Why The Apocryphal Gospels Pale In Comparison to the 4 True Gospels
The gospels of Thomas, Mary, Judas and Peter are nonsense. These and many more are included in a collection of 52 gnostic manuscripts discovered in the village of Nag Hammadi, Egypt in 1945. Today they are readily accessible online. Myriad online sources say that they are all in Coptic and largely dated to the 4th century. The exception is the gospel of Thomas which is generally dated (in apparently the most prominent system) as early 132 AD, but which is no longer viewed as “gnostic” by one of the foremost experts on them, Elaine Pagels. Then there’s the gospel of Peter, the one to which I was assigned to give special attention on this occasion: Apparently, the author of our textbook, John Dominic Crossan believes that its original composition predates even the New Testament’s synoptic gospels (Wikipedia on Gospel of Peter). But almost no scholars agree. In broad strokes, the gnostic writings are a menagerie of esoteric sayings and reports that bear some resemblance to the stuff of the canonical four Gospels. If they didn’t then they would hardly be included in this category. It exists as a grouping of writings that were not invited to the “in-group” and that some say could have or should have been. But I think not. One reason is that they contradict each other, let alone the canonical gospels. Another is that they contain material that would be considered nonsense and/or repugnant by most thinking people. Another is their blatantly false authorship, and still another is their extremely late dating—far later than the gospels.
Was Jesus an illiterate peasant? (part 1)
by Ben Witherington in Patheos.com—
There is an awful lot of loose talk and pontificating on the basis of loose talk when it comes to the issue of Jesus’ social level, and his ability to read or write, or whether he could have been multi-lingual. Sometimes the discussion is even based on irrelevant data— for example the fact that Galilee was not inhabited by scads of Gentiles (see Mark Chancey’s fine monograph on how Gentile was Galilee). The ethnic makeup of Galilee is frankly irrelevant to the issue of whether Greek was used in the first century in Galilee or not for the very good reason that all of the Holy Land had long since been Hellenized for centuries.
Click here to read this article in full.
18 Reasons Why the Gospel Writers Gave us True History about Jesus
"The historical Jesus only said 18% of the words the gospels claim he did."
-Dr. Scott DeGregorio, Professor of History, University of Michigan-Dearborn
“Why would the apostles lie?...If they lied, what was their motive, what did they get out of it? What they got out of it was misunderstanding, rejection, persecution, torture, and martyrdom. Hardly a list of perks!” -Dr. Peter Kreeft, Professor of Philosophy, Boston College
If the writers of the gospels gave us true history, Jesus was a not only a good man but the ideal man. He claimed to have eternal origins and the very authority of God himself. But that is precisely the all-important question: Did they tell the truth? In other words, are the gospels true? Do they really give us an historical account of this Jesus upon whom Christianity is founded? Are the gospels good history, or are they so embellished as to consign them to mythology or historical-fiction? Skeptics like Dr. Scott DeGregorio ascribe to the latter view, as do many other scholars such as the well-known Bart Ehrman of UNC Chapel Hill. But in the opposing corner, a host of Ph.D. historians and other kinds of scholars confidently assert that the gospels are true history and present an accurate account of the risen Jesus who claimed to be the prophesied Messiah, Savior and Lord, etc.
What we can learn about the Companions' versions from the San'aa manuscripts and ahadith
In this article we will go deep into what I am calling the ‘philosophy of paper trails’. In specific, we will attempt to identify the history of the sacred text known as the Qur’an. We will do this by examining the text of the Qur’an itself as well as extra-Qur’anic Muslim sources such as the hadith and the tafsir, or Islamic commentaries. We also make use of scholarly, peer-reviewed sources such as Proquest and the Journal of Qur’anic Studies, popular online sources such as Wikipedia, and lesser-known but still credible articles that I had at my disposal. The questions we will ask and attempt to answer are not novel: Have the texts of the Qur’an been perfectly preserved since their initial emergence into 7th century Arabia, in the first century A.H. and to the present time? This article will argue no.
*The entire article (16 pages) can be downloaded at the end of this condensed version. Also see Scribal Changes in the Qur'an.
The Historical Reliability of the Writings of Luke the Historian
Recently someone said to me, "history is history". I think he probably meant that history is just facts, not conjecture. It struck me because there are skeptics of history who think we can know almost nothing about the past. Apparently this person was not one of those. Since it was not the main thread of our discussion I took it at face value. But if this is even a partly true statement, it is as true of Christianity as much as any other subject of history.
by Scott Cherry
This is an article I wrote originally as the introduction for a series of posts for a Facebook group called "The Bridge". The series is called "The History of Christianity". Its focus is exclusively on the formative years of Christianity and its small number of primary founders in the 1st century only. Every history relies on sources, and Christianity is no exception. My source is the historian Luke. First I will introduce Luke, and next I will introduce a modern historian, Sir William Ramsay, to tell us more about Luke and the credibility of Luke's writings.