Here is a summation of problems with and signals from Acharya S' The Christ ,Conspiracy: It is published by "Adventures Unlimited," which

also puts out material on time travel and Atlantis. I would recommend to the reader Glenn Miller's work in progress on copycat myths as well as our series on pagan comparisons. Despite claims to do so, the author doesn't bother with much showing a cause-and-effect or logical relationship between religion and disaster. One may ask, what about the fact that atheistic communism has caused more deaths than all religious crusades of any sort combined? Her answer: "..(F)ew realize or acknowledge that the originators of Communism were Jewish (Marx, Lenin, Hess, Trotsky) and that the most overtly violent leaders were Roman Catholic (Hitler, Mussolini, Franco) or Eastern Orthodox Christian (Stalin), despotic and intolerant ideologies that breed fascistic dictators. In other words, these movements were not 'atheistic,' as religionists maintain." (2) That none of the named heroes of Communism/Catholicism practiced their Judaism/Catholicism is not mentioned and/or proved (much less is it shown that Judaism provided the support for their ideologies and actions); that Stalin was merely a seminary student, hardly a professing believer in Orthodox religion, is not mentioned. Merely trying to establish "guilt by association" doesn't do the job. We must demand a demonstrated, logical connection between some religious belief and some atrocity. Beyond that, to say that the ideologies "bred" dictators is to ignore the simple fact that the odds are overwhelming, given the religious nature of man, that wherever a dictator came from, he was bound to have had some religious upbringing of some sort; and that only 4 supposed Jews out of literally billions in history can be named, and only 3 supposed Roman Catholics out of billions, far from suggests that these religions are "breeding grounds" for dictators...there have not been enough dictators in history to create a truly scientific sample.

We refer the reader here for relevant material on martyrdoms and their relevance. An editor of Eusebius' History of the Church is quoted as saying that until 250 AD, "there had been no persecution of Christians ordered by the Emperor on an imperial scale" -which is true, but there were persecutions ordered on a sub-imperial scale, as history shows.) On multiple views of Jesus (Ch. 2): First, it is clear that many of these "views" are simply cases of scholars who needed something new to say emphasizing one aspect of a complex

person over all other aspects. The real Jesus, I daresay, would qualify as a rabbi, a marginal Jew, and a number of other things that are hardly incompatible with one another. Some of these biographies have true insights; others are of little worth. All these prove is that authors need to say something new or radical to get published. All the rest proves is that everyone wants the authority of Jesus on their side. To simply list these views uncritically--to place Meier's magesterial, highly technical, detailed, and scholarly Marginal Jew side-by-side with Schaberg's speculation piece proposing that Jesus was the product of a rape is off base. I recommend Glenn Miller's essay on pseudox as a reply to charges of forgery in the church, and matters on authorship and dates of the gospels we have answered elsewhere. Likewise on the subject of the canon. Luke is dated to 170 AD based first, on a quote borrowed uncritically from an author of no known qualification named Waite who claims that Jerome "admits" that Luke was written after the Gospel of Basilides, which was written in 125 AD. No actual quote from Jerome is offered, so I'll just put this down as false and ask that the author produce an actual quote. Luke is also dated late based on a quote from Lloyd M. Graham (!) stating that the Catholic Encyclopedia identifies Luke's Theophilus as the bishop of Antioch from 169177 AD. This is an argument that I doubt can actually be found in the Catholic Encyclopedia: it is unlikely that Luke would address a bishop as one who needs to "know the certainty of those things, wherein thou hast been instructed," and Theophilus (meaning "one who loves God") was a relatively common name. Marcion's version of Luke is regarded as more original than our Luke (which is dismissed as "a compilation of dozens of older manuscripts," [37] an assertion without the least bit of textual-critical support), and examples are given of supposed interpolations: Luke's genealogy (something Marcion, wishing to disconnect Jesus from the God of Judaism, would be likely to remove--Lk. 3:38) Jesus' childhood and most of Luke 3 (which we are told, again without any textual or linguistic evidence, was "interpolated into Luke to give Jesus a historical background and Jewish heritage") Luke 9:22 ("Saying, The Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be slain, and be raised the third day."), which Marcion offered without the bit about the priests and the scribes, again dismissed without a shred of evidence as a historicizing interpolation. Mark is dated to 175 AD based on the assumption that Mark is the same person as Marcion. Here's the reasoning: "...legend held that Mark wrote his gospel in Rome

and brought it to Alexandria, where he established churches, while Marcion purportedly published his gospel in Rome and no doubt went to Alexandria at some point." (38) I think such "reasoning" speaks for itself and needs no refutation: This is conspiracy-mongering, not scholarship. Regarding Mark 1:16 ("Now as he walked by the sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew his brother casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers."), Wells is quoted as saying that "Almost all commentators agree that the words 'by the sea of Galilee' were added by Mark. They are placed quite ungrammatically in the Greek syntax..." From this Wells concludes that a place name was inserted. I have seen no such claim in any commentary on Mark. Beyond that, how does this prove inauthenticity? It may prove that Mark had bad grammatical skills, and that is something that commentaries I have read have noted. Also, since these men were fishing, and thereafter went into Capernaum, which was right on the shore of the Sea of Galilee (1:21), and since Jesus had been said to come into Galilee just before (1:14), just where does Wells think all of this might have occurred? John is dated to 178 AD, based on all the standard charges of anti-Semitism and unknown place names we have covered elsewhere, but apparently the author has never heard of the John Rylands papyrus...a piece of John dated to 125 AD. Matthew is dated to 180, based only on a quote from an authority that says so. The author uses the standard commentary about there being over 150,000 variant readings in the textual history of the NT, a point we have covered elsewhere; the conflicting genealogies and Lukan census issues; differences in reportage in the gospels; an author of unknown credentials named Dujardin is quoted as noting "a total lack of historical verity" in that Jesus preached in Galilee during the time when Tiberias was being built, and since the city would not have been finished yet, the preaching would then be set "in a countryside overturned by demolition and rebuilding" (! - Really? the WHOLE of Galilee was a mess and was covered in construction workers?) Acts is dated to 177 AD, and it is said sarcastically that "the first 'Christians' are found at Antioch, even though there was no canonical gospel there until after 200 CE." (46) I do not know when Acharya went from house to house in Antioch every day between 33 AD and 200 AD and proved that there was no canonical gospel there. Not that it would be needed in an age when oral transmission was far more important...assuming one could actually prove such an assertion in the first place. A couple of outdated sources are also quoted as saying that Acts is unreliable; scholarship since the 18th century has proven otherwise.

and a writer from the 18th century-much less are any critical evaluations of arguments offered. That three church Fathers were either sympathetic to Gnostic views (Clement of Alexandria." (58) but I believe we know by know that this conspiracymongering speculation of a vast secret being kept quiet for 1500+ years but nevertheless revealed publicly by a supposed key leader doesn't deserve a moment's credence.. Tacitus is also dismissed as a forgery. though we are given no names of such scholars. that a small number of church Fathers some 200 years after the fact and in an entirely different socialcultural milieu had any sort of involvement in a contrary movement no more adds proof to the thesis that "Gnosticism was proto-Christianity" than pointing to a group of modern Christian youth who play Dungeons and Dragons proves that "fantasy gaming is proto-Christianity. she takes the overtaxed position that "Gnosticism was protoChristianity. saying that he was "privy to the truth because of his high rank. and while she is right to say that the ideas that were part of Gnosticism are indeed old." • ." (60) The evidence for this? • That critics of Christianity like Porphyry and Plotinus attacked Gnostics whom they considered to be Christians--which means about as much as the modern media attacking the groups of Jim Jones and David Koresh as "Christian.) The author's next section is on the Gnostics. (For more on this. We are also told that conspirators may have changed Pliny's reference. offers no proof of anything." The inadequate knowledge of others. so we are told. based on the work of yet another scholar of the 19th century whose work has long been dismissed by Tacitean and GrecoRoman scholars. and their inability to offer precise classifications of religious groups they hate intensely.Josephus' cites are dismissed as mere forgeries (including the one with John the Baptist) merely because "scholars and Christian apologists alike" have regarded them as such. The author tries to certify Leo as a specialist. Gentile nation several hundred miles from home.although what that rural. which may have originally been to the Essenes. antagonistically-Jewish Dead Sea community was doing with members in the middle of an urban. only two other Christ-mythers. check here. Also thrown in the mix is a quote we've seen before from Pope Leo X. and Ireneaus. older indeed quite often than NT Christianity.. a position held by no reputable scholar of Greco-Roman history today. Pliny is dismissed with the 19th-century claim that Pliny's letters are forgeries. two 19th-century writers. we are not told. who "had a zodiac on the floor of his church at Lyons" [60]) or once were (Augustine)-which also means absolutely nothing.

" with a depiction of a bearded man with long hair and a Hebrew inscription. lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ. actually.. Appeal is made to Higgins. Πα υ λ ι σ χ α λ λ ε δ α Γνο σ τ ι χ based on his supposed "abhorrence of the flesh" (though no cite is given showing this. who claims that a medal of "the Savior. especially since the passage is applied to believers and their current state in Christ. the physical and material resurrection body--1 Cor. believed that the flesh was weak and in need of a better replacement. 3:27 ("For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. although how this is specially "Gnostic" is far from clear." when he indicates that others have been "handling the word of God deceitfully"." (60) although the cites offered prove no such thing. like all Jews. tells us enough about how likely it is that Higgins was actually on to something By the way. There is neither Jew nor Greek. that the works thereof are evil.It is claimed that Christianity shares Gnosticism's "disdain for the flesh and for matter in general. who is the image of God. Higgins also wrote a book claiming that the Celtic druids were . but me it hateth. oral preaching]. where Paul is said to "speak gnostically" about the "god of this world" being evil. 5) 2 Cor. 15. I'd say don't believe it: such a find would have made Biblical Archaeological Review. how this is so is not explained at all. but this only says that the works of the world are evil. • • • • There is a repeat of the "Trypho error" we have dealt with elsewhere."). 4:4 ("In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not. 2 Cor. there is nothing specifically associated with the Greek here that indicates textual tampering [as opposed to. Paul.. • John 7:7 ("The world cannot hate you. beyond that.and we have little evidence that conversion to Christianity caused immediate androgynization. should shine unto them. say. even if applicable. that it is found cited in a book written in the early 1800s.") is said to prove that "the Christ in this human phase could be female as well as male" and was therefore an androgynous concept. this could hardly prove that any such tampering survived the textual-copying process and was no more than an aberration.") is cited as proof of Jesus' supposed Gnosticism. there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. not matter or the world itself. We are also told that Paul "reveals" here that "the scriptures were tampered with. because I testify of it. there is neither bond nor free. before scientific archaeological dating was possible. especially when examined in their literary-historical context. was found in pre-Christian ruins. Gal.

which has a plainer connotation of a man without any implication of servanthood. Shaddai." [92] The word in Psalms 106:37 comes from a root meaning to devastate or waste. saith the LORD. as is stated in Hosea 2:16" [93]: And it shall be at that day. do not regard this verse as evidence that Yahweh was once Baal. rather. The words are related. . and also needs a reminder that multiple titles like "God Above" and "God Most High" are hardly evidence of numerous personages.) are evidence of polytheism is without information on the ancient Near Eastern practice of multiple naming of individuals and even pagan deities. however. "ba'aliy" rather than "ba'al. however. unless our "President" and "Commander in Chief" titles today are evidence of such." as the name of the pagan god) is a sterner form of "husband" with more of a service connotation of a master or an owner. they take the recognized fact that "Baal" also means "husband" (as even the author knows). a god of the Egyptian state religion from the 3rd century BC onward. know that "Baal" as presented in this verse (actually. but it means no more than that the word "energy" might be applied both to natural gas and also to bicycle pedal power. condemned as one of the 'devils'--the Canaanite Shedim. that thou shalt call me Ishi. a complaint about the lack of coins depicting Jesus (why would a religion founded from Judaism and with a distaste for graven images put Jesus' portrait on a coin?) A repeat of Earl Doherty's "why no sacred sites" argument. which we answered here See here on Elohim as a plural. was depicted as "a white man with long. Support of the JEDP theory may be countermanded by essays found by myself and Glenn Miller here and here. comes from a slightly different root that implies power. Biblical scholars. the proclamation that "the various biblical names for 'God' " [89] (like Elohim. as is appropriate since that are both used of supernatural and powerful beings. It is said that Serapis." 'iysh.emigrants from India.) Offered is Potter's assertion that "El Shaddai" was a being "later demonized in Psalms 106:37. and within the poetic context of Hosea as depicting Israel's relationship to God as a marriage. Adonai. We are also told: "Baal is in reality the earlier name of the character later known as Yahweh. and shalt call me no more Baali. including that to devastate. etc. to whom the Israelites sacrificed their sons and daughters. dark hair and a beard" (which describes a rather significant portion of the Ancient Near Eastern male population during the period in question as well). versus the earlier word translated "husband.

if Moses had been real and had such a dramatic and impactful life. his Law would have been "lost" in the first place. "live long and prosper" salutation of the Vulcan character Spock on "Star Trek. Fanciful word games. the mountains of the Sinai region and in Palestine are not geologically active). given that the overwhelming majority of all ancient literature is lost -.. a "ba'al" means no more than calling people of varying rank "sir. Sinai was a volcano.. is the same word as volcano. of course. The story of Hezekiah finding the book of the Law as "obviously fictitious" [101]. 32:28 and accepted by Hebrew linguists). there's even a good story worth quoting in detail: As Jordan Maxwell points out. Merely having Blavatsky (an occultist." The term is often used as a mere proper name for a pagan deity without realization that it had a generalized use.even that written by people who had "dramatic and impactful" lives .. not presented evidence.(I)t cannot be explained why. as encapsulated in Gen.why? Because: ". Ra. Keep in mind that to call any divine being." Vulcan. stand behind such claims as that "Jehovah" is the same as a Chinese deity named Yao or Iao and the Egyptian Huhi and the Latin Jove. not a scholar) claim that the "Ba'al" of the Israelites was the same as the sun does not do the job. much like "Lord" did in NT times.It is quite clear in the context of Hosea as a whole that the point is a change of relationship with Israel in the eschatological future." Isis. News from an old Trekkie: Leonard Nimoy grew up in a Jewish home. never mind also the known Hebrew roots. and El (with no proving of an etymolgical connection or using anything but an English coincidence of letters.. and the Roman god Vulcan was also a lightning and volcano god. and Yahweh a volcano god (where this volcano is. and he was using the split-finger symbol long before Roddenberry conceived of the guy with the pointed ears.. isn't specified. the benediction or blessing sign of the Feast (of the giving of the law) is the same as the splitfingered. also "Israel" is said to be a combination of "three different reigning deities.and it has nothing to do with any change of identity in the true God." [101] What? Didn't we just get through acknowledging how the people went whoring after other gods? Isn't that reason enough for the Law of Moses to have been lost? And how does Moses' "dramatic and impactful life" have any effect on those living tens or hundreds of years later? Finally. There's also an allusion to the idea that Mt. even the true God.

"how did Hezekiah know to follow it when he made his purges and reforms?" You don't need explicit instructions to tell you to get rid of idols.. the only way Jesus could have been "publicly portrayed" as crucified before their eyes would be if it happened locally -. before whose eyes Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified? The author tells us that since the Galatians were presumably not in Jerusalem for the crucifixion. not goats). meaning. Here are samples of "wildcard" analogies that are part of an attempt to read the Bible "astrologically". With these and other comments (i. it seems to be a long stretch (i.e.how is this a worthwhile argument in the first place? If it had been lost. and more often.e. prescribe. other times. or 12 noon.and she thinks this "suggests the recurring passion of the cult of Attis. that's just the standard religio-historical paradigm in action. is in the house or heavenly temple of the 'Most . O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you. Sometimes it seems to make sense (i." I don't know what version is quoted here. On the thesis that "the Son of God is the Sun of God. Jesus' reference to God's house having "many mansions.isn't Saggy the archer? -. 49:4]..e. never mind that hinds are female deer. "to write previously. we are asked. and one could associate "water" with other astrological signs as well. announce. this is said to correspond to Aquarius. to be born again or resurrected on December 25th.and Naphtali as a "hind let loose" is said to correspond to Capricorn the goat. we need say little at all. the story is that Christ was born 12/25 -. and altars to false gods when you are trying to please the true god(s). "The sun at its zenith." Is this meant to parallel something? If so. priests.not born again or resurrected." this refers to the "houses of the moon" or the zodiacal constellations!).. thus: "The sun 'dies' for three days at the winter solstice. somebody is missing the target: Aside from the fact that 12/25 was a later choice of the church based on pagan thought rather than on Biblical data. but there is far more to Reuben's description that doesn't fit. when Reuben is called "unstable as water" [Gen. John 14:2.-. some of the parallels drawn are badly misinformed. evidently set forth. Joseph is identified as Sagittarius because he was "fiercely attacked by archers" -." The word does not indicate the enacting of an event but the proclamation of one." and has the pretense that the story of Christ is paralleled by sun mythology. like Cancer the Crab). but the Greek behind "publicly portrayed" is the word prographo.

. Using that word to describe what happens is a crime against language." For this analogy to work." It fits well to put that "betrayed" in quotes. other than in the imagination? "The sun does a 'stutter-step' at the winter solstice. and he didn't doubt until after the resurrection.High'. 'he' begins 'his Father's work' at 'age' 12. the Hebrews reckoned what we call noon as the "sixth hour" of the day. not actually 30. unsure whether to return to life or 'resurrect. which represents its passing through the equinoxes. and again. thus: "The sun of god is 'born of a virgin. wouldn't the sun at least have to go east to west part of the year. the vernal equinox being Easter. "The sun is hung on a cross.' which refers to both the new or 'virgin' moon and the constellation of Virgo. called the 'throne of the Lord. the hottest time of the year. and north and south some other part of the year? Where does a cross fit in. it begins it's work at dawn. the 'Sun of God' begins his ministry at 'age' 30." depending on the time of year. Other parallels drawn are also stretches of the imagination." hm." How did Jesus do a "stutter-step" at the winter solstice? How was he "unsure" whether to resurrect? Thomas wasn't his twin. related to that. thus. noon isn't even "age" 12 for the sun. How is the sun "born" of the moon or of this specific constellation? Simply attempting to draw an illicit synonym (new = virgin?!?) and citing an astronomical arrangement without connection will not do the job. by whom? "The sun is 'betrayed' by the constellation of the Scorpion. Third. at that point the sun is around five to six hours "old. "The sun is the 'Lion' when in Leo. the time of the year when the solar hero loses his strength." First of all. "The sun enters into each sign of the zodiac at 30 [degrees]. hence. the backbiter. Second. Perhaps it is more likely that this story of Jesus alluded to has something to do with the fact that at 12.' doubted by this 'twin' Thomas. the sun hardly "begins" it's work at noon." Luke 3:23 tells us that Jesus was about 30. Jewish boys were considered to be taking steps into manhood and independence.' " What? The hottest time of the year is called the "throne of the Lord"? By whom? Or is it Leo that is called that.

so it is used in contexts ranging from the religious (as here) to the ridiculous (as when a lightbulb appears over Dagwood Bumstead's head when he gets an idea for a new kind of sandwich). they might bear in mind the warning we made when answering A. symbols of Sagittarius and Capricorn." ! So where do all the little microbes that cause fermentation find their analogy in the miracle at Cana? Maybe someone wants to compare this to typological exegesis." How is the sun "monthly re-born"? "The sun is 'crucified' between the two thieves of Sagittarius and Capricorn. as these samples show [161]: "According to legend. it "rides" behind the clouds. but as with analogies that one can likewise run wild with in daily life."The sun is the 'Carpenter' who builds his daily 'houses' or 12 two-hour divisions." This requires only one response: ??????? To relate the life of Jesus to the signs of the zodiac." Say again? How did Jesus "pass" through his disciples? How do the zodiac signs "follow" the sun? They don't. As for riding on clouds. "When the sun is annually and monthly re-born.' his previous self. ripening the grape on the vine and fermenting the grape juice. through which the sun must pass. Nothing is being "built" except the foundation for a fertile imagination." Is this from the Bible (it's not) or a . and it is an incredible stretch to draw the conception of carpentry in here.' " Light is a good metaphor for inspiration and truth. Jesus' statement is better informed by the Jewish theme of holy beings riding on clouds." The sun does no such thing: The "houses" remain there at all times. if they do." And: "The sun 'changes water into wine' by creating rain. but aside from more illicit synonyminzing (the sun is "crucified"? who nails it down and how?).) The sun is the 'Light of the World. since when are Sagittarius and Capricorn referred to as thieves? How does a goat steal anything? Since when are archers ever thieves by profession? (The bow and arrow is not exactly a well-known robbery weapon. so it is that some type/antitype equations make more sense than others. "The sun is the Word or Logos of God.' and 'comes on clouds." Maybe I'm ignorant of such vital sciences as astrology when I ask this. the sun does no such thing. the same pattern of mixing synonym-stretching with bad data and analogies. raising it from the dead. J. Mattill: One can indeed run wild with typology. "The sun is 'anointed' when its rays dip into the sea. and every eye shall see him. he brings life to the 'solar mummy. "The sun's 'followers' or 'disciples' are the 12 signs of the zodiac. Jesus was born in a stable between a horse and a goat.

and rode the ass and foal in triumph into the City of Peace." So scorpions go biting people on the back? "In Sagittarius. the Ram." Four questions: 1) This "celestial Sea of Galilee" quote comes from Hazelrigg." If there had been a sign shaped like a king's crown. thr author could say that Jesus had been made King of Kings in that sign." So were the thousands of Jewish proselyte baptisms also done "in Aquarius"? This is merely an attempt to create an astrological allegory upon a historical reality. "Jesus was betrayed by Judas.later church creation that might have indeed been influenced by astrological syncretism? Either way." Jesus also told parables of other things. wasn't the archer the symbol for Sagittarius before? If we can keep switching symbols around like this.' as this is the time of the grape harvest." ." That has nothing to do with the sign of Libra. Also. which would not have been too hard anyway: The astrological signs (the constellations. the 'wine press." A ram or lamb is not a shepherd. the Water-Bearer. the author could have said that Jesus "picked grains of wheat in Tiller. "Jesus told the parables of the sowing and tilling of the fields in Taurus. Let's hear it directly from an archaeologist working in the field. Jesus was wounded in the side by the Centaur. and the very rich.' he calmed the storm and waters. and not a scrap of evidence is given that this phrase was any sort of accepted name for Cancer or has any relevance to the matter at hand. or centurion. the 'backbiter.' or Scorpio. A stretch. or even a historian of religion. a sociologist. and what Scripture is this alluding to? 4) What do crabs have to do with riding donkeys into the City of Peace? "In Libra. the Bull. 'the celestial Sea of Galilee. governments. that is) were designed based upon common objects available in the ancient period in which they were designed. natural in an agrarian society like rural Palestine) for the sake of a thesis. what sign are they told in? This is simply stretching another historical reality (the use of agricultural metaphors." not backsliders. and they wouldn't be kept in a stable with a goat. 3) They are also "sidesliders. which is scales. "He was baptized in Aquarius. spoke of backsliders (the Crab). "In Cancer. Stretching the symbolism to accommodate our thesis is not going to work. Jerusalem. Christ was the true vine in the Garden of Gethsemane. we can make anything mean anything we want. If there had been an astrological sign called Tiller shaped like a plow. "(Jesus) became the Good Shepherd and the Lamb in Aries. it doesn't matter: Horses in this period could only be afforded by royalty. 2) How did Cancer the Crab calm storms and waters? Crabs don't have much power to do that.

textual." and provides a list [222].." but the only example given is of "a Word of God.. It is said that the Logos or Word concept is found "in mythologies from the Mediterranean to China. evidence for this is provided. historical. 22nd). upon his resurrection is made to ask. It is also said. which doesn't look or sound like the English "centurion" or "centaur. and that's that the Greek word for "centurion" is hekatontarches. that's Luke 24:41. this did not "establish the choice of communion food of the new age. literary. "We have no other record of it in other sources." [216] Naturally. by the planetary Divinities.. and the thieves on the cross in no sense "sapped" Jesus' strength. who is not a scholar or serious researcher. is quoted as saying that "Antichrist was the Christian equivalent of the Chaldean Aciel. who. If this means. an idea so irresponsible that a cartel of scholars of all persuasions took out an ad in a major publication calling it a . We are told that the church steeple is a sexual symbol. who sapped his strength. and very much irrelevant. but did not check to see if Christ really did that. it was the night sky. and contrary to Achy. or historical evidence is given for these wild assertions. at Luke 24:11-2. 'Do you have any fish?' " [164] Actually. The author makes much of saying that the "descent into hell by the savior is a common occurrence within many mythologies. matter of concern. and the request was for brosimos. It is claimed that "a number of Jesus' parables were derived from Buddhism and the very ancient sect of Jainism." [227] but no literary.Jesus is the Piscean fish god. we may point out that Easter is not at the winter solstice (Dec. not a shred of etymological. written in starry characters. or meat." that is probably true. archaeological. as is the church nave [285]. linguistic.. but tell me where else you might expect someone's private garden to be mentioned in a major work of history. etc. Barbara Walker." [228] This is like saying Western Union stole the word "message" from ancient medieval scribes." There is no evidence of fish being used in early Christian communal meals." And added: "In other words. Allegro's "sacred mushroom" thesis." Aside from the same "thieves" question above. which was a synecdoche for anything that was edible. unless some event of concern to them personally happened there. and the Catholic custom of eating fish on Fridays is a much later. ". counterbalancing the solar god of heaven.There's one big problem with that. lord of the nether world." "He was crucified at the winter solstice between the 'two thieves' of Sagittarius and Capricorn. Wells is quoted as saying that "Nothing is known of such a place" as the Garden of Gethsemane [162].

and the Kabbalists and Chaldeans were Master Masons. of their authors' imaginations. -JPH It's a most basic set of questions to ask: Who wrote the Gospels? When were they written? And generally. we cannot know who wrote then. was the creation of the Jewish/Alexandrian Therapeuts... ask him about this one: "The Mithraists were also Masons. In fact: "Unbeknownst to the masses. written between 70-100 AD. in various places. this." [294] Rounding off the author's reworking of first-century Judaism: a claim that the Pharisees were "luni-stellar cult people" while the Saducees were "mainly solar cultists. is there any reason to suspect that they are full of fabrications? The usual Skeptical/critical view asserts in answer: • • • The Gospels are anonymous documents. is that everyone and his brother was a Mason and was in on this conspiracy. is described as "not implausible. who "had at their disposal the university and library at Alexandria. the pope is the Grand MasterMason of the Masonic branches of the world. we are told.. Is this a trustworthy source? Not in any sense. We assert in turn that: • There are excellent reasons for maintaining the traditional ascriptions of Gospel authorship. particularly its large tower. We shall find in our investigation to follow that these assertions are unwarranted. or some say even in the 2nd century AD. and are counter to the evidence available.the fortress at Qumran was a Masonic enclave. when standard tests for such ." [330] Interesting to hear that Christian faith began as someone's term paper." [312] Christianity as we know it. The Gospels are the product.to which we say.fantasy. at any rate.." [344] I guess non-Masons only build squatty buildings like public restrooms? What we end up being told." [348] We are told that the story of Apollonius of Tyana was a source for the NT -. a strong Masonic symbol. The Gospels are all late documents. since masons built it. Next time you see a Masonic Lodge member. These are just a few problems with The Christ Conspiracy.

We will examine and dispose of the common arguments for dating the Gospels late. Thus. In my survey of the literature.determinations are applied. 6] notes that we have only one biography of Muhammed. we may surmise. yet the critics have not deigned to answer the counter-arguments. if they reflect reality correctly. except rarely and then only with bald dismissals. Also of relevance. Glenn Miller has contributed two excellent responses to James Still here and here. There is no reason to suppose that the Gospel authors took creative liberties with the events they recorded. is whether what is in the Gospels is true.4G. • • There is no reason to date ANY of the Gospels later than 70 AD.and it is my contention that the arguments against them are inadequate . Gospel Authors: General Considerations . who wrote them and when.it matters very little. or having eyewitnesses as their source.) Critical arguments about authorship and date of the Gospels revolve around the same data. written 212 years after his death. I will also offer two caveats: Authorship and date are important. and for rejecting their traditional authorship. and have revolved around it. for a long time. Regardless of who wrote the Gospels and when. but equally important. With this. With very. then it points to their being written by eyewitnesses. which used a source from about 100 years after his death. VERY few exceptions. critics and Skeptics have used the same arguments against the traditional data over and over and over. and yet "the historical scepticism of critical European scholarship is substantially less" where Muhammed is concerned. (Hengel [Heng. even if the traditional authorship and earliest dates are disproved . I have found that the standard critical arguments have been overused by Skeptics and sufficiently answered by traditionalists. if not more so. although such dating may be permissible in the case of John. to the point of fabrication.

even among traditionalists -. If it is objected that the Gospel authors nowhere name themselves in their texts -. but are every bit as "anonymous" in the same sense that the Gospels are. scriptorem historiae Augustae. but they need to provide textual evidence of this (i. We will present Mendell's comments and intersperse our own. that Tacitus and his writings were practically unknown. because of his strong republican bias on the one hand and because. Authorial attributions are found not in the text proper. Yet I have noted that in making this argument. the church fathers felt him to be unfair to Christianity. from Tacitus: The Man and His Work. in part at least. Vopiscus in his life of the emperor Tacitus (chapter 10) indicates the state of affairs in the third century: "Cornelium Tacitum. on the other. why is it not supposed that the titles were added later to the secular works as well? In order for readers to appreciate the magnitude of this situation. THE Annals were probably "published" in 116. and dated earlier or early enough to suggest that it was not simply a late.e. In doing this we would challenge potential respondents to compare this record to that of the Gospels. in omnibus bibliothecis conlocari iussit neve lectorum incuria deperiret. librum per an-nos singulos decies scribi publicitus evicos archiis iussit . quod parentem suum eundem diceret. the last of the works of Tacitus to appear. It is not true..The "anonymity" of the Gospels authors is something that many Skeptics claim. Critics may claim that these were added later to the Gospels. however. They were neglected----possibly.and this is a very common point to be made. just like the Gospels. we will only look at evidence up to the sixth century (for reasons noted in Mendell below). and at any rate. critics never explain to us how their arguments would work if applied equally to secular ancient documents whose authenticity and authorship is never (or is no longer) questioned. but in titles. Only Pliny of Tacitus' contemporaries mentions him. accidental ommission). such as Tacitus' Annals. an obvious copy of Matthew with no title attribution to Matthew.then this applies equally to numerous other ancient documents. Mendell surveys evidence for knowledge of Tacitus throughout history. and his writings and the evidence of subsequent use up to the time of Boccaccio is slight. I wish to thank Roger Pearse for helpfully sending me copies of relevant pages from the works of the Tacitean scholar Mendell. I would like to present here a listing of external evidences for the authorship of the works of Tacitus.

and for the use of a different language by Dio. and Siatouta&nda. Notice we still do not have an attribution. 73: "Rapti qui tributo aderant milites et patibulo adfixi. dealing with Agricola's return and death. there can be little if any doubt that Tacitus is the source for Dio. 20 he mentions Gnaeus Julius Agricola as having proved Britain to be an island and in the later instance tells the story of the fugitive Usipi. Muller. This is in stark contrast to how quotes in patristic writers from the Gospels are excused asway as "floating. Ann.et in bibliothecis poni" (the text is obviously corrupt in the reading evicos archiis). In 38. About the middle of the second century Ptolemy published his Gewgrafikh& 'Ufh&ghsij. C. The explanation is to be found in Tacitus. the account of which winds up: "utrumque exercitum Rheno devectum Frisiis intulit." The governor of lower Germany takes prompt action. 1883) he lists in succession along the northern shore of Germany the towns of Flhou&m. et haud spernenda illic civium sociorumque manus litora Oceani praesidebat. the seventh and eighth are the only centuries that have as yet furnished no evidence of knowing him. Paris. We know also of no other possible source today. In fact. confirms the conclusion that Dio drew from Tacitus.D. Tacitus is mentioned or quoted in each century down to and including the sixth." The source of Ptolemy's mistake is obvious. Olennius infensos fuga prae-venit. Note as well that Ptolemy does not name Tacitus. 4. We still do not have an attribution of authorship to work with some 40-50 years after the writing. Note here that Ptolemy's obvious use of Tacitus is taken as a signal of the Annals existing. Nevertheless. 72. If we make allowance for the method of Tacitus. It is hard to believe that Cassius Dio (who published shortly after A. In 2. receptus castello. 12 (ed. The following are the known references to Tacitus or use of Tacitean material after the day of Tacitus and Pliny until the time of Boccaccio. 50 and 66. which leaves his account far from clear. cui nomen Flevum. The material was well collected in 1888 and published at Wetzler by Emmerich Cornelius. and it sounds as though Tacitus had left the impression he desired. The latter name occurs nowhere else and has a dubious sound. but a considerable amount of new material has turned up from time to time since. The last part of the section. 200) did not know at least the Agricola. 11. and we are now 80 and . independent tradition" rather than evidence of the Gospels. soluto iam castelli obsidio et ad sua tutanda degressis rebellibus.

He had spoken without respect of the Jews and had implied that the Christians were an undesirable sect of the Jews. inst. Tertullian also cited Tacitus in two other places.. to have Tertullian (early third century) refer to him as ille mendaciorum loquacissimus. p.. in 2.Not only the actual quotation from Tacitus is of interest but the careful substitution of synonyms. in the time of Diocletian. In the third century Tertullian cites Tacitus with a hostile tone.. evidently . 40. is at least once (Div.apparently over 100 years later.Jerome in his commentary on Zacchariah 14. at the end of the fourth century. on the other hand. and he assigns as reasons the same that the Roman had. 11. cites Tacitus with Livy.. Sallust. 12 before him. Fourth Consulship of Honorius. in spite of something of a resemblance between Lactantius 1. We are already at or past the number of years Papias was from the Gospels. 8.. He follows Tacitus in the error of thinking that the nights are always short.. and Trogus as the greatest of Roman historians.Ammianus Marcellinus. Hist. still in the fourth century. 2 (3. 18. in his Panegyricus ad Constantinum 9. On the detailed matter of Nero's marriage with Pythagoras and the punishment of the Christians the verbal resemblances make it impossible to think that he was drawing on any other source. Apologeticus 16. 15. therefore. The origin of this scandal he ascribes to Tacitus. while his reference is to a lost part of Tacitus. 2 and 2. 28. which began where Tacitus left off. 29. quite clearly has Agric.Servius.e. 1.more years past the publication of these works by Tacitus. It is not a surprise. 5... 1. 3. 914) cites Tacitus: "Cornelius quoque [i.. about 400. The Apologist is defending the Christians against the charge that they worshiped an ass. as well as Josephus] Tacitus. indicating a knowledge at least of what Tacitus had written. used Tacitus. This is the first direct attribution of something to Tacitus -.. At about the same date. 2. Vopiscus. 9. qui post Augustum usque ad mortem Domitiani vitas Caesarum triginta voluminibus exaravit. 12 and Germ. At about the same time Sulpicius Severus of Aquitaine wrote his Chronicorum libri and. 8) somewhat reminiscent of Tacitean style but that is as far as it is safe to go in claiming him as a reader of Tacitus. published his history.. Lactantius. Ann." He gives no proof of having read Tacitus----he may not even have seen his works at all----but he did know of a tradition in which the thirty books were numbered consecutively. Claudian cannot be safely claimed as a reader of Tacitus in spite of his suggestive references to Tiberius and Nero. 37 and 44 as his source. Eumenius of Autun.

credo quia remotae longius terrae causas motibus negant. . cor-rumpi reor. two.6: "neque vento impellitur neque pisces aut suetas aquis volucres patitur. That one or the other of these two must have known Agric. 10. Again in Ep. 5. and it is the content rather than the style that interests him. 1. 10 is shown by the following passage in Jordanes (2. Suetonius. .. 5. Hegesippus made a free Latin version of Josephus' Jewish War with independent additions.. says Sidonius. paulo post velut oblitus consilii subicit et dicit: Ego sicut inclitas . Et cum hoc loco nihil de incensis propter peccata hominum civitatibus quasi ignarus expresserit.. 22.had read the text. he would become wholly Tacitus. and Josephus. 4. He compares critically the statements of Cornelius Tacitus and Pompeius Trogus and again of Tacitus.. 13): "Mari tardo circumfluam quod nec remis facile impellentibus cedat. 3 in Adv. The quotations and citations from Tacitus are all in the Adversus paganos and all from the Histories. it is reasonably exact. many of which seem to come from Tacitus' Histories. 4.7 and.. 5. 1 he quotes Gaius Tacitus as an ancestor of his friend Polemius. 14. pag. . He was. 8: "denique neque pisces neque adsuetas aquis et laetas mergendi usu aves.Perhaps a hundred years or less after Cassiodorus. nec ventorum flatibus intumescat. The name as he gives it is Gaius Cornelius Tacitus. qui sic ait: Haud procul inde campi . but he draws on Germania 45. The same is true of his quotation of Hist. Cassiodorus is a sixth-century writer who seems to have used Tacitus as source material." There is a certain studied attempt at variation of wording without concealment of the source. Quippe illic . He refers to Tacitus explicitly and at length. After comparing himself and Leo to Pliny and Tacitus he says that should the latter return to life and see how eloquent Leo was in the field of narrative. 2 Sidonius makes a pun on the name Tacitus. 1. An example is 4. vim frugiferam perdidisse. for he speaks of "a certain Cornelius". Jordanes wrote his De origine actibusque getarum which he took largely from Cassiodorus' history of the Goths. seem to know much about his source.The citations in Orosius are naturally quite different from these casual references and general estimates. 5. however. have left evidence of considerable familiarity with Tacitus as well as respect for him as a writer. He does not. . 1 Orosius says: "Ante annos urbis conditae MCLX confinem Arabiae regionem quae tune Pentapolis vocabatur arsisse penitus igne caeleste inter alios etiam Cornelius Tacitus refert.. In Ep. Sidonius Apollinaris and Orosius. Orosius is always after material for argument. a consular in the time of the Ulpians: "Sub verbis cuiuspiam Germanici ducis in historia sua rettulit dicens : cum Vespasiano mihi vetus amicitia" etc. in spite of some interesting variants. In 1. 12." The quotation is from Hist." Compare Hist. Of the fifth-century writers.

(b) "aut ipsius quidem religionis inventor. . scripsit et Pompeius Planta. Not that lack of a name on a text automatically equates with anonymous authorship anyway: In this era prior to publishing. 99 and 14. in the other to Cornelius Tacitus. Celsus' De medicina is attested no earlier than 990 AD. Hist. Comparably speaking.since there would be no other concrete way to discern what was inside a scroll and differentiate it from other scrolls (other than external appearance). this evidence is vanishingly small compared to the incredible number of attestations and attributions by patristic writers. 102 refers to the Histories. and then not again until 1300). . Throughout the book classic works from around the time of the NT whose authorship and date no one questions (though some have textual issues. there will be no question at all about their provenance. and having so little textual support that if they were treated as the NT is.latius quam usquam aequor extenditur ." The second is a twofold description of Moses: (a) "sacerdos vel rex eius gentis". How can someone dealing with the evidence fairly claim to be sure of Tacitus' authorship of his various works (where such external evidence is concerned) and dismiss the Gospels. The Scholiast to Juvenal 2. ascribing them in the one case to Cornelius. If the Gospels are treated consistenly. The first note is as follows: "Hunc incomparabilis vitae bello civili Vitellius vicit apud Bebriacum campum. 3). the equivalent to a spine or dust jacket was a tag on the outside of a scroll identifying the work in question -. but that is clearly the last thing critics want to do. cuius Cornelius etiam Tacitus meminit" (cf. . The very last item is probably from Mela." The textual confusion memma quam is usually taken to come from minimamque but we should expect brevemque. just like the NT) are recorded as having the earliest copy between 5th and 9th century. some few earlier than (but many as late as) those listed for Tacitus above. . 1993) which records similar data for other ancient works. which have far better external evidence? I have checked a book titled Texts and Tranmission (Clarendon Press. earliest attributions at the same period (for example. and just prior to the advent of the codex. Whenever and by whomever the Gospels were written. Horum bellum scripsit Cornelius. qui sit Bebriacum vicum a Cremona vicesimo lapide. all of antiquity would be reduced to a blank walls. Labi vero per earn multa quam maxima relabique flumina gemmas margaritasque volventia. it would not be left "unauthorized" or "unidentified" if for . Noctem quoque clariorem in extrema eius parte menima quam Cornelius etiam annalium scriptor enarrat. 5.

no other reasons than practical ones: It would need a title/descriptor at the very least. It is hard to see why this evidence is not enough for the Gospels when far. and critics have also not provided any examples of Gospel texts with no title. They were often given the name of a pseudepigraphical author. Since even critics admit that the Gospels were intended for a wide audience (at the very least.. 48]: Anonymous works were relatively rare and must have been given a title in libraries. one would also expect that Tacitus would write his works like a government official of Rome would write. Andrew. Skeptics and critics might have a better case if they could find a copy of Matthew that is instead attributed to. Interior corroborative evidence. and a sophisticated tone suitable to the Roman upper-crust. On the other hand. He would not have a work full of spelling errors and country-bumpkin mistakes. But the titles are unanimous and unequivocal -. or to no one at all.. Hengel notes [Heng. 54]. Notwithstanding such titular subscriptions: How do secular historians determine authorship (and date) of an ancient document? Since we have started with Tacitus' Annals. we'll work with that example where we can.Works without titles easily got double or multiple titles when names were given to them in different libraries. we have some cause to doubt a second-century author like Tacitus was responsible for that material. especially if it was intended to be read by more than one person or small group of people. say. he would exhibit a certain attitude common to a member of high-class Roman society. and stuck it in the microwave oven. he would have a high level of education. took out a burrito. decent grammar. and (with one exception) cannot: "There is no trace of such anonymity [concerning the Gospels]..4G. We will see that some of the individual objections to the Gospels center upon supposed words and/or concepts that are supposed not . far less is accepted for secular works and their attribution. If a work of Tacitus tells us that Nero opened a refrigerator. a "community" of believers) they must explain why these practical factors would be irrelevant and allow a Gospel to remain "anonymous" and then later not be attributed to multiple authors.there is no variation in them at all." and the testimony to their authorship is unanimous across broad geographic and chronological lines [Heng. he would get governmental terms right (but maybe not.4G. farming terms). or a copy of what is obviously Mark that is attributed to Barnabas. say.

This suggests that they received their titles early. in accordance with the dates of the works quoted. 82] It is rather harder to believe that the Gospels circulated anonymously for 60 or more years and then someone finally thought to put authors on them -. or if he is found in other records. this may be taken as evidence for the date of Tacitus' works.have existed when the authors wrote their work.and managed to get the whole church across the Roman Empire to agree. there would have been a great deal of speculation as to who had written them . or else attributes (without reference to Tacitus) the work to another.or concept-anachronisms. I would ask. [Thie." as had happened with the apocryphal gospels. A number of NT commentators (even in the traditionalist camp) tend to treat such evidence as less than definitive. again as noted above. then this is positive evidence for that person's authorship. why not here also? External corroborative evidence. if there are no word. see also [Heng. if the works of Tacitus are found referred to in other documents. If Tacitus is referred to by other people. but it would add suspicions if other reasons to be suspicious were present. At the same time."a variation of titles would have inevitably risen. and if others attribute a work to him.which offer nothing radical or new -we may now ask these general questions: If the Gospels are anonymous. In light of these considerations -. 15]. We will also see that some objections argue that a certain individual would not write a certain way. and if the work shows signs of having been written in a style that the named author would write. if it is good enough for secular scholars to use as confirmation. we may have reason to suspect Tacitus' authorship. the "better") either denies that Tacitus wrote a given work attributed to him. Why then were such unlikely characters chosen as authors? .Mark. if some writer at some point (the closer to the time of Tacitus. for if they had not. On the other hand. then this is clear testimony that he wrote the document in question (see above). why is there no other surviving tradition of another author for the Gospels? Second-century testimony is unanimous in attributing the four Gospels to the persons that now carry their name. Of course.EvJ. Absence of such quotes would not necessarily prove a later date.

The strength of this point is demonstrated in that some will use the rationale that obscure persons were deliberately chosen as authors in order to fool us into thinking that this would mean they were authentic. then present it as the work of another.JUF. 28] Only John is a logical choice for a pseudonymous author.Int. and an obscure apostle. Can any critic explain how these logistic difficulties were overcome? I have noted that they do well in offering generalities. but he was also a tax collector . On the other hand. To this end.not in the second century. in widely separated places and times? . and controversy?).would you pick the IRS man. to author your Gospel? [Wilk. but four. where an enormous group at large was bamboozled by (and continued to be bamboozled by) not just one forgery. a very obscure personage. but never get down to the specifics of how Joe Gentile could have managed to pull off such a hoax on the church as a whole. For an anonymous author to have penned a Gospel. first in his area and then throughout the Roman Empire (and would not the claimed discovery of such a document cause a sensation. I must say that some critics assume a high degree of gullibility in the first-century church. attributed in a couple of cases to members of an inner circle. he abandoned Paul (Acts 15). get around the problem of why a work by such a person disappeared or was previously unknown. and have it accepted as from the hand of one of the Quartet or any authoritative person.Luke is mentioned a few times by name in the NT. would have required them to first produce the Gospel. Is there any parallel to this in secular history. it is doubtful that the Gospels could have gotten anywhere unless they were certainly attributable to someone who was recognized as knowing what they were writing about. Matthew was an apostle. to accept this work as genuine. Mark was a rotten kid. Hengel [CarMoo. How could the early Christian community honor the Gospels as authoritative unless they knew who had written them? Even granting such a late date as some critics surmise. they would have to concoct some story as to how it came peculiarly to be in their possession. then get the church at large. 66] has argued that the Gospels must have received their titles immediately .

for a response to this. but by two others working independently of one another. We have early witnesses to the authorship of some of the Gospels.please see Trusting the New Testament -. (One way around this scenario is to hypothesize Christian "prophets" through whom these works might have been received and recognized. we now offer these mini-essays: • • • • Matthew -. "Mark" was considered authoritative enough to use not by just one. how is it they suppose that "Matthew" and "Luke" would choose to use an anonymous document as a source? Mark could not be recognized as authoritative until it was known what source it came from. there would have been first-generation Christians alive who recalled the apostles and their teaching.older web version Luke -. see below. That being so.) At the beginning of the second century. With these general considerations.older web version ϑοη ν Gospel Freedoms [Questions Against] [Non-Community Material] [Eyewitnesses and a Feedback Loop] [Burton Mack's Idea of Speech Production and . would have known of no works of Matthew and the others. yet if the critics are right. believers after the 90s who descended from this generation and lived into the lifetime of Papias would have had no tradition of such documents.I'll add that under the "Q/Marcan priority" hypothesis. when critics suppose that the Gospels were authored anonymously. and he surely did not design the authorship of Matthew and Mark on the spur of the moment.and second-generation witnesses still alive? Believers in the 70s-90s. featured above. Μα ρ κ -.this is the version from our resource Trusting the New Testament. Papias wrote around 110-130. how could anyone have dared to attribute the Gospels to anyone other than the genuine authors with these first. and many more secondgeneration Christians who would have had information passed directly to them.

a late date is also only assumed upon the circular assumption that Jesus wasn't trying to found a new movement -something that is assumed rather than proved. these verses cannot be used as evidence of lateness or cited as ad hoc creations. [Perr. The kind of penetrating insight . and it was used to refer to "official meetings of the people of Israel" [Kiste. is from Matthew 16:18 and 18:17. for example. we may ask in reply: Why would the church have created such a difficult faith to follow? Certainly they could have made things much easier on themselves by.in other words. it is true. 115] expresses it well: The New Testament witnesses to virile. It is more likely that the thrust. Thus. the originality which lies behind the Gospel tradition of the works and words of Jesus should be credited to him rather than to the body of Christians. Material in the Gospels does not reflect the creativity of a "community. including the synagogue. 175] This is meant to show that this selection from Matthew is post-Jesus. Why are there no passages relevant to later church issues like circumcision? We will discuss this in more detail shortly. expanding Christian communities. permitting sacrifices to the Emperor of Rome as the Jews did . but generally speaking. where the word "church" is used.INP. any worship assembly. but also to confused and immature ones.or perhaps making the difficult passages easier to understand.Fabrication] [Material Irrelevance/Oral Tradition and Selection] [Allegation of "Prophets" Creating Words of Jesus] Did the church create "gospel fictions"? Are parts or the whole of the NT products of the Church's faith rather than recorded historical events? This is an issue that we touch upon in several places. for example. Furthermore." Davies [Davi. Some of the material critics understand as late. But the word used here is ekklesia. 83] . simply is not. A favorite cite of critics.GCS.NTI. the creativity.

169-70] And Thomas and Gundry add [Thom. [Meie. Most importantly.MarJ... no original-disciplesnow-become-leaders who might exercise some control over the developing tradition. Jesus.GOG.. We begin with John P.Is it conceivable that in its own discussions and disputes the early church would not have examined doubtful statements concerning Jesus' ministry? If the church. F. 282-3]: Form critics call into question the integrity of the disciples. in fact.its basic trustworthiness is beyond doubt. Grant said of the New Testament [Gran. Yet. The disciples had seen and heard Jesus. why is there such close agreement as to the nature and details of that minsitry? A community that was purely imaginative and lacking in discrimination would have found it impossible to form a consistent tradition.. 1-2]: .. for it rests. Meier: One would think get the impression (from such theories) that throughout the first Christian generation there were no eyewitnesses to act as a check on fertile imaginations. . This point is made by several authors. They had even been a part of his ministry. and no striking deeds and sayings of Jesus that stuck willy-nilly in people's memories.preserved in the Gospels points not to communities mired and often muddled in their thinking . in some corner. The early church did not grow up in isolation. they did not control the accuracy of the tradition.or those of two or three persons. if the form critics are correct. but upon the whole group of earliest disciples whose numbers are reflected in the hundreds referred to by Paul and the thousands described in Acts.. did not scrutinize such statements. C.but to a supreme source in a single person.HG. not upon one man's recollections . but in the full glare of publicity in the great cities of the Roman Empire.say Peter's . eyewitnesses would not permit such creation.

there was interaction with the leaders of the founding church (Acts 8. Consider: 1." 7." 4.The first church council was held at Jerusalem (Act 15:23-29) 6. Paul was welcomed and sent to the Gentiles (Gal 2. this time with Barnabas. those reputed to be pillars. I went in response to a revelation and set before them the gospel that I preach among the Gentiles. There are several indications that the early church had a surprising amount of information exchange and 'feedback loops'.When the church expanded into Antioch. Glenn Miller notes: It should also be pointed out that even the earliest church had 'controls' in place.14): "When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God.The early church had a center (Jerusalem) and leaders (apostles) 2.When the church expanded into Samaria. that would naturally 'keep the tradition in line'.9f): "James. and they sent Barnabas to Antioch. gave me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship when they recognized the grace given to . for fear that I was running or had run my race in vain. we see the same pattern occur (Act 11:22): "News of this reached the ears of the church at Jerusalem. the church in Antioch appointed Paul and Barnabas "to go up to Jerusalem to the apostles and elders about this question" (Acts 15.When the issue of circumcision came up. they sent Peter and John to them".] 3.2) 5. [By all accounts. But I did this privately to those who seemed to be leaders. I took Titus along also. Peter and John.1-2): "Fourteen years later I went up again to Jerusalem. Peter and John would have been closest to ANY information about Jesus' acts/words.Paul accepted the importance of the Jerusalem center (Gal 2.At Jrs.And finally.

. it must invent situations for the words of Jesus. a. 9. 95. 10. and the recognition of persons who could enrich the tradition by their actual recollections comes as a disturbing element to the smooth working of the theory. in terms that apply as much to the Jesus Seminar today as they did to Bultmann in his time: If the Form Critics are right. 41]. The point should be clear--the early church had a significant amount of information exchange.FGT.The leading apostles and evangelists had traveling ministries. the very thing I was eager to do. I Clement. among the leadership. They agreed that we should go to the Gentiles. 4. Col. but there is a reason for this unwillingness to take into account the existence of leaders and eyewitnesses.Paul (a native of Tarsus!) returned to Jerusalem after EACH missionary journey. the disciples must have been translated to heaven immediately after the Resurrection. As Bultmann sees it.. and therefore had major 'feedback controls' which would have corrected significant aberrations early. cut off from its founders by the walls of an inexplicable ignorance.The early churches did NOT live in a vacuum. the primitive community existed in vacuo.me. a letter from Rome to Corinth. put onto his lips sayings which personal memory cannot check.16). Vincent Taylor notes in the same light [Tayl." 8.. he deals with oral forms shaped by nameless individuals. and. They corresponded with each other (cf. All they asked was that we should continue to remember the poor. see ATNT:4849) and exchanged NT documents (cf. He is faced by an unknown quantity just . bringing them into contact with churches and believers everywhere. By the very nature of his studies the Form Critic is not predisposed in favor of eyewitnesses.d. and they to the Jews.. All this is absurd.Unable to turn to anyone for information.

because such things were within the quoted person's character to say. eyewitnesses who must have exercised some influence within these communities. who sees Jesus in the mode of a Greek cynic sage.where he has to operate with precise 'laws of the tradition. upon what basis is it said that the church simply created things for Jesus to say? Mack [Mack. and His teachings. but "would have" in the opinion of the attributers. responded to Mark's supposed rewriting of history.' And Boyd adds: One especially wonders how the surviving eyewitnesses to Jesus who were undoubtedly still around." [ibid. for one. refutation of the idea of Jesus as a Cynic sage. One must ask how Mark could have thought that he could get his piece of historical fiction past these eyewitnesses. appeals to the Hellenistic practice of attributing "speech-in-character" to people who did not necessarily say the things attributed to them. finally. We may answer briefly by noting: Mack (along with the Jesus Seminar) greatly overemphasizes the influence of Hellenism on Jesus and the Gospels. 153-62]. Much of critical NT scholarship is now returning to this point of view.CSSG. 183] The mistake here is ignoring the essential Jewishness of Jesus. how could this fabrication not only be accepted. Mack. (For a brief.CSSG. Indeed. requires a "high threshold of gullibility" in the early Christian circles. 193-200]. but thorough. 216] Such a presupposition. as we have said before and elsewhere. but serve to motivate the followers of Jesus to the point where they quickly took this "new" Gospel and risked their lives evangelizing the entire Mediterranean world? [Boyd. see [Boyd. must hypotheize that Matthew and the other Gospel writers "actually buried Q in the fiction of Jesus as a Jewish sage.) . His mission.Q. And.

and within that a good deal of study of Jesus.." etc. 109. 111. "a lengthy period of creative." "astounding imagination. superimposed a body of material four times as large. has proceeded on the assumption that the gospels cannot possibly make sense as they stand. 80. Mack's book is full of phrases such as "one needs to imagine. it has so little proof behind it.one can easily imagine." [Kiste. and that of the early church." "an astonishing interpretation of the Christ myth for Macedonians to have managed by the year 50 CE. so that some alternative hypothesis must be proposed to . as Blomberg puts it: . 48] And just as properly. etc." "Matthew's gospel appeared in the late 80s and comes as a complete surprise. about a generation removed from the events in question. Mack's and similar theories require. 161] Everywhere in Mack's book. intellectual labor. confused. Mack's theory requires so much imagination because. shocked. 22] Indeed." "an early achievement in Christian mythmaking. Blomberg further notes that there is no parallel in the history of religion to such a radical transformation of a famous teacher or leader in such a short time. we are surprised. radically transformed the authentic information about Jesus that was circulating at that time." "explosion of intellectual energy. the formation of the individual Gospel units must be understood as a telescoped project with accelerated course of action. fabricated almost entirely out of whole cloth.Mack's theory is implicated by his constant appeals to the community imagination.GCS. or bewildered by the development of early Christianity.WhoNT.. 154.. 201-2].." [Wilk. while the church suffered sufficient collective amnesia to accept the transformation as legitimate. though he wrote many years before Mack.. 90.the assumption that someone.JUF. Kistemaker rightly describes Mack's methods: "In terms of the form-critical approach. and elsewhere). in fact. quite frankly.Q. [Mack.." ([Mack.. 106] describes the methods of Mack and other critics of his persuasion: A good deal of New Testament scholarship. Wright [Wrig. "and no identifiable stimulus among the followers of Jesus sufficient to create such a change.PG.

Jewish/Gentile unity. If the church felt free to invent Jesus' sayings. We are obliged to ask: Was it just luck that no texts. ministry and selfunderstanding were like. But hypotheses of this sort are always short on simplicity. however. nor on speaking in tongues. why are they absent teachings of Jesus on subjects critical to the early church? For example. we may reply that: Much of what is in the Gospels is not relevant to the early church. no histories. In general. and that they are unlike the picture we find in the gospels. If there are passages that were created and put on Jesus' lips. what Jesus' life. And thus it is that we have Mack's fictional "Q community" to explain everything. thus it is that the matter of eyewitness testimony (friendly and hostile) is ignored. Jesus says not a word on circumcision. since they demand an explanation not only of what happened in the ministry of Jesus. divorce of non-Christian spouses. but also of why the early church said something different. thus is it assumed that there were no restraints to this creativity in the early church.take the place of the view of Jesus they seem to offer. and no evidence from these other communties of Mack's survived? You can believe that if you want . more or less. and actually wrote up stories as founding 'myths' which bore little relation to the historical events. Even beyond Mack's specific "speech in character" theory. Most appeal to the idea that there were Christian "prophets" who spoke the word of the Lord. and that these words were taken to be the words of the living Jesus. why not some . there are many critics who presume that the church created sayings of Jesus to fit certain occassions. and women in the ministry. and were therefore products of the early church. church policy. It has been assumed that we know.and if you have the requisite faith.

making the material a recollection for the occassion. (See here for an introduction. he did not put his words in Jesus' mouth. apologetic and pastoral needs of the early church. were retold less. those narratives which seemed to call forth the clearest understanding. If the oral tradition in the church was solid as indicated above (and this is even stronger if Jesus' sayings were also written somewhere). rather than a creation. Stories less relevant. 15]: The interpretive purposes for which the early church used stories about Jesus affected the selective process.) Such sayings should be seen as recollection and selection.SGI. Much of what critics assign to the post-Easter church is just as easily interpreted as arising from Jesus Himself . and apply stories of Jesus. preaching. how does one account for the presence in the Gospels of stories derogatory to revered leaders of the early church? Or what of sayings in the same Gospels which seemingly compromise the conceptions of Christ's person which prevailed when the Gospels were .MNT. 171-2]) adds: It is much more probable that the interests of the early Christians led them to select. Price [Pric. and were thus forgotten. than that the same interests led them to create stories. Nickle asserts." [Patz. interpret. also writes that [Nick. not creation. As Patzia expresses it: "The sayings that were retained and transmitted were those that met the missionary. how did anyone get away with creating new sayings of Jesus? Anything not in accord with what Jesus said on earth would have been rejected.sayings on these issues? Even Mark (7:19) had to add his own interpretive comment.INP. Those stories which spoke most directly to questions that were being asked.. 44] And Nickle. were the stories used most frequently.. Strong oral tradition guards against such fabrication. while allowing for creation by the church.if a large part of that (Gospel) tradition was created by communities lacking historical perspective and only giving expression to their own interests.

who said that the church drew "no disctinction" between utterances by Christian prophets (supposedly from the ascended Christ) and the earthly Jesus. but to John (1:1). But did that authority extend to assuming the ability to put words in Jesus' mouth while on earth? Our answers [see also Dunn. 13:1-2. in Judaism prophetic literature was passed down under the name of the prophet. 148ff]: • Most of the candidates for such utterances merely assume what they must prove: That the earthly Jesus was not a divine character or was not aware of his divinity or mission (Matt 11:28-30. 4:15. The Montanists in the 2nd century especially were noted from producing sayinsg from Jesus in a prophectic ecstasy [Dunn..CS2. There can be no question that the church assumed itself capable of authoritative prophetic utterances.we may NOT presume that sayings were created out of the whole cloth especially because: The idea of "prophets" in the church has no historical evidence. 145]. Luke 11:49-51 -. Luke always names prophets who receive utterances (Acts 11:27. The evidence is that the church continued this paradigm." • . albeit rarely). Bultmann took recognizance of statements that were indeed attributed to the Risen Jesus (1 Thess. though in neither case is a saying attributed to Jesus when he was on earth. Rev. There is no parallel for attributing the words of a prophet to divinity: No OT books names Yahweh as its author.. This idea was proposed by Bultmann. 21:9-14).CS2. Revelation is said to be from Christ.written? While we may suppose that the sayings of Jesus were applied in settings that were different from the original . since no two situations are exactly alike! . This implies that the churches "were as suspicious of anonymous prophetic oracles as their Jewish forebears.here I disagree with Dunn. 2-3) and made much of it. who does suppose that such words were transferred over to Jesus on earth.as would happen anyway.

and false prophecies were warned against (1 Thess. Revelation is directly attributed to the exalted Christ. If this was approved by the early church. • The testimony of Paul (1 Cor.) On the other hand. and by their adherence to orthodoxy (see esp. why would he not "dive in" and bring out a word from the risen Jesus? [Boyd. Celsus' Jew accuses the Christians of altering the Gospels to harmonize them. This is specially relevant as popular Jewish opinion held that the prophetic spirit had ceased with Malachi. If there was a claim that the spirit of prophecy was now doing business again. why the need to switch it all over to the earthly Jesus? Even the Gnostics preferred a "heavenly" attribution to an earthly one. 12) indicates that a difference was recognized between the words of Jesus and his own: if Paul could just drop into a creative ecstasy. 7:10 refers to a "spiritual revelation" received directly by Paul has nothing to commend it and merely begs the question against the natural form of the verbiage. Jesus' teachings were everywhere to give reports or to make accusations. 2:2). even within the church itself prophetic utterances were tested as they were in Judaism. for truth and accuracy.• There were "hostile" witnesses who could recognize sayings that didn't square with what Jesus would say or ever said: If the church broke with Judaism on this point.by their behavior (with the Didache offering several "tests" and guidelines for conduct. Prophets were tested in a variety of ways -. but does not say that they invented words for Jesus based on prophetic oracles. but does not put it in the mouth of Jesus on earth. or heard about. and Diaspora Jews who travelled to Palestine regularly for feasts and would have heard. 1 John 4:1-3). . (The idea that 1 Cor. it is difficult to believe that this would not have been a point of contention that would have echoed down the halls of accusation. 7:10. such as living off the community for more than three days). 122-4] He regards his opinion as inspired. 2 Thess. 5:19-22. it would have to pass some serious tests to survive in Palestine and among the Diaspora. Moreover. to be sure.CSSG.

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