Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Is the Bible a Reliable Historical Account?

An interview with Lee Strobel about the Reliability of the Bible in Comparison with the Gnostic Gospels.

1 comment:

  1. Thoughts as I watch:

    The idea that we can easily connect the Gospels to eyewitnesses is stretching it! Most of the early church leadership was dead by the time the Gospels were written down, and 50 years after Jesus' death that would have meant only a tiny handful of witnesses. They wouldn't have been able to correct every inconsistency or deny every false story in the growing movement. Jesus gained a cult of personality, and his actions expanded into wonderful stories about him.

    Comparing our copies of the Gospels to the Illiad is like comparing apples to screwdrivers. We have a lot of Gospel copies because they are religious texts! The Illiad was a good story (from at least 600 BCE) and having a copy would have been a luxury not often undertaken.

    What we can have confidence in is the reliability of most of the text as being original. Of course, later additions like the Comma Johanneum and questionable early sections like the Pericope Adulterae remind us that we should take caution when seeking "original" text.

    Slamming the Gnostic gospels as a whole because of date is unfair. If we take a latter date for John, around 100 CE, and an early date for Mary, 120 CE, we find that John is much closer to Mary than he is the crucifixion of c. 30 CE!

    I'm glad he brought up the criterion of embarassment, an important tool for determining the historicity of an event or saying.

    (I must say I wish everyone would shut up about the Da Vinci Code! It's a freakin' work of fiction! Yes, Dan Brown says he's taken facts, but seriously people... Oy!

    It's unfortunate that while Strobel mentions the historical view of women at the time, he didn't mention the historical meaning of "Son of God" within a Jewish Midrashic context - you can't know Christianity without knowing the style of 1st century Jewish Midrash!

    Also, I don't think (for all) the presupposition is that miracles are impossible - it's that some people would like to see more proof than the potential propaganda of believers.

    No one is trying to suggest that the Gospel of Judas is historically accurate, so there's no point in refuting it. It's a one-sided argument.

    While Lincoln requesting Booth to assassinate him is ridiculous, the idea in the Gospel of Judas isn't that ridiculous. If you believe standard atonement theology, then Jesus knew he had to die for mankind. The Romans wouldn't have arrested him (deeming him innocent) and apparently the Pharisees needed inside help. In order to assure that his death would take place, Jesus asks Judas to make a great sacrifice by betraying him - and be hated by all mankind. It's quite interesting that this idea was independently invented in "The Last Temptation of Christ." I'm not saying it's historically verifiable, it's just not unrealistic given theological circumstances. It's not just a Gnostic idea.


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