6/18/2014 | Share this article: View CommentsBy Still Unsure ~
Whenever I’m encouraged to re-consider my departure from Christianity by those that genuinely care about me, I tell them all pretty much the same thing. I’d be willing to accept the Bible alone as evidence for God – if it can be proven to be reliable.
I’ve even conceded that I’d settle for just the New Testament being reliable, and we’d forget all about the OT. Most begin with the gospels and state that eye-witness accounts are reliable evidence.
An eye-witness has some credibility. But just to make sure they haven’t seen a UFO or Bigfoot too, they need to be properly vetted. The problem is; we don’t know for certain who wrote Mathew Mark Luke or John - they are “unknown” authors.
If Mark and Luke actually did write their respective gospels…neither one was known as an eye-witness to Jesus’s ministry. Mark was a convert of Peter that worked alongside the Apostle as his interpreter.
An eye-witness has some credibility. But just to make sure they haven’t seen a UFO or Bigfoot too, they need to be properly vetted. Luke is who occasionally accompanied the Apostle Paul, journaling the apostle’s missionary journeys and wrote the book of Acts. Even if authorship is correct, it’s not eye-witness accounting as claimed – it’s just journalism.
Mathew is accepted as a known eye-witness to the life of Jesus, however, nowhere in Mathew’s gospel does the author state his identity. It was Papias who assigned Mathews name to it, but not without controversy.
Papias used Greek language that most scholars agree is very problematic. Papias essentially stated that, Mathew collected the stories and sayings about Jesus in Hebrew, and each interpreted them as best they could. That means there was a Hebrew or Aramaic manuscript… but it must have disappeared.
The manuscript that all the weight rests on; that one the “real” Mathew supposedly wrote - is written in perfect Greek. (Not cool, Papias – and how convenient that you just happen to know how to write perfect Greek.)
Scholars don’t believe The Gospel of John was written by the apostle John either. The writing style is identical to the three Epistle’s of John, and everyone (almost) agrees they’re the same author. The manuscripts trace back to the “Johannine Community”, a group which followed the traditions of the Apostle John, but are not known eye-witnesses to Jesus’s ministry.
And those are just the problems with authorship - the inconsistencies are a whole other matter. If you’re going to build your life on a bunch of ancient manuscripts that are supposed to be inerrant – they should be inerrant.
They can’t fall apart in the vetting process by turning out to be anonymous letters that some person or committee attached a disciple’s name to for authenticity sake…so eye-witness accounts can be touted. They also need to be free of contradictions and deliver on the promises made within them – which isn’t the case.