Being Willing to Accept the Truth

Here I’d like to add just a couple of more reflections on whether critical scholars *have* to claim there are contradictions in the Bible because of their beliefs.  As I tried to state as strongly as I could in my previous post, I think the answer is absolutely not.

To begin with, let me stress that I started learning about serious contradictions when I was in a Christian theological seminary taking biblical studies courses with committed Christian teachers who were devoted ...

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Contradictions in the Gospels – Rev Matthew Firth’s Final Response

Thanks for such an interesting debate, Bart. Here goes with my final response:

In my view, a genuine contradiction between two texts occurs when those texts carry mutually exclusive accounts, i.e. accounts where, if one account is correct, the other cannot be. In the examples you have cited, you have failed to show that the so-called contradictory accounts are genuinely mutually exclusive. You have therefore failed to provide any examples of genuine contradictions.

Sure, the examples you’ve cited are, on the face ...

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Contradictions and Contradictions: Final Response to Matt Firth

Matt: thanks for your additional comments.   I’ve given my replies below.  At the outset I should say that I’m not sure I understand what a “genuine contradiction” would look like for you.    If you have two authors who at least appear to contradict each other, surely the best explanation will not be one that:

  • Suggests an author / speaker really doesn’t mean what he says but means something else.
  • Suggests an option that has never ever ...
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Contradictions in the Gospels – Rev Matthew Firth’s Second Response

Thanks very much, Bart, for these interesting responses. I will get straight into explaining why I still don’t think you have shown that the examples you have offered are genuine contradictions.

In the case of Luke 24 you say that the grammar of the Greek indicates that ‘Luke is extremely careful to date the entire sequence of chapter 24, at the beginning of each major paragraph. It all happens on the day of the resurrection.’ But we know from Acts, Luke’s ...

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Are These Really Contradictions? My Response to Matt Firth

Thanks Matt for your thoughtful comments on the four contradictions I discussed in my opening post.  I agree – this form of debate is much better than the oral back and forths I’m used to on a stage in front of an audience, where it’s so easy to say something unwittingly that is completely stupid or wrong.  With this format I’m able to think about it a bit before saying something completely stupid!

I appreciate your attempts to reconcile the contradictions.   ...

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Why Are the Gospels Anonymous?

Looking through some old posts, I ran across this one (that I’d forgotten about) that answers a question I get at least a couple of times a year.   Why didn’t the authors of the Gospels name themselves?  (They have long been called Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, of course, but you’ll notice that the authors themselves never indicate who they are; the first record we have of anyone actually quoting these books *and* calling them Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John ...

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Contradictions in the Gospels – Rev Matthew Firth’s Response

Thank-you very much, Bart, for your opening gambit. It has given me a most enjoyable afternoon of delving deeply into the Gospel texts, and I really appreciate the written format of this debate, which allows space for considered reflection, study and learning, rather than the rhetorical tennis of some other formats of debate which, while they produce spectacle, rarely achieve deep insight either for the proponents or the onlookers.

I will now take the cases in the order in which you ...

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Contradictions in the Gospels

This is the opening gambit in my debate with Rev. Matthew Firth on whether there are contradictions in the Gospels.  I believe there are many.  He believes there are none whatsoever.  So who is right?   I would strongly recommend that, if you are really interested in the matter, you actually look up the passages in question and see for yourself.

I will need to be brief on each one, since space is highly restricted.  I ended up requiring 1300 words, and ...

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What Is a Contradiction?

As many of you know, Rev. Matthew Firth, an Anglican rector trained in theology at Oxford, will soon be participating on the blog in a fund-raising event, for which many of you, bless your souls, have already donated.  This will entail a debate with me over whether there are contradictions in the Gospels.

The debate will start soon, but I thought I should lay a little bit of groundwork.  I hadn’t planned on doing this originally, and haven’t told Rev. Firth ...

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Fund Raising Event on the Blog: Contradictions in the Gospels??

We will be engaging in an unusual fund-raising event on the blog in a week or so.   A well-trained Anglican priest named Matthew Firth had issued a challenge that no one could point out any contradictions in the Gospels of the New Testament that could not be explained.  As I understand it, he offered an award of $1000.  OK then!  Someone on the blog contacted me to see if I’d be willing to take up the challenge.

Of course, there is ...

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