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Why Are You Trashing the Gospels?

I am going to take a break for three or four days from my response to Craig Evans’s critique of my view of Jesus’ burial.  There are more things that I need to say – and I have not yet gotten to what I think are his two best arguments.  But my sense is that some people are getting a little tired of a steady dose of posts on the burial stories, so… I’m going to break to deal with something else of more general interest. I have had several people respond to my argument that Jesus was not really buried by Joseph of Arimathea on the day of his crucifixion by asking me: Why are you trashing the Gospels? It’s a fair question, and deserves a fair answer. The short story is that I’m not intending or trying to trash the Gospels.   In my view, what I’m doing is showing what the Gospels really are and what they really are not.   And that is not a matter of trashing them.  It’s a matter of [...]

2020-04-03T16:45:13-04:00July 13th, 2014|Bart's Critics, Canonical Gospels|

Early Gospels: A Messier Scenario

In my last post I was trying to imagine what the situation was with the first and second century Gospels, and proposed a Scenario One in which there were set Gospels, some earlier than others, with later ones using earlier ones for some of their information, along with other information from other Gospels (and oral traditions) that no longer survive. I guess that’s how I tend to view the situation some of the time. But I wonder if in fact the reality was a lot messier than that (I call the first scenario messy because it is *not* the simpler view that a lot of people assume: that there were basically four Gospels from the first century and in the second century the Gospels either borrowed from those Gospels or made things up; that’s a pretty “clean” view of the situation. But I don’t think it’s plausible).   Scenario Two: Much Messier without Fixed Boundaries I have begun to suspect that the real situation was even messier than the first option I sketched. What if, [...]

The Messy World of Second Century Gospels

This thread has taken several detours (never mind the mixed metaphor), and I want to end it where I had planned to take it all along.   What’s been going on in my mind has been an issue that I raised in one of the posts, about how we are to conceptualize the situation of first and early second century when it comes to our Gospels.   I’ll talk about it with reference to Papyrus Egerton 2, about which I’ve only said a few things – lots more there to talk about.  (But I’ll be moving on after this.)  Before doing so let me recap the situation: Scholars have traditionally thought of the four canonical Gospels as THE Gospels that were available, so that when a new Gospel like the Unknown Gospel in Papyrus Egerton 2 appeared the question always was: WHICH of the canonical Gospels was the author familiar with (and which did he use).   I challenged that view in my earlier post.   We shouldn’t think that there were basically FOUR, and everything else was dependent [...]

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