Presentation on theme: "Our class thus far... 1) Who wrote the four Gospels? 2) When were they written? 3) Is what we have now what they wrote then? 4) Why do we only have four."— Presentation transcript:
Our class thus far... 1) Who wrote the four Gospels? 2) When were they written? 3) Is what we have now what they wrote then? 4) Why do we only have four Gospels in the Bible? 5) Did the Gospel writers get it right?
“The Bible did not arrive by fax from heaven. The Bible is the product of man, my dear. Not of God. The Bible did not fall magically from the clouds. Man created it as a historical record of tumultuous times, and it has evolved through countless translations, additions, and revisions. History has never had a definitive version of the book.” -Dan Brown, The Da Vinci Code
For starters: Why does this question even matter? A word of warning...
For today... 1) Who wrote the four Gospels? 1) When were they written? 2) Is what we have now what they wrote then?
Points to consider... A. The Gospels are anonymous B. Names were attached in the second century. C. The testimony of the early church. 1) Who wrote the four Gospels?
“Matthew also issued a written Gospel among the Hebrews in their own dialect, while Peter and Paul were preaching in Rome, and laying the foundations of the Church. After their departure, Mark, the disciple and interpreter of Peter, did also hand down to us in writing what had been preached by Peter. Luke also, the companion of Paul, recorded in a book the Gospel preached by him. Afterwards, John, the disciple of the Lord, who also had leaned upon His breast, did himself publish a Gospel during his residence at Ephesus in Asia.” Irenaeus (A.D ), Against Heresies
“Mark having become the interpreter of Peter, wrote down accurately, though not in order, whatsoever he remembered of the things said or done by Christ. For he neither heard the Lord nor followed him, but afterward, as I said, he followed Peter, who adapted his teaching to the needs of his hearers, but with no intention of giving a connected account of the Lord’s discourses, so that Mark committed no error while he thus wrote some things as he remembered them. For he was careful of one thing, not to omit any of the things which he heard, and not to state any of them falsely...So then Matthew wrote the oracles in the Hebrew language, and every one interpreted them as he was able.” Papias, quoted in Eusebius (A.D ), Church History
“... at which nevertheless he was present, and so he placed [them in his narrative]. The third book of the Gospel is that according to Luke. Luke, the well-known physician, after the ascension of Christ, when Paul had taken with him as one zealous for the law, composed it in his own name, according to [the general] belief. Yet he himself had not seen the Lord in the flesh; and therefore, as he was able to ascertain events, so indeed he begins to tell the story from the birth of John. The fourth of the Gospels is that of John, [one] of the disciples.” The Muratorian Fragment (c. 180)
One more point to consider... Why Matthew, Mark, and Luke?
Points to consider: A) Church Fathers Ignatius (35-117A.D.) Papias (60-135A.D.) Polycarp (69-155A.D.) Didache (70-100A.D.) Clement (96A.D) Irenaeus ( A.D) 2) When were they written? Matthew: A.D. Mark : A.D. Luke: A.D. John: A.D.
Points to consider: B) P 52 2) When were they written? Matthew: A.D. Mark : A.D. Luke: A.D. John: A.D.
Points to consider: C) Acts, & the Synoptic Gospels Key events missing from Acts: Death of Peter Death of Paul Neronian Persecution Destruction of Jerusalem 2) When were they written? Matthew: A.D. Mark : A.D. Luke: A.D. John: A.D.
Points to consider: A) We do not have the originals. 3) Is what we have now what they wrote then?
Points to consider: B) Reconstructing the original: How many MSS? How early are the MSS? How important are the textual variants? 3) Is what we have now what they wrote then?
Histories# of MSS Original vs.Copy Livy 59 B.C.-A.D years Tacitus A.D years Suetonius A.D years Thucydides B.C years Herodotus B.C years Plato B.C years Homer’s Iliad years New Testament (Greek) years
“The wealth of material that is available for determining the wording of the original New Testament is staggering: more than fifty-seven hundred New Testament manuscripts, as many as twenty-thousand versions, and more than one million quotations by patristic writers. In comparison with the average ancient Greek author, the New Testament copies are well over a thousand times more plentiful. If the average-sized manuscript were two and one-half inches thick, all the copies of the works of an average Greek author would stack up four feet high, while the copies of the New Testament would stack up to over a mile high! This is indeed an embarrassment of riches.” -Reinventing Jesus
How important are the textual variants? 1) Spelling differences. (70- 80%) “Ioannes” or “Ioanes” “kai” or “kurios” 2) Minor differences that involve synonyms or do not affect translation. “The Joseph” or “The Mary” in Luke 2:16 “Jesus loves John” Mark 6:31-8:26: Jesus vs. He 3) Is what we have now what they wrote then?
How important are the textual variants? 3) Meaningful but not viable differences. 1 Thessalonians 2:9, “the Gospel of God” vs. “the Gospel of Christ.” “Blessed are you when people hate you, when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man.” –Luke 6:22 3) Is what we have now what they wrote then?
How important are the textual variants? 4) Meaningful but viable differences. Romans 5:1, “let us have peace with God” or “we have peace with God.” 1 John 1:4: “These things we write, so that our joy may be made complete.” John 7:53-8:11 & Mark 16:9-20 footnotes 3) Is what we have now what they wrote then?
“Less than 1 percent of all textual variants are both meaningful and viable, and by ‘meaningful’ we don’t mean to imply earth shattering significance but rather, almost always, minor alterations to the meaning of the text...Significant textual variants that alter core doctrines of the New Testament have not been produced.” -Dethroning Jesus
Points to consider... The Jewish foundation The authority of Jesus The death of the Apostles The rise of heresies 3) Why are these four Gospels in the NT?
Points to consider... Three Criteria for NT books: a) Apostolicity b) Catholicity c) Orthodoxy 3) Why are these four Gospels in the NT?
I. Clement of Rome (ca. 95) “The Apostles received the Gospel for us from the Lord Jesus Christ, Jesus the Christ was sent from God. The Christ therefore is from God and the Apostles from the Christ.” II. Polycarp, Bishop of Smyrna (ca. 110) Disciple of John “For neither I, nor any other such one, can come up to the wisdom of the blessed and glorified Paul. ”
III. Ignatius, Bishop of Antioch (ca. 110) “I do not, as Peter and Paul, issue commandments unto you. They were apostles; I am but a condemned man.” IV. Papias, Bishop of Hierapolis (ca. 125) Friend of Polycarp; heard John preach Affirms written Gospels of Matthew and Mark V. Tertullian, presbyter at Carthage (ca ) Acknowledges all four canonical Gospels as apostolic Equal to the Law and the Prophets
VI. Justin Martyr, apologist/philosopher (ca ) “And on the day called Sunday, all who live in cities or in the country gather together to one place, and the memoirs of the apostles or the writings of the prophets are read as...the president verbally instructs, and exhorts to the imitation of these good things.” VII. Tatian, theologian and writer (ca ) Composed the Diatessaron Student of Justin Martyr
VIII. Theophilus, Bishop of Antioch (ca. 177) “Moreover, concerning the righteousness which the law enjoined, confirmatory utterances are found both with the prophets and in the Gospels, because they all spoke inspired by one Spirit of God.” IX. Ireaneus, Bishop of Lyons (ca. 180) “It is not possible that the Gospels can be either more or fewer in number than they are...and the pillar and ground of the Church is the Gospel and the spirit of life; it is fitting that she should have four pillars.” X. The Muratorian Canon (ca. 180) Confirms 22 of the 27 NT books as Scripture.
The Gospel of... Peter Mary Magdalene Judas Matthias Philip According to the Hebrews Etc. Three main issues: All date to the second century and beyond. Gnostic influences. Case study: Serapion & The Gospel of Peter
I. Infancy Gospel of Thomas Jesus calls a child an “unrighteous, irreverent idiot” (3:1-3). Another child bumps into Jesus, and He strikes the child dead (4:1-2). Joseph to Mary: “Do not let him go outside the door, for all those who provoke him die” (14:3). II. The Gospel of Thomas “Simon Peter said to them, ‘Let Mary leave us, because women are not worthy of life.’ Jesus said, ‘Look, I shall lead her so that I will make her male in order that she also may become a living spirit, resembling you males. For every woman who makes herself male will enter the kingdom of heaven.” (114)
"9. And in the night in which the Lord's day was drawing on, as the soldiers kept guard two by two in a watch, there was a great voice in the heaven; and they saw the heavens opened, and two men descend with a great light and approach the tomb. And the stone that was put at the door rolled of itself and made way in part; and the tomb was opened, and both the young men entered in. 10. When therefore those soldiers saw it, they awakened the centurion and the elders, for they too were close by keeping guard. And as they declared what things they had seen, again they saw three men come forth from the tomb, and two of them supporting one, and a cross following them. And the heads of the two reached to heaven, but the head of him who was led by them overpassed the heavens. And they heard a voice from the heavens, saying, You have preached to them that sleep. And a response was heard from the cross, Yes."
5) Did the Gospel writers get it right? Points to Consider: Luke 1:1-4 Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile an account of the things accomplished among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and servants of the word, it seemed fitting for me as well, having investigated everything carefully from the beginning, to write it out for you in consecutive order, most excellent Theophilus; so that you may know the exact truth about the things you have been taught.
5) Did the Gospel writers get it right? Points to Consider: Oral Tradition Memory in Community Rabbis and their students Multiple Witnesses/Sources Written tradition...? Repetition of stories Many of Jesus’s sayings facilitate memorization Needs of the early church...? The role of the Holy Spirit
5) Did the Gospel writers get it right? “If anyone ever came who had followed the elders [those who knew the original apostles] I inquired into the words of the elders, what Andrew or Peter or Philip or Thomas or James or John or Matthew, or any other of the Lord’s disciples, had said...For I did not suppose that information from books would help me so much as the word of a living and surviving voice.” -Papias, in Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History
5) Did the Gospel writers get it right? “Starting on their journey, they took up the work of the evangelists and were zealous to preach to all who had not yet heard the word of the faith, and to transmit the writing of the divine Gospels. As soon as they had no more than laid the foundations of the faith in some strange place, they appointed others as shepherds and committed to them the task of tending to those who had been just brought in, but they themselves passed on again to other lands and peoples.” Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History
Our class thus far... 1) Who wrote the four Gospels? 2) When were they written? 3) Is what we have now what they wrote then? 4) Why are these four Gospels in the New Testament? 5) Did the Gospel Writers Get it Right? 6) Are there contradictions in the Gospels? 7) Do miracles undermine the reliability of the Gospels? 8) Is there any evidence for the Gospels outside the New Testament? 9) Aren’t the Gospels just another version of pagan mythology?
Asking the right questions: What is a contradiction? “X” cannot equal “non-X” at the same time and in the same sense. 6) Are there contradictions in the Bible?
Asking the right questions: B) What was history writing like in the ancient world? Modern History vs. Ancient History No quotation marks Precision vs. accuracy Ancient Biographies 6) Are there contradictions in the Bible?
“And with regard to my factual reporting of the events of the war I have made it a principle not to write down the first story that came my way, and not even to be guided by my own general impressions; either I was present myself at the events which I have described or else I heard of them from eye-witnesses whose reports I have checked with as much thoroughness as possible.” “It was difficult for me to remember the exact substance of the speeches I myself heard and for others to remember those they heard elsewhere and and told me of...I have given the speeches in the manner in which it seemed to me that each of the speakers would best express what needed to be said about the ever-prevailing situation, but I have kept as close as possible to the total opinion expressed by the actual words.”
“Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile an account of the things accomplished among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and servants of the word, it seemed fitting for me as well, having investigated everything carefully from the beginning, to write it out for you in consecutive order, most excellent Theophilus; so that you may know the exact truth about the things you have been taught.” Luke 1:1-4
Dealing with contradictions: Two Principles to Remember: First, differences don’t necessarily equal errors. Second, an account can be accurate without being as precise as it could be. 6) Are there contradictions in the Bible?
Major Categories of Apparent Contradictions: A) Paraphrasing, Summarizing, and Interpretation “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” (Matt. 16:16) “You are the Christ.” (Mark 8:29) “The Christ of God.” (Luke 9:20) 6) Are there contradictions in the Bible?
Major Categories of Apparent Contradictions: B) Abbreviations and Omissions Luke 7:1-10 vs. Matthew 8:5 Centurion vs. the elders 6) Are there contradictions in the Bible?
Major Categories of Apparent Contradictions: C) Reordering of Events & Sayings The temptations of Jesus Matthew 4:1-11: stones into bread, jumping from the temple, and receiving the kingdoms of the world Luke 4:1-13: stones to bread, kingdoms of the world, jumping from the temple 6) Are there contradictions in the Bible?
Major Categories of Apparent Contradictions: D) Reporting of Similar Events/Sayings Parable of the talents (Matt.25: Parable of the minas (Luke 19: ) Are there contradictions in the Bible?
Major Categories of Apparent Contradictions: E) Variation in Numbers How many angels at the empty tomb? Mark: a young man dressed in a white robe Matthew: an angel with clothing white as snow Luke: two men in dazzling apparel 6) Are there contradictions in the Bible?
Our class thus far... 1) Who wrote the four Gospels? 2) When were they written? 3) Is what we have now what they wrote then? 4) Why are these four Gospels in the New Testament? 5) Did the Gospel Writers Get it Right? 6) Are there contradictions in the Gospels? 7) Do miracles undermine the reliability of the Gospels? 8) Aren’t the Gospels just another version of pagan mythology? 9) Is there any evidence for the Gospels outside the New Testament?
6) Do Miracles Undermine the Reliability of the Bible?
Points to consider... 1) What is a miracle? Direct acts of a personal God that can’t be predicted or explained by merely natural causes. 6) Do Miracles Undermine the Reliability of the Bible?
Points to consider... 2) If God exists, miracles are possible. Probability & Background Information 6) Do Miracles Undermine the Reliability of the Bible?
Points to consider... 3) Miracles do not violate the laws of nature. Science is descriptive, not prescriptive. 6) Do Miracles Undermine the Reliability of the Bible?
Points to consider... 4) Case Study: The Resurrection of Jesus A. Jesus was crucified on a Roman cross B. Jesus’ tomb was empty. C. Jesus’ disciples believed He appeared to them. D. The transformation of Paul and James 6) Do Miracles Undermine the Reliability of the Bible?