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Eyewitness testimonies

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Presentation on theme: "Eyewitness testimonies"— Presentation transcript:

1 Eyewitness testimonies
Who really wrote the 4 gospels ? Are they really eyewitnesses to the life of Jesus ? Are their testimony reliable ?

2 What are the first gospels like?

3 Who wrote the gospels ? How do we know that Matthew, Mark, Luke and John wrote the 4 gospels ? (Don’t try to look inside the gospels themselves, the author’s name is NOT there !!!)

4 Writings by Early Church Fathers
St. Irenaeus: Bishop of Lyons (120 AD): "Matthew published his Gospel among the Hebrews in their own language, while Peter and Paul were preaching and founding the church in Rome. After their departure Mark, the disciple and interpreter of Peter, also transmitted to us in writing those things which Peter had preached; and Luke, the attendant of Paul, recorded in a book the Gospel which Paul had declared. Afterwards John, the disciple of the Lord, who also reclined on his bosom, published his Gospel, while staying at Ephesus in Asia."

5 Writings by Early Church Fathers
Eusibius: Bishop of Cæsarea (260 AD): "The Gospels containing the genealogies, he says, were written first. The Gospel according to MARK had this occasion. As Peter had preached the Word publicly at Rome, and declared the Gospel by the Spirit, many who were present requested that Mark, who had followed him for a long time and remembered his sayings, should write them out. And having composed the Gospel he gave it to those who had requested it. When Peter learned of this, he neither directly forbade nor encouraged it. But, last of all, JOHN, perceiving that the external facts had been made plain in the Gospel, being urged by his friends, and inspired by the Spirit, composed a spiritual Gospel."

6 Who were the gospel authors
Matthew: one of Jesus’ disciples who was a tax collector Mark: follower of Peter, who was one of Jesus’ disciples Luke: follower of Paul who was a Pharisee converted by Jesus John: one of Jesus’ disciples – the youngest disciple of Jesus

7 Further evidence for true authors
Lack of prominence of the gospel writers (with the exception of John) If you’re gonna fake the gospel, you might as well make it look very good by having heavy weights to write the gospels (like Peter) Other more “prominent” but fake gospels Gospel of Thomas Gospel of Peter

8 Fake gospel: Thomas (150 AD)
Gospel of Thomas is loved by “gnostics” Gnostics emphasized the humanity of Jesus A verse from gospel of Thomas: Simon Peter said to them, "Make Mary leave us, for females don't deserve life" Jesus said, "Look, I will guide her to make her male.... For every female who makes herself male will enter the kingdom of Heaven"

9 Fake gospel: Peter (120 AD)
Some verses from this “gospel” (concerning Jesus’ resurrection): ...they saw three men come out of the tomb, two of them sustaining the other one, and a cross following after them ... The head of the two they saw had heads that reached up to heaven, but the head of him that was led by them went beyond heaven The resurrected Jesus was HUGE

10 Checkup… We have reliable testimonies that Matthew, Mark, Luke and John were authors of the gospels Next question: Are they reliable eyewitnesses ? Are the things they wrote down true ?

11 Results from Biblical research
I’m quoting from studies on dating the gospels. Even the most liberal scholars agree that: Mark was written in the 70’s AD Matthew and Luke written in the 80’s AD John written in the 90’s AD

12 Implications of these dates
Jesus died around 30 AD Mark’s gospel written around 70 AD ….. So the gospel was in circulation 40 yrs after the “main event” (Jesus’ death) There are still people alive who knew Jesus and what he did in 70 AD If anything is suspect in Mark’s gospel, you will hear about it (like John Kerry on Vietnam ! – then: 1968 – now: 2004 )

13 An even earlier date for Luke
A case can be made to date the Gospel of Luke before 60 AD (30 yrs after Jesus’ death) Gospel of Luke written AFTER Acts Acts ENDS without telling us about Paul’s death in 62 AD Act probably written BEFORE Paul’s death in 62 AD Gospel of Luke would then be written before 60 AD ! (Takes time to write)

14 Even earlier testimonies to Jesus
Gospels were all written after Paul's letters !!! Paul's conversion occurred around 32 A.D Paul's first meeting with the apostles in Jerusalem occurred around 35 A.D Paul's ministry probably began in the 40's AD Paul's letter probably written in the 50's A.D. (20 yrs after Jesus’ death)

15 Conclusions Gospels were written by eyewitnesses or people who followed eyewitnesses to Jesus’ teaching Gospels were written and read when there were still hostile eyewitnesses (Pharisees) who knew Jesus Content of the original gospels must be very accurate because otherwise the content would be disputed (like John Kerry’s claims)

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