Posts

Showing posts from November, 2012

Was Paul a Liar when He quotes Jesus in Acts 20:35?

One of the most popular posts on the CADRE Comments site is a short piece I wrote in February 2006 entitled Where did Jesus say, “It is better to give than receive”? This single post usually receives between 100 and 300 views each month. Since I first posted it, almost none of the more than 2000 visitors have posted a comment…until now. Anonymous (*sigh*) wrote:


Unfortunately, the Gospels do not report that Jesus ever said this expression. Only Paul, who never met Jesus at all, says that Jesus said these words. But Paul is not recorded anywhere in the Gospels as being a direct witness to anything Jesus said or did before the resurrection. In other words, Paul either made this up or is reporting what he heard from someone else. This is called hearsay.


But is Paul to be trusted? No he has been caught lying many times. For example, he claimed Christ abolished the Law (Romans 6:14, 7:4, Ephesians 2:15-16). Yet the Gospels say that Christ did not come to abolish the law at all (Matthew 5…

Was Jesus Born in Nazareth or Bethlehem, Part V - What about Bethlehem of Galilee?

In parts I, II and III of this series, I introduced my approach and examined what the Bible had to say about Jesus’ birthplace. In part IV, I examined the non-canonical gospel claims about Jesus’ birth. Now, I turn my attention to one last area: what about the claim by archaeologist Aviram Oshri that Bethlehem of Galilee was the real birthplace of Jesus? According to the website Religious Tolerance:   
Aviram Oshri, a senior archaeologist with the Israel Antiquities Authority wrote in Archeology magazine:
"'Menorah,' the vast database of the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA), describes Bethlehem as an 'ancient site' with Iron Age material and the fourth-century Church of the Nativity and associated Byzantine and medieval buildings. But there is a complete absence of information for antiquities from the Herodian period--that is, from the time around the birth of Jesus.
According to National Geographic:
"Many archaeologists and theological scholars believe Jesus…

Was Jesus Born In Nazareth or Bethlehem? Part IV - Jesus’ Birthplace in the Non-Canonical “Gospels”

As I stated earlier, the Gospels found in the New Testament canon should be given pre-eminence in discerning what happened in the life of Jesus Christ. Yet, some people believe that these books of (often of doubtful authenticity) should be reviewed to determine what, if any, details they can add about Jesus’ life. Certainly, it is true that some of the earlier of the Gospels may have information that could be from independent witnesses, but there is usually more misinformation than real information in these so-called “gospels.” To that end, using the information provided on Please Convince Me as a jumping off point, I have done a brief examination of the various non-canonical Gospels.
If one were to look at the books that have been labeled as Gospels and Histories but which have been left out of the Canonical Gospels, one would discover that these non-canonical works do not tell a different tale about Jesus birth.
Infancy Gospel of James
One such Gospel is the Infancy Gospel of James. A…

Was Jesus Born in Nazareth or Bethlehem? Part III - Do Mark and John Imply a Birth in Nazareth?

Since I do not believe that The HistoricalJesus: A Comprehensive Guide (hereinafter, “The Guide”), written by New Testament scholars Gerd Theissen and Annette Merz, has come anywhere close to establishing that Matthew and Luke are “religious fantasies” when they report that Jesus was born in Bethlehem, they have a definite uphill battle in making the case that the “implications” of Mark and John somehow outweigh the direct testimony of Matthew and Luke. So, what does The Guide say is the compelling reason to believe that Mark and John show that Jesus was born in Nazareth? Here’s what The Guide says in support of this position (editing out only the Greek words).
Throughout the Gospel tradition Nazareth is regarded as Jesus’ home town. Mark and John implicitly presuppose that Jesus was also born there.
·In Mark, Jesus is emphatically called ‘the Nazarene’(Mark 1.24, 10.47, 14.67, 16.6), and Nazareth itself is referred to with the designation ‘his ancestral city’ (Mark 6.1). Luke avoids th…

Was Jesus Born in Nazareth or Bethlehem? - Part II: Was Bethlehem Named for Theological Reasons?

In The Historical Jesus: A Comprehensive Guide (hereinafter, “The Guide”), New Testament scholars Gerd Theissen and Annette Merz make the argument that Matthew and Luke did not identify Bethlehem in Judea because they believed it to actually be Jesus’ birthplace. Rather,  the authors of these two Gospels make that identification only to meet the Old Testament prophesy that the Messiah would be born there. The Guide’s view of the Bible as being formed to meet theological needs falls short of being more probable than not.
So I am not accused of mischaracterizing the argument found in The Guide, the argument on this point, quoted in its entirety from The Guide, is as follows:
[T]he independent traditions of Matt. 2 and Luke 2 report that Jesus was born in the city of David, in Bethlehem. In both cases the tradition is steeped in belief in the Davidic sonship of Jesus as the Messiah.
·The birth narrative in Luke is shaped with motifs from the Davidic tradition. Joseph comes from the house …