Author Topic: who exactly wrote the gospels  (Read 2263 times)

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Offline wigglytuff

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who exactly wrote the gospels
« on: December 22, 2012, 05:38:27 PM »
so is it true that the 4 gospels where actually written by 4 random dudes for the lack of a better word, and the names of the gospels writers came from heresay? Does anyone know when did the 4 current gospels become "canon" so to say? And does the fact that early opponents of Christianity  like Julian the Apostate never questioned the authenticity of these books, or ever insinuated
that Christians were mistaken in the authors to whom they ascribed them add credablity to these arugements that the 4 gospels where authenic soto say like what these guys claim http://www.adullamfilms.com/CanBibleBeTrusted.html

Offline pianodwarf

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Re: who exactly wrote the gospels
« Reply #1 on: December 22, 2012, 06:06:42 PM »
so is it true that the 4 gospels where actually written by 4 random dudes for the lack of a better word

More or less, yes.  Their authorship is unknown.

Quote
and the names of the gospels writers came from heresay?

Not exactly.  The gospels got their names some time after they were written, and it's not entirely clear how (for example) the Gospel of Matthew came to be named after him.

Quote
Does anyone know when did the 4 current gospels become "canon" so to say?

This, too, is a rather complicated and uncertain matter.  A fairly good overview can be found here:
http://life.liegeman.org/historymaker/ntdocs5.html

(Which you could have Googled yourself, by the way.)

Quote
And does the fact that early opponents of Christianity  like Julian the Apostate never questioned the authenticity of these books, or ever insinuated that Christians were mistaken in the authors to whom they ascribed them add credablity to these arugements that the 4 gospels where authenic

No.
[On how kangaroos could have gotten back to Australia after the flood]:  Don't kangaroos skip along the surface of the water? --Kenn

Offline Nick

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Re: who exactly wrote the gospels
« Reply #2 on: December 22, 2012, 06:21:33 PM »
I always thought it was around the 200 AD time period.  The period when the church was developing power and getting rid of "false" religions.

But it could also have been the "3" + "1" ...........................Moe, Larry, Curley, and/or Shemp.
« Last Edit: December 22, 2012, 06:26:56 PM by Nick »
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Offline SHIN KAIRI

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Re: who exactly wrote the gospels
« Reply #3 on: December 22, 2012, 06:27:17 PM »
The gospels were written by the apostles concerned. A much more interesting question would be : "who wrote some of the books of the OT?"

Presuppositionalism wins everytime

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Offline Nick

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Re: who exactly wrote the gospels
« Reply #4 on: December 22, 2012, 06:43:08 PM »
Then how did they write about things that happened to Jesus when they were not even around?  HIs time in the desert with the horned one.  HIs birth circumstances?  And why leave out the years up to age 30?  And why after He got up from His 3 day nap did the story seem to just hurry up and end?

Seems more like it was written long afterwards and put together rather poorly.  Also, very very few people back then could even read and write.  So I guess Jesus picked men who could write as His followers.  All a little to convenient...right?
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Offline wigglytuff

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Re: who exactly wrote the gospels
« Reply #5 on: December 22, 2012, 07:41:01 PM »
The gospels were written by the apostles concerned. A much more interesting question would be : "who wrote some of the books of the OT?"
i am pretty sure that Moses did not write the torah or exist for that matter

Offline wigglytuff

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Re: who exactly wrote the gospels
« Reply #6 on: December 22, 2012, 07:43:17 PM »


Quote
And does the fact that early opponents of Christianity  like Julian the Apostate never questioned the authenticity of these books, or ever insinuated that Christians were mistaken in the authors to whom they ascribed them add credablity to these arugements that the 4 gospels where authenic

No.
[/quote]

well i guess textual criticism did not exist back then...

Offline jetson

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Re: who exactly wrote the gospels
« Reply #7 on: December 22, 2012, 07:43:50 PM »
The gospels were written by the apostles concerned.

Please, do show any evidence of this?  Besides the Bible, of course!
« Last Edit: December 22, 2012, 08:33:39 PM by jetson »

Offline SHIN KAIRI

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Re: who exactly wrote the gospels
« Reply #8 on: December 22, 2012, 08:21:01 PM »
Then how did they write about things that happened to Jesus when they were not even around?  HIs time in the desert with the horned one.  HIs birth circumstances?  And why leave out the years up to age 30?  And why after He got up from His 3 day nap did the story seem to just hurry up and end?
Everything has a purpose. There is a plan. Whether u like it or not.
Presuppositionalism wins everytime

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Offline Nick

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Re: who exactly wrote the gospels
« Reply #9 on: December 22, 2012, 09:03:18 PM »
And whoever did write the gospels was not very familiar with the area around Judea.  For instance, Nazareth did not exist until 70AD.  Hard for Jesus to have been from there.  Also, odd that Paul never talks about the physical aspects of Jesus and the area.
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Offline jetson

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Re: who exactly wrote the gospels
« Reply #10 on: December 22, 2012, 09:09:35 PM »
Everything has a purpose. There is a plan. Whether u like it or not.

What is the purpose of a Giraffe?  A naked mole rat?

After you answer, I'll decide if I like it or not.

Offline SimpleCaveman

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Re: who exactly wrote the gospels
« Reply #11 on: December 22, 2012, 11:16:01 PM »
Hi Nick,

How’s it going? Btw, just saw “12 Monkeys” again. I love the Brad Pitt character in that movie, Jeffrey Goines. What do you think of it?

Then how did they write about things that happened to Jesus when they were not even around?  HIs time in the desert with the horned one.  HIs birth circumstances?  And why leave out the years up to age 30?  And why after He got up from His 3 day nap did the story seem to just hurry up and end?
Your questions are good ones. Only Luke alludes to where and how he got his information. However, if we look at the evidence, then we can make what I think are good guesses at answers to your questions. (Note: I have not done any research to see if these questions were addressed by the Early Church Fathers. That would be another good source, but my guess is that they wouldn’t have had the same questions. I could be wrong.)

You ask about hidden events, such as the temptation in the desert. That one seems obvious to me. Jesus could easily have told the apostles about it. His birth story could have come from Jesus, too, but the original source would have been his mother. It’s easy to think that she might have told Jesus the circumstances of his birth. (They certainly didn’t have tv or internet to distract them from telling stories. :)) She was also with the apostles from time to time while her son was alive, and then with them full time afterwards. She had ample opportunity to tell them the story of his birth.

Why did they leave out the years up to age 30? They actually leave out quite a bit of his life. For example, they also leave out many years from about age 2 to 12. And, of course, even in the periods they do talk about the Gospels leave a lot out. Even biographies have to do that and these aren’t biographies. The reason they left out from 2 to 30 (except for the one week episode at age 12) is probably because nothing exciting happened. He spent that time in normal everyday Jewish life.

Why did it end in a hurry? I think because that was the end of his life on earth. We do have the independent writings ending in different ways, likely according to the purpose and knowledge of the author. Some end before the ascension and others afterwards, but I don’t think they are any terser after the resurrection than they were before.

Seems more like it was written long afterwards and put together rather poorly.  Also, very very few people back then could even read and write.  So I guess Jesus picked men who could write as His followers.  All a little to convenient...right?
Yes, many people couldn’t read or write, but many could. Scribes, Pharisees, tax collectors, government officials, teachers, people in certain professions such as physicians, certain soldiers. It depends on their class, occupation, etc.

By the way, a good book for the question of how they chose the Gospels is “Who Chose the Gospels?” by C.E. Hill. He gives a good rundown of the history of the “Great Gospel Conspiracy,” with references, of course.

Offline SimpleCaveman

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Re: who exactly wrote the gospels
« Reply #12 on: December 22, 2012, 11:16:57 PM »
Everything has a purpose. There is a plan. Whether u like it or not.

What is the purpose of a Giraffe?  A naked mole rat?

After you answer, I'll decide if I like it or not.
Or mosquitoes!

Offline SimpleCaveman

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Re: who exactly wrote the gospels
« Reply #13 on: December 23, 2012, 10:33:21 AM »
Good Morning Nick,

I hope you don’t think I’m picking on you here, but you bring up interesting points.

And whoever did write the gospels was not very familiar with the area around Judea.  For instance, Nazareth did not exist until 70AD.  Hard for Jesus to have been from there.  Also, odd that Paul never talks about the physical aspects of Jesus and the area.
Nazareth: I know you’re not the origin of this claim, but merely passing on what others (maybe Salm, in particular) have said, but I’d like to question it, please. I won’t go into the archeology of it, since I’m not an archeologist and I think (I hope! jk :)) you aren’t either. My question is more practical. Why would the Gospel authors make this up? That makes no sense to me. What do you think?

Paul: Yes, St. Paul spends very little time on topics that are not related to the death and resurrection of Jesus or related to the situation at with the churches he addresses. These are his main focus. Almost all of his letters are to churches in response to a situation (when he couldn’t be there himself, which is what he preferred). And since his encounter with Jesus was only as the risen Christ, and it was the risen Christ that radically changed the direction of his life, it was, therefore, the crucified and risen Christ that Paul proclaimed. The physical aspects were not as important.

Offline 12 Monkeys

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Re: who exactly wrote the gospels
« Reply #14 on: December 23, 2012, 03:36:55 PM »
A more important Question is why the Gospels were written so long after the alleged death of the Messiah.
There's no right there's no wrong,there's just popular opinion (Brad Pitt as Jeffery Goines in 12 monkeys)

Offline Nick

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Re: who exactly wrote the gospels
« Reply #15 on: December 23, 2012, 04:09:08 PM »
No I don't think they just made it up.  At this tie in Roman society there were many splinter religions.  Like the USA the gov allowed them to be as long as they did not cause problems.  Mirtha was one such sect.  Lots of it can be found in the Christian story.  Seems like sects merged what they liked about each one.

Anyhow, when the gospels were written I do not think they were ever meant to be taken as historical. 
Therefore, places and times were not that important.  It was all about the ideal of how to live and become one in search of knowledge.

Then the Dark Ages came along and it all went to hell...so to speak.
Yo, put that in your pipe and smoke it.  Quit ragging on my Lord.

Tide goes in, tide goes out !!!

Offline Tero

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Re: who exactly wrote the gospels
« Reply #16 on: December 23, 2012, 07:02:33 PM »
The numerous editors decided that these 4 versions of an oral legend were worth passing on, despite the inconsistencies. To their credit, they did not combine them to just one.

Also known as Folklore
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Folklore

the name Jesus somehow acquired local meaning and assorted legends were attached to him. The stories were probably inspired by more than one man. Once the legendary man dies, miracles are allowed to added to the stories.

The crucifixion is a bit iffy. Probably made up. But normal for Romans dealing with trouble.

Offline SimpleCaveman

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Re: who exactly wrote the gospels
« Reply #17 on: December 23, 2012, 08:35:00 PM »
Hi Nick,

Thanks for the thoughtful response.

No I don't think they just made it up.  At this tie in Roman society there were many splinter religions.  Like the USA the gov allowed them to be as long as they did not cause problems.  Mirtha was one such sect.  Lots of it can be found in the Christian story.  Seems like sects merged what they liked about each one.
I know this is a common perception, i.e. that Christianity is an amalgamation of other religions. I’m not sure who originated it, but this idea comes from a shallow understanding and narrow view of these religions. When one looks at the details, not the superficialities, then the claim really doesn’t hold any water. We don’t have to get into it much, since that’s probably not what you got into the conversation for and I’ll be unavailable starting tomorrow for a couple of weeks. (Hmm, doesn’t seem fair to post and run. Sorry about that.)

Some of the things that one has to consider when making the claim are – “Is there a natural progression from Judaism to Christianity that would explain these aspects?”, “What was the attitude of the Christians to the other religions?” and “How and from where did the unique aspects of Christianity come from the pagan religions?” The answers to these questions make it nigh impossible to stick with that claim.

Anyhow, when the gospels were written I do not think they were ever meant to be taken as historical.  Therefore, places and times were not that important.  It was all about the ideal of how to live and become one in search of knowledge.
Yes, I agree with much of what you say here. They were not taken as historical in the sense that we think of historical works today. However, “one in search of knowledge”? That would be accurate for the gnostic religions, but not Christianity. The Bible and the early Church Fathers are pretty clear about that.

Then the Dark Ages came along and it all went to hell...so to speak.
Yes, so to speak. :)

But let’s go back to the original question. None of this helps us to answer the question of why they would claim Jesus was from a place that didn’t exist? They didn’t take it from another religion, so that’s not relevant.

Also, we have Jews preaching about Jesus to Jews (and no one complaining). It doesn’t make any sense that they would make that up. Why not say that he grew up in Bethlehem? Or better yet, from Jerusalem?

You might say that people from Bethlehem or Jerusalem would say that it wasn’t true. But those same people would be able to say that Nazareth didn’t exist! It’s much easier to make up one person in a large city like Jerusalem than to make up an entire town.

But then you could say that they weren’t only talking to Jews, but to Gentiles, as well, and the Gentiles wouldn’t know any better. That’s not very tenable either. Nazareth was about four miles from Sepphoris, which was the capital of Galilee, a major center of political and economical activity, and the home of Herod Antipas. (DeVries, LaMoine (1997), Cities of the Biblical World.) We may think of the people as backwoods, but they were well traveled. A made up town in the heart of things would have been ridiculed.

And why position Nazareth as a wretched place in Galilee? Nathanael points out that nothing good can come from Nazareth (Jn 1:46) and in other places the apostles are scorned because they come from Galilee.

No, if we actually look at the details of the situation, it just doesn’t make sense that they would do that.

Offline Nick

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Re: who exactly wrote the gospels
« Reply #18 on: December 23, 2012, 11:19:29 PM »

well, if the books of the bible were not written until later on they prob included Narareth as if it had always been there not knowing any difference.  So Narareth was     put on the map after the 70ad Roman temple knock down.  After so much time stories get mixed up.  They did not have fact checker back then.
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Offline wheels5894

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Re: who exactly wrote the gospels
« Reply #19 on: December 24, 2012, 03:12:27 PM »
The gospels were written by the apostles concerned. A much more interesting question would be : "who wrote some of the books of the OT?"

Come on Shin - where's the evidence that the apostles wrote the gospels? I know that's in 'Jesus Christ Superstar' but that doesn't really count. Are you perhaps thinking about Papias?
No testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle, unless the testimony be of such that its falshood would be more miraculous than the facts it endeavours to establish. (David Hume)

Offline Nick

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Re: who exactly wrote the gospels
« Reply #20 on: December 24, 2012, 03:16:58 PM »
I was taught as a young lad that the scriptures were dividly inspired by the Holy Spirit.  So I guess you could kind of say by a ghost writer.  ;D
Yo, put that in your pipe and smoke it.  Quit ragging on my Lord.

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Offline Add Homonym

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Re: who exactly wrote the gospels
« Reply #21 on: December 28, 2012, 08:37:55 AM »
so is it true that the 4 gospels where actually written by 4 random dudes for the lack of a better word, and the names of the gospels writers came from heresay? Does anyone know when did the 4 current gospels become "canon" so to say? And does the fact that early opponents of Christianity  like Julian the Apostate never questioned the authenticity of these books, or ever insinuated
that Christians were mistaken in the authors to whom they ascribed them add credablity to these arugements that the 4 gospels where authenic soto say like what these guys claim http://www.adullamfilms.com/CanBibleBeTrusted.html

We have enough information to know that the gospels were written in layers by many different authors, each adding their spin. Mark is presumed to have been written first by modern scholars. This is followed by an earlier version of Luke, which "Matthew" seemed to copy from. Matthew added a load of Jewish tripe, such as Jesus coming out of Egypt, Herod killing firstborn, Sermon on the Mount, Jesus riding on two donkeys, ...etc. Since Christianity supplies 3 synoptic gospels, we can know that many authors had a hand in their cut and paste creation. There is no neat way of explaining how they evolved - except a convoluted sequence of redaction and tweaking. Gospel of John was written in 3 layers, by many people.
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Offline jtk73

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Re: who exactly wrote the gospels
« Reply #22 on: December 28, 2012, 09:38:15 AM »
so is it true that the 4 gospels where actually written by 4 random dudes for the lack of a better word, and the names of the gospels writers came from heresay? Does anyone know when did the 4 current gospels become "canon" so to say? And does the fact that early opponents of Christianity  like Julian the Apostate never questioned the authenticity of these books, or ever insinuated
that Christians were mistaken in the authors to whom they ascribed them add credablity to these arugements that the 4 gospels where authenic soto say like what these guys claim http://www.adullamfilms.com/CanBibleBeTrusted.html

I'm sure that there are many books and papers on the subject but I gleaned a lot of information from a podcast called 'Reasonable Doubts'. I think the title of the podcast was "Which Jesus?" eluding to how the four gospels each describe a different Jesus. It wasn't a regular episode, it was one of the podcast writer/producers giving a lecture and it was very interesting and informative. I think that it was late 2011/early 2012.

Offline jetson

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Re: who exactly wrote the gospels
« Reply #23 on: December 28, 2012, 09:54:02 AM »
Bart Ehrman does great lectures on this topic as well.  I have most of his books, and a lot of his lectures on CD.

Offline pianodwarf

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Re: who exactly wrote the gospels
« Reply #24 on: December 28, 2012, 10:06:42 AM »
Bart Ehrman does great lectures on this topic as well.  I have most of his books, and a lot of his lectures on CD.

I only started getting into Ehrman last year... so far, I've only read "Forged", but "Jesus Interrupted" patiently awaits me on my Kindle.  He's definitely very good.
[On how kangaroos could have gotten back to Australia after the flood]:  Don't kangaroos skip along the surface of the water? --Kenn

Offline wheels5894

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Re: who exactly wrote the gospels
« Reply #25 on: December 28, 2012, 10:37:02 AM »
Papias is probably the earliest source of information as to the writers of the gospels. However, he may not be all that accurate as he explains in his text that he like to hear people talk rather than to read. Thus what he heard may well not have been accurate. After all, he is writing in 112CE and Mark is thought to have been completed around 70CE so the author would probably have been dead before the end of the first century.
No testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle, unless the testimony be of such that its falshood would be more miraculous than the facts it endeavours to establish. (David Hume)

Offline Tero

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Re: who exactly wrote the gospels
« Reply #26 on: December 28, 2012, 11:43:42 AM »
From Papias wiki led me to
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_Oral_Tradition
nice article

Offline IAmFirst

Re: who exactly wrote the gospels
« Reply #27 on: December 28, 2012, 04:14:52 PM »
If you have a decent bible, maybe a full copy of the NIV, read the introduction to the gospels. It will tell you that there is no confirmation on who wrote these gospels. The copyright page will also show you that there is no accredited authors to the whole book.

That's the only truth in the bible I know of.  ;)

As far as Jesus (if he existed) being literate, chances of that are almost zero. Although he may have quoted from the Talmud, over 98 percent of the local population were in fact illiterate. It would cause quite an emotion among people when the poor son of a carpenter born in a stable could actually read. Reading was for the wealthy. There is no evidence or any passages mentioned that Joseph or Mary could read either.
2nd of all, if all you believe in is peer-reviewed papers, you won't go very far in life...

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Offline wheels5894

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Re: who exactly wrote the gospels
« Reply #28 on: December 28, 2012, 04:58:20 PM »
Indeed - the authors are only traditional names. It even extends to Paul's writings. We know that some of the corpus of works bearing his name are, most likely, from one person judging by the style and word use. Others in the same corpus of letters are from different hands. Given that little is available outwith the Pauline corpus, we really only use Paul in lack of anything else.

As to the sidetrack about Jesus, I agree it is likely he would not have been literate despite the pericope describing him reading the lesson in the local synagogue in Nazareth. He may have know either some of the Hebrew bible and possibly would have had Greek and known some of the LXX, the Greek translation of the Hebrew bible quoted by Matthew. However he would not have had to know that much and would have been, in all, probability like a number of itinerant preachers of his day. Hi s only claim to fame, really would have been his death, assuming he was crucified. His followers, who likely believed his risen and maybe even saw him (many bereaved people see their loved one even though they are clearly not there!) were probably able to lock onto the idea of death and resurrection when they started the cult.
No testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle, unless the testimony be of such that its falshood would be more miraculous than the facts it endeavours to establish. (David Hume)