What shall we find as we turn again to low hanging atheist fruit? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.
Today, we’ll be looking briefly at two bogus claims. Let’s see the first.
“3)…100% FACT: and these unknown/anonymous/hidden writers blatantly copied each other (or other sources like the alleged Q, L, M documents), virtually word for word in many places …RED FLAG!!!! ”
In some places, yes, they are identical, and this would be the case with a strong oral tradition. In many places, they are not. Yet the gospels were written in a time where there were no plagiarism laws and material that was put out there would be considered the property of the community and thus could be shared. In fact, the gospel writers would want to make sure that it was shared.
Furthermore, our critic says nothing about the times when the writings are quite different. Did God speak to Jesus or to the crowd at the baptism of Jesus? Was Jairus’s daughter dead when he came to Jesus or was she about to die? A good theory of the production of the gospel documents needs to take into account not only the similarities between the accounts, known often as the synoptic problem, but also the differences.
“4)…100% FACT: and worse yet, these unknown/anonymous/hidden writers wrote scenes impossible to eyewitness (like Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane) …RED FLAG!!!! ”
The Garden is a poor choice. Personally, I don’t know many people that can fall asleep at the drop of a hat, especially if it was a stressful situation like what was going on. All that would be needed was one disciple to be watching to see what was going on, and that’s entirely plausible, even if as they watched they started to doze off.
Another situation that our critic might have chosen to use could be the trial of Jesus, but this is also faulty. Let’s suppose for the sake of argument that none of the disciples were privy to what happened at the trial of Jesus. Does that mean there would be no record?
Not at all! In fact, a strong case can be made that Joseph of Arimathea did in fact bury Jesus. If so, could he not have been a witness to what happened at the trial of Jesus? What about Nicodemus? Is it possible he might have been a witness to what happened?
Noteworthy is that our critic also has not interacted with the latest research on this, such as Bauckham’s “Jesus and the Eyewitnesses.” The pitfall of our critic is that he has no idea on how history is done and instead bases his arguments on credulity, which is simply circular reasoning.
Let this be an example to critics everywhere. There is nothing wrong with being skeptical of the accounts in the gospels. That’s in fact understandable. They contain quite incredible claims. What is wrong is having a hyperskepticism that only the most unreasonable of conditions must be met before one accepts the claims that are found in them. Do real history. Treat them like any other document and see what happens.
J.P. Holding’s critiques can be found here