Mythicists and the Virgin Birth: Readers’ Mailbag May 6, 2017

I’ve been devoting the blog to some autobiography recently, so in this Readers Mailbag I’ll make a shift to a couple of academic questions, one about Mythicist claims on the virgin birth and the other about the usefulness of ancient translations of the New Testament for establishing the original text.

 

QUESTION:

I often read mythicists argue that Jesus was a mythological figure because he (allegedly) has many parallels in pagan gods. One of the parallels, of course, is him being born to ...

Continue Reading →
106

What We Now Know about the Manuscripts of the New Testament

I have talked about how the Greek New Testament was first published by Erasmus in 1516, and about how scholars began to realize, soon after that, just how many differences there were in our surviving manuscripts, with a key moment coming in 1707 with the publication of John Mill’s Greek New Testament, which noted 30,000 places where the manuscripts Mill had examined had alternative readings.    I should stress, Mill did not cite every place he found a difference in the ...

Continue Reading →
27

The Letters of Paul: Mailbag April 1, 2016

In today’s Readers’ Mailbag, I will be answering questions connected with the writings of Paul: what is the earliest manuscript of his letters; did the author of Acts know Paul’s letters; and is Paul described as a heretic in the Dead Sea Scrolls.

*******************************************************************************************

QUESTION

Bart, early in your book Misquoting Jesus (p. 4) you wrote a sudden, shocking surprise (to many born-again Christians) when you said “As we learned at Moody in one of the first courses in the curriculum, we don’t ...

Continue Reading →
40

Weekly Readers’ Mailbag: January 24, 2016

A day late, here is this (past) week’s Readers Mailbag.   I will be dealing with two questions this time, one on why Mark includes Aramaic words in his accounts of Jesus’ sayings and the other on where someone might find English versions of the surviving Greek manuscripts of the New Testament.  If you too have a question, simply ask it here as a comment, or send me an email, and I will add it to the list!

 

QUESTION:

Why is Mark sometimes ...

Continue Reading →
55

Guest Post by Brice Jones on the Reliability of the Early Manuscripts

Here is a second guest-written post dealing with manuscripts.   We are unusually lucky over the past two days!  This one is by Brice Jones, another ancient manuscript person who happens to be on the blog.   Brice runs his own blog devoted to issues related to papyrology (roughly: the study of ancient papyri manuscripts).   His very useful blogsite is:  http://www.bricecjones.com/blog

Brice here is responding to some rather extravagant claims made by Craig Evans (my friend and erstwhile debate opponent) about whether ...

Continue Reading →
8

Did the Gospels Originally Contain Miracle Stories?

QUESTION:

I have looked up the content of all the papyri I’m aware of (off of links on wikipedia, so who knows if they’re accurate).

It is my understanding that although p52, p90, and p104 are dated around 125-150 AD, they contain fragments of John 18 and Matt 21 only, and that it’s not until 200 AD that manuscripts emerge which actually contain accounts of supernatural actions by Jesus.

So, it’s possible that accounts of miracles existed in copies that got ...

Continue Reading →
21