You don’t have to read the gospels for long to find things that don’t seem to fit together. Sceptics argue that these prove that the gospel stories can’t be trusted, and probably aren’t true. Is this a reasonable conclusion? Is it the only reasonable conclusion? How do historians deal with these apparent discrepancies?
A couple of weeks back I posted some information on the surviving documentation for a number of ancient texts including the New Testament (Revised dates for ancient documents). Now, in the comments to that post, I have been asked some more questions about the New Testament documents. So here’s the answers to those questions, as […]
A common theme in the discussion of the reliability of the New Testament documents is the number of copies we have and the dates of these copies, compared to other ancient writings. And of course, the details change as new discoveries are made. Here is an update.
Akhenaten has been attacking statements I have made here, and on my other blog theWay?. The latest comment on Christians and cathedrals questions whether “there exists a scholarly consensus that a reasonable if modest amount of facts about Jesus can be known”. I decided this question required a longer answer … (and I apologise for […]
I think this deserves a separate post. A few weeks back I posted on the historical evidence for Jesus and how some sceptics refuse to accept the conclusions of the best scholars that Jesus existed and the gospels present some reliable historical information about him (Jesus – assessing the evidence). Akhenaten has been discussing the […]
A few months ago, I wrote about finds that establish, contrary to the views of some sceptics, that Nazareth did indeed exist in Jesus’ day – as a small agricultural village of (probably) just a few hundred inhabitants (Did Bethlehem and Nazareth exist in Jesus’ day?). I obtained the information for that blog from searching […]
Is the story of Jesus just a legend, copied from common stories at the time about ‘dying and rising gods’? Some sceptics are saying so, but what are the facts? I have already looked at Mithras, one of the gods most often compared to Jesus, now to consider all the other pagan gods.
Christians believe Jesus existed, the gospels record his words and deeds with reasonable accuracy (at least), and that the best way to understand Jesus is that he was divine, God’s son establishing God’s kingdom. Non-believers contest some, sometimes all, of these claims. Sometimes scholars give definitive answers to these questions, sometimes they don’t.
Not so very long ago, many internet critics of christianity were pointing out that there was no archaeological evidence of settlements at Bethlehem and Nazareth in the first century. This demonstrates, they said, despite the fact that few scholars agreed with them, that these towns didn’t exist, and that therefore the Bible accounts are not […]
In the nineteenth century, some writers (not generally qualified historians) argued that Jesus didn’t actually exist, and the gospels stories are legends. These views were generally discredited in the twentieth century as historians developed better methods of analysing ancient historical information. But the movement began a resurgence in the latter part of the twentieth century, […]