … not exactly. There are more sources for the four gospels than that. We have: 1. The gospel of Mark, a source for Matthew & Luke, but itself the product of an earlier martyrology, probably oral but possibly written; 2. The so-called “lost gospel” Q, which was in all likelihood the product of an earlier oral tradition; 3. The so-called “Signs Gospel,” a probable oral tradition which was a source for John. In addition, Matthew and Luke each are assumed to have had additional sources, in addition to “Q” and Mark, which would account for material within each which is different from each other as well as Mark; and a “Discourse Gospel” has been proposed as an added source for John; all of these 3 were likely oral traditions too. 

    NT source criticism is a rather complex topic, to be sure. And scholars don’t entirely agree on everything about it. Far from it! What’s clear is that the gospels were the products of dynamic traditions and at least a decade or more of development in each case, very likely multiple tracks which ended up being synthesized and boiled down to the four we now have. The long and short of it is, there is quite simply no possibility each of the 4 was written separately and uniquely by 2 of Jesus’ apostles and 2 apostle’s companions/converts. It just cannot have happened that way … at all. 

  • For the sake of history, politics, religion, we all need to make sense of the world we live in. Therefore, it is always a good exercise our brains and to engage in intellectual discussion. Curious minds want to know why people buy fiction and then sell it as fact.

  • When you see how many times Bobobobobobob does exactly that, to everyone and at all times, whether he was invited into the conversation or not, whether in response to a conversation he was in or not, you might be willing to give other people a little slack.

  • Every time the Bible-Believers rationally knock another Skeptic Argument out of the ring (and these days it’s happening every week!), the Skeptics start whining, “Special pleading! Special pleading! We skeptics demand a Free Pass because we got knocked out of the ring again!!”

  • So, PsiCop, why would anybody “get hung up on Luke 1:1-4? Maybe the text itself can tell us:

    1 Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us,
    2 just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word.
    3 With this in mind, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I too decided to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus,
    4 so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.

    I have highlighted a few items there. Journalist stuff, Historian stuff, stuff that even today’s readers look for when insisting on historical accuracy. (1) More than one person was investigating and writing “an account”, independently, on the same topic. The more people, the more checking. (2) Visiting and consulting actual eyewitnesses, and the eyewitnesses handing down the details of what happened. (3) Careful — not haphazard or lazy — investigation by Luke, starting “from the beginning” of the issue. (4) Writing “an orderly account”, rational, coherent, specifics that somebody else could check, and a clear timeline.

    Not shabby at all.

  • Re: “I have highlighted a few items there.” 

    Yes, you did, but you’re reading those words in translation and through the eyes of a modern reader … not those of a 1st century Hellene from the Levant. 

    Re: “Journalist stuff, Historian stuff, stuff that even today’s readers look for when insisting on historical accuracy.” 

    As has been explained at length already … neither “journalism” nor “historical accuracy” existed then. They’re modern innovations. 

    Re: “More than one person was investigating and writing ‘an account’, independently, on the same topic.” 

    Yes, the author of Luke knew other gospels were around. In fact, he used one of them, “Q,” as one of his sources. He portrayed his own as more authoritative than the others. 

    Re: “Visiting and consulting actual eyewitnesses, and the eyewitnesses handing down the details of what happened.” 

    We have absolutely no way to know if this ever happened. We only have “Luke’s” word that he did all of this. In truth, travel in the 1st century Greco-Roman world was costly and grueling; for someone to go to that much effort and expense just to write a gospel would have been difficult to imagine. Again, you’re looking at the author’s claim anachronistically. 

    Also, someone conducting this kind of extensive “investigation” would have had no reason to rely so heavily on an existing document (i.e. “Q”) that we know had also been used to write another gospel (Matthew). The words of the gospels themselves show it to be exceedingly unlikely. 

    Re: “Careful — not haphazard or lazy — investigation by Luke, starting ‘from the beginning’ of the issue.” 

    Again, we have only the author’s word regarding how “careful” he was. But even “careful” in his time would not have been the same as “careful” in ours. Modern historians and investigative journalists are “careful” in ways that 1st century authors definitely never were. 

    Re: “Writing ‘an orderly account’, rational, coherent, specifics that somebody else could check, and a clear timeline.” 

    Yeah, well, “Luke” botched his own timeline, right out of the gate: https://infidels.org/library/modern/jeff_lowder/jury/luke_and_quirinius.html
    As for what the readers of “Luke” could or couldn’t “check,” their ability to do so would have been limited … at least as limited as the author’s ability to conduct this massive “investigation” in the manner he describes. Probably over 90% of the people who encountered the content of “Luke’s” gospel would have, themselves, been illiterate — having had it read to them during services or meetings — and they’d have had NO means of “verifying” anything “Luke” said. 

    Re: “Not shabby at all.” 

    Actually, very shabby. He didn’t even have the basics right. For instance, Quirinius wasn’t governor of Syria during Herod’s reign. He got that fact very wrong. What else is he wrong about? I have no idea. 

  • Goodacre doesn’t know what he’s talking about — he just parrots the work of someone else (i.e. Austin Farrer). On the other hand, there are actual scholars who DO know what they’re talking about: 
    The Lost Gospel Q: The Original Sayings of Jesus by Marcus Borg 
    The Formation of Q by J. S. Kloppenborg 
    The Lost Gospel: The Book of Q & Christian Origins by B.L. Mack 

    You and Goodacre would do well to learn from your betters rather than bellyache that they’re saying things you subjectively dislike. That’s just childish. 

  • Did they even let you know in religious studies that “Q” was, is — and has always been — merely hypothetical?

  • Hi PsiCop! Good to hear from you! Hope you are doing well! No, actually, Borg, Kloppenborg, and Mack, do not know what they are talking about. “Q” is based on theories of parallel passages of Matthew and Mark. “Q” is a fairy tale for scholars. There is no “Q” document. There never has been. “Q” is a theory, not an historical document, like P52 (c. 120 A.D.) the John Rylands manuscript, or Codex Sinaiticus (c. 400 A.D.). You cannot inspect “Q” document in any museum. Jesus loves you, PsiCop!

  • Could be, could be fear, could be he’s channelling Jesus – who knows. It’s rather sad though isn’t it.

  • Bob Cariozen was commenting on an ad hominem, heavily but, IMO, appropriately.

    Bob Arnzen was failing to comment appropriately on a valid point by displaying his usual inability to respond rationally.

    And, IMO, if you don’t understand the difference you need professional help.

  • Re: “No, actually, Borg, Kloppenborg, and Mack, do not know what they are talking about.” 

    Nope. Not buying it. Not for one second! 

    Re: ““Q” is based on theories of parallel passages of Matthew and Mark.” 

    It is the result of comparative analysis, but that doesn’t mean it’s wrong. It just means you’re looking for a reason to condemn it. 

    Re: ““Q” is a fairy tale for scholars.” 

    Not true. The only fairy tale is the notion that the four gospels were written independently by two of Jesus’ apostles and by two apostles’ companions/converts. THAT, my friend, is a TRUE fairy tale! 🙂 

    Re: “There is no “Q” document. There never has been.” 

    Of course there was. It must have existed. We have the evidence it did. 

    Re: ““Q” is a theory, not an historical document, like …” 

    That we don’t have a full copy of it, cannot and will never magically mean it cannot have existed. 

    Re: “You cannot inspect “Q” document in any museum.” 

    No, but you can see its results in the synoptic gospels. The tracks of it are there. All you need are eyes to see it and the courage to admit it’s there. Go ahead. It won’t hurt you to make that concession. No harm will befall you if you do. I promise! 

    Re: “Jesus loves you, PsiCop!” 

    Nice of you to say that, but it’s irrelevant. If there is a Jesus, he has never made himself evident to me, so you’ll pardon me if I dismiss what you call his “love” as fictional (as far as I know). If your Jesus does exist and does love me, yet refuses to show it to me, then likewise I dismiss that as useless. 

  • It’s a compelling hypothesis, and it’s a simple explanation for a lot of features of the synoptic gospels, even if you subjectively dislike it. 

  • Greetings again, PsiCop! You are quite the thinker! You stated that Luke’s research did not exist in the first century. Not only did Luke do such extensive research (he can afford it! He was a physician!), but his documented account became the standard account over the others. The Apostle Paul used Luke’s Gospel as Luke was writing the Acts of the Apostles. Many of the early churches were well aware of these documents as Paul traveled to many places.
    Concerning Dr. Luke’s historical accuracy, “governor” (participle of Gk. hēgemoneuō) was a very general term for “ruler,” it may be that Quirinius was the administrator of the census, but not the governor proper. Also, another solution is to translate the verse, “This was the registration before Quirinius was governor of Syria” (see ESVfootnote), which is grammatically possible (taking Gk. prōtos as “before” rather than “first”. Assessments from Professor Wayne Grudem, Ph.D., University of Cambridge, and Professor Thomas R. Schreiner, Ph.D., Fuller Theological Seminary.
    Once again, PsiCop, have a great day. Jesus loves you!

  • Re: “You stated that Luke’s research did not exist in the first century.” 

    Correct. Neither investigative journalism nor modern historiography existed in his time. Both came many centuries later. Your assumption that “Luke” engaged in both, is anachronistic — and obviously so. 

    Re: “Not only did Luke do such extensive research (he can afford it! He was a physician!) …” 

    In ancient times, physicians weren’t always wealthy. That’s another anachronistic assumption you make about him. Also, as I explained to you, we have no confirmation he did what he claims to have done. Not a speck of it, anywhere! 

    Re: “The Apostle Paul used Luke’s Gospel as Luke was writing the Acts of the Apostles.” 

    Uh, no. That’s chronologically impossible. The 7 genuine Pauline epistles (Romans, 1 &2 Corinthians, Galatians, Philippians, 1 Thessalonians, Philemon) were all written no earlier than the late 40s, probably around the mid-50s. Luke wasn’t written until after c. 80 CE or so, and might even have been written in the 90s. What you claim is just impossible. 

    Re: “Many of the early churches were well aware of these documents as Paul traveled to many places.” 

    The genuine Pauline epistles are irrelevant to the authorship of Luke, as I just explained. 

    Re: “Concerning Dr. Luke’s historical accuracy, “governor” (participle of Gk. hēgemoneuō) was a very general term for “ruler,” it may be that Quirinius was the administrator of the census, but not the governor proper.” 

    Uh, no. That’s not true. “Governor” was a title awarded by Rome and conveyed in Greek by ηγεμονευοντος. Note that “Luke” uses the same word when he describes Pontius Pilate as “governor of Judea” later in v. 3:1. Are you saying he used it generally of Quirinius in 2:2, but more specifically of Pilate in 3:1? If so, you’re actually implying that he used the word sloppily, which would lean against your contention that he was precise in his language. 

    Re: “Also, another solution is to translate the verse …” 

    No need, I can read the original Greek and even post it here for you: αυτη απογραφη πρωτη εγενετο ηγεμονευοντος της συριας κυρηνιου  

    Re: ““This was the registration before Quirinius was governor of Syria” (see ESVfootnote), which is grammatically possible …” 

    No, it’s not. The Greek doesn’t say anything like that at all. You made that up out of your own ignorance of Greek. Unfortunately you happen to be dealing with someone who happens to know better. 

    Re: “Assessments from Professor Wayne Grudem, Ph.D., University of Cambridge, and Professor Thomas R. Schreiner, Ph.D., Fuller Theological Seminary …” 

    Irrelevant. If this business about what the Greek says came from them, they’re lying … because it simply is not true. Or maybe they don’t actually know Greek and just made it all up? I have no idea, nor do I care, since I have my own expertise in the subject of κοινη Greek and don’t need anyone else to tell me what Lk 2:2 says. 

    Re: “Jesus loves you! 

    I’ll reply to this little snippet the same way I just did to another commenter who dropped it on me: 

    Nice of you to say that, but it’s irrelevant. If there is a Jesus, he has never made himself evident to me, so you’ll pardon me if I dismiss what you call his “love” as fictional (as far as I know). If your Jesus does exist and does love me, yet refuses to show it to me, then likewise I dismiss that as useless.

  • And, IMO, if you don’t understand the hypocrisy you won’t benefit from even the finest professional help.

  • The way this works, sport, in Disqus is that you DO NOT NEED AN INVITATION TO A CONVERSATION.

    As soon as you choose to post to a discussion, you’ve invited the world to comment.

  • Actually we have other contemporaneous accounts that mention Jesus.

    That’s the sort of cr-p you run into when you post nonsense you got from id-ots.

  • I have my own suspicions about dear ol’ bobobobob. Let me put it this way: I wouldn’t be surprised if he were a priest, despite his pains to conceal anything about himself. I know I found at least one of his other identities, and am pretty sure I found another. You touched on two of the other possibilities. Fear is certainly one. Megalomania is another. Both Of his latest attacks on me were far more revealing than he knew. But I can’t write too much about it, because I don’t wish to invite more of his vitriol, or stop his occasional revealing remark.

    In his “defense”, he is certainly knowledgeable about some things, and occasionally actually makes an intelligent, relevant remark. I even complimented him on it once or twice.

    So, we just let him comment, and ignore what he has to say and his general aholery. I won’t block him. He appeals to his fellow travelers, of course, because he confirms their prejudices and their fanatasies. I suspect a few of them also don’t much care for him any more than you or I do, but they also don’t want to invite his attack chihuahua mode, either.

    As for sad? I don’t know. When it comes to these far right wingers, my milk of human kindness is losing a good deal of its butterfat. I had the thought of counting just how many times in his last 200 comments or So— to anyone, not just me— involve his “you’re a big poopy head” modality. But then I thought I have other things to do, and it would just feed into his “defender of the faith” delusion, as well as his “I’m the smartest guy in the room” mode. His obsessions are clear.

    Oh, well!

  • So all you do is complain about the obvious fallacy employed. But not actually refute it. Defending obviously dishonest claims made in service of your religion. The wild insistence on pretending your faith based belief has a rational and historical basis cheapens it utterly. Your need to lie for God is rather immature and does no favors to your religion.

  • Hello Wayne. Actually, you’re quite correct about the word “prote” here. It can not be ignored in this passage. It can indicate one of only two things: either that the enrollment was the FIRST of more than one made when Quirinius was a leader in Syria (and as yet we only know of the one, and that only from Josephus, that everyone else also knew of because it had precipitated a rebellion in Judea) or that it was an enrollment taken BEFORE Quirinius was leader in Syria.

    In either case, Luke is clearly referencing the infamous census of Quirinius that everyone was familiar with, and making clear that this was not it.

    Neither is there any necessity for dating Luke to the 80s or 90s. That is purely unsubstantiated guesswork.

    Ignore the pretenders to expertise. All bark, no bite. If they could bite, they’d have no need to bark.

  • When I read stuff like:

    “Uh, no. That’s chronologically impossible. The 7 genuine Pauline epistles (Romans, 1 &2 Corinthians, Galatians, Philippians, 1 Thessalonians, Philemon) were all written no earlier than the late 40s, probably around the mid-50s. Luke wasn’t written until after c. 80 CE or so, and might even have been written in the 90s. What you claim is just impossible.”

    at the same OTHER experts are posting conflicting suggestions and “facts”, it’s obvious we’re reading cut and past jobs by individuals who have never actually read the Bible in any language and are cutting and pasting from sources that happen to spin it the way they like it.

  • I wouldn’t be surprised if you were a fat 80 year old rabbi living in Brooklyn.

    The phrase “big poopy head”, which I never use, seems to indicate an infantile fixation of some sort, probably tied in with being …. well, you know.

    I have no delusions anyone will convince of anything. It’s part and parcel of your neurotic life view.

    My comments are for the benefit of others.

  • “We can be pretty sure that Julius Caesar—to use one of their supposed arguments— existed and did the things he did, because we have coins, statues, accounts, knowledge of related history etcetcetc.”

    Also: Julius Caesar wrote his own works and was published in his own time. We have accounts criticizing and insulting him, his family was one of the most powerful in Rome (as opposed to a peasant carpenter in a backwater province), he left descendants, had a mask made of his face in death….

  • The same 19th century Germans who unsuccessfully tried to date John’s Gospel to the late 2nd century — before archaeology debunked their claims.

  • The “Letter of Lentulus,” is an alleged eyewitness account of Jesus Christ, it describes Jesus Christ’s face as being a comely red and his eyes gray, clear and quick.” https://commons.orthodoxwiki.org/images/c/cf/Anon-Publius_Lentulus.jpg

    The description of Jesus Christ given in the “Letter of Lentulus,” bears more similarities to a drawing of Jesus Christ made by Dylann Roof and published in a New York Daily News article by Shaun King, than it does to recent politicized attempts to portray Jesus Christ as being a brown skinned anarchist, which is literally how Jesus Christ is described in the Patheos article entitled “Jesus didn’t get crucified for writing a strongly worded letter to the Sanhedrin.”

  • So you are relying on faith in the supernatural and a desire for something to be true rather than employ rational discourse and evidence which demands to be taken seriously. By your own account Paul relied on hearsay, rumor and second hand stories. Nothing any reasonable person could consider inherently credible or reliable.

  • https://orthodoxwiki.org/Letter_of_Lentulus
    There are important arguments to be considered in favour of authenticity of the Letter of Lentulus as well, these can be found under the section “Authenticity” at the above link. Furthermore, the same link above, lists at least three passages in Greek writings earlier than the 15th century Lentulus manuscripts, which give similar descriptions concerning the appearance of our Lord Jesus Christ. e.g. the 14th century Ecclesiastical History of Nicephorus Callistus, in a section entitled: “On the divine and human features of our Saviour, Jesus Christ.” With the prefatory “As we have learned from the ancients,” the author notes a number of significant details: blond hair, thick, and falling into waves over the shoulders; dark eyebrows; short blond beard; eyes dark and remarkably kindly, but sharp; light complexion, slightly ruddy; face showing gravity, prudence, and gentleness, very like his Mother. Another description, probably first set down in the 11th century, was edited in the 18th century by the monk Dionysius of Fourna in a Handbook of Painting.

    Perhaps most important, is an 8th century description of Christ is found in the works of St. John of Damascus, in his Epistola ad Theophilum. Here the details include: beautiful eyes, with eyebrows that meet; straight nose; curly hair; pleasant voice; gentle, serene, and patient manner. In spite of the differences, the repetition and similarities suggest that all three accounts, along with the Letter of Lentulus, may stem from a common source. What the ultimate origin of such a likeness may have been is suggested in another work of St. John of Damascus, the De Imaginibus oratio. Here John reports the existence of a miraculous impression of the face of Christ, sent by Christ Himself, just before his death, to Abgarus, King of Edessa.

  • Whatever the authenticity of the letter of Lentulus might be, if we look at scripture we see that the descriptions given of Jesus Christ and the Israelite peoples of the bible closely resemble that given in the letter of Lentulus. e.g. KING DAVID is described as “RUDDY” in 1 Samuel 16:12, and 1 Samuel 17:42. The Lord Jesus Christ is a descendant of King David, via his mother the Blessed Virgin Mary, who was of the lineage of David (Psalm 132:11; Luke 1:32). Ruddy: adjective. (of a person’s face) having a healthy red colour: https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/ruddy

    The ISRAELITES are described as “WHITE” and “RUDDY” in Song of Solomon 5:10 “My beloved is white and ruddy, the chiefest among ten thousand.” In Revelation 1:14, JESUS CHRIST is described as having a HEAD that is “WHITE AS SNOW” (Head includes face). The Nazarites are described as being “purer than snow, WHITER THAN MILK,” in Lamentations 4:7. (Nazarites = ISRAELITES, Numbers 6:2)

  • So you were caught relying on an obvious hoax and are trying to pivot from that. Too bad the whole point of the article and discussion is that scripture itself is unreliable for claimed historical or just plain basic factual assertions

    Christians have been proof texting scripture to justify their positions since inception. Selective interpretations are suddenly claimed as fulfilled prophesy. Nothing people have to accept. Its why its called faith. Belief in the absence of evidence.

  • So your own source points to writings long after the fact and for reasons having nothing to do with factual accuracy and objective reporting of history.

    Your own link doesn’t consider it credible on its face. Being a Christian wikia, they fall short of calling it fake.

    Popular Biblical Forgeries
    https://exhibits.library.jhu.edu/exhibits/show/fakes-lies-and-forgeries/species-and-genres/popular-biblical-forgeries

    in Publius Lentulus’s “firsthand account” of the visage of Jesus, we encounter the familiar description that, from the eleventh or twelfth century onward, informed hundreds of portraits of Christ. All three are patent forgeries of the patristic or medieval periods.

    https://buzzflare.com/these-10-fake-documents-had-a-major-impact-on-the-world-and-jesus-christs-image-is-one-of-them/
    “evidence has shown that this image just might be the product of a fake document.”

    It doesn’t help you at all that it didn’t appear until well into the Middle Ages.

  • Scriptural descriptions of the ancient Israelites of the bible are reinforced by DNA studies conducted on the remains of ancient peoples that lived in the geographic region of North Africa and Palestine. The ethnicities/races inhabiting North Africa and the Middle East today, are not the same ethnicities/races that inhabited North Africa, Palestine, around the time of Jesus Christ, the days of Moses, etc.

    70 percent of British men and 50% of Western European men belong to the genetic profile group known as haplogroup R1b1a2, which Egyptian Pharaoh Tutankhamun, belonged to according to geneticists at Zurich-based DNA genealogy centre, iGENEA. Among modern-day Egyptians this haplogroup contingent (R1b1a2) is below 1 percent. https://uk.reuters.com/article/oukoe-uk-britain-tutankhamun-dna/half-of-european-men-share-king-tuts-dna-idUKTRE7704OR20110801

    Scientists who managed to obtain full genome sequences of Ancient Egyptians for the first time have concluded the people of the pharaohs were more closely related to modern Europeans and inhabitants of the Near East rather than present-day Egyptians. https://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/archaeology/ancient-egyptians-europeans-related-claims-a7763866.html

  • Hypocrisy depends upon a similar start point – I’ve already indicated that the bases were entirely different.

    Either you think they are the same but cannot/have chosen not to justify that thought or you don’t understand what hypocrisy is.

  • “My comments are for the benefit of others”

    Who do imagine benefits, and how, from

    “It’s probably truer than YOUR particular interpretation”

    “Certainly your beliefs have never followed rules of rational discourse and evidence”

    “Like you know what you’re talking about, eh?”

    “Here’s all the room you need to post all you know about the Gospels:

    [ ]

    Have at it.”

    And this is just one thread.
    How has anyone received benefit – “an advantage or profit gained from something” – by reading the puerile, negative, ill-considered (I trust), destructive and unevidenced ad hominems that comprise a large amount of your output?

    Oh – as to Ben and I being “birds of a feather” – the grown up word is – wait for it – you’ll like this – not a lot –
    homophily
    (nerghh, nerghh, nerghh).

    In so far as we are both capable of a modicum of rational thought you are, of course right. Ben may also be a wonderful person, good-looking, an expert driver and a sharp dresser. so perhaps we have more in common than just the ability to reason.

  • It is hypocritical to condemn someone for something while doing the very same thing oneself, your special pleading notwithstanding.

  • Thank you for the gay defense.

    Your opinion of yourself, like his of himself, is somewhat higher than my assessment of either of you.

  • Where on earth did you get any hint of “gay” (or defence)?

    Are you so unsure of your sexuality that you have to impose your concerns on everything you read?

    Heterosexuals with a well-balanced mental outlook, a decent education and the ability to reason logically don’t find those whose sexuality is not ours to be threatening.

    They’re people. They don’t choose to be gay any more than you choose to ambivalent. I didn’t choose to be straight – I just am.

    C’est la vie – the only one we know we have. I enjoy mine, I suspect Ben in Oakland enjoys his – you comments make it difficult to imagine you as enjoying life.

    As to my opinion of myself being higher than yours – hardly surprising is it – I know me better than you do!

    And I notice that, yet again, you are deflecting the discussion from a point you are unable/unwilling to address into what you imagine to be a put-down.

  • Wayne Amelung has got everything under control here.

    Carry on.

    The Conversation isn’t. Monologue, more like.

    That’s my only €2 worth of nothing-to-say.

  • Hi Wayne – I’m enjoying my life and hope you are enjoying your’s.
    Disqus seems to have given up on emailing me about replies hence I’ve only just seen this.

    My query related to the assertion that peoples’ lives have been changed by Jesus Christ.

    I have no problem with you having beliefs (well not if they only affect you) and presenting those beliefs to others as beliefs rather than as certainty is your right. My problem comes, in all areas of life, not only those of religion, when belief is presented as unarguable fact. That crosses a moral line and makes me wonder whether the assertion is more to paper over cracks in the belief/elicit favourable comment from peers etc. than genuinely seeking to serve the fount of morality (and no – I don’t think religion has any more than a nodding acquaintance with morality – but it does tend to claim otherwise doesn’t it)?

    As to you being “far from smart” that depends on where you set the comparator – Compared to many I’m not that smart either. I would suggest that your ability to write the quality of prose that you do sets you well above many on these boards in terms of “smart”. And not perfect – huh – after 70 years there’s so many know about my imperfections that it would take a Noachian Flood to remove the evidence against me!

    Now – back to building a shed from recycled materials.

  • Periodically I remove someone from the blocked queue to see if I am missing anything. I see that in your case I had good reason to block you.

    In the post to which I responded I read about my alleged “destructive and unevidenced ad hominems that comprise a large amount of your output”.

    In yours I read:

    “Are you so unsure of your sexuality that you have to impose your concerns on everything you read?”

    “Heterosexuals with a well-balanced mental outlook, a decent education and the ability to reason logically don’t find those whose sexuality is not ours to be threatening.”

    Let’s consider for a moment what an ad hominem is exactly.

    Ad hominem (Latin “to the person”) is a fallacy involving attacking the character, motive, or other attribute of the person making the argument, or persons associated with the argument, rather than attacking the substance of the argument itself.

    “Are you so unsure of your sexuality that you have to impose your concerns on everything you read?” is a classic ad hominem, stating the opponent is unsure of his sexuality, and finds (as clarified in the next sentence) homosexuals “threatening”.

    “My comments are for the benefit of others” is not an ad hominem.

    “It’s probably truer than YOUR particular interpretation” is also not an ad hominem.

    “Certainly your beliefs have never followed rules of rational discourse and evidence” is also not an ad hominem.

    “Here’s all the room you need to post all you know about the Gospels: [ ] Have at it.” oddly enough is not ad hominem after repeated demonstrations that the recipient cannot support his argument and has made a series of statements contrary to fact.

    They are all acerbic.

    So, let’s take a look at yours:

    “Either you think they are the same but cannot/have chosen not to justify that thought or you don’t understand what hypocrisy is.”

    “Bob Arnzen was failing to comment appropriately on a valid point by displaying his usual inability to respond rationally.”

    “And, IMO, if you don’t understand the difference you need professional help.”

    “You seem to work very hard at promoting an inability to rise above the kindergarten impulse to denigrate others rather than make a rational, opposing, argument.”

    So, we can conclude, fairly, you’re a hypocritical pr-ck.

    Which was pretty my assessment when I blocked you before.

    Which I do again.

  • No, because you are not talking about a first hand account. You have been trying to sell me on third hand accounts and hearsay written down decades if not centuries after the fact by people other than the putative writers.

  • You nazis want the Lentulus Letter to be accurate because it’s too embarrassing to admit you worship a Jew from where is modern day Israel. You want the fiction of the “White Christ”

    How pathetic.

  • Since Tater does not read history of any kind, first-hand or otherwise, much less understand the what and whys of hearsay, we may summarily disregard his opinions of both.

  • Liberal hypocrisy has considerable entertainment value. I enjoy watching it much more than Netflix. And no season breaks! What’s not to like?

  • Hello, PsiCop! Hope you’re doing well today. With all due respect, professor, I am not buying several of your explanations. You are unreasonably ignoring the plain and obvious reference to Dr. Luke’s sources in his opening explanation. I am not buying your rejection of those historical sources. It stands as eyewitnesses reports.
    You stated, “we have no confirmation he did what he claims to have done.” That is an excessive stretch. I don’t buy it. Luke’s Gospel narrative descriptions are the eyewitnesses’ reports confirming their experiences with Jesus of Nazareth. The early churches accepted Luke’s account as accurate and authentic.
    Concerning “Q” source. So, you are willing to believe in “Q” without any documentary evidence of its existence, but you are unwilling to believe Luke when he shows you his documentary sources! Now, that is an unreasonable stretch! I don’t buy it! Your bias is excessive. I, too, am biased in favor of Jesus and his salvation.
    When Jesus rose from the dead in Matthew 28 and Luke 24, emphasizing different details for different audiences, he was seen over a period of a month and a half by numerous people, some of them seriously skeptical until confronted by the resurrected Jesus.
    PsiCop, I have to wonder. With your knowledge of the New Testament, the Koine Greek, and the Higher Critical Theories of Form Criticism, I have to wonder if you were originally a Christian, receiving Jesus into your life, and university or seminary training changed your mind and you became disillusioned and rejected Christianity. Just a thought.
    PsiCop, yes, Jesus does still love you … and me. And yes, it is relevant. He speaks to you through the Gospels which you are rejecting. Nevertheless, Jesus paid the price for your sins and mine, and offers you and I salvation from sins through him.

  • LOL! Dog, you are hilarious! I like your style, your honesty, and your communication. I enjoy the dialog with the others as well. Even those who strongly disagree with me. It sharpens my thinking. I do try to be respectful of the others. I may not always come across that way. When that happens, and I realize it, an apology is in order. It is too difficult to be absolutely certain, or dogmatic, in opinions, especially mine, because too many of the best scholars strongly disagree with each other. That said, these many discussions are fascinating and educational. Dog, enjoy your day! Until the next time! My prayers are for everyone on these threads.

  • Re: “With all due respect, professor, I am not buying several of your explanations.” 

    That’s fine! It’s a free country and you can remain utterly wrong, if you wish. 

    Re: “You are unreasonably ignoring the plain and obvious reference to Dr. Luke’s sources in his opening explanation.” 

    More of your rather blatant anachronisms: “Luke” was never a “doctor.” He might have been a “physician,” but 1st century Greco-Roman physicians did not get the title of “doctor,” and what it meant to be a “physician” then is a far cry from what it means now. 

    You really don’t understand history, do you? 

    Re: “I am not buying your rejection of those historical sources.” 

    “Luke” never named his sources. We have no idea who they were. There’s literally nothing for me to accept or reject … because there is, well, nothing! 

    Re: “It stands as eyewitnesses reports.” 

    We do not have any way to know that. We can only take “Luke’s” word for it — and what he does say which can be checked out, fails. So no, I don’t believe him. At all. 

    Re: “You stated, ‘we have no confirmation he did what he claims to have done.’ That is an excessive stretch.” 

    It’s not a “stretch,” it’s the plain truth! You can call it a “stretch” if it makes you happy, but you’re simply wrong. 

    Re: “Concerning ‘Q’ source. So, you are willing to believe in ‘Q’ without any documentary evidence of its existence …” 

    Bzzzzt! Wrong. There is most certainly “evidence” of “Q.” It can be found in Matthew and Luke. 

    Re: “… but you are unwilling to believe Luke when he shows you his documentary sources!” 

    Yes. Of course. What part of this escapes you? I explained it already. “Luke” never “showed” us anything. He simply made a bald assertion about how he got his information. He never named a source, provided no references, nothing. 

    Re: “When Jesus rose from the dead in Matthew 28 and Luke 24, emphasizing different details for different audiences, he was seen over a period of a month and a half by numerous people, some of them seriously skeptical until confronted by the resurrected Jesus.” 

    We have absolutely no idea of that … at all. Period. We only have bald assertions to this effect made much later by his followers. 

    Re: “PsiCop, I have to wonder. With your knowledge of the New Testament, the Koine Greek, and the Higher Critical Theories of Form Criticism, I have to wonder if you were originally a Christian, receiving Jesus into your life, and university or seminary training changed your mind and you became disillusioned and rejected Christianity. Just a thought.” 

    I did! I studied the Bible and taught myself Greek during my fundie days, because as a devout Christian at that time I felt it was my duty to do so. Once I understood what I was looking at — and had studied both the languages and cultures of the Greco-Roman world — I realized it was all B.S. 

    Re: “PsiCop, yes, Jesus does still love you … and me.” 

    As I said, if your Jesus exists, he hasn’t shown himself to me, hence his “love” may as well not exist. 

    Re: “He speaks to you through the Gospels which you are rejecting.” 

    No, his followers wrote the gospels. It’s their authors who “speak to me.” I reject what they say, because they didn’t even bother getting their basic facts straight. What they wrote, was for an internal audience of fellow believers predisposed to accept whatever they wrote without question (and in a lot of cases they’d have had no real means to verify any of it, anyway). The evangelists didn’t care about facts because they had no need to. They had a faith message and that was enough for them. That’s all they composed. 

    What you and your ilk are doing, now, is making of their work something other than it actually was, at the time they wrote it. You construe it as 20th century historiography and investigative journalism, despite the fact that those things never existed in their time and wouldn’t for many more centuries to come. You do things like title “Luke” “doctor” even though doing so is anachronistic and preposterous. 

    In sum … you simply don’t know what you’re talking about and have no clue what you’re reading. It’s fine for you to want to remain ignorant and deluded, but don’t expect me to swallow any of the bilge you’re selling. Because I know better. 

  • PsiCop, thanks for your generosity. Thanks for sharing part of your background with me. It helps me to understand you better. I had a hunch. You are a good communicator, and articulate. Dialog with you sharpens my thinking. Even though I disagree with you, and perhaps several others. I am not that smart, nor am I a perfect Christian. But I try my best at both. The best of New Testament scholars have strong differences among them. I try my best not to be dogmatic, but confident with the Bible and with Jesus Christ, and respectful of differences, even strong differences. Again, thanks for sharing part of your background, your honesty, and the dialog sharpening my thinking skills. PsiCop, hope you have a great day! Until next time, soon.

  • Let’s face it: Wayne Amelung already handled it there.

    Could have re-hashed his explanation for you, but since you didn’t refute (actually, you didn’t really address) the specifics of his post, there was no need to do anything except have fun with your post.

    (But on a more serious note, that IS what I’ve actually noticed among the Skeptics. They are so quick to whine, “Special pleading!” like some kind of magic mantra. If I see that phrase in their books, that’s usually a quiet signal that some Christian somewhere has already zapped (in print or online) whatever argument the Skeptic is trying to sell to the unsuspecting readers.)

  • Well, I see some other posters have been responding, and sorry for my delay, but I would like to just point out:

    (1) None of the skeptics in this forum — including yourself — have refuted any of the 10 items Mark Goodacre gave in the “Ten Reasons” link. You’re a professor? Well that’s all right, but, umm, so is Mark Goodacre. A New Testament professor at Duke. Has MA, M.Phil and DPhil from the Univ. of Oxford. Former Senior Lecturer at the Univ. of Birmingham. Research interests include the Synoptic Gospels, the Historical Jesus and the Gospel of Thomas. Author of book, “The Case Against Q.”

    So when you say “Goodacre doesn’t know what he’s talking about”, or you talk like he’s not an “actual scholar”, and yet you can’t even refute his “Ten Reasons Against Q” link — why should anybody believe you, Doc?

    (2) One of the things that I’ll always appreciate my atheist professor for, was helping me see that there AREN’T any “betters” (your phrase) in the religious studies field. Readers may not have a PhD in their pockets, but if they simply monitor the public library, university library, local Christian bookstore, and online apologetics like crossexamined.org, one can find PhD scholars who — let’s face it — have already provided excellent scholarly pushbacks to the Skeptics, even if they themselves are NOT fundamentalists.

    But the biggest lesson my Atheist Prof taught me, was to simply start off by FIRST carefully re-reading the Bible texts (and contexts). Begin not with thick technical books, but with a careful Bible examination (and prayer). You’d be surprised about so many ordinary rational questions that YOU (the lay reader) can raise from the Bible texts & contexts alone, that may indeed challenge the PhD-Skeptic arguments and Atheists. Then check out the other books/articles, Christian scholarship, and online apologetics.

    And by the way: I looked at Kloppenborg’s book many decades ago, and Borg actually gave our classroom a personal lecture (because my liberal Atheist Prof invited him to do so as part of the annual universal religion lecture. Still wasn’t impressed. Q is hypothetical, not real. .)

  • Even as a totally hypothetical, not-real gig, this Q thing has problems with its assumptions and its claims.

    No way to reproduce it here, but pages 12-18 of Dr. Craig Blomberg’s textbook “The Historical Reliability of the Gospels” (1987, InterVarsity Press) details some serious textual and rational problems with Q, and suggests “a growing minority of scholars” who prefer other explanations. (Can’t blame ’em for that!)

    Meanwhile, on the non-PhD front, here’s an easy, reader-friendly ditty from one Sean C. Taylor, graduate of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, and a humanities teacher at Trinitas Christian School in Pensacola, FL.

    “Problems with Q: A Brief History of Source Criticism and the Gospels”
    http://www.academia.edu/3728522/Problems_with_Q_a_Brief_History_of_Source_Criticism_and_the_Gospels

  • Just goes to show you can’t rely on late 19th century Germans trying to get scholarly creds while their heads spin and their eyes rotate in their heads.

    What is particularly amusing is to read the very same persons who carp at the veracity of the New Testament testify in favor of an imaginary document of which not one shred, one scintilla, one reference, one whiff can be found.

  • You seem unaware these scholars you cite are in the minority. There’s a reason for that — and I suggest you consider that, seriously. I also suggest you take seriously the inherent problem with them being fervent believers in addition to scholars. This renders their conclusions suspect, before they even reached them. And it’s something they can’t help (not without giving up their fervent religious beliefs about the nature of scripture.). 

  • Wayne’s handling of it was goofy. When cornered with the fact that there is no objective or credible reason to consider the Bible a historical account he was left with “Its God’s word, so its different”

    The very definition of special pleading.

    You have never shown an appreciation of the methodology of rational discussion or had use for evidence based belief. You have shown me on numerous occasions your need to lie in service of an infantile version of belief. One which dishonestly denies the faith you obviously have.

  • You say, “…no objective or credible reason to consider the Bible a historical account.”
    No disrespect, but you gotta be kidding. What about the Pool Of Bethesda, in John 5:1-9?

    “When Jesus heals the paralytic in the Gospel of John, the Bethesda Pool is described as having five porticoes—a puzzling feature suggesting an unusual five-sided pool, which most scholars dismissed as an unhistorical literary creation. Yet when this site was excavated, it revealed a rectangular pool with two basins separated by a wall—thus a five-sided pool—and each side had a portico.” — Biblical Archaeology Society staff.

    And while you’re at it, please enjoy this good photograph:
    https://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/biblical-sites-places/jerusalem/the-bethesda-pool-site-of-one-of-jesus’-miracles/

  • I posted a response to this, which was — for some reason — flagged for moderation (and will probably never be addressed). I have no idea why. My response contained no profanity, so I have no idea what about it offended “the powers that be.” Let me try again: 

    Re: “None of the skeptics in this forum — including yourself — have refuted any of the 10 items Mark Goodacre gave in the ‘Ten Reasons’ link.” 

    I have no intention of refuting him in this setting. It’s unwieldy at best and ridiculous at worst. I provided you with book references by scholars, and those will do a much better job of refuting Badacre than I can here. Besides, he’s simply wrong and not in agreement with the majority of scholars. Snivel about that all you like, but that’s just how it is. 

    Another point: That “skeptics” don’t reply to you in a manner you consider acceptable, cannot and will never magically grant veracity to anything you say. Logic just doesn’t work that way. 

    And: Stop getting your breeches twisted in knots over the fact that there are “skeptics” in the world, including here. You have no vote in what others think, so pitching fits over skeptics’ insolence isn’t going to help you. If you live in the US, it might help you to realize that — despite your wish that it weren’t so — this is a free country, and people are free to be skeptics if they want to be. (The same is true, AFAIK, in most other countries where this site is read.) There’s nothing you can ever do to change this. Best to grow up and accept that reality … the sooner the better. 

    Re: “A New Testament professor at Duke. Has MA, M.Phil and DPhil from the Univ. of Oxford.”  

    Too bad all those degrees didn’t do Badacre any good.  

    Re: “Author of book, ‘The Case Against Q.'” 

    I know he wrote a book. I just don’t care. I cited several books that explain the nature of “Q” and why it had to have existed.  

    Re: “… one can find PhD scholars who — let’s face it — have already provided excellent scholarly pushbacks to the Skeptics, even if they themselves are NOT fundamentalists.” 

    No, they haven’t done anything of the sort. Most believer-scholars are compromised by their own beliefs, and those beliefs always color their conclusions. It’s not their fault … they can’t really help it. The conclusions they’re able to reach are bounded strictly by their metaphysical approach to the Bible. Unless they’re willing to give those beliefs up — which has been known to happen, now and then — their conclusions always must be viewed with these boundaries in mind. 

    Re: “But the biggest lesson my Atheist Prof taught me, was to simply start off by FIRST carefully re-reading the Bible texts (and contexts).” 

    Been there, done that. Back in my own very-devout fundie days.  

    Re: “Begin not with thick technical books, but with a careful Bible examination (and prayer).”  

    I know you’ll say it’s not true, but honestly, that’s exactly what I did!  

    Re: “Still wasn’t impressed. Q is hypothetical, not real. .)”  

    So go ahead. Remain deluded, if it makes you happy to be deluded. Just stop demanding that I follow you into your delusion. I have no intention of ever being the demented fool you want me to be.  

  • The Lord Jesus Christ is an Israelite from the tribe of Judah, via his mother the Blessed Virgin Mary, who was of the lineage of David (Psalm 132:11; Luke 1:32). Modern Jewry DOES NOT descend from the Biblical 12 Tribes of Israel. Contemporary Jewish sources admit that Modern Jewry is primarily descended from Edomites who were forcibly converted to Judaism by the Hasmonean leader Johanan Hyrcanus in 130BC, as recorded by historian Flavius Josephus. The Greek Geographer, philosopher and historian Strabo, also testified to the colonisation of Judea by Edomite converts to Judaism. Note: The Greeks and Romans referred to the Edomites as Idumeans].

    FLAVIUS JOSEPHUS: “Antiquities of the Jews” Book 13: Chapter 9, Section 1.
    http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.01.0146%3Abook%3D13%3Awhiston+chapter%3D9%3Awhiston+section%3D1
    Hyrcanus took also Dora, and Marissa, cities of Idumea, and subdued all the Idumeans; and permitted them to stay in that country, if they would circumcise their genitals, and make use of the laws of the Jews; and they were so desirous of living in the country of their forefathers, that they submitted to the use of circumcision, and of the rest of the Jewish ways of living; at which time therefore this befel them, that they were hereafter no other than Jews.

    STRABO: “Geography” Book 16 Chapter 2 Section 34.
    http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Strab.+16.2.34&fromdoc=Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.01.0239
    The western extremities of Judæa towards Casius are occupied by Idumæans, and by the lake [Sirbonis]. The Idumæans are Nabatæans. When driven from their country by sedition, they passed over to the Jews, and adopted their customs.

    In Jewish Virtual Library, under the heading, Johanan [John] Hyrcanus, it states: “On the southern front he forced Judah’s neighbors in Idumea [descendents of the Edomites] to accept Judaism.https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/johanan-john-hyrcanus

    P.S. Knowing the above, it begins to make more sense that the Apostle John spoke of impostors [Revelation 2:9, Revelation 3:9] who “SAY THEY ARE JEWS, AND ARE NOT” labelling them the “SYNAGOGUE OF SATAN.” Romans 9:13 “As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but ESAU HAVE I HATED.” Genesis 36:9 “And these are the generations of Esau the father of the Edomites in mount Seir:” P.S. The complete extermination of ESAU’S EDOMITE OFFSPRING, [which Modern Jewry descends from] is foretold in Obadiah 1:9, Obadiah 1:18.

  • The article titled “The only Jewish male hair ever found” discusses DNA tests conducted on ancient Israelite skeletons, dated to the 1st century BC, found in stone ossuaries next to the tomb of Annas, the high priest, father in law of Caiaphas, the high priest who betrayed Jesus Christ to the Romans. Hence it is thought that this shrouded man was either a priest or a member of the aristocracy. One of the more fascinating finds in this tomb, was the preservation of a sample of Jewish male hair. The length of the hair was medium to short, averaging 3-4 inches. The color was REDDISH. [Red hair is most commonly found among people of white European heritage, it’s rare for non-whites to have red hair]. https://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/ancient-cultures/ancient-israel/the-only-ancient-jewish-hair-ever-found/

  • Poor little Nazi is in an conundrum. What kind of excuses can he throw up to avoid the obvious. He worships a Jew?

  • So quoting the works of Flavius Josephus and Strabo who describe the forced conversion of Edomites to Judaism, is making excuses? Even Jewish Virtual Library, the most comprehensive online encyclopedia of Jewish history, politics and culture, admits this. In Jewish Virtual Library, under the heading, Johanan [John] Hyrcanus, it states: “On the southern front he forced Judah’s neighbors in Idumea [descendents of the Edomites] to accept Judaism.https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/johanan-john-hyrcanus

  • All you have done is prove confirmation bias is common among Christian fundamentalists.

    Biblical Archaeology is not a academically particularly vigorous pursuit. It is constantly jumping on the bandwagon for obvious frauds and scams. It is not considered a scientific discipline. It is a pseudo science like Creationism. Merely an attempt to pretend religious ideas have objective evidentiary basis. When facts are inconvenient evangelicals come up with their own.

  • All you have done is prove confirmation bias is common among atheists.

    When facts are inconvenient atheists come up with their own.

  • Geneticists, archaeologists and historians estimate that human beings with White European features first appeared around 6,000 years ago, interestingly, Bible scholars place Adam’s creation at around 6,000 years ago. http://www.icr.org/article/james-ussher-his-chronology-reasonable/

    The origins of the mid-Neolithic populations that did form the basis of modern Europe are also unknown.
    This population moves in around 4,000 to 5,000 [B.C.], but where it came from remains a mystery, as we can’t see anything like it in the areas surrounding Europe,” said Alan Cooper, director of the Australian Centre for Ancient DNA at the University of Adelaide. https://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2013/13/130423-european-genetic-history-dna-archaeology-science/

    That mystery is answered by Genesis 2:7 “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.”

    Strong’s Exhaustive Bible Concordance definition of ADAM is to: “SHOW BLOOD (in the FACE), i.e. FLUSH or TURN ROSY — be (dyed, made) red (RUDDY).” http://www.kingjamesbibledictionary.com/StrongsNo/H119/dyed%20red
    “Showing blood in the face, Ruddy, Flushing, turning Rosy,” — Are physical attributes used to describe White people, [Dark skinned Negroes don’t “turn Rosy”]. We know the bible is dedicated to Adam and Eve’s descendants, the Adamic Race, as per Genesis 5:1This is the book of the generations of Adam. In the day that God created man, in the likeness of God made he him;”

  • Biblical archaeology is not an academically vigorous study. It frequently engages in confirmation bias and being hoodwinked he constant fraud. Too bad for you there is no credible record of Jesus being anything other than a Jew. Poor little Nazi.

  • The games have ended. Rigorous historic testing wins. Final conclusions, there was no resurrection and never will be and only 10% of the NT is authentic.

  • Your breeding, birth and brainwashing in orthodox, “Bible only” Christianity continues to exude from your bible-thumping neurons.

    With respect to John’s Gospel and John’ epistles, from Professor/Father Raymond Brown in his book, An Introduction to the New Testament, (The book has both a Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur from the Catholic Church),

    John’s Gospel, Date- 80-110 CE, Traditional Attribution, (2nd Century), St. John, one of the Twelve,
    Author Detectable from the Contents, One who regards himself in the tradition of the disciple.
    First Epistle of John, Authenticity- Certainly by a writer in the Johannine tradition, probably NOT by the one responsible for most of the Gospel.

    From Professor Bruce Chilton in his book, Rabbi Jesus,

    “Conventionally, scholarship has accorded priority to the first three gospels in historical work on Jesus, putting progressively less credence in works of late date. John’s Gospel for example is routinely dismissed as a source……

    From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gospel_of_John#Authorship

    “Since “the higher criticism” of the 19th century, some historians have largely rejected the gospel of John as a reliable source of information about the historical Jesus.[3][4] “[M]ost commentators regard the work as anonymous,”[5] and date it to 90-100.”

    “The authorship has been disputed since at least the second century, with mainstream Christianity believing that the author is John the Apostle, son of Zebedee. Modern experts usually consider the author to be an unknown non-eyewitness, though many apologetic Christian scholars still hold to the conservative Johannine view that ascribes authorship to John the Apostle.”

    And from Professor Gerd Ludemann, in his book, Jesus After 2000 Years, p. 416,

    “Anyone looking for the historical Jesus will not find him in the Gospel of John. “

  • Modern Jewry DOES NOT descend from the Biblical 12 Tribes of Israel. Contemporary Jewish sources admit that Modern Jewry is primarily descended from Edomites who were forcibly converted to Judaism by the Hasmonean leader Johanan Hyrcanus in 130BC.

    In Jewish Virtual Library, under the heading, Johanan [John] Hyrcanus, it states: “On the southern front he forced Judah’s neighbors in Idumea [descendents of the Edomites] to accept Judaism.https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/johanan-john-hyrcanus

  • Not connecting the dots, nazi boy. But it’s funny watching the kind if contortions you guys do to justify being Christian and anti Semitic.

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